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Phil Johnson

Walnut Creek, CA USA | Member Since 2017

95
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 99 ratings
  • 259 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
28
FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Rooster Bar

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10058)
    Performance
    (9008)
    Story
    (8983)

    Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

    Mel says: "Sticking it to the Man "
    "Can't believe this got great reviews"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think this book is a "bus book". In other words, it can be read on the train. When reading text, its possible to skim sections or speed read. Not so with an audio book, unless you like chipmunk voices. Got to chapter 14 of 44. Very slow and dull. Not very good writing. Very unimaginative writing. Gave up. Not a page turner in the audio form.

    44 of 47 people found this review helpful
  • Less

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Andrew Sean Greer
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (309)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (283)

    You are a failed novelist about to turn 50. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: Your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes - it would be too awkward - and you can't say no - it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. Question: How do you arrange to skip town? Answer: You accept them all.

    Lili says: "Endearing, funny, but sometimes overly clever"
    "Less is less"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I lasted 1 hr. Granted, I should have given it more of a chance, but it seemed so predictable and cliche ridden. About as sophisticated as a Will and Grace show.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Nix: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Nathan Hill
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8304)
    Performance
    (7760)
    Story
    (7738)

    It's 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson - college professor, stalled writer - has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn't seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.

    Bonny says: "Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller."
    "Getting paid by the word-could have used an editor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bought this book because of some Audible reviewers. Gave up a little more than half way through it and Googled a spoiler web site so I didn't have to slog through the rest of the book. Its not bad, its just that it goes on and on. Qualities that were praised by NY Times print reviewers ( e.g. a whole chapter of 10 pages that is one sentence) didn't fly for me in a listening mode. And, I figured out the big mystery on my own just half way through. I don't usually do that sort of thing. This reminded me of Dickens, who was paid by the word. Really needed an editor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wrong Side of Goodbye: Harry Bosch, Book 19

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13086)
    Performance
    (11962)
    Story
    (11899)

    Harry Bosch is California's newest private investigator. He doesn't advertise, he doesn't have an office, and he's picky about who he works for, but it doesn't matter. His chops from 30 years with the LAPD speak for themselves. Soon one of Southern California's biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire has less than six months to live and a lifetime of regrets. He hires Bosch to find out whether he has an heir.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Connelly Delivers Everytime"
    "First time I ever set the speed to 1.25"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot of predictable events occur. Much plodding language, almost like stage directions. To paraphrase," He opened the door. He walked into the room. He went to his desk. He pulled out his chair. He sat down....." I couldn't finish it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Test Drive: Crossroads Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Riley Hart
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (236)

    A double shot of devastating news turns Justin Evanson's life upside down. When he learns his father has cancer, and he has siblings he never knew existed, he leaves everything behind and moves to Virginia to support his dad as he tries to make amends with his family - a family Justin's not sure he has a place in. Things go from bad to worse when he discovers his recent hookup is his newfound sister's brother-in-law. Drew Sinclair never expected to see Justin after their night at the club.

    Blackwindstar says: "excellent story excellent narrator"
    "Lasted 10 minutes with this one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not a prude, but starting a book with a cliche ridden sex scene was too much to take.
    My 1 star ratings are there because something was required to be entered before I could write my review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dominic Smith
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1260)
    Performance
    (1145)
    Story
    (1140)

    In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her.

    KarKinz says: "This Story Definitely NOT a Forgery!"
    "lilting, breathless narrative persona"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I returned this book after 2 hours of listening. I couldn't stand the narrator.
    I spent most of yesterday trying to describe to myself whar was wrong with the narration. This quote below, from the reviewer Trustme, say it all.

    "I found Mr Ballerini's narration distracting to the point of seriously undercutting my enjoyment of the book. While his rendition of character voices in dialogue was good (which is why I gave it more than 1 star), the lilting, breathless narrative persona he often used for the frequent & sometimes lengthy descriptive passages reminded me of an undergraduate reading Robert Frost with an over the top reverential syrupyness that screamed, "this is really art!" at the expense of the true sense of the passage. Too stagey & melodramatic. The story's narrator's POV is omniscient & anonymous, but the same ethereal affectations are used in the descriptive passages for the experiences of all the main characters. A more understated approach that let the words create atmosphere & drama without telegraphing portentous meaning through over acting would have yielded better results."

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Crossing

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    Overall
    (11989)
    Performance
    (10933)
    Story
    (10889)

    Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. The murder rap against his client seems ironclad, but Mickey is sure it's a setup. Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch takes the case. With the secret help of his former LAPD partner, Lucia Soto, he turns the investigation inside the police department. But as Bosch gets closer to discovering the truth, he makes himself a target.

    Michele B says: "I just loved this book; every last bit of it"
    "Plod, plod, plod."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My headline says it all. Very slow moving, procedural type of crime novel.
    No sympathetic characters by Chapter 17, when I gave up. Events are telegraphed to the reader before they unfold. Don't know why this author is so successful. Maybe in a print book, you can speed read.

    Note: I am writing this review before I ask for a refund because I have been unable to write reviews of books after asking for a refund.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Iron Lake: Cork O'Connor, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By William Kent Krueger
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2115)
    Performance
    (1873)
    Story
    (1870)

    Anthony Award-winning author William Kent Krueger crafts this riveting tale about a small Minnesota town’s ex-sheriff who is having trouble retiring his badge. Cork O’Connor loses his job after being blamed for a tragedy on the local Anishinaabe Indian reservation. But he must set aside his personal demons when a young boy goes missing on the same day a judge commits suicide—and no one but O’Connor suspects foul play.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Good start to a mystery series"
    "One of the worst books I have read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Do not read this book. Do not let your friends read this book.
    The writing is pedestrian and cliche ridden . Plot points were telegraphed far in advance.
    The most sympathetic character gets offed and you could see it coming a mile away. I kept checking to see if I had the book at half speed ( it wasn't) because it was so ill paced.
    If this was a print book, I wouldn't even leave it in an airport - I would rip it to shreds and toss it.

    I couldn't even finish it even though I got 85%through it. I am asking for my money back. I woke up this morning with a sense of dread (instead of my usual exited anticipation) at getting into my truck to hear a book. This book ruined my day.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ordinary Grace

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By William Kent Krueger
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5360)
    Performance
    (4893)
    Story
    (4891)

    Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

    tooonce72 says: "Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way"
    "Great narrator,settings,characters with plot flaws"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Other reviewers do this book justice. I am not one to usually figure out who-done-its, but I could see a lot of plot twists coming, if not a mile away, at least a quarter mile away.
    A little slow for some tastes, but the narrator is excellent, which made it worth it.

    One plot spoiler:
    As a gay man, I feel a responsibility to point out that, yet again, the one gay character commits suicide. Yes , it was the early 60's in small town Minnesota but this is fiction. It could have been different. And, I could see it coming a mlle away.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving Time

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9885)
    Performance
    (8873)
    Story
    (8866)

    Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

    Sondra S. Mangan says: "Very powerful--definitely will be listening again!"
    "Extremely disappointing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Used and Angry, that is how I feel.
    Great build up and plot, appealing characters, and then, it all goes pfffffff!
    I've read 2 great books by Jodi Picoult- this is not one of them.
    It is hard to criticize without being a spoiler, but the resolution of this plot would have earned a F in any decent creative writing class, I think. The equivalent of putting a Mansard roof on an ugly , boxy building- a cheap shot . What is sad is that the readers are excellent, and the story has some compelling elements that are wasted.

    I hate to say this, but this is a chick book. Can't think how it could appeal to anyone else.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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