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Houston, TX, United States | Member Since 2015


  • Books: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Larry McMurtry
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Larry McMurtry is known to be reclusive and extremely private, rarely giving interviews or making public appearances. Audiences are therefore sure to be eager to hear this intimate and surprisingly personal memoir of the brilliant writer's love affair with books.

    Toni says: "Buyer beware."
    "Buyer beware."

    A longtime fan, I expected this book to explore Lsrry McMurtry's views on literature and how he came to be a novelist. The Kirkus snippet makes it sound as if it will be, as does most of the Product Description.

    No, it's much more about how McMurtry came to be a rare book collector and seller and about the people and minutae of the rare-book world. He even omits information about his stint in a Stanford program because, he says, he wrote about it elsewhere. What good does that do the reader of THIS book?

    If you don't care about rare books (I don't) this book is quickly a bore.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Obama Diaries

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Laura Ingraham
    • Narrated By Laura Ingraham

    Popular conservative radio host Laura Ingraham discusses President Obama's first year in office. Informative and hugely entertaining, The Obama Diaries will inspire both laughter and critical thinking about the future of the nation and the man currently at the helm.

    Dan says: "Almost Not Funny -- Almost!"
    "Not funny."

    I'm a conservative and no doubt agree with Laura Ingraham on most issues. But from Audible and Amazon reviews, I expected this book to be funny. It is, but only briefly and intermittently.

    The funny parts are the satirical snippets of fictional diaries kept by Obama, Michelle, etc. But those make up only 5% or 10% of the book. The rest is heartfelt polemic, Laura analyzing America's greatness, the need for citizens to keep it great, and how dreadfully Obama and his cohorts fall short. But if you've been paying attention, you already know generally what the liberal left is up to and what Obama & Crew are up to in particular. If you're already conservative, you don't need Laura to explain the world to you.

    Some people like to read, or listen to, expositions of their own and like-minded views. Nothing wrong with that! I happen to be not among them. From this book's title and the introduction you can hear as a sample, I expected it to be extended satire, something like Christopher Buckley's novels.

    Bully for Laura Ingraham, her insights into current events, and her advocacy of conservative principles! Maybe if you're already a fan, and her sarcasm makes you chuckle, you find this an enjoyable book. This reader-listener doesn't.

    Footnote: I tried to break this into paragraphs to make it more readable. Audible unaccountably won't let me.

    12 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Thr3e

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Ted Dekker
    • Narrated By Rob Lamont
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Imagine answering your cell phone one day to a male voice that gives you three minutes to confess your sin. If you don't, the madman, Slater, will blow your car to smithereens. You barely manage to exit heavy traffic and ditch the car when, precisely three minutes later, your car blows sky high. The media and police descend on the scene; your world has just changed forever.

    Tami B. says: "Brilliant!!!"
    "The plot is a cheat."

    There's a malady at the heart of this book. Problem is, the malady as depicted here has little to do with the malady as it exists in real life. Much occurs in the book that could and does not occur when actual humans have this malady.

    I understand that readers are fascinated by the questions of good, evil, and volition raised by THR3E. For me, the fact that the plot is almost wholly removed from reality renders it irrelevant to genuine questions of good, evil, and volition.

    Having stuck through almost all the way to the end leaves me feeling cheated. Life's too short to spend on thriller-mysteries that make no sense in the end.

    Plot aside, the narration is inadequate. Rob Lamont cannot distinguish females' voices from males' and thus makes the tale harder to follow than it ought to be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Christopher Cazenove, Gabrielle de Cuir, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a not-too-distant future that is not quite ours, there has been a major scientific breakthrough. It is a way to open windows into the past, permitting historical researchers to view, but not participate, in the events of the past.

    In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.

    Alaskak64 says: "Fascinating"
    "Problems with both plot and narrators"

    Spoiler alert! Since one problem is with the plot, I may be giving twists away.

    I don't usually like alternate history, since the past is immutable. But I'm an ardent fan of the Ender and Bean novels about the future. Orson Scott Card thinks deeply about all he writes, and I was interested in his take on the Europeans' arrival in the Americas.

    Problem is, we get multiple alternate histories in Pastwatch. The brilliant scientists in the story have evidently never heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    I willingly suspend disbelief for most novels. This one contains too many improbabilities for me and perhaps for the like-minded.

    The narration is also inconsistent. I'd listen to Stefan Rudnicki read anything, but some of the other narrators are not very expressive.

    But I'd have held on if not for the improbabilities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • First Family

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Camp David, USA. A birthday party turns into a nightmare when a child is snatched after the celebrations. The First Lady enlists the services of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell to bring the child home safely. But she and King share a past. Years ago he saved her then senator husband from political disaster. And this may not be all that passed between them. With Michelle still battling her own demons, the two are pushed to the limit, with forces aligned on all sides against them.

    jerry says: "Outstanding as always"

    You know a thriller is failing when its most vivid, interesting and sympathetic character is the villain, followed by the 12-year-old girl whose kidnapping he has orchestrated.

    Everyone else here is boring, and the plot plods. The murder of Michelle's mother and its investigation - completely unrelated to the main plot - bogs the book down further.

    The narrator is good, especially when giving voice to the villain. Not good enough to bring this novel up to a credit-worthy level.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Spooner

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Pete Dexter
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte

    Warren Spooner was born after a prolonged delivery in a makeshift delivery room in a doctor's office in Milledgeville, Georgia, on the first Saturday of December, 1956. His father died shortly afterward, long before Spooner had even a memory of his face, and was replaced eventually by a once-brilliant young naval officer, Calmer Ottosson, recently court-martialed out of service.

    Sue says: "Great narration"
    "Chicken sex"

    My review title alludes to a reference in this novel to men having sex with chickens.

    That's where I stopped the book. Readers shouldn't be forced to wonder whether such an act is possible, let alone whether it's happened outside the author's imagination.

    The chicken sex reference is one of many passage in the book that made no sense to me. Not that I wouldn't behave that way - I can't imagine anyone behaving certain ways, making certain choices, that characters in this book do. I've read wild stuff from authors as different as Homer and Orson Scott Card and can't recall having been simply stumped before.

    Life's too short to spend with inexplicable characters.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Free First Chapter: No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 11 mins)
    • By Harry Markopolos
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller is exactly what the title promises. This is more than just another book about the Bernie Madoff scandal, this is a fast-paced, blow-by-blow, true-crime story that you have to hear to believe. In a true David and Goliath tale, the underdog number cruncher uncovers the largest financial fraud in history, and has to fight everything and everyone in the system to bring it down.

    Paul says: "First time I actually understood this mess."
    "Interesting, marred by narration"

    Scott Brick is like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart. No matter what words they were saying, they always sounded like themselves.

    In this case, I hear Scott Brick sounding like himself, as always, instead of bringing the text to life. He can't bring himself even to be consistent about pronunciation. The name "Thierry" should be pronounced tee-air-EE. Brick says TEE-air-ee, TEE-ah-ree, tee-air-EE (correctly) and tee-air-ree, with no accented syllable.

    I know this offends Scott Brick's many fans. But for me, instead of hearing the authors skillfully interweave characters and history, I hear Scott Brick's vocal patterns and ticks, which sound the same no matter whether he's reading a murder mystery or a thriller or, as in this case, financial nonfiction.

    I hope he'll learn someday to suit his voice to the material rather than vice versa.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Fatal Glass of Beer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Stuart M. Kaminsky
    • Narrated By Tom Parker

    W.C. Fields may be Hollywood's reigning jester, but he's no fool. For 40 years he's cached over a million dollars of his lucre under assumed names in dozens of banks all over the country. But now a man who calls himself Lester O. Hipnoodle, a public menace with a mysterious score to settle, has somehow lifted the great man's bankbooks and roams the nation, cleaning out Fields' deposits.

    Toni says: "Funny, with skillful narration"
    "Funny, with skillful narration"

    All the Toby Peters mysteries on Audible are enjoyable. They're light entertainment, with quirky, agreeable ongoing characters, serviceable plots, and interesting insights into life in the 1940s.

    Of course, the obvious draw is the movie star or other celebrity for whom private eye Toby Peters works. In this case, W.C. Fields, who is depicted as a very funny and intrepid man with a sad, if satirical, outlook. His wit shows as Fields takes a sometimes dangerous road trip with Peters, chauffered by Peters's best friend, the midget Gunther Werthman. (I said quirky.)

    One of the best aspects, though, is Tom Parker's narration. His imitation of W.C. Fields is spot-on - and his imitation of bad imitators of Fields's voice is terrific, too.

    Parker's imitation of Fred Astaire in Dancing in the Dark is also excellent. Throughout the five Peters mysteries he narrates, he gives Gunther and other ongoing characters distinct and appropriate voices.

    I hope Audible adds to the Toby Peters series, especially with Parker as narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Ravine and Other Short Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Anton Chekhov
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh

    Here are 11 short stories and one novella by Anton Chekhov, one of the finest masters of what is acknowledged as a difficult genre. There is the richly comic "Oh! The Public" about a hassled ticket inspector, a wry look at morals and manners in "The Chorus Girl", and the melancholic tale of a cab driver in "Misery".

    Toni says: "Superb narration!"
    "Superb narration!"

    A writer of Chekhov's star caliber needs no rating. The narrator, however, can make all the difference. Of my three audiobooks of Chekhov short stories, this is by far the best narration.

    For good reason. Branagh was a major and much-honored star of stage and screen, with four Oscar nominations for acting and directing.

    Somebody PLEASE persuade Branagh to narrate more literary fiction for adults!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Revolution: Finding Vibrant Faith Beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By George Barna
    • Narrated By Todd Busteed

    World-renowned pollster George Barna has the numbers, and they indicate a revolution is already taking place within the Church: one that will impact every believer in America. Committed, born-again Christians are exiting the established church in massive numbers. Why are they leaving? Where are they going? And what does this mean for the future of the Church?

    Bryan H. Longworth says: "Revolutionary!"
    "Prescriptive, not descriptive"

    According to the publisher's summary, "George Barna has the numbers, and they indicate a revolution is already taking place within the Church: one that will impact every believer in America."

    I wanted to hear those numbers, Barna's "years worth of research data," that is, what evidence Barna had that a revolution is actually occurring. But the book offers no clue as to this revolution's dimensions or where in this country or the world one can find large numbers of revolutionaries.

    I can't blame him or his publisher that I didn't appreciate the subtitle. But I felt like a choir member being preached to. Great ideas -- useful, healthy ideas -- but not what the publisher promised.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Phil Rosenthal
    • Narrated By Phil Rosenthal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond dissects the art of comedy and the making of a sitcom classic. In television, where programs can premiere and disappear in the same week, Everybody Loves Raymond reigned as America's best-loved show for nine years with more than 17 million viewers. As the number-one sitcom, it received more than 70 Emmy nominations, including two wins for best comedy.

    Margaret Campbell says: "For Raymond Lovers"
    "Amusing, with mysterious pauses"

    Maybe it's the nature of the author-narrator's obsession - episodic television - but there are regular quiet spaces of a few seconds each. I'm used to pauses meaning something, and here they don't. Perhaps they're only meant to make the audiobook longer. Or not.

    Listeners who are used to a smooth, or smoothly dramatized, flow of words may find the pauses as distracting as I do.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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