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Lee

Chapel Hill, NC, United States | Member Since 2007

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 28 ratings
  • 303 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015
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6

  • 1632: Ring of Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Eric Flint
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (664)
    Story
    (670)

    New York Times best-selling author Eric Flint has received glowing critical praise for his Ring of Fire alternate history series. In this first installment, a West Virginia town is transported from the year 2000 to 1631 Germany at the height of the Thirty Years’ War. Thrust into conflict, the town residents must also contend with moral issues such as who should be considered a citizen.

    Sara says: "Great idea superficial follow through"
    "Velveeta"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like sci-fi and fantasy, and can accept the initial premise that a town in modern day West Virginia has been mysteriously sent back to 1632 Germany. That is the cool part of the story. The problem is with the characters - they are mostly caricatures. And while that is fine for many entertaining novels with heavy action, this book, after the opening sequences, spends a lot of time on character "development." If you can call following the thoughts and dialogue of stock characters "development." Chunks of the book read like a romance novel, with breathless, love-at-first-site encounters and courtship. The Americans, almost without exception, are an amazingly virtuous lot, that embody the best American principals - hard work, self reliance, inclusion, democracy, tolerance, practicality, fairness, ingenuity - without fail. This is in stark contrast to the bad guys - who are truly vile. The narrator, George Guidall, is so good, that he can make this pulp seem to have substance. Yet Guidall can only cover for the author for so long. Eventually, you notice that your velveeta topped cheeseburger is missing the meat, and you only have a mouthful of cheese.

    23 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Great North Road

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By Toby Longworth
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1092)
    Performance
    (988)
    Story
    (995)

    A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

    Flapjack says: "Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters"
    "I lasted about an hour"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed Hamiltons Pandora Star series. I thought the setting was fun to learn about and the characters interesting and amusing, if sometimes a little two-dimensional. This, on the other hand, featured a tedious setting/culture, and characters I could care less about.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10980)
    Performance
    (9806)
    Story
    (9778)

    Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    "Fun Light Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book as a fast paced page turner. Although it has a lot of violence, it is pretty cartoonish, which was fine by me. Might read another in the series, but it needs some more diverse action than a series of fights. The main character is likeable, and the book has some good comic moments.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (510)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "Unexpectedly delightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't often read mysteries, but took a chance on this in a daily deal sale. I really took a liking to Dr. Siri, enjoying his observations and perspective on life. The author is compassionate toward his characters, even the bad guys. This book does veer into fantasy, which I was not expecting, but I read a fair amount of fantasy, so just went with it. I don't like detailed violence and gore, and although this book has some, it didn't overwhelm the story or shock me. While there are some mysteries to be solved, I would say this is really a character driven novel. The setting is also a strong feature of the story, set in 70's Laos. I enjoyed learning about the social and political setting, which I had never read about before this book. Over-all I would characterize this as a fun read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael A. Singer
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1306)
    Performance
    (1111)
    Story
    (1107)

    Spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer explores the question of human identity and shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and achieve happiness and self-realization.

    Lea says: "Fabulous!"
    "Felt like a long strident lecture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has some gems in it. My recommendation is to listen to the first 1/3 to 1/2. At some point it becomes extremely repetitive. I found the tone of it condescending, and felt like I was being lectured, and not in a good way. I think that the core of the "how to" part, which is to simply relax and not resist reality, is overly simplistic. People have consistent meditation practices because it is difficult to change your way of being on the fly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Roland Merullo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (542)
    Performance
    (462)
    Story
    (462)

    When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way.

    Mary McCarthy says: "a thoughtful and often hilarious journey"
    "Good bedtime book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Light, fun, odd-couple road trip book. You may need to have some affinity for meditation or Buddhism to enjoy this book. The writing is a bit hokey and sentimental at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (752)
    Performance
    (637)
    Story
    (642)

    Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.

    Susianna says: "Perfect Book for your Literary Sweet Tooth"
    "Could not relate to the narrator/main character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somehow the author and narrator combined to drain all life out of what would seem to be an engaging story. I could not get any emotional involvement in the main character, so I just didn't care what happened next. I don't really understand how this feat was accomplished. The story is a first person narrative, with the narrator recounting events forty years or so in the past. She seems so cool and detached, even when the action is emotional, that it gave me some kind of cognitive dissonance. Obviously, I am a reader that needs to relate to the characters to enjoy the book. The writing is very good and the narrator is also very good, I can understand that other people may find it excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23537)
    Performance
    (14856)
    Story
    (15013)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "As bedtime listen: poor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good genre classic, well narrated. Not a good bedtime listen because it is emotionally overwrought. Ender is almost constantly upset, most everyone else is a psychotic a-hole. If this book came out today, I would give it 2 stars. It deserves 4 though, because it was written 30 years ago.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10864)
    Performance
    (9907)
    Story
    (9929)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Misery Fest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Highly skilled writer details agony of main character. Seems to wallow in it. Got about 3 hours in and decided to end my own suffering by not listening any more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Pursuit of God

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By A. W. Tozer
    • Narrated By Mark Moseley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (239)

    During a train trip from Chicago to Texas in the late 1940s, A.W. Tozer began to write The Pursuit of God. He wrote all night, and when the train arrived at his destination, the rough draft was done. The depth of this book has made it an enduring favorite.

    Michael says: "Great classic book to include in your library!"
    "What was I thinking?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bought this in a sale, sounded interesting. I listened for 5 minutes, then turned it off. Sounded like archiac, devout christian ruminating about the state of "the pulpit." Could be excellent for the right listener, not for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susanna Clarke
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (3511)
    Performance
    (1493)
    Story
    (1496)

    English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

    David says: "Hang in there!"
    "Gave up after 10 hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is apparently catnip for a certain type of book geek. I enjoyed the first few hours as quirky and novel, then gradually lost interest until giving up at hour 10. While I tend to read plot driven page-turners, I appreciate good writing and occasionally read “literature.” I wanted to like this book, but the lack of plot and glacial pacing wore me out. I just didn’t appreciate the intimate character studies and wry social commentary enough to make it worth my while. I like to listen to audiobooks before bedtime, and this one often put me to sleep in 10 to 15 minutes. In this round of man vs. book, book won!

    I am working on a set of book characteristics to cover in my reviews. Qualities that I would like to know before choosing a book. My sweet spot is fairly light fiction (often fantasy) with above average writing and characters. I hope you find these useful. I didn't go into depth on them here because this book has already been heavily reviewed.

    Emotional Tone:
    Mostly neutral, sometimes dark, brooding atmosphere, sometimes comic.

    Literary Quality:
    High craftsmanship, obviously skilled writer.

    Pacing:
    Very slow; detailed conversations and descriptions.

    Plot:
    Very little plot, meandering story lines.

    Characters:
    Lots of varied characters. Main character (Mr. Norrell) for first third of book is dull and unlikable. Most characters are not very dynamic.

    Sex & Violence:
    Very little through first third of book.

    Narrator:
    Does a good job with difficult material. Enjoyed him much more in “The Coral Thief.”

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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