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KP

United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
270
REVIEWS
83
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
12
HELPFUL VOTES
196

  • The Mark of Athena: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Joshua Swanson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1641)
    Performance
    (1479)
    Story
    (1499)

    Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy - after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera - it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans.

    Jm says: "Felt like an episode of a weekly tv series..."
    "This is My Last Percy Jackson Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have listened to all of the Percy Jackson books and I have pretty much lost steam at this point. Each book is more and more similar to the previous one. Sometimes that works, but in this case, there is almost no innovation to each book. I originally thought the premise of the stories was clever -- why create new stories when you can just borrow from Greek and Roman mythology? Genius! -- but it is as though the author is on auto-pilot. I made it through because I listened to it at 3x speed and even then didn't really have to pay attention to get through it. I'm not planning to read any more Percy Jackson books.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mohsin Hamid
    • Narrated By Satya Bhabha
    Overall
    (271)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (166)

    At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with a suspicious, and possibly armed, American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting. Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by Underwood Samson, an elite investment firm. He thrives on the energy of New York. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned.

    Vahe Kassardjian says: "Disappointed"
    "Unusual Narrative Approach Gets Old"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to talk about the content of this book because I found the narrative structure so very distracting. The entire book is written from the perspective of one person talking to another one evening. Everything learned about the second person is through the way that the narrator speaks to him. There are a lot of long sessions of the narrator talking about himself, except for the occasional chiding, borderline condescending comment he makes to the person sitting with him. (This structure is apparently called a "frame story".)

    The story -- about a Pakistani fellow who goes to America and figures out how to make a ton of money and has an awkward brush with romance, but then chooses to return home and give up that life after seeing the ill treatment suffered by seemingly anyone suspected to hold Islamist beliefs in the U.S. -- is intriguing enough to maintain one's interest for the full ~5 hours, and is even thought-provoking at times, with a bit of a punch to the gut at the end. The narrator is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Daniel Schulman
    • Narrated By Allen O'Reilly
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (81)

    Like the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of the modern age, but they have never been the subject of a major biography... until now. Not long after the death of his father, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter the family patriarch had written to his sons. "You will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money," Fred Koch cautioned. "It may either be a blessing or a curse."

    Jean says: "Interesting family"
    "Early Life Details OK but Not Much on the Business"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The most interesting part of this book was hearing about the Koch Brothers' father and their upbringing. Unfortunately, so much of the focus is on the scandalous in-fighting that there is very little time spent on the business and the intelligence and drive of Charles and David. While I learned a few interesting factoids about the brothers, it got tiresome listening to fight after fight, lawsuit after lawsuit, family vs. family.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2059)
    Performance
    (1915)
    Story
    (1911)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "First Book I've Liked Enough to Listen TWICE!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I rarely find books deserving of five stars, and I have never wanted to re-listen instead of moving on to another book... before now.

    I read (and re-read) this nearly a year after reading and really enjoying the first Galbraith book. Cormoran and Robin are back to solve another mystery, this one even more intricate and twisted than the last. The chemistry between them and the supporting characters works very well and the story is very well-written and entertaining (quite a thorough, unique and well-developed look into the publishing industry, with a curious murder at its center). Mr. Glenister is one of the best narrators in the business; his transition among voices and accents is seamless.

    I highly recommend this book -- regardless of whether you read the first one or are a J.K. Rowling fan. This one stands entirely on its own.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trustee from the Toolroom

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (651)
    Performance
    (587)
    Story
    (588)

    Keith Stewart, a retiring and ingenious engineer, could not have been happier in his little house in the shabby London suburb of Ealing. There he invented the mini-motor, the six-volt generator, and the tiny Congreve clock. Then a chain of events sweeps him into deep waters and leads him to his happiest discovery yet.

    Paula says: "Just Simply a Great Story!"
    "An Unexpected Delight!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thank you, Audible, for making this a daily deal. I don't know how this author or this book would otherwise have crossed my path, and I'm so happy they did.

    This is a charming story about a salt-of-the-earth good guy, Keith, who is great at building and creating things with his hands on a small scale (a "miniature mechanic"). He is thrown a few curve balls, from ending up with his orphaned niece he can barely afford to take care of to needing to make world travel he definitely cannot afford, but he finds a way to make the most of it with an engineer's ingenuity and practicality, not to mention his standard kindness and humility. I don't want to give away the story, but I can promise it is very entertaining, with amusing dialogue and a nice picture of the time period (~1960's). The narrator is excellent, moving among various British and American dialects with ease.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Any Other Name: Walt Longmire, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (671)
    Performance
    (613)
    Story
    (605)

    Sheriff Walt Longmire had already rounded up a sizable posse of devoted readers when the A&E television series Longmire sent the Wyoming lawman’s popularity skyrocketing. Now, in Any Other Name, Walt is sinking into high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life.

    C. Telfair says: "Lost in Fog with Buffalo"
    "Smells Plenty Sweet!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Any Other Name" is the 11th installment in the Walt Longmire mystery series. I got here because I have read the other 10 and really enjoyed most of them.

    If you're planning on reading this as your 11th Longmire too, be aware: #10 was so incredible that it's hard to imagine #11 being anything other than a slight step down.

    That said, this was still a great story. I liked that it takes place in South Dakota instead of Wyoming, which Walt calls home; the scenery, animals (buffalo), and cast of South Dakotan characters added to the entertainment value. I also liked that, when trying to unravel one mystery, Walt finds himself in the middle of another (and of course he is determined to solve them both). Despite the distance from home, Walt involves his trusty sidekicks, Henry Standing Bear and Victoria Moretti, who bring humor and clever repartee (and backup when the going gets tough) to the story.

    I suppose when one reads a series, one assumes the star of it is going to survive (otherwise, how can there be book #12?), so in that sense this books is predictable. However, I did not see the end coming as far as how the mysteries turned out!

    George Guidall was born to narrate this series. I cannot imagine trying to read these books and missing out on his amazing narration.

    One note: I believe Longmire fans are divided into those who find the occasional forays into Native American mysticism/hallucinations entertaining, and those who find it annoying. I'm in the latter group, and so found one of the chapters painful to get through, but thankfully it was limited to that one section.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sense of an Ending: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Richard Morant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (799)
    Performance
    (678)
    Story
    (681)

    Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumor, and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

    Chris Reich says: "Stunning. I'm Guilty. Are You?"
    "Exquisitely Crafted, Exquisitely Narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am so glad this book was a daily deal recently, or else I might never have stumbled across it. This is an exquisitely crafted novel that follows the life of an amusingly self-involved young man, and the seeming chaos that happens around him as he moves through life unremarkably and largely unharmed. Doesn't necessarily sound like much... and yet, I found myself hanging on to every word, and even rewinding to listen again (and, unusually, I bookmarked several great quotes -- I love the Audible app!).

    The writing is simply incredible, with the story (though dreary at times) and philosophical musings the equivalent of the "icing on the cake". Had I read it instead of listened, I might have given it four stars. However, layering on the narrator with his perfect cadence and inflection (and the British accent that automatically makes me like things slightly more) got me to give this five stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Tower

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Louis Bayard
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (113)

    Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, who has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance and his extensive knowledge of the Parisian underworld to capture some of the most notorious and elusive criminals.

    Booksmith says: "Truly Engaging and Clever"
    "Second Half Better Than the First"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This caught my eye because of the narrator (Simon Vance, who is always fantastic), the time period (turn of the century 1800's France), and the genre (classic detective, in this case named Vidocq). The story got off to a slow start, but ultimately was an enjoyable mystery with wonderful doses of historical fiction. If I were rating just the second half, I would give it four stars. Worth a listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Water Room: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Christopher Fowler
    • Narrated By Tim Goodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (143)

    Best-selling author Christopher Fowler has won a widespread following for his senior citizen detectives Arthur Bryant and John May. Here a woman is found drowned in her basement - with nary a drop of water to explain the crime.

    Cholmondeley says: "Baby Boomers Rejoice: This is a book for our time."
    "Not For Me After All"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery I've read. While the first was not my favorite, I thought the characters had some endearing qualities, and so gave this one a try. London is once again at the center of the story (this time, its waterways), but in a less interesting way than in the first novel, which was partially set in wartime London. The storylines are at times hard to follow, and I found the dialogue tiresome because it did not reveal new things about the characters (rather, it reiterated what had been learned about them in the first book). The narrator does a fine job with what he's given.

    I just can't get into this series the way I was hoping to (and the way I have with Louise Penny's Gamache mystery series and Craig Johnson's Longmire mystery series). Better luck to other listeners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    Overall
    (16540)
    Performance
    (14972)
    Story
    (15088)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "Reasonable Coattail-Rider"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I question whether this book would have had such success if books like Ender's Game, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games hadn't been written first. But, you have to give Ms. Roth some credit, as I am sure there are thousands of authors who have been trying to ride those coattails and have failed. While it doesn't belong in the same league with the great books listed above, this is a fast-paced, entertaining story with a clever premise. The narrator is nicely functional; she does a good job of getting the story out there without intruding.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Fine Balance

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Rohinton Mistry
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (578)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (276)

    In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals.

    Karen P. Smith says: "Praise for the Narrator as much as the Writer"
    "A Fine Telling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Where humans were concerned, the only emotion that made sense was wonder at their ability to endure, and sorrow for the hopelessness of it all."

    This sentence from the book more or less sums up how I feel after finishing. The setting of the story is India in 1975 (with several brief jaunts to earlier parts of the 20th century to explain characters' backgrounds), and it paints an entertaining, at times amusing, and yet often bleak and disturbing picture of how the political situation in India affects people of different backgrounds (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh), different points of origin (mountains, village, big city) and different socioeconomic statuses. The fact that the reader gets to know the characters so well makes the good times particularly heartwarming, and at times makes it difficult to hear what is happening to them.

    I found the story to be well crafted and nicely paced. There are several characters and story lines that cross when you don't expect it and are easy to follow. The narrator, John Lee, is excellent; I might not have embarked upon the audiobook version of this novel if I had not seen his name in the narrator slot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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