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Alison

Alameda, CA, United States | Member Since 2013

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 37 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
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  • The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By James Rollins, Rebecca Cantrell
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (334)
    Story
    (337)

    An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators - Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist - are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl. But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ's own hand....

    Jean says: "Surprising Disappointment"
    "Priests and Vampires and Archeologists, Oh My!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I loved this audio book. James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell worked together to create a hybrid of their individual genres and I think it works. I like the twists on accepted wisdom with regard to the Church. It is certainly possible that devout Christians might be somewhat offended by the storyline and they should consider reading something else. As an amateur scholar in First Century Christian History, I really enjoyed the extrapolations from real history into a really wild, romantic "what if?" story. Let us remember that vampires in the story allow the writers to time travel with characters in real time which is a very effective literary device. The story can span many centuries and provide first person perspective on remote events in history without the worry of how the flux capacitor works. Christian Baskous, who did the audio version, did truly excellent work with the reading. He created each of the myriad characters as utterly distinct from one another, from a mysteriously menacing 16th century priest to the doe-eyed and intellectually voracious blonde archeologist with a nice rack. I was amazed at how atmospheric his reading was. This story has plenty of atmosphere, let me tell you. It swings through history and geography, science and the supernatural, and Mr. Baskous's reading is beautifully evocative of each time and place and character. Wonderful.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved Professor Erin Granger. She is a true scientist with the real understanding of human emotion. Perfect as the primary perspective through which this story unfolds.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Baskous – was your favorite?

    Rhun Korza. Romantic, tortured, fabulously male and richly realized in Mr. Baskous's wonderful voice. Jordan Stone was a close second. He is heroic and manly in a straightforward, very American way. Both men so different. Mr. Baskous is a really talented artist.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Blood Gospel: Sacred Revelation


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait for Book 2.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Dan Jones
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (234)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (212)

    The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; her son, Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and King John, a tyrant who was forced to sign Magna Carta, which formed the basis of our own Bill of Rights.

    Troy says: "Excellent Narrative History"
    "Better than Game of Thrones Because its True!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I loved this book. It is 20 hours of very intense English History and it is great from every vantage point. If you are watching The White Queen or Braveheart or something similar, you will get the details from this book like no other. A big recommendation.


    What other book might you compare The Plantagenets to and why?

    It is the real Game of Thrones.


    What does Clive Chafer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love his voice. He has a great accent and his performance is superb.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I might have wanted to, but there was no way. It is 20 hours long. But, I did listen to it in big chunks over a couple of days. Seriously, I bought it because I am watching The White Queen on television and this is the real story behind it all.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very comprehensive history of a very complicated time in English history. It really will help explain a whole bunch of historical fiction that you might not be totally familiar with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Women: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Charles Bukowski
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    Low-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at 50, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.

    Parola138 says: "Don't start your Bukowski journey here"
    "Dirty Old Man as Rock Star"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Women rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    "Women" ranks very high on the list of audiobooks I have listened to, though it was kind of rough slogging. Mr. Baskous turned in an astonishing performance of this almost pornographic novel - it is clear to the knowledgeable fan of Bukowski's work that Mr. Baskous did his homework with regard to Bukowski's voice and mannerisms. Like all of Bukowski's work, "Women" is raw in its narrative style with frank descriptions of the hero's sexual acts. Be ready for some words you don't hear often except on premium cable tv. What makes this novel "not" pornography is Bukowski's surprise that his art inspires hot young women to seek him out for sex. His wonder at his own power to command the attention of women from all over the world is childlike, as if his juvenile yet authentic (and autobiographical) scribblings were getting an A grade from the sexiest teacher in the whole seventh grade. The subtext of this novel is "I can't believe she came all this way to fuck a guy as ugly as me!"


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is essentially a love story.


    What does Christian Baskous bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mr. Baskous brought everything to this story. He has Bukowski's voice down. I mean really, really DOWN. I can't imagine anybody doing it better. This is a master work of tremendous power. You would have to go to Bukowski himself to experience a more accomplished piece of voice narrative.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Poet Reborn


    Any additional comments?

    Take this one slowly. It is scarrifying in its brutal description of sex acts. If you tend to see, and are easily offended by, anti-woman attitudes in popular fiction, this book is not for you. If you can see through the brutality to discover the hero's search for real love, you will be overwhelmed by the power of this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ham on Rye: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Charles Bukowski
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years, and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H. Lawrence, Ham on Rye offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression.

    Alison says: "Portrait of the Artist as a Brutalized Child"
    "Portrait of the Artist as a Brutalized Child"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Ham on Rye?

    I love the ugly truth of it. It is a stark description of a time and place in American history that rings true in every line. Some of it is shocking, some of it perilously ennervating, sometimes both at the same time. If you are at all familiar with Bukowski's work, you will love this narrative version because it IS Bukowski. Mr. Baskous's narrative is studied and perfect, capturing the crude as well as the lyrical parts of the novel in what I imagine would be just as Bukowski would have wanted it (though I a pretty sure, knowing what I know about Bukowski, he would have complained).


    What did you like best about this story?

    The ugly truth of it. It is timeless in its description of despair of the modern world coupled with tiny lights of joy and happiness that extinguish almost the minute they take light. Nobody does it better than Bukowski.


    Have you listened to any of Christian Baskous’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listened to and really loved some of his other work. I think this series of Bukowski novels will showcase Mr. Baskous's particular talents more than the other work he has done. Mr. Baskous has a feel for this kind of writing, a genuine understanding of its importance and its grace and I look forward to listening to the rest of the series. He knocks this one out of the park, essentially. A truly excellent work of art.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Light and Dark in LA


    Any additional comments?

    If you have the guts and the time, buy this audiobook but don't try to listen in your car on the way to your day job. Wait until it is dark and you can listen without interruption.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By James Rollins
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (359)

    In the wilds of Mongolia, a research satellite has crashed, triggering an explosive search for its valuable cargo: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy...and a shocking image of the eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin. At the Vatican, a package arrives containing two strange artifacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA evidence reveals that both came from the same body: the long-dead Mongol king Genghis Khan.

    Patricia says: "Newest Sigma Force is a little off"
    "A Non-Stop Thrill Ride!"
    Overall
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    Story
    Where does The Eye of God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Eye Of God kept me up most of last night in the most pleasurable, heart-pounding way possible. I love this audiobook! I am new to the Sigma Force series so every chapter was a revelation to me. I love the intricacy of the characters as well as the story lines. I mean, wow, Mr. Rollins packs so much history and politics and science and technology into this book - I was torn between surrender to the breakneck pacing of the narrative and wanting to experience some of the more rip roaring chapters over again right away. My heart is still pounding as I write this. Can't think of a better recommendation than that, truly. Can't catch my breath!


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Oh my goodness, yes. Edge-of-seat maintained quite nicely, thank you.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Baskous – was your favorite?

    Christian Baskous creates every character with grace and a richness of detail that makes his narration absolutely cinematic. This is a complicated story, with lots of characters and very big, explosive and exciting action. Mr. Baskous is a marvelous narrator and his performance throughout this long and detailed story is supremely evocative and energetic. Each nuance of intimacy is carefully expressed, just as every bold and startling plot point builds in intensity and magnitude. Instead of talking about a favorite character, I totally recommend listening to Chapter 22 (Chapter 18 in the book - I can't figure out why it isn't the same as on my Kindle). This chapter is literally explosive and showcases an amazing line up of characters, major and minor, all different and distinct from one another; it is irrefutable evidence of Mr. Baskous's astonishing talent with voice and character on a vast artistic scale.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I think you would have to say yes, I did have an extreme reaction. My heart was racing throughout this book. I stayed up all night and into the morning to listen to it. I couldn't stop myself. It was like watching a movie that I couldn't take my eyes off of. Honestly, it reminded me of watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time way back when (ok, so I admit to being in the over-50 crowd!). I got lost in the action and in a way it was over too soon which is saying something about a novel that is fourteen hours plus in length.


    Any additional comments?

    I originally bought this audiobook because I loved an earlier novel of Mr. Rollins's, Blood Gospel. I enjoyed The Eye of God even more. In fact, I bought the novel for my Kindle this morning when I got done listening to the audiobook. I will definitely buy more of the Sigma Force novels, as audiobooks and in the Kindle versions. I want to know more about all of these fabulous characters!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sacred Clowns

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Tony Hillerman
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (40)

    A teacher is dead, a boy is missing, and a councilwoman has put a lot of pressure on Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee to find her grandson. Sitting on a rooftop watching sacred clowns perform their antics in a Pueblo ceremony, Chee spots the boy. Then, suddenly, the crowd is in commotion. One of the clowns has been savagely murdered. Without a single clue, Chee and Leaphorn must follow a serpentine trail through the Indian clans and nations, seeking the thread that links two brutal murders, a missing teenager, a band of lobbyists trying to put a toxic dump site on Pueblo land, and an invaluable memento given to the tribes.

    Kathi says: "Wonderful series--wonderful book!"
    "Spiritual Harmony Achieved"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sacred Clowns to be better than the print version?

    I read this book many years ago and I was delighted to see it come out on Audible. While it is a straightforward police procedural and two murders occur in it, there is so much more at stake than solving the crime. The two iconic characters, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, each solitary men at the beginning of the novel, find love by the end of it. Lovely stuff. If you are new to Tony Hillerman or a fan from way back, I highly recommend this audiobook.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I am fond of all the regulars in this series, of course. I did appreciate the comic quality of the character of Harold Blizzard, who inadvertanly helps Jim Chee solve his murder case and his love problem simultaneously. Clever stuff.


    What does Christian Baskous bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mr. Baskous has a lovely voice and his narration perfectly captures Hillerman's vivid descriptions of the dramatic beauty of the landscape on the Navajo Reservation as well as the more personal revelations of the principle characters. Hillerman's novels are famous for having lots of the "action" occur in the minds of the two detectives, with intimate examinations of their thoughts about the tribal world they live in and the universe at large. This novel takes on big questions in a quiet and contemplative manner. Mr. Baskous expresses all of the actions, observations and expressions of philosophy with proper reverence while creating distinct characterizations of many different voices in the novel.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I was tempted to listen to it all at one sitting, but eight hours plugged into my headphones is a little hard to fit into my schedule! I ended up listening to it in three big chunks, kind of like watching a compelling mini-series on television. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


    Any additional comments?

    There is some real wisdom in this novel, along with a very sweet dual-track love story. I confess, I listened to Chapter 26 twice. Check it out if you want to find out why!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Talking God

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Tony Hillerman
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    Reunited by a grave robber and a corpse, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is trying to determine the identity of a murder victim, while Officer Jim Chee is arresting Smithsonian conservator Henry Highhawk for ransacking the sacred bones of his ancestors. But with each peeled-back layer, it becomes shockingly clear that these two cases are mysteriously connected - and that others are pusuing Highhawk, with lethal intentions. And the search for answers to a deadly puzzle is pulling Leaphorn and Chee into the perilous arena of superstition, ancient ceremony, and living gods.

    Joy says: "Navajo Nation lives"
    "We're Not in New Mexico Anymore!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Talking God the most enjoyable?

    What made this book enjoyable beyond the story itself was the narration by Christian Baskous. His voice characterizations are amazing. No matter how many different people appear in the narrative, Mr. Baskous creates a distinct and memorable voice for each one. I love this guy. He really makes the familiar stories come alive in totally new ways. This novel was a real departure from the usual Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn stories. Most of the action takes place in Washington D.C., not New Mexico, and I found that I missed the long drives through the dramatic landscapes of the Southwest that typically fill up the narrative in Hillerman's novels. Having the boys from the Rez solving crime in the Big East was a weird paradigm shift. The book was as good as any of his others, of course, and we did get to see Janet Pete at her flashy, glamorous best in D.C. society. Grave robbers and terrorists make a nice showing in this one - we even get a maladjusted, emotionally damaged hit man stalking the investigation. I credit the excellent narration with bridging the gap between the new territory explored in this story and the more familiar expressions of tribal religious practice and philosophy we have come to expect from Hillerman's novels.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jim Chee is usually my favorite character in Hillerman's novels. He is the most dynamic of the regulars - Joe Leaphorn reminds me a little too much of my dad - and I find that his struggle to live in harmony with the modern world AND his tribal heritage causes me to admire him quite a bit.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Baskous – was your favorite?

    So, I like all the characters performed by Christian Baskous, as I mentioned earlier. I especially liked how he handled the odd character of Leroy Fleck, the strange hit man/stalker in the novel. We see his twisted, corrupted little world up close and personal in a couple of long, intense chapters. Mr. Baskous expresses this guy's warped thoughts really, really well. Check out Chapter 16 for a freaky tour through Fleck's inner world. It is not to be missed.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes. Spoiler Alert: Janet decides to come home to New Mexico with Jim. Big Romantic Deal, even if the romance is so very discreetly touched on that you might even miss it right there at the end of the book. What can I say? I really think Janet is the right girl for Jim.


    Any additional comments?

    I did think it was weird to have so much of the action happened outside the usual Navajo stomping grounds. I think the next novel, The Fallen Man, returns the action to its rightful place on the Rez. The departure was ok, but I am really glad Hillerman didn't decide to have Jim move to D.C. to be with Janet. I don't think either one of us can imagine him anywhere but home!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Family Portrait: Four Short Stories about Domestic Life

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (629)
    Performance
    (557)
    Story
    (566)

    Exclusive bonus stories from the best-selling author of Lost at Sea, Them, The Psychopath Test and The Men Who Stare at Goats.

    RaisinNut says: "Ronson's voice alone will make you laugh..."
    "Evereybody should read Jon Ronson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was narrated by Jon Ronson himself, and if you look at a picture of him while listening, you can almost duplicate the excitement of listening to him in person (he is on the Daily Show and Colbert every now and again). Lots of fun and, well, I don't want to spoil anything, but he is very funny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Now Habit

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Neil Fiore
    • Narrated By Neil Fiore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (649)
    Performance
    (289)
    Story
    (286)

    If you are a professional, manager, student, entrepreneur, writer, or homemaker, this audiobook will help you achieve your goals more rapidly, whether they are large, complex challenges or the small, essential tasks of everyday life and work. If you now work effectively, even though you have too much to do and too little time, The Now Habit will show you how to prioritize your goals to allow more time for guilt-free play.

    Ron says: "A keeper"
    "Very helpful book - I immediately felt better!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Now Habit in three words, what would they be?

    This book really helped me understand the convoluted brain functions that create procrastination. It is very detailed and I did listen to some parts of it more than once, but it helped immediately. Just knowing how procrastination works helped me do less of it right away.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Now Habit?

    This is a how-to book so there were no favorite parts. The whole book is useful information for making everyday life better right now.


    Which character – as performed by Neil Fiore – was your favorite?

    Dr. Fiore is a fine narrator of his own work. It is like having him for a teacher.


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from The Now Habit?

    All of them. Mostly the fact that procrastination is a way for your brain to protect you from pain - and the realization that the pain you fear is pretty much imaginary.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend the book to anybody who has trouble starting projects of any kind, personal or business.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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