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Bruce

Retired Reader

Bethel Park, PA, United States | Member Since 2003

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 87 ratings
  • 568 titles in library
  • 161 purchased in 2014
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  • The Garner Files: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By James Garner, Jon Winokur
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (76)

    After suffering physical abuse at the hands of his stepmother, James Garner left home at fourteen. He became Oklahoma's first draftee of the Korean War and was awarded with two Purple Hearts before returning to the United States and settling in Los Angeles to become an actor. Working alongside some of the most renowned celebrities, including Julie Andrews, Marlon Brando, and Clint Eastwood, Garner became a star in his own right, despite struggles with stage fright and depression.

    Marian says: "The Real James Garner"
    "Now I Know Why I Liked Him So Much!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Garner Files in three words, what would they be?

    Great Life Story


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Garner Files?

    I thought the info on his military experience was honest and gave some insight into what makes Garner Garner.


    What about Michael Kramer’s performance did you like?

    At times I thought Jim Garner was telling the tale - not a narrator.


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

    My strongest reaction was probably shared anger at some of the jerks that Garner met with and had to deal with along the way.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this - I have been a huge fan of his work, and while I often felt he was playing himself - not really acting - I always thought he gave his audience way more than their money's worth!!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Greg Grandin
    • Narrated By Luis Moreno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    One morning in 1805, off a remote island in the South Pacific, Captain Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, climbed aboard a distressed Spanish ship carrying scores of West Africans he thought were slaves. They weren' t. Having earlier seized control of the vessel and slaughtered most of the crew, they were staging an elaborate ruse, acting as if they were humble servants. When Delano, an idealistic, anti-slavery republican, finally realized the deception, he responded with explosive violence. Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in this extraordinary event.

    Lake says: "What is the "right thing to do"?"
    "I did not think of that."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fascinating history and analysis of what it was like to be alive in the late 1700s and early 1800s - how slavery was just one of the many ways we could be "owned" - indentured servitude, apprenticeship, or impressed into crewing a ship. How the emerging forces of freedom and liberty began to take root. I learned a lot - and learned a lot about Melville. Now have to go back and read Moby Dick - and read a couple other of his works for the first time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1802)
    Performance
    (1630)
    Story
    (1634)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Kathy says: "I couldn't stop listening"
    "Interesting - but"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I guess I just do not get it...
    I tried hard to like SOMEONE in this book - but came up short on all of them

    0 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
    (901)
    Performance
    (803)
    Story
    (802)

    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!"
    "Loved this surprising discovery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew of Nevil Shute only as the author of "On The Beach" - book and movie that I liked - but found rather depressing. I had also heard that the car racer in the story was a bit autobiographical - Shut took up racing after he moved to Australia.

    But this book is so different. A very well written story of a man who takes his responsibilities seriously and does what needs to be done - not because he will benefit directly - but because it is the right thing to do.

    The theme really connected with me in a time when so many seem to be so concerned with what others will do for them. Kieth does for himself - with a lot of help along the way from others who he meets - and impacts along the way.

    The narration was great and I could not believe the story was over - it was very good and will get me to sample a few more of his stories.

    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
    (589)
    Performance
    (485)
    Story
    (485)

    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"
    "Wonderful Surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I went in to this with pretty low expectations - not even sure I would stick with it to the end. But by the end of the fifth chapter I was hooked. Awesome characters - not just Dr. Siri, though he is one of my favorite "detectives" after just one book.

    Cannot recommend this highly enough and now looking forward to the rest of the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Peter Matthiessen
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (172)

    Inspired by a near-mythic event on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the 20th century, Shadow Country re-imagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son.

    John says: "Engrossing, Rich and Powerful"
    "Better Than Expected - Learned a Lot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Shadow Country again? Why?

    Probably - but not for a while. I actually went back a number of times to "re-listen" to stretches - got lost on names and events and such


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadow Country?

    The death scene - that happens more than once is obviously the key to the whole thing


    Which scene was your favorite?

    As the book draws to a close - the end of the third part - Watson reveals both his strong will and sense of humanity - the desire to be someone - to make a mark - to be more than just a human - but the realization that in the end being human is the best we can aspire to.


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

    No - too complex - I needed to ration this out - 2-3 hour chunks. It all ties together and works very well - but I needed to time to reflect and sort out things.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Any Other Name: Walt Longmire, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1003)
    Performance
    (914)
    Story
    (909)

    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"
    "I Am Totally Addicted to Longmire."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Any Other Name again? Why?

    Yes - will probably listen at least one more time. I have enjoyed several earlier titles the second time through and would think this would be no different. The stories are so entertaining and George Guidall nail the narration. Entertaining and fun...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Any Other Name?

    I love the interation between Walt and Vic - so the exchanges between them would rank right up there.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    Able to get me to visualize all of the characters.


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

    When if became clear that things were not going to come out totally "fine" - that things had explanation - but that the explanation was not particularly pretty - and that there are bad people - and bad things out there that we sometimes cannot "fix" or "solve"


    Any additional comments?

    I did not give this book as high a rating as I have other Longmire's - I am struggling a bit with the whole plot line that continues from Serpent's Tooth. I also thought the overlay of Walt's grandchild arriving was a bit forced - as Henry noted - why not get on the plane - go to Philly and take care of that - then come back and deal with things in Wyoming.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By C. J. Box
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (553)
    Performance
    (481)
    Story
    (480)

    The recipient of Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity Awards, New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box has won almost every honor in his field. In Breaking Point, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is glad to catch up with old friend Lyle Pendergast, but then the man goes missing and is named a suspect in the death of two EPA employees. All signs point to Lyle’s guilt, but the more Joe digs into the case, the more he realizes he’s stepped into the middle of a deadly power play.

    Ronna says: "My favorite author does it again!!"
    "No Walt Longmire - But Still OK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was an enjoyable listen - and not bad. But I am such a huge Longmire fan I just kept finding myself a bit "bored" by Joe Pickett. Not his fault - or C. J . Box's.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The plot was well thought out and well executed - felt like the story line held together very well - made sense and seemed possible.


    Did David Chandler do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Yes - the changes in voice were close to perfect and made it easy to follow.


    Could you see Breaking Point being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I actually was thinking how good Timothy Oliphant would be in the Joe Pickett role - but he is already busy. Yes it would seem to be a good candidate for either TV or Movie...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stormy Weather

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (903)
    Performance
    (320)
    Story
    (328)

    Stormy Weather centers on the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The devastation of the storm has attracted crowds of voyeurs and impostors to Florida. Drawn by the chance to prey on Andrew's victims, misfits like the murderous ex-con Snapper and the dangerously seductive Edie find easy targets for their insurance scams. They're not prepared, though, when they meet their opposition, led by a hoary ex-governor who smokes toads.

    Both hilariously funny and deadly accurate, Carl Hiaasen's novel will take you into a Florida that is far from the frilly palms and pink flamingos of its post cards.

    Edmund says: "You love it or hate it...."
    "Vintage Hiassen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Stormy Weather rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would put Stormy Weather - and probably pretty much anything by Hiaassen in the top 1/3 of Audiobooks - the plots and quirky characters just seem to work in this format.


    What other book might you compare Stormy Weather to and why?

    Any of the other Hiassen Florida focused books - including Strip Tease and Double Whammy when we were first introduced to Skink


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The boat "rescue" of the kidnapped hubby...


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

    Stay Home!


    Any additional comments?

    As someone who now [again?] lives in Florida - third time is I hope the charm - the culture - or is it sub-culture that Hiaasen knows so well and describes with a sense of humor and astonishment is very real - and part of what makes Florida an odd - but romantic place to live.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lance: The PROJECT Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Alex Lukeman
    • Narrated By Jack de Golia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (6)

    In the frozen wastes of Antarctica the Lance, an ancient weapon of unthinkable power - once lost and legendary - has been recovered. In the terrorized streets of Jerusalem, devastation is unleashed upon the eve of international peace. In the halls of power of Washington, D.C. a desperate plot set in motion during the final days of World War II has begun to unfold. Now Nick Carter and his team of deep black operatives from the PROJECT must race against time to stop events that will lead to the next World War.

    Bruce says: "First book I wish I could return."
    "First book I wish I could return."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better story
    A better narration
    Something plausible in the plot


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alex Lukeman again?

    NOPE


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Really should not try and do German accents - comes off as cheesy


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Can't think of any


    Any additional comments?

    I am a pretty easy hook for the Tom Clancy - Greg Isles - Brad Thor kind of book.
    Alex Lukeman really has a long way to go to get in that league - doubt he can ever do it.

    The Clancy corp books at least hang together - this is silly...

    1. The Director of the Project is a woman - who we know nothing about - who seems way out of her league - is she an equal opportunity hire - what did she do to earn her job?

    2. Early in the book the same Director loses her NSA clearance - BUT SHE HAS A DIRECT LINE TO POTUS - maybe she should pick up the phone and call him and get it reinstated.

    3. We are expected to believe our hero can step right in to join POTUS's security team - REALLY?

    4. We are expected to believe that two bombs that are small enough to fit in books can wipe out a mall and a city block worth of real estate. Find that very hard to believe. A gym bag maybe - a back pack - but less than a pound of something?

    5. And then we are expected to believe a bomb can be planted below the site of POTUS's speech - I kinda think that we would have had that area gone over with a fine tooth comb by a security team in the real world.

    6. Finally - the whole dream - sight thing is silly...

    Just wish I could have the 3 hours back - thank goodness I can crank up the speed on my iPhone to 2.5...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13258)
    Performance
    (5590)
    Story
    (5634)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    CynNC says: "Captivating"
    "A pleasant surprise!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Pillars of the Earth again? Why?

    Oh yes - it was a great experience - but it is so rich in detail I feel like it will be a must to revisit in a few months


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well I have three. Philip is a great character and is the thread that holds things together - involved in most of the major events and a solid man of faith and principles. Tom the Builder is the tragic hero - gets things done and makes things happen - comes as a bit of a surprise when he meets an early end. Ellen is the heart of the story - she is someone I came to worry about and care about.


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

    I love audiobooks - and even the bad ones are great IMHO. But this is a very long story and I found myself so totally immersed in the story that I stayed up later than I planned just to get to the end of a scene or story - and turned it back on in the morning over coffee to make sure I did not miss something - I never do this. Mr. Lee is one of the best - will keep my eye out for more of his work


    Who was the most memorable character of The Pillars of the Earth and why?

    William is an awesome villain - I don't think you can have a story like this without someone to root against - and look forward to them coming to justice. He is evil - but still very believable - something that is not always easy to pull of.


    Any additional comments?

    I found myself doing a lot of Googling - learned more about this time in English history - Knightsbridge is not real - but much of the framework of the tale is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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