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IVAL

FREEHOLD, NJ, United States | Member Since 2011

36
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 21 ratings
  • 378 titles in library
  • 32 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
1

  • When the Sacred Ginmill Closes: A Matt Scudder Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Lawrence Block
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    When ex-cop Matt Scudder thought back on the summer of '75, two faces emerged from behind the smoky haze of a half dozen boozy saloons that made up his beat - Skip Devoe and Tommy Tillary - two bar flies he wouldn't have given a second thought to in the bright light of day. Yet they and their troubles were the reason that moved him a little farther out of the bleary-eyed mess that had become his life.

    mindusq says: "Great narration, great prose"
    "Great!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Elegant writing. Masterful narration. The mood remains even after the book is over. And best of all, there are 17 more of them in my future!!

    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
    (760)
    Performance
    (686)
    Story
    (687)

    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!"
    "Best book for a long while!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have no idea why I picked this book. Not in my usual profile of whodunnits and police procedurals. But so glad I did!! A delight from start to finish - witty, well-written, fascinating in its engineering details (and i am no engineer), interesting in its travel information, delightful in its cast of characters, and soul-satisfying in its conclusion. I can think of half a dozen people I'd like to give it too! If you ever navigate a boat or airplane, or ever build a model, this book will delight you!! And also if you DON'T navigate anything..... Just a terrific listen. Narrator excellent and 'in the spirit' of the humor of the book!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jennifer Egan
    • Narrated By Madeleine Lambert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    In Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan's highly acclaimed first novel, set in 1978, the political drama and familial tensions of the 1960s form a backdrop for the world of Phoebe O'Connor, age eighteen. Phoebe is obsessed with the memory and death of her sister Faith, a beautiful idealistic hippie who died in Italy in 1970. In order to find out the truth about Faith's life and death, Phoebe retraces her steps from San Francisco across Europe, a quest which yields both complex and disturbing revelations about family, love, and Faith's lost generation.

    IVAL says: "Too bad zero was not a choice..."
    "Too bad zero was not a choice..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened, or rather started to listen to this right after Nevil Shute's Trustee from the Toolroom. What a letdown. Eliptical gushing prose, frequent hyperbole concerning floating or despair, endless whining about real or imaginary childhood injustices, just hours of glop and never got better. i quit as our heroine had just figured out she had been lured, penniless and alone, into a heroin den. If you are a chickflick person you might like it. Even the mostly-half-in-tears narrator seemed bored with it. Buy Trustee from the Toolroom instead - you'll love it!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Herzog

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Saul Bellow
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (91)

    Winner of the National Book Award when it was first published in 1964, Herzog traces five days in the life of a failed academic whose wife has recently left him for his best friend. Through the device of letter writing, Herzog movingly portrays both the internal life of its eponymous hero and the complexity of modern consciousness.

    Chris Reich says: "Grows Within You"
    "Jewish angst at its finest!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Poor Herzog! Brilliant, obsessed, twice divorced, broke, bruised by everything from real estate to child custody. How could I like him so much and hope for a happy ending to a book so full of the complexity of life? But I did. Perhaps it was the overwhelming passion he feels toward everything, both good and bad, past and present, that kept me with Moses Herzog throughout the book. Very little overwhelming passion exists in the world....
    Malcolm hillgartner's narration catches the manic intensity of Herzog's rants (sections a visual reader might choose to skip) without being annoying. The narration also amplified the touching aspects of the story and its protagonist.
    I feel I have explored the personality of Herzog more deeply than I have most actual people I know. And this exploration has shown me much to like, admire and sympathize with. An intense book that I am glad I read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Foreigner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Francie Lin
    • Narrated By James Chen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Emerson Chang is a mild mannered bachelor on the cusp of 40, a financial analyst in a neatly pressed suit, a child of Taiwanese immigrants who doesn't speak a word of Chinese, and, well, a virgin. His only real family is his mother, whose subtle manipulations have kept him close, all in the name of preserving an obscure idea of family and culture. But when his mother suddenly dies, Emerson sets out for Taipei to scatter her ashes, and to convey a surprising inheritance to his younger brother, Little P.

    Diana Haynes says: "I Beg to Differ"
    "What an odd book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I generally dislike books in which the protagonists get deeper and deeper into trouble. In The Foreigner, Emerson, a Chinese American, goes to find his brother after the mother has died. He finds a disquieting world of Asian corruption and dangerous family ties. Horrible plot - right? Well along the way we see into the repressed, tenacious, ultimately even noble soul of this odd main character, and find something there to like. I enjoyed this book and am still thinking about it quite a while after finishing it.
    James Chen's Asian accent narration and ability to convey the innocence and earnestness of Emerson as he navigates the snake pit of relatives and the flower garden of interested potential girlfriends is just wonderful!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Forgery of Venus

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Michael Gruber
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    Chaz Wilmot makes his living cranking out old-master parodies for ads and magazine covers. When he's offered a job restoring a Venetian palace fresco, he is at first, skeptical - he immediately sees it is more a forgery than a restoration. But he is soon seduced by the challenge and throws himself into the work, doing the job brilliantly.

    Susan says: "art sci fi psychological thriller"
    "More fun with Gruber"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After loving "the Book of Air and Shaddows" I rushed to order "The Forgery of Venus" and boy am I glad I did!! The story is a delightful roller coaster of twists and turns with an engaging protagonist (or possible two - does he have a 17th century doppleganger?) and an encyclopedic view of the Great Masters of painting, especially Velasquez. Add halucenogenic drugs, a few ex-wives, a (possibly) evil mastermind, and a lot of fascinating detail abour food, wine, and art forgery, and there you go!! What a ride!!

    I liked this narrator a lot. Better than the much more obtrusive voice of the narrator of "Air and Shaddows". He had the job of voicing two people speaking, and he did it clearly but without resorting to accents, manerisms or other bothersome tricks. In voicing the main character, Chaz Wilmet, he was just excellent, with the undertones of frustration, agitation, craziness and philospphical acceptance all perfectly appropriate but so understated i felt like it was my own voice comprehending the words in my head.

    Hey Audiblre - Why are two of this author's books available only in abridgement????????????

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Michael Gruber
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (82)

    Jake Mishkin's seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer (or killers) unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for 400 years.

    Nicholas Winn says: "Not your average story."
    "And smoke and mirrors......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Book of Air and Shadows the most enjoyable?

    This author was new to me. I bought the book based on its summary in Audible. Lost Shakespeare manuscript, mystery to unravel, etc. the sort of thing I like. What fun it turned out to be! We get to follow from several characters' perspectives the tracking down of this, possibly fraudulent, enigma. We even get an intriguing fragment of real (also possibly) 17th century letters concerning the S- man himself. Worth millions. Possibly... While all the while exploring the psyches and libidos of all involved. Add Russian gangsters and a convict priest -- what's not to like?


    Did Stephen Hoye do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    The reader was not new to me, however, Stephen Hoy had narrated Hiassen's book Star Island, which I hated. One of that book's least appealing characters is the irritating, grasping mother, read with an even more irritating parody of a Brooklyn Jewish accent. There was a mother in Air and Shaddows also, but she was Italian, and a highly literate librarian as well. But I guess mr. Hoy has only one mother voice. Despite this, and his kind of insinuating style of delivery in general, his narration did begin to grow on me.


    Any additional comments?

    Throughout the book the reader is led down the garden path, along with the gullible characters. But we are too smart for him, right?? All of which makes the ending of the book all the more delightful! This book does not appear to be one of a series, (my preference) although the main protagonist is an intellectual properties lawyer, who could potentially ferret out more literary secrets. But I have not seen the last of Michael Gruber.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dogs of Riga: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (268)

    On the Swedish coastline, the bodies of two victims of grisly torture and cold execution are discovered in a life raft. With no witnesses, no motives, and no crime scene, Detective Kurt Wallander is frustrated and uncertain that he has the ability to solve the case. After the victims are traced to Latvia, Major Liepa of the Riga police takes over the investigation. Thinking his work is done, Wallander slips back into his routine - until he is suddenly called to Riga and plunged into an alien world.

    Stevon says: "My first Mankell book"
    "Creeped out in Latvia"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Dogs of Riga the most enjoyable?

    As a dedicated Kurt Walllender fan, I felt I knew what to expect in this book, just another in the excellent series. Wallender introspective, police procedure grindingly glacially, Sweden bleak and foggy. I was not expecting Latvia. Wallender is out of his never-very- comfortable comfort zone and spends much of the story in horror at getting himself embroiled in an illicit trip behind the iron curtain. Unlike some of the other, more procedural books, in this one he finds a depth of his own bravery and capacity for heroism that astounds him, and us.By the way, the trip to Latvia is off!! At least the treacherous cold war era Latvia Wallender navigates in The Dogs of Riga!!


    What other book might you compare The Dogs of Riga to and why?

    Any book in this series is an excellent listen. Narrator Dick Hill adds a dimension to the character of the Swedes who people the books without endless annoying overacting and bogus accents. His reading of Wallender captures the world weariness and indecision of this very human character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Believing the Lie: An Inspector Lynley Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (448)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (348)

    Inspector Thomas Lynley is mystified when he's sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell at the request of the man's uncle, the wealthy and influential Bernard Fairclough. The death has been ruled an accidental drowning, and nothing on the surface indicates otherwise. But when Lynley enlists the help of his friends Simon and Deborah St. James, the trio's digging soon reveals that the Fairclough clan is awash in secrets, lies, and motives.

    Joanne says: "Not Elizabeth George's best..."
    "The saga continues"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you’ve listened to books by Elizabeth George before, how does this one compare?

    This book continues the lives of George's enjoyable characters of the London CID. As in the other books, Barbara Havers steals the show. In this long and complex tale, themes of sexual confusion and infertility are everywhere. It' s a page turner for your ears!


    What three words best describe Davina Porter’s voice?

    The narration is excellent, with the flexible voice of Davinia Porter taking all the diverse parts with authority.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Believing the Lie?

    It's long, and soap opera-y, but enjoyable. Cut it?? Never!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Leopard: A Harry Hole Novel, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1153)
    Performance
    (958)
    Story
    (952)

    Two young women are found murdered in Oslo, both drowned in their own blood. Media coverage quickly reaches fever pitch: Could this be the work of a serial killer? The crime scenes offer no coherent clues, the police investigation is stalled, and the one man who might be able to help doesn't want to be found. Traumatized by his last case, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong's opium dens. Yet when he is compelled, at last, to return to Norway - his father is dying - Harry's buried instincts begin to take over. Then a female MP is discovered brutally murdered.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Simply Fantastic! A great buy!"
    "Warning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you ever listen to anything by Jo Nesbo again?

    The book begins with such gratuitous violence and upsetting torture I did not get any further. A shame this is needed to sell what otherwise might have been a good read. I wouldnot listen to anything written by this author again.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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