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Kevin

Santa Susana, CA, United States | Member Since 2005

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 322 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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5

  • Roots: The Saga of an American Family

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alex Haley
    • Narrated By Avery Brooks
    Overall
    (1958)
    Performance
    (1084)
    Story
    (1099)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: A masterpiece like none other, Brooks’ powerful performance of Haley’s words has been known to leave listeners in tears. It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

    Kevin says: "Powerful"
    "Powerful"
    Overall

    Alex Haley's masterpiece comes to life on audio with this narration by the very talented Avery Brooks. Roots is a must read/listen to everyone in my opinion and I gained a new found perspective of African-American culture after revisiting Roots. Emotionally taken over at times, I listened with tears in my eyes.

    Of the well over a hundred audio books I've listened to, Avery Brooks is hands down the best narrator I've ever heard. His cadence, accents, and personalities given to the characters is just outstanding.



    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • The Closers: Harry Bosch Series, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2283)
    Performance
    (815)
    Story
    (827)

    In Los Angeles in 1988, a 16-year-old girl disappeared from her home and was later found dead of a gunshot wound to the chest. The death appeared at first to be a suicide, but some of the evidence contradicted that scenario, and detectives came to believe this was in fact a murder. Despite a by-the-book investigation, no one was ever charged.

    Wheelman says: "Thoroughly enjoyable....."
    "Hey, It's Connelly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like all of Connelly's work, it's about the ride and not the destination. You should know the latter if you've read (listened) to him before. Still, pretty good writing, good narration, and being an LA boy, fun references. Good beach or vacation book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    Overall
    (655)
    Performance
    (581)
    Story
    (581)

    Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the "muckraking" press, Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and corrupting money brokers. Roosevelt led a revolution that he bequeathed to Taft only to see it compromised as Taft surrendered to money men and big business. The rupture led Roosevelt to run against Taft for president, an ultimately futile race that gave power away to the Democrats.

    Cynthia says: "Makes You Forget You Live in the 21st Century Good"
    "A Bit Too Much of a Love Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lot's of flowery exchanges, with too much focus on interpersonal relationships. Some of this would have been OK but the book seemed to drag on at times and at times felt like I was listening to the same passage over again. By reducing this component and adding a bit more about the issues of the day and the challenges they presented the book would improve IMO.

    Edward Herman is a good narrator generally, but in this case was the wrong choice IMO.
    His cadence and tone exacerbated the problem of the excessive gushing letters and memoirs.

    This took longer to get through than most, for me, and I never really looked forward to the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17239)
    Performance
    (15312)
    Story
    (15265)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Too Long and a Bit Over-rated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Started strong but the middle of the book got drug down in a love story with fairly sappy dialog. About a fourth of this book could have been tossed and the result would have been a story with far more pace and tension. None of this is particularly unusual for King as he has often been accused of being paid by the word.

    I found the end to be somewhat clunky as well. The "geologic" issues didn't make any sense and, frankly, was little insulting to the listener/reader after this tome.

    The reviews here on Audible for 11-22-63 I find to be somewhat over-rated. It's just OK IMO. I've been through most of King's works and am a fan of his best stuff but he has certainly had his clunkers. This work is dangerously close to being in that latter category.

    Lastly, Craig Wasson's narration is just excellent and I believe is largely responsible for this audio book being as well received as it is.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Informant: A Butcher's Boy Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (599)
    Performance
    (454)
    Story
    (446)

    Married and living in England under the name Michael Schaeffer, the assassin known as the Butcher's Boy is the target of a Mafia hit team sent to exact revenge for his deadly campaign against the Balacontano family years earlier. Schaeffer kills all three attackers, but he knows more will come and needs to find whoever sent them to end it once and for all.

    Darwyn says: "sucker for anything that's the butcher's boy"
    "Fun ride"
    Overall

    Quite entertaining with good narration. Fast paced and to-the-point. I gave it 4 stars because, frankly, this isn't literature. The writing played fairly fast and loose with the logistics of his endeavors, but still enough was there for me to think "ah hah" or "oh, yeah". Good character development which makes this story very engaging.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dance for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (77)
    Story
    (76)

    When eight-year-old Timothy Decker finds his parents brutally murdered, it's clear the Deckers weren't the intended victims: Timothy's own room---ransacked, all traces of his existence expertly obliterated---is the shocking evidence. Timothy's nanny, Mona, is certain about only one thing. Timmy needs to disappear, fast. Only Jane Whitefield, a Native American "guide" who specializes in making victims vanish, can lead him to safety.

    Cecil says: "*****5 Stars for Thomas Perry"
    "Overated"
    Overall

    I read (listened to) the Butcher's Boy and the Informant before this one and find the ratings for Dance for the Dead too high. The narration is a let down. I have observed, for my own taste, that men can do women's voices pretty well but women fail when portraying men... generally. Beyond this observation, the narrator also sounded like she was reading rather than acting the parts, at times.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10752)
    Performance
    (7655)
    Story
    (7659)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "Overrated"
    Overall

    The writing and narration are quite flippant in style. Considering the subject matters, death, demons, child abuse, drug distribution and addiction, and especially the protagonist's own pending demise, it becomes irritating.

    As with (seemingly) all stories with magic and witchcraft and supernatural powers, there are lot's of inconsistencies. Once these are noticed it's too much of an offense to overcome, for me, and I often think the author uses "magic" as a cheap trick similar to the literary dream sequence.

    Fantasy, the occult, and the supernatural are big right now. I guess I'm not that trendy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2498)
    Performance
    (1234)
    Story
    (1238)

    Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

    Tina says: "Another wonderful Bryson"
    "In a Different League"
    Overall

    This is not in the same league as "A Short History of Nearly Everything". Though Bryson uses objects in different rooms of his "rectory" as jumping off points, he quickly and consistently starts his verbal meanderings and the listener is left wondering "what was the topic again"?

    A lot about England's Victorian gilded age and English class, or lack thereof, and their class system. Overall the book doesn't seem very focused and we really don't learn much about the objects that populate our homes and their back story.

    Still, pretty good because, hey, it's Bryson. Moderately recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2201)
    Performance
    (841)
    Story
    (835)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "Tight"
    Overall

    I enjoyed this well paced "page turner". It wasn't so black and white regarding who the characters were and what motivates them, which I appreciated. The narrator, Robertson Dean, was ideal.
    I'll be listening/reading to more by Alex Berenson.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18219)
    Performance
    (8111)
    Story
    (8139)

    Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered.

    David says: "irritatingly engrossing"
    "Repetitive and Rife with Useless info"
    Overall

    Read this on your iMac with 24" glossy display, 250gb Hardrive, 4gb of RAM, with a Super Mouse and 4 USB2 ports.

    Lot's of superfluous descriptions like this in the book, with an emphasis on computer hardware that lends NOTHING to the story. At times the repetition of, and actual wording, describing the morose and distant main character were so redundant that I actually thought the downloaded recording was faulty. This happened three or four times when I thought I was hearing a passage I'd already listened to only to wait it out to find new dialog letting me know the recording was OK.
    Some of the sexual explicitness was the very definition of gratuitous. This author likes very much to write about sex and sexually charged language. I'm not a prude mind you, it just doesn't advance the story and is boring.
    Where was the editor?!

    At times it is quite good, but the writer's lack of discipline ultimately let's the book down. I give it a luke warm 3 stars.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles on Molokai

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By John Tayman
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    In 1866, 12 men and women and one small child were forced aboard a leaky schooner and cast away to a natural prison on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Two weeks later, a dozen others were exiled, and then 40 more, and then 100 more. Tracked by bounty hunters and torn screaming from their families, the luckless were loaded into shipboard cattle stalls and abandoned in a lawless place where brutality held sway. Many did not have leprosy, and most of those who did were not contagious.

    Christine says: "Interesting"
    "Just OK"
    Overall

    An interesting story that needed better writing and narration. The scenes and characters seem, at times, disjointed. Though the author tried, I didn't get a strong sense of being in Hawaii through his writing. The narrator was one dimensional, though competent.
    It also needed to be a bit more concise and seemed about two hours too long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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