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Mark

MTF

Waltham, MA, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
132
REVIEWS
106
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
35
HELPFUL VOTES
159

  • The Great Santini

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (242)

    Step into the powerhouse life of Bull Meecham. He's all Marine -- fighter pilot, king of the clouds, and absolute ruler of his family. Lillian is his wife -- beautiful, southern-bred, with a core of velvet steel. Without her cool head, her kids would be in real trouble. Ben is the oldest, a born athlete whose best never satisfies the big man. Ben's got to stand up, even fight back, against a father who doesn't give in -- not to his men, not to his wife, and certainly not to his son.

    cort says: "an excellent book"
    "One of the all time great coming of age stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book many years ago, and loved it. I enjoyed it just as much when I recently listened to the audio-book. The year is 1962, and Col. Bull Meacham is once again moving his family to a new town. He is a flyer in the Marines, and a bigger-than-life character who rules his family like a drill sergeant. The story focuses on Bull's 18 year-old son, Ben, a basketball star and a sensitive boy torn in a love-hate relationship with his father. Racial tensions mark this powerful book filled with humor and heartbreak. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. While the movie is very good, this book is even better. The narrator does a solid job. This family of six comes alive on the pages of this novel. Listen to it or read it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1012)
    Performance
    (902)
    Story
    (903)

    Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life exists beyond the airport.

    Melinda says: "Absolutely Stellar!"
    "a great novel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved The Dog Stars. It felt like a fresh take on a post apocalyptic world (a flu variation wiped out most of humanity). This first person narrative focused more on the narrator's state of mind, past and present. This story transplanted me to his world. While there are scenes of action and violence, they are few and far between, with the horror of the world being more psychological. It's a tale of Hig, his beloved dog, his airplane, and his brilliant and angry survivalist partner Bangley. I was fascinated with the relationship between Hig and Bangley. While there were some times when the narration was a little over-the-top wistful, I still loved this book. It has stayed with me in a way that few books do. This lends itself especially well to the audio format. This had a bit of the feel of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, with The Dog Stars being more engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Accounting

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (173)

    Jon Willing was just a teenager when he and his buddies Augie and Ben stole a fortune in drug money. Brazen with youth and stoned out of their gourds, they thought they had the perfect plan for getting away with it. They were wrong. Twenty-five years later, Jon’s marriage is in ruins, his kids are virtual strangers, and the recession has decimated his finances. When he finds Augie murdered in Vegas, Jon knows his past has risen from the grave to grab him by the throat. Now Jon Willing faces a choice: run to a paradise of wine and women and endless sunshine or confront the demons from his past and fight for what’s left of his imperfect suburban life.

    Charles Atkinson says: "A Great Suspense With Great Depth of Character"
    "I couldn't put this down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel grabbed me from the start. I found myself really caring about the protagonist, who narrated the story. He's a middle-aged guy who made a mistake as a teen which continues to haunt him and his family. I was engaged with his present and past life, and was surprised with how much I loved this story. It was heading towards a 5 star review for me, but the exciting, action-packed climax did disappoint me, feeling like something I have read in so many thrillers. The mystery and characters drew me in, but the end just went for the action. Still, I strongly recommend this 4.5 star novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brothers: On His Brothers and Brothers in History

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By George Howe Colt
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    George Howe Colt believes that he would be an entirely different man had he not grown up in a family of four brothers. In Brothers, he movingly recounts the adoration, envy, rivalry, affection, anger, and compassion in their shifting relationships from childhood through middle age. In alternate chapters, Colt moves from a quest to understand how his own brothers shaped his life to an examination of the complex relationships between iconic brothers in history.

    Mark says: "Memoir combined with history"
    "Memoir combined with history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    George Colt mixes the story of his life as one of four brothers (coming of age in the 60's and 70's) along with famous and infamous brothers throughout history. The author's own life story is fascinating, and was my favorite part of this book (it was about a third of the book). This would have been a 5 star pure memoir. Stories of different brothers in history are woven throughout the book - some being major chapters and others being shorter references. These include The Booth brothers, the Thoreaus, the Marx Brothers, and the Kelloggs Brothers. Some of the historical pieces are more interesting than others (the Kelloggs chapter was the most interesting). The way the author left and then returned to a set of brothers was a bit disconcerting. I am close in age to the author, and I enjoyed listening to this book and thinking of my own brother and myself, as well as my own three sons. While this could have been better edited, with some slow parts here and there, I still liked much of it, and loved a lot too. It's a book that stays with me more than other books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Reason to Live (Marty Singer Mystery #1)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Matthew Iden
    • Narrated By Lloyd Sherr
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (315)
    Story
    (312)

    In the late 90s, a bad cop killed a good woman and DC Homicide Detective Marty Singer got to watch as the murderer walked out of the courtroom a free man. Twelve years later, the victim's daughter comes to Marty begging for help: the killer is stalking her now. There's just one problem: Marty's retired...and he's retired because he's battling cancer.

    William says: "This book was a distraction"
    "predictable but enjoyable mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This very formulaic mystery is about a retired police detective fighting cancer and getting dragged back into a former case where the murderer seemed to walk free. The main character is likeable and believable, and the narrator is very easy to listen to. This novel was a pleasant, fun way to pass the time. There is mystery, action, and romance. This was good "escape fiction."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (603)
    Performance
    (562)
    Story
    (565)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Great writing, boring story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think that this story would be better to read, given the great writing Capote uses for his descriptions. It is harder to savor great writing on audio, I think. I never really cared about any characters, and quit halfway through. I understand that the author is a great writer, but that was not enough for me to keep my interest in this book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Blessings

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Anna Quindlen
    • Narrated By Joan Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (56)

    Anna Quindlen, best selling author of A Short Guide to a Happy Life, returns with this "immensely appealing" novel. The secrets of the past, how they affect the decisions and lives of people in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community - these are at the center of this story of love, redemption, and personal change.

    Marilyn M Felix says: "A book club favorite"
    "Very boring!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had read or listened to other books by Anna Quindlen and loved them (One True Thing and Black and Blue). This was just boring. Half the book is flashbacks, and I never cared much about characters from the past. Even the modern story, which had my interest for a while, lot its momentum. In this story, a young man finds a baby in a basket and wants to raise it on his own. He befriends his boss, a strict 80 year-old. None of these characters were realistic to me, and so my heart was not broken, as happened with so many readers and listeners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Officer and a Spy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert Harris
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (247)
    Story
    (244)

    Paris in 1895: Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of 20,000. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus' guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military.

    Ryan says: "Top Notch Historical Fiction"
    "History comes to life in this true life spy novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel tells the tale of Alfred Dreyfus, a Frenchman convicted of treason in the 1890's. It's a tale of politics, the French secret service, injustice, and whistle-blowing. It is a dramatic legal thriller at times. I did not know the history well enough, so I was riveted to this saga, not sure of the outcome. The second half was great! The first half was so slow, I was tempted to stop listening and get my credit back. The story is told through the eyes of Georges Picquart, the a high level French spy in the army. Much of the first half was too much about Picquart's life, and only when it swung back to the Dreyfus tale did it get really good. I am glad that I stayed with this because the second half of the novel is very good, great at times. It is also a story that has stayed with me since I finished a day ago. This was a little bit of work for me to stay with, but the payoff was very big. The parallels to modern US politics (the rift between the parties) and whistle-blowing were uncanny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nine Inches: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Tom Perrotta
    • Narrated By William Dufris, Andi Arndt, Tom Perrotta, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (15)

    Tom Perrotta’s first book, Bad Haircut, consisted of linked stories featuring a shared protagonist. Now, nineteen years later, he has written and compiled his first true short story collection. This twelve story book features a group set in Perrotta’s trademark suburban setting, focusing on the fissures in families and unexpected connections among members of typical American communities, including “Senior Season” and "Nine Inches".

    Mark says: "great short stories capture modern day life"
    "great short stories capture modern day life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    These short stories try to capture modern life for teens and adults. They succeed with both. Many of there are absolutely phenomenal. Many are very good. Some were good but forgettable. A short story has to draw in the reader very quickly. These did so. Believable characters combine with interesting situations. It's impossible to rate a short story collection, because all stories will never be great. That was the case here. But I rated this 5 stars because the very best stories were just so good, and I cannot remember reading or listening to a book of short stories that I enjoyed as much. I will definitely explore this author further!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fledgling: Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (135)

    Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town.Suddenly, though, Theo's life changes. Kamele leaves Jen Sar and moves herself and Theo back into faculty housing, which is not what Theo is used to.

    Sires says: "A Coming of Age Story in the Liaden Universe"
    "so boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm an adult who occasionally enjoys a good young adult novel. The futuristic school theme intrigued me, but I was totally bored from the start. I can see why this might appeal to a young teenage girl, but it did not work for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Gilbert King
    • Narrated By Peter Francis James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (140)

    Devil in the Grove is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Arguably the most important American lawyer of the 20th century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life. Despite death threats, the clan, and the urging of his associates, Marshall knew he had to defend "the Groveland Boys".

    Jean says: "the fight for civil rights"
    "Facscinating history; writing stretched out a bit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm very glad I listened to this book about racial injustice in Florida in the '50's. The book captured the racist time and place, but also captured the change that was starting to take place in America. It was good legal drama, riveting at times, and an engaging and painful human drama. Thurgood Marshall plays a big role as an NCAA lawyer defending black men of the rape of a white woman. My criticism is that for the first two-thirds of the book, background anecdotes took up more time than the narrative of the case. The strand of the story got lost among those side stories, including the people and the workings of the NCAA. Some background is interesting and important to the context of a story, but tighter editing could have made this a more engaging read and listen. The last third is excellent. As interesting as this is, an even better book is Simple Justice by Richard Kluger. That is about long legal journey leading to Brown v the Board of Education. That book was riveting from start to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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