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Mark

MTF

Waltham, MA, United States | Member Since 2010

204
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 118 reviews
  • 144 ratings
  • 311 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
37

  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9465)
    Performance
    (8527)
    Story
    (8535)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Entertaining but not as good as Time to Kill"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This legal mystery is a sequel to Grisham's best novel, A Time to Kill. It takes place three years after, when Jake is sent a handwritten will from a man who just killed himself. This is a rather long novel (much longer than Time to Kill) about the contesting of a will. That does not sound too enticing. It really isn't. This book is similar in so many ways to A Time to Kill, except a lot less happens, and there is a lot less excitement. That said, a great reader and revisiting characters that I loved made this fun enough to earn a solid 3 stars from me. There were parts that drew me in, but not consistently. An out-of-the-blue resolution at the end (which I was waiting for most of the novel) was not satisfying. I also had to suspend belief when at the start of the book, I learned that Jake is still a struggling lawyer after his amazing victory in the previous book. That Grisham made this as fun as it was with such a thin plot line is impressive in a way. The great reader is the best thing about this audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cop Town

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Karin Slaughter
    • Narrated By Kathleen Early
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (573)
    Performance
    (477)
    Story
    (488)

    Atlanta, 1974: It's Kate Murphy's first day on the job, and the Atlanta Police Department is seething after the murder of an officer. Before the day has barely begun, she already suspects she's not cut out to be a cop. Her male uniform is too big, she can't handle a gun, and she's rapidly learning that the APD is hardly a place that welcomes women. Worse still, in the ensuing manhunt she'll be partnered with Maggie Lawson, a cop with her own ax to grind.

    Ronna says: "Women cops in bigoted 1974 Georgia"
    "slightly juvenile but still engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This police story features two women trying to make it as police officers in Atlanta in the 1970's. A big part of this was about their hurdles in that all-male world of police. I was okay with that, but virtually every male officer we meet is a chauvinistic lout. I could buy that (even as a guy). The women were too naive with a total lack of confidence. Even that I bought, but those women were stupid too often, with me the reader frustrated with their obtuseness. Of course they grow on the job over a very short period of time. It was very predictable. The characters lacked depth and nuance. It is also a book that will appeal more to women, I think. As a guy, I sometimes felt like I was eavesdropping where I was not supposed to be. With all those criticisms, I still gave this three stars because it was a fun engaging cop story where I was rooting for the good guys to beat the bad guys. The writing is good for this genre, and the action sequences are pretty gripping, even if I know where things are going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3314)
    Performance
    (3076)
    Story
    (3079)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Jacqueline says: "Finish to Start Excellent is Novel This"
    "Too familiar territory"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book because I have enjoyed many Stephen King novels, and this story seemed similar. The first 15 minutes were great, and then I quickly grew bored. What makes many Stephen King books so good is the way the reader cares about everyday people before the creepiness and supernatural kick in. Thirty years ago, I may have liked this, but I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had read this before, and I quit halfway through the first part. The novel was too long for me to wait and hope it picked up. Maybe it did, but I didn't care to wait.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Brewster

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Slouka
    • Narrated By Brian Troxell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    When Jon and Ray form a tight friendship, they find in each other everything they lack at home, but it’s not until Ray falls in love with beautiful, headstrong Karen Dorsey that the three friends begin to dream of breaking away from Brewster for good. Freedom, however, has its price. As forces beyond their control begin to bear down on them, Jon sets off on the race of his life - a race to redeem his past and save them all.

    Mark says: "OK 60's coming-of-age story"
    "OK 60's coming-of-age story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel had the feel of a true life gritty memoir. It's about trying to fit in during tough high school years. It focuses on three misfit friends and a girlfriend of one. The protagonist deals with the guilt of surviving the death of a brother. Running track is his outlet. The time and place rang true, and as a guy who grew up in the same era, I can say that the author had the language of the times right. There is not too much of a plot line (making it more artsy...), with some themes running through it. You will probably guess the main theme early one, but I won't be a spoiler. The story never engaged me as a whole, yet I enjoyed many parts, and stayed to the end of this short novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1479)
    Performance
    (1337)
    Story
    (1322)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "Bryson's best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read or listened to many Bill Bryson books, and One Summer is definitely my favorite. It grabbed my interest at the start, and never let go. There were just so many fascinating things that happened in America in 1927. Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, prohibition and gangsters, anarchists, etc.. This book goes deeply enough into the key characters to satisfy, but also has so many fascinating stories. I sometimes look at life today and think with nostalgia about what life must have been like in those simple olden days. Reading this, you see America in 1927 for the good and the bad, and I realize life today is not so bad. If social history has any interest to you, you should try this book. The author narrated it, and it took me a while to get used to his voice. I wish he had left that job to a professional. Still, I loved the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Hanging Judge

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Michael Ponsor
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a nurse at a neighborhood clinic, the police arrest a black drug dealer. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so that he can pursue the death penalty.

    Mark says: "A fresh, engaging courtroom drama"
    "A fresh, engaging courtroom drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In some ways, this was a standard courtroom crime novel. A murder occurs, and we think that the suspect (a former drug dealer who seems to have turned his life around with a degree, a wife, and a child) is innocent, but you never know. I used to love that genre, but too often find myself bored with something I feel I have read too many times. This novel intrigued me because it was written by a judge, with a judge as the protagonist. The novel did not disappoint me. It had a rookie author freshness to it that I enjoyed, and I liked the judge perspective on a capital case. The main characters were believable and the plot moved at a good pace. Only a couple things held this back from being a 5 star book. Some of the secondary characters move in and out of the novel too quickly, and I would forget who they were. The author wanted to share true facts in the local history of capital punishment, but some went on too long. That said, I think that most fans of courtroom fiction will enjoy this. The narrator was especially excellent, differentiating voices so well. One warning - it is clear early on that the author is anti-capital punishment. Most of the reviewers who panned this book were clearly bugged by this, so if that is your political belief, be forewarned.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (11985)
    Performance
    (10381)
    Story
    (10358)

    Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    Jeanne says: "Interesting man"
    "A great biography!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This biography of Steve Jobs does a great job at capturing the man and the Apple technology he played a big part with. I avoided this book for a long time, thinking that there was no way his story could keep my interest for more than 25 hours. I almost opted for the abridged version, but finally went for the unabridged (if it dragged, I planned to return it and get the abridged). This full book captured my interest from beginning to end. It is well researched and incredibly well written. I credit Jobs for letting the author write whatever he liked. Jobs knew that he was not beloved by all, and wanted an accurate portrayal of his life. This bio captures him in all his brilliance, warts and all. I enjoyed the personal story of this charismatic and irritating man, and I loved reading about the development of so much technology that I know so well. From the Mac computers to the iPods and iPhones, and even the Apple stores with their genius bar, the story of each is fascinating. Even the business end was interesting in this story of a great entrepreneur. I enjoyed this as much as any biography I have listened to. It was also cool that I listened to this on my iPod while using my iPhone for a GPS for a good part of this book. Meanwhile, iTunes organizes my audiobook collection. All thanks to Steve Jobs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12129)
    Performance
    (11017)
    Story
    (11043)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "felt a bit juvenile to me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This mystery of a weird rooming house with strange happenings looked like it might be fun at first with a bit of mystery and quirky characters, but those characters never got interesting after the intro, and the plot was very slow moving. I think had I been a 14 year old boy, I might have liked this. The dialog was snappy. After listening to more than half, I found myself thinking more about what I'd listen to next, so I stopped and got a new book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Thirteen Reasons Why

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jay Asher
    • Narrated By Debra Wiseman, Joel Johnstone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (771)
    Performance
    (581)
    Story
    (595)

    Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice explains that there are 13 reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

    FanB14 says: "Good Book for Parents & Teens to Share"
    "teen suicide romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is really a one gimmick YA novel. I am a teacher and one of my students said it was her favorite book ever, so I gave it a shot. The gimmick is that a high school girl had committed suicide and left a series of tapes meant to be listened to by the people who caused (in some way) her to take her own life. The novel switches between the girl's tapes and a boy who is listening to them. The boy is not one who treated her poorly, but rather her "almost love." I just never got past the gimmick, and it just sounded to me like someone trying to write a heart-wrenching YA novel. I think a lot of kids, especially girls who like sad romances, will like this. It does touch upon the important issue of teen suicide. As an adult, I was not drawn in, and stopped about an hour from the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Still Missing

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Chevy Stevens
    • Narrated By Angela Dawe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1543)
    Performance
    (900)
    Story
    (907)

    On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old Realtor, had three goals: sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

    Richard Delman says: "A singular voice; a horrendous story."
    "engaging mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This mystery-thriller is told as a first person narrative by a woman who was abducted. Each chapter is a one-sided session with a psychiatrist, where Annie, the abductee, does all the talking. The start was compelling, and reminded me of Room (but the start of Room was better). When the story shifted more to the aftermath of Annie's return, the novel reminded me of Prince of Tides, with lots of background on Annie's dysfunctional family (but Prince of Tides was better, with more interesting secondary characters). Unlike Room, which faded in the second half, Still Missing gets better as it shifts to a who-dunnit and post-trauma story. This is not a great novel, but it did manage to keep my interest throughout. A good reader made it easy to listen to, even the parts that were "hard to listen to." Annie calls her abductor "The Freak," and describes many rape scenes in numbing detail, so you should be aware of what you are in for before starting. The protagonist's humanity and strength made it easier to listen to those tough parts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Plus One: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Bower, Ben Elliot, Nicola Stanton, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1062)
    Performance
    (959)
    Story
    (968)

    Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math-whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can't afford to pay for. That's Jess' life in a nutshell - until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess' knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages...maybe ever.

    Kathy says: "Sometimes I need a book that is just fun to read."
    "a fun, feel-good novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a math guy, I was drawn to the novel because it was about a genius girl being taken to a math competition in Scotland. The first two hours did not grab my interest and I was almost ready to stop listening, but then the road trip began, and I was quickly hooked. I really enjoyed the rest of the novel. It's really about a single mother and her two quirky kids trying to scrape by in life. Those characters were great, and the road trip with a virtual stranger was funny and heart-warming, and the rest of the book was great, too. The author found the right balance between interesting and believable (like Anne Tyler usually does), with an energy and sense of humor that made this book a lot of fun.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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