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Mark

Father,Husband,Photographer,Book Fiend. 1st Audiobook was 1776 byDavid McCullough;listened while putting up Xmas lights in snowstorm-Hooked!

Bettendorf, IA, United States | Member Since 2011

42
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 340 ratings
  • 1244 titles in library
  • 88 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
6

  • The Shawshank Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (984)
    Performance
    (677)
    Story
    (679)

    Based on a a novella from Different Seasons, this unabridged tale focuses on a man convicted of murder, who finds himself in a prison ruled by a sadistic warden and secretly operated by a clever convict.

    Eric says: "This makes the movie better"
    "Seeing the Movie Didn't Ruin The Reading/Listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Shawshank Redemption the most enjoyable?

    The character development is always great with King, but this is such a concise, short story that precision is paramount to a great story. He hits the mark brilliantly, and it's a beautiful, rich story of the brotherhood of man, and the good and ill that individuals are capable of. Frank Muller was fantastic as always.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Elantris

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Jack Garrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5953)
    Performance
    (4272)
    Story
    (4322)

    Legendary science fiction author Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Sanderson a writer to watch, and Publishers Weekly says his debut is "outstanding." Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.

    Lore says: "What if your body could never heal?"
    "Cheese fest, a long waste of time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I allowed the cover & a few positive reviews to lure me into buying this book. I don't often write negative reviews but this is not a credit happily spent, for me anyway. Stilted language, very one dimensional characters, & names either too alien or ridiculous (Father Omine stands out) just made this feel like wasted time. I stuck it out. The story had just enough juice to make me think it might get better or have a decent payoff, but for me, it was a slog. And the narration was a bit to overdramatic, too. Any story that doesn't use contractions can get caught up in that overly soap operish feel if the narrator isn't careful and/or skilled...but mostly, it was just the writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Skull Throne

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Peter V. Brett
    • Narrated By Pete Bradbury
    Overall
    (487)
    Performance
    (433)
    Story
    (431)

    The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty. Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all. But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse.

    Megan says: "Hm"
    "Excel continuation of series & fantastic narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Peter V Brett continues to hold my attention with a truly great story - and piss me off with a cliffhanger- one thing I hate is being left with a cliffhanger.

    Still, I'll continue this journey as the characters are so fully formed & unlike many if not most series, there are worthy and honorable characters on both sides, though I prefer the Greenland Hollowers above all others, & I've chosen my "side"....the point is, Brett weaves a tale where the dilemmas are not always black & white, lending real humanity to the telling.

    Fight scenes & magic can sometimes get wearisome in the genre, but Brett stops short of using it so much that I lose interest.

    And Pete Bradbury is astounding. He came make any character come to full being...whether an imperious royal, an sturdy yet less well-spoken Greenlander, or the the Warded Man or Jadir, he comes through with a true voice, and that goes as well for the many strong female characters - Leesha Paper, Inerva, Renna Bales and so many others- throughout the series who could have been destroyed in lesser hands (or vocal chords, as it were).

    Hopefully Bradbury will continue as the story progresses...many other series have been killed or maimed by changing narrators or even, as in the Game of Thrones series, just not reviewing previous voices & continuing with them.

    Anyway/ if you like epic fantasy, magic, war sagas, or just great character development, I recommend the series. But start at the beginning, or you'll lose much in the telling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4655)
    Performance
    (4262)
    Story
    (4256)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Janice says: "What does it mean to be human?"
    "So glad I "took a chance" on this wonderful novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book I had relegated to the wish list for that "someday" I'd want to take a chance on it...I'm so glad the day came & now anxiously look forward to another book by Helene Wecker. As for Mr Guidall, he is undoubtably among the best in the business. I always feel like a book is in masterful care when he narrates. Highly recommend The Golem & the Jinni!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gun Street Girl: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel, The Troubles, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (333)
    Performance
    (303)
    Story
    (303)

    Belfast, 1985. Amid the Troubles, Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic cop in the Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, struggles with burnout as he investigates a brutal double murder and suicide. Did Michael Kelly really shoot his parents at point-blank range and then jump off a nearby cliff? A suicide note points to this conclusion, but Duffy suspects even more sinister circumstances.

    Top of Mind says: "Another McKinty Gem"
    "Adrian McKinty +Gerard Doyle narration=Perfection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Adrian McKinty's first novel worked its way into my bloodstream and though I'm only a third of the way into his latest effort, it's already a five star experience. I've yet to travel to the land of my forebears but having read McKinty's bibliography, at least I'll have a small handle on the slang if I ever encounter paramilitants, the peelers, or anyone from Coronation Road.
    The McKinty novels I've encountered to date are crime fiction, to be sure, but they are also historically close to the bone pieces of beautifully written character studies with sometimes crass, sometimes poetic prose that can stop you in your tracks with wonder.
    And Gerard Doyle does a beautiful job. I'm glad the publishers didn't screw around with the engineering on this series...it's always disappointing to fall in love with the characters in a series only to have every voice dramatically change.

    Highly recommend the author and narrator. Well worth the credit or cash- just plan on reading everything he's written one you buy his first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Norwegian by Night

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Derek B. Miller
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (526)
    Performance
    (479)
    Story
    (480)

    Sheldon Horowitz - 82 years old, impatient, and unreasonable - is staying with his granddaughter's family in Norway when he disappears with a stranger's child. Sheldon is an ex-Marine, and he feels responsible for his son's death in Vietnam. Recently widowed and bereft, he talks to the ghosts of his past constantly. To Norway's cops, Sheldon is just an old man who is coming undone at the end of a long and hard life. But Sheldon is clear in his own mind.

    Sara says: "Don't Miss This Amazing Book"
    "Great listen- fantastic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy a wide range of books, & just came off of a 5 book epic fantasy series when choosing Norwegian By Night as a change of pace. But this is a change of pace from anything I've listened to in some time. Unique, character driven, almost poetic prose at times, and suspenseful...this was a superb audiobook (& the narrator was well chosen- he did a fantastic job).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fool's Fate: The Tawny Man, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Robin Hobb
    • Narrated By James Langton
    Overall
    (709)
    Performance
    (629)
    Story
    (636)

    FitzChivalry Farseer has become firmly ensconced in the queen’s court. Along with his mentor, Chade, and the simpleminded yet strongly Skilled Thick, Fitz strives to aid Prince Dutiful on a quest that could secure peace with the Outislands - and win Dutiful the hand of the Narcheska Elliania. The Narcheska has set the prince an unfathomable task: to behead a dragon trapped in ice on the isle of Aslevjal. Yet not all the clans of the Outislands support their effort. Are there darker forces at work behind Elliana’s demand?

    Lisa Hines says: "Review: The Tawny Man #3: Fool's Fate"
    "Robin Hobb is Fantastic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought the first book of this trilogy on sale; and was swept away into many consecutive nights of little sleep as I devoured them all. Fantastic storytelling, characters (& character development), and perfect narration. I'm hooked!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Way Down on the High Lonely: The Neal Carey Mysteries, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Don Winslow
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (49)

    Neal Carey’s three-year confinement in a Chinese monastery is finally over—but his troubles are just beginning. The elusive financial benefactors who have bought his freedom expect a return on their investment. They want him to find Cody McCall, a two-year-old boy recently abducted by his father in a bitter Hollywood custody battle—a task that will propel Neal from the glittering Hollywood hills to the remote wilds of Nevada.

    Mark says: "Superb- love the series!"
    "Superb- love the series!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Love this series, as well as the Don Winslow stand alone novels. He's become a top tier, "go-to" novelist for me & I can't recommend his work enough. My only criticism is that soon I'll have plowed through his entire bibliography...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of the Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Don Winslow
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (701)
    Performance
    (471)
    Story
    (475)

    This explosive novel of the drug trade takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and bloody revenge. From the streets of New York City to Mexico City and Tijuana to the jungles of Central America, this is the war on drugs like you've never seen it.

    Leslie says: "Amazing Novel, Excellent Narration"
    "Don Winslow is a fantastic author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    3rd book of Mr Winslow's I've read & all have been excellent. Great character development and in depth, realistic storylines. Loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter of Frankie Machine

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Don Winslow
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (713)
    Performance
    (543)
    Story
    (543)

    Frank Machianno is a late-middle-aged ex-surf bum who runs a bait shack on the San Diego waterfront. An affable Italian with a love of people and life, he's a stand-up businessman, devoted father, and a beloved fixture in the community. He's also a hit man - specifically, a retired hit man. Back in the day when he was one of the most feared members of the West Coast Mafia, he was known as Frankie Machine.

    Surf City Swami says: "The Winter of Frankie Machine is a ray of sunshine"
    "Mario Who?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read/listened to The Godfather a year ago, long after loving all the films. And was disappointed. This is the second Don Winslow book I've read (Savages was the first) & I'm hooked. His writing is gritty & tight, but bottom-line for me is the authenticity. It's what will translate into my reading his entire catalog, rather than an odd one here or there. Solid book from start to finish- and a great finish, by the way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Extinction Point: Extinction Point, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Paul Antony Jones
    • Narrated By Emily Beresford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (432)
    Performance
    (392)
    Story
    (391)

    Emily Baxter’s dream life turns into a waking nightmare the day the red rain falls. Like a biblical plague, the scarlet downpour spreads a hideous virus that demolishes life in New York City, the nation, and the world. Suddenly the last soul in an annihilated metropolis - and possibly on Earth - the onetime newspaper reporter must learn to scavenge, survive...and plan for a future of utter solitude. Then, from far-flung Alaska, another living voice reaches out, and Emily grasps at her only glimmer of hope. But she may be even less alone than she thinks.

    Charyn says: "Several hours that I'll never get back"
    "Lost time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I try to think of the feelings of writers & so don't often write negative reviews, and since it appears many others have done so I'll just say that, even at a discount, I wondered how this book got made- much less an audio version. Editing and additional drafts with more depth and better character & story development might have made an interesting concept something more...sorry to say, this lacked all the important elements.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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