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Mark

Reno, NV, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
78
REVIEWS
64
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
99

  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jeannette Walls
    • Narrated By Jeannette Walls
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (945)
    Performance
    (696)
    Story
    (699)

    Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination. Rose Mary painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family; she called herself an "excitement addict."

    Elisabeth says: "Like peeping through your fingers at a car wreck"
    "Perfect memoir, perfect narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Memoir of growing up in extreme poverty in Battle Mountain, Nevada; Phoenix; and a tiny coal town in West Virginia. What makes it so fascinating aside from one harrowing adventure after another is how damaged yet intellectually sharp her parents are as they haphazardly care for four kids. The scenes involving cheetah-petting and traveling in the back of an enclosed U-Haul truck across Nevada will stay with me a long time. A classic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beneath the Bleeding

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Val McDermid
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (111)

    Winner of the Gold Dagger Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Val McDermid pens mysteries heralded on both sides of the Atlantic. In Beneath the Bleeding, Dr. Tony Hill must make sense of the perplexing death of a soccer star—but the footballer’s demise is only a prelude to greater violence.

    S Daley says: "Great listen for fans of the Series."
    "Not as gruesome as some in series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another wonderful entry in McDermid's series about psychological profiler Tony Hill, who is hospitalized throughout much of the book after being hit with an ax by a patient, and detective chief inspector Carol Jordan, who is faced with the case of a star soccer player being poisoned and evidence suggesting there might be a terrorism angle. This one isn't as gruesome as some of the other books because it's not about a sexual sociopath. But if the plot sounds boring — and it does to me — it's interesting in its look at terrorism security, poisonous plants and soccer fandom. It does discuss the endings of the first and fourth books but not so explicitly that it would ruin reading them after this, but the characters will resonate more if you start earlier. Bechdel test: A+.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lie: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Hesh Kestin
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Dahlia Barr does not suffer fools - or her own government, with which she is normally at odds. Shrewd, brash, and as tough as she is beautiful, the controversial Israeli attorney specializes in defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. She is also a devoted mother, a soon-to-be-divorced wife, and the lover of a handsome American television correspondent. To Dahlia’s astonishment, the Israeli security establishment one day approaches her with a tantalizing proposition: Join us.

    Mark says: "Tension-free thriller with predictable twist"
    "Tension-free thriller with predictable twist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An Israeli human rights lawyer who argues on behalf of Arab residents is given the job of approving who, when and how the government tortures. Meanwhile, her son is kidnapped by Muslim terrorists. Nice set up, bad execution. There's a twist that's obvious from the first page and has been done better before. Maybe if the story had STARTED with that twist ... Also problematic is how the lawyer casually tosses aside her ethical beliefs and life's work without much consideration. The characters are mostly shrill caricatures: dirty, lying, murderous, Jew-hating Muslims; lying, murderous, Muslim-hating Jews who nonetheless must do what they do because they are on the side of angels against evil; liberal, nonsensical hypocrite Jews who protest on behalf of Arabs; and a loving, generous old Arab woman who plays a woman-of-color Mammy character. There's also a thriller rescue plot that is tension free. The only good thing about the book is its interesting details of the Israeli security state. Bechdel test: pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Choke Hold

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Christa Faust
    • Narrated By Ann Carver
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Angel Dare went into Witness Protection to escape her past - not as a porn star, but as a killer who took down the sex slavery ring that destroyed her life. But sometimes the past won't stay buried. When a former co-star is gunned down, it's up to Angel to get his son, a hotheaded MMA fighter, safely through the Arizona desert, shady Mexican bordertowns, and the neon mirage of Las Vegas...

    Laura says: "A Different Kind of Heroine"
    "B-movie film noir set in world of porn and MMA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I needed a quick, fun action book and this fit the bill. It’s pure pulp fiction. Former porn star Angel Dare is waitressing under a fake name in a nowhere diner after confronting a sex-trafficking ring in the series’ first book (“Money Shot”) — when in walks an old boyfriend who promptly gets shot and, as he lays dying, asks her to protect his son. The kid is an up-and-coming MMA competitor involved with bad people. It’s like a B-movie film noir, only sex positive. That said, there’s a creepy sexual encounter — that is emphasized as creepy by the author — that I will never be able to unknow, although I’d like to. Nothing like Mo Hayder creepy but creepy nonetheless. Bechdel test: pass.

    Excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret History

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    Overall
    (833)
    Performance
    (563)
    Story
    (558)

    The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.

    John says: "Not everyone's glass of Scotch Neat"
    "Privileged angst"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was quite long and yet it held my interest ... and yet I would've been fine not reading it. Rich white kids at a preppy New England college do lots of drugs, drive drunk and kill, all without consequence, except for their own angst. Tartt being friends with Bret Easton Ellis at Bennington and exchanging early chapters of this with his “Less Than Zero” makes sense now. Gratuitous references to ancient Greek writers. Bechdel test: fail.

    I love Tartt's voice. Her reading of "True Grit" is great. Here it takes some getting used to because the book is written in first person from a male narrator's point of view. But she clearly understands the characters and helps make the novel better than it is.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Swan Song

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2950)
    Performance
    (2567)
    Story
    (2608)

    Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival. In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity.

    Amanda says: "Simply an Amazing Story"
    "Unnecessary if you’ve read The Stand"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up after about 8 hours. This is almost identical to The Stand, only really weak. The cliches of the magic Negro and The Chosen One, to name just a few here, are so generic that it's hard to take the book seriously. The supernatural elements are perfunctory. But I think the main reason I decided life was too short to finish this is that I didn't care about any of the characters and the writing is business-like with no genuine sense of wonder about the apocalypse.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Long Division

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Kiese Laymon
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Long Division contains two interwoven stories. In the first, it's 2013: After an on-stage meltdown during a nationally televised quiz contest, fourteen-year-old Citoyen "City" Coldson becomes an overnight YouTube celebrity. The next day, he's sent to stay with his grandmother in the small coastal community of Melahatchie, where a young girl named Baize Shephard has recently disappeared.

    Mark says: "Like someone telling you a long crazy dream"
    "Like someone telling you a long crazy dream"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I was really looking forward to this book after the chapter in Laymon’s essay collection about the trials he had to go through to get it published. It’s about a black boy in Mississippi who finds a book that tells a parallel story about a black boy with the same name (and friends and family) but in a different year. There’s a hole in the woods that allows time travel, the Klan, family secrets revealed, and a few interesting discussions of race (and a bit about gender). (There’s a black man who gets killed by the Klan after making a come-on to a 16-year-old white girl. Of course, killing him was an evil but a female character notes that it’s messed up for a grown man to be talking that way to a girl.) Anyway, by the end, I was frustrated with it and I realized why: It’s just like when someone goes on and on and on about a crazy dream where all these fantastical and nonsensical things happen — it’s interesting to them but not to anybody else.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Switchblade: An Original Story

    • UNABRIDGED (50 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (269)

    An anonymous tip puts Bosch on a case that has remained unsolved for decades, the vicious stabbing of a teenage boy whose body was found in an abandoned Old Hollywood restaurant. Cold cases are often the toughest: With no body, no murder scene, and no fingerprints, Bosch nevertheless gets lucky when DNA evidence from the murder weapon points to a known killer. But the DA insists that science alone is not enough - he needs the case to be bulletproof before he'll take it to court.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Good for a short Short Story by a Favorite Author"
    "First worthless Harry Bosch story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is the first Harry Bosch story I thought was worthless. An anonymous tip breaks open a cold-case involving a couple of murders involving a switchblade used on gay men. No real twists or investigatory hurdles, just a straight line from A to B. Bechdel test: Fail. You know, it makes me realize that I didn't care for the last two Bosch books, "The Drop" and "The Black Box." The new Mickey Haller book — "The Gods of Guilt" — was great, among his best, so maybe Harry's character has run his course. Connelly keeps threatening to have a case featuring Bosch's daughter, maybe it's time. (That said, the two Bosch short story collections — "Angle of Investigation" and "Suicide Run" — were very good.)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gravity

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Tess Gerritsen
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (120)

    Emma Watson, a brilliant research physician, has been training for years for the mission of a lifetime: to study living beings in space. Jack McCallum, Emma's estranged husband, has shared her dream of space travel, but a medical condition has grounded and embittered him. He must watch from the sidelines as his wife prepares for her first mission to the international Space Station.

    Jacqueline says: "Fast Paced Thriller"
    "Exciting, not as great as Stephen King claims"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Although it has the same name as the Sandra Bullock movie and features a female astronaut lost in space, it bares no relationship. It’s a medical thriller set on the space station where a mysterious illness causes everything to go wrong that could go wrong. I read it because Stephen King listed it as one of his favorite books. It was solid and exciting from start to finish, but not great by any stretch. Bechdel test: pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swag

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Elmore Leonard
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (104)

    The smallest of small-time criminals, Ernest Stickley Jr. figures his luck's about to change when Detroit used-car salesman Frank Ryan catches him trying to boost a ride from Ryan's lot. Frank's got some surefire schemes for getting rich quick - all of them involving guns - and all Stickley has to do is follow "Ryan's Rules" to share the wealth. But sometimes rules need to be bent, maybe even broken, if one is to succeed in the world of crime, especially if the "brains" of the operation knows less than nothing.

    D. Sevener says: "Fun tale, well told, great narration"
    "Dated attitudes, good plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Two lowlifes realize they can make a comfortable living doing low-level armed robberies of grocery and liquor stores. They get an apartment in a swingers apartment complex and throw parties with lots of booze, sex and Mantovani records. Then they get bored and try for one big score that will set them for a year. The book was written in 1976, and the white male main characters are products of their time: sexist and racist. Leonard himself seems respectful of the black characters, even if the white characters have to remind themselves not to use the N-word in their company. But he treats the female characters as less significant in every way. That said, the plot is good and dialogue excellent. Bechdel test: fail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killshot

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Elmore Leonard
    • Narrated By Bruce Boxleitner
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (20)

    It's not Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne's fault that they were in the real estate office when a pair of thugs walked in with extortion on their minds. But as far as aging Ojibway Indian hitman Armand Degas is concerned, the Colsons are going to have to pay dearly for seeing too much, and for the damage Wayne inflicted on Armand and his sicko partner Richie Nix with a tire iron.

    Christopher says: "Hardcore"
    "Totally forgettable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Two thugs enter a real estate office to fulfill an extortion scheme, and a woman and her husband see too much and become targets. People I respect love this book, so maybe I didn’t get it. But I found it totally forgettable. Bechdel test: fail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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