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Ralph

Foster City, CA, United States | Member Since 2001

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • Red Sparrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jason Matthews
    • Narrated By Jeremy Bobb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1395)
    Performance
    (1249)
    Story
    (1253)

    Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

    Melinda says: "Sexy Saucy Spies"
    "Dispppointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let me start with the positives: (1) the book is well written with good use of the the English language; (2) the discussions of trade craft are interesting; (3) the use of Russian phrases is is a nice touch as is the author's knowledge of Russian geography; and (4) the performance is very good.

    As for the negatives:

    1. The main character is is so poorly conceived that it is impossible to suspend disbelief. For example, is it credible for a young female Russian corporal to constantly talk back to senior officers (and get away with it)?

    2. The lead character also bases many of her decisions on the color of the "aura" she see around the heads of the other characters. Really?

    3. The author is obviously a foodie -- each chapter ends with a recipe for a dish mentioned in that chapter. I found this annoying. Perhaps the author should write a cookbook next time.

    Overall, I had a hard time hanging in until the end.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Hampton Sides
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (502)
    Performance
    (457)
    Story
    (457)

    In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: The North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship.

    Dennis Hinkamp says: "Great found story"
    "Great Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a truly compelling story told by a excellent historian. It is a great adventure which vividly demonstrates mans' spirit and courage with wonderful insights into the world in the 19th Century. The narration is also excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2742)
    Performance
    (2450)
    Story
    (2431)

    Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

    Marci says: "Expect the Best"
    "Not Up To Standard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If this were my first Reacher book, it would have been my last. I have generally enjoyed this series until now. the book demonstrates a total lack of understanding of the military justice system. It is replete with cliches and senseless phrases repeated over and over.

    While in the past I have thought that Dick Hill was an OK narrator, his female voice in this instance are grating.

    Read some of the earlier Reacher novels and forget this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4256)
    Performance
    (2135)
    Story
    (2152)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: You thought he was a stodgy scientist with funny hair, but Isaacson and Hermann reveal an eloquent, intense, and selfless human being who not only shaped science with his theories, but politics and world events in the 20th century as well. Based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos.

    Henrik says: "Surprise: Two books in one!"
    "Great!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the third book by Walter Isaacson that I have listened to. Like the the other two, it was highly informative, well-written, and insightful. The author does a great job of explaining complex scientific concepts without talking down to the reader. The narration was excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Johnny Carson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Henry Bushkin
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (436)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (391)

    From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.

    Pi says: "Not for the uninitiated"
    "Horrible Performance Distracts Form Marginal Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book contains a number of interesting anecdotes, stories and insights; however, it is poorly written and terribly narrated. It is the self-aggrandizing story of someone who was in the right place at the right time, initially did a good job, and finally grew "too big for his britches."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold Tight

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1628)
    Performance
    (778)
    Story
    (771)

    Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their 16-year-old son, Adam, has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate, Spencer Hill they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: "Just stay quiet and all safe."

    Meanwhile, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death...and he wasn't alone.

    Ed says: "Will hold your interest till the end"
    "Weakest Coben Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was disappointed in this book. I have enjoyed Coben's other work; however, this book should have been edited to half its length. I found myself constantly anticipating obvious and unnecessary dialog: frequently a character says the same thing at lest two different ways in case you missed the point.

    The story was OK -- not great.

    Many other reviewers criticized the narrator but I thought that Scott Brick did a good job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Power Down: Dewey Andreas, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Ben Coes
    • Narrated By Peter Hermann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1752)
    Performance
    (1373)
    Story
    (1376)

    There was one factor that the terrorists didn’t take into account when they struck the Capitana oil platform off the coast of Colombia - slaughtering much of the crew and blowing up the platform - and that was the Capitana crew chief, Dewey Andreas. Dewey, former Army Ranger and Delta, survives the attack, rescuing as many of his men as possible. But the battle has just begun....

    Tommy says: "The best thing to happen since Mitch Rapp!"
    "Good action story; some details wrong"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As an action/adventure story a suspension of disbelief is required. Looked at that way,it is a good story. The narration was OK -- not nearly as bad as some reviewers have said.

    Admittedly, I may be a stickler for details . In this book there were a number of obvious errors which should have been caught by an editor or researcher (if not the the author). Two obvious ones are consistently referring to the device that holds the ammunition in a semi-automatic pistol as a "clip" instead of a "magazine" and believing that a senator nominates someone for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Also, apparently, the author believes that the Medal can be awarded for activities undertaken as a civilian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Havana: A Swagger Family Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Stephen Hunter
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (65)

    In Cuba, Earl Swagger finds himself up to his neck in treacherous ambiguity where the old rules about honor and duty don't apply, and where Earl's target seems to have more guts and good luck than anyone else in Cuba.

    Ralph says: "OK Story; Weak Narration"
    "OK Story; Weak Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my third Stephen Hunter novel. Although it is the weakest of the three, it is till a good story and kept my attention.

    However, the narration detracted substantially form the enjoyment of this book. The narrator frequently "over acts" in a way that is inconsistent with the characters. He also badly mispronounced at least 5 or 6 words. Isn't there an editor who listens to the narration so such mistakes can be avoided? Pay a little more and get someone with talent like Scott B. or George G.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Coast: A Larison Short Story

    • UNABRIDGED (40 mins)
    • By Barry Eisler
    • Narrated By Barry Eisler
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (79)

    For Larison, a man off the grid and on the run, the sleepy northern California town of Arcata, gateway to the state's fabled Lost Coast, seems like a perfect place to disappear for a while. But Arcata isn't nearly as sleepy as it seems, and when three locals decide Larison would make a perfect target for their twisted sport, Larison exacts a lifetime of vengeance in one explosive evening.

    Douglas says: "NOT EXPECTED/ENJOYED"
    "Weaker than Usual"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Interestingly, the author/narrator did not do his homework on one small but annoying point: the location of this story -- Arcata -- is pronounced "Ar-kate-a" not "Ar-cat-a." After all, Eisler often includes such details as the model of a particular knife. The story is provides a part of the back-story for a character who appears in other books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Detachment

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Barry Eisler
    • Narrated By Barry Eisler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1114)
    Performance
    (927)
    Story
    (930)

    John Rain is back. And “the most charismatic assassin since James Bond” (San Francisco Chronicle) is up against his most formidable enemy yet: the nexus of political, military, media, and corporate factions known only as the Oligarchy. When legendary black ops veteran Colonel Scott “Hort” Horton tracks Rain down in Tokyo, Rain can’t resist the offer: a multi-million dollar payday for the “natural causes” demise of three ultra-high-profile targets who are dangerously close to launching a coup in America. But the opposition on this job is going to be too much for even Rain to pull it off alone.

    Andrew Stone says: "Fast paced read..."
    "Very good."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first exception to my belief that authors who read narrate their own books are letting their egos get in the way of a quality product. Eisler is, in fact, an excellent narrator.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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