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Stephen

Persnickety, curmudgeonly, locked into a long daily commute which is mitigated somewhat by listening to great books.

WORCESTER, MA, United States | Member Since 2014

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 163 titles in library
  • 32 purchased in 2015
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  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1147)
    Performance
    (384)
    Story
    (394)

    Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century, 1951, in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, in the middle of the largest generation in American history, the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, his is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero.

    David says: "Fun, but not for squeamish"
    "What Kind of Accent is That?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Around the middle


    What did you like best about this story?

    Brings back things from my childhood - some by direct reference and others just remind me of similar things in my past.

    Bryson also uses language effectively. He balances literary style with the humor of more common speech. I really like that mix.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    In Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bryson (reader and author) tells the story of his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. Being from the midwest myself, and having spent a good deal of time in Iowa with Iowans I find myself really put off by Bryson's accent. That is not any kind of Iowa or even midwest-US accent. I wouldn't remark on it, except that A) it is an audiobook, B) the book has everything to do with the author/reader being from Iowa, C) Bryson is in his 60's, so one would think that he would have been exposed to more Iowa accent than a younger person.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moonlight Mile

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (303)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (171)

    Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood 12 years ago. Kenzie and Gennaro risked everything to find the young girl - only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home. Now Amanda is sixteen - and gone again. Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, and more....

    Richard Delman says: "A brilliant book. His best by far."
    "Endurance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not particularly


    What didn’t you like about Jonathan Davis’s performance?

    Contrary to a previous reviewers remarks, I did not like the Boston accent - attempted Boston accent. Another issue, but a big one is that Massachusetts town names are notoriously difficult to pronounce correctly based on spelling alone. Mr Davis falls into the typical pitfalls. What I don;t get about the accent is that he didn;t attempt to do the accent in previous novels. Why now?

    Other than the accent I like Davis's performance.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. Nothing happens - all conversation and narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2283)
    Performance
    (2044)
    Story
    (2032)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not up to par"
    "The Best Harry Bosch?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    yes, because I am addicted to the Harry Bosch series


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Soto - fresh, new detective who shows great promise.


    What didn’t you like about Titus Welliver’s performance?

    Flat, droning, no change in pitch even when the suspense builds. Sleep inducing.


    Do you think The Burning Room needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Absolutely! We need to see Detective Soto launched as a successful detective in her own right.


    Any additional comments?

    I know it must be difficult, but when the majority of a series is narrated by one reader, stuck with that reader. Also, I image the new readers audition - who auditioned Titus W.?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Don't Know Jack: The Hunt For Reacher Series #1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Diane Capri
    • Narrated By Kelley Hazen, StorytellerProductions
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (106)

    It's been a while since we first met Lee Child's Jack Reacher in Killing Floor. Fifteen years and sixteen novels later, Reacher still lives off the grid, until trouble finds him, and then he does whatever it takes, much to the delight of listeners and the dismay of villains. Now someone big is looking for him. Who? And why? Hunting Jack Reacher is a dangerous business, as FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar are about to find out.

    Harry Boyle says: "I maybe in the minority but I liked the concept"
    "Close Second"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was OK for passing the time on a long commute


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Not really.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The voice for the Gaspar character was awful, frankly. The overall reading was droning rather than lively. Something tells me that the reader was going for that "government" voice, but it didn't work for this listener.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. This plot works better as a book.


    Any additional comments?

    As a fan of the Jack Reacher books it was interesting how Capri wove a new story around the artifacts of a Reacher story, but neither the counterfeit money nor the implication that Reacher was involved in the unfolding crime really went anywhere, so it was a tease really. I will try another one to see if Capri does any better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Strange Highways

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    Overall
    (668)
    Performance
    (610)
    Story
    (610)

    Joey Shannon, an alcoholic whose life has been going nowhere for 20 years, returns to his hometown for the funeral of his father. As he leaves town, he gets a mysterious second chance to relive the night in 1975 when his life began its downward spiral: to both literally and figuratively take the road that he didn't originally take. On this road he is supremely tested by conflict with his successful and charismatic older brother P.J., by conflict between his cynicism and his lost faith, and by conflict between the ultimate good and evil.

    Michael says: "OK Koontz but Shorts not Included"
    "Catechism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I could only get about half way through this book, so no spoilers. I kind of liked the Odd Thomas series, but this one was really poor. Waaaay too much Catholic artifact in it, which may have become important at some point toward the end of the book, but distracting without any obvious thematic point.

    Koontz writes for the mass market and generally his writing is pedestrian, but he sprinkles $64 words in this book from time to time without a clue from the contact what the word might mean. Makes me think he writes with a "word of the day" list nearby. And how many times can you use "nevertheless" on a page?

    Performance was sketchy. Poor accents and a constantly breathless main character. Yuck.

    No point in beating a dead horse. There was a reason this book was on sale.


    What was most disappointing about Dean Koontz’s story?

    So many to pick from . . . .


    What didn’t you like about Jeff Cummings’s performance?

    Poor accents and main character's voice.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was inexpensive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Monkey

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (993)
    Performance
    (877)
    Story
    (889)

    Andrew Yancy - late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office - has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first - this being Hiaasen country - Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters.

    James says: "Disappointed"
    "It Ain't Literature, But. . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bad Monkey to be better than the print version?

    no


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    not really


    What about Arte Johnson’s performance did you like?

    I really, really didn't like Arte Johnson's performance. It is hard for me, a person who enjoyed Arte Johnson on Laugh In years ago, to denigate his performance.


    If you could rename Bad Monkey, what would you call it?

    really? Bad Question.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Interestings

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Meg Wolitzer
    • Narrated By Jen Tullock
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1401)
    Performance
    (1229)
    Story
    (1233)

    The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age 15 is not always enough to propel someone through life at age 30; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence.

    Tango says: "Needs a better title, but a good read (listen)"
    "Magical summer camp, then life happens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Interestings?

    Wolitzer's ability to get inside the heads of the characters without sounding clinical


    Have you listened to any of Jen Tullock’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No -first time


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prodigal Summer

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (934)
    Performance
    (481)
    Story
    (488)

    Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives in southern Appalachia. At the heart of these intertwined narratives is a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches them from an isolated mountain cabin where she is caught off-guard by Eddie Bondo, a young hunter who comes to invade her most private spaces and her solitary life.

    Lily says: "Amazing!"
    "Kingsolver's reading does justice to her writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Prodigal Summer again? Why?

    Its hard to find a better writer than Barbara Kingsolver. Audible's version has Kingsolver herself reading the book. Because the book has passages that require the accent of the blue ridge mountains, it is a bonus to have the author read it herself. Kingsolver's voice suits the material so well, you would think she speaks the lines out loud before writing them down.

    This book excels in the same way Flight Behavior does - fusing the sensations of the natural world with the characters. Beautiful!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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