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  • Skippy Dies

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Paul Murray
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, and others

    This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.

    Laura says: "Funny, touching, entertaining"
    "Excellent production with a different story to tel"

    I was frankly blown away by the production value of this audio book. With a large and talented cast reading the various parts, it felt like I was listening to the audio version of a well-done play. Kudos to the cast for an excellent job. It was probably the most enjoyable audio book that I've heard in the past two years of my membership.

    Now for the story...
    At first I found it a bit boring or let's say, not engaging. 14 year old boys in a Catholic middle school in Ireland isn't what I would typically expect to dive into. Furthermore, having a main character die at the beginning and then spending over half the book in a rewind of events leading up to the death isn't something I would expect to enjoy either. But the wit and believability of the author's story finally engaged me and I couldn't wait to get back into it. I also enjoyed the addition of Ruprecht's pseudo-science of string theory and black holes. Lot's of interesting topics were introduced which helped keep my interest up. Of course, the memories of boyhood awkwardness and self-absorption were relevant to the plot.
    All in all, it was more than interesting and it kept me reading more and more. The ending wasn't my favorite part, but seemed somehow appropriate for this "slice of life" narrative. I didn't expect the world to be saved or a new theory of the afterlife to emerge and it didn't.

    I recommend this book.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Great page-turner YA story, Hunger Games for Geeks"

    Very enjoyable, compelling story. Couldn't put it down and hated when it finally ended. It has much of the appeal of Hunger Games, except it's about geeks living in an online world to escape the reality of their bleak, post-apocalyptic reality. It has a bit too much reverence for 80's pop culture for me. But I could relate to it even so. Warning! If you haven't played computer/video games very much, or at all - especially many of the games from the 1980's - you may not enjoy or relate to this aspect of the book.
    Wil Wheaton performs a great narration and I enjoyed the novelty that he is actually mentioned in the book by name. I wouldn't imagine that that happens very often!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Conflict of Interest: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Alex Miller is a criminal defense lawyer leading the life he always imagined. At thirty-five, he is the youngest partner at New York City's most prestigious law firm, with a beautiful wife and a perfect daughter. When Alex's father suddenly passes away, Alex is introduced to Michael Ohlig, a rich and powerful man who holds an almost mythical place in his family lore. But Alex is surprised when Ohlig admits that he's in serious legal trouble, accused of crimes involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Melinda says: "My 2 Cents"
    "Good first novel, but not great"

    It was interesting to read this first novel shortly after reading Grisham's The Litigators, as the stories are fairly similar. This novel delves more into the emotional challenges to the protagonist's life - infidelity, guilt, revenge, retribution - than Grisham does. But in some ways it is a less compelling story. In the end I was left wondering what was the point (of the story) as the plot seemed fairly implausible. Perhpas it was to show the arc of the realization of life priorities - a common occurrence for someone reaching their 35th birthday as does the main character.

    I didn't care so much for the reader who needs to work on his pacing (he often rushed phrases of dialog) and to better differentiate his portrayal of characters, especially women. I can't give this book the highest rating, but it kept my interest throughout the story. I look forward to reading the next effort by this new author - perhaps with a different reader.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Best Stephen King in years"
    What made the experience of listening to 11-22-63 the most enjoyable?

    Very good story. Intriguing, thought-provoking, unexpected. At 30+ hours and knowing Mr. Kings propensity to go on and on - I always felt his books would be much better with a good editor keeping his excesses to a minimum - I was prepared for many boring sections. But even when the story dragged, it was still interesting and then it moved on to something interesting.The narrator's performance was exceptional and personally I enjoyed the voices of Burt Lancaster, Jimmy Stewart and John Houseman as many of the characters. Lots of emotion and pathos in the reading.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Well, I bought the book because I've always been fascinated with the JFK assassination and while that part was pretty interesting, the overall time travel adventure was much better than I expected. That said, I would have done things much different than Jake. Especially his calamitous methods of raising money. I had some trouble with the

    What about Craig Wasson???s performance did you like?

    Just great, is all I can say. Very well done and always kept my interest up.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Are you kidding! No way! Too long for anything like that. But I enjoyed taking my time with the whole thing and letting the story unfold in its own sweet time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Native Star

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By M. K. Hobson
    • Narrated By Suehyla El-Attar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The year is 1876. In the small Sierra Nevada settlement of Lost Pine, the town witch, Emily Edwards, is being run out of business by an influx of mail-order patent magics. Attempting to solve her problem with a love spell, Emily only makes things worse. But before she can undo the damage, an enchanted artifact falls into her possession - and suddenly Emily must flee for her life, pursued by evil warlocks who want the object for themselves.

    Zooomer says: "A bold, inventive, well-written first novel"
    "A bold, inventive, well-written first novel"

    As a previous reviewer, noted, the first half of this novel was more interesting than the second half which felt a bit manipulated to keep the suspense alive. It felt like an old Saturday matinee with each cliff-hanger miraculously topping the previous one. But the novelist's world of magic is inventive and interesting, reminding me more than a bit of the Harry Potter stories. I would recommend this novel and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
    I found the narrator to be interesting and she made it easy to differentiate the characters which is their number one goal in my estimation. As with most female readers, her male characters weren't as realistic as the female characters, but they were all distinguishable from one another.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Alone

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As a sniper with the elite Massachusetts State Police SWAT Team, Bobby Dodge saved a woman and her young son by shooting her armed husband. But vicious rumors begin to circulate the next morning when Bobby loses his gun and his privileges. It turns out the dead man was the son of a prominent Boston judge and had accused his wife of poisoning their son.

    Sherry says: "I know I'm not Alone . . ."
    "Decent story, weak narrator"

    Having listened to several other (later) Lisa Gardner books, I have to rate Anna Fields a C-. She's OK on the female voices and even exceptional on the child voices, but the male voices are a joke and very distracting from the story. It takes more than speaking in a low-pitched voice to sound like a man would speak!

    By contrast the recent Love You More read by Kirsten Potter and Katie MacNichol is very well-done and Hide (the "sequel" to Alone) with Maggi-Meg Reed is also good. The book itself is good and typical of Lisa Gardner - twisty plots, manipulative women, and fast-paced. So far Love You More is my favorite LG novel though,

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Fifth Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home. Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too - and he's certain he's on the right trail. Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in.

    Bob says: "Compelling and difficult to put down"
    "Mad as hell"

    OK, does anybody think the ending of this book is either plausible or satisfying?

    **** Spoiler alert - a discussion of the ending of this book is to follow ****

    Why go through all the effort to read this story and then jerk the rug out from under the reader, by making the plaintiff the murderer? It seemed like a last minute twist added for twisty-ness sake!

    1. Why would the murderer bring a balloon to the garage to get the victim to "look up" so she could conk him on the top of the head? Did she think that risky tactic would somehow divert suspicion from herself? what if he didn't look up. What if he looked around instead? Seems like a lot of extra trouble for very little gain. Did she have it with her in the coffee shop before the murder?

    2. Why would she toss the hammer into a bush to get rid of it!? She had a bag to carry it home. Why not dispose of it properly? It HAD to have forensic evidence on it!

    3. Why would she wear gardening shoes to the murder and then casually put them back into the garage? (OK maybe slightly plausible).

    4. Why drag the Aparizio red herring though the whole story and then just walk away from him? What a let down! The only thing worse was letting Dahl off the hook for getting Mickey beat to sh-t!

    And finally...
    5. Why would Mickey Haller, a guy who works out of his car, has no office, staff, or other responsibilities EVER want to run for DA? Totally not plausible!

    I really liked the book until the end of the trial and then was left feeling annoyed and dissatisfied.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By David Wroblewski
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents and an unusual breed of dogs on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. But when tragedy strikes the Sawtelle family, Edgar flees to the surrounding wilderness. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him.

    Ella says: "Just OK"
    "Slow but well-written. Ultimately unsatisfying"

    I suppose some people love the immersion that a well-written book gives them. Leaving their current lives for an imaginary one that is both real and interesting. Well this book may satisfy those readers. But if you want an interesting and compelling plot to go with that experience. This is NOT the book for you. It was very slow moving for the first third when some sense of direction finally emerges (I don't like to give away plots in a review, so I won't here) and from the middle onward it becomes more and more interesting. But the ending is a complete disappointment and left me with an overwhelming feeling of "what was the point of the large investment in time that I put into this book". Most people I've talked to who have read this book had a similar reaction. "Lousy, unsatisfactory ending"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tim Wu
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Could history repeat itself, with one giant entity taking control of American information? Most consider the Internet Age to be a moment of unprecedented freedom in communications and culture. But as Tim Wu shows, each major new medium, from telephone to cable, arrived on a similar wave of idealistic optimism only to become, eventually, the object of industrial consolidation profoundly affecting how Americans communicate.

    Neil says: "Very interesting history, biased conclusions"
    "Interesting and informative"

    Wu's book ties together the stories of the evolution of various information technologies into mass media conglomerates and empires in America over the past 150 years. Just as interesting as the parallel paths of consolidation into monopolies is the impact of the various larger-than-life moguls who built these empires. From Theodore Vail and Adolf Zucker to Steve Jobs these men recognized the opportunities of their lifetimes and seized them by the throat. It is instructive to consider this recurring history when anticipating the likely future of the internet. Will the Googles dominate or will it be a new era of Net neutrality? It may be too early to say, but this book makes you aware of the likely scenario that history implies. A good read.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage: The Passage Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    Nicole says: "You love it or you hate it..."
    "Slow going but enjoyable"

    The story is interesting (in spite of a rather laconic reading by Scott Brick whom I didn't care for), but much like Steven King, Justin Cronin has a penchant for long exposition about very little. I fast forwarded through many parts of the book and wished I had bought the abridged version. It seems that the author plans a sequel (or two), as the story doesn't reach a real conclusion. Many, many people die during the course of this novel, so be prepared for all manner of death and destruction. But it is a horror novel after all.

    The apocalyptic second half was interesting to me as I like to see how people survive in dire and primitive circumstances while still having access to (some) modern devices. But it would have been so much better if about 2/3 the length.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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