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txkimmers

Austin, TX | Member Since 2006

123
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 81 ratings
  • 472 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3567)
    Performance
    (1952)
    Story
    (1962)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Good and also Frustrating"
    Overall

    The good about this book: Jonathan Davis, who did a great job, as usual. The plot was intricate and fascinating, the characters were all very complex and multi-layered. It's a very scary and creepily possible sounding future, so this book was great, except for...

    the bad: I could only listen to a little bit of this each day, and as result, it's taken forever to finish it. I know it's supposed to be dystopian, but good heavens...it was such a relentess bummer, I had to turn it off and go listen to some current news (war in Iraq, bank failures, rising foreclosures rates, jellyfish invasions, etc) just to lighten my mood. In addition, this novel is so crammed with repetitive exposition, it made me scream more than once in the car, "She's obedient and she doesn't like it...he's an incorruptible fighter and a hero to the people...he's afraid he'll get killed with a machete before he buys his clipper ship...I got it, I got it, I GOT IT!"

    It took a lot of patience to finish this, so I can't exactly call it gripping--but it was a very fascinating trip.

    57 of 61 people found this review helpful
  • One Summer: America, 1927

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1434)
    Performance
    (1294)
    Story
    (1279)

    One of the most admired nonfiction writers of our time retells the story of one truly fabulous year in the life of his native country - a fascinating and gripping narrative featuring such outsized American heroes as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and yes Herbert Hoover, and a gallery of criminals (Al Capone), eccentrics (Shipwreck Kelly), and close-mouthed politicians (Calvin Coolidge). It was the year Americans attempted and accomplished outsized things and came of age in a big, brawling manner. What a country. What a summer. And what a writer to bring it all so vividly alive.

    Mark says: "Why 1927?"
    "A delight, as always"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bryson never fails to please me, I loved this as I have loved all of his works. It put me in the mood to go back and have a nice re-listen to all of his stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    Overall
    (1354)
    Performance
    (1175)
    Story
    (1171)

    On a rainy November day, police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: a woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace.

    C. Vincent says: "Great narrator, unbelievable, never-ending story"
    "Really? That doesn't really make sense."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up on this novel, after reading a review of it on Amazon that basically echoed the negative thoughts I was having about it. When I checked my progress and reacted with dismay to find I was not quite halfway through, I realized this might have been a bad use of a credit.

    I don't know if this novel was translated badly, or had not very good writing that was translated efficiently, but it was full of strange, awkward phrasing and characters that somehow managed to be unlikeable and of flat effect at the same time. Aside from translation issues, I found myself saying, "Really? That makes no sense." on a regular basis just at the events that were being described.

    It's times like these that I wish I had a written copy so I could quote from the book, but for example: The main character Tobias, convicted at a young age of a double murder, "does his time in the joint" and returns to his hometown. He has served ten years, the "maximum sentence for a juvenile" under the penal code. Ten years for two murders? Wow. The townspeople are heavily invested in making him leave town immediately, despite the fact that he is in fact obsessed with cleaning up his father's dilapidated property asap so he can sell it…and leave town. Instead of just clarifying his plans with him over a cup of coffee, they send three masked thugs to beat the crap out of him and "send him a message". After tying him up, stripping him, tightening a noose around his neck, blindfolding him and then beating him with baseball bats, they paint the word "Murderer" on his bare chest with red spray paint. Despite the gruesomeness of this attack, relayed in great detail, all I could think of was, "wow, it might be easy to spray paint the word murderer on a wall, but across a man's chest? That seems like a fairly delicate operation to accomplish with a can of spray paint. ". But maybe I don't do enough tagging in my neighborhood. But that is not even the nonsensical part.

    So this character sustains a beating that should have put him in the hospital, but what happens the next day? He's up and around, with a messed up face, but definitely ambulatory. Mobile enough, in fact, to go out that night and getting roaring drunk with friends. "Friends?" I thought at the time…he's got friends? The double murderer who just got out of "the joint" a couple of weeks ago? The town pariah who apparently everyone secretly hated and envied for his dashing good looks and brilliance back when he was just a youngster with murder on his mind? Not one of his friends visited him in prison except the tomboy that secretly loved him as a girl and is now a famous actress.

    This is just ONE part of this novel that left me scratching my head. I won't go on with this review, because in fact, I didn't go on with this novel either. I couldn't even summon enough energy to keep going just to solve the puzzle. When your novel's plot is so dependent on plot reversals and crazy coincidences that it just doesn't really hold together, you have not done your job as a mystery writer, and your readers are the ones left twisting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (4799)
    Performance
    (4120)
    Story
    (4096)

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Alice says: "Happy addition to a difficult genre"
    "ADORBS!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mitford-esque without the anti-semitism, this novel was tons of fun. The actual mystery itself trod over not-very-original ground, but the characters are sharply done, and the wit is sly as can be. I listened to the audio version, absolutely wonderful performance by Katherine Kellgren, the narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6166)
    Performance
    (5340)
    Story
    (5333)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Belle Rovine"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I purchased this book partially on the strength of the reviews, but mostly because the narrator is Eduardo Ballerini, who totally captivated me in a historical fiction series by Robert McCammon. As usual, he didn't disappoint, and neither did this novel, which I just adored.

    This book is a very gentle but also very funny satire, making me laugh out loud many times. All of its characters are deeply flawed and just about everyone has a story that sets them up for being mocked. Nevertheless they are all very enjoyable satellites revolving around the story between the two most serious and affecting central characters, Dee and Pasquale.

    If you love movies, you will love this novel, which hilariously sends up the movie business from the early 60's right up to today in glorious detail. As a film lover myself, I actually spent much of the time casting the film version in my head while I listened.

    I will say that there were times when I thought the story dragged a bit in it effort to give EVERY SINGLE character his/her due, but inevitably I would be drawn back into the story and at the end I loved the way it actually wrapped up almost every storyline.

    Wonderful novel, awesome narrator!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2978)
    Performance
    (2660)
    Story
    (2642)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "A one-man Scooby Gang in doublet and hose"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An incredibly enjoyable, if somewhat lengthy historical mystery novel (2 novels, actually) that introduces plucky magistrate's clerk Matthew Corbett. The novel is actually a coming-of-age tale for Matthew, who travels with his magistrate master to a remote town to try a woman accused of witchcraft. She's a total babe (natch) and before long, Matthew's attraction to her sublimates into a fanatical devotion to discovering "the truth" of what is really happening in Fount Royal.

    The novel is crammed with historical facts about colonial life in 1699 that appear in the narrative as large as billboards, but are nevertheless totally fascinating. Aside from learning way too much about the scary ickiness of healthcare from that period, I learned that wasps nests were kept *inside* of houses to keep mosquitoes under control...a fact I have not been able to verify by googling, but seems too perfectly weird to be made up.

    Matthew Corbett is a great character, a somewhat naive and bumbling nerd who becomes a kind of hyper-articulate and powerful agent of justice once armed with all the facts. I plan to check out his next three adventures asap. For some reason I can't get Elijah Wood out of my mind when I think of him.

    A note on the narrator: Edoardo Ballerini, was absolutely fantastic. I plan to listen to, not read, the other entries in the series because he brings the story to life beautifully (and hilariously at times).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Strangers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Chris Bohjalian
    • Narrated By Alison Fraser, Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (229)

    From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Skeletons at the Feast, and Secrets of Eden, comes a riveting and dramatic ghost story. In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters.

    Georgia says: "Eh"
    "She deserves a better ending."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Chris Bohjalian and/or Alison Fraser and Mark Bramhall ?

    I thought both narrators did a splendid job. I can always tell when I like a narrator when I find myself googling up any information I can find about him/her.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Chris Bohjalian? Why or why not?

    I feel very ambivalent about Bohjalian's novel. My feelings about this novel moved along a giant bell curve. Despite the excellent performances of the two narrators, I had a lot of trouble getting into it, feeling that it spent an inordinate amount of time re-hashing the minute details of the plane crash that traumatized the sad sack of an airline pilot. I really wanted to be more sympathetic to his situation, but he didn't become interesting to me until he started having homicidal thoughts. But...the author has a great talent for building a delicate kind of jenga-like structure with the histories and motivations of the large cast of characters, and eventually I was utterly drawn in, realizing (with relish) that when the climax came, I had no idea who would prevail. Everyone seems to have a potential to tip the balance of things, and it was very well done. But but...when everything did finally come to a head, it was a crazy messy sprawl in which everyone and his brother ends up in the same location doing all kinds of ridiculous and inexplicable things. And then on top of that, the denouement toppled my own delicate and wobbling jenga-like patience.


    What does Alison Fraser and Mark Bramhall bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    I found Alison Fraser's voice mesmerizing, although I preferred Mark Bramhall's performance overall. Both of them did a great job evoking the different characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I was disappointed by this book, but I also enjoyed it very much. I just wish the end had carried me through better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stone's Fall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Iain Pears
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice, John Lee, Simon Vance
    Overall
    (293)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (136)

    Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and arms dealer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents. A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone's Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.

    Marilyn Scher says: "Iain Pears-Always more than you bargained for."
    "Needs a young voice AND an older voice."
    Overall

    I really love Iain Pears, and have high expectations for this novel. I have really enjoyed it--in all the same ways I loved "Instance of the Fingerpost". I think my only caveat is that the stories told by the three narrators (at least the first two, I have not listened to the whole thing) are told as flashbacks from when they are young men..but the readers are older men. Despite the fact that these readers are awesome, and among some of the best in the business, I sort of wish these flashbacks could have been read by a younger voice--I think it would have given the narrative a bit more zip. I don't know, maybe I am just overdosing on the measured sound of the older British white guy. Again, let me stress.. the readers are fantastic, and I am loving this novel, but wish they could have matched the youthful urgency that the plot sometimes called for.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Muriel Barbery
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat, Cassandra Morris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2146)
    Performance
    (1119)
    Story
    (1140)

    An enchanting New York Times and international best seller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year-old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl.

    Pyles says: "It surprised me"
    "Well, it's not "The Passage", after all..."
    Overall

    This first half of this novel is all about two people who need each other that keep missing each other as they work hard at hiding from everyone else. Paloma and Madame Michel are hard to like at first, both very intelligent but alienated and snobbish in their own way as they judge the people around them. It isn't until the second half of the novel, with the appearance of the wonderful and gracious Mr. Ozu, that they come alive and connect-- and so does the novel for the reader.

    I really loved this novel, even as I admit that I mentally checked out during some of intellectual discourses of Paloma and Madame Michel. There is a scene in which Paloma is having tea with Mr. Ozu and blatantly mentions to the reader that she is not even listening to what he is saying, but that being with him, the person, is a wonderful feeling. That is exactly how I felt with this book--I didn't always listen to the lecturing, but I developed a huge amount of affection for the characters. I also loved the sound of Barbara Rosenblat's voice and loved her performance, and that of Cassandra Morris. Highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Liz Jensen
    • Narrated By various
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Nine year old Louis Drax is a problem child. On his ninth birthday, he falls off a cliff, but miraculously survives; but the family has been shattered. Dr. Dannachet tries to coax Louis back to consciousness. But the case defies medical logic.

    txkimmers says: "Plus and Minus"
    "Plus and Minus"
    Overall

    Five stars.
    -1 for the fact that this is actually a drastically abridged version of this novel (not even 3 hours long).
    -1 for the fact that there is an Audie award winning version but this is the only one available.
    -1 for Audible not making this clear by having the word "Various" in place for the narrators (all two of them) instead of the abridgement cast being listed. This would have saved me a lot of confusion. I still want to hear the version with Jeff Woodman.
    +1 for this novel, which (even abridged so heavily) I can tell is a fantastic, unsettling psychological thriller. I have to read everything else I can find by Liz Jensen now.
    +1 for the performances on this version, which are fantastic. I was sold within a minute of listening to the sample.
    +1 for the convoluted way that a search for books narrated by Jeff Woodman, who did Life of Pi, brought me to listen to this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Helen Simonson
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2495)
    Performance
    (1201)
    Story
    (1194)

    You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction.

    Sara says: "A Surprising Treat!"
    "A great surprise"
    Overall

    My initial misgivings about this book had to do with wondering how I would be able to empathize with a proper elderly retired British major. There is a scene early on in this book when the Major meets his son's American fiance, and has a predictably appalled reaction. But when the author describes the woman's long, pale and (to Pettigrew) scandalously bare legs "flashing like scimitars", I laughed out loud...and I was totally hooked. After a bit more listening I had to e-mail my friend and make her promise me the book was not going to veer into dark territory because I had become completely attached to all the characters, and I really couldn't take a sudden turn into drama. This book grew on me so quickly and so unexpectedly, I feel like Pettigrew himself as he realized he was enamored of Mrs. Ali.

    Just great, I loved this so much, please give it try.

    34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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