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Jessica

SANTA CLARA, CA, United States
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 15
  • ratings
  • Mr. Mann

  • The Afterlife and Times of the Devil's Acquisitor Ad Infinitum
  • By: John Byron
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 861
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 807
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 807

My name is Marten Mann. I work for the devil, or the prince of lies, as you people are so fond of calling him. Yes. You read that last line correctly. I am employed by the powers of evil as acquisitor ad infinitum. I did not seek out this job: I was chosen for the position. To put it in simpler terms, I am a broker of sorts - you know, the guy who finds out what it is that you want the most. I make it readily available to you for a price. I think we all know just how costly that one thing that you think you need so much can be.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Angle on an Age Old Story

  • By Aaron Isakson on 06-10-15

Interesting Premise With Poor Writing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-17-16

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who doesn't read as much as I do might enjoy it more. I had high expectations based on most of the reviews for this book, but have to primarily side with the negative ones.

I rarely give things less than three stars, and don't usually write reviews. I felt compelled to because the ones that I read here were overwhelmingly positive and I'm struggling to see why. This is not a five star book.

Would you ever listen to anything by John Byron again?

I would. Byron came up with an intriguing idea for a novel, but the writing was weak. I think that I would be interested in reading a book written by him from the third person. First person in this case took away from the storyline dramatically.

Any additional comments?

I'll break down what I did not enjoy about this book so that anyone with similar taste knows to steer away.

1) The writing was just not good. The metaphors felt forced and cliche. I didn't hear prose that sounded any different than any other books that I have read. This sounded more like a book written by a high school student than an adult.

2) Byron writing in the first person and attempting a free flowing narrative really grated on me after a while. I became tired of the narrator (Mr. Mann), talking to me (the reader), and interjecting with phrases along the lines of "I know what you're thinking."

3) Disclaimer: I'm agnostic with leanings towards atheism, so this didn't offend me on a secular level.

It's one thing to take Christian lore and play around with it a little bit, like in Christopher Moore's Lamb. In this case, I felt like Byron kept the very basic storyline of Christianity (good vs. evil), and that was about it. The explanation from the devil was that we only hear one side of the story...

Borrowing such a small amount of mythology to completely bastardize in this way is demeaning towards the source material. It's also lazy. It requires little effort to creatively insert the author's own ideas into the stories from The Bible because the bones are so bare that it might as well not center around the Judeo-Christian god and our concept of "Satan."

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Down the Rabbit Hole

  • Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny
  • By: Holly Madison
  • Narrated by: Holly Madison
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,528
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,833
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,834

The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion - and finally the secret truth about the man who holds the key - from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef's former number-one girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Mean girls", magicians, mansions, and more!

  • By Brianna Gallagher on 06-24-15

Intriguing, Well-Written, and Well-Narrated

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-26-15

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would, and I already have. It's interesting as someone who watched The Girls Next Door during the reality television boom.

What about Holly Madison’s performance did you like?

Holly Madison has a great voice, and I would actually love to listen to her narrate something else. My only criticism is that I didn't think that the not-so-good English accent was necessary during her reading of the Alice in Wonderland quotes. It made me cringe every time.

That being said, she is an excellent reader, and her impressions of other people (particularly Kendra), are pretty dead on.

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

It was, although I listened to it over the span of three days.

Any additional comments?

This was a good book. With all autobiographies, especially ones with a bone to pick (or several), readers need to take them with a grain of salt. There are multiple sides to every story, and Madison's is just one of them here. Be that as it may, it was well written and engrossing regardless of whether it was 100% accurate or not.

I do think that some people could walk away from reading this thinking that Madison is very full of herself -- and she might be. There's humility in her retrospective opinion of herself, but she paints herself as someone who has overcome all obstacles to be a strong, empowered female. She's very critical of some of the other women, which might contradict her message of that empowerment. She is clearly very intelligent. If this wasn't ghost-written, she is an above-average writer.

My rating is more geared towards the story itself, however. Regardless of whether it was completely true, it was a great and fast listen, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in either the behind the scenes world of reality television or the Playboy mansion lifestyle.

  • The Good Girl

  • By: Mary Kubica
  • Narrated by: Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14,470
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12,886
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12,869

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems at first like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant performances, moving story

  • By Roger on 09-11-14

Predictable Writing Saved by Good Performances

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-18-15

Would you try another book from Mary Kubica and/or the narrators?

I would absolutely listen to either of the narrators again. I do not think that I would listen to anything written by Mary Kubica in the future.

What was most disappointing about Mary Kubica’s story?

I don't know if my standards are just high from listening to so many quality audiobooks, but the writing was just not good at all. There was nothing unique to the story, there was nothing unique about the characters, and the Stockholm Syndrome result of captivity was the stuff made of terrible romance novels.

Which scene was your favorite?

I honestly have no idea. There was no particular scene that made listening to this book worthwhile. It was a waste of time, and I'm glad that I bought it on sale.

Did The Good Girl inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to ensure that I listen to a better story afterwards.

Any additional comments?

If you aren't looking for quality writing, then this book might be fine for you. I can see why this has been listened to by so many people in the age of consumers hungry for more Gone Girl-esque thriller, but there is so much better literature out there. Don't waste your time if you want something that you'll remember reading years down the line.

  • Faithful Place

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 16 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,852
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,961
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,962

New York Times best-selling author Tana French has won the prestigious Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards. As her third novel featuring the Dublin Murder Squad opens, 19-year-old Frank Mackey is waiting in vain for Rosie, who he’s supposed to run away to London with. But when she doesn’t show, Frank leaves Dublin without her—thinking never to return.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Incredible

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-19-10

A Series Gets Better and Better

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-14

Where does Faithful Place rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Faithful Place easily ranks among the top 10% of audiobooks which I have listened to so far. It resides there with the first two books of this series, as well as another handful of books which I won't soon forget listening to.

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

It was not so much the plot but that narrative that kept me on the edge of my seat. Just as in the previous two Dublin Murder Squad books, I was less interested in solving the mystery, and more interested in the first person perspective of the protagonist. Frank is as fascinating as Cassie was in The Likeness.

Have you listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynolds’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to any of Tim Gerard Reynold's performances before, but I would undoubtedly listen to him narrate another book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I teared up at a couple of points, and I also laughed out loud a few times. Despite being more vunerable in this book than in The Likeness (as he is the main character here), Frank still has a great sense of humor and he is very likeable. In addition, his mother has a couple of good lines during her guilt trips.

Any additional comments?

I cannot recommend this series enough. Brilliant writing, brilliant narration. Best selling books are so often overrated. I have listened to a couple of overhyped books this year and was a little wary starting these ones. It was a pleasant surprise to jump into this series and get completely sucked in, listening to them all sequentially and back to back. On to the fourth book!

  • The Likeness

  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 22 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,719
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,295
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,285

Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really on a Different Level

  • By Michael on 07-05-10

I Won't Soon Forget Cassie Maddox

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Likeness to be better than the print version?

I think that I would have enjoyed this in print version, but I also remember thinking so many times throughout this that this is why I listen to audiobooks. Heather O'Neill's performance went perfectly with Tana French's flowing prose. I would highly recommend the audio version.

What did you like best about this story?

Just as with In the Woods, this was an elegantly written story about introspection, our relationships with others, and the unfortunately hindsight that comes when we have had the opportunity to reflect on how we pay for the things we want (the latter a consistent theme in this book), disguised as a "whodunit" murder mystery. I love that.

Which character – as performed by Heather O'Neill – was your favorite?

Her first person narration as Cassie was brilliant.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No spoilers, but I cried at the end.

Any additional comments?

I'm starting the next book in this series immediately. I cannot stress enough how incredible the performances have been in the first two books, and what a great writer French is.

  • In the Woods

  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 20 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,028
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,574
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,562

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Very mixed feelings (semi-spoilers included)

  • By Dottie B. on 02-14-13

Very "Wordy," but Worth the Journey

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-14

What did you love best about In the Woods?

I think in the end, it was less the narrative, and more the moments of reflection in the first person that really sold me. There is a passage in particular where Detective Ryan discusses his partnership with Maddox, and how the reader (or listener), could not possibly understand what it was like. French's writing comes across as genuine, and at those moments, it truly felt like I was listening to someone recount the story of this murder investigation.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Maddox. I related to her well, particularly with her natural gift for profiling. I am very much so looking forward to reading more about her in the next book of the series.

What about Steven Crossley’s performance did you like?

He is just a really good performer. I've listened to 60+ books this year, and the most enjoyable generally have a) a narrator performing in the first person who does an amazing job and/or b) a narrator who does distinctive voices for both genders without sounding like he or she is trying too hard. Crossley managed both.

I agree with the criticism regarding his accent. Since he was the one person in the book without an Irish accent, it required suspended disbelief just a little bit. I was able to rationalize it when I realized that this was truly Detective Ryan's story, and I just pictured him relaying the story to someone orally.

Any additional comments?

This is a long book in that there are probably a couple of hours which could have been cut. That being said, I didn't regret listening to a single minute of it. It is both satisfying and unsatisfying in the end. I think that it is important to go into this book expecting not only a thriller, but an exploration of relationships, and the willingness to enjoy some beautifully written prose disguised as a murder mystery. If you look at it that way, and if you're willing to enjoy the slow, paced performance, then you will have a wonderful listening experience.

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  • By: Stephen Chbosky
  • Narrated by: Noah Galvin
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,561
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,067
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,095

Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. But then seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to their eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intelligent, Absorbing Coming of Age Story

  • By FanB14 on 12-13-12

Even better than when I read it in high school

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-14

What made the experience of listening to The Perks of Being a Wallflower the most enjoyable?

The performance. Wow. They could not have picked a better voice for Charlie. Not only that, but the voices that Galvin used for the other characters were fantastic.

What did you like best about this story?

I related to it better than I did in high school...maybe because of the benefit of over a decade of hindsight. I'm not sure. Charlie remains the anonymous wallflower who I remember empathizing with as a teenager. So many of us who have grown up as introverts can recall wanting to "participate" more, and the impact that connecting with people who accepted us as we were had on us.

The writing is at some times juvenile...as it should be. It is done in the voice of a young, adolescent writer. Chbosky's writing is sometimes clunky and pretentious. It's supposed to be. Charlie is wise beyond his years, but he is still a teenager.

The genius of the story is the performance (not just by the narrator, but by the author).

Which character – as performed by Noah Galvin – was your favorite?

Patrick.

Any additional comments?

I got this as a Daily Deal months ago, but it would have been worth the credit. If you never read this as a teenager, I recommend it. If you did read it...that's all the more reason to hear it performed this way. A huge bravo to Noah Galvin.

  • Still Missing

  • By: Chevy Stevens
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,339
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,468
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,474

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old Realtor, had three goals: sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A singular voice; a horrendous story.

  • By Richard Delman on 01-21-12

Very Difficult to Read as a Mother of a Baby Girl

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-14

What did you love best about Still Missing?

The performance was great. I finished this book a couple of days ago and it has still stayed with me. The writing was good and convincing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Still Missing?

The most memorable were the heartwrenching ones. I'd hesitate to describe any because I don't want to spoil the book.

Which character – as performed by Angela Dawe – was your favorite?

The main character.

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

Yes. I actually had to Google a summary because I needed to know what happened with one particular thing. The anticipation was distressing.

Any additional comments?

I do not recommend this book for anyone who has an overabundance of empathy, particularly if you are a mother. It might have been an easier read for me prior to having my daughter.

It's strange because I regret listening to this, even though it was well written. It was just too much to listen to as a mom of a baby girl.

  • Endurance

  • By: Jack Kilborn
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 736
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 629
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 623

The bed and breakfast was hidden in the hills of West Virginia. Wary guests wondered how it could stay in business at such a creepy, remote location. Especially with its bizarre, presidential decor and eccentric proprietor. When the event hotel for the national Iron Woman triathlon accidentally overbooked, competitor Maria was forced to stay at the Rushmore. But after checking into her room, she quickly realized she wasn't alone. First her suitcase wasn't where she put it. Then her cell phone was moved. Finally, she heard an odd creaking under the bed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • PEOPLE CHECK IN, BUT THEY DON'T CHECK OUT

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 11-10-14

Great Horror and Amazing Performance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-14

Would you listen to Endurance again? Why?

Probably years from now. I don't regularly relisten to books, but I think that eventually I would get around to listening to this again.

What did you like best about this story?

It was good, creepy horror that was very satisfying. It was made even better by Christopher Lane's performance.

Which character – as performed by Christopher Lane – was your favorite?

Eleanor. It takes a great male voice actor to pull off a female voice without sounding like he is using a terrible falsetto. Not only did Lane pull it off, but he gave her the perfect creepy voice.

If you could rename Endurance, what would you call it?

I think that Endurance was an appropriate title.

Any additional comments?

I had just finished listening to Death From a High Floor and did not even realize that the narrator was the same for that book as for this one until I looked. Christopher Lane is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators as he truly adapted his voice to both books in order to get into character.

There are mixed reviews for this book, and I recommend it specifically for horror fans who like being scared (particularly in the first chapter), listening to stories with gore, and people who do not mind listening to a story told in a Southern drawl. I thought that it was brilliant for the genre, but can understand why it might be too much for some people. Highly recommended.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Mockingjay

  • The Final Book of The Hunger Games
  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,839
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,560
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,818

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Conflicting Emotions

  • By Sumit G. on 08-28-10

A Satisfying Ending to the Trilogy

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-20-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Something about the way that this third installment was written made it hard to follow. I felt like the writing was "wordier" than the first two. Also, it felt like Katniss was constantly brooding and/or waking up from unconsciousness. That got a little old after a while.

The thing that I disliked the most were the choices that Katniss made towards the end which seemed completely out of character. I can understand why it was written that way, and why her character evolved that way. It was a sudden change, though, and it made her much less of an admirable protagonist.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting part was the epilogue. It was beautifully written, and the highlight of the book.

What does Carolyn McCormick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She is an excellent narrator. I felt like Katniss would have been better read by someone with a "younger" and less mature voice.

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

I will definitely see the upcoming movies.

Any additional comments?

The first two books were wonderful. Although this one was merely average, in my opinion, it was worth it to reach the ending of the trilogy. It ended perfectly; I just didn't love how it got there.