LISTENER

B.J.

Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 204
  • reviews
  • 4,108
  • helpful votes
  • 523
  • ratings
  • Necessary Lies

  • By: Diane Chamberlain
  • Narrated by: Alison Elliott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,053
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,882
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,886

Best-selling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town 50 years ago, and the darkest - and most hopeful - places in the human heart. After losing her parents, 15-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister, and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness, and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give. When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Controversial story - great performance

  • By Marie on 05-26-15

Unexpectedly good.

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

Reviewed: 02-26-18

I think I expected a not-so-deep listen about the south a half-century ago. I wasn't exactly expecting new ground would be covered, but some of my favorite reviewers gave it a 5-star so I gave it a shot.

This is a case where characters you've come to love can demonstrate an issue much more effectively than if you describe an idea from on high. It seems like any time you can see the impact on a human, it all makes more sense. (I think back to movies like "Schindler's List" and "Sophie's choice" that did this brilliantly.) I'm sure it's why certain news stories take a different turn when you see the human suffering on a personal level.

Though I knew about the program that comes to light in this book, I'd never thought about it in these terms. I never imagined how it felt to a trained professional with a conscience -- and to be powerless in the face of something you know to be so wrong.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Alone

  • By: Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,804
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,635
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,574

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Riveting!

  • By Deborah on 02-07-18

Kristin Hannah creates worlds with words.

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

Reviewed: 02-18-18

I literally couldn't stop listening to this one. Yes, some of the subject matter is brutal -- but it's the life some people live. Without books, I truly wouldn't know what those lives are like.

I thought I knew where she was going with the storyline. I was wrong. When I gave up trying to predict and just inhabited the world she created, I was truly captivated. I'm not sure I've ever really experienced the sights and smells of Alaska with this kind of clarity. It's a love song to wilderness and survival. And it's an incredibly insightful look at all the permutations of "family."

Brava! Perfect combination of author and narrator. One of the best of the year.

41 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Replay

  • By: Ken Grimwood
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,025
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,378
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,396

In 1988, 43-year-old Jeff Winston died of a heart attack. But then he awoke, and it was 1963; Jeff was 18 all over again, his memory of the next two decades intact. This time around, Jeff would gain all the power and wealth he never had before. This time around he'd know how to do it right. Until next time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My Favorite Book for the past 10 years

  • By psnorb on 12-29-08

Extremely well-crafted. Kudos to the author.

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

Reviewed: 02-10-18

I missed this book in its heyday when it was winning awards. But that's okay. I experienced it now and the timing was perfect. As I grieve the loss of a close friend, it was a perfect time to look back and wonder.

I really don't think I'd call this sci-fi or even time travel. (Book categories I normally shun.) It's just about examining choices and how things play out. The vehicle that's used to do that is interesting and very clever. It totally kept my interest. I never accurately guessed the next twist -- and I love that. Clever work.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • With Love from the Inside

  • By: Angela Pisel
  • Narrated by: Carol Monda, Andi Arndt
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,637
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,621

Grace Bradshaw knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Eleven years, five months, and 27 days separate her from the last time she heard her precious daughter's voice and the final moment she'd heard anyone call her mom. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing - reconnecting with her daughter and making sure she knows the truth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful story

  • By Mary McDaniels on 09-23-16

I wanted to like this book.

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

Starting in, I hoped the author would take on the death penalty in all it its complexity. It's not an easy topic in any way -- not to read about and not to write about. Hugely polarizing. But I always think that if just know more and think more about some of these kinds of issues, we'll start to understand them more as a society. Because we're talking about a woman on death row, I thought maybe this would be it. It wasn't.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Heart's Invisible Furies

  • A Novel
  • By: John Boyne
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hogan
  • Length: 21 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,540
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,452
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,452

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery - or at least that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding. A Must listen.

  • By Keith G on 09-04-17

Truly wonderful. And then some.

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

Reviewed: 01-17-18

This is one of the most superbly crafted books I've encountered in quite some time. I loved Boyne's work in "The Absolutist" and raved about it to anyone who would listen. I was desperate to discuss that book with someone, anyone, and feel the same about "The Heart's Invisible Furies."

Boyne creates the kind of characters who come and live with you while you're in the book. For the most part, they are all beautifully complex characters – and even when there are obvious personality flaws, this author finds balance and humanity. When they're evil, they are evil. Justice prevails. Stephen Hogan adds to the entire experience with a spot-on narration.

I feel like I made a friend. Cyril Avery has a place in my heart.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Fire and Fury

  • Inside the Trump White House
  • By: Michael Wolff
  • Narrated by: Michael Wolff, Holter Graham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,399
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,371
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,276

With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country—and the world—has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as credible as one would like.

  • By Jerry R. Nokes Jr. on 01-29-18

Sure this isn't classified as Horror?

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

Reviewed: 01-14-18

There's not much I can say in this review that hasn't already been said. It's an up close look at the Trump White House and how it operates. Nothing was surprising -- but all of it horrified me. I really want our government to operate at a higher level than what is portrayed.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • American Kingpin

  • The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road
  • By: Nick Bilton
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7,688
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,093
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7,071

In 2011, a 26-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine website hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything - drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons - free of the government's watchful eye. It wasn't long before the media got wind of the new website where anyone - not just teenagers and weed dealers but terrorists and black hat hackers - could buy and sell contraband detection-free.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An honest portrait of DPR

  • By Victor on 05-18-17

You'll be telling your friends about this book.

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

Reviewed: 01-02-18

This amazingly well-researched book got hold of me and wouldn't let go. Every part of it is interesting -- the dark web, the whole concept of the Silk Road and the man behind it. I learned, I thought about what was in it, and the narration was perfect. That's a 5-star book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Rags of Time

  • A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 6
  • By: Peter Grainger
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 365
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 340
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 337

Mark Randall lay dead in a field near Lowacre long before Smith had done what he had to do in Belfast. By the time he went back to work, the investigation was well underway. "It's not my case," he says more than once, and he really doesn't need it to be; he has enough to think about as it is. But going around the Norfolk countryside dotting the i's and crossing the t's, speaking to the local farmers and the Brothers of St. Francis from Abbeyfields, Smith begins to suspect that the investigation might be heading in entirely the wrong direction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I really love this series.

  • By B.J. on 11-01-17

I really love this series.

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

Reviewed: 11-01-17

And I do mean LOVE. Here are all the reasons why:

Grainger has created a host of characters with depth, flaws and quirkiness - and they're consistent from book to book. The lead, DC Smith, is a brilliant character. He's an honorable man. I hold him in equal regard to Gamache. (And that's high praise if you love Louise Penny's series as I do.)

Gildart Jackson is the perfect voice. It's an absolute pleasure to hear him read.

The plotline holds my interest.

The violence happens offstage. I don't have to hear the gruesome details and have those floating around in my brain for days.

I don't care who did it - rather, I just love hearing the whole story.

I love the music references and DC's interesting choice of instrument.

I love the way the smallest details make their way from book to book.

If you're looking for a series to get into during the winter, this is it. Start with the first and just know you'll have some delightful listens. I've now listened to all of them twice just to get a little closer to understanding how Grainger writes. He's great.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • The Thirst

  • A Harry Hole Novel
  • By: Jo Nesbo, Neil Smith - translator
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,064
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,057

In Police - the last novel featuring Jo Nesbø's hard-bitten, maverick Oslo detective - a killer wreaking revenge on the police had Harry Hole fighting for the safety of the people closest to him. Now, in The Thirst, the story continues as Harry is inextricably drawn back into the Oslo police force. A serial murderer has begun targeting Tinder daters - a murderer whose MO reignites Harry's hunt for a nemesis of his past.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Normally, I love Jo Nesbo.

  • By B.J. on 10-22-17

Normally, I love Jo Nesbo.

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

Reviewed: 10-22-17

This book was WAY off the mark for me. It was far too gruesome, disjointed, and confusing. I'm bored with John Lee's narration. If you've never listened to Harry Hole novel, don't start with this one. It's not typical of the author. There are many others that are better. JMHO

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • An Accidental Death

  • A DC Smith Investigation Series, Book 1
  • By: Peter Grainger
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,952
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,741
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,725

The story opens with the apparently accidental drowning of a sixth form student in the Norfolk countryside. As a matter of routine, or so it seems, the case passes across the desk of Detective Sergeant Smith, recently returned to work after an internal investigation into another case that has led to tensions between officers at Kings Lake police headquarters. As an ex-DCI, Smith could have retired by now, and it is clear that some of his superiors wish that he would do so.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Accidental Read

  • By Lulu on 08-29-16

What a great series!

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

Reviewed: 09-27-17

For me, this series has it all: terrific characters with depth and humanness, great plotlines, no gratuitous violence, quirky language, and a narrator who fits it all perfectly. I love the tiny details that carry over from book to book.

As I storm through the series one after another, I can say it's definitely one of the best finds of the year. I've thought of Louise Penny's Gamache often during the listening. I have that same feeling about these books as I did when I first discovered Three Pines.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful