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JTF

Cary, NC USA
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  • 158
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  • 63
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  • From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars)

  • By: Renée Ahdieh, Meg Cabot, Pierce Brown, and others
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Ashley Eckstein, Janina Gavankar, and others
  • Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,907
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,735
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,725

Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view. On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40h anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • No One has Raved About this yet?

  • By Michael J. Stewart on 10-05-17

Well done collection stories with a SW twist

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

Reviewed: 01-14-18

Taking the storyline of A New Hope from different perspectives. Clever, well done and sometimes even surprising.

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,825
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,838
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27,791

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun premise, great performance, weak story

  • By J. Klinghoffer on 08-06-15

Brilliant (like Mike).

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

Reviewed: 09-28-17

Ants are piling up all the info. for a review, but for now know it had it all: characters, plot, pacing and creative world. Part mystery, part potential dystopian.

  • Call to Arms

  • Black Fleet Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Joshua Dalzelle
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,497
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,198

From Joshua Dalzelle comes the follow-up to the number-one best seller Warship. Captain Jackson Wolfe survived the initial incursion of a vicious alien species into human space...barely. He had assumed the juggernaut that had devastated three Terran systems was the herald for a full invasion, but for the last few years it has been eerily quiet along the Frontier. Jackson now struggles to convince the Confederate leadership the threat is still imminent and needs to be taken seriously.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really enjoyed both books thus far.

  • By Mark on 01-23-16

Utterly addictive military SciFi

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

Reviewed: 09-19-17

I being a less responsible and sleep deprived adult due to this series. Moving on to Counterstrike

  • Star Wars: Heir to the Empire (20th Anniversary Edition), The Thrawn Trilogy, Book 1

  • By: Timothy Zahn
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,125
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,071
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,051

Five years after the Death Star was destroyed and Darth Vader and the Emperor were defeated, the galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war, Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins, and Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of new Jedi Knights. But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords - the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn - has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • At last!

  • By Jt on 10-25-11

Brilliant story line but even better characters

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

Reviewed: 04-25-17

Not only do we have Thrawn himself, but Mara Jade, Tallon Karrde, and even Admiral Pellion to provide the richest set of characters since the introduction of Jan Solo and Landon Callrisan (who also populate this story). Great story.

  • Weight of the Heart

  • Bruna Husky, Book 2
  • By: Rosa Montero, Lilit Žekulin Thwaites - translator
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Part human and part robot, private investigator Bruna Husky has been hired to locate a stolen diamond. But as Bruna's leads start to drop dead, her case becomes about much more than a stolen gem - and much more dangerous. Traversing the galaxy, Bruna races against the clock to uncover a nuclear power conspiracy that threatens all sentient beings.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • interesting not earth shattering

  • By Charles Hill on 02-02-17

Weight of the Heart Bores into Your Heart and Mind

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

Reviewed: 11-23-16

Rosa Montero’s Weight of the Heart is the second book in the Bruna Husky series, her first being Tears in Rain (reviewed in Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero – a thoughtful techno-detective noir novel review on Joe's GeekFest on Wordpress). The gist of what I’ve written there still applies. This is a creative brilliant story that takes Blade Runner (Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?) as its springboard. She continues to expand her gritty world building, characters, dialogue, and relationships. Indeed, this sequel improves on all of those. Our favorite replicant, Bruna, continues her penchant for being pulled into major scandals via innocent seeming projects. She’s tracking down a missing person and through her generous heart is thrown into a radioactive world when. So, all that was good from book one remains and only gets better.

Ms. Montero’s sequel matches the high hopes I had for this series. While it’s mostly moved on from its Blade Runner inspired beginnings, its dive into the characters and psyches that populate Bruna’s world only grows more intriguing. The narrative arc is never dull, the writing is ever brilliant and the space between words where we find ourselves and our own challenges taken up, broken apart, examined, and reconstituted allows fresh insight into perennial problems. Weight of the Heart does what the best of sci-fi has always done, it examines who we are and how we relate to one another all in the context of great story. Entertaining and challenging, with no need to compromise between one or the other.

Mary Robinette Kowal flawlessly narrates the audiobook. The introspective intimate moments seem to come from within you; the funny, odd-ball characters are portray as such, but not in a patronizing man. The rhythm of story, with her pacing and pauses, are spot on. Even as she performs passionately, she is clear and understandable. In short, her narration is all that you could desire.

I highly commend the work for your listening pleasure.

Full review at Joe's GeekFest on Wordpress

  • The Jekyll Revelation

  • By: Robert Masello
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,414
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,218
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,219

While on routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It also promises to reveal a terrible secret - the identity of Jack the Ripper.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • pleasantly surprised

  • By Genevieve Paquette on 04-17-17

Robert Masello's Clever Jekyll Revelation

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

Reviewed: 11-14-16

The Jekyll Revelation is historical fiction that takes as its main protagonist Robert Louis Stevenson and immerses him in the mystery of Jekyll and Hyde peppered with Jack the Ripper. Robert Masello’s ability to immerse us into disperse storylines is enhanced by his turn of phrase and detailed research/knowledge of Stevenson’s life and times. Primarily, it’s a brilliant premise fleshed out into a clever story arc. Despite a few reservations, outlined below, it’s a good read.

When you begin the book, jumping between storylines can be fairly jarring which builds interest in seeing how they would come together. Both Robert Stevenson and Rafe Salazar are fairly empathetic characters whose connection is initially non-existent. Mr. Masello does a brilliant job melding historical events and characters into the story. His writing is accessible yet provides me with frequent vocabulary additions; for what it’s worth, it is relatively rare that contemporary authors provide significant fodder for my lexical treasury and rarer still to do so in a natural manner without feeling forced. While it's initial pacing is slow, the journey is intriguing and the pace picks up towards the end.
[NOTE: I received an advance review copy of the book from Netgalley for an honest review.]

While I read most of the book on my Kindle, I did listen to a sizeable part on Audible. Christopher Lane’s narration was apt, well-paced and especially brought Stevenson to life with a passable (yet fully understandable) Scottish burr. Mr. Lane’s performance adds to the story.

Find the full review at joesgeekfest on Wordpress.

28 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

  • By: Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 593
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 518
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 521

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn't know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from. When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch's gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

  • By Jonas Lee on 07-28-16

Brilliantly executed premise, well narrated

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

Reviewed: 10-19-16

Ms. Holmberg baked into her story intriguing characters, even the least lovable among them evokes some empathy (despite some serious nastiness). Her world is rich with smells, sound and myth come alive. Her story arcs in sometimes surprising ways and enters dark corners but never artificially or without purpose. I devoured this delectable treat in a couple of days and wish to immediately jump back into Raea. I cannot recommend it enough.

Imagine taking a Greek tragedy (and the related pantheon of gods), merge into it the story of the Fall and Original Sin and twirl in a mixture of fairy tales; never mind being able to “bake in inspiration”. That’s Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. It’s one thing to have a brilliant premise, it’s another to execute that well. Ms. Holmberg delivers in spades. She takes us along Maire’s painful journey of discovery of her own story. It’s a challenging world into which she has fallen, much like medieval Europe, full of might-makes-right and enslavement, as well as love, hope, and friendship. Maire’s “owner” is clearly not quite right. Not only is he devoid of a moral compass, he’s even devoid of common sense. So, he looks to the world around him to give him some clue of how to be in it. Given that sends him mixed messages, he’s not quite sure what that to do. As abusive and disgusting as he can be, he’s also an intriguing character of conflicting and foreign makeup. He is not only not normal, but he is “other”. He is not of this world. So even while you despise him, there is some empathy towards his plight. It’s a little like despising a snake that bites you. He cannot be other than he is. He cannot reflect and grow into something more even as he does learn to “fake it” better. He is limited by his very nature in an even more profound way than humans are.

Maire’s antagonist is also a bit of an entrepreneur; his business deals bring us into the world of fairy tales. Charlie Holmberg weaves these tales within the overall story in clever ways with just enough of a twist to make them new. While this is a fun sideline from the main thrust of the narrative, it’s integrated well and certainly adds to the overall enjoyment of the story. While no individual element of this world is completely new, Charlie Holmberg combines them in intriguing and innovative ways.
The characters are well developed; these are primarily Maire and Allemas, but also Arrice, Franc and Fyel. The relationships are complicated. Arrice and Franc essentially adopt Maire even though she’s appears to be a young woman when they meet her. Fyel is the ultimate tightlipped mystery man who appears to be connected with Maire and on her side, but for some reason doesn’t directly help her. Maire and Allemas have an often bizarre, disturbing and ever-changing relationship. At times, Allemas seems to treat her as property while at others he evinces a more intimate connection.

In terms of her writing style, I love how the dialogue matches the characters so well, especially for Allemas. Even his speech patterns are bizarre. Because Fyel feels he must hold his cards close to the vest, his halting attempts to communicate with Maire are a study in frustration. Arrice’s speech brings forth her loving and nurturing nature as Cleric Tuck’s conveys his competence and care. In other words, there’s a great fit between the manner of communicating and the characters themselves.

Like most journeys, the path on which Magic bitter, Magic Sweet takes you has many unknowns and a number of surprises; the journey takes you along in a different manner than you might think and leaves you at a slightly different place than you anticipated. I think the magic of this story is how she melds these disparate elements of myth, magic, and misdeed. While it’s a time of worn phrase, this is a novel where the whole is greater than its parts. At least for me, this journey is well worth the effort; it is enlightening and full of points that inspire reflection. I highly encourage you to take the journey as well.

Kate Rudd narrates the audiobook. She has fast become one of my favorite narrators and this book is indicative of why. Her flavor for each character is spot on, her pacing beautifully reflects the book and the ability to understand her, even in the midst of emotionally charged sections, is lovely. I think I last heard her in Rysa Walker’s Chronicles File series. It was interesting to note that she definitely has a go-to competent-caring-male voice she used there as well as in this book. Overall, I love her performance which mixes just the right emotional energy while maintaining clear enunciation.

For full review, see Joe's Geek Fest at Wordpress

  • Captain to Captain

  • Star Trek Legacies, Book 1
  • By: Greg Cox
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 815
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 759
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 762

Hidden aboard the USS Enterprise is a secret that has been passed from captain to captain, from Robert April to Christopher Pike to James T. Kirk. Now the return of the enigmatic woman once known as Number One has brought that secret to light, and Kirk and his crew must risk everything to finish a mission that began with April so many years ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Welcome back to audio Star Trek

  • By EasyReader on 08-18-16

Well done story with a little heavy handed dialogu

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

Reviewed: 10-02-16

Overall this is a solid sorry with good characters, an interesting world and a driven native. Sometimes the dialogue felt a bit forced and the obvious said in the midst of action, but that didn't mar a riveting story.

  • The Golem and the Jinni

  • A Novel
  • By: Helene Wecker
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 19 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,099
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,173
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,164

Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!

  • By Tango on 04-26-13

A Cultural Treat from a Brilliant Storyteller

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

Reviewed: 06-23-16

The Golem and the Jinni provides the rare treat of historical fiction infused with fantastic elements whilst mixing multiple cultures. The characters are compelling, multiple related story lines are deftly woven together and the story itself provides a beautiful tableau on which to paint these characters. The turn-of-the-(previous)-century, immigrant New York that Helene Wecker paints is a full character in itself.

Ms. Wecker doesn’t simply invite us to know her characters, she has fully immerses us in their world, their lives, and in their thoughts. As we read the book, the rhythm of our own thoughts and the vocabulary of our own reflections begin to take on a hint of flavor from those of the characters. These characters are so rich in their responses and their thought life as well as the way they see the challenges ahead of them that, while there is a lovely driving narrative throughout the whole story, you can simply enjoy diving into the well of these lives.

I heard the book, performed by audiobook veteran George Guidall, as much of the story as I read. His pacing, inflection and characterization are spot-on. In particular, his pacing allows you to fully soak up the world, the characters and storyline. If you enjoy audiobooks at all, you love this one. If you want to luxuriate in the wording, you can always user Whispersync for Voice to jump between the Audible version and the Kindle.

I highly recommend this story of love and loss, moving beyond people’s expectations laid down for you and rising about your cultural limitations even as you embrace it.

Full review available on joesgeekfest on Wordpress

  • Death of an Expert Witness

  • By: P. D. James
  • Narrated by: Penelope Dellaporta
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 107

An evil-tempered forensic scientist is put to death, putting many of his colleagues out of misery. Dr. Lorrimer appeared to be the picture of a bloodless, coldly efficient scientist. Only when his brutally slain body is discovered and his secret past dissected does the image begin to change. Once again, Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh learns that there is more to human beings than meets the eye and more to solving a murder than the obvious clues.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hard to Hear

  • By John L on 07-15-09

Clever mystery with a cultured voice

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

Reviewed: 05-10-16

Nice Daglish mystery. Typicality over-convoluted. Ms. Dellaporta is ideally suited to narrate the book. The recording quality was just OK. It sound like it was in a smallish echo chamber