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Buzz

Scottsdale, AZ, United States
  • 36
  • reviews
  • 111
  • helpful votes
  • 37
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  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Jim Broadbent
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,451
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,706
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,713

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack is a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Walkabout

  • By FanB14 on 07-01-13

Moving and Profound, but not Preachy.

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

Reviewed: 03-24-14

I cannot praise this book, together with the narrator, enough. While it can be read as a sentimental story, it can also be read by those willing to go within, as something much deeper. To place it in a wider context, listen to Joseph Campbell’s first episode (broadcast some 25 years ago and available on youtube) with Bill Moyers in the PBS series “The Power of Myth.” The parallels between the hero’s journey illuminated by Campbell, and Harold Fry’s pilgrimage, are striking. If Rachel Joyce never writes another book, and this was her first novel, she should be remembered for this achievement.

  • The Tourist

  • A Novel
  • By: Olen Steinhauer
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,067
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 558
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 556

In the vein of John le Carré and Graham Greene, this contemporary international thriller follows Milo Weaver as he is drawn into a conspiracy that links riots in the Sudan, an assassin committing suicide, and an old friend who's been accused of selling secrets to the Chinese. Once the CIA and Homeland Security are after him, the only way for him to survive is to return, headfirst, into Tourism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved this book

  • By Derek on 04-13-09

Confusing and Unsatisfying

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

Reviewed: 03-24-14

I know that Steinhauer has a legion of admirers, but I guess I'm not smart enough to be one of them. I simply couldn't follow the plot. It's one thing to be in the dark as events are occurring, but at the end, I do like to know how it all turned out, a desire that eluded me in The Tourist. Yes, there were several interesting characters and the action and motives, in isolation, did provide some excitement, but how it all fit together was something I, for one, never figured out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Kill List

  • By: Frederick Forsyth
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 382
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 336

In Virginia, there is an agency bearing the bland name of Technical Operations Support Activity, or TOSA. Its one mission is to track, find, and kill those so dangerous to the United States that they are on a short document known as the Kill List. TOSA actually exists. So does the Kill List. Added to it is a new name: a terrorist of frightening effectiveness called the Preacher, who radicalizes young Muslims abroad to carry out assassinations. Unfortunately for him, one of the kills is a retired Marine general, whose son is TOSA's top hunter of men....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good, But Not Forsyth's Best

  • By Tim on 09-13-13

Exciting Thriller

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

Reviewed: 02-11-14

This beautifully read audio book is a meticulously detailed “page turner.” While it does require some suspension of disbelief, it has all the hallmarks of this genre. My only (slight) criticism is that it is too long in parts. However, it held my interest throughout and I can recommend it to anyone who wants an action piece which he or she can easily become involved in.

  • The Things They Carried

  • By: Tim O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Bryan Cranston
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,768
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,270
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,246

Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heavy Load

  • By Mel on 10-28-13

Emotionally Powerful

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

Reviewed: 12-12-13

Over the years, I've read several novels centering on the Vietnam War, but The Things They Carried is in a class of its own. It is emotionally riveting and powerful, without being didactic or maudlin. Although there is a distinct plot, the various scenes are stories in and of themselves, which depict the total horror of Vietnam and the lasting impact it had on the survivors. By the end of the book, I was emotionally drained. The Things They Carried is contemporary fiction at its best. The narrator was so good, so natural, that his presentation was a large part of what engrossed me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sycamore Row

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,096
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,310
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,275

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Grisham at his best (again)

  • By Brock on 10-23-13

As Good as it Gets

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

Reviewed: 12-02-13

John Grisham is a master story teller, but of the seven or eight books of his that I've read over the years, Sycamore Row is in a class of its own. Not only is the plot exciting, fast-paced, and entirely realistic, but the characters are developed personalities who fascinated me and about whom I cared. The ending was powerful, emotional, and stayed with me for quite a while. As a lawyer, I found the trial, the legal issues and the trial preparation accurate and plausible. While the book stands on its own as a literary work, the audio production was so good and the reader so outstanding, that I can imagine that listening to this book may have been better than reading it. If I've ever listened to a better audio book, I can't remember what it was. Sycamore Row is as good as it gets.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Back to Blood

  • A Novel
  • By: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Lou Diamond Phillips
  • Length: 20 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 726
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 608
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 612

As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay - with officer Nestor Camacho on board - Tom Wolfe is off and running. Here is a big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now. Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous best-selling novels, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Wolfe

  • By Lauren on 11-03-12

Entertaining But Strained

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

Reviewed: 01-08-13

Back to Blood is journalist-turned-novelist Tom Wolfe’s fourth novel, all best sellers, but it is still a very slight tale. It could be called “Miami Exposed,” as it seeks to paint a portrait of that city’s many warring classes and ethnic territorials, all, in their own way, pursuing the American dream. Most of the characters are so overblown that they are cartoons of real people, and the situations that Wolfe creates for them are so implausible, that the novel is sometimes more farce than drama. Still, Wolfe is such a good story-teller that the reader is nudged onward to find out how it all turns out, which will lead many readers to be disappointed because Wolfe frequently either abandons his characters or fails to resolve situations in which he has placed them. I have now read all of Wolfe’s four novels, and I would recommend that anyone interested in reading Back to Blood, do so only after they have read his earlier works in the order that they were written. Wolfe gets worse with each of his novels, but they’re still good enough to keep him and his readership going.

What saved this book for me, was the superb reader, who made this a better book than it would otherwise have been.

  • Only Time Will Tell

  • The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Jeffrey Archer
  • Narrated by: Roger Allam, Emilia Fox
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,808
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,263
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,237

From the internationally best-selling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph. The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words "I was told that my father was killed in the war"....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Typical Archer

  • By cristina on 10-21-11

From the Master of the Novel as Soap Opera

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

Reviewed: 11-13-12

Some days all I really want is for someone to tell me a wicked-good story, and when that mood strikes me, there is no better author to turn to than Jeffrey Archer. His books are simple, fast-moving, thoughtless, and well-constructed, while his characters are either very good or very bad, and almost believable. Archer’s major ability is to grab the reader quickly and never let go, and to somehow make the reader care about what happens in the lives of the characters, in short, to make the reader want to know how it turns out. After quickly finishing Only Time Will tell, the first book in Archer’s projected series, The Clifton Chronicles, I immediately picked up and finished the second book, The Sins of the Father. No doubt about it: I’ll buy each succeeding book as it is published.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • HHhH

  • By: Laurent Binet
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 135

HHhH: "Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich," or "Himmler's brain is called Heydrich." The most dangerous man in Hitler's cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich was known as the "Butcher of Prague." He was feared by all and loathed by most. With his cold Aryan features and implacable cruelty, Heydrich seemed indestructible-until two men, a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service-killed him in broad daylight on a bustling street in Prague, and thus changed the course of History.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Himlers Hirn heisst Heydrich

  • By Darwin8u on 02-02-13

A “Literary Tour de Force” NYT

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

Reviewed: 10-19-12

SS general Reinhard Heydrich is one of history’s cruelest and most depraved actors. He’s rotten to the core, but Hitler and Himmler like him, so his power and opportunities are unlimited and he rejoices in using them. He was assassinated by two Czech resistance heroes in 1942 in Prague, and HHhH tells the chilling story of the assassination. But the book is more than a narrative of an event that has been extensively researched and retold: It also tells the tale of the author researching and writing the book, sort of a “play within a play.” I found this technique, in the hands of French author, Laurent Binet, extremely effective and interesting, but because it does interrupt the exciting narrative of the assassination plot itself, it was disliked by some reviewers. To me, however, Binet’s literary journey and ideas about historical fiction, complemented the narrative in chief and raised the book from a adventure tale, to literary fiction. It is not clear whether Binet’s part in the book is real or imagined, but it doesn’t matter, this is a terrific book either way. The superb reader greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the book.

  • The Yellow Birds

  • A Novel
  • By: Kevin Powers
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 393
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 340

"The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sad and Unforgettable

  • By Buzz on 10-17-12

Sad and Unforgettable

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

Reviewed: 10-17-12


I accept that it is not possible to know what it is like to be in combat unless one has actually experienced it, but good literature is as close as one can get. The Yellow Birds, set in Iraq, tells the story of two young American soldiers from Virginia, their experiences and the aftermath. It is not a pretty picture. The genius of the book, a first work by Kevin Powers, is that it uses powerful and artful writing to not only tell a story, but to provide insight into the consciousness of other human beings who are caught in the madness of war and killing. This is not a story of hope or spiritual uplifting; rather, it is an exposition (not an explanation) of existence under this latest version of war. It is sad and unforgettable. Beautifully read.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Redbreast

  • By: Jo Nesbø
  • Narrated by: Robin Sachs
  • Length: 16 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,856
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,549
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,549

It is 1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century. In 1999, Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Different For Nesbo, But Still Great

  • By Joe on 06-03-12

Better to read this excellent book

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

Reviewed: 09-30-12

I’ve been listening to audio books for over 25 years, and I’ve come to know that there are some very good books, which do not work well for me in the audio book format. The Redbreast, by Jo Nesbo, is better read than listened to. According to an online site, it has 82 characters and all of them have unfamiliar Norwegian names. The plot is very intricate and takes place in 107 chapters, which switch back and forth between the years 1942 to 2,000, and within numerous cities of Europe. Quite frankly, I was confused during large parts of the book, a confusion that, if it existed at all, would have been cleared up by reference to the printed page. The omission of a map included in the print edition, didn’t help matters. As for the book itself, it is an excellent book, which is hard to characterize; part WWII history, psychology, existential angst, love, contemporary politics, hate crimes, and detective drama. The Redbreast is such a good book, that I regret my decision to select the audio version, even though the narrator is as excellent as the book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful