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Richard

  • 12
  • reviews
  • 112
  • helpful votes
  • 75
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  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

  • By: Hannah Tinti
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Wiley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 344
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 325

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife's hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother's mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past - a past that eventually spills over into his daughter's present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A literary work with a plot line

  • By Truth Speaker on 05-09-17

Even bad guys have redeeming qualities.

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

Reviewed: 09-18-17

Sam Hawley made lots of money doing bad things. Then he lost his wife. He struggles to redeem himself by keeping their daughter safe and raising her to be smart and strong. Their relationship is surprisingly touching. The organization of the book alternates between Sam's story, told one gunshot wound at a time, and his daughter, Lu's. Both voices are compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Nine

  • Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court
  • By: Jeffrey Toobin
  • Narrated by: Don Leslie
  • Length: 15 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 619
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 618

Based on exclusive interviews with justices themselves, The Nine tells the story of the Supreme Court through personalities, from Anthony Kennedy's overwhelming sense of self-importance to Clarence Thomas' well-tended grievances against his critics to David Souter's odd 19th-century lifestyle. There is also, for the first time, the full behind-the-scenes story of Bush v. Gore and Sandra Day O'Connor's fateful breach with George W. Bush, the president she helped place in office.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating

  • By Stephen on 01-28-08

Interesting Material Undermined by the Writer

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

Reviewed: 02-08-15

Toobin has good material. The research is thorough. However, as in his OJ book, his biases and attempts at analysis undermine the book rather than make it more interesting. I say that even though I share his political and social leanings. His thinking is that of an outsider who misunderstands the perceptions and motivations of those he watches. As someone who spent many years practicing law, my reaction while reading/listening to the book was often that he just didn't "get it." Instead he "gets it" about 50% of the time. It's the writing of someone who is well educated in the law but not in the behavior of the humans in the courts and in cases. Nonetheless, the facts he describes are fascinating, and it's easy enough to separate out and ignore his speculation and opinion.

I think Toobin could write a very good book if he made a conscious effort to write a "neutral" book, with the assistance of an editor that insisted on that principle. He understands the mechanics of the law and our legal system. His writing, in other books, and elsewhere, is clear and easy to read. He's a good reporter who simply does not have good insight about the cases and institutions he covers. The next time he gets an advance to tackle some interesting case or legal institution, he should stick to the facts.

  • A Spark Unseen

  • By: Sharon Cameron
  • Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead. But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust - if anyone - to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a wonderful YA surprise!

  • By Lori Langerud on 01-14-16

Pure Gothic Pleasure

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

Reviewed: 03-24-14

Both this title and its predecessor, A Dark Unwinding, provide pure gothic entertainment following the tried and true gothic formula--an orphaned heroine journeying to unknown relatives, two potential love interests--one dark, one light--a surly housekeeper, potential insanity, an inheritance. What distinguishes them from gothic drivel are Katherine's Uncle Tully, a loveable autistic savant, and Katherine herself, who learns to take matters into her own hands rather than wait for rescue. Because the author has followed the traditional gothic formula, the listener will be able to predict some details. Ms. Cameron, however, delights in finding other ways to surprise. Her characters develop beyond their 2-dimensional prototypes and provide delightful suspense. While not necessarily "improving literature," both books are excellent stories, well narrated. Worth the credits.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Started Early, Took My Dog

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 978
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 692
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 694

Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT.

  • By Patricia on 08-28-11

good book--droning narrator

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-11

It makes me terribly sad to give a Jackson Brodie novel by Kate Atkinson less than 5 stars, but the narrator nearly ruined it for me. His voice did not change for any of the characters, nor did his pitch or inflection ever vary from a near monotone. I gave up listening and went to my local bookstore to buy the hard copy, which was wonderful (although not as good as When Will There Be Good News? or One Good Turn). I can't imagine why the publisher went with a narrator other than Ellen Archer, who read WWTBGN. She was spectacular. Graeme Malcolm wasn't. Kate Atkinson does lovely plot twists and I really like what she has been doing with Jackson and his delayed cultural growth--reading poetry, going to museums, attending the theatre. I did miss the tension between Jackson and Louise, so I am hoping that the end of this book is not just a tease.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • When Will There Be Good News?

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Ellen Archer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 959
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 634
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 630

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever....On a dark night 30 years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mystery Series With Complexity & Depth

  • By Sara on 11-22-15

Kate Atkinson pleases again.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-19-08

If you've read (or listened to) Case Histories and One Good Turn, then When Will There Be Good News? is just what you'd expect from Kate Atkinson. If this is your first experience with this author, be prepared. Her characters and their predicaments will draw you in to the point where you'll find yourself sitting in the driveway or tuning out your family to find out what happens next. Jackson Brodie is back along with the string of misfortunes that have been plaguing him since Case Histories. In addition, we get better acquainted with DCI Louise Monroe and meet the ineffably persistent Reggie Chase. The mysteries in this book are compelling and, as always with Kate Atkinson, twisted together in ways that do not all become apparent until the very end of the book. When Will There Be Good News?, along with Atkinson's other Jackson Brodie books, are mystery thrillers for people who don't like mystery thrillers. The characters are as intricately developed as the plot line. The dialogue is natural, never forced. The endings are like good chocolate--satisfying, but leaving you wanting just a little more. The reader does a creditable job of managing a variety of British accents and both male and female voices.

33 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • The Palace of Illusions

  • By: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 190
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • timeless story

  • By Richard on 03-15-08

timeless story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-15-08

I didn't realize until I was part of the way through this listen that it was anything more than a work of fiction. Imagine my surprise when I started seeing the names of characters from Palace of Illusions in the actual book I was reading. Upon doing a little internet searching, I discovered that Palace of Illusions is actually a re-telling of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, told from the point of view of Draupadi, the main female character.
You will not always like or sympathize with Draupadi--she is a pampered, self-centered, vindictive woman who doesn't appreciate what she has until it is gone. Her story is compelling, however, and the reader does a wonderful job, using subtle changes in her voice and accent to characterize the many different people in the story. This one is definitely worth your time. A note of caution, however--the author's previous books on audible, from The Brotherhood of the Conch, are aimed at upper elementary or middle school aged children. The Palace of Illusions is probably not appropriate for children of that age.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Flight

  • A Quantum Fiction Novel
  • By: Vanna Bonta
  • Narrated by: Vanna Bonta
  • Length: 17 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 12

Mendle Orion is a writer who lives at the intersection of fiction and reality. He idealizes love and cynically rails against a world that wastes his dreams. The man's life is forever changed the day he meets a mysterious young woman with intense blue eyes and total amnesia who looks at urban life as though she's seeing it for the first time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Up There With Great Forever Books

  • By FRANCISCO on 10-09-13

Just Awful!

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-08

I could only listen to 20 minutes of this drivel. The writing was bad and the reading was worse, both of which were extremely disappointing because the premise was interesting. Don't waste your time with this one.

3 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Wintersmith

  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Stephen Briggs
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,733
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,224
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,223

At nine, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland. At 11, she banished an ancient body-stealing evil. At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you're 13. But the Wintersmith isn't exactly a boy. He is winter itself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What's with the annoying musical interludes?

  • By Heather on 11-28-07

Tiffany Rocks!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-07

My daughter and I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of Terry Pratchett's books about Tiffany Aching. As a middle school teacher and parent, I love the message that everyone makes mistakes--the important thing is what you do about it--and being smart is more about listening to other people than using big words. The humor makes the message completely palatable and opens the door for great conversations with your tween. Plus, it's hard to resist Rob Anybody, Daft Wully, and Wee Billy Big-Chin.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Book Thief

  • By: Markus Zusak
  • Narrated by: Allan Corduner
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,347
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,245
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,282

It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Glad I took a chance.

  • By Robert on 08-20-11

The Book Thief Steals Hearts, Too

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-04-07

By the time this book finishes, Leisl, Rudi and the Hubermanns will feel like people you have known and loved forever. Leisl's story is both heartbreaking and beautiful. Given up to foster care by an impoverished, Communist mother during the Third Reich, ten year old Leisl is taught to read, to trust and to love by her foster father, Hans Hubermann. As she learns and grows, she touches other lives through her love for words. The narrator does a marvelous job with the voices and German accents--they do not sound like caricatures, but like real people. Zusak's writing is unique and elegant. He has a very sensory style that I found very appealing. He writes the kind of sentences that you notice for the quality of the language as well as the thought expressed. I did not want this book to end.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • A Thread of Grace

  • A Novel
  • By: Mary Doria Russell
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 19 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 310
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

It is September 8, 1943, and Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes, overnight, an open battleground.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I had no idea......

  • By Deborah on 09-14-05

fascinating story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-29-05

I will agree with other reviewers that the reader was not the greatest--she was very distracting at first, but once I got interested in the story, I found I didn't care. I knew next to nothing about Italy during WWII before listening to this book. Now, I wish I knew more. This book is filled with many interesting characters, although the "main" character, Claudette Blum, is not really one of them. I found myself fascinated by Renzo Leone and the German doctor. It's hard to portray how riveting their characters were without giving away much of the story line. I'm sorry for those who could not get into this book because they missed an excellent story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful