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Mark

Waltham, MA, United States
  • 359
  • reviews
  • 1,881
  • helpful votes
  • 392
  • ratings
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky

  • A Novel
  • By: Mark Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 17 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,390
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,135
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,058

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He's a normal Italian teenager - obsessed with music, food, and girls - but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino's parents force him to enlist as a German soldier - a move they think will keep him out of combat.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best Thing? It Really Happened!

  • By Charles Atkinson on 08-07-17

second half gets better

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

"Based on a true story" were the words that kept me listening. Otherwise I would have dismissed this as a fluffy war romance. This is a story of love and survival in Nazi-occupied Italy. It is a coming-of-age story of Pino Pella, an Italian teen, in his war-torn homeland. The first half was pretty slow and felt over sentimental. The narrator's sing-song voice made this sound more like a fairy tale than gritty war story. The voices of the characters, though, were outstanding. This felt like light-weight fiction, and I almost stopped, but I knew Pino was a real person, and I did want to see what happened. In the second half, when Pino starts to drive for a high ranked Nazi general (and spy for the Italian Resistance), this book got a lot better. I'd rate this 3.5 stars if I could. The engaging second half made me happy enough that I endured the long and sappy first half. The characters never came alive as real people (even though they are based on actual people), but the spy story was engaging and the romance fun.

  • The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

  • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
  • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,888
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,891
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,824

After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT

  • By ambER on 04-20-17

interesting but too little happens

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

Reviewed: 02-12-19

This novel is told by the protagonist (Offred), a woman in a dystopian future, whose one job it is to get pregnant and have a child. The novel goes from the past, when the US government is overthrown and Offred starts to realize how bad life will be for women, to the present. Little happens, but I was interested to learn in bits and pieces about the new and sick society. The problem is that the pace is glacial. I was almost ready to quit halfway through. The second half had a little more plot to it. It was still on the slow side, but things happened. I liked this enough that I was glad that I listened, but I will not go back for the sequel. Maybe I'll try the TV show, which I have not seen. I really liked the narrator, Claire Danes.She added to the haunting and disturbing atmosphere.

  • Break In

  • By: Dick Francis
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,425
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,287
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,286

Dick Francis was a jockey and horse trainer for many years. His experience gives his questrian mysteries an authenticity that has attracted fans around the globe. To honor him, the Mystery Writers of America named Dick Francis a Grand Master for his impeccably crafted contributions to the genre. Jockey Kit Fielding has been riding the de Brescous horses in a succession of triumphs on the race course. But this winning streak is about to end. Kit’s twin sister, Holly, has come to him in desperation. Threatened by financial scandal, she and her husband may lose their training stables.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really very good!

  • By Nancy on 01-15-14

decent old fashioned mystery

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

Reviewed: 02-01-19

This is a British mystery written in the 1980's. It is a mystery in the horse racing world. Kit Fielding is a jockey and his twin sister and her husband Bobby (from a generation-old arch enemy family) train horses. Someone is libeling Bobby and his business is failing. Kit tries to uncover the plot that is sending his sister and her husband to bankruptcy. The book feels a little dated in both good and bad ways. The writing is so polished and crisp, like the best writing of past generations. On the negative side, the characters are less personal (compared to modern American mysteries). I really liked the background on the horse racing scene, but it took me a long time before I was really drawn into these characters and their story. It ended strongly. I am glad I stayed with this. While some spots were slow, there were greats moments, too, in this. To me, this was a solid 3.5 star mystery novel.

  • A Land Remembered

  • By: Patrick D. Smith
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 14 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,942
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,773
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,775

In this best-selling novel, Patrick D. Smith tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. The story opens in 1858, when Tobias MacIvey arrives in the Florida wilderness to start a new life, and ends in 1968 with Solomon MacIvey, who realizes that the land has been exploited far beyond human need.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent historical tale

  • By Boysmom on 04-10-15

slow start but then pulled me in

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

Reviewed: 01-27-19

This novel is about three generations of a Florida family, spanning from the mid 1800's to the mid 1900's. Most of the book was about the first family generation of McIveys. They lived in poverty, hunting and gathering in the Florida wilderness, and eventually went into raising cattle. Friendly to local Seminoles, Tobias McIvey is given information from the local Indians that leads to smart decisions in the cattle industry and the start of a cattle and farming empire. At the start, the story was a little too sweet and simple for me. It reminded me of old Disney westerns. Slowly, though, this novel drew me in. I liked the Florida history aspect, and I eventually felt a great connection to all the members of the McIvey class. This is a sweet, feel-good story, filled with triumphs and heartbreak. The narrator is outstanding and perfect for this story of the taming of the Florida wilderness.

  • The Burning Room

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Titus Welliver
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,297
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,613
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,590

In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not up to par

  • By Patroo on 11-07-14

Great characters and the best reader

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

As a person who gets bored with most series and with many mysteries, I just love these Harry Bosch novels narrated by Titus Welliver. This story is a standard mystery, with two plots. Bosch is in his last year with the LAPD. He is working cold cases, and is teamed up with a rookie female detective. There is a political twist to one story. As always with these novels, the story and characters are totally believable. Some parts of the plot are slow, but the characters and writing is so good (along with great narration), that this book was fun to listen to from start to end. The late-career Harry Bosch is probably my favorite detective in fiction today. I hope they keep coming, with the same reader!

  • The Name of the Wind

  • (Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1)
  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 27 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65,950
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60,091
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60,179

This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Joanna on 05-10-11

Kept my interest enough to finish

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

Reviewed: 01-12-19

I do not read many fantasy novels, but was intrigued by this and gave it a shot. At the start, the writing was great and my expectations rose. The real story came when Kvothe tells his story. The story is basically a coming-of-age tale where Kvothe survives the murder of his parents and their troupe. Kvothe learns some magic and ultimately attends the university. He is the youngest there and a poor outsider, and is always trying to prove himself. A lot of this part felt so similar to Harry Potter. It felt like it devolved into a YA novel. A very good YA fantasy, but YA nevertheless. It had some good parts, but there was not enough to draw me in as an adult. It was just good enough for me to finish. A great narrator helped there.

  • Ancient Civilizations of North America

  • By: Edwin Barnhart, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Edwin Barnhart
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 827
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 759
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 756

For the past few hundred years, most of what we’ve been taught about the native cultures of North America came from reports authored by the conquerors and colonizers who destroyed them. Now - with the technological advances of modern archaeology and a new perspective on world history - we are finally able to piece together their compelling true stories. In Ancient Civilizations of North America, Professor Edwin Barnhart, Director of the Maya Exploration Center, will open your eyes to a fascinating world you never knew existed - even though you’ve been living right next to it, or even on top of it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A different perspective - civilizations not tribes

  • By Steve Goppert on 07-26-18

I learned a lot of ancient North American history

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

I learned a lot in this Great Courses audiobook. Parts were interesting; other parts were a little slow. Because this is an academic lecture, there was a lot of background on how things were learned. It was good, but I was hoping to have those civilizations come more alive to me. Still, I am glad that I listened.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Outsider

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36,839
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,732
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,590

An 11-year-old boy's violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City's most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Will Patton great - story so so

  • By Randall on 06-19-18

One of my favorite Stephen King novels!

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

Reviewed: 12-23-18

Of the dozen or so Stephen King novels I have read or listened to, this is one of my favorites. It has been many years since I have enjoyed one of his books so much. I am not a fan of the books where the supernatural is too heavy. This was perfect. It is a great mystery. One of a town's leading citizens and an all-star human being is accused of a gruesome murder. The evidence is incontrovertible. Strangely, his alibi is equally strong. But a man cannot be in two places at once. Or can he? That is the premise. I liked this from the start, and continued to like it more and more throughout. I liked the characters, and Stephen King knows how to use details to make a story fun. Warning – there is not a lot of action, but the eerie buildup had me riveted. Rational people react to the irrational in very believable ways. King is that rare author who writes as well in the later years of his career as at the start. I loved this creep mystery novel!

0 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Buried Book

  • By: D. M. Pulley
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,752
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,745

It's 1952, and Jasper isn't allowed to ask questions or make a fuss. He's lucky to even have a home and must keep his mouth shut and his ears open to stay in his uncle's good graces. No one knows where his mother went or whether she's coming back. Desperate to see her again, he must take matters into his own hands. From the farm, he embarks on a treacherous search that will take him to the squalid hideaways of Detroit and back again, through tawdry taverns, peep shows, and gambling houses.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Truth Hurts

  • By Charles Atkinson on 01-30-18

Story never came alive to me

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

Reviewed: 12-17-18

This is a mystery/coming-of-age story in the rural midwest in the 1950's. Jasper is nine years old. His mother leaves suddenly and his father cannot care for him, so he moves onto a farm with his uncle, aunt, and older cousin. This book tries to portray his life on the farm as both hard and idyllic. It paints a nostalgic picture of Jasper and his life when adults were strict disciplinarians. Jasper tries to find out what happened with his mother, exploring the world of crime which his mother was a part of. The book is fairly well written, and I kept hoping that it would draw me in more strongly, but it never did. So much was predictable, but something else was missing. I never cared about the characters and stories as much as I was supposed to. I would rate this story 2.5 stars, but the narrator was good enough you keep me listening, right to then end, pushing this just up to the three star listen for me.

  • Reading with Patrick

  • A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship
  • By: Michelle Kuo
  • Narrated by: Michelle Kuo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 86
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87

Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic book with an upsetting reminder we have much to do

  • By Lorraine Salmon :) on 11-14-17

Good telling of an inspiring true story

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

Michelle Kuo has a Harvard degree and defers law school for a year to join Teach For America and work in the Mississippi delta of Arkansas. She works in a poor school for kids (mostly black) who have failed in other schools. In this memoir, Kuo learns how to deal with these challenging students and begins to make a difference in their lives. Patrick is one of her great successes. Fast forward three years. Kuo is ready to graduate from law school when she hers that Patrick is changed with murder. She returns to the delta to help in any way she can. Visiting Patrick each day in jail, she resumes his aborted education. This is an incredibly inspiring story, filled with pain and joy. Kuo's telling of it is good, not great, but her story is so interesting that I would rate this a solid 4.5 stars. This stayed with me even after finishing. Kuo reads the book herself. While not polished, I liked her genuine voice. It might have been better with a professional, or maybe not. I liked this book a lot, regardless. I am a teacher, and found this story real and inspiring.