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Joel Langenfeld

  • 27
  • reviews
  • 138
  • helpful votes
  • 774
  • ratings
  • Kill the Farm Boy

  • The Tales of Pell Series, Book 1
  • By: Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,269
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,209
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,207

A plucky farm boy will find more than he's bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there's the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy's untimely death...and also very fine cheese. Then there's a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, and the Dread Necromancer Steve....

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • A forgettable story with none of the iron Druid charm

  • By Adam on 07-23-18

Adolescent humor ... and not particularly good

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

I'm not particularly prudish, but the authors were evidently banking on sesqui-entendres like "holding the Morning Wood in reverence" or "plunging into the Bushy Cleft" for yucks. The first couple of chapters were OK, but beyond that the tepid puns were overburdened by an unimaginative plot.

Luke Daniels did his best, but he didn't write the drivel.

  • The Dark Monk

  • A Hangman's Daughter Tale
  • By: Oliver Pötzsch
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,554
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,384
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,381

It is 1648, a small village in the Alps: In the thick of a blizzard,a town priest discovers he’s been poisoned. As numbness creeps up his body, he summons the last of his strength and scratches a sign in the frost that will lead the town hangman, his daughter, and the town physician in pursuit of a treasure of the Knights Templar. But the priest’s murderer is already on their trail, and he’s not the only one after the legendary fortune: a dark monk is not far behind,and a band of thieves is roving the countryside, attacking solitary travelers and spreading panic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great, Like a Bavarian Cream Cake

  • By Larry Verburg on 06-03-13

Workman-like

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

Reviewed: 04-18-18

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but... While the writing was strong enough to keep my interest, there were a number of plot points that had me rolling my metaphorical eyes.

The riddle-to-discover-more-riddles trope is more than a little worn out, as well as trying to force 20th century medical knowledge into a 17th century physician's perspective to make everything work out in the end. The history is pretty well researched, but I have to throw in the pedantic nit about the story points depending on someone or other striking a match they happened to be carrying. Quite the feat, given they wouldn't be invented for another 150 years - and not widely available for a few decades after that.

Grover Cleveland was as impeccable as ever with his naration.

  • The Grand Design

  • Strategy and the U.S. Civil War 
  • By: Donald Stoker
  • Narrated by: Thomas Dunn
  • Length: 17 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Despite the abundance of books on the Civil War, not one has focused exclusively on what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in union and southern strategy. In The Grand Design, Stoker examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them - or how they often failed to do so.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • top military lessons for sure

  • By All-access Customer on 10-03-18

Clausewitzian commentary on the Civil War

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

Reviewed: 03-17-18

The author is firmly in the Clausewitz camp, whose influence ebbs and flows over the decades. He does do a very nice job of evaluating the actions and correspondences of most of the major commanders and their government from that framework. My guess is that this would be an easier listen if you already familiar with many of the campaigns and personalities - maybe having read some Foote, Sears, Catton, etc.

The narrator has a few odd pronunciations, but overall is easy to listen to. Unfortunately, the editing was a little sloppy, leaving in retakes in a few places and at least one instance of a short excerpt apparently missing.

  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

  • By: Theodora Goss
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,403
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,227
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,214

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents' deaths, is curious about the secrets of her father's mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father's former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture...a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde's daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Cute, erratic, sloppy but not without charm

  • By Rachel on 07-07-17

Slowly, her breathing slowed...

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

Reviewed: 07-12-17

That phrase pretty much sums up the entire book.

This could a pleasant eight hours of Audible. Unfortunately, it will require 13 1/2 hours of your time to plow through. The author executed this lexical legerdemain by slipping in looonng expository narratives from several perspectives, relieved only by the various narrators arguing about the presentation of those tedious narratives.

Kate Reading was spot on with her narration, but unfortunately her considerable talents could not elevate this plodding prose.

37 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Panzer Commander

  • The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
  • By: Hans von Luck, Stephen E. Ambrose (introduction)
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,896
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,769
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,767

A stunning look at World War II from the other side.... From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front - von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers. Awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Reads like Forrest Gump ( a fiction )

  • By Randall on 11-08-16

Pinchot, what were you thinking?

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

Reviewed: 12-06-16

Bronson Pinchot is perhaps my favorite male narrator on Audible, but loses his way here. His "German accent" would be acceptable for the voice of a native German speaking character in a novel, but it is clearly a native English speaker with attempting a German accent. Given this is the English memoirs of a native German speaker, this gimmick is a tragic, unforced error of judgement.

von Luck is clearly shaping his memoirs to advocate peaceful coexistence among Europeans. While I have a lot of sympathy with this perspective, one does have to wonder where the line between memoir and advocacy lies.

Military historians will probably find his discussions of some of his accounts of noteworthy actions in WWII short on detail. I found myself drawn to his accounts of life in the Soviet internment camps after the war at least as compelling.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Introvert Advantage

  • How to Thrive in an Extrovert World
  • By: Marti Olsen Laney PsyD
  • Narrated by: Tamara Marston
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,834
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,595
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,578

The Introvert Advantage dispels common myths about introverts - they’re not necessarily shy, aloof, or antisocial - and explains how they are hardwired from birth to focus inward, so outside stimulation such as chitchat, phone calls, parties, or office meetings can easily become "too much". Most importantly, it thoroughly refutes many introverts’ belief that something is wrong with them. Instead, it helps them recognize their inner strengths - their analytical skills, ability to think outside the box, and strong powers of concentration.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you're an Introvert or not sure, you must read.

  • By Raul on 12-07-13

Pthththttt!

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-16

I was unaware that my introversion was cause for shame and therapy until I started listening to this book. How I ever reached my 50th birthday without throwing myself off a bridge is a complete mystery. Evidently I was ticking timebomb and didn't even realize it. I returned the book before the author convinced me to curl up in the fetal position and refuse food and water.

A Tale of Two Cities
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Charles Dickens
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Michael Shallenberg,
    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Andy Sirois,
    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Kara Osborne,
    
    
        and others
    


    
    Length: 14 hrs and 41 mins
    31 ratings
    Overall 3.6
  • A Tale of Two Cities

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Michael Shallenberg, Andy Sirois, Kara Osborne, and others
  • Length: 14 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

A Tale of Two Cities is a historical novel by Charles Dickens; it is moreover a moral novel strongly concerned with themes of guilt, shame, redemption and patriotism. The plot centers on the years leading up to French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror. It tells the story of two men, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, who look very much alike but are entirely different in character.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Surprise!

  • By Jess on 03-21-11

Disjointed narraton too distracting

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

Reviewed: 12-28-15

There's a pleasant lyricism to Dickens, which this narration absolutely obliterates.

The chapters are read, round robin fashion between the various narrators. The tempo, diction and volume vary wildly. The chapters are short - a few to several minutes usually. Each is severed by the outgoing narrator declaring "End of part 2, chapter 1" followed by the incoming narrator declaring "Part 2, Chapter 2", etc. None of the narrators are bad per se, but the aggregate is a complete trainwreck.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

  • By: Mark Twain
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 924
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 818
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 815

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is both a whimsical fantasy and a social satire chock-full of brilliant Twainisms. Hank Morgan, a nineteenth-century American---a Connecticut Yankee---by a stroke of fate is sent back into time to sixth-century England and ends up in Camelot and King Arthur's Court.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic Yarn

  • By Ian C Robertson on 06-23-12

Not the best of Twain

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

Reviewed: 08-02-15

But "not the best of Twain" is still better than most.

I'd read this many years ago, and picked up the Audio as a daily deal. Dufris is a very accomplished narrator and does a fine job here.

This is primarily a satirical novel, in which Twain lauds the nobility of the ignoble, while excoriating the ignominy of the nobility. His observations on slavery are deeply compelling. One must note that this book was written with the Civil War very much in living memory, and one can only imagine the controversy such writing would evoke. There are also longish passages on economic issues which would have been extremely topical in 1890, but much less so today.

Some will feel that a satirical piece of this length is just one long harangue. Perhaps it is, but Twain's wit and essential gentility keep it from becoming dark.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Under the Black Flag

  • The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates
  • By: David Cordingly
  • Narrated by: Don Hagen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 217
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 198
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 199

For this rousing, revisionist history, the former head of exhibitions at England's National Maritime Museum has combed original documents and records to produce a most authoritative and definitive account of piracy's "Golden Age." As he explodes many accepted myths (i.e. "walking the plank" is pure fiction), Cordingly replaces them with a truth that is more complex and often bloodier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Lacks Nuance

  • By Joel Langenfeld on 07-02-15

Lacks Nuance

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

Reviewed: 07-02-15

Cordingly attempts to lump every sea-borne rogue from the sea-peoples of the ancient Mediterranean to Somali pirates in skiffs into one archetype, then share his reflections on that archetype. He would have been far more effective talking about specific subcultures of "pirates" and not trying to fit them all into one tidy model.

Cordingly also seems to inordinately dependent on a number of works either written by Daniel Defoe, or very closely linked to him. Another major source of research appears to be testimony of suspected pirates in British Admiralty courts. Granted, there is a paucity of primary material available, but both should have been treated with far more circumspection.

The narration was professional.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Trapped

  • The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 5
  • By: Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,374
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,601
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,604

After 12 years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave. Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge - but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as some of the others in the series

  • By Melissa Schroff on 12-18-12

Tedious

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

Reviewed: 06-14-15

After spending four books flirting with the hot new student, the best Hearne can come up with for pillow talk is, in effect "with these marvelous new powers, we could be at this for days..."

That, and the dark elves done it. Again.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful