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  • See Me

  • By: Nicholas Sparks
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ryan Grant
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,961
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,946
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,930

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. At 28, he's focused only on walking a straight line - getting his teaching degree, working out at the gym religiously, and avoiding all the places and people that proved so destructive in his earlier life. The last thing he's looking for is a serious relationship. But when Maria Sanchez crosses paths with him on a rainswept night in North Carolina, his plans are upended in a way that will rattle the foundations of his carefully structured life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Book Nicholas Sparks Has Ever Written!

  • By Wendi on 01-07-16

See Me

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

See Me is just under fifteen hours of listening. Typical of Nicholas Sparks, See Me is a character-driven, timeless, and emotional. Get out a box of tissues, curl up with your cat, a carton of ice cream, and savor a fatalistic love story. Not his best, but if you are a Sparks fan, you’ll enjoy the book.

A formulaic basis of boy-meets-girl, both drop-dead-beauties. She’s successful with a past, he’s a struggling ex-bad-boy with anger issues. No spoilers.

Liked. Narration by Christopher Ryan Grant is fine, male and female voices alike, good production – no trouble determining who-says-what-to-who. It’s always pleasurable to listen to a Nicholas Sparks love story. They are heartfelt chic-lit heaven. Intriguing that a man, Sparks, can be focused on such popular love stories, like The Notebook or Safe Haven, really all of his books. But then, men have written the most famous poems and song lyrics, dripping sentimentality, and mawkishness. So, maybe not so strange …

Didn’t like. The story is a bit long – See Me could be told in 10 hours or less. The lead female protagonist is close to 30 years old, and there is ‘the talk’ between the lead male protagonist and her father. She’s not a teenager going on a prom date, rather a successful attorney who doesn’t need daddy to look the guy over. Eye-rolling segment Sparks should have deep-sixed.

Released by Hachette Audio in October of 2015. Recommended for Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, and of course, Nicholas Sparks fans.

  • The Auschwitz Escape

  • By: Joel C. Rosenberg
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,478
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,092
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,097

A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz’s beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans - especially Jews like Jacob and his family - are treated like dogs. When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare - trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging novel of Nazi horrors

  • By Mark on 02-26-18

The Auschwitz Escape

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

Reviewed: 09-17-18

The Auschwitz Escape is a compilation of everything a person educated in the Holocaust has read and, over the years, been told. If you are familiar with the events, there are no surprises … if you are not, it is a novel based on historical events you should understand and “never forget”.

At approximately fifteen hours of listening, The Auschwitz Escape is just that … an escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland near the end of WWII. It is a novel, although the book refers to several historical individuals of the time. If you are interested in the actual events, there are documentaries and books created by survivors. For example, Night – by Elie Wiesel. Rosenberg indicates the Germans had the resources to send out aircraft to chase down prison escapees – didn’t make sense given it’s so late in the war – 1944. Dramatic license? Maybe they did … but it’s a credibility issue to research.

At just under fifteen hours of listening, The Auschwitz Escape was released in 2014 by Brilliance Audio and, narrated by Christopher Lane … Lane is excellent.

Worth the read, the story is based on fact – this horror really happened, and there is proof. The gas chambers and ovens are still there…..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Award

  • By: Danielle Steel
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,052
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 940
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 927

Gaëlle de Barbet is 16 years old in 1940 when the German army occupies France and frightening changes begin. She is shocked and powerless when French gendarmes take away her closest friend, Rebekah Feldmann, and her family, and send them to a detention camp for deportation to an unknown, ominous fate.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not my favorite Steel book...

  • By Maremare13 on 11-22-16

The Award

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

Reviewed: 09-13-18

The Award by Danielle Steel is a WWII rags-to-riches story.

Told in flashback, the story begins when Gaëlle de Barbet’s granddaughter learns that Gaēlle is a recipient of The Award she rightly earned years ago as a WWII heroine. Time spins back to sixteen year old Gaëlle in the midst of the German occupation of her home, starvation, and brutality. As a member of the French Resistance, she smuggles Jewish children to safety. Four years later, she is modeling for Christian Dior in Paris, Vogue in New York, and beyond.

Very DanielleSteelEsque, the lead is drop-dead-gorgeous, statuesque, beyond beautiful, and not just another pretty face – but initially naīve and innocent. And, of course, there is the drop-dead-gorgeous male love interest.

The Award is your typical Steel book; if you’re chic-lit fan, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Fear

  • Trump in the White House
  • By: Bob Woodward
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,002
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,246
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,136

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files, and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One, and the White House residence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This gave me a nightmare

  • By Jean on 09-25-18

Fear

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

Reviewed: 09-13-18

If you have been living under a rock and do not listen to news of any kind, the material in this book will be startling. If you have been following this national nightmare, there is not much revealed beyond a few anecdotes of the extremely warped character of Donald Trump, President of the United States.

Woodward makes it clear in the opening pages that Fear Trump In the White House is a compilation of deep background, interviews, and notes; sources are not revealed. However, specific dates, names, quotes, etc., riddle the pages. Few high-level White House officials are excluded. Quotes by attorney John Dowd, and many others, at least at this writing, have not been disputed. Briefly, Dowd refers to Donald Trump as a “f***ing liar”. Dowd resigned as Trump’s attorney because Trump would not heed his advice and Dowd considered Trump disabled and unable to tell the truth.

Woodward has taken the entire last two years and crammed it into a few hundred pages. When you absorb everything that has happened during the campaign and Trump’s term to date … there is no possible way you will not conclude that America has made a horrible, frightening mistake. Americans are blinded by fat wallets and soaring markets, enabling Trump to break its soul. The man is unfit for the awesome responsibilities of the office and Woodward’s compilation of facts is disturbing proof of his ineptitude.

Trump’s willful ignorance of America’s world presence, our national security, defense, and intelligence organizations is astounding and terrifying. An example, an argument with Secretary of Defense Mattis. Trump does not understand why we have a military presence on the Korean Peninsula. Mattis had to tell him it was to prevent WWIII … more than once … later deriding the president as a fifth or sixth grader.

Fear Trump In the White House is approximately twelve hours of listening in audiobook format, narrated by Robert Petkoff, and released on September 11, 2018 by Simon & Schuster Audio.

Narration is fine, no issues.

Worth the read. Try to sleep well after your read…….

5 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Genome

  • The Extinction Files, Book 2
  • By: A. G. Riddle
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,482
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,378
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,376

The thrilling conclusion to The Extinction Files is finally here! In 2003, the first human genome was sequenced. But the secrets it held were never revealed. The truth was discovered 30 years ago, almost by accident. Dr. Paul Kraus had spent his entire career searching for what he called humanity's lost tribes - human ancestors who had gone extinct. When Kraus compared the DNA samples of the lost tribes with our own, he found a pattern of changes: a code. At the time, the technology didn't exist to unravel what it meant. Kraus hid his work and disappeared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a Masterp8ece

  • By Bob Murat on 02-11-18

Genome

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

This review addresses the series, The Extinction Files, which at this writing consists of two, full-length, novels. Briefly, Pandemic is … well … just that. A worldwide breakout of a global pandemic begins with an outbreak in Kenya. Daily, we go from hundreds, to thousands, to millions, to billions of people either infected or dead. Book 2, Genome, involves the same bunch of bad guys who will pull the trigger releasing deadly nanos in the bloodstreams of everyone vaccinated from the original pandemic if the bad guys don’t get what they want … no spoilers. The nanos cause immediate brain hemorrhaging and a quick death. The audiobook versions of The Extinction Files are both narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Pandemic is nineteen hours and Genome is thirteen hours of listening. Released by Audible Studios.

Liked. Always in for a good apocalyptic story. Narration is good, no issues, production is fine. No offensive language, no explicit sex scenes that are not “fade-to-black”.

Didn’t like. There are way too many side stories that are not relevant to the story. Fillers galore, including superfluous characters with no value. Some familial coincidences are not believable. A bit of re-wind hell, which is frequent if your mind wanders .. usually when trying to think your way through something you just heard muttering, “Nah ….”

Okay if you’re into stretching imagination as taught as a mosquito’s ass over a rain barrel. Not great literature by any means, but enjoyable listens, albeit eye-rolling at times.

  • Pandemic

  • The Extinction Files, Book 1
  • By: A. G. Riddle
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 18 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,727
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,714

In Atlanta, Dr. Peyton Shaw is awakened by the phone call she has dreaded for years. As the CDC's leading epidemiologist, she's among the first responders to outbreaks around the world. It's a lonely and dangerous job, but it's her life - and she's good at it. This time she may have met her match. In Kenya, an Ebola-like pathogen has infected two Americans. One lies at death's door. With the clock ticking, Peyton assembles her team and joins personnel from the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the WHO.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Read this before buying, too much hype

  • By Bradley on 06-23-17

Pandemic

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

This review addresses the series, The Extinction Files, which at this writing consists of two, full-length, novels. Briefly, Pandemic is … well … just that. A worldwide breakout of a global pandemic begins with an outbreak in Kenya. Daily, we go from hundreds, to thousands, to millions, to billions of people either infected or dead. Book 2, Genome, involves the same bunch of bad guys who will pull the trigger releasing deadly nanos in the bloodstreams of everyone vaccinated from the original pandemic if the bad guys don’t get what they want … no spoilers. The nanos cause immediate brain hemorrhaging and a quick death. The audiobook versions of The Extinction Files are both narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Pandemic is nineteen hours and Genome is thirteen hours of listening. Released by Audible Studios.

Liked. Always in for a good apocalyptic story. Narration is good, no issues, production is fine. No offensive language, no explicit sex scenes that are not “fade-to-black”.

Didn’t like. There are way too many side stories that are not relevant to the story. Fillers galore, including superfluous characters with no value. Some familial coincidences are not believable. A bit of re-wind hell, which is frequent if your mind wanders .. usually when trying to think your way through something you just heard muttering, “Nah ….”

Okay if you’re into stretching imagination as taught as a mosquito’s ass over a rain barrel. Not great literature by any means, but enjoyable listens, albeit eye-rolling at times.

  • Stuff and Nonsense

  • Threadbare Series, Volume 1
  • By: Andrew Seiple
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 627
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 623

Meet Threadbare. He is 12 inches tall, full of fluff, and really, really bad at being a hero. Magically animated and discarded by his maker as a failed experiment, he is saved by a little girl. But she's got problems of her own, and he might not be able to help her. Fortunately for the little golem, he's quick to find allies, learn skills, gain levels, and survive horrible predicaments. Which is good, because his creator has a whole lot of enemies …

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An amazing tale you can't help but love

  • By Ray Johnson on 08-29-18

Stuff and Nonsense

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

The only reason Stuff and Nonsense is not young adult (YA) is that it contains a handful of gratuitous swear words. There is no sex, nothing offensive that can’t be a word skipped when reading it to a 5 year old as a bed time story. Not sure why this has legions of fans and 5-star ratings – maybe it’s the popular trend of our video game/roll playing obsession.

Frankly, I wanted to punch that guy that kept popping out of the text giving the golum-bear points for each level of intelligence achieved or task completed. Sounds like that obnoxious infomercial guy that screams “BUT WAIT’. Annoying distraction that made it difficult to listen to or enjoy the story.

The cover is awesome. The unabridged audiobook is just shy of eleven hours of listening released by Podium Publishing in June 2018. Stuff and Nonsense is written by Andrew Seiple and narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds.

Maybe it’s better in written format, but the audio version is not recommended – unless you’re a a die-hard fantasy fan or a small child.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Before We Were Yours

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Wingate
  • Narrated by: Emily Rankin, Catherine Taber
  • Length: 14 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41,648
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,943
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,801

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge - until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I was rivetted, finished in three days.

  • By Lin Cloward on 06-26-17

Before We Were Yours

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

The most intriguing aspect of Before We Were Yours is that this abuse happened. The book is extremely educational. It is human nature to close your mind to this type of reality, but in my opinion, everyone should be aware of this history.

Before We Were Yours is a fictional tale based on facts. It’s a familial story of the very poor being taken advantage of by a bureaucratic system of adoption in the early 20th century. Briefly, a poverty-stricken family is separated because of the inability to pay medical expenses. Children become wards of the state, are placed in orphanages, and are adopted out to the wealthy – who have paid for them. This horror really happened; the specifics of the characters in this book are fictional, however. The epilog is extraordinary. Children were stolen/kidnapped from playing in the yard or sitting on the porch – simply because they had financial value as orphans and their parents were too poor to fight the system and get them back. A mind-boggling and heart-wrenching story.

Released in June 2017, Before We Were Yours is 14.5 hours of listening, written by Lisa Wingate, and narrated by Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber. No issues with narration; no explicit language, sex, nothing offensive. Give as a gift to anyone.

Recommended listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror with Meg: Origins

  • By: Steve Alten
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,437
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,346
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,340

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he's sure he saw but still can't prove exists-Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best Ocean Thriller Since Jaws!!

  • By Natalie on 04-25-14

The Meg

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

The Meg is the “megalodon”, a precursor, or big brother, to the great white shark. Actually, a great white is punny compared to this gunga-sized dude.

The Meg is the author’s attempt to give you the thrills, chills, of a man-guzzling creature through the point of view of a marine scientist. Steve Alten fails, in my humble opinion. A great deal of telling vs showing. Are we spoiled by the Spielberg movie, Jaws? I think so…as this book has ‘movie’ screaming to be made. The author even says so in a strange mid-book prolog.

Steve Alten, the author, is doing his best to describe the shark and it’s bloody sculduggery, primary what the book is about – description. And, some of us just gotta see it. This written conveyance of such undersea perils just didn’t do it for this reader.

You may find it peachy. There are several stellar reviews, so it’s probably just me. The unabridged edition of The Meg is 10.5 hours of listening, narrated by Sean Runnette. Took me a while to get used to his monotone reading – sounds like he has a lisp. Maybe a reading by a more vivacious narrator would make a better book — Scott Brick?

Release in April of 2014 by Tantor Audio. There are a number of books in the series, but … not for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Matter

  • A Novel
  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,800
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,450
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,451

"Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Believable Multiverse

  • By Michael L. Moore on 02-18-17

Dark Matter

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

Dark Matter is based on theories of the multi-verse, multiple universes. Imagine: You’re a happily married guy, with a pretty wife, handsome son. Life is good. You take a walk with the intent of buying ice cream. Somebody attacks you from behind, throws you into a car. You’re stripped naked, your neck is punctured with a knock-out drug. You wake on a gurney and everybody is glad to see you, glad that you made it back. But, there’s no wife, no kid, everything about your existence has changed. You’re now a successful scientist. You invented a transport system that allows you to traverse multiple universes.

There is more than one ‘you’. But … really only one ‘you’. The protagonist remembers his other self, and struggles sprinkle the pages with his desperate fight to go home. But, he is home. But, he’s not. Got it? 🙄

Just over ten ours of listing, nicely narrated by Jon Lindstrom, Dark Matter was released by Random House Audio in July of 2016. If you’ve ever stared into space wondering…this is a pretty decent interpretation of the multiverse conundrum.