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Jon Huff

IL United States
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 73
  • helpful votes
  • 49
  • ratings
  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24,313
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,731
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21,734

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

  • By Ann on 02-13-18

An Intriguingly Presented Mystery

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

Reviewed: 05-12-18

This was a really well done presentation on the real-life murder investigation. I thought generally the production was top notch, and certainly the portrait created of the prime suspect is intriguing, as well as how the events are presented in such a way as to create surprise and keep you guessing as you move through the story. There is, perhaps, a sense of being manipulated at times as a listener, which I didn't love but certainly isn't unreasonable in this format.

  • BRAVE

  • By: Rose McGowan
  • Narrated by: Rose McGowan
  • Length: 6 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 707
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 656
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 655

In a strange world where Rose McGowan was continually on display, stardom soon became a personal nightmare of constant exposure and sexualization. Rose escaped into the world of her mind, something she had done as a child, and into high-profile relationships. Every detail of her personal life became public, and the realities of an inherently sexist industry emerged with every script, role, public appearance, and magazine cover. The Hollywood machine packaged her as a sexualized bombshell, hijacking her image and identity and marketing them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rose is a MOST brave woman!

  • By Rhonda on 02-05-18

Gripping, Harrowing, and with a Distinct Voice

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

Reviewed: 05-12-18

Raw, honest, and hard to hear sometimes. But I really admired Rose and her story. Some might be turned off by her self-awareness and sureness, which I think would be a shame. Those seem hard-won, and her story feels like an important one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Forgotten Garden

  • By: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 20 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,065
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,340
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,374

Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enchanting, intriguing, mysterious, and beautiful

  • By Joseph on 12-10-08

Enjoyable, but flawed

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

Reviewed: 05-12-18

This is probably closer to 2.5 stars, really, as I did enjoy a great deal about the book. It's just the issues that it DOES have really weigh it down. Maybe it was the fact I listened to it on Audible, but it felt overly long for the story that's presented. The reader is fantastic, but has a fairly deliberate pace. I eventually listened to the last half at 1.5X and barely noticed. You are almost always figuring out the mysteries far ahead of the main characters, who then make assertions that are meant to throw you off but seem kind of dumb.

In fact, there are a few glaring instances of characters being sort of dumb or reacting strangely to events because the plot demands it. That said, this has the air of a gothic romance to it, with it's manors and gardens, and wicked stepmothers (or, something akin to it,) orphan children, and the like. And the usage of fairy tales throughout is fun, if sometimes a bit on the nose.

I think the weakest parts of the book set in "modern day" 2005. Cassandra just isn't as interesting a protagonist as Nell or Eliza, I think. And, certainly, the drama of her story can't hope to compete with Eliza's.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ancillary Justice audiobook cover art
  • Ancillary Justice

  • By: Ann Leckie
  • Narrated by: Celeste Ciulla
  • Length: 13 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,825
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,598
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,585

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Can't get past the Narrator to finish the story.

  • By Zillah on 12-08-14

Wonderful Book. Weird Performance.

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

Reviewed: 09-18-15

This book took me by surprise, which is always a wonderful quality in a narrative. I was drawn in mostly by the hook. The main character, Breq, is a ship, technically. She's an AI that is cut off from her main ship and other selves and has to find a way of her own apart from it. The fact that the body the ship inhabits as an "Ancillary" is actually the re-animated corpse of a member of an "annexed" (read conquered) by the empire she used to serve... well, things get sci-fi really quick. It's an intriguing concept, but I wasn't quite prepared for what Leckie would do with it.

As the story unfolds, you realize the Radchi empire is basically a post-Colonial, post-Slavery world. It adds a layer of depth and interest to the book that really elevates it. Especially when combined with the stylistic flourishes of the Radchi being non-gendered (and therefor every character is referred to as "she" to simplify things) and Breq's POV being split amongst her various selves concurrently in the flashback scenes.

There is something quite elegant and beautiful about the book and it's writing. It is, perhaps, a bit cold like the character. But in a pleasantly icy way, I thought. I found the relationship between Breq and Seivarden, in particular, to be effective partly because Breq only barely understands how it came to be. I also found the plot to be refreshing in structure. It avoids any obvious pathways, as Breq's main goal is one that isn't going to be easily resolved in a hail of gunfire. It gets much more complicated by book's end. I am definitely going to check out the rest of the books.

A note about the audiobook edition, though. The narrator voice is VERY strange. It's a bit like having a GPS read you an audiobook. It's weird, because in a way this almost fit an AI telling you a story. But the strange intonations and emphases start to get a little grating over 14 hours at times. Especially when other characters are rendered as strange, unintentionally comedic caricatures at times. If I had it to do over again, I'd just have read the book instead of going audio. Future books use different narrators, thank goodness, but I may still go to text for the next one.

  • Aftermath: Star Wars

  • Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • By: Chuck Wendig
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,534
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,863
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10,843

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over. As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance - now a fledgling New Republic - presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy's scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy's strength is unfolding.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing and Frustrating

  • By Jason on 09-08-15

Not Bad, But Doesn't Live Up To the Hype

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

Reviewed: 09-10-15

Quick thoughts: An okay book that's a fun diversion in the post-Force Friday glow, but not one I could heartily recommend.

This book has taken quite a drubbing. Some of it I think is fair, but some of it feels a bit piled on. In my mind, the chief issues with the book are:

1. Writing Style - Now, I listened to the audiobook, which was performed with much gusto by voice actor Marc Thompson. It was complete with sound effects and music. In some ways, this helped. I think the use of present tense and short sentences. Choppy. And stuttering. Would have annoyed me if I were reading it. But in the audiobook it worked.

2. Expectation Vs. Reality - Aftermath has gotten a HUGE marketing push as being the centerpiece book for Force Friday and touted as filling in the story post Return of the Jedi. I have only read four other Star Wars novels. The Zahn Trilogy when I was a kid, and the Star Wars Rebels tie-in New Dawn. So I'm pretty unfamiliar with a lot of the expanded universe/legends/whatever stuff that's going on. Other than I know the old continuity has been jettisoned in favor of something new. So, in a way, this is now filling in the space that the Thrawn Trilogy by Zahn once did. These are some pretty big shoes to fill to begin with, and the fact it was hyped up the way it is does the book no favors. What you actually get is a book that's much smaller in scope and ambition that barely features any recognizable characters in it. This made me almost immediately disappointed while reading it, because as a more casual Star Wars fan I was really only going off the marketing and the back cover blurb, which really does not fill you in on the fact that Luke, Han, Leia and the others are not really the main characters here.

3. The Book Format, Tone - This really reads more like a lower tier YA novel for younger readers. The use of made-up Star Wars idioms kind of grated after a while. If you are comparing some made up thing with some other made up thing, it's not actually helpful to the reader at all unless you explain the visual analog and by that point you've accomplished nothing with the comparison in the first place. A little here and there of this stuff goes a long way. There's too much of it here. Also, if you took out the interludes, I suspect this novel would be MUCH more YA-novel in length than it is currently. The interludes are not a bad idea in theory. Some work and some do not. But there are more misses than hits. They end up feeling more like irritating commercial breaks in the action than anything that's thematically relevant or interesting. Also, the cliffhangers that make you think a character is going to die (it happens to one character TWICE) are clunky and unrefined at times. Between the writing style, the idioms, the general lack of depth and even Marc Thompson's generally great performance, there's a real sense that you're listening to an action cartoon versus a novel. I think your enjoyment of it might be greatly impacted by what expectations you went in with and how able you are to adjust to the reality of what the book is.

But, that's not to say I hated it. I think once I reoriented myself to what it WAS versus what I expected, I was able to go along with the ride more. This is not the new Zahn trilogy. It's a light diversion following new characters struggling to make their way in the Star Wars universe post-Jedi.

The characters themselves are not bad, though they are a bit of a mixed bag as far as being memorable. Rebel Norra is a widower who left her son behind to fight the rebellion. It's a cool back story, though Norra doesn't really rise above a generic do-gooder rebel character. Her son, Timmen, is like an irritating version of Ezra from Rebels. Their skill sets and back story are really too close. Even just gender swapping a son for a daughter might have helped here. Teenage characters are tough, though. They can easily come off as shrill, so hopefully his character will settle down some later. Bounty hunter Jas is a bit too generic, sadly, and the least developed of the cast. Two of my favorite characters were both Imperials—one recovering and one very much entrenched. Sinjir was a lot of fun throughout the book and his unique take on everything going on and his heroism despite, perhaps, his innate nature made him an intriguing character. Similarly, it was fairly fascinating to see how Admiral Rae Malone tried to maneuver the fractured political landscape of the Empire.

So, would I recommend this to anyone? Probably not. I'm still undecided whether, post Episode VII, I'm really invested enough in these characters to pick up book 2 to be honest. That being said, I definitely don't regret reading it and it was a fun diversion in the post Force Friday glow.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

  • By: Rebecca Skloot
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,646
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,457
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,497

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first immortal human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than 60 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Story

  • By Prisca on 04-30-10

Moving, Horrifying and Fascinating.

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

Reviewed: 09-10-15

I thought this book was incredibly well done. At turns I found it moving, horrifying, and fascinating. I thought Skloot did a great job of presenting the science and the personal hand-in-hand. She brings Henrietta and her family to life with an incredible amount of skill and sensitivity. There seems to be some criticism that Skloot inserts herself too much into the story. I don't really agree. I don't really think when she's in the story it's really about her. It's usually illustrating (in a "show" versus "tell" sort of way) the impact Henrietta's cells have had on her family, in particular her daughter Deborah. The audiobook contains an interview with Skloot as far as the process of creating the book and why she approached it the way she did, which is interesting. I highly recommend the audio book, as well, because I feel like it really brought it to life.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Armada

  • A Novel
  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,804
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33,617
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33,553

It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom - if he can make it that long without getting suspended again. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great unless you are expecting Ready Player One

  • By Tyler J. on 02-11-18

A Stumble. But Great Narration!

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

Reviewed: 09-10-15

Man, what a let down. I really wanted to like this book. But I just didn't, for the most part. If Ready Player One was your witty, geeky friend who peppers a lively conversation with the occasional, knowing pop-culture nod then Armada is the boring, geeky friend who is always trying too hard and doesn't seem to realize that spouting movie quotes isn't actually a substitute for carrying on a conversation.

It's not all bad. There are fun moments. The dissection of video game logic is fun. But the characters are so flimsy they are non-existent. It's hard to care about their fates. The female love interest, Lex, is not a character at all, just some perfect alt-girl wet dream. Everyone else is cardboard cannon fodder. And, yes, the basic plot is an "homage" to a couple stories from the 80s. It wears that on its sleeve. But, to me an homage really works best if you do something new with it. Cline tries, but his answer to that is a "big reveal" at the end that has also BEEN DONE TO DEATH. A couple times in Star Trek alone. And it's dreadfully boring.

Which leads to the writing. The incessant references and quotes get irritating after a while. Why a kid who grew up in the 90s is obsessed with 80s pop culture is explained in the story due to him trying to connect with his dead father. But, it doesn't explain why any of the other young adults in the book seem to only be obsessed with it, too. When Lex's playlist is revealed, for instance, it's all 80s music too. It just further reinforces the sense that these aren't real characters at all. Just cardboard cut-outs trundling along to the book's predictable end. Cline seems to lose interest in the book by the end, too, as a climactic scene goes into "tell don't show" mode as a series of "And then he did this and then this and then this" sentences, sucking away all the drama at a time when it really could have used it.

Also, what happens at the end doesn't really make sense to me. But, that'd be spoiler territory so I won't mention it. Just ask yourself.... "Did that really prove anything?"

This feels like a fumble. But I wouldn't swear off further books by Cline. His style is very straightforward and simple, but there's certainly some charm to it. He just needs better developed characters. And I'd steer away from pop culture-fests for a while. I listened to the audio-book, and I'll say that Wil Wheaton does a great job with it. I kind of wish I'd listened to RPO on audio, now.

55 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,143
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,062
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,014

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fun premise, great performance, weak story

  • By J. Klinghoffer on 08-06-15

Entertaining Book, Fumbles At The End

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

Reviewed: 09-10-15

This was a lot of fun to read. I did figure out what was going on after the first scene, but it's to the credit of the book that it was entertaining enough that I didn't get annoyed waiting for the characters to catch up. The author was great at keeping you "turning the page" and keeping the momentum of the story up. It was fun to watch the story unfold, really until the end when it became a slightly standard sci-fi story with evil monsters and the like. I felt a bit let down by that, and the ending was a bit odd all around, as if the author was setting up another book when new characters were suddenly introduced. Still glad I read the book, but I'm not sure it quite fulfilled the promise at the start.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 161,931
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 149,449
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 149,281

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

Entertaining Hard Sci-Fi.

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

Reviewed: 08-19-15

I enjoyed this a great deal. I had this in my Audible wishlist pretty much since it came out, but with the movie coming soon, I wanted to get it read beforehand. It's a great hard sci-fi read. It can get technical, but I thought the way they presented the science was really easy to understand. And, it's not a science book. The detail just gives the book a level of realism that really enhances the drama. The drama level is never over the top. The basic situation is over the top enough, and for the most part is a real page turner. It did remind me vaguely of the film All is Lost, where you're watching one human overcoming an incredible situation with just will, wit and intelligence. I will say, for the audiobook, I wasn't quite sure about the reader. He did a great job for most of it, but there were a few lines (mostly exclamations or sarcastic moments) that didn't quite "land" with his reading and were a little distracting. That being said, he did such a great job with the various characters and the general tone of the book, I can't fault that too much, I suppose.

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • A Novel
  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,631
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,316

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gaiman delivers an intimate masterpiece

  • By Talia on 08-07-13

Another Stand Out Book By Gaiman

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

Reviewed: 10-31-13

Neil Gaiman is my favorite writer. So, I read each new thing he does with a very open mind. But also with quite a lot of expectations. I'm happy to say he's yet to disappoint me. I find it impossible not to be taken in with what he writes. I suppose his ability to take a very real world and shine a light on the magical places JUST on the other side of it is a large part of it. His characters feel so real, even when they are fantastic. There is a lot of this that feels very personal, and that adds a lot of interesting shades and textures but does not color the actual story in a distracting way. If anything, it just made it easier for me to connect to the story. I think his work calls to that part of me that—despite being a very rational sort of person—still wants desperately to believe in those magical places... just on the other side of the door, at the edge of vision, in that cold little aching place in our heart, or at the end of the lane.