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barry

Fredericksburg, TX
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 133
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  • She Rides Shotgun

  • A Novel
  • By: Jordan Harper
  • Narrated by: David Marantz
  • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 366
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 343

Eleven-year-old Polly McClusky is shy, too old for the teddy bear she carries with her everywhere, when she is unexpectedly reunited with her father, Nate, fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car. He takes her from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life. Nate made dangerous enemies in prison - a gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, counting on its members on the outside to finish him off.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this book

  • By Steven Ferguson on 02-21-18

A guilty pleasure

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

Reviewed: 03-30-19

This is a novel far too violent to be anything other than a guilty pleasure. Kinetic, tight, a great riff on CA noir going back to Hammett, with a sympathetic antihero, and an amazingly appealing bad-ash girl "from Venus" hero. Quick, page turning, non stop read or listen. Escape reading of the first order.

  • All This I Will Give to You

  • By: Dolores Redondo, Michael Meigs - translator
  • Narrated by: Timothy Andrés Pabon
  • Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 418
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 383
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 383

When novelist Manuel Ortigosa learns that his husband, Álvaro, has been killed in a car crash, it comes as a devastating shock. It won’t be the last. He’s now arrived in Galicia. It’s where Álvaro died. It’s where the case has already been quickly closed as a tragic accident. It’s also where Álvaro hid his secrets. The man to whom Manuel was married for fifteen years was not the unassuming man he knew.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enrapturing

  • By John Scott on 02-22-19

Not for me

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

Reviewed: 03-28-19

An interesting setting, detailed characterization, mystery--what is there not to like? Well, the pacing is just this side of paint drying; the narrator seems to be a soporofic, and Gallicia, which should be a magical setting, never comes alive. It is hard to care much about the characters, and the mystery does not engage the listener much. Others may like this, but perhaps I should put it this way, it seems as if it is an overly literary approach to a mid 20th C or earlier British who done it of manners, taking place in rural Spain rather than in English outskirts among the aristocracy, missing what in the best of them could be noted as a tightness of plotting. This is less plotting and more plodding. I wanted to like this for all its surface charms, but half way into it I cannot stay awake long enough to finish it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Huntress

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Quinn
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 18 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,920
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,800
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,789

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina's bravery and cunning will keep her alive. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic!

  • By Annie on 03-04-19

Something not quite right

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

Reviewed: 03-20-19

The novel was a bit unbalanced for my taste. The best parts of it concerned the Siberian woman, Nina, the real "huntress" of the novel, her youth, her service in the Soviet Air Force in an all woman's unit, her passion, and after. There was something about the characterizations of all the others that was just slightly off, wooden, which grated while listening to it, a slightly unbelievable quality. And the dialogue too, as if the author could not quite decide on whether this was going to be a serious novel or a hip suspense piece made for movies with buddy and romantic banter. The incessant referral to Nina as Ian Graham's "wife" and the totally anachronistic self naming of Jordan MacBride as J-Bride--the story largely taking place in 1950--had the unfortunate and insistent distracting effect of someone playing a cliched and boring, out of synch bassline in a long song. But everytime we get Nina Markov's story line the novel really did come alive, and the narrator did a great job of distinguishing characters even if her German and British was a bit off.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Bluff

  • By: Michael Kardos
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,906
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,787
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,785

At 27, magician Natalie Webb is already a has-been. Shunned by the magic world after a disastrous liaison with an older magician, she now lives alone with her pigeons and a pile of overdue bills in a New Jersey apartment. In a desperate ploy to make extra cash, she follows up on an old offer to write a feature magazine article - on the art of cheating at cards. In the process, Natalie is dazzled by a poker cheat's sleight of hand and soon finds herself facing a proposition - to help pull off a $1.5 million magic trick that, if done successfully, no one will ever even suspect happened.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I can't say enough about this book!

  • By shelley on 04-05-18

Some things missing: the ring of real magic

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

Reviewed: 02-28-19

Unlike other reviewers I liked the book pretty much until the reveal, which left me wanting. Misdirection doesn't really work for me if I do not know the trick being played to begin with. Pick a card, any card. I escaped from the locked box under the sea. Hmmn, when was Houdini invited? Kind of a Deus Ex Machina plot twist that delivers something different but not necessarily better than working out the major conflicts presented in 2/3 of the novel. Not The Sting, just saying. I just could not buy into the payoff because the payoff was not only for a different trick than the one being played, but because of the many loose ends at post climax and in the denouement--(SPOILER ALERT) why the politician would not have the prize documented, nor not notice it gone, nor if noticing it gone not suspect the suspect(s), nor if suspecting the suspect with all that money and power be unable to track the suspect(s) down, cameras all over the room, and so on, nor given what goes down in the big scene could in this day and age of social media and thz the mayhem could be covered up, nor how somehow someone badly injured could go to a hospital and explain away such an injury. And what about the amateurism of the first card shark? what happens to the two supporting characters, both with whom we are invested, not to mention one of them fully aware of the prize? The lawyer? The premise was a good one, the characters interesting enough, pacing well done, technical info cool, and yet, this was vastly entertaining until the game itself gets played out, but there has to be suspension of disbelief for magic to be, well, magical.

  • Lethal White

  • A Cormoran Strike Novel
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,558
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,082
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,048

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacott - once his assistant, now a partner in the agency - set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best 22 hours of the last week

  • By Jennifer on 09-27-18

Rowling is magical

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

Reading or listening to books by J.K. Rowling is like drinking a good pinot noir. I don't analyze her, and I suspect she would not necessarily always stand up to serious analysis. She is just fun, a great story teller, someone who 300 pages in leaves you thinking, well not much has happened but darn if I haven't been turning one page after another. She stays within her genre tropes, isn't particularly innovative within them, and yet...and yet, like Strike and Robin, the reader is happier in her company than in the company of others. The Galbraith novels are all wonderful entertainments, this one longer than the others, but every bit as entertaining.

  • Barbarian Days

  • A Surfing Life
  • By: William Finnegan
  • Narrated by: William Finnegan
  • Length: 18 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,884
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,645
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,632

Pulitzer Prize, Biography, 2016. Barbarian Days is William Finnegan's memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Amazing Performance by the Author

  • By Laura on 02-01-16

This wave then that wave then another wave endless

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

Reviewed: 02-13-19

About half way through and run out of gas on this. First read Finnegan with his then timely book, Dateline Soweto, about teaching in South Africa in the twilight of apartheid. A great book even if the shelf life for its relevance has passed somewhat. Read a couple of his essays in the New Yorker, particularly struck by his piece on fresh water shortages. I am of his generation with many of the same interests, and some of the same perspectives. In one sense, Finnegan is a modern day Ishmael, and this instead of being an encyclopedia of whale literature is one of surf writing. But after awhile lacking a proper Ahab or even really giving the reader the sense of the ocean and ocean coming on shore a persona like Moby Dick, this became a litany, a drone. It is well and lovingly written, and its portrait of the times is a worthy entry into 60s-80s international bohemiana, surfing iteration, but it needs editing down; it would be better, imo, with maybe 30-100 great action poems, or as a memoir that answers the question, "yeah, so...?" rather than a seeming this happened, then that happened, surfed this wave, then that wave until the whole thing becames as blurred as the sound of surf at the shore.

  • Where the Crawdads Sing

  • By: Delia Owens
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 55,019
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50,121
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49,906

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Seattle blues on 08-17-18

Carolina

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

Reviewed: 12-04-18

The storytelling from the Carolinas, with its lush natural settings, eccentric characterizations, particularly that of its youth in those exotic settings provides a rich vein for American writing, especially mystery writing, wistful, langorous, picturesque, down to earth and yet quite romantic. I particularly like the novels of John Hart, albeit his most recent novel, The Hush, was so overwrought that could not hold on to the reader's sense of belief. Where the Crawdads Sing, on the other hand, in a similar milieu holds the reader's interest from moment one when we are introduced to the protagonist Kaya, a girl, abandonded by her family, growing up on her own, "the marsh girl," in a wilderness of a coastal wetlands in 1950s America. The author, a naturalist herself, paints a vivid and breathing landscape, character, and story. The story propelled by a murder mystery and ensuing courtroom drama at its heart is a welcome breath of fresh air in a genre that by now has become almost cliched in its tropes and somewhat faceless bourgeois characters. My only caveat with the novel is that the crime itself is wrapt up in a rather perfunctory manner whereas the rest of the novel is quite lovingly detailed.

  • Dark Sacred Night

  • A Ballard and Bosch Novel
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Christine Lakin, Titus Welliver
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,067
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,586
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,552

Renée Ballard is working the night beat again and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours only to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard kicks him out but then checks into the case herself, and it brings a deep tug of empathy and anger. Bosch is investigating the death of 15-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally murdered and her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now, Ballard joins forces with Bosch. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • So So

  • By Paul Beer on 11-16-18

Connelly Knows How to Write a Procedural

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

Another solid procedural, eminently listenable, by Michael Connelly. Ballard is a good addition to his set of protagonists, though Bosch remains king, and perhaps, Ballard was fleshed out a bit better in her debut novel. Of course as with all popular police procedurals, one does have to suspend a more real world desire that police would adhere to civil rights, meaning it is all well and good to go after villains in a questionable manner, the problem occurs when the innocent, especially those less privileged for fact of race or class, might be thus mistreated by police. However, we tend to give Connelly's protagonists a pass in the narration because, because, we tend to like both characters and Connelly is good at this.

  • Destiny of the Republic

  • A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
  • By: Candice Millard
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,527
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,059
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,052

James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Marvelous, Magnificent, Millard

  • By Mel on 02-08-12

If only

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

Reviewed: 10-18-18

If only there were politicians still alive even one tenth as honorable as James Garfield. This book presents the abject tragedy of Garfield's attempted and in the long term successful assassination at the hands of a fame seeking madman and the horrific treatment Garfield suffered from his lead physician, lost in the tunnel vision of his ignorant diagnosis and his need to be the top medical dog of the President's medical team. It also chronicles Garfield's youth, his stint in the union Army, the course of his rising political star, and his sometime troubled marriage, all revealing a quite human, intelligent, and appealing man, someone it is hard to imagine in today's American political milieu, filled as it is with so much self aggrandizement and partisanship. Assassinated so early on, we can have no idea if Garfield would or even given the way things are could have fulfilled his promise as an honest, virtuous, man committed to public service, but the book does an excellent job of presenting a man who not only would be an anachronism in today's America, but somewhat unique in his wholesome qualities among our entire Presidential history.

  • Pachinko

  • By: Min Jin Lee
  • Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,721
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,184
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,171

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • wonderful book

  • By erin on 12-11-17

Memorable characters and milieu

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

Reviewed: 10-18-18

This is a character based novel, taking place briefly in Korea, but more over time in Japan, covering members of the Korean community living in Japan during the 20th Century. It works on two levels really, first being the drama of the main characters' domestic lives and secondly how those lives are affected externally and internally, often tragically, by their non citizen status and the outrageous ethnic prejudice they as Koreans (and as Christian Koreans) suffer in Japan. The women in the novel are particularly heroic and resilient despite all this, the men often tragically beaten down, some corrupted by their circumstance. The novel shines a light on a place and time and people of which very little has been written. The characters are drawn from real human experience. It is not a page burner, but if one likes one's novels true to life, it is very good.