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Joanna

SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States
  • 57
  • reviews
  • 683
  • helpful votes
  • 636
  • ratings
  • Breaking Point

  • By: Dana Haynes
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

Critically acclaimed author Dana Haynes pulls listeners into a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with this globe-trotting thriller. En route to a conference, three NTSB experts are aboard a twin-turbo prop plane when it crashes into a thickly forested mountainside. But the crash isn’t an accident. The plane was brought down on purpose - and the NTSB experts weren’t the real target.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fast Paced, Raw Action

  • By Joanna on 04-29-18

Fast Paced, Raw Action

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

Same wonderful cast of characters from CRASHERS… Can't get enough of their quirky, yet realistic contribution. In fact, as wild and crazy as their sometimes violent exploits are, it never loses it's realism. Outstanding plot and character development. If realistic scenes of blood shed don't bother you, this is a fun, action-packed, and suspenseful page-turner. As a pilot I particularly enjoyed learning more about the inside workings of the NTSB. One request however… while Haynes obviously did amazing research to accurately depict the world of aviation in the book, please (if there is another CRASHERS book) correctly refer to the PIC as the Pilot in Command, not the Pilot in Charge! Drove me crazy every time he used that phrase! Bottom line... I highly recommend!

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  • By: Mark Twain
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 781
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 595
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592

This humorous and nostalgic novel takes the listener back to the carefree days of boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, where Mark Twain grew up.

Just what did boys do in a small Midwestern town during the mid-1800s, a time when there were no televisions, no arcades, and no videos? They whitewashed fences, floated down rivers, traded marbles, formed secret societies, smoked pipes, and, on occasion, managed to attend their own funerals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A classic worth listening to!

  • By UlrikeDG on 10-29-13

A Wonderful Classic with the Best Narrator

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

Reviewed: 01-25-18

I originally bought the version of this book that was narrated by Wil Wheaton. After three chapters of listening to that version I was horribly disappointed, and frankly didn't have any interest to listen to the remainder of the book. At the time I bought it I did listen to the sample narration, but there was very little sampling of the different characters' voices. Wil Wheaton is such an extraordinary narrator I thought I couldn't go wrong by choosing his version. As mentioned above, I was so wrong. This book requires someone who can bring these young people alive, and with believable voices read in such a way that it becomes the gem of a story that it truly is.

After my disheartening experience listening to Wheaton, I was determined not to give up on experiencing this story, which I remembered reading as a young person, and hoping to enjoy it even more as an adult. So… back to the available versions I went, but this time, after having listened to some of the story, so poorly narrated, I spent much more time listening to every sample of the narrators, hoping to find one who could do these characters justice. When I came across Grover Gardner I knew he could be just the ticket.

One thing I noticed immediately, while listening to the sample narration, was that the story had sentences in it that were not in the little bit of the book I had been listening to read by Wil Wheaton. Comparing the length of the two books, (and I don't know how I could've missed this the first time around, other than I depended upon Audible to label the book either abridged or unabridged,) it became obvious that the version read by Wheaton was abridged! Not only was it abridged, but some really wonderful content had been left out! I returned the book with Wil Wheaton as the narrator, and purchased the one with Grover Gardner. I am almost finished with my new version, and oh… what a wonderful story, read in such an engaging manner that it is thoroughly entertaining. Grover Gardner gives the characters' dialects and personalities in just about the best way I can imagine this difficult story could be read.

I STRONGLY urge you to choose this version, and get ready to listen to this classic with the brilliant wit and humor of Mark Twain, and be prepared to laugh out loud while listening to this terrific story of the enduring character, Tom Sawyer... then, when you are finished, and are craving more fun, you have The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to look forward to. Fortunately, there is a version of this book also read by Grover Gardner. ENJOY!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Third Degree

  • By: Greg Iles
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 431
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 347

Laurel Shields, 35 and mother of two, awakens to find that her husband, Warren, a prominent local physician, is not in bed with her. Creeping out to the kitchen of their palatial home, she sees him through the doorway of his study, wildly pulling books from the shelves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Under Siege and Interrogated to the Third Degree!

  • By R. Pontiflet on 02-05-16

Don't Read This

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

Reviewed: 01-22-18

This is a horrible, horrible story. The more I listen to it, The more I started to actually feel physically ill. Not only is it very poorly written, completely beyond any sort of reality, but it is a twisted tail that stays with you, but not in a good way. I made it through a third of the book and then I just had to stop. It was making me feel as though something bad was happening in my own life… VERY bad for someone's mental health.

  • Fathomless

  • By: Greig Beck
  • Narrated by: Sean Mangan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 581
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 541
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 537

In Fathomless, the greatest predator the world has ever known is coming home in 2016. Carcharodon megalodon. The largest and most fearsome predator to have ever existed on our planet. Rumours of its existence in our modern oceans have persisted for centuries. Now, in a new adventure, the rumours explode into brutal and terrifying reality in Fathomless, by Greig Beck.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mega What?

  • By Olive on 01-24-17

Interesting concept that falls flat

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

Reviewed: 08-02-17

I think I tried to start this book a half a dozen times. Each time I would only get through a few paragraphs before my mind began to wander, and I realized I really couldn't care anything about this story. Very mediocre narration in my opinion. Finally gave up and returned it. Disappointed… The synopsis sounded intriguing.

  • The Wrecker

  • By: Clive Cussler
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,714
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,101
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,101

It is 1907, a year of financial panic and labor unrest. Train wrecks, fires, and explosions sabotage the Southern Pacific Railroad's Cascades express line and, desperate, the railroad hires the fabled Van Dorn Detective Agency. Van Dorn sends in his best man, and Bell quickly discovers that a mysterious saboteur haunts the hobo jungles of the West, a man known as the Wrecker, who recruits accomplices from the down-and-out to attack the railroad, and then kills them afterward.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Must Listen

  • By Henry on 12-05-09

Getting to Know Isaac Bell

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

Reviewed: 11-20-13

I listened to my first Isaac Bell story, "The Chase" out of order in the series and thoroughly enjoyed it. This persuaded me to go back to the beginning of the series and start from book one, which I also enjoyed. Now, having read, "The Wrecker" I am still entertained by this series.

Set just after the turn-of-the-century, I find the allusions to the lifestyle of that era interesting. In addition, although many people seem to have a problem with Scott Brick as a narrator, I find him to be a perfect narrator for these adventure-type novels. I would much rather listen to a narrator who puts the personality that he does into a story, as opposed to a reader who is more flat. For me, he brings his stories to life.

Having said this about the basic qualities of this series, I think "The Wrecker" has done the best job of allowing us to get to know Isaac Bell as a person, as well as a detective. His relationship with Marion continues, and their moments together are sweet and tender and it does bring out a side of Isaac that is softer and less robotic then the detective Isaac Bell.

Of course, listeners should know that all of this series is simple, mostly just for fun, and certainly not in the category of great literature. However, if you are looking for a book that is light, strictly entertaining, but still has some suspense and very likable characters, then you will probably like this series. Cussler does a fine job of keeping the facts and information true to the era, and even goes a little beyond by injecting details about the primary topic of each book.

For instance, in this book he does a great job of enlightening the listener with great information about the trains and locomotives of that time, the process of building a railroad right down to every piece of track and every bolt and tie. I suppose if one isn't interested in trains this could be tedious, but personally I found it added great realism to the story.

As a detective, Isaac is, once again, the brilliant, top-notch investigator upon which the series is based. This is one of the instances of which I was speaking where the book tends to be a little unrealistic… Isaac is a little too perfect. But then again, that's what this sort of book is about… having a hero for whom to cheer, and to know that he will always come out on top. These stories are the classic "the good guy always wins," so, once again, for a fun, lighthearted read it was very satisfying. In this story, as in the others, his villain, the Wrecker, is written with enough intelligence and sophistication that it does make the difficulty in thwarting him very realistic. Cussler does a great job of making him a worthy adversary for Isaac. This keeps the story believable and engaging for the listener, as we try to out-guess his next move to stay ahead of Isaac.

Without spoiling the plot I will add that the one thing I did not like about this particular story was the weapon that the Wrecker used which made him such a dangerous character. Personally, I thought it was downright ridiculous, and very unlikely for the era. However, this was a small negative in the overall believability of the story, and I would still recommend this book for someone who wants to simply have a fun adventure story that does not take itself too seriously.

  • The Black Box

  • Harry Bosch, Book 16
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Michael McConnohie
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,889
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,317
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,297

In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the "black box", the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Contrary to the tagline, Harry Bosch is not back!

  • By Joanna on 11-27-12

Contrary to the tagline, Harry Bosch is not back!

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

Reviewed: 11-27-12

As the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Sadly, I preordered this book from the main page, and the book listings don't show the narrators there. As such, I was unable to see who was reading this book. Heck, I didn't even bother to read the reviews because there has never been such a thing as a bad Harry Bosch novel. It never even occurred to me that the publishing house for a Harry Bosch novel would commit such an incredible blunder as to change the narrator, after 18 books, to someone not only unfamiliar, but inept! When I started listening, I was shocked to not only NOT hear Dick Hill or Len Cariou, but to hear this droning voice that almost put me to sleep.

Mcconnohie literally reads the book... doesn't perform it, but reads it. There were no attempts to assign a unique quality of voice to a particular character, no inflections for different emotions during the story... I imagine that most parents reading a story book to their child would do a better job than this narrator has done. It is so poorly read that I cannot even tell if the book is any good.

I will admit that after reading some of the other reviews that I didn't make it as far as they did! I gave up after only 30 minutes! Who makes the decisions on these narrators? Doesn't Michael Connelly have a say in how the book should be read? Why, on earth, would the powers that be take such a popular series as the Harry Bosch novels, whose followers practically count the days until the next book is released, and then disappoint these fans with such a worthless read (or listen?) This was a huge letdown. Shame on Brilliance Audio and even shame on Michael Connelly if he has any say in the choice of his narrators.

Can you tell that I am NOT recommending this book??! Let's hope they get it right the next time... too bad we will have to wait for probably a year to find out.

155 of 162 people found this review helpful

  • The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 12
  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 824
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 816

This 12th entry from Alexander McCall Smith’s New York Times best-selling series showcases the humanity and matchless wit that define Precious Ramotswe. While both Precious and Grace Makutsi are puzzled by prophetic dreams, life goes on at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Precious finds herself investigating a case of rural jealousy, while Grace inches closer to her wedding.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Precious Ramotswe is a Gift

  • By Carl on 04-07-11

Where Has The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Gone?

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

Reviewed: 09-09-12

I have read every book in this series, in order, and I really struggled to get through this one. There were several times that I contemplated just shelving it (so to speak.) It seems that the more recent titles in this series of Alexander McCall Smith have not lived up to his earlier work. This series, early on, was one of my most beloved series. I could not wait for the next book to come out. In the last few books, it is almost as if McCall Smith is continuing writing the books just to... well... continue the series. There is no heart. There are no interesting cases to be solved. He has made Mma Makutsi into a very silly and unlikeable character, instead of simply being quirky (as she was in the early books.) Mme Ramotswe even comes across as being "tired" or disinterested, compared to her early passion for her agency, its work, and life in her beloved Botswana. Her basic character traits are still there, but in a watered-down version. Even the outstanding narrator, Lisette Lecat comes across as rather lackadaisical.

I can't suggest to an avid fan of this series to not listen to this book as they all have some significant event in them that carries over to the next books, but I will say that I was extremely disappointed in this one, and if McCall Smith is getting bored with writing these books he should either find his earlier spunk to put back into them, or stop the series before he writes these wonderful characters altogether into the ground.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Stolen Life

  • A Memoir
  • By: Jaycee Dugard
  • Narrated by: Jaycee Dugard
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,813
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,318
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,308

"In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen. For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation. On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I dont think of myself as a victim. I survived...."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Terrific

  • By Daniel on 07-27-11

Disturbing

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

Reviewed: 09-01-12

I am writing this review before I have finished this listen. I bought this book immediately following the appearance of Jaycee Dugard on a television interview. I wanted to know more about how such a horrific situation could have possibly persisted for so many years, and, as a student of psychology, get the full story of the demented couple who kept her captive.

I am about three-quarters of the way through her story, and I feel compelled to warn a potential reader that this story is not for the faint of heart. In fact that is an understatement. The first third of the listen is so disturbing that someone sensitive to perverse treatment of children may want to seriously reconsider passing on listening to this read. I could only listen to this section of the book in short intervals, needing to put if away for several days before returning to it, as Jaycee's graphic descriptions of her abuse is so unthinkable that I found it stayed with me for hours, and even days after reading it. There were several times that I seriously contemplated not listening to any more. The only reason I have continued on with it is to learn what happens in the end to this depraved, and insane man and his equally perverted wife. No matter what is done to them in the way of punishment or justice, it will never be enough to give Jaycee back the precious years of her life that they stole.

Jaycee is not a professional narrator, but listening to her recount what was done to her, I realize that only she could be the appropriate person to tell her story.

As for the rating of this book... how does one rate something like this? How does one decide what is appropriate to gauge how "good" a story such as this can be? I honestly don't know, but ultimately I think that Jaycee has done an admirable and courageous job in her retelling of her story and that it merits a strong rating, if, for no other reason, than after all she had been through, she deserves to be heard.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Inside Delta Force

  • The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit
  • By: Command Sergeant Major Eric L. Haney
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,342
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,883
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,889

Delta Force—the US Army’s most elite top-secret strike force. They dominate the modern battlefield, but you won’t hear about their heroics on CNN. No headlines can reveal their top-secret missions, and no book has ever taken readers inside—until now. Here, a founding member of Delta Force takes us behind the veil of secrecy and into the action to reveal the never-before-told story of First Special Forces Operational Detachment-D (Delta Force).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Both a How To book and a bit of history

  • By K on 10-30-11

The Tip of the Iceburg

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

Reviewed: 09-01-12

If you are intrigued by, and have a special admiration for the special ops divisions of our country's armed forces, this is a worthwhile read. It did leave me a little disappointed that the author didn't really describe any major (or even many minor) missions that the Delta Force unit carried out, but it is still interesting.

The entire first Part of the download is dedicated to Haney's description of his experience of being selected to apply to be a part of this elite unit of soldiers. He goes into an hour by hour detailed story of the extraordinarily rigorous testing phase that the original hopefuls went through to weed out those who would be chosen to continue on to be trained as Delta Force soldiers, and those who would wash out. It is engaging and certainly gives the reader a clear picture of the physical and mental strength required of these men to even be considered to serve in this unit. The group begins with over 100 candidates, and by the end of the testing phase, less than two dozen remain to move on.

The further story of the extensive training that these men go through is remarkable, and can't help but give the reader an intense admiration for all that Delta Force soldiers must learn to become such elite warriors.

After this, however, the book becomes very weak, and the second Part of the download consists entirely of short anecdotes of small missions, the lifestyle of a Delta soldier, and Haney's personal experience with his assignments(locations.) Honestly, it really isn't that interesting. I was craving more. He would write that one of the most frequent use of their skills was in aircraft hijackings, but he never told a really thrilling story of one of these missions. It began to seem as though this information might be classified, and that he was limited in how much information he could disclose. Again, this was disappointing. If you are hoping for a thrilling story similar to Acts of Valor, this is not the book for you.

However, once of the best parts of the entire listen is the epilogue in which Haney gives a very insightful opinion from his first-hand knowledge of the fighting in the Middle East, and gives an explanation of why our country is in Iraq, and took out Sadaam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. (He does includes the actual account of Bin Laden's assasination, which is much more informative than what we know from the news.) His explanation of why we are in Iraq, his opinion of the future of the stability of the Middle East, and his view of what is necessary to create world stability and truly combat terrorism is one that every American should hear and understand. It is a worthy listen for this small section alone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Until Tuesday

  • By: Luis Carlos Montalvan
  • Narrated by: Luis Carlos Montalvan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,363
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,142

A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalvan never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll. In constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; he cut himself off from those he loved. Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Good Book

  • By Char on 08-05-11

Wonderful Story, Great Writing, and Good Narration

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

Reviewed: 07-31-12

What a wonderful surprise! As a dog lover, I was hoping for an uplifting story about the bond between a special dog and his human. What I got was so much more. First, I would like to acknowledge the exceptional writing of Luis Montalvan. He is a very talented writer.

Also, the content of the book went far beyond how Tuesday enabled Montalvan to regain a significant amount of function after his broken body and soul returned from Iraq. Montalvan adds insight to other compelling topics including how service dogs are trained, how Tuesday's early life was also riddled with loss, the insensitivities of people who do not understand the need of a service dog for people with disabilities other than blindness, and the tragic inadequacies of the Verteran's Affairs medical services provided to our soldiers when they return from war.

All of these issues are, of course, bound together with the warmth of the tale of how Tuesday and Montalvan helped each other to heal, and how they now function together as a loving unit, Tuesday guiding Montalvan to progress in his healing, or, at least deal with his disabilities because he has Tuesday for support, love, and physical help.

This story is much more than about a service dog doing his job in a placement to help a disabled man. It addresses political issues, sociological issues, and deeply personal issues of how war breaks down the men and women subjected to it.

I was a bit worried when I saw that Montalvan acted as his own narrator, but he has a wonderful voice, and he tells his story with such heart... no one else could have done it the same justice. I strongly recommend this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful