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j phillips

TN
  • 93
  • reviews
  • 1,032
  • helpful votes
  • 95
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  • The Fourth Monkey

  • By: J. D. Barker
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini, Graham Winton
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,050
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,707
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,694

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called "a talented writer with a delightfully devious mind". For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one that proves he has taken another victim, who may still be alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Twisted Knives And Killer Humor

  • By Charles Atkinson on 08-15-17

pretty disturbing antagonist

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

Reviewed: 04-01-19

This disturbing mystery starts off a bit slow, but it picks up some steam as it goes. The story does have some twists and turns, some you may see coming and some you may not. The 2 audio narrators are a talented pair. It’s a pretty good audiobook that sets up book # 2 in this series. I'm in no rush to get to book # 2, but I'll probably listen to it one day.

Overall rating: 3.87 stars.

  • Daisy Jones & The Six

  • A Novel
  • By: Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, and others
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,650
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,417
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,397

Daisy is a girl coming of age in LA in the late '60s, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s 20, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow. Unbelievably good.

  • By CL on 03-07-19

top notch audio......a star is born

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

Reviewed: 03-11-19

This story takes us back into the 1970s rock scene, and feels entirely authentic. I can’t imagine the print version of this novel is as good as the audiobook. Daisy Jones & The Six is narrated by some of the best narrators in the business, a full cast. This format doesn’t work in some cases, but it certainly does here. The audio version reminds me of a documentary-type memoir told from various perspectives. Still, the story is easy to follow and progresses chronologically. Though it’s a fictional story of a 70s rock band, it feels real. I don't normally give 5 stars in all three categories, but I predict great success for this audiobook. Overall rating: 4.72 stars

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club)

  • A Novel
  • By: Tayari Jones
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden, Eisa Davis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,564
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,342
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,303

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the Story, but...

  • By Lisa N. Haynes on 03-01-18

a look at institutions........

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

Reviewed: 03-06-19

First off, An American Marriage is a high quality audiobook. Like many other novels, it deals in love and loss, focusing on the institution of marriage as well as literal institutions - prison.

Narrators are supposed to enhance the story, and if they do, the end product can be better than the novel alone. That is exactly what happens here. Sean Crisden is a better narrator than Eisa Davis, which works for this novel because Crisden has a much larger role. I've heard this novel mentioned as a possible Pulitzer nominee. If it doesn't win, it should at least be considered. For some reason, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great audiobook.

Overall rating: 4.61 stars

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

  • A Novel
  • By: Robert Dugoni
  • Narrated by: Robert Dugoni
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,360
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,832
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,821

Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” or Sam “Hell” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered. Sam believed it was God who sent Ernie Cantwell, the only African American kid in his class, to be the friend he so desperately needed. And that it was God’s idea for Mickie Kennedy to storm into Our Lady of Mercy like a tornado, uprooting every rule Sam had been taught about boys and girls. Forty years later, Sam, a small-town eye doctor, is no longer certain anything was by design.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Warning about the ending

  • By Roger M. Young on 05-27-18

have faith....?

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

Reviewed: 03-04-19

At times, this audiobook reminded me of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. However, where Owen Meany is vast and expansive, Sam Hell is limited and predictable. That being said, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is still pretty good. The novel deals in familiar themes: prejudice, racism, love, and religion. Every twist or turn in the book can be seen from a mile away, but the story is still engaging. Dugoni does a great job of reading his own work. He's a talented narrator. Although this novel is not of the caliber of Irving's A Prayer of Owen Meany, it did remind me of it, and that in itself is a compliment. This isn't the greatest book ever written, but it is good, and it kept my attention for the entire 11+ hours. It goes on a little longer than necessary and loses a little steam, but overall it's an above average audiobook.

Overall rating: 3.99 stars

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf

  • The Dark Star Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Marlon James
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 24 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 382
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 366
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 361

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose", people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. As Tracker follows the boy's scent, he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • no...I need a break

  • By j phillips on 02-26-19

no...I need a break

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

Reviewed: 02-26-19

I never write a review unless I finish a book because I believe it to be unfair to the author and narrator. However, after 10+ hours of audio, I can't see myself continuing with another 14 hours. I've seen some refer to this novel as an "African Game of Thrones," but I don't see the resemblance. I usually like long and complicated works, but not this time.

I'm a fan of the narrator, Dion Graham. I've listened to several of his performances, including Washington Black, The Force, and American War. However, his accent is so thick in this performance that the listener has to focus on every word to understand it, and even then, some parts I miss. I get why the accent is used, and it gets a little easier to understand as you get used to it, but I'm just tired of this novel.....for now. There's so many character names and names of places, and it's hard to know what's happening half the time. The novel has its moments, but they are too spread out. I will pick this one back up at some point and try to finish the remaining 14 hours, but for now, I need a break from it. I will revise this review upon completion of the book.

Overall rating of the first 10 hours: 2.74 stars

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Golden State

  • By: Ben Winters
  • Narrated by: Kiff VandenHeuvel
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 83
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 74

In an alternate society that values law and truth above all else, Laszlo Ratesic is a 19-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, a nation standing where California once did, a place where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life and governance impossible. In the Golden State, knowingly contradicting the truth is the greatest crime - and stopping those crimes is Laz's job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths, to "speculate" on what might have happened.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As good as Underground Airlines, probably better!

  • By Lynda Engler on 01-30-19

i cannot lie....it's okay....I think

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

Reviewed: 02-04-19

In this audiobook it is a felony to tell a lie, so in the spirit of truth I must say that Golden State was a bit of a disappointment. I was looking forward to this release because I really liked Winters' last novel, Underground Airlines. Golden State has its moments, but there are not many of them, and it just wasn't all that engaging. The idea was okay. The story was okay, and the narrator was okay. Overall, it was just okay.

Overall rating: 3.02 stars

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Collector’s Apprentice

  • A Novel
  • By: B. A. Shapiro
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

It's the summer of 1922, and 19-year-old Paulien Mertens finds herself in Paris - broke, disowned, and completely alone. Everyone in Belgium, including her own family, believes she stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiance, George Everard. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she creates a new identity, a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby, and sets out to recover her father's art collection, prove her innocence - and exact revenge on George.    

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • good story about art history

  • By j phillips on 01-29-19

good story about art history

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

I've learned much of what I know about art history from fiction novels. This is the second audiobook I've listened to by B.A. Shapiro. Obviously, she is very knowledgeable when it comes to art and art history. The Art Forger is my favorite novel by her, but The Collector's Apprentice is also a good read/listen. XE Sands narrates both novels, and she does an good job in each instance. If you like art and you like fiction, it would be hard not to like this author's work.

Overall rating: 4.09 stars

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Where the Crawdads Sing

  • By: Delia Owens
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 54,783
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49,904
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49,692

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

the marsh girl mystery

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

Reviewed: 01-16-19

Where the Crawdads Sing is a literary-type mystery novel. Delia Owens does a fantastic job with the setting that places the reader right in the marshland with the protagonist, Kya. The novel is the tragic story of girl who is abandoned at a young age, but the story is also one of redemption. Cassandra Campbell is a great narrator, though maybe not the best choice for portraying southern accents. Still, I love her voice, and I liked this novel.

Overall rating: 4.43 stars

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A Terrible Country

  • A Novel
  • By: Keith Gessen
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 204
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205

When Andrei Kaplan’s older brother, Dima, insists that Andrei return to Moscow to care for their ailing grandmother, Andrei must take stock of his life in New York. His girlfriend has stopped returning his text messages. His dissertation adviser is dubious about his job prospects. It’s the summer of 2008, and his bank account is running dangerously low. Perhaps a few months in Moscow are just what he needs. So Andrei sublets his room in Brooklyn and moves into the apartment that Stalin himself had given his grandmother, a woman who has outlived her husband and most of her friends.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interested in Russia?

  • By Jon Appleton on 07-18-18

that terrible country

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

This audiobook takes awhile to get going. Ari Fliako's narration keeps the story engaging despite its slow start, and after a few hours, I really liked it. I didn't realize how much I liked it until it was almost over. Gessen paints a picture of everyday life in modern day Russia, and while this doesn't sound all that appealing, it is well worth a credit. I found myself finishing this one fairly quickly, and it was a good audiobook to begin 2019.

Overall rating: 4.26 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

  • A Novel
  • By: Dominic Smith
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,478
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,344
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,341

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Story Definitely NOT a Forgery!

  • By KarKinz on 05-13-16

the goldfinch-lite

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

Reviewed: 01-02-19

Stories about art forgeries and stolen paintings make some of the best novels. These types of novels could be classified as a sub-genre of fiction. Any time I read or listen to a novel about stolen art I’m reminded of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. While The Last Painting of Sara De Vos isn’t that caliber of an audiobook (very few, if any, are), it’s still quite good. The narrator of this audiobook is one of the best.

Overall rating: 4.24 stars

3 of 3 people found this review helpful