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Dickens Groupie

SONOMA, CA, United States
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 63
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • The Silent Patient

  • By: Alex Michaelides
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins, Louise Brealey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,456
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,437

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening, her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face and then never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing debut!

  • By Jillian Hendrickson on 02-12-19

Can't Jump on the Band Wagon for This One

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

Reviewed: 03-10-19

This book reverberates with echos of "Research" by Phillip Kerr, and "The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. IMHO the plot is the only thing its got going for it, and I had sniffed it out about half way through the book.. Yes, of course, a mystery requires a good plot, and a good plot twist is icing on the cake. However, a strong plot does not a great book make: it needs engaging characters and excellent writing. In this book I found the characters flat, and the writing mediocre.

The protagonists were needy whiners; in itself that is fine, yet the author failed to give the reader one spark of anything interesting about their winging. In spite of the fact the narrative was in the first person, I always felt that I was looking at the characters through the wrong end of a telescope: they were not only distant, but they were also cardboard cutouts. To give the author credit, this book could be study of what happens to men and women who depend upon others to give their life meaning, but I suspect I am stretchingfor something to praise here. With so many books and so little time; I no longer feel obligated to finish a book that doesn't grab and hold my attention. On the other hand books that I love are read a dozen times over. So here's the final verdict: I did finish this book, but I won't bother to read it again.

  • Depth of Winter

  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,137
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,006
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,995

In Craig Johnson's latest mystery, Depth of Winter, an international hit man and the head of one of the most vicious drug cartels in Mexico has kidnapped Walt's beloved daughter, Cady, to auction her off to his worst enemies, of which there are many. The American government is of limited help and the Mexican one even less. Walt heads into the 110-degree heat of the Northern Mexican desert alone, one man against an army.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I miss Vic and Henry!

  • By Nancy R on 09-06-18

Disappointing effort by an excellent wtiter

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

Reviewed: 09-05-18

George Guidell is a narrator who finds the nuances and brings out the best of books. Craig Johnson is a writer who I really admire so much. And yet -though I am happy to believe in dragons and elves, I found some of the actions and motivations in this story not only logically inconsistent, but unbelievable. Walt Longmire has mutated from a smart down to Earth sheriff to a sheriff crossed with a character from a Marvel comic.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Altered Carbon

  • By: Richard K. Morgan
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,468
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,130

In the 25th century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve") making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Altered Carbon

  • By Jake Williams on 09-22-07

Uneven writing deftly covered by competent narrator.

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

Reviewed: 02-06-18

Altered Carbon is an interesting premise, well plotted and well enough written for me to listen, with interest, to the end. But this writer was not well served by his editor, who sadly missed inconsistencies in "the world" of the story that were jarring enough to throw me out of the story. Odds are 100 to one that the editor was a man also. In a world with the technology to decant a person from body to another, you can bet your bottom dollar women would no longer be saddled with monthly periods, and yet one of minor characters is dealing with it. Most likely pregnancy would also be technically altered as well.

The protagonist is has been trained as an envoy, an entity supposed feared among planetary cultures for superior skills, superior manipulative skills. Such superiority is supposedly evidenced by a general indifference and minimal feelings, this idea was generated by Spok, the Vulcan and has become a stereotype that needs to by reexamine by the currant crop of writers. But I digress, our protagonist appears surprisingly inept from time to time through the story. Flawed as I find this book, it is still imaginative and I recommend it for other sci fi buffs who prefer future society over sword and dragon fantasyland.

  • The Midnight Line

  • A Jack Reacher Novel
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,803
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,924
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,885

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reacher doing what Reacher does!

  • By shelley on 11-07-17

Kudos From "Reader" who NEVER Reads Thrillers

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

Reviewed: 12-27-17

Would you consider the audio edition of The Midnight Line to be better than the print version?

In this particular audio, the narrator Dick Hill finds and presents all the nuances that make this a compelling story. When a writer is very good, a very good narrator highlights the best qualities of the writing. When I read text, I read fast and often miss the skilled use of language. Therefore, for me, the audio edition gilds the lily.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Reacher is my favorite character in this novel, as it is in all of the books of the series. He is my favorite character because I enjoy seeing the United States through his eyes.

Which character – as performed by Dick Hill – was your favorite?

Reacher is my favorite character because the character is the most developed character in the series. Why not? He is the center of the narrative universe.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely. Burned the midnight oil for this one

Any additional comments?

As a writer, I am always interested in good writing, and I always study how the writers I enjoy use language, and manage sentences. Lee Child is a million miles from Vladimir Nabakov; however both use minute detail to both create atmosphere and move the action forward. Good models for my beginning writing efforts. As a sideline, either Lee Child, or Jack Reacher, or both find middle American small towns as places filled with darkness and mayhem. Now I am always wary when I drive into a small agricultural town. . .

  • 10% Happier

  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,536
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,462

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inspired me to restart my meditation practice

  • By Julie W. Capell on 12-07-16
  • 10% Happier
  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris

Much Better Than Expected

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

Reviewed: 11-27-16

Nice combination of opened, honest scepticism combined with shifts in preconceived ideas. Interesting resolution to conflicts yet entertaining.

  • Steeplejack

  • By: A. J. Hartley
  • Narrated by: Noma Dumezweni
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside each other. The white Feldish command the nation's higher echelons of society. The native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there's Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated over generations ago as servants and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm's edges.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Steeplejack Audio Climbs the Tops of Storytelling

  • By Kerra Bolton on 12-08-16

For a Young Adult a restrained coming of age

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

Reviewed: 11-12-16

I bought this book because of the reader' s voice. For a YA book it was a well written coming of age story. Author love unique elements into a believable story. It held my attention, and warrants a second listen. Recommend

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Cowboy and the Cossack

  • A Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscovery
  • By: Clair Huffaker
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 293
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290

Fifteen Montana cowboys and 500 longhorns are embarking on a one-of-a-kind Wild West adventure: a cattle drive across 1,000 miles of Siberia. The clash of cultures between East and West, American six shooter and Russian saber, begins immediately when a band of Cossacks arrives to escort them to their destination. Cowboys and Cossacks must work together or they’ll never survive the journey, which includes a meeting with the warrior Genghis Kharlagawl and his army of bloodthirsty Tartars.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • NOSTROVIA OR NA ZDOROVIE

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 10-04-16

Entertaining Formula Western with Unique Setting

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

Reviewed: 06-28-16

Western genre novels are about trail herds or gunslingers. This is a trail herd story set in Czarist Russia. American cowboys deliver a herd of Longhorns under the escort of a company Cossack soldiers. In addition to bad weather and wolves, the cowboys and Cossacks are beset by villainous Cossacks and by Tartars: lots of action and adventure along the way. Characters are the stock characters found in Western novels and films from the 40's yet written with care and attention. Occasionally, the story drifted into over the top sentiment, but overall an entertaining read. The narrator of the recorded version did a good job.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Freddy and Fredericka

  • By: Mark Helprin
  • Narrated by: Robert Ian Mackenzie
  • Length: 25 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 453
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 167

Best-selling, critically acclaimed author Mark Helprin's work has drawn favorable comparisons to an elite group of literary legends, including James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe, and Thomas Mann. Helprin's sheer comic brilliance shines in this ingenious farce.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Freddy and Fredericka

  • By Julie on 08-16-05

Helperin's best since Winter's Talents

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-19-15

Funny, poignant and created by out of the box imagination. Narrator was perfectly cast for this book.

  • Bach and the High Baroque

  • By: Robert Greenberg, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Professor Robert Greenberg Ph.D. University of California Berkeley
  • Length: 25 hrs and 5 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 511
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 462
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 457

Though unappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights, the verdict of contemporary audiences long since overruled by succeeding generations of music lovers. But what makes his music great? In this series of 32 lectures, a working composer and musicologist brings his exceptional teaching skills to the task of helping you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach's music. You'll understand the compositional language that enabled him to compose such extravagant, unbridled music while still maintaining precise control of every aspect - beat, melody, melodic repetition, interaction, and harmony.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bach Treasure Box Opened by a True Enthusiast

  • By Dickens Groupie on 09-07-13

Bach Treasure Box Opened by a True Enthusiast

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

Reviewed: 09-07-13

If you could sum up Bach and the High Baroque in three words, what would they be?

Apart from one or two Toccata and Fugues, I really could not "hear" Bach. Professor Robert Greenberg has enabled me hear Bach's music, and has turned me into a Bach enthusiast. Professor Greenberg is a gifted lecturer who imparts both knowledge and enthusiasm for his subject. He is also a charismatic lecturer. I am so glad the Great Courses have been added to Audible. They are not only educational, they make a refreshing change from current fiction of all genres, which for the most part has become predictable and mostly uninteresting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Johann Sebastian Bach, because of his prodigious talent and productivity. Bach's life is a clear demonstration that genius can be applied to the demands of the workaday life.

Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Greenberg – was your favorite?

Professor Robert Greenberg himself as the lecturer. He combines depth of knowledge with enthusiasm and a polished presentation style. Always interesting.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but it is way to long, and the subject matter to meaty to be listened to in a single sitting. This is an audio product that I will listen to over and over again.

Any additional comments?

I plan to use my upcoming credits on more lectures by Dr. Greenberg. Fiction has become too boring.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Pandora's Star

  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 37 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8,348
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,400
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,419

The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Have to resort to headphones to listen

  • By Sue Nami on 10-05-16

Couldn't Hold My Attention

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

Reviewed: 02-21-13

What would have made Pandora's Star better?

I listen to recorded books almost daily, and I have heard books I didn't especially like, but this is the first book where my attention constantly drifted; I'd be listening for twenty minutes and realize that I had no clue what had happened. I have listened to the entire first segement (about seven hours of it); and restarted it several times, and I still have no clue what this book is about, and I have no interest in any of the characters. In my ears, the narrator was only reading, not creating a story with his voice, but to be fair, the material seems cumbersome.

Has Pandora's Star turned you off from other books in this genre?

Certainly not

How could the performance have been better?

Hard to define; for me, the narrator didn't "own" the story.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom; it was too flat for me to evoke much emotion

Any additional comments?

I am sure this book is great for some, but I simply had no interest in listening to the rest of it.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful