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  • 98
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  • Back to Blood

  • A Novel
  • By: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Lou Diamond Phillips
  • Length: 20 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 745
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 627
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 631

As a police launch speeds across Miami's Biscayne Bay - with officer Nestor Camacho on board - Tom Wolfe is off and running. Here is a big, panoramic story of the new America, as told by our master chronicler of the way we live now. Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe's previous best-selling novels, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Wolfe

  • By Lauren on 11-03-12

Dios mio what trash. Loved every minute!

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

Reviewed: 11-19-12

What made the experience of listening to Back to Blood the most enjoyable?

Where else can you hear loins, mons venus, lubricious sprinkled on every page? Who uses words like those either verbally or written, ever, besides TW?. Not much of a plot, more of a fabulous character study. Fully fleshed out characters come to life but sadly drop from the pages, tantalizing plot threads are disappointingly abandoned but what whacky juicy fun anyway. Its why you came. Enjoy. Narration, accents and pacing just wonderful.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 203,299
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 189,841
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189,437

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

A cartoonish mash up

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

Reviewed: 01-10-12

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Take the Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and any Tom Clancy novel [for the technique of technical item listing filler material]; squeeze it down to a cartoon, and there you have Ready Player One. Very young, fun at times; but silly and shallow. A story for USA Today devotees. I'm going to have my 17-year-old gamer son take a listen. If he likes it, great, I'll be thrilled.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Pale King

  • By: David Foster Wallace
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 19 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 414
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 348
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 351

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has. The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace's death....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling Profound Book about Tedium

  • By Stephen P. McSweeney on 06-02-12

Welcome to the machine

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

Reviewed: 09-02-11

If you could sum up The Pale King in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant, excruciating minutia

What did you like best about this story?

DFW

What about Robert Petkoff???s performance did you like?

Flawless, clean narration

If you could rename The Pale King, what would you call it?

Bang Your Head Against The Wall

Any additional comments?

This is my first exposure to DFW and I loved it. Long stretches of the novel are tedious, yes, but there are sections - three come to mind - that are just breath-taking in skill, technique and story. As a commentary on life in general and the travesty of work could not be better. I came of age in the mid-1970's to mid-1980's where a good portion of the novel is based so was able to connect immediately there.

Oh, and a I dislike this new review system. I'm sure it passed all sorts of statistical analysis indicating it would improve responses, but it is really a dumbed-down drag.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • The Intuitionist

  • By: Colson Whitehead
  • Narrated by: Peter Jay Fernandez
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 124
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 126

Lila Mae Watson - the first black female inspector in the world's tallest city - has the highest performance rating of anyone in the Department of Elevator Inspectors. This upsets her superiors, because Lila is an Intuitionist: she inspects elevators simply by the feelings she gets riding in them. When a brand new elevator crashes, Lila becomes caught in the conflict between her Intuitionist methods and the beliefs of the power-holding Empiricists.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fires on all cylinders; GREAT ! ! !

  • By Robert on 08-24-12

A Macguffin worth chewing on

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

Reviewed: 08-15-11

I follow Colson Whitehead on Twitter, where his steady and lively bon mots pepper you from all different angles of the universe. My thought was a novel from a writer that bright and fresh should be equally worthwhile, and indeed it was. The book is a treatise on the meaning and perceptions of life and flutters between a straight forward plot and what could almost be fanciful Asimov musings on humanity without quite leaving known reality. The plot itself is not particularly relevant and serves mostly as a giant Macguffin allowing Whitehead to focus laser-like on race relations and color perceptions at certain times through complex metaphors and at other times with simple straight talk. I find Colson's writing fresh, fun and light-hearted even when addressing dense and dramatic issues and this is where the pleasure of the novel came through. The plot itself was neither here nor there, and the bitter taste race was just out of reach; but the reason to get this book is to simply enjoy Whitehead's writing and fresh turns of phrase. I came away not quite sure exactly what it was I had gotten through, but missed it all the same. The narration and audio are excellent and first rate. Good stuff, recommended.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Winter's Bone

  • A Novel
  • By: Daniel Woodrell
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,005
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,694
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,700

The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly. Her father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. Ree's father has disappeared before. The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations, and arrests (and attempts to avoid them) are part of life in Rathlin Valley.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Now I Want to see the Movie!

  • By Pamela M. on 11-11-14

Nicely done and worth a listen

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

Reviewed: 08-09-11

Watched the movie one night, was enthralled. Listened to book next day in one sitting to continue the experience and add context. While I enjoyed the book, it doesn't add anything to the movie experience. Actually, if anything this is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book. Don't get me wrong, the book is excellent, but the elements that so captivated me in the movie - the atmosphere, the grey cold skies and washed out cinematography, the bit part characters, the mind blowing acting from the leads - don't come through fully in the text. Still a good listen on its own, but if you need a fix would suggest watching the movie twice rather than listening to the book. Narration perfectly fine.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Blind Assassin

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Margot Dionne
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,487
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 878
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 875

With The Blind Assassin, Atwood proves once again that she is one of the most talented, daring, and exciting writers of the time. Like The Handmaid's Tale, this Book Prize-winner is destined to become a classic.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible audio quality

  • By G. Sierra on 04-12-10

The world's best-written unhappy story

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

Reviewed: 07-28-11

Gorgeous, captivating writing and an evocative troubling story. Not a love story but a woman's story. The protagonist is unsympathetic but each character is beautifully draw in depth. At times you will feel trapped at a bake sale with the most negative woman you've ever met; but at other times a few words, a sentence or a short paragraph will absolutely astonish you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Cloud Atlas

  • A Novel
  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others
  • Length: 19 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,465
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,433
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,454

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I laughed often with the kindly Mr. Cavendish

  • By Aaron on 08-23-12

Magical, simply magical

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-26-11

Just fabulous. Complex and takes a while to get your mind around what is going on, but once immersed Cloud Atlas is wonderful and superbly crafted. I read the de Zoet book first, which I also recommend, but don't be deceived with Cloud Altas - it is not a period piece but is rather an imaginative voyage through time with first rate narration, plot lines and character development. Easily one to read/listen to twice. Leaves you wanted more, like a perfect dinner that was just right. I am stunned at the brilliance of David Mitchell. Very original. Recommended.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Kraken

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 16 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 971
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 675

With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A New Favorite Author

  • By Caveat Emptor on 10-23-10

I just can't get there from here

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-08-11

I loved Perdido Street Station and The City & The City 5 stars for me, and was thrilled to see China Mieville's Kraken. I so wanted this to work, and with John Lee how could you miss? [does Lee ever take a day off?] I struggled with the plot and never could get my arms around it. I just ended up confused. Could be I listen in the house and in bed - possibly this one requires the focus of a solo car ride. I've tried to start it again mid-way several times with no success, but I don't have the strength to start again from the beginning. Have to let it go.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Trinity Six

  • By: Charles Cumming
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 148
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 155

The most closely-guarded secret of the Cold War is about to be exposed – the identity of a SIXTH member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. And people are killing for it.... London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'. But Crane was much more than that – and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem. Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun exciting intrigues perfectly narrated.

  • By Ramon on 03-17-11

Consider taking a pass on this one

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-23-11

Paul Giamatti as James Bond, or The Hardy Boys verses Putin; I can't decide which description fits best. The verbiage comes through as well-written, but the plot is very thin and senseless. Character development surface only. Odd combination of constant action with nothing tangible happening. All sorts of chaos only to arrive at the same starting point, like riding a kiddie-sized roller coaster and coming to a stop. The protagonist is pretty much a dweeb and towards the end of the book I found myself hoping he would get shot so it could all be over. Side note on John Lee, whom I've heard narrate quite a few books and normally love....although Mr. Lee calms down by the middle of the book, at the beginning he is entirely too wound up, hyper-enuciating each syllable and super-inflecting each phrase; like a machine gun chattering. Made it hard to get into the flow. Normally on books like this that I review I point out a few flaws but usually say go ahead and give it a try. In this case no, spend your time elsewhere.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret Soldier

  • By: Alex Berenson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,235
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,707
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,701

John Wells may have left the CIA, but it hasn't left him. A mysterious call brings a surprise meeting with the aged monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah. "My kingdom is on a precipice," he tells Wells. "Powerful factions are plotting against me, and my own family is in danger. I don't know who I can trust, but I'm told I can trust you."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Curses! Islamists foiled again!

  • By Book and Movie Lover on 03-07-11

Save my cat John Wells, on please!!!!!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-11

Good fun, recommended in the style of covert spy "read and toss" airplane books. Not particularly believable in any way shape or form, but so what? Pops rights along, good background but at times reads like an action hero story written by wikipedia. Has the pace and form of the movie The Kingdom, which was great. Hmmm, a good portion of this book reads as if it was written while actually watching The Kingdom. And Berenson should bail on trying to write in the love interests in his stories. Why bother, they're thin, pointless and a distraction. "Yes I killed 6 people today, but I love you. Let's have pancakes." Narration and sound is perfectly fine, but Guidall is at times so sonorous that he'll put you right to sleep if you're listening while lying down. Go for it. The Middle East background is reasonably legit, and you'll have a fun listen.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful