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B.J.

Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 207
  • reviews
  • 4,288
  • helpful votes
  • 535
  • ratings
  • The Animators

  • A Novel
  • By: Kayla Rae Whitaker
  • Narrated by: Alex McKenna
  • Length: 15 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 307

In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rough beginning but Stick With It

  • By SydSavvy on 04-24-17

Wow! What a wonderful surprise!

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

I LOVE this book. Here's why:

1. The writing is original and authentic. The dialogue is real. The characters are real.
2. If creativity is a part of your being, this book describes the highs and lows, exhilaration and desperation of creating something/anything. I've just never read anything where the author got it so right.
3. The narration is perfect. Spot on.

This is a stunning debut. There's something really special about it. I was reminded me of another terrific debut from a dozen years ago -- Marisha Pessl's "Special Topics in Calamity Physics."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Dry

  • A Novel
  • By: Jane Harper
  • Narrated by: Stephen Shanahan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,464
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,043
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,036

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now, more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing dry here!

  • By green ice cream garden on 01-18-17

Can I rate this as two different books?

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

This book goes through some kind of transformation near the halfway point. I was SO bored and nearly gave up after about 4 hours. I couldn't keep the characters straight and didn't care what happened to them. Then something happened. The book got good. I mean really good. The characters became real. The plot line unfolded. The two-star rating I was planning got bumped up significantly.

The Dry is a good name. It not only describes the scene, but also describes this book perfectly. If you're looking for non-stop entertainment, this is not your book. If you want to let a book unfold without keeping you up at night with rapt attention, this is it. It's good -- not great. And boy, is it ever dry.

  • Sometimes I Lie

  • By: Alice Feeney
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Racine
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,085
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,613
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,607

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can't move. She can't speak. She can't open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn't remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from 20 years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller audiobook asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book. Highly recommended.

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-17-18

Whoa. Hold everything.

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

Reviewed: 06-28-18

I typically don't dive into psychological thrillers because I just can't stand the suspense and the often accompanying gratuitous violence. This one grabbed me from the start and wouldn't let go. I was thinking about it whenever I wasn't listening. The narration was so spot-on it became the book. It's beautifully creepy in the same vein as "Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters.

No spoilers -- but here's what I can tell you: I don't know. It deserves a second listen and maybe then I'll have an answer. If your book club reads fiction, this might be a great one for a discussion. You'll have loads of theories from which to draw a conclusion ... maybe.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Necessary Lies

  • By: Diane Chamberlain
  • Narrated by: Alison Elliott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,604
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,396
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,396

Best-selling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town 50 years ago, and the darkest - and most hopeful - places in the human heart. After losing her parents, 15-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister, and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness, and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give. When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Controversial story - great performance

  • By Marie on 05-26-15

Unexpectedly good.

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

Reviewed: 02-26-18

I think I expected a not-so-deep listen about the south a half-century ago. I wasn't exactly expecting new ground would be covered, but some of my favorite reviewers gave it a 5-star so I gave it a shot.

This is a case where characters you've come to love can demonstrate an issue much more effectively than if you describe an idea from on high. It seems like any time you can see the impact on a human, it all makes more sense. (I think back to movies like "Schindler's List" and "Sophie's choice" that did this brilliantly.) I'm sure it's why certain news stories take a different turn when you see the human suffering on a personal level.

Though I knew about the program that comes to light in this book, I'd never thought about it in these terms. I never imagined how it felt to a trained professional with a conscience -- and to be powerless in the face of something you know to be so wrong.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Alone

  • By: Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,033
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,184
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,092

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Long, Hard Slog Through Endless Despair and Heartache

  • By Morro Schreiber on 04-11-18

Kristin Hannah creates worlds with words.

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

Reviewed: 02-18-18

I literally couldn't stop listening to this one. Yes, some of the subject matter is brutal -- but it's the life some people live. Without books, I truly wouldn't know what those lives are like.

I thought I knew where she was going with the storyline. I was wrong. When I gave up trying to predict and just inhabited the world she created, I was truly captivated. I'm not sure I've ever really experienced the sights and smells of Alaska with this kind of clarity. It's a love song to wilderness and survival. And it's an incredibly insightful look at all the permutations of "family."

Brava! Perfect combination of author and narrator. One of the best of the year.

46 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Replay

  • By: Ken Grimwood
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,487
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,805
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,826

In 1988, 43-year-old Jeff Winston died of a heart attack. But then he awoke, and it was 1963; Jeff was 18 all over again, his memory of the next two decades intact. This time around, Jeff would gain all the power and wealth he never had before. This time around he'd know how to do it right. Until next time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My Favorite Book for the past 10 years

  • By psnorb on 12-29-08

Extremely well-crafted. Kudos to the author.

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

Reviewed: 02-10-18

I missed this book in its heyday when it was winning awards. But that's okay. I experienced it now and the timing was perfect. As I grieve the loss of a close friend, it was a perfect time to look back and wonder.

I really don't think I'd call this sci-fi or even time travel. (Book categories I normally shun.) It's just about examining choices and how things play out. The vehicle that's used to do that is interesting and very clever. It totally kept my interest. I never accurately guessed the next twist -- and I love that. Clever work.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • With Love from the Inside

  • By: Angela Pisel
  • Narrated by: Carol Monda, Andi Arndt
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,817
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,800

Grace Bradshaw knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Eleven years, five months, and 27 days separate her from the last time she heard her precious daughter's voice and the final moment she'd heard anyone call her mom. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing - reconnecting with her daughter and making sure she knows the truth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful story

  • By Mary McDaniels on 09-23-16

I wanted to like this book.

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

Starting in, I hoped the author would take on the death penalty in all it its complexity. It's not an easy topic in any way -- not to read about and not to write about. Hugely polarizing. But I always think that if just know more and think more about some of these kinds of issues, we'll start to understand them more as a society. Because we're talking about a woman on death row, I thought maybe this would be it. It wasn't.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Heart's Invisible Furies

  • A Novel
  • By: John Boyne
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hogan
  • Length: 21 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,233
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,091
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,089

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery - or at least that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding. A Must listen.

  • By Keith G on 09-04-17

Truly wonderful. And then some.

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

Reviewed: 01-17-18

This is one of the most superbly crafted books I've encountered in quite some time. I loved Boyne's work in "The Absolutist" and raved about it to anyone who would listen. I was desperate to discuss that book with someone, anyone, and feel the same about "The Heart's Invisible Furies."

Boyne creates the kind of characters who come and live with you while you're in the book. For the most part, they are all beautifully complex characters – and even when there are obvious personality flaws, this author finds balance and humanity. When they're evil, they are evil. Justice prevails. Stephen Hogan adds to the entire experience with a spot-on narration.

I feel like I made a friend. Cyril Avery has a place in my heart.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Fire and Fury

  • Inside the Trump White House
  • By: Michael Wolff
  • Narrated by: Michael Wolff, Holter Graham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,896
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,732
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,633

With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country—and the world—has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not as credible as one would like.

  • By Jerry R. Nokes Jr. on 01-29-18

Sure this isn't classified as Horror?

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

Reviewed: 01-14-18

There's not much I can say in this review that hasn't already been said. It's an up close look at the Trump White House and how it operates. Nothing was surprising -- but all of it horrified me. I really want our government to operate at a higher level than what is portrayed.

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • American Kingpin

  • The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road
  • By: Nick Bilton
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 10,595
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,759
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9,731

In 2011, a 26-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine website hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything - drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons - free of the government's watchful eye. It wasn't long before the media got wind of the new website where anyone - not just teenagers and weed dealers but terrorists and black hat hackers - could buy and sell contraband detection-free.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An honest portrait of DPR

  • By Victor on 05-18-17

You'll be telling your friends about this book.

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

Reviewed: 01-02-18

This amazingly well-researched book got hold of me and wouldn't let go. Every part of it is interesting -- the dark web, the whole concept of the Silk Road and the man behind it. I learned, I thought about what was in it, and the narration was perfect. That's a 5-star book.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful