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TexasFella

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  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 10
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  • The Battle of the Coral Sea

  • The History and Legacy of World War II's First Major Battle Between Aircraft Carriers
  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Ken Teutsch
  • Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

The growing buzz of aircraft engines disturbed the Japanese military construction personnel hauling equipment ashore on the beige coral sand of Tulagi Island at 8:20 AM on May 4, 1942. Offshore, the large IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) minelayer Okinoshima, flagship of Admiral Shima Kiyohide, lay at anchor, along with two destroyers, Kikuzuki and Yutsuki, and transport ships. Six Japanese Mitsubishi F1M2 floatplanes also rested on the gentle, deep blue swell, marking Tulagi's future as an IJN floatplane base.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good, concise, clear account of crucial battle

  • By TexasFella on 03-05-18

Good, concise, clear account of crucial battle

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

Reviewed: 03-05-18

The Coral Sea fight is always in the shadow of the later Midway battle. It was there that the US Navy learned tremendous lessons that would make victory at Midway possible. And the losses-in carriers and confidence-to the Japanese greatly weakened them for the coming battle at Midway. The work of key code breakers before this battle gave the American high command confidence in them, that lead to successful preparation for Midway. This short version has plenty of detail, makes clear the significance, includes several personal stories and never feels padded. The reader is very easy to understand with no annoying tendencies of speech.

  • Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

  • By: James Runcie
  • Narrated by: Peter Wickham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 358
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 333
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 330

Sidney Chambers, the Vicar of Grantchester, is a 32-year-old bachelor. Tall, with eyes the colour of hazelnuts, he is both an unconventional clergyman and a reluctant detective. Working in association with his friend, Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is able to go where the police cannot, eliciting surprise revelations and confessions from his parishioners.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not The Masterpiece Mystery Grantchester

  • By Sara on 06-28-15

Pleaseant, slow-paced, different from Grantchester

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

Reviewed: 07-07-17

These are enjoyable mystery stories more in the British "cozy" mystery style of, say, Agatha Christie than the somewhat faster-paced, more romantic, edgy and slightly noir-ish British mystery TV series, "Grantchester". I am talking degrees here, the basic people and situations are the same, but it may be enough difference to disappoint some fans of the TV series. Probably most Americans, like myself, try the book series because we so enjoy the TV series. I have enjoyed this first book in the series, but to a lesser degree than the TV series. (My mystery reading tastes are usually more hard-boiled, but on the other hand, I also like Jane Austen.) On TV the excellent pairing of James Norton as Chambers and Robson Green as the detective, and their friendship, adds tremendously to the interest in the series.
Without giving any specifics, there is a quite different emphasis on Sidney's various romantic interests, at least through this first book and the first part of the third series on TV; the same people but different focus. Though you will certainly find Amanda and "the German widow", Hildegard. For example, in this first book, at least, Sidney is much less challenged by his robust romantic inclinations for attractive women, although that is certainly touched on. Leonard, the curate, so far shows no particular sexual orientation,as he does on TV. Perhaps some of these things will show up in the later books.
Sidney still loves jazz, thank goodness, perhaps even more than on "Grantchester". (It can be murder.)
I bought the book on Kindle and Audible, and mostly listened to it. The audio reader, Peter Wickham is quite good actually, and his British accent is not at all hard for American ears, but his tone is so relaxed in the way he presents these stories that I find him somewhat lulling on this material.
By the way, the book is really a series of several long short stories, each three or four chapters, with its own mystery, not always a murder. But the stories are designed so they all flow smoothly together, so this is arguably as much a novel as short stories. Each story is very well done and has a lot of material about the time period (1950s in the first book; the decades change in later books) and Sidney's inner thoughts and turmoils. These often have nothing to do with the mystery. That's true in the TV series also, but not to the same extent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Moriarty

  • By: Charles Veley
  • Narrated by: Edward Petherbridge
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 93
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 85

Narrated by acclaimed British actor Edward Petherbridge, The Last Moriarty is set in London, 1895. On a cold November morning, a young American actress visits 221B Baker Street, desperate for Sherlock Holmes to protect her from the threats of a mysterious, menacing man who has recently appeared in her life. Holmes agrees to help, even though he has just promised the Prime Minister to solve the murder of John D. Rockefeller's security agent before the incident can derail an upcoming British-American summit.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Starts well enough, ends like a bad action movie

  • By TexasFella on 07-01-17

Starts well enough, ends like a bad action movie

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

Reviewed: 07-01-17

I like the writers general tone and ability to create the feel of a genuine Holmes story, but he was very slow paced in the beginning and had a silly action climax right out of grade B melodrama. The reader was good, though he was a slow speaker which took a little getting used to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Winds of War

  • By: Herman Wouk
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
  • Length: 45 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,955
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,265
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,267

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Masterpiece

  • By Robert on 05-24-13

If you want to understand how World War II evolved

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

Reviewed: 04-06-17

This is an old classic that was a huge best-seller in 1971. I read it first ages ago, and it's one of those that really holds up. It is fiction, but through his fascinating Henry family, Wouk manages to have us in all the right places to see the "Big Picture" and the small details of pre-World War II, all in a very entertaining way. This is the book that become the huge TV event mini-series, and it's even better than that excellent series. Unless you are a real history buff, you will learn a lot of fascinating background you never knew or had forgotten about WWII, and have a fun read doing it. This time I read most of it on Audible, and Pariseau's performance(s) is excellent. In case you don't know, Wouk continued the war, and the Henry family saga, in War and Remembrance, which I hope to get to again very soon.

  • The Wrong Side of Goodbye

  • Harry Bosch, Book 19
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Titus Welliver
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,057
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,849
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,779

Harry Bosch is California's newest private investigator. He doesn't advertise, he doesn't have an office, and he's picky about who he works for, but it doesn't matter. His chops from 30 years with the LAPD speak for themselves. Soon one of Southern California's biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire has less than six months to live and a lifetime of regrets. He hires Bosch to find out whether he has an heir.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Connelly Delivers Everytime

  • By Charles Atkinson on 07-19-17

A bit different, but still the best-Harry Bosch

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

Reviewed: 04-06-17

This is a review of the audio version. Titus Welliver, who plays Bosch on the Amazon Prime series, Season 3 coming this month, also reads the novels (of late) for audio. It took me a few episodes to like him as Bosch on TV, but here I found him perfect right away. Not super dramatic in his reading, but he has the right Bosch tone.
In this novel, Harry is now retired from LAPD, working (volunteering) in another town's dept., and doing some P.I. work. This leads to what seems at first like a no-murder tale, mixing a lost heir search as a P.I., and the pursuit of a serial rapist for the cop job. But Connelly's tales are always beautifully detailed and fascinating and, of course, filled with surprises. Several.
I read all the Connelly novels, finding him the best blend of character, story, drama and entertainment out there in crime writing, not that I know all the writers. But this guy is consistently good.

  • The Twilight Warriors

  • The Deadliest Naval Battle of World War II and the Men Who Fought It
  • By: Robert Gandt
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104

April 1945. The end of World War II finally appears to be nearing. The Nazis are collapsing in Europe, and the Americans are vastly overpowering the Japanese in the Pacific. For a group of pilots in their early 20s who were trained during the twilight of the war, the biggest concern is that they'll never actually see real action and will go home without having a chance to face the enemy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Selection: One of the Best in this Genre

  • By David on 09-22-11

Fascinating, powerful view on late Pacific War

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

Reviewed: 06-05-16

Robert Gandt gives a good mix of very personal views and the overall big picture of the horrific battle in the last months of World War II, from both American and Japanese sides. There is, due to the recurring type of events, some repetition, but he usually makes it interesting and fresh. There is also repetition of a certain stylistic quirk in Gandt's writing (it seemed like the worst attack was over. It wasn't!) that is mildly annoying, but that is a minor thing. This book is best when describing air action and the intensity of shipboard defense, less compelling in the description of land action, which was clearly secondary to the writer. Still, it brings home the madness of war, especially when one side was often willing to die for honor. Pruden is a good, clear narrator for the audio version.

  • Case of the Vanishing Beauty

  • By: Richard S. Prather
  • Narrated by: Maynard Villers
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 7

Shell Scott, the shamus who has Sherlock whirling in his grave...the wacky knight-errant of gorgeous gals who leaves a trail of beautiful bodies behind him (not all of em dead)...the private eye who's every killer's public enemy.... This is the first book in this action-packed mystery series. The Case of the Vanishing Beauty began when one beauty vanished from sight and another died in a hail of bullets. Next on the murder list was lovely Lina....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Problematic reader. Amusing and light pulp parody.

  • By TexasFella on 04-07-16

Problematic reader. Amusing and light pulp parody.

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

Reviewed: 04-07-16

Here's the deal, Mac: You are only likely to "get" this book if you are a fan of mainly old time hard-boiled tough-guy American detective fiction (40s, 50s, 60s) of the pulp/Chandler/Hammett genre. If you are, you will recognize this as more loving parody than the genuine article. That's not knocking it; I enjoyed the book, and actually laughed out loud several times at some of the outrageous examples of hard-boiled dialogue and descriptions. But I almost gave up early on this novel because of the reader, Maynard Villers. I see he reads a lot of genre books, including a number of Shell Scott novels. By the end of the book, I was OK with him, but with an asterisk. His voice was pretty good for the characters, but he is at times an excruciatingly slow reader, not because he talks slowly, but because of long, unnecessary pauses between sentences. It's like he lost the next paragraph, repeatedly. It makes Scott and the scenes seem flat. He was especially bad about this in the first half of the novel, then suddenly seemed to get better. Maybe the audio director said let's move this buggy along. But this is supposed to be a lively, energetic story, and he reads so slowly, that he DE-energizes it. But I found the cure. On Audible, you can change the reading speed. After Villers speeded up his pace in the middle, he was better, but what really helped is when I moved the Audible reading speed to 1.25x. From there on, I hardly noticed the slowness. (Be sure to move it back to 1x for your next book.) Now, back to the book: This is NOT literature, like, say, Chandler. I have read a lot of pulp detective fiction, but this is my first Shell Scott novel by Richard S. Prather, though I was well aware of the books (and their goofy original covers) and that they were considered amusing and light. So I am only reviewing this book, not the whole long series. The detective story here, including plot and twists, was so-so, but the pace and humor were good and I may try another. Scott is an enjoyable character, rugged and a tad cocky, but also likeable and not a belligerent jerk. He loses some fights, and sometimes tries to avoid others. Sexist? Well, yeah, this is written in 1950, and it's a parody, but he does seem to actually like women as people, unlike, say, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. And they aren't stupid. There was some vaguely implied sexual activity, but Prather was hilariously oblique in describing it, like a 1950s movie. So, this is a mixed bag, and only for those who read lots of old-school, tough-guy detective fiction and don't take it seriously.

  • Terms of Enlistment

  • Frontlines, Book 1
  • By: Marko Kloos
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,569
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,969
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,956

The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good, not great Military Sci-Fi

  • By Ron T on 11-14-16

Very fun novel, despite familiar elements

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

Reviewed: 06-19-15

The story of a young man who goes through Boot Camp and joins the service and gets into action is familiar both in standard literature and science fiction, but I've seldom found a more entertaining and lively version of the standard tale. Even the Boot Camp section feels relatively fresh, though done a million times. The characterizations are reasonably fresh and briskly portrayed, and most importantly likable. And the pacing is excellent. I will say the SF villains, when they finally appear, seem rather out of a 50s B movie, but that was my only major gripe. Also, the romantic and sexual relationship is pleasantly done, with a very appealing woman officer. Reader/actor Luke Daniels gives a spritely performance, although just now and then he makes the lead character seem a bit to adolescent, in a Gee whiz sort of way. I'm moving quickly to the sequel.

  • Childhood's End

  • By: Sir Arthur C. Clarke
  • Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer, Robert J. Sawyer - introduction
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,910
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,964

The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city - intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Food for Thought

  • By Kindle Customer on 11-17-08

A classic that holds up.

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

Reviewed: 04-11-15

After more than 60 years since its publication, Childhood's End still delivers strong entertainment and a sense of awe. Obviously, since its ideas have been copied many times in books and film, the impact may be somewhat lessened. Modern readers may be less patient with Clarke's world and character building. Though the initial event takes place immediately at the start of the book, the actual purpose of the book does not start unfolding for some time, and the major event is reserved for the last third of the novel. Except for a slight lag in the middle it remains interesting throughout. And the final scenes are both thought-provoking and surprisingly emotional.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful