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Ichiji

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  • The Long Earth

  • A Novel
  • By: Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
  • Narrated by: Michael Fenton-Stevens
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,311
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,083
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,105

The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some say mad, others allege dangerous - scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The Long (and Boring) Earth

  • By Mike From Mesa on 08-15-13

Huge disappointment

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

Reviewed: 04-19-19

If you love Prachett, as I do, just don’t get this book. It is preachy and boring, lacking the satiric whimsy that is his trademark. The story is nonexistent, the characters are uninteresting, and the narration gets one star for the hackneyed accents that play to cultural stereotypes. The female characters are terrible.

I rated this very low because of the sheer disappointment factor. I have read worse books. But I never would have bought it but for the Prachett name, and the style was unrecognisable.

  • American by Day

  • By: Derek B. Miller
  • Narrated by: Sean Mangan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98

She'd heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there - to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. America. Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not quite as good as...

  • By BallaghMan on 06-01-18

A fine author’s lazy resort to smug socialism

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

Reviewed: 04-13-19

I loved the two other books I read by Derek Miller. This one was just as well written and sardonic, but its unrelenting anti-American rhetoric ruins it. (To be fair, if you are a self-hating American socialist, maybe you’ll love it.)

I realize that the smug superiority of the main character may not be the only view the author intends to convey, but it heavily predominates and becomes tedious long before the end. The essence of the view expressed is that US racial inequality and gun violence is due to our shameful individualistic values and so we are doomed unless we embrace socialism. Whereas Norway, a racially and ethnically homogenous country with a population less than that of New York City that is, economically, an oil sultanate with reallly bad weather, is the ideal to which we should aspire. Yeah, right.

The character of Irv, a sheriff and former divinity student, is very amusing. But he is a bit of a rehash of the old man in the prequel.

  • Reset

  • By: Brian Andrews
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,052
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,051

Deep in the Afghan mountains, Sergeant Michael Pitcher discovers an object with powers that defy explanation. After interacting with it, he suffers a traumatic seizure and is flown home for evaluation. Cleared by the doctors, Michael goes home to his relieved wife, Josie. But he’s a changed man. The once-loving husband is now coldly withdrawn. When a team of scientists connected to Sergeant Pitcher vanishes without a trace, CIA agent Dean Ninemeyer comes to him for insight - only to find that the recovering soldier has also disappeared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You'll never see it coming

  • By Angela M Bacon on 05-02-18

Ray Porter is a genius

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

Reviewed: 02-13-19

This book was good. But Porter brings each story so alive, he transforms every book he reads into a cut above its text. I bought this book just because of him and it was a great choice.

  • The Girl on the Train

  • A Novel
  • By: Paula Hawkins
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133,221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117,653
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117,529

Audie Award, Audiobook of the Year, 2016. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Psychological Thriller Mystery

  • By Victor @ theAudiobookBlog on 01-23-18

Tedious and overwrought “Thriller”

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

Reviewed: 01-20-19

How anyone could describe this as a psychological thriller is a mystery. It’s a more compelling mystery than the actual book. There are no thrills here, only psychology. It’s billed as the next “Gone Girl” but all it shares with that book is really unlikeable female characters. I could not bear the whining of middle class self-absorbed females that composed this book. I am only sorry I didn’t return it in time. One is an alcoholic and the other is depressed. Something nasty probably happens, but I didn’t make it that far. Now you don’t have to read it — you’re welcome.

  • The Impossible Fortress

  • By: Jason Rekulak
  • Narrated by: Griffin Newman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,010
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 943
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 942

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine. The year is 1987, and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys - Billy, Alf, and Clark - who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Touching story

  • By solomon d. on 05-31-17

The Code is Part of the Story

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

Reviewed: 12-13-18

This audiobook was delightful. The main character is insecure, sweet, flawed, and believable, and the story was fresh. Narration hit the perfect note. But I am writing this review to respond to other reviewers who said the code snippets were intrusive and should have been omitted from the narration. In fact, I thought they were done perfectly in the audiobook. It doesn't take programming knowledge to see that they are part of the story. Each code snippet is a metaphor for what happens in the chapter that follows.

A small spoiler: This book starts out being about a plan to acquire a copy of Playboy. So it's not really suitable for very young children. But that element of the story rings utterly true for the angst experienced by a 14 year old boy, and it is not what the story is really about anyway. So, no one should dismiss this book due to that premise. In fact, it is a story about how a young man learns to value the real women in his life instead of the pin-ups.

Great story, very funny, and highly recommended.

  • The Hunt for Red October

  • By: Tom Clancy
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 18 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,429
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,183
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,174

Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The chase for the highly advanced nuclear submarine is on - and there’s only one man who can find her. Brilliant CIA analyst Jack Ryan has little interest in fieldwork, but when covert photographs of Red October land on his desk, Ryan soon finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek played by two world powers - a game that could end in all-out war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thank GOD you got a new narrator!

  • By Andrew M. Niehaus on 08-24-18

Pace of plot is too plodding, narrator OK

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

Reviewed: 09-22-18

This is one of the few books I have listened to where the film was better. The book has endless explanations of submarine technology details, and it slows down the pace too much. Plus, there were about 3 too many plot twists that didn’t add much to the narrative.

The author repeatedly uses a plot device that says something like “He explained his plan, and everyone was silent and awed.” That gets tiresome, it would be better to clue the reader in and create dramatic tensions some other way. By the time I waded through all the submarine tech details I could not recall and did not care what the hidden plan might have been at that time.

I don’t usually make this kind of comment, but there are zero women in this book. It’s a testosterone fest. I think the participation of females consists of a five year old girl saying she wants Santa to come and a female navy officer holding the door for someone. It fails the Bechdel test, to say the least. I usually don’t notice this so much, but this story is almost like someone edited out all female involvement with extreme prejudice.

The story is also heavy handed pro USA, but I think with Tom Clancy that is what the reader should expect.

This narrator is usually good, but in this book he is too breathlessly awed, mostly by how smart and noble the USA characters and technology are.

I saw the film many years ago, but I recall it seemed more like a tactical chess match between the two main characters. The story was tighter and much more engaging.

  • Blackout

  • By: Connie Willis
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
  • Length: 18 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,581
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,586

In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Double review - Blackout and All Clear

  • By Monica on 06-03-12

Longwinded Cliffhanger

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

I just finished this book, and when it was clear that the plot would not be resolved by the end, and the narrator said I would have to get the next book to find what happened to the characters, I actually screamed in frustration.

This book should have been edited to about half its length. Almost all of it is repetitive internal monologue of characters who are wondering what to do, due to poor planning.

Imagine you go with some friends to a big event, like a concert or fair, and you get separated, and you don't have cellphones, and you foolishly didn't make any plans to meet up if you got separated, and you spend all day wondering where your friends are and keep missing each other in the crowd. Add in lots of bureaucracy, unpleasant people and wartime detours, and that is what this book is like, for almost 19 hours.

I liked the previous books in this series but this was a cynical effort to string the reader along until the next book.

The narrator did a good job.

  • Write to Die

  • By: Charles Rosenberg
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,191
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,077
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,078

Hollywood's latest blockbuster is all set to premiere - until a faded superstar claims the script was stolen from her. To defend the studio, in steps the Harold Firm, one of Los Angeles's top entertainment litigation firms and as much a part of the glamorous scene as the studios themselves. As a newly minted partner, it's Rory Calburton's case, and his career, to win or lose.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Very Good Storyline.....

  • By R. Pontiflet on 12-18-16

Good Procedural Tutorial, Annoying Characters

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

Reviewed: 02-17-18

(Caution, spoilers.)

The Good: I was impressed by the detailed and accurate criminal and civil procedure explanations in this novel. (I am a lawyer, and though I am not a trial lawyer, the court procedure and cross-examination sounded quite accurate to me.) It was certainly more entertaining that the average CLE session. The plot was convoluted and interesting.

The Bad: There is a lot. I have read some of the glowing reviews of this book and I am truly perplexed. The procedure and plotting is good, but the characterization is bad. Before I read it, I did not know the author's background as a celeb trial commentator. I was astonished to see that he had written other books before -- this seemed to me like a first outing of an inexperienced writer. But there is no accounting for taste.

The characters in this book are simultaneously unbelievable and stereotypical, which, come to think of it, is quite a feat. These days, male writers make their female characters smart instead of stupid, maybe to show they aren't being sexist. But they seem perfectly content to make the female characters catty, arrogant, ruthless, calculating and shallow -- and don't forget: stunningly beautiful! But to be fair, the men in this book are just as awful and unrealistic. A bunch of soulless, narcissistic creeps. It was impossible to care about any of them.

These characters, many of which are lawyers, caused me to roll my eyes so often I was in danger of tearing an eye muscle. I have been in practice 25 years and I do not know any lawyers like these lawyers. I do not know any lawyers who say the things these lawyers say. I am paraphrasing, because it's hard to find lines in an audiobook, but some corkers were (from an experienced lawyer to a junior lawyer) "That was very smart! Where did you go to law school?" Lawyers are elitist about their schooling, but they just don't say that out loud. Like the calculating and clever and elitist creatures they are, they go look it up on Linkedin, and if appropriate, snigger about it later. And after about 3 years of practice, no one cares what TTT* you went to. All they care about is your trial record, and how much money you make -- shallow criteria perhaps, but practical. Or this line (again paraphrased) "You criticize Sarah. Is that because you are sexually attracted to her?" Who actually says that out loud? And "She was the most sought after associate in the country, and if she leaves are firm it will be all over the legal news and embarrassing for our firm." Uh, no. First year associates are not news. First year associates leaving firms are not news.

This was purportedly to justify the main character, an experienced lawyer, being forced to continue to work with an associate he wanted to fire, which brings me to the most annoying character in the book. The associate in this book is truly mentally ill, and her behavior would get her fired from any real law firm in a heartbeat. Also -- wait for it -- she is stunningly beautiful, sly and calculating, and knows she can get any man she wants. Gag. The premise is that she has "ICD" -- impulse control disorder, and her law firm can't fire her because of the ADA. This is so unrealistic as to be nearly amusing -- but not quite.

Finally, the author seems to use Dickensian names for about half his characters -- Broom, Thistle, etc. When listening to an audiobook, it's hard to see how the names are spelled, but they seemed to be half fake names and half real ones. "Rory Calburton" is, I suppose, just a stock WASP name. This was distracting and I did not see the point of it -- maybe it would have made more sense on the printed page.

In sum, this was a good refresher course on court procedure, but an annoyingly bad story.


*TTT means third tier toilet, a nickname for a bad law school. Despite the main character in this book being *haunted* by his unprestigious education, he manages not to use this term, which would have actually been amusing.

Narration was fine.

  • Silence

  • By: Thomas Perry
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,389
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,012
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,005

Six years ago, Jack Till helped Wendy Harper disappear. But now her ex-boyfriend and former business partner, Eric Fuller, is being framed for her presumed murder in an effort to smoke her out, and Till must find her before tango-dancing assassins Paul and Sylvie Turner do. With masterful plotting and unnerving psychological insight, Thomas Perry delivers another mesmerizing thrill ride.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • SILENCE

  • By shelley on 01-13-18

Shallow

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

Reviewed: 01-28-18

The characters in this story are all venal and egocentric, and not in an amusing way. The women are especially, and sometimes inexplicably, catty and narcissistic. The main female character, as one character puts it, is “a violence obsessed whore.” It does not pass the Bechdel test, to say the least. If your world view is that all people are preoccupied with their looks and think with their genitalia, this book is for you.

There is a high body count, which one character describes as “so much loss,” but the characters are so unappealing that it’s hard to care, except that by the end, I was perversely hoping all the characters would meet a bad end, including—unlikely though my hope may have been—the hero and heroine.

The snide style of narration is OK but wearing after a while. And the other reviewers correctly observe that about 25% of the California place names are mispronounced.

The author should have put a bit more imagination into his fictitious business names. The ones he gens up are amusingly unimaginative — like what you would read in a business school case study, but less clever.

Several chapters of this book are consumed by a low speed chase. That is not any more exciting than it sounds.

The only thing I found interesting in this story was the notion of a pair of assassins bickering like a hateful old married couple, which I suppose is more authentic than the average caper movie would suggest. But that did not make the entire slog worthwhile.

  • The Force

  • A Novel
  • By: Don Winslow
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,184
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,825
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,809

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is the "King of Manhattan North", a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of "Da Force". Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest - an elite special unit given carte blanche to fight gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the 18 years he's spent on the job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Winslow continus to amaze

  • By Steve L on 07-13-17

Too heavy-handed

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

Reviewed: 01-17-18

I am a fan of other books of Don Winslow, but this one could not keep my attention. The "hard boiled" narration was appropriate to the story, but grated on my nerves after a while -- too self-righteous and nasal. The story was not very imaginative. I gave up about 1/3 of the way through.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful