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Erika Mathistad

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  • reviews
  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 26
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  • Shake the Devil Off

  • A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans
  • By: Ethan Brown
  • Narrated by: James Avery
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

They looked like a slightly mischievous version of the all-American couple: a handsome army veteran and his gorgeous artist girlfriend. Zackery Bowen, after completing his tour of Iraq, came home to New Orleans, and in two weeks before Hurricane Katrina, he met Addie Hall. Their improvised, hard-partying endurance during and after the storm inspired news outlets around the world to feature the couple as the personification of the indomitable spirit of New Orleans. But beneath the surface, trouble was brewing.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Avoid this one!

  • By Robin on 08-08-10

Good book, terrible production quality

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

This is a really interesting book, though it focuses more on the multiple failings of the government with regards to post-discharge care for soldiers and the aftermath of Katrina, than on the case. I came in expecting the story of the murder, which ended up being more of a side-note to the author’s critique. More energy was given to the people Zach served with than to his victim. However, it’s a really in-depth look at how the system failed one person so horrifically that he was unable to cope with his own perceived failures, which led him to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, which (though the author conspicuously misses that crucial step in the blame game) ultimately led to his incomprehensible act of violence. All in all, worth the read.

The production quality of this recording was awful. My only problem with the narration is that he’s repeatedly inconsistent in his pronunciation of many words (Jaegermeister is sometimes ‘my-ster’, sometimes ‘master’ (???); Geisa is both ‘Geesa’ and ‘Guysa’; as well as multiple pronunciations of Zach’s wife’s name, just for starters. (According to many other reviewers, the narrator mispronounces many of the location names as well). Also, the editing is awful and distracting, with very noticeable audio changes in the places where it was overdubbed or spliced in. (Especially during the coverage of Zach’s time in the military). It’s like listening to a ransom note.

  • The House of the Seven Gables

  • By: Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 209

In a sleepy little New England village stands a dark, weather-beaten, many-gabled house. This brooding mansion is haunted by a centuries-old curse that casts the shadow of ancestral sin upon the last four members of the distinctive Pyncheon family of Salem.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Classic Thriller

  • By E. Pearson on 12-03-10

Mr. Heald Delivers

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

Anthony Heald’s narration brings the story to life. Hawthorne seems to be one of the few authors of classic literature that doesn’t induce chronic eye rolling. He is, however, verbose to the point of tedium...ad nauseam, etc. If it weren’t for the five-star narration, I may have missed out on, what is invariably a silly story, but enjoyable nonetheless.

  • Wolf in White Van

  • By: John Darnielle
  • Narrated by: John Darnielle
  • Length: 5 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 928
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 854

Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Backward masking, PBM games, and suicide

  • By David on 12-06-15

A story about different kinds of pain for different kinds of people.

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

Reviewed: 01-10-17

Unbelievably, the authors reading of this book is distracting. But the story is still raw and honest like everything he writes. His ability to describe the gaping emotions that stretch between the fears and comforts of being alive make this my favorite book, still.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Feast for Crows

  • A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4
  • By: George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
  • Length: 33 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,373
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,580
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,581

Few books have captivated the imagination and won the devotion and praise of readers and critics everywhere as has George R. R. Martin’s monumental epic cycle of high fantasy that began with A Game of Thrones. Now, in A Feast for Crows, Martin delivers the long-awaited fourth book of his landmark series, as a kingdom torn asunder finds itself at last on the brink of peace . . . only to be launched on an even more terrifying course of destruction.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Jarring change in Dotrice's performance

  • By Pi on 06-21-12

A couple negatives about the reader

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

Reviewed: 07-20-14

If you could sum up A Feast for Crows in three words, what would they be?

Fantastic Story Telling.

How could the performance have been better?

The general narration is okay, but the constant changes to the pronounciation of the characters' names is really irritating. For the first three books (as far as my memory serves) the names are consistent. Not only does the pronounciation change in this book, but there are several options from which the reader bounces back and forth. It's distracting. Also, he often fails to relay the context in which dialogue is delivered. Questions are spoken as statements, and vice versa, and he seems to be incapable of reading women's dialogue as anything but whiny and plaintive. There is also a sing-songy quality to all dialogue (both men and women) that I found terribly distracting. His performance is such that it would deter me from purchasing other stories read by him if it wasn't part of a series I was already enamored of.

Any additional comments?

I'd heard from several others that this is the dryest of the series, but I did not find that to be true for me. There isn't any 'epic' moment, but rather a series of events that lead from the last book to the next, which I find enjoyable.