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Brian Lawler

Washington, D.C.
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 50
  • ratings
  • Machines of Loving Grace

  • The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots
  • By: John Markoff
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 144

As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society - on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health - Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: Will these machines help us, or will they replace us?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent blend of tech, philosophy, bio

  • By S. Yates on 08-08-16

Good book on history of AI and robotics

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

Reviewed: 11-17-18

Covers lots of interesting people and events. An easy read on the topic - engaging but not too technical.

  • Mark of Fire

  • The Endarian Prophecy, Book 1
  • By: Richard Phillips
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Davies
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 208
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 177

Lorness Carol, coming of age in the kingdom of her warlord father, Lord Rafel, aspires to wield magic. But she's also unknowingly become the obsession of Kragan, an avenging wielder as old as evil itself. He's waited centuries to find and kill the female prophesied as the only human empowered to destroy him. However, dispatching the king's assassin, Blade, to Rafel's Keep, ends in treason. For Blade arrives not with a weapon but rather a warning for the woman he's known and loved since he was a child.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good start to a new series

  • By Jake on 11-13-17

Not bad but not good either.

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

I got the Kindle version as a freebie under Prime and then added the audio for a few books. Fine to kill time on my daily commute but not an exemplar of the genre.

  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

  • By: Howard Pyle
  • Narrated by: David Thorn
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 183
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184

Here are American author Howard Pyle's exciting and hilarious tales of Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws, who reigned over Sherwood Forest doing many good deeds for the poor - and deserved misdeeds to the pompous and haughty rich.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great presentation of a classic story

  • By Damon D. Hickey on 06-21-12

Original isn't always better

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

Reviewed: 04-01-18

This collection of semi-related stories makes for a less coherent story than some of the adaptations. Good car commute listening though because when you have to pay more attention to driving than the story, you don't miss out on much that will be needed later in the book .

  • Along Came a Spider

  • By: James Patterson
  • Narrated by: Charles Turner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,358
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,557
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,575

Along Came a Spider first introduced Alex Cross, the brilliant homicide detective. When the daughter of a Hollywood actress and the son of the Secretary of the Treasury are kidnapped, Cross and the Secret Service are pitted against Gary Soneji, a murderous serial kidnapper who wants to commit the crime of the century.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Extremely disappointing

  • By Robert on 06-02-09

Not great but good enough

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

Reviewed: 03-03-18

First off, the movie is noticeably different from the book. The book nicely focuses on and sets up for the series of books the main character - a detective and psychologist. Gets off to a good start and wraps up well but has a few sections in the middle that are less interesting and less useful, even distracting, to the story. Good commuting book.

  • Secondborn

  • Secondborn, Book 1
  • By: Amy A. Bartol
  • Narrated by: Kate Reinders
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,765
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,773

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic. On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode's eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she's to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Bella Swan's Cousin

  • By A. Capito on 02-14-18

Formulaic, predictable but still mildly entertaini

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

Reviewed: 02-02-18

Covers the same basic ideas as lots of dystopian fiction. Not lots of novelty in the plot or characters. But entertaining enough. Good enough to help pass the time during long commutes.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Hundredth Queen

  • By: Emily R. King
  • Narrated by: Lauren Ezzo
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,970
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,754
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,751

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood in the ancient Tarachand Empire, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she's an unlikely candidate for even a servant's position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood's mountain temple. But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda's life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A mix of religion, politics, and magic

  • By LexiLikesLiterature on 07-11-17

Not Great but Good commuting material.

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

Reviewed: 10-29-17

Storyline is predictable in several regards. Characters are fairly simple. But interesting enough to pass the time - e.g., during commute time.

  • The Mutual Admiration Society

  • A Novel
  • By: Lesley Kagen
  • Narrated by: Dara Rosenberg
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 72

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa "Tessie" Finley, she's in over her head. PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Twisted metaphors funny and how.

  • By Lois on 06-16-18

Poor story-telling. Cursing. Normalizes bigotry.

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

Reviewed: 10-29-17

The viewpoint of a young girl is initially interesting but soon tiresome - e.g., this character is very scatter-brained and that makes it difficult to move the storyline forward. This character says lots of PG-13 curse words - so not appropriate for younger readers. Finally, there are lots of ethnic slurs used in this story - made even more offensive because they serve no purpose and not done in a way to condemn this kind of behavior. The way the author uses bigotry seems to mainstream, normalize or even approve of this behavior - I found that very distasteful.

  • Persuader

  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,800
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,543
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,524

Jack Reacher. The ultimate loner. An elite ex-military cop who left the service years ago, he's moved from place to place...without family...without possessions...without commitments.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Child at His Best! A Must Read for Reacher Fans!

  • By Joanna on 06-19-09

Better than previous two but much darker

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

I was about to quit this series. The previous two were sort of boring and had female leads I didn't like at all. This has an interesting revenge plot told in two timelines. The female lead still isn't a great character but tolerable. Be forewarned this story puts Reacher into a much darker, cold blooded, place and with a high body count. Good commute and vacation listening.

  • Signature Wounds

  • A Grale Thriller, Book 1
  • By: Kirk Russell
  • Narrated by: James Foster
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

While in Las Vegas on his way to a family Fourth of July celebration, FBI bomb expert Paul Grale hears a deep blast and sees the smoke rising. In an unfolding nightmare, Grale discovers his sister, brother-in-law, and many friends were caught up in the explosion. Grief stricken, he is pulled from the main bomb investigation to sift orphan leads. Quietly he begins a relentless search for the bomb maker.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • not bad

  • By mmf56 on 01-13-18

Good even if not great cop story. Enjoyable.

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

Reviewed: 05-16-17

Good basic investigation story. Interesting mix of characters. Not an amazing example of the genre but very enjoyable commute or vacation listening.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Auggie & Me

  • Three Wonder Stories
  • By: R. J. Palacio
  • Narrated by: Michael Chamberlain, Scott Merriman, Taylor Ann Krahn, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,242
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,052
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,041

These stories are an extra peek at Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Listeners get to see him through the eyes of Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie's oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie's new friend at school. Together, these three stories are a treasure for listeners who don't want to leave Auggie behind when they finish Wonder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Every Story Has A Hundred Different Views

  • By Tony E. on 06-27-16

Good book for families.

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

Reviewed: 02-18-17

Some books are good for parents but not for kids. Some good for kids but not parents. This is good for both. An interesting set of 3 stories that elaborates on the characters and stories of the previous book. A good book for parents and their middle schoolers to read together.