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H James Lucas

Manhattan
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 123
  • helpful votes
  • 119
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  • Ella Enchanted

  • By: Gail Carson Levine
  • Narrated by: Eden Riegel
  • Length: 5 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 822
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 618
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 624

Ella of Frell wants nothing more than to be free of Lucinda's gift of obedience and feel that she belongs to herself. For how can she truly belong to herself if she knows that at any time, anyone can order her to hop on one foot, cut off her hand, or betray her kingdom, and she'll have to obey?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully read!

  • By C on 06-19-09

Music overload and other production issues

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

Reviewed: 07-20-18

Ella Enchanted is a title I remember fondly from my childhood, but this audio version is a trying experience. The narrator was about 16 at the time of recording but sounds much younger—too young for fifteen-year-old Ella. The pitch of her voice is so high that it can make listening challenging with even a little ambient noise. More problematic than the narrator's timbre, though, is the frequent overlay of music. Where a better audio book may include a little music at chapter breaks, this one plays music while the narrator is reading, often starting jarringly in the middle of a scene and conveying a mood that doesn't quite match. The only time the music works well is when a whimsical melody signifies the presence of a particular fairy. That there is so much other music that doesn't enhance the story suggests that the producers didn't have faith that Ms Levine's tale could hold young listeners' attentions.

Final note: There are a couple very long gaps in the audio (perhaps where cassette-tape breaks used to be?). If you're listening to this title and think your app crashed or your volume got muted, just be patient for 15 or 20 seconds.

  • Artemis

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosario Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,799
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52,977
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 52,831

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A ferrari with no motor

  • By will on 11-18-17

Excellent performance buoys weak story

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

Reviewed: 12-17-17

Ms Dawson turns in a truly top tier performance here. Mr Weir, on the other hand, is in a classic sophomore slump.

  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel

  • By: R. S. Belcher
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 14 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,834
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,723
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,720

In AD 1119, a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon - a militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order's original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Urban Fantasy at its purest!

  • By kara-karina on 04-11-16

a crime against the English language

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

Reviewed: 09-27-16

The only crime in this novel worth investigating is the one the author has committed against the English language. Nicholas Sparks and Dan Brown look like modern-day Melvilles when viewed alongside this R.S. Belcher fellow.

Readers who have even loose standards with regards to prose are advised to stay far, far away from this stinking pile of refuse.

Readers with absolutely no standards whatsoever are advised to consult a different review.

  • CyberStorm

  • By: Matthew Mather
  • Narrated by: Tom Taylorson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,397
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,059
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,057

Sometimes the worst storms aren't from Mother Nature, and sometimes the worst nightmares aren't the ones in our heads. Mike Mitchell, an average New Yorker already struggling to keep his family together, suddenly finds himself fighting just to keep them alive when an increasingly bizarre string of disasters starts appearing on the world's news networks. As both the real world and the cyber world come crashing down, bending perception and reality, a monster snowstorm cuts New York off from the world, turning it into a wintry tomb where nothing is what it seems.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Yes - satisfied a craving

  • By Jan on 01-14-14

Come on down for misogynistic amateur hour!

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

Reviewed: 05-04-16

I'm abandoning this awkward snarl of a novel after about 2 hours, so if the last half of the book is focused on awesome women hackers who save the day, please let me know. But from where I'm sitting—about 20% of the way in—I find a disappointing mix of ambitious women who are distant and shrill and kindly women who toil in kitchens making ethnic food to feed their (male) neighbors. It's awkward and detracts heavily from the ominous threat of cyber attack and Mr Mather's actually-kinda-smart sniping at Manhattan culture.

The prose itself is also pretty bad: The dialogue is clunky. The author relies way too heavily on rapid cutting between two topics to show that his protagonist is distracted. And seemingly every descriptor is duplicated (the internet connection is slow AND it takes forever for pages to load!).

I could probably overlook one type of deficiency or the other, but the combination of the two is causing me to draw a line here and move on to the next title in my queue.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Stainless Steel Rat

  • By: Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,675
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,380
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,389

DiGriz is caught during one of his crimes and recruited into the Special Corps. Boring, routine desk work during his probationary period results in his discovering that someone is building a battleship, thinly disguised as an industrial vessel. In the peaceful League no one has battleships anymore, so the builder of this one would be unstoppable. DiGriz' hunt for the guilty becomes a personal battle between himself and the beautiful but deadly Angelina, who his planning a coup on one of the feudal worlds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great To See An Old Friend Back

  • By Terry on 10-14-10

Recycled pulp tricked-out with 1950s futurism

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

Reviewed: 05-08-15

It's impressive how few modifications were required to transport the quintessential hard-boiled detective to an intergalactic landscape. This book has aged with so little grace that it has passed all the way through awkwardness and become merely "quaint" (and perhaps a bit charming).

  • Doomsday Book

  • By: Connie Willis
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,756
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,877
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,900

For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Timely, beautiful, terrible and haunting

  • By mudcelt on 11-02-09

A toothless tale that makes every hour drag

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

Reviewed: 05-08-15

This is an absurdly bad book—terribly bloated and insufferably stupid. This book plods along with such stiffness that there's really no way for any reader over the age of 12 to be surprised by any of its half-hearted plot-twists or caught up by its attempts at suspense.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • SEAL Team Six

  • Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
  • By: Howard E. Wasdin, Stephen Templin
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,375
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,755
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,752

When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes listeners deep inside the world of Navy SEALs and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL - the toughest and longest military training in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • unique among these books

  • By Allan on 06-13-11

Compelling experiences lost in a sea of chichés

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

Reviewed: 09-29-14

Dr Wasdin's compelling recounting of SEAL training and his involvement in a complex and now infamous mission in Somalia would have made for a solid, four-hour nugget of an audiobook, but instead we are left with this soggy, amateurish mess that stretches to nearly ten hours. The extra content comprises clichéd anecdotes of bar fights, marital hardships, and petty one-upmanship; poorly contextualized (albeit likely justified) anti-bureaucracy rhetoric; and a handful of hackneyed renditions of Vietnam-era SEAL lore. Dr Wasdin, a soldier and a chiropractor by training, is evidently a competent storyteller but not a gifted writer, and his co-author and editors have failed in bringing his most vital recollections to the page.

  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,984
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,241
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,218

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun! Things you might want to know:

  • By Alexis on 08-29-14

Intriguing premise wasted on average cop story

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

Reviewed: 09-02-14

As with past works by Mr Scalzi, Lock In is a light and entertaining story that doesn't quite do justice to its compelling underpinnings. In this case, Mr Scalzi has fashioned a world in which 1% of the population are physically paralyzed and escape their bodies by directing their awareness and cognitive function into alternate frameworks. Some choose a non-spatial internet; some choose synthetic android bodies; a few choose bodies of "Integrators"—healthy humans who lease-out their bodies on an hourly basis. Unfortunately Mr Scalzi treats the first category merely as a MacGuffin and thereby severely limits the novel's potential as a work of true speculative fiction. Instead the reader is treated to a standard-issue cop story with a pleasant veneer. Lock In is told competently but without the liveliness that elevated some of his past novels. Mr Scalzi proved to be deft at writing dialogue for lawyers in Fuzzy Nation and fast-talking agents in Agent to the Stars, but his ear for dialogue has failed him here: the cop-talk is stale and predictable. A more adventurous book could have survived such weaknesses, but Lock In is timid in its scope and never quite recovers from its failings.

The narrator's sex is never known, so the option of listening to a male or female performer makes some sense. I alternated between Ms Benson's and Mr Wheaton's performances, and for whatever reason, the narrator became female in my mind, so perhaps Ms Benson's voice was the more significant for me. Mr Wheaton, on the other hand, is the brisker of the two and thereby imparts some extra energy into the story. All things being equal, I would recommend his performance.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson)

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Amber Benson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,552
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,314
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,332

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scalzi Locks In Another Winner

  • By Bruce Derflinger on 09-22-14

Intriguing premise wasted on average cop story

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

Reviewed: 09-02-14

As with past works by Mr Scalzi, Lock In is a light and entertaining story that doesn't quite do justice to its compelling underpinnings. In this case, Mr Scalzi has fashioned a world in which 1% of the population are physically paralyzed and escape their bodies by directing their awareness and cognitive function into alternate frameworks. Some choose a non-spatial internet; some choose synthetic android bodies; a few choose bodies of "Integrators"—healthy humans who lease-out their bodies on an hourly basis. Unfortunately Mr Scalzi treats the first category merely as a MacGuffin and thereby severely limits the novel's potential as a work of true speculative fiction. Instead the reader is treated to a standard-issue cop story with a pleasant veneer. Lock In is told competently but without the liveliness that elevated some of his past novels. Mr Scalzi proved to be deft at writing dialogue for lawyers in Fuzzy Nation and fast-talking agents in Agent to the Stars, but his ear for dialogue has failed him here: the cop-talk is stale and predictable. A more adventurous book could have survived such weaknesses, but Lock In is timid in its scope and never quite recovers from its failings.

The narrator's sex is never known, so the option of listening to a male or female performer makes some sense. I alternated between Ms Benson's and Mr Wheaton's performances, and for whatever reason, the narrator became female in my mind, so perhaps Ms Benson's voice was the more significant for me. Mr Wheaton, on the other hand, is the brisker of the two and thereby imparts some extra energy into the story. All things being equal, I would recommend his performance.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • The Silkworm

  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,912
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,604
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,574

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy In Contemporary London

  • By Gretchen SLP on 08-24-16

A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters

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

Reviewed: 06-23-14

Even as it goes through the motions of standard detective fiction, this second Cormoran Strike novel admirably expands upon the well-rounded central characters established in The Cuckoo's Calling. As a former soldier and a natural detective, Strike lends himself to comparison with Lee Child's Jack Reacher, but where Reacher is personalized with a few token interests (notably coffee and mathematics), Strike is painted with softer strokes. He's introverted, yes, but his contact list defies the easy-to-apply label 'loner'. He is vexed by his family, but he embraces them with more than a mere sense of duty. He feels the desire to have a couple pints with lunch, but he recognizes the formation of bad habits and avoids them with some effort.

His receptionist-turned-protégée Robin proves to be equally well-rounded, particularly with respect to her fiancée. In a clumsier novel, her engagement to a side character would be nothing more than a burden for Robin to shed in the name of character growth. In Ms Rowling's nuanced world, however, the relationship is a genuine reflection of Robin's increasing confidence, and it bends and adjusts to her development with impressive realism. Whether or not the relationship will or should survive is far from a given.

Yes, the plot is fine too—it'll scratch the itch for those that crave a mystery to solve and concludes with reasonable coherence—but mystery plots are a dime a dozen. Characters like Cormoran and Robin are not.

Robert Glenister is well suited to this series, managing to narrate with both a seriousness and a lightness that matches Ms Rowling's remarkably well-balanced voice.

60 of 73 people found this review helpful