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Tim

San Diego, CA
  • 55
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  • 76
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  • Lies Sleeping

  • Rivers of London, Book 7
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 406
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 382
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 382

The Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud, and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run. Peter Grant, detective constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring him to justice. But even as the unwieldy might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that the Faceless Man, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long-term plan. A plan that has its roots in London's 2,000 bloody years of history and could literally bring the city to its knees. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • What happened to Peter?

  • By Douglas on 11-21-18

A very satisfying read

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

Reviewed: 11-21-18

This is a cracking great listen. If you are already a fan you will be delighted by this book. It focuses on the pursuit of the evil magician known as The Faceless Man. If you aren't already a fan I strongly suggest (as does Ben at one point in the story) that at the very least you start with Midnight Riot. In this version of London magic is real…think Hogwarts meets the Metropolitan Police…sounds crazy but works perfectly. This novel follows and concludes the events featured in that first book. Riot and Lies Sleeping (odd name BTW) are bookends with the other five (very good) books sandwiched between them.
The pursuit of the faceless Man has scaled up become a full blown investigation featuring our hero Peter Grant and his enigmatic boss Nightingale. It includes many of the cast of thousands we have met in the Peter Grant saga and although it does integrate a couple of plot lines developed in some of the earlier stories, it's really tightly focused on the pursuit. It reads like an action thriller but never loses the wry humor Aaronovich specializes in. As always London is one of the key characters. Ben puts you right there, you can smell the warm beer and curry. You feel (and occasionally get to experience first-hand) its deep, complex history. I'm a Londoner by birth and the way he captures the energy and ambiance of that city is hugely impressive.
I'm not going to go deeper into the plot lest I spoil anything…but if you are a fan you will find this book deeply satisfying. As always the performance by Holbrook-Smith is a tour de force…his voices are perfect and greatly enhance the experience. fingers crossed there's more on the way...but if not then Peter Grant went out with a bang.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Calypso

  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,703
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,782
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,707

If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And it's as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself. With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation - and dark humor - toward middle age and mortality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent, as always

  • By Ruthie on 05-31-18

Funny, Touching and Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 05-30-18

David Sedaris is probably my favorite performer…and he’s hazardous to my health. I’ve seen him live a few times and each time I’ve ended up almost choking with laughter. His latest book is as marvelous as anything else he has written. If you are new to David (where have you been?) you might want to take a run through ‘Holidays on Ice’ or ‘Me talk Pretty One Day’ to get you up to speed before embarking on Calypso. If you are already a fan stop dithering and start enjoying. This book is perhaps more reflective and maybe sadder than any of his other work. His dark eye turns to some pretty intense and moving topics. He deals with aging, suicide and addiction in his family ways which I found moving and funny…that’s a hard trick to pull off. About a quarter of this excellent book is performed in front of a live audience. I think I might have been at one of those recordings. When he discusses about what angry people shout at other drivers in other countries I think you can hear me choking in row M. David is a wonderful mix of Dickens and Carlin. He will make you think, laugh and maybe cry sometimes in the same paragraph. This book may be the best use of an Audible credit this year….so what are you waiting for?

77 of 88 people found this review helpful

  • Tropical Attire Encouraged (and Other Phrases That Scare Me)

  • By: Alison Rosen
  • Narrated by: Alison Rosen
  • Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

Alison Rosen, host of the immensely popular podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, is ready to conquer the world of books in this collection of hilarious and unpredictable columns. Alison wants to be living a fabulous life filled with myriad social engagements. She just also wants to not shower, put on a bra or leave the house. Plus, she dislikes dancing, the Fourth of July, and costume parties that involve skimpy attire. Basically, if it’s fun, count her out, which is too bad, since she so desperately wants you to think she’s fun.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Poor production

  • By margot on 04-19-18

New Best Friend Available

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

Reviewed: 04-16-18

Alison Rosen is one funny mother…by which I mean she’s funny and recently had a kid. I first came across Alison when she was the news sidekick for the appalling Adam Carolla. To a toxic soup of machismo, misogyny and intolerance she was a comedic voice of reason. Her demeanor was that of the smart, fun grammar school senior who had inadvertently strayed into a frat house mid kegger. As much as I loathe Bald Bryan and Carolla…I really liked Alison. She was fired from the show of course…..I suspect for making Adam look the oaf he is one time too many.

I’ve followed her on her highly rated Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend show ever since. In addition to podcasting she’s also a magazine writer and this book is essentially a collection of her articles from various publications. The writing is pithy and funny quite a lot of the time. It’s not typically LOL funny but it did garner a couple of near spit takes. The audio book is more than just her reading from her articles. She discusses each piece, giving context and color which makes the whole experience much more conversational and probably about 30% longer than a straight reading would have been. That’s really my only criticism…this book is on the brief side but very much worth the credit

She tells well written stories from her life and although they often include ‘chick lit’ themes this is by far not a girly book. If you are already a fan you will love this book. If you aren’t I can heartily recommend you give her a try. All of us could use a new best friend.

  • Leonardo da Vinci

  • By: Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by: Alfred Molina
  • Length: 17 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,828
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,105

Leonardo da Vinci created the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and engineering. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wish the sample was not from the preface!

  • By Kristopher S. on 11-13-17

Warning! Warning! Reader may drive you nuts!

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

Reviewed: 10-25-17

I love Walter Isaacsons work and I liked Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in Spiderman II but for the love of God this is an annoying listen. The book is fine, well researched and fascinating as all of Mr. Isaacsons work is. Much of the reading is fine. Mr. Molina comes from the same part of London as me and has a perfectly fine delivery....until he hits an Italian name....and in this book there are very, very many. Think of that Italian restaurant where the food is great but the waiter with the thick Bronx, Glasgow or Minnesota accent pronounces all the food items in such a fake, over the top Italian accent it totally puts you off the food. This is that. About 20% of the time he pronounces the names as any average native English speaker would….but the rest of the time it’s Spaghhheiiiiitiii Bologgneeeesi to the horizon. At first it’s just mildly irritating…after a few hours you may want to grind your iPhone into the dirt. I know I have quite a few followers out there and I rank fairly well so maybe this review will help…but please be warned. Oh...and listening to the sample won’t help. It’s read by the mellifluous author himself not the actual reader…if it was Mr. Isaacson for the next 17 hours it would be great. After four hours I’m doing something I always never do…I’m returning this book.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Columbus Day

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 1
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,309
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25,980
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,924

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sci Fi I didn't know I wanted

  • By Gary Glenn on 06-27-17

Brilliant, Funny, Clever... a Sci Fi must have

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

Reviewed: 06-29-17

It’s hard to know where to start when describing this instant modern classic. I’ve loved Sci Fi since I was yay high…I cut my teeth on space operas like the works of EE. Doc Smith. This is the next generation of space opera and it’s fabulous. It’s also quite funny in many places. It’s action packed but doesn’t feel silly like a lot of action fiction does. The plot includes dueling alien races of giant hamsters and lizards, faster than light travel and a snarky deus ex machina artificial Intelligence the size of a can of coke. Sounds ridiculous but is actually compelling, weirdly credible and wildly entertaining. I’m already most the way through book two which puts me close to a third of the way through a 50 hour epic. If you love hard Sci Fi, if you are a Trekki or a Star Wars fan you will lap this up.

147 of 154 people found this review helpful

  • Golden Prey

  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,764
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,449
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,423

Lucas Davenport's first case as a US marshal sends him into uncharted territory in the thrilling new novel in the number one New York Times best-selling series. Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he saved, Lucas is no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension but for the US Marshals Service, and with unusual scope. He gets to pick his own cases, whatever they are, wherever they lead him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • If you're not a Davenport OG don't start with this

  • By Wayne on 04-29-17

It's different but entertaining

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

Reviewed: 05-01-17

If you became a fan of Lucas Davenport back when he was hunting down psycho killers (qu'est-ce?) you may not like this book as much as some of the old stuff. I’m struck by how many poor scores Sandford has been getting from supposed fans for his more recent work. It has changed, he has evolved but just because it’s not the usual loony-turns-into-chase-then-shoot-out hunt doesn’t make it bad.

Davenport has graduated from local Minneapolis detective, to state bureau and is now a federal marshal. This is an action packed, long and interesting listen with credible bad guys and some well written law enforcement types. If you like the cinematic style of Jonathan Maberry or the excellent Texas based characters of James Lee Burke you will doubtless like…maybe love...this book. It doesn’t have Weather in it much, nothing from Letty or any of the Minneapolis crew and at no point does Lucas have sex with anybody. The new team is a touch gung ho but entertaining none the less. The bad guys are especially entertaining and weirdly sympathetic, certainly not the cardboard cut outs they have been in some of the earlier novels. Richard Ferrone is fabulous as always…I could listen to him read the phone book (do they still have phone books?). Bottom line if you are a fan…get this book. If you are new to the cannon start with Winter Prey and work forwards.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Road to Little Dribbling

  • Adventures of an American in Britain
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Nathan Osgood
  • Length: 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,241
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,128
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,119

In 1995, Bill Bryson got into his car and took a weeks-long farewell motoring trip about England before moving his family back to the United States. The book about that trip, Notes from a Small Island, is uproarious and endlessly endearing, one of the most acute and affectionate portrayals of England in all its glorious eccentricity ever written. Two decades later, he set out again to rediscover that country, and the result is The Road to Little Dribbling.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • No Bryson?? Alas, another disappointed fan

  • By Richard on 01-25-16

Stay Home!

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

Reviewed: 04-18-17

Bill Bryson has written and narrated some of the funniest books I’ve heard in many years. Made in America is mesmerizing, A Short History of Nearly Everything is massively entertaining and informative. In recent years he has gotten increasingly grumpy and preachy. A Walk in the Woods is unbearable. Sadly The Road to Little Dribbling is much more of the same…and not read by Bryson..which makes it worse. He hates pretty much everything about the UK. I’m a Brit now living in exile in sunny SoCal….and I see where he’s coming from. There is too much litter, Brits can be rude, and things tend not to be terribly well organized….but for the love of God stop complaining about it…go home! He is nostalgic for a post war Britain that exists in the movies and black and white TV rather than in real life….I know …I lived through it. For example he loves old style red phone boxes (which doubled as improvised urinals) but we have cell phones now. He loves the big government nanny state which Thatcher disassembled and has never returned. Brits are more outgoing, multi-cultural and forward looking than they were back in the 50’s. The Brexit was the last gasp of the reactionary traditionalists who are desperately trying to hang onto the kind of rose tinted historic nonsense Bryson laments in this long grumpy book.

To be fair…it is funny in places….quite a few places, but even then much of the “comedy” is from a dark bitter place. It’s boring and predictable to complain about how expensive food can be in public places, we know kids can be loud and unruly…they are everywhere. The perfect example of the tin ear he brings to his tour on the UK is his analysis of what we called Holiday Camps. These were a form of mass vacation in the post war world where families could get away to the sea side and stay in a chalet at an organized camp which has communal food, entertainment for the kids and a chance for the parents to chill out for a week…all for the cost of a week’s pay. Yes it was a bit like a prison camp but some of my best child hood memories come from just these ‘prison camp’ vacations. The snarky patronizing tone he users to wonder at such things says it all.

Books seldom get me hot under the collar….but this one did. When he’s doing the history and origin stories which he scatters through the book it’s terrific but when he laments what most people actually living there would regard as progress it gets a bit much…no a lot much.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Master of Auschwitz:

  • Memoirs of Rudolf Hoess, Kommandant SS
  • By: Rudolf Hoess
  • Narrated by: Tim Dalgleish
  • Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110

The first-hand account of the life, career, and the practices of horror at Auschwitz, written by Auschwitz Kommandant SS Rudolf Hoss as he awaited execution for his crimes. Including his psychological interviews at Nuremberg.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Banality of Evil…a Memoir

  • By Tim on 03-16-17

The Banality of Evil…a Memoir

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

Reviewed: 03-16-17

This is a tough book to review. It’s the personal story of the sociopath who ran Auschwitz and was the guy who dreamed up the gas chambers that were used in the annihilation of something over 2 Million people. I’ve read a lot of WWII material and probably more than is healthy around the Holocaust…I’ve even sat through all nine and a half hours of the documentary Shoa which is a mind twisting first person retelling of the holocaust. So I thought I’d heard much of the story of Auschwitz. Apparently not. Bear in mind that this is his story told by him whist waiting to be executed for war crimes. It reveals a great deal of his life story. He was clearly raised a sociopath with no ability to empathize (check out The Sociopath next door on Audible). He recalls how he devised, expanded and ran the death camp which started as a small barracks in the middle of nowhere and became perhaps the greatest stain on the soul of the twentieth century. Against this madness he portrays himself as a mild mannered family man who loved his wife and children and worked to ease the suffering of the prisoners in our care.

Although he oversaw the mass extinction and was present at many of the gassings he claims never to have raised his hand against a prisoner….which means either he is lying or Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s Ark) invented the sadistic fornicating monster who was the master of Auschwitz. His self-aggrandizing, self-exculpatory telling has him as the mild mannered would be farmer who was simply “acting under orders” and cared deeply for the wellbeing of his victims. Even through this filter the details of the breathtaking evil he presided over are painfully clear.

If you are a WWII or holocaust completest this is a must read. It’s horrifying but well performed. It’s actually quite compelling in many places. Perhaps the most horrifying aspect is the sheer banality of the entire process. Nobody seemed particularly at odds with the idea that entire groups of humanity should be obliterated and the Teutonic attention to the detail of mass homicide may rob you of sleep. There were five thousand Germans directly involved with the process at Auschwitz...yet nobody knew anything? Hearing him complain about the variable quality of the Zyklon-B they were given which meant that sometimes it took closer to 30 minutes to kill a room full of humans rather than the usual 10-15 minutes is just one hair raising example.

It’s hard to recommend something as disturbing as this book. It’s very good…but very dark. However some of the lessons it teaches about how evil thrives where the good do nothing is one which unfortunately has stood the test of time. So donate to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross, then hug your children…then read this book.

29 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Blitzed

  • Drugs in Nazi Germany
  • By: Norman Ohler, Shaun Whiteside - translator
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 447
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 417
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 417

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler's gripping best seller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops; resilience - even partly explaining German victory in 1940.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One Reich, One God, One Dealer

  • By Tim on 03-13-17

One Reich, One God, One Dealer

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

Reviewed: 03-13-17

This is a fascinating rollercoaster ride through the history of third Reich seen through the prism of substance abuse. The premise that the German people, especially their fighting forces, ran on massive amounts of Crystal Meth and Hitler was addicted to Hill Billy Heroin was shocking, but makes perfect sense. How else could Hitler’s armies roll up Europe like a cheap rug in just a matter of days? The work seems well researched and is extremely well performed by Johnathan Keeble. The events it documents are both fascinating and horrifying by turn. I’m a fairly keen WWII reader but this told several tales which I hadn't heard before. I’d heard that Hitler had a serious problem with substances which I always found odd because he was famously keen on health and fitness. The book explains this transition from extreme vegan to severe doper in great detail.

If I have any qualms about the narrative it feels like the author may be over playing his hand, just a touch. He goes in for quite a bit of speculative thinking extending his already startling and well documented theory beyond firm facts. Attributing Hitler’s decline in sanity and health primarily to substance abuse is fascinating but it may be joining up dots which are not really be there. Regardless, this is a marvelous, compelling read. If you have any interest whatsoever in WWII its causes and impact on our world, you will find this an extremely satisfying read.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Hanging Tree

  • Rivers of London, Book 6
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,653
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,530

Where the Marble Arch stands today in London was once the Tyburn gallows - also known as The Hanging Tree. The walk toward those gallows along Oxford Street and past the Mayfair mansions has a bloody and haunted history as the last trip of the condemned. Some things never change. For both blood and ghosts have returned to those mansions of the super-rich. And it's up to Peter Grant - England's last wizard and the Metropolitan Police's reluctant investigator of all things supernatural - to get to the bottom of the sinister doings.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Continuing Splendor of Peter Grant

  • By Tim on 02-01-17

The Continuing Splendor of Peter Grant

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

Reviewed: 02-01-17

If you are a fan of the Peter Grant books you have likely been tapping your toes and pacing back and forth waiting for the powers that be to release the latest book in this terrific series. Wait no longer…it’s finally out, buy it and enjoy. If you aren’t already a follower you would be better to start with Midnight Riot and work forwards…rather than start here. This book does stand-alone…but if you have followed the threads developed in the earlier books you will get more out of this one. Hanging Tree is the usual mixture of “Magic as Science” plot brilliance and some pretty sharp social commentary. It's a very UK book. I’m a native Brit and even I find myself caught on some of the London vernacular and UK police procedural language…I’m still not 100% clear on what a “caution plus two” is.

Each of the earlier books in this series develops a separate plot line with some over lapping characters in common. In this book Aaronovitch has taken the greatest hits/characters of the first five novels and woven them into this new book. That can be a little confusing especially if you haven’t followed the earlier books. In addition to Peter and the usual suspects on the London police force Leslie is back (face restored) as is Mr. Punch, the Faceless Man, the FBI and of course as many of the various river gods as you have an appetite for. I won’t spoil the plot, there’s lots going on, some terrific action sequences and as much wry humor as usual. Perhaps there’s a little too much going on in some spots…but it’s all such terrific fun it’s a good problem to have. I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to the brilliant performance Holdbrook-Smith delivers. His voices and accents are the perfect complement to this terrific listen. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait quite as long for the next episode.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful