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Phil Johnson

Walnut Creek, CA USA
  • 29
  • reviews
  • 134
  • helpful votes
  • 99
  • ratings
  • Less

  • By: Andrew Sean Greer
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,467
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,271
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,261

You are a failed novelist about to turn 50. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: Your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes - it would be too awkward - and you can't say no - it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. Question: How do you arrange to skip town? Answer: You accept them all.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Endearing, funny, but sometimes overly clever

  • By Luci on 07-30-17

Less is less

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

Reviewed: 12-27-17

I lasted 1 hr. Granted, I should have given it more of a chance, but it seemed so predictable and cliche ridden. About as sophisticated as a Will and Grace show.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • The Rooster Bar

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12,371
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,065
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,048

Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Story=Terrible

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-04-17

Can't believe this got great reviews

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

Reviewed: 11-08-17

I think this book is a "bus book". In other words, it can be read on the train. When reading text, its possible to skim sections or speed read. Not so with an audio book, unless you like chipmunk voices. Got to chapter 14 of 44. Very slow and dull. Not very good writing. Very unimaginative writing. Gave up. Not a page turner in the audio form.

52 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • The Nix

  • A Novel
  • By: Nathan Hill
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 21 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,909
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,312

It's 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson - college professor, stalled writer - has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn't seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller.

  • By Bonny on 09-13-16

Getting paid by the word-could have used an editor

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

Reviewed: 08-31-17

Bought this book because of some Audible reviewers. Gave up a little more than half way through it and Googled a spoiler web site so I didn't have to slog through the rest of the book. Its not bad, its just that it goes on and on. Qualities that were praised by NY Times print reviewers ( e.g. a whole chapter of 10 pages that is one sentence) didn't fly for me in a listening mode. And, I figured out the big mystery on my own just half way through. I don't usually do that sort of thing. This reminded me of Dickens, who was paid by the word. Really needed an editor.

  • The Wrong Side of Goodbye

  • Harry Bosch, Book 19
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Titus Welliver
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,918
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,725
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,655

Harry Bosch is California's newest private investigator. He doesn't advertise, he doesn't have an office, and he's picky about who he works for, but it doesn't matter. His chops from 30 years with the LAPD speak for themselves. Soon one of Southern California's biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire has less than six months to live and a lifetime of regrets. He hires Bosch to find out whether he has an heir.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Connelly Delivers Everytime

  • By Charles Atkinson on 07-19-17

First time I ever set the speed to 1.25

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

A lot of predictable events occur. Much plodding language, almost like stage directions. To paraphrase," He opened the door. He walked into the room. He went to his desk. He pulled out his chair. He sat down....." I couldn't finish it

  • Test Drive

  • Crossroads Series, Book 3
  • By: Riley Hart
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322

A double shot of devastating news turns Justin Evanson's life upside down. When he learns his father has cancer, and he has siblings he never knew existed, he leaves everything behind and moves to Virginia to support his dad as he tries to make amends with his family - a family Justin's not sure he has a place in. Things go from bad to worse when he discovers his recent hookup is his newfound sister's brother-in-law. Drew Sinclair never expected to see Justin after their night at the club.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent story excellent narrator

  • By Blackwindstar on 11-09-16

Lasted 10 minutes with this one

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

Reviewed: 03-18-17

I am not a prude, but starting a book with a cliche ridden sex scene was too much to take.
My 1 star ratings are there because something was required to be entered before I could write my review.

  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

  • A Novel
  • By: Dominic Smith
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,365
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,240
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,237

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Story Definitely NOT a Forgery!

  • By KarKinz on 05-13-16

lilting, breathless narrative persona

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

Reviewed: 05-17-16

I returned this book after 2 hours of listening. I couldn't stand the narrator.
I spent most of yesterday trying to describe to myself whar was wrong with the narration. This quote below, from the reviewer Trustme, say it all.

"I found Mr Ballerini's narration distracting to the point of seriously undercutting my enjoyment of the book. While his rendition of character voices in dialogue was good (which is why I gave it more than 1 star), the lilting, breathless narrative persona he often used for the frequent & sometimes lengthy descriptive passages reminded me of an undergraduate reading Robert Frost with an over the top reverential syrupyness that screamed, "this is really art!" at the expense of the true sense of the passage. Too stagey & melodramatic. The story's narrator's POV is omniscient & anonymous, but the same ethereal affectations are used in the descriptive passages for the experiences of all the main characters. A more understated approach that let the words create atmosphere & drama without telegraphing portentous meaning through over acting would have yielded better results."

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Crossing

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Titus Welliver
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,823
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,684
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,634

Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. The murder rap against his client seems ironclad, but Mickey is sure it's a setup. Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch takes the case. With the secret help of his former LAPD partner, Lucia Soto, he turns the investigation inside the police department. But as Bosch gets closer to discovering the truth, he makes himself a target.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I just loved this book; every last bit of it

  • By Michele B on 11-10-15

Plod, plod, plod.

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

Reviewed: 11-24-15

My headline says it all. Very slow moving, procedural type of crime novel.
No sympathetic characters by Chapter 17, when I gave up. Events are telegraphed to the reader before they unfold. Don't know why this author is so successful. Maybe in a print book, you can speed read.

Note: I am writing this review before I ask for a refund because I have been unable to write reviews of books after asking for a refund.

  • Iron Lake

  • Cork O'Connor, Book 1
  • By: William Kent Krueger
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,389
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,115
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,113

Anthony Award-winning author William Kent Krueger crafts this riveting tale about a small Minnesota town’s ex-sheriff who is having trouble retiring his badge. Cork O’Connor loses his job after being blamed for a tragedy on the local Anishinaabe Indian reservation. But he must set aside his personal demons when a young boy goes missing on the same day a judge commits suicide—and no one but O’Connor suspects foul play.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great New Series

  • By Lia on 06-01-18

One of the worst books I have read.

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

Reviewed: 06-25-15

Do not read this book. Do not let your friends read this book.
The writing is pedestrian and cliche ridden . Plot points were telegraphed far in advance.
The most sympathetic character gets offed and you could see it coming a mile away. I kept checking to see if I had the book at half speed ( it wasn't) because it was so ill paced.
If this was a print book, I wouldn't even leave it in an airport - I would rip it to shreds and toss it.

I couldn't even finish it even though I got 85%through it. I am asking for my money back. I woke up this morning with a sense of dread (instead of my usual exited anticipation) at getting into my truck to hear a book. This book ruined my day.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Ordinary Grace

  • By: William Kent Krueger
  • Narrated by: Rich Orlow
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,722
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,217
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,216

Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way

  • By tooonce72 on 03-29-13

Great narrator,settings,characters with plot flaws

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

Reviewed: 02-11-15

Other reviewers do this book justice. I am not one to usually figure out who-done-its, but I could see a lot of plot twists coming, if not a mile away, at least a quarter mile away.
A little slow for some tastes, but the narrator is excellent, which made it worth it.

One plot spoiler:
As a gay man, I feel a responsibility to point out that, yet again, the one gay character commits suicide. Yes , it was the early 60's in small town Minnesota but this is fiction. It could have been different. And, I could see it coming a mlle away.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Leaving Time

  • By: Jodi Picoult
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, and others
  • Length: 15 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,184
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,011
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,004

Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pickiest Reader Would Be Willing to Give 6 Stars

  • By Jan on 10-18-14

Extremely disappointing.

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

Reviewed: 11-10-14

Used and Angry, that is how I feel.
Great build up and plot, appealing characters, and then, it all goes pfffffff!
I've read 2 great books by Jodi Picoult- this is not one of them.
It is hard to criticize without being a spoiler, but the resolution of this plot would have earned a F in any decent creative writing class, I think. The equivalent of putting a Mansard roof on an ugly , boxy building- a cheap shot . What is sad is that the readers are excellent, and the story has some compelling elements that are wasted.

I hate to say this, but this is a chick book. Can't think how it could appeal to anyone else.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful