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  • reviews
  • 125
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  • 86
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  • Artemis

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosario Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63,893
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59,631
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59,481

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

I suffered through it so you don't have to

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

Reviewed: 11-30-17

Very few books have been as disappointing to me as Artemis. I loved The Martian: the plot, the storytelling, the science, the narration, all of it. So naturally I was excited when I saw that Weir's follow up was getting great reviews and was narrated by Rosario Dawson. And yet I wasn't 30 minutes in before I was banging my head and wishing I had stayed away. I stuck with it because of all the great reviews. Surely it must get better, right? All those people couldn't possibly be wrong! Well I won't say they were wrong, but I certainly did not have the same reaction.

To start with, Jazz is not a character I want to spend nine minutes with, much less nine hours. I found it impossible to care about her or what happened to her. She reminded me of that guy at the office who thinks his comments are so witty and clever, but they are actually the same stale jokes that have been circulated incessantly since they were first brought to life in some 80's sitcom. At one point Jazz's response to something she thought was obvious was, "First of all, duh." Another time she drops a "Oh no you di'int" into the conversation. Twenty years ago Jazz's personality (and the accompanying dialog) might have been interesting, but now it's just forced and off the mark. And that doesn't account for the fact that the book takes place half a century in the future.

In addition to the bad dialog and painful inner monolog I just didn't find her interesting. I get the fact that she is a brilliant underachiever, which could have made for a compelling, sympathetic character. But she just didn't resonate with me. Too smart. Too good at fighting. Too many dumb mistakes. There were times where she came up with an interesting solution to a problem, ran into realistic and interesting challenges, and then found ways to solve them. But those instances were few and far between. Mostly she was superhuman, which I didn't find interesting, or she would make a stupid choice that was completely unbelievable except as an excuse to put her in another challenging situation. This might sound a lot like The Martian, but don't be fooled. The Martian is fundamentally life or death at every turn. Mark Watney is a believable, funny, enjoyable character who is easy to root for. The science is a necessary – and fun – part of the experience. Jazz, on the other hand, is facing a situation that is best described as life or slightly better life. It's hard to care if she succeeds or fails. I didn't care about the outcome of the book until about 80% through when things start to change. The whole world came together to wait and see if Mark Watney could be rescued and as a listener I was right there with them, holding my breath and hoping it would all work out. Jazz struggled to pull together a small group of friends and family to help her when she was most desperate and, like everyone else on the moon, I really didn't care what happened to her.

Part of that was no doubt due to the horrendous narration. I like Rosario Dawson on television and in movies, but other than nailing some of the accents she does a very bad job with the entire story. Her timing was odd. The voices she presented were not clearly distinguishable. She took a bad story and made it worse.

I think this story could make for a good movie with some basic revisions. If that's the plan then I recommend skipping the book and waiting for it to hit theaters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Don't Let Go

  • By: Harlan Coben
  • Narrated by: Steven Weber
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,790
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,772

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The new Harlan Coben?!

  • By shelley on 10-01-17

Book 10 in Coben's Indistinguishable series

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

Reviewed: 11-21-17

All Coben's books are basically the same. Even after re-reading the book summaries I can barely remember anything about them. I listen to them. They're two parts amusing and one part frustrating. And then when they're done they disappear from memory forever. This one is no different.

The good news is that if you like all the other Coben books then you'll like this one, too.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Good Daughter

  • A Novel
  • By: Karin Slaughter
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Early
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,201
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,469
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,402

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father - Pikeville's notorious defense attorney - devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night. Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself - the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again, Charlie is plunged into a nightmare.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Karin Slaughter has done it again!

  • By shelley on 08-09-17

Pleasant but forgettable

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

Reviewed: 08-29-17

This book checks all the Karin Slaughter boxes.
It has strong Southern women subjected to violent crime.
It's well written with an in-depth look at the characters' lives and histories.
It's enjoyable to listen to, but could easily be shorter (most of her books could be trimmed by 10%, but this one could lose 20% without sacrificing anything).
It expects you to blindly accept wild and unbelievable events, many of them coincidences that don't stand up to even the lightest scrutiny.

Unlike her other books, however, this one fails as a mystery.
And one of the "shocking" twists is so obvious that the effort she puts into setting it up actually takes away from the story.

If you liked Pretty Girls or her other standalones then you'll like this.
If you're new to Karin Slaughter then I recommend starting somewhere else.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 3

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Jim Dale
  • Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 49,242
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 45,167
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 45,098

When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it's the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run - and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry's tea leaves.... But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim Dale at his best

  • By rottndachs on 01-12-16

As with the movies, the weakest of the series

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

Reviewed: 07-31-17

I came to the books as a fan of the movies, not the other way around.

My complaint with the movies has always been that the third one was not up to the level of all the others and that it actually detracts from the full effect of the series. I have been repeatedly assured that by reading the books I would see that is not the case. Sadly, having now listened to Prisoner of Azkaban, my opinion has not changed.

The entire opening with the Dursleys feels repetitive by Book 3. I could overlook that if not for my main complaint with the audiobooks, which is that all the villains are completely cartoonish. The Dursleys are especially unbelievable and one-sided, to the point that I just want to get on with the story. But the other anti-Harry characters – Malfoy, Snape, past defense against the dark arts teachers, etc. – are equally cardboard copies of real people. I believe that there is depth in some, if not all, of these characters, but that depth does not come across at all. Maybe it's not in the writing or maybe the narrator portrays the characters poorly. Whatever the reason, it makes the story less interesting. I will stick with the series and hopefully that depth will come to the surface.

My other main complaint is with the number of adverbs. It felt like every statement and action was modified in one way or another. Sometimes it's enough to just say or do something. It doesn't have to be said enthusiastically, begrudgingly, condescendingly, wonderingly, defiantly, mysteriously, solemnly, or vivaciously. It can just be said. I get the tone of the story. I know how Harry means it. I know the intent in Hermione's actions. It got to the point that I was waiting to see which modifier would be used next instead of just listening to the story. It was very distracting. (For the record, I don't know if any of these examples were actually used, but considering the number of adverbs that were included I'd say the odds are good.)

Of course the tension builds as the story progresses and it's impossible not to be invested in the outcome, but even the resolution is drawn out not as good as one would hope.

I look forward to getting back on track with Book 4.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Force

  • A Novel
  • By: Don Winslow
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,194
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,835
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,819

All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is the "King of Manhattan North", a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of "Da Force". Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest - an elite special unit given carte blanche to fight gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the 18 years he's spent on the job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Winslow continus to amaze

  • By Steve L on 07-13-17

Borders on brilliance

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

Reviewed: 07-31-17

I've listened to a few Don Winslow audiobooks and I'm always amazed at the amount of information he provides about characters, backgrounds, thought processes, situations, and so on. He completely immerses the listener into the world of his stories and he does it without being repetitive, inconsistent, or mundane. The Force combines that mastery with an explosive plot that leaves the listener feeling like a fighter in training: exhilarated, exhausted, and excited to take the next step even while waiting for another blow to land.

Two reasons I didn't give this five stars across the board.

First, the narrator was a bit over the top and at times grating. I almost stopped listening about twenty minutes in. I gave it more time and I'm glad I did. The narration ultimately worked with the story, but could have been toned down a little.

Second, I get very frustrated in stories where a significant external event, one not caused by the events of the story itself, occurs and saves the day. I'm not talking about an event that the protagonist manages to leverage to his or her benefit. I can accept such events, even if they feel a little contrived. What bothers me is when the event comes from nowhere and provides the protagonist with the only path to resolution. This is akin to a detective getting an anonymous tip 90% of the way through a book and that tip ultimately leading to the case being solved. The event that occurs in The Force is foreshadowed so it is not completely out of the blue, but the timing was so perfect it was just too much to swallow.

Even with the drawbacks that kept me from giving this a full five stars I still enthusiastically recommend it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • In a Dark, Dark Wood

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,678
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,660

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her nest of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn't seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora ( Lee) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THIS BOOK.

  • By jennifer on 09-06-15

Enjoyable, yes, but mostly just frustrating

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

Reviewed: 07-31-17

Logically I want to give this book four stars, but my gut reaction is more along the lines of two stars.

And those ratings are perhaps a little generous.

First let me say that the author does a lot of things right. The writing and the flow are good. The characters are distinct and well defined, if not always interesting or unique. And there is plenty of tension built throughout the whole book. My interest rarely slipped and the mystery leads to a lot of questions about who did what and what actually happened and so on. I think for a lot of people these pros will be enough to make the book very enjoyable.

For me, however, the cons really bring the whole experience down.

Logically there are a lot of holes in the plot. A LOT. The author pays lip service to some of these at the end, but mostly the reader is just expected to accept everything at face value. It definitely felt like the author was wedging details into certain places and shapes where they weren't meant to go. If you want to make plot secondary to characters that is fine, but you at least must make the story believable. When the reader (or listener) is banging his head in frustration over the gaps and completely unbelievable errors it takes away from everything. No characters, no matter how interesting or well written, can overcome that.

Emotionally the book grew worse and worse for me for two reasons. First, the protagonist is way too obsessive. The writing is so repetitive with the obsessions that I found myself wanting to skip forward again and again. This might be intentional, the author's attempt at making the reader feel what it's like to be the protagonist, but I doubt it. And if it is it worked too well. I felt like her and I did not enjoy it.

Second, and this is the thing that for me made all the other faults unforgivable, is the fact that the whole book is possible because grown women never got over their high school crushes. It makes the whole cast unsympathetic. It's one thing to have residual feelings some years later, especially if the event or person was as significant as in the book, but for multiple people to structure their entire lives around it is rubbish.

If these aren't things that tend to bother you as a reader or listener then I highly recommend this book. But if you want something with believability, nuance, and characters you can not only relate to but also care about then find something else.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Hate U Give

  • By: Angie Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 33,884
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 31,325
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 31,215

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Entire Perspective

  • By Wendi on 01-14-18

Good, but a little too tidy

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

Reviewed: 06-27-17

The author does a great job of fully expanding an experience and a point of view that most of us never have first hand contact with. The plot unfolds naturally and at a good pace. And the MC's emotions and reactions and struggles are believable and beautifully developed.
Even better than the story was the brilliant narration. Bahni Turpin hits the emotion of the story right on the mark, nails the subtle accent changes, and does convincing voices for both male and female characters.
My only complaint with the story is that it feels too neat. Given the weight of the topic I feel like some questions would be better left unanswered. Ultimately, the YA tone doesn't take away from a powerful story.
The subject is important and sadly does not seem to be one that will be going away any time soon. I definitely recommend this audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Dead Zone

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: James Franco
  • Length: 16 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,507
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,129
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,112

Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma after his car accident and discovers that he can see people's futures and pasts when he touches them. Many consider his talent a gift; Johnny feels cursed. His fiancée married another man during his coma, and people clamor for him to solve their problems. When Johnny has a disturbing vision after he shakes the hand of an ambitious and amoral politician, he must decide if he should take drastic action to change the future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Great Listen!

  • By karinzart on 04-29-17

Franco hit the mark, but it still didn't resonate

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

Reviewed: 06-15-17

The title says it all. James Franco was spot on with his performance and I hope we'll have the chance to hear him again. But overall the story didn't really stand out at King's best work. It felt like a mix of Doctor Sleep and 11/22/63, at least in parts. And it never held my attention like Joyland or the Mr. Mercedes series. I will say that it doesn't feel dated. It's set in the 70's but doesn't feel 40 years old.
Worth a listen, but I wouldn't put it top of the list.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Big Little Lies

  • By: Liane Moriarty
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45,666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41,047
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,972

Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Oh, Calamity!

  • By L. O. Pardue on 10-07-14

Equal parts fascinating and disturbing

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

Reviewed: 01-23-17

The best and worst part of this book is how painfully relatable it is. The characters are so well developed and the slow, deliberate escalation of conflict so believable that the listener can't help but feel like this is something that could happen in his or her life right now. I recommended the book to a friend with children, but cautioned her that it might hit too close to home.
At time I felt like the story dragged on a bit. Once the characters were fully introduced there were some scenarios that did little more than reiterate what we already knew about them. Other than that - and the distracting overuse of the phrase "it was as if..." - the story and writing were spectacular. I do wish the narrator could have differentiated the characters a little better. They were so clearly distinct in the writing that they should have been more distinct in the performance. But even that could not really detract from the experience too much.
I highly recommend this audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Second Life of Nick Mason

  • By: Steve Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 948
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 863
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 858

Nick Mason has already spent five years inside a maximum security prison when an offer comes that will grant his release 20 years early. He accepts - but the deal comes with a terrible price. Now, back on the streets, Nick Mason has a new house, a new car, money to burn, and a beautiful roommate. He's returned to society, but he's still a prisoner. Whenever his cell phone rings, day or night, Nick must answer it and follow whatever order he is given.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rock and hard place plot

  • By Lesia on 06-01-16

Unsettling and a little unfulfilling

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

Reviewed: 01-06-17

The story isn't really groundbreaking, but it's well told. It's hard to identify exactly what it was about the book that left me wanting more, especially without giving away too many details, but it feels somewhat linear. I would have liked a little better build up and a little more resolution. Still, it's better than a lot of stuff out there today.

Well written and a good performance, but ultimately not the experience I was hoping for.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful