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Dan

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  • 94
  • helpful votes
  • 49
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  • The Elementals

  • By: Michael McDowell
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,774
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,589
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,582

After a bizarre and disturbing incident at the funeral of matriarch Marian Savage, the McCray and Savage families look forward to a restful and relaxing summer at Beldame, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, where three Victorian houses loom over the shimmering beach. Two of the houses are habitable, while the third is slowly and mysteriously being buried beneath an enormous dune of blindingly white sand. But though long uninhabited, the third house is not empty. Inside, something deadly lies in wait.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Solid Haunted House Book - and that's rare!

  • By Uber Femme on 06-28-18

Genuinely Creepy Story With an Impeccable Reading

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

Reviewed: 02-22-17

Would you listen to The Elementals again? Why?

Definitely! R.C. Bray's reading was extremely inviting. I also loved the characters. The Third House was so creepy, I can't help but want to visit it again.

What other book might you compare The Elementals to and why?

The Haunting at Hill House. It had that same subtle, creeping horror. The equivalent of a closed room that you know something horrible hides behind, but cant help but opening to see what it is anyways.

Which scene was your favorite?

I like when they first arrived at Beldame and you realize that India's summer isn't going to be as boring as she thought it would be.

Who was the most memorable character of The Elementals and why?

Luker. He's charming and funny, and obviously gay. I also like how he never talks down to his daughter.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the story. The Third House is that dark place of our dreams that you dread, but cant help stare at and wonder what's in there. The author makes great use of that theme to give he entire story a surreal vibe that sticks with you days after you have finished reading it.

  • A Dog's Purpose

  • By: W. Bruce Cameron
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,311
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,789
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,787

A Dog's Purpose - which spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list – is heading to the big screen! Based on the beloved best-selling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Purpose shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Dogs Purpose

  • By sara on 02-16-17

Annoyingly Cloying

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

Reviewed: 02-09-17

What would have made A Dog's Purpose better?

The writing was bad. The narrative was uneven. This dog knows words like tenuous yet can't tell you the name of the "bright shiny objects" on the man's uniform.

The book is definitely aimed at small children, yet there are things in this book I would never let a child under 12 read (kids throwing firecrackers at dogs, for example).

I felt the description of a dog dying as it's being gassed was distasteful and out of place. There were parts where the author seemed to be trying to be deliberately cruel, but the juxtaposition of the dog maintaining his "Hunky Dory" attitude as someone is trying to hurt him was just weird.



Would you ever listen to anything by W. Bruce Cameron again?

No

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Way too earnest and his voice had an irritatingly nasal quality to it.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Resentful. It was like the ending was trying to pull tears out of my eyes by spraying mace into them. I wasn't sad, I just rolled my eyes.

Any additional comments?

I won't be listening to the other books in this series.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

  • By: Ransom Riggs
  • Narrated by: Jesse Bernstein
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,709
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13,240
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,251

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets 16-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It might be better to actually read this.

  • By Ariel on 07-25-11

Bland

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

Reviewed: 10-14-15

Would you try another book from Ransom Riggs and/or Jesse Bernstein?

Not sure. I found this story rather bland. There's not much that sets it apart from other magical children stories. The cover makes it look like it might have a touch of Edward Gorey macabre, but it's actually fairly straight forward.

What could Ransom Riggs have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Better writing. The end of the story suffered from some bad writing. Some of the descriptions were a little over-the-top too.

Did Jesse Bernstein do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Not really. His English accent doesn't really change from character to character and it sounds fake every time.

What character would you cut from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children?

Not sure. He has a friend at the beginning of the book that sort of just disappears...he seemed unnecessary.

Any additional comments?

By the 60% point, I realized I simply didn't care what happened next. I doubt I'll continue to the next novel in the series.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Heart-Shaped Box

  • By: Joe Hill
  • Narrated by: Stephen Lang
  • Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,931
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,524
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,529

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet. For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Yikes! Five stars for fright

  • By Lesley on 02-23-07

A Decent Modern Gothic Horror

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

Reviewed: 08-28-15

What did you like best about Heart-Shaped Box? What did you like least?

I really liked the characters. Jude, Georgia and Florida were fairly developed by the end of the book. I think the thing I liked the least was when we finally figured out who the ghost was. It sapped some of the scariness out of the novel. There was also a part that was a little too like Beetlejuice towards the end that made me roll my eyes.

Which character – as performed by Stephen Lang – was your favorite?

Jude, of course. He was one cool dude.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Sure. It actually reads a bit like a screenplay. I think some good editing would make the film better than the novel

Any additional comments?

It's not a bad read. My biggest problem is that they never explain how the ghost was tied to the suit. I also felt the ending dragged. There were a couple of false endings too.

  • Armada

  • A Novel
  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,950
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,911
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 30,854

It's just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He's daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom - if he can make it that long without getting suspended again. Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Lacked the freshness of Ready Player One

  • By Chad on 01-08-16

An excuse for Ernest Cline to prove his geek cred

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

Reviewed: 08-07-15

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who enjoy fan fiction written by a 15 year old. Actually, I take that back. I've read better fan fiction written by 15 year-olds.

Would you ever listen to anything by Ernest Cline again?

Not without reading a review.

What three words best describe Wil Wheaton’s performance?

At least he tried to make it entertaining. He needs to stop trying to do the voice of the computer in Flight of the Navigator.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I rolled my eyes a lot. Especially when he builds up a tender moment and destroys it with a Total Recall reference. I think I'm disappointed more than anything

Any additional comments?

Every character is one dimensional. Descriptions are superficial such as the main character's mother who is simply beautiful without any sort of explanation as to why.

It contains redundant passages that not only drops a geek reference, and then explains every reference, but even explains the bigger words ("His stoic companions sat emotionless and expressionless" Gee, thanks for explaining what stoic means.).

Carl Sagan is...well, I wont give it away but wow, its beyond silly and childish.

The main character is named Zack Lightman. There is a base on earth called Crystal Palace. Can we get any more War Games references?

There are military officers who play in a rock band. There's also a romance that develops in the span of two hours of the two characters meeting that's based on both of the characters knowing Snoopy Vs the Red Baron. Hey Ernest knows that too! Good for him!

Every single character in this novel is privvy to geek culture and they all go around reference dropping. Seriously, I have a big circle of geek friends and we don't do this much quoting of movies or comparing everything in our lives to video games. I realize this is fiction, but it didn't even fit in the story very well and absolutely served no purpose in furthering the story. Obviously it's Ernest's fantasy to live in a world where everyone knows what he knows.

Finally, the bulk of the story is just the characters sitting around talking about the enemy as well as the attack plan. I literally drove 30 minutes to work and 30 minutes home and they were still yakking. Imagine the Death Star attack briefing scene lasting an hour. That's what it felt like (See Ernest? I can reference drop too!). It was boring and I almost gave up.

Armada isn't even an original story. Every part of it is borrowed from somewhere else. It feels like a refactored version of The Last Star Fighter, Enders Game, War Games and bits of Buckaroo Banzai thrown in.

Unless you feel random 80s and geek references is clever, I'd suggest staying away from this stinker. At least in Ready Player One, those references had context. In Armada, it no longer feels like homage. It feels like plagiarism because the author didn't have to come up with any of his own ideas.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Pines

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9,918
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,972
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,984

Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well done story

  • By Linda B on 08-28-12

Michael Chrichton Lite

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

Reviewed: 05-14-15

Not bad story for a summer read. Not as predictable as I thought it was going to be. The end came a little too quickly though and I wish there was more detail about the world prior to the last act. I'm hoping that detail comes through in the second book.

  • The Corrections

  • A Novel
  • By: Jonathan Franzen
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 21 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,851
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,585
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,596

The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century--a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost 50 years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic novel by Franzen

  • By kurdis teed on 01-02-18

Funny, Challenging, Absurd and Dark.

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

Reviewed: 02-03-15

Where does The Corrections rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Not my favorite, but very memorable. I laughed a good bit and could see myself listening to it again in a couple of years. I like how the author jumped from family member to family member and often filled in the blanks in a Tarrantino kind of way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Denise. She seemed to be the most sane of all the Lamberts. She was the relief of the reader that someone in the family had a sense of reality.

Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

All his performances have been great so far. I still think my favorite is The Accidental Tourist which is no longer available from Audible. I'm glad I bought my copy when I did!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not at first. It took me a few chapters for the book to grip me. By the end, I wanted to know how it was going to end.

Any additional comments?

If all you read are "clean" books and expect to love every character in every story you listen to, skip this novel. If you have a sense of humor and can appreciate the absurd and love good literature, I'd recommend this very dark comedy. Just like the script Chip wrote in the story, you have to get through a very challenging beginning to finally get to the good stuff which is the rest of the novel. I don't think Franzen wrote it that way by accident.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Christmas Train

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Tim Matheson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,489
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,058
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,063

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight "misunderstanding" at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • On A Whim For Fun

  • By Patti on 09-25-07

Someone's Creative Writing project

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

Reviewed: 12-18-14

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better story. Better reader.

What could David Baldacci have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Written dialog that people in the way people actually talk. People not talking about trains every fifth paragraphs (not everyone who rides a train talks about trains for there entire journey.)

What didn’t you like about Tim Matheson’s performance?

Way too earnest. Annoyingly so.

What character would you cut from The Christmas Train?

Agnes Joe. Just because of her annoying name...oh, and because she pushes the main character down some stairs for no apparent reason.

Any additional comments?

Skip this. It's amateurishly written and will not get you into the spirit.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Joyland

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Michael Kelly
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,793
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,313
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,304

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great Stephen King crime/mystery

  • By Mark on 07-11-13

A story along the lines of The Body (Stand By Me)

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

Reviewed: 09-18-14

Where does Joyland rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I think this ranks among the small list that I'd actually listen to again. It was one of Stephen King's lighter stories. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships. It's a place that I'd love to revisit again some day. You feel the sense of nostalgia, even if you weren't around or too young to remember during the time period it's set in.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The murder mystery towards the end provided a little suspense. But since you know the narrator of the story survived (otherwise, how is he telling this in first person?), its not too suspenseful. It reminded me of a Hitchcock thriller.

Which character – as performed by Michael Kelly – was your favorite?

The main character, Devin. He did a great job with the others, but Devin was the heart of the story and he did his voice in a very laid-back "let me tell you a tale" sort of way.

If you could rename Joyland, what would you call it?

The Body 1973 at an amusement park.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book when you want a pleasant story without a lot of violence or macabre. I'd put this up among his novels such as Duma Key. It's really about the relationships and friendships. You'll smile as you listen to it and might even cry at the end when it's over with.

  • The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events #1
  • By: Lemony Snicket
  • Narrated by: Tim Curry, Full Cast
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,401
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,661
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,658

Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket's alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliantly miserable

  • By Lindsey on 06-05-05

Great start. Too bad about licensing..

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-19-11

I really loved this book. I decided to listen to it between bigger books as sort of a palette cleanser. Tim Curry is Lemony Snicket and a full cast reads the dialog. There are also nice sound effects and music so that it feels like a real radio play.

Unfortunately as I looked to get the other volumes, Audible has not licensed all of the Tim Curry/Full Cast versions of these books. It's disappointing to go from a full production complete with voice acting, sound effects and Tim Curry to Daniel Handler dryly reading his own novels.

So I will not be buying the rest of them until they can get all of the Tim Curry/Full Cast versions.

85 of 92 people found this review helpful