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Steve

Portland, OR | Member Since 2012

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 22 ratings
  • 81 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Kill Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2970)
    Performance
    (2650)
    Story
    (2659)

    Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

    Madeleine says: "What's that droning sound?"
    "Good, but a step back for Suarez"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This wasn't a terrible book but it wasn't Daemon. Some of the characters are bit annoying. I didn't connect with McKinney. Some of the most entertaining characters are killed off very early. Also, the book seemed to take a long time to develop any rhythm.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Increase the pace and (SPOILER ALERT) keep the Stanford team alive a bit longer. They seemed interesting.


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

    Gurner is a class act when it comes to narrating.


    Was Kill Decision worth the listening time?

    Yes. If you like techno-thrillers that get a bit too crazy. If you liked "Swarm" you'll like this.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Firewall

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By William Hertling
    • Narrated By Jennifer O'Donnell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    In the year 2035, robots, artificial intelligences, and neural implants have become commonplace. The Institute for Ethics keeps the peace, using social reputation to ensure that robots and humans don't harm society or each other. But a powerful AI named Adam has found a way around the restrictions. Catherine Matthews, nineteen years old, has a unique gift: the ability to manipulate the net with her neural implant. Yanked out of her perfectly ordinary life, Catherine becomes the last firewall standing between Adam and his quest for world domination.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "The future belongs to AIs"
    "Miscast"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am in the middle of this book and am very distracted by the narrator. She has a bit of a "smoker's voice" that sounds like she needs to clear her throat often. She also delivers many lines as if she is on the verge of tears. It doesn't match the story. If this were a teen drama or something to that affect, she would work. Gillian Flynn's, "Dark Places" might be a better choice for this type of narrator but the voice seems weak and almost broken down. I will update this review as I finish the book but right now it is really distracting. I don't know why some of these books seem to put almost no thought into who would be an appropriate narrator .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A.I. Apocalypse: Singularity, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By William Hertling
    • Narrated By J. M. Badger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (124)

    Leon Tsarev is a high school student set on getting into a great college program, until his uncle, a member of the Russian mob, coerces him into developing a new computer virus for the mob's botnet - the slave army of computers they used to commit digital crimes. The evolutionary virus Leon creates, based on biological principles, is successful - too successful. All the world's computers are infected.

    Margo says: "Solid and Interesting"
    "Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an entertaining listen. If you're into technology and artificial intelligence, this could be an excellent listen. There are a few unusual parts of the book that will make your eyes roll (for instance, why does everyone have to throw a very young character into a very adult role?) but all in all it was enjoyable. The narration was pretty good although the narrator struggled mightily trying to imitate a Japanese and a French accent. It would have been a better idea to just stick to reading the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23216)
    Performance
    (14548)
    Story
    (14701)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Deeper than you might think"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just finished Ender's. I found the book interesting from many different viewpoints. It is both a psychological thriller as well as a military "text book." The story runs it's course, seldom getting bogged down too deeply. When compared to books like "Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter," it is clear that this is the grandfather of those books.

    As far as the performance goes, Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison were incredible. Gabrielle de Cuir was annoying. She is overly breathy and dramatic. While the other narrators focus on delivering the story, it seems like de Cuir focuses on making the part about her performance. She would be good for some ridiculous romance novel or vampire story. I searched her portfolio and she in fact, is the narrator of some vampire stories. I guess that is okay if that is your thing but her delivery was way off for this part. All in all though, she is only in a small portion of the book but be prepared to be distracted when she narrates.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Safari: Mountain Man, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Keith C. Blackmore
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (168)

    Augustus Berry lives a day-to-day existence comprised of waking up, getting drunk, and preparing for the inevitable day when "they" will come up the side of his mountain and penetrate his fortress. Living on the outskirts of a city and scavenging for whatever supplies remain since the demise of civilization, Gus knows that his next visit to undead suburbia could be his last.

    Mike Naka says: "great follow-up!"
    "One trick pony"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Weakest of the three books in the series (so far). A lot of the best parts of the other books have been the interpersonal relationships. This book has none of that unless you count having a friendship with a duct taped bottle of Jack D. This should have been the first book in the series (albeit with a different ending).

    Spoilers:
    This book amounts to the same trick over and over. Zombies and or rats, lots of rats. It's like a comedian with one joke. It got very redundant over time. The same thing happened a bit in the beginning of the third book with Scott but then that book started to get better over time. You reach a point where you say, "I get it. There are a lot of rats."

    As usual, RC Bray is awesome. His range is incredible and he makes excellent decisions as far as his delivery goes.

    Not a terrible listen but not "edge of your seat."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10674)
    Performance
    (10157)
    Story
    (10172)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Holy Cow? This is Weir's first book????"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So everyone likes to be part of something from the very beginning, right? It's like when Grisham wrote "A Time To Kill" and you read it before he was a big name. Well this is what I expect out of Weir. This book is crazy good. When I read the premise I thought, "That's going to be hard to pull off. He's going to have a limited 'set' to deal with" meaning the guy would obviously be confined to a very small area if the book were to maintain any reasonable sense of reality. Well Weir pulled it off. This book was everything you thought "Castaway" would be but wasn't. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

    With regard to the performance, Bray was the story. His interpretation, timing and delivery were spot on to the point you think that Weir wrote the book with him in mind. Bray's uncanny use of humorous delivery at the perfect time made an already enjoyable book that much more enjoyable. I actually have added other Bray books to my library because he is so talented. I hope that Bray and Weir continue to collaborate and I am looking forward to the next book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3004)
    Performance
    (2603)
    Story
    (2616)

    Will Robie is a master of killing. A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst - enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims.No one else can match Robie's talents as a hitman...no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she's gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency.

    Rodney says: "I couldn't Stop Listening"
    "Started Dragging on at the End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had a hard time finishing this book. It seemed like it started to drag a bit at the end. Additionally, I listen with headphones and the production quality wasn't great. The narrators are excellent but there are several chunks of the book where they clearly re-dubbed the spoken line or paragraph. It takes you out of the "moment." It was like watching an R-Rated movie on regular TV. I'm sorry but if you're going to charge $20 for a book, you shouldn't have "cut and paste" production quality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8993)
    Performance
    (8214)
    Story
    (8307)

    What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

    Judy says: "What a let down!"
    "A 'GD' Mess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Forgive my play on words in the title for those who aren't acquainted with the GD/GP story line of the book.
    I think the best explanation for this book would be, this is what happens when you plagiarize someone else's book/idea. Book one in the Divergent series was a good book but it borrowed extremely heavily on the formula for "The Hunger Games." It even used a lot of the same symbolism but wrapped it up in a slightly different package. Book two was pretty good as well as Roth tried to create her own imagining of THG. However, by book three, Roth's lack of imagination and creativity are exposed when she is forced to pursue her own narrative one hundred percent. This book plodded on and on and was loaded with exposition. It was boring and listless in much of the story. I read another review that stated Roth seemed to be trying to make a deadline which I agree with completely. This book was poorly thought out. It felt rushed and yet was so boring at the same time. There were gaping plot holes and completely unnecessary tangents. My guess is Roth was under pressure to complete a full novel and just loaded it up with extraneous chatter. "Here's your book. CHA-CHING!!!"
    The performance was very good, given the subject matter. I found the narrator for Tris to be especially good and the Tobias Narrator held his own.

    ***********SPOILERS BELOW*******************

    Without being too obvious, Roth wrote herself into such a bland hole that in the end, the only card she had to play was the eventuality of what happens in the weapons room. It reached a point of "something shocking has to happen because nothing has really happened." Normally, in a long series, when you connect with the characters you feel crushed at such a dramatic and final turn of events. "How could this happen????" you would say. You would emote, you would feel pain. It's like these characters become your friends and their loss is yours. I felt none of this when the weapons room sequence ended. I was thinking, "Huh, that's one way to end it" but never felt any emotional tug.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18882)
    Performance
    (17072)
    Story
    (17217)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "Blatant Rip Off of Hunger Games, With More Food"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know this review will not be popular with the fans of the series so let me start by saying it's a good book and enjoyable. However, I cannot give it more than 3 stars because the book borrows heavily from the Hunger Games. To state otherwise is to turn a blind eye. Yes, the stories are different but much of the premise, symbolism and narrative centers around the same architecture.

    There are some spoilers in here so if you want, stop reading and get the book. It's enjoyable and worth a listen. I am just starting book 2.

    Let's recap the similarities

    Dystopian society? Check
    Government scandal? Check
    Strong Female Lead? Check
    Strong Female who is unusually skilled? Check
    Factions/Districts? Check
    Lead comes from one of the weaker/frowned upon districts? Check
    Day on 16th birthday that will change the lead character's life? Check
    Ranking system? Check
    Female Lead is "amazingly" ranked number one, thinks it will be much lower but "surprise!" everyone is shocked by this? Check
    Lead identifies with an Avian Icon? Check

    The list goes on and on and at times was very distracting. "Wait, didn't that exact same thing happen in THG????" I found myself asking. For example, when Tris got the "ravens tattoo" I pretty much asked if Veronica Roth was honest enough to mention that her any of her inspiration was THG. At least Tris didn't get a mockingjay tattoo. For crying out loud, even the covers of the books are incredibly similar. I have read a couple articles about some ridiculousness of Roth writing this while she was in college. That's great and probably true to some degree but to ignore the number of story line plots that Roth "borrowed" from THG is insulting.

    All and all, it was entertaining. I do take issue with Tris smelling every damn thing. I know the sense of smell is a big memory trigger and as a psych major, Roth is obviously integrating this but she goes on and on with what everything smells like. It makes me want to ask, "Just how big is Tris's schnoz anyway?"

    Around the 30th chapter it begins to drag and becomes a teen romance novel but wraps up pretty well. The end is a bit anti-climactic but really it's just the middle of the second book rather than the end of the first.

    With regards to the performance, the narrator was amazing. This is one significant difference with THG. The THG narrator was grating and miscast. This narrator was phenomenal and not overly dramatic. She did not make the performance about her narration which to me is the cardinal sin of narration.

    Anyway, Roth probably should pay homage to Collins but that's just my opinion. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to get back to writing this book I am working on about a girl named "Dottie" and her little Dog, "Otot" who get swept up in a hurricane and transported to the land of "Zo" where they follow the Green Brick Road to the Amber City while being pursued by the wicked witch of the Northwest...after that I have a great idea for a boy wizard who lives in a basement. He doesn't know he is a wizard until...oh hell, I'm taking this too far...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13795)
    Performance
    (9614)
    Story
    (9674)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Annie M. says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Should Be Required Reading (or Listening!)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot say enough about this book. I have already gifted it to 2 other people and recommended it to many more. The story and performance are both outstanding. The book is an amazing example of human will. This book is amazingly uplifting. I would recommend it to any WWII buff, runner or anyone who needs a pick me up. If you think your life is difficult, listen to this book and maybe the hardships you face won't seem so hard anymore.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7629)
    Performance
    (6646)
    Story
    (6638)

    Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems.

    Amazon Customer says: "A great book"
    "I Had To Stop Listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had to stop listening to this novel. It had a very well written beginning but just before the halfway mark I was done with it. This novel should be categorized under "Romance." "Ridiculous Romance" would be more appropriate. Love stories about teenage vampires are more realistic. I am shocked this book has received such rave reviews.
    I believe an Author has a responsibility to the integrity of the characters. Roberts completely abandons "Abigail" as soon as her relationship with Brooks is introduced. I can see where a genius with an eidetic memory could end up with a Police Chief so I'm not saying anything about his profession. However, there is no way it would be with this Police Chief. Brooks is a character that is just one step away from used car salesmen. The pace of the romance between the two is so rushed and so unrealistic given Abigail's history that you begin to focus on the impossibility. Brooks is also a little sleazy and a little corrupt. He baits a criminal and has a relationship with the town slut until he meets Abigail. I understand why he baited the jerk, but there are better ways to resolve the issue and quite frankly, if Roberts is going to paint him as "Super Boy Scout" then she can't vacillate between right and wrong with him. There is no way the character with Abigail's history and logic would fall for any of this.
    I'm sorry, but for the people that compare Abigail to Lisbeth Salander, have you even read, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo????" That was a character who was always true to her nature and any change came with a tremendous amount of effort. If anything, Abigail is actually a backwards insult to feminine strength and intelligence. Sure, she's smart and in control but as soon as she meets Brooks she lets him walk all over her.
    Had Roberts put a flaw in Brooks it might have worked. Maybe he was very smart, about to go to law school or something but then he witnessed a murder prompting him to join law enforcement. Better yet, maybe he had a criminal background and he turned the corner to "good" given some significant event. The "Criminal Background" would also provide Abigail with more conflict as she decides what to do.
    Very disappointed. I thought this was a big waste of a book. If you want a romance novel (that isn't very romantic actually), then this is for you.

    On the narration side, Julia Whelan is an amazing narrator and it's hard to believe she does every voice. She narrated "Gone Girl" and showed her range and professionalism again in this book. She was the number 1 reason I chose to listen to this one. It is too bad her talents were wasted.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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