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spacecasecake

west coast, usa | Member Since 2008

51
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 77 ratings
  • 198 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34661)
    Performance
    (25763)
    Story
    (26125)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Entertaining but lacking in depth"
    Overall

    I was entertained enough by this book. The language is pretty simple (young adult) and the narrator was a bit languid, but things move along at a pretty quick pace regardless. Fans of Battle Royale and post-apocalyptic future societies will find themselves in familiar and fun territory.

    My major gripe was the author's lack of exploring the ethical questions raised by such a violent and unbalanced society. I was expecting the hero character(s) to have some dialog internal or otherwise about the pros and cons of children killing children for entertainment and political suppression. But nothing. They are more interested in first kisses and being nervous in front of a television audience. Seems to me that young adults SHOULD be given some critical perspectives to think about so they can understand the implications of the Hunger Games better. At the end of the day this is pretty much an action movie that aims to entertain more than anything else - it passed away 8 hours of commuting if nothing else.

    2 of 4 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
    (7028)
    Performance
    (6687)
    Story
    (6699)

    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"
    "Spectacular"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Short, distilled review: Did you like the film Apollo 13? Do you like Mars? This book is exactly what you're looking for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orphanage: Jason Wander, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert Buettner
    • Narrated By Adam Epstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (105)
    Story
    (105)

    Mankind's first alien contact tears into Earth: Projectiles launched from Jupiter's moon, Ganymede, vaporize whole cities. Under siege, humanity gambles on one desperate counterstrike. In a spacecraft scavenged from scraps and armed with Vietnam-era weapons, foot soldiers like 18-year-old Jason Wander-orphans that no one will miss-must dare man's first interplanetary voyage and invade Ganymede. They have one chance to attack, one ship to attack with. Their failure is our extinction.

    Professor says: "A bit Childish and simple but good"
    "Fun, quick, sci-fi goodness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I am in full agreement with the other reviews. It's simple, fast paced, sci-fi. Very reminiscent of Starship Troopers in overall plot. The author does take some pains to keep the science plausible (gravity, lightspeed, propulsion, atmosphere.... issues that sometimes get glossed over.)

    The narrator is mostly good except for the idiotic voices he comes up with. They're pretty awful.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Twelve: A Novel: The Passage Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Justin Cronin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (2836)
    Performance
    (2505)
    Story
    (2504)

    In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as "Last Stand in Denver", has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin.

    Amanda says: "Expanding The Story In Every Direction"
    "Cronin doesn't know what book he's trying to write"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    There's several competing visions crammed into this novel and they don't particularly work well together. Other than some returning characters The Twelve feels much like a brand new universe that's still laying down the rules. Cronin doesn't seem to know exactly what the story he wants to tell is. Or rather he's trying to tackle a lot of concepts but nothing is getting his full attention.

    A major annoyance is Cronin's shift from time-periods or main characters. You'll have a few short chapters in the 'present' and then spend the next 1/4 of the book in the 'past' with a completely different cast of characters (which you will not return to). Later you'll be spending a long period of time with a situation then he throws in a random chapter about an entirely unrelated character. Then off on another tangent. For the life of me I cannot figure out the flow. It feels like he got bored while writing and went off on random vectors to keep himself interested.

    Normally I like Scott Brick... he's fairly awful here. Slow and ponderous narration. Way too much use of his "confused" voice which is sort of soft, whispery, and whiney. And unfortunately there are a lot of very confused characters in The Twelve. It seems everyone is coming out of a coma, or shock, or a blackout at the beginning of every chapter...

    There were a few standout parts of the book, however. I really enjoyed a lengthy section detailing what happened in the weeks and months following the worldwide outbreak. It was a tasty novella hiding in a otherwise dull tome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Center of Gravity: Star Carrier, Book Two

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ian Douglas
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (516)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (470)

    On the far side of known human space, the Marines are under siege, battling the relentless servant races of the Sh'daar aggressor. With a task force stripped to the bone and the Terran Confederation of States racked by dissent, rogue Admiral Alexander Koenig must make the momentous decision that will seal his fate and the fate of humankind.

    spacecasecake says: "If you enjoyed the 1st installment..."
    "If you enjoyed the 1st installment..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You'll enjoy this one. Same generic plot, same boilerplate characters, same breakneck space battles that are highly entertaining, etc.... However I'd say this book is roughly 50% space battle where the first book was 75%. There is a bit more downtime and an attempt to flesh out characters, aliens, and the conflict. A nice attempt, but nothing surprising.

    Once again a very decent performance from Nick Sullivan.

    Biggest gripe: like the first book, Ian Douglas explains everything over and over and over. How many time do we need explained that a VC-10 CRATE missile has a variable yield warhead and can accelerate at 5000G? Really?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Deepness in the Sky

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Vernor Vinge
    • Narrated By Peter Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (384)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (246)

    After thousands of years searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. There are two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds.The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches.

    Amen-Ra says: "A science fiction classic"
    "Moments of brilliance, but a long slog otherwise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Starts great, ends great. I found myself fast forwarding through chapters in the middle, yet was compelled enough to reach the end.

    Outside the hard sci-fi the author tries to write some sort of grand novel of the human/alien condition. Alliances, double crosses, secrets, love and lust, etc..... While there's a great depth and examination of these ideas, it comes off dull and hard to follow.

    It would have definitely been better as a hardcopy book: lots of tricky names that all sound similar. Narrator was ok, but the voice he gave to dialogue was too theatric: too melodic and sing-songish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coyote Rising: A Novel of Interstellar Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Allen Steele
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim, Allen Steele
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (340)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (189)

    The Hugo Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coyote returns to the setting of his grand novel of interstellar exploration with the continuing epic of Earth's first space colonists - and a tale of revolution against a repressive government to reclaim their world in the name of freedom...

    Michael says: "Great, Great Stuff"
    "Great sequel, though a very different book"
    Overall

    Where Coyote was a book about man's initial thrust to colonize another planet, Rising is more of a political history of the problems that arise in a new colony. Not quite as hard sci-fi filled with the unknown as the first, but still an engaging read.

    My biggest gripe is that Steele writes in circles. It's as if your're on a boat trying to cross a river but often you get caught in a whirlpool and spin around and around. Eventually you paddle out and progress several feet but then get caught in another whirlpool. Steele constantly rehashes plot points so that "you remember why X=Y" and it's quite overbearing. Feels like filler more often than not. He also has a habit of introducing compelling characters that he seemingly forgets to get back to later in the book.

    Our slow-reading-robotic narrator Peter Ganim seems to have picked up the pace a little this time around.... but he's still the most painful point of this audiobook.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4126)
    Performance
    (2567)
    Story
    (2595)

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "Extremely sup-par sound quality!!!"
    Overall

    This was to be my 4th Child-Preston audiobook. I really enjoy their books for my daily commute (Thunderhead! Awesome read!)

    But Relic sounds HORRIBLE. It's feels like there's a sibilance reducer or compressor that's been set way too high. End result is half the time it sounds like he's talking through a pillow and half the time it sounds marginally ok - it comes in nauseating waves. I found myself turning all the bass down, the treble all the way up, the vocal booster on my ipod tuned on AND the volume 15% higher than I normally listen to books YET still fighting to comfortably listen and get into the book.

    FWIW this is roughly my 20th book from Audible, and haven't run across this problem before. Just the same the "enchanced" audio format has the issue. It must be an older audiobook.... maybe they digitized it off cassette tapes (I'm only partially kidding!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1673)
    Performance
    (924)
    Story
    (918)

    Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

    Roy says: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"
    "Awful narration leads to complete boredom"
    Overall

    You know that soft, metered female voice that seems to be part of any automated phone service? That's precisely who's reading this book and it dulls down an otherwise humorous and interesting subject.

    Listen to the sample first! This might be a better book to buy in black & white

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Subterranean

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By James Rollins
    • Narrated By John Meagher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (97)

    Travel to the bottom of the earth...to a place you never dreamed existed. Beneath the ice...a hand-picked team of specialists makes its way toward the center of the world. They are not the first to venture into this magnificient subterranean labyrinth. Those they follow did not return....

    David says: "Great story, funny Ausrtalian accent"
    "Beyond Ridiculous"
    Overall

    I knew by reading the description of the book that the plot was entirely preposterous. There's nothing wrong with that. You can suspend a little disbelief to enjoy a story - it's the cornerstone of your favorite Pixar movies, right?

    Subterranean is beyond. Way beyond. Wallowing deep in preposterousness. It's not just the core plot but it's the author's employment of the cheapest gags and devices to "keep up the suspense". By the second mp3 file I was rolling my eyes and groaning - out loud in my car - roughly every 5 minutes. You can quite literally guess everything that's about to happen if you ask yourself "what would a 13 year old attempting to write his/her first fantasy/romance novel do here?" In the same vein the dialogue and the characters were most likely carved in wood before printing in the book - it was so hard to carve complicated text in wood that Rollins settled for the bare minimum. It's AWFUL.

    To cap it off, I still have 3 hours or so left. I don't think I'll be finishing the book....

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Daemon

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7014)
    Performance
    (4044)
    Story
    (4072)

    Thousands of autonomous computer programs, or daemons, make our networked world possible, running constantly in the background of our lives, trafficking e-mail, transferring money, and monitoring power grids. For the most part, daemons are benign, but the same can't always be said for the people who design them.

    Erica says: "Possibly The Best Techno-thriller Ever"
    "Fun little techno adventure"
    Overall

    Great fast-paced techno thriller that really made my commute fly by. It's a mix of Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and some Lincoln Child: somewhat plausible, a little over the top, but a fun little book that entertains.

    It does get a little ridiculous with all the techno gadgets and action sequences towards the end. You'll kinda groan and roll your eyes but at the same time grin at the silliness.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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