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Brian

Im some guy in Oshkosh, WI that walks to work and has found the joy of listening to good books and values good narrators :).

Oshkosh, WI, United States | Member Since 2006

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 68 ratings
  • 256 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2014
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  • New Earth: The Grand Tour, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (69)

    We’ve found another Earthlike planet, but what secrets does it hold? The entire world is thrilled by the discovery of a new, Earthlike planet. Advance imaging shows that the planet has oceans of water and a breathable, oxygen-rich atmosphere. Eager to learn more, an exploration team is soon dispatched to explore the planet, now nicknamed New Earth.

    Brian says: "Not my thing"
    "Not my thing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has a message that I agree with but it felt really heavy handed in its delivery. I felt like I was being brow beaten for quite a bit of the listen. The characters seemed somewhat flat and occasionally annoying and the story felt rushed. For example, The main character who arrives on a new planet, finds the perfect woman and they area happily a couple by day #2 !? I mean.. come on, even Kirk didn't work this fast!. :) There should have been more of a buildup and some more time given to the characters to make you feel anything for them.There are a couple scientists that are so hardheaded when the "truth" starts to be revealed that I find them unbelievable and their conversion happens in the speed of turning on a lightbulb. Theres a secondary distracting storyline that takes place on or near earth thats dont really contribute to the plot, and felt should have been left out for the most part. The performance was done very well I just wish he had better material to read.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Bill the Vampire

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Rick Gualtieri
    • Narrated By Christopher John Fetherolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (237)

    There are reasons we fear the night. He isn't one of them. Bill Ryder was a dateless dweeb...then he died. Unfortunately for him that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke to find himself a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Unfortunately for him, he was still at the bottom of the food chain. Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier and a whole lot cooler than he is. Worst yet, they all want him dead...permanently this time.

    Mike Naka says: "imagine howard stern as a vampire"
    "Subtitle: A manual on how NOT to build a man."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “Killing a hot chick is like clubbing a baby seal”

    If your ok with that quote then you’ll enjoy the book. The book paints programmers and geek culture with a huge brush. It assumes that most of them are game playing, bros before hoes, doll (action figure) collecting, social rejects one step away from the cave. Id say they talk about women as adolescents would but that assumes that boys are born with these beliefs. Out of the men in the book not one of them shows respect for or talks highly of any women unless their referencing their appearance. Bill and his friends are all about how women look or how they can get laid by them. The book is awash in stereotypes. Misogyny might be taking it too far but its certainly something that needs to be thought about. The strongest female character in the book helps Bill acquire power and keeps him from getting killed and his attitude is one of entitlement. "What more will she do for me?". They even make fun of it, Bill assumes that the female lead was a stripper because she’s beautiful (in this book you can’t be pretty and not be a stripper or hooker). She takes offense and begins to tell him that she was pursuing her PHD before she was turned. Then while Bill is trying to come up with an apology she tells him she’s kidding and that she really was a stripper.

    Im bothered by the message that books like this send. We have enough problems attracting women and girls into technology related fields without encouraging and promoting a flat out hostile environment. Its such a huge part of the story that its hard to ignore. Its one comment after another.

    Now for rest of the book.. I like that Bill is snarky. He’s the kind of guy that id like to be if I was getting the crap kicked out me. Rather than whining about how painful a steel toed boot to the head is Id have a quick come back that would make the beating worth it. Thats kinda how Bill is. I laughed a bit at some of his quips listening to the book. I also like that Bill can’t keep his mouth shut about being a vampire. All his friends know and its cool that they don’t freak out about it and help him keep his secret. The narrator has a good voice for Bill as well.

    A question I ask. Is this book worth listening to if the result is that it violates my own since of ethics? I donno, for now I’m going to assume that Bill is going to learn and grow. Im hopeful that he will change. As for my recommendation. There are plenty of books with awesome snarky characters out there I can recommend that don’t treat women as the next lap dancer. Look at the “Dresden Files”, or “IronDruid”, or the “Greywalker series”. They have great female characters and any of those books will be enjoyable and without the possible misogyny you’ll get here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5957)
    Performance
    (5551)
    Story
    (5550)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Paige says: "Not his Wheal-house"
    "Almost quit listening.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book I almost quit listening to about 1/4 the way throu. The writing and dialogue was terrible and cliche. So bad that I put the book on and went out to mow the lawn knowing that it didn't much matter if I missed something. Then I got it! About a quarter of the way throu it the book changed. The narration got better the dialogue got better (much better). The book isn't just a story about redshirts on a Star Trek like series. Its also a critique on the genre and the writers who follow formula to create stories that don't matter.

    Im as follower of scifi. Ill watch just about anything and reading this book points out to me how much TV I've watched that was just a rehash of other stories or how I was setup to care about a character that the writers new was going to bite it an episode or two later. If more fans of scifi read this book I think it would change how we consume this media and in effect make the stories better.

    The last quarter of the book has really nothing to do with scifi at all. Its just good story telling and character development. It does a great job of making us care about the characters were reading about. Its also an example of the type of stories we could have if we were better consumers and better writers. If your a fan of scifi I highly recommend this book. It gives you a different perspective on how to look at mass market storytelling.

    Wil Wheaton was the perfect choice for the narrator. It took me a while to forget that it was Wi Wheaton reading but when I "got it", when I understood the book I also understood that there was no better person that could have read it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Richard Matheson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3546)
    Performance
    (1481)
    Story
    (1502)

    In I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and those unfortunate enough to survive are transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Everyone else has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood. By day, he stalks the sleeping undead, by night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

    Amazon Customer says: "Superb!"
    "Its not you, its me ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My review isn't fair. The book was written in 1954 and as been adapted to film a couple of times. Its been influential in the development of the modern day zombie genre and has help form the foundation of the myths of vampires and all the cliches we've come to know and love about them. I had heard about the book for years and never picked it up. I thought maybe it was time that I gave some books that that were influential in the genres I enjoy some joy. But for me time didn't do the book any favors.

    Neville is alone and lonely. The only friends and companions he makes he ends up killing or they try to kill him. He finds a dog and that helps him alleviate his loneliness but it eventually becomes infected and he has to kill it. Its terribly painful to listen to. For me the most unbelievable part of the story (and this is a book about vampires) is that with only a library and time you can become a geneticist and identify the cause of a virus.

    If your very sensitive to the feelings of others be careful of this book. It does a very good job of making you feel terrible about Nevilles situation. Every time you get teased that theres a glimmer of hope for him, a light or some break in his pain your immediately hit over the head with a bat. When finished my overall feeling was one of depression and hopelessness. For me thats a big deal I don't subject myself to stories that leave me feeling like that. So follow this up with something lighthearted or funny maybe something by "David Sedaris".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crimes Against Magic: The Hellequin Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Steve McHugh
    • Narrated By James Langton
    Overall
    (538)
    Performance
    (488)
    Story
    (485)

    How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember? Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past and the only clues to his identity were a piece of paper with his name on it and a propensity toward magic. Now he’s a powerful sorcerer and a successful thief for hire, but it turns out that those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet. When they cause a job to go bad, threatening a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her.

    Christopher says: "Excellent World"
    "Heres the thing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is neither good or bad, It doesn't really have characters that you dislike but also doesn't provide you much of a reason to like the ones that are there. If this book was a color it would be "grey" but then couldn't make up its mind and would call itself "gray".

    It feels harsh to write that but I can't make up my mind on it.The world building is just weird and not well thought out, it sets up rules but then violates them for convenance. Heres are a couple examples. Nate is a sorcerer and controls 2 elements, Air and Fire. You cant control more than 2. But there are multiple times that Nate uses Air magic to wrap around someone and crush their chest, just like a.... wait for it... "Russian water tentacle"...:) sorry, every time he used it that came to mind. Or uses air magic to suffocate someone to put them to sleep. Which sounds to me like "water". He uses fire against other magic users and burn them but when he uses it on a table hes tied to he apparently has flameproof skin. Im a Harry Dresden fan, theres a scene in one of his books where Harry uses fire in a similar way and burns his hand into uselessness which plagues him for the next couple of books. In this book when Nate gets wounded or hurt he's back to scratch a few pages later. In that way he's a lot like superman and its difficult caring much about superman because most of the situations he gets into theres no consequences to his actions or failures.

    The sad thing is that Ive put more thought into writing this review than Ive needed to put into reading the book. I think it has some interesting areas it can go into and maybe its holding a lot back to pour into the the next books. It introduces werewolf's and vampires and they seem interesting maybe it will gain some traction there.

    In short, its a book you don't have to think to much about while listening and there room for books like this. If you wanted something similar but better written then Id suggest checking out the "Dresden Files", "Iron Druid series", or maybe even the "Greywalker series". As for me Im considering the second book but am looking at my wish list for other things.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Impulse

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Steven Gould
    • Narrated By Emily Rankin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (450)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (416)

    Cent has a secret. She lives in isolation, with her parents, hiding from the people who took her father captive and tortured him to gain control over his ability to teleport, and from the government agencies who want to use his talent. Cent has seen the world, but only from the safety of her parents' arms. She's teleported more than anyone on Earth, except for her mother and father, but she's never been able to do it herself. Her life has never been in danger. Until the day when she went snowboarding without permission and triggered an avalanche. When the snow and ice thundered down on her, she suddenly found herself in her own bedroom.

    Brian says: "Refreshing!"
    "Refreshing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a good continuation of the jumper series. It introduces new uses of their power and focuses on the teenage daughter of Mili and David. This was my concern about the story. I was afraid it was going to follow the Twilight like highschool teenage angst. The girl who doesn't fit in and cant find love and is generally depressed the whole time till she find a guy to fix her. But it did a refreshing job of breaking a bunch of those stereotypes.

    Cent is a strong female character. She finds her own solutions to dangerous situations she finds herself in . A guy doesn't come in to rescue her. She's good at math and science. The whole story is peppered in small daily uses of math and science experiments. I liked that it highlighted math in a positive way. Yes Id agree that Cent is too good at math for her age but were listening to a book about people who can teleport so maybe some suspension of disbelief is required :). There some romance in the book but its not much and fits with the storyline.

    Also its nice that the super-powered beings are doing what Id hope people with their gifts would actually be doing in real life. Their not always fighting crime, their concerned with environmental causes and try helping out people in various communities using their gifts to bypass military blockades and getting food to impoverished areas. There are also consequences to using their powers to help people. Things get out of their control that they cant fix and people get hurt because of their actions. So they have to think about how they use their gifts before they act.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Purgatory

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1142)
    Performance
    (1074)
    Story
    (1075)

    When he’s awake, George Bailey is just an ordinary man. Five days a week he coaxes his old Hyundai to life, curses the Los Angeles traffic, and clocks in at his job as a handyman at the local college. But when he sleeps, George dreams of something more. George dreams of flying. He dreams of fighting monsters. He dreams of a man made of pure lightning, an armored robot, a giant in an army uniform, a beautiful woman who moves like a ninja.

    Hassan says: "Didn't Expect This!!"
    "I was surprised to really enjoy this!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    TV, Comic Books and other media that take their characters and start messing with their minds generally annoy me. Every scifi show (at least that I've watched or read) has at least one storyline where the main character you've come to know has their memory wiped by some mechanism. They then they go about acting in ways that is against what you know about their motivations and behavior. Or worse, the whole thing plays out in dream sequence where everything you have come to learn about the world is wiped away to be replaced with your hero in a mental institution for the duration of the story.

    This is what I worried about when I read the description of the book. But I need not have worried. The characters while not remembering who they were don't act differently. They don't all of a sudden hate each other and start fighting until some bizarre event sets things right. The pacing is perfect. As the story progresses slowly and you get to spend time trying to puzzle out the problem. The characters have time to find out for themselves whats going on and have to work together as a team to solve the problem. The teamwork is what I think I loved about the book. By the end of the book I was left feeling very satisfied.

    If you like the previous books you'll like this one as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Odd Interlude: A Special Odd Thomas Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By David Aaron Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1260)
    Performance
    (1143)
    Story
    (1142)

    Nestled on a lonely stretch along the Pacific coast, quaint roadside outpost Harmony Corner offers everything a weary traveler needs - a cozy diner, a handy service station, a cluster of motel rooms...and the Harmony family homestead presiding over it all. But when Odd Thomas and company stop to spend the night, they discover that there’s more to this secluded haven than meets the eye - and that between life and death, there is something more frightening than either.

    Suzn F says: "Oddy Returns"
    "Remember the Crystal Skull?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like this series. The narrator sounds naive and hopeful like I think Odd probably would be. He has the perfect voice for Odd. But I liked this story as much as I disliked it. Heres my thing. I love books that explore the wonder of our world. The good and the bad its magical properties and gives a different perspective with which to view our world. And up to now the wonder has been things that are wonderful about "us" . Odd is human who has special powers. He's one of us. If is power is ever explained please let it be something marvelous about humanity that caused it. In this book we find this huge sphere and secret government facility that started out kinda cool. Was it something created by the earth? or maybe old druids or priests using long forgotten powers they got by eating overripe pineapples or something? no! Turns out (probably isn't a need for a spoiler alert you already guessed it) its from ALIENS. Oh and guess what? Their EVIL too? Or at least the evil scientist that was doing evil experiments with the alien DNA did evil things with the alien power.

    Its the same sort of thing I found annoying about the last Indiana Jones move "The Crystal Skull". Lets imply that all the wonder and magic we feel is caused other worldly entities. I mean the Earth is boring right!? Were not good enough to possible generate that sort of whimsey or beauty without having some external force that give our lives meaning and clarity.

    And I like sci-fi man bring it on. But leave it in a scifi book or one of his other many supernatural books. While I don't hate the book I was just disappointed that Aliens had to be introduced. It just feels lazy. Why is energy causing my skin to tingle and fall ouff? Oh that? Dont worry about it its an Alien thing no need for explanation or further thought.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Angel City: The Angelus Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Jon Steele
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Jon Steele's electrifying new novel brings together his unforgettable characters from The Watchers in an action-packed romp that easily stands alone, even as it reveals more of the earthly - and cosmic - mysteries of the Angelus trilogy.

    Maryellen says: "Loved the book!!!"
    "Great book good character development"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Both books in this series are long. Theres not a lot of action so theres plenty of time for character development. By the time the book is over you really feel like you know the characters. I don't normally have a problem with language in movies or books but found the heroines language to be a bit much and was used too often, Its such a part of her vocabulary that it feels like every other sentence shes swearing at someone. She talks to people in such a way to really make her hard to like. Im sure this was intended but I found that it got tedious after a while.

    I like that the cat from the first book got some time as well. He has some personality but its not too much, just enough to flavor the story.

    Oh and lastly!! a major annoyance!.. When I was a kid I used to watch a lot of TV. Well occasionally Id be really worried that I was going to die before the next episode because the episode that just finished ended with a big message "To Be Continued..." This book actually endes this way. So I might suggest waiting till the third book comes out so you don't have to worry about surviving for a year till the next book comes out :). The first book had an ending but was written to allow a continuation of the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Confessions of a D-List Supervillain

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jim Bernheimer
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer, Talmadge Ragan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (679)
    Performance
    (639)
    Story
    (644)

    Exploding from the pages of Horror, Humor, and Heroes, Volume One - it’s the full length adventures of the one and only Mechani-Cal! So grab your battlesuit and prepare to get a little nasty.

    Raquel S. says: "Memoirs of a Supervillain turn Superhero"
    "A supervillan I can root for !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is just fun to listen to. I like hearing a villains take on the super community. In many ways Cal seems more like the rest of us, someone whos flawed, has made mistakes and is trying to do better. The heroes are aloof and too good for the rest of us and Cal is just some guy they need for heavy lifting but doesn't quite fit in, anyone who has been to high school will see similarities here.

    The only criticism of the book I have is at the end when the narrator changes. You didn't hear her voice at all then for the last 10 min of the book you hear her voice instead of Jeffrey Kafer. Im not sure if its that she wasn't the right voice for the character or that it was jarring after hearing all the book read by Jeffrey to have a different narrator. Having 2 narrators works for books like Peter Clines "Ex-Heroes" but It works I think because the narrators are constantly switching off throughout the book. Here they didn't do that and I think hurts the over all quality of the listen.

    I'd like to read more books about Cals adventures. If you like this book I think you should probably also check out Peter Clines's books which are equally entertaining.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Horns: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Fred Berman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1290)
    Performance
    (872)
    Story
    (877)

    Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache, and a pair of horns growing from his temples. At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances.

    bet says: "people are funny"
    "Please, stick a icepick in my ear!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this book because I heard a movie was being made of it with Daniel Radcliff. After listening to the book I have lost all interest in watching the movie and wish there was some sort of return policy. (sigh) To be fair, it was well written, I cannot fault the author, the book just wasn't my cup of tea. I enjoy light fun books to read. I like books that I'm pretty sure there will be characters (at least one) I like and leaves me in a good mood. This book gave me none of that. Ignatious is pretty much a jerk throughout the book and about 1/2 the way through it I was just hoping it would hurry up and be over. I kept expecting it to get better but it didn't.

    The narrator did a great job and if your into literature and symbolism then you will probably enjoy this book but if your a listener like me and want a fun read then pass this one up.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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