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Christopher

Maddie and I, are a dad-daughter combo who love audible books. She has recently started to write reviews also. I hope you can differentiate.

Kenmore, WA, United States | Member Since 2008

120
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 451 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 40 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
43

  • How to Train Your Dragon

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Cressida Cowell
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (255)

    Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III may be the son of the brave leader of the mighty Viking tribe the Hairy Hooligans, but he certainly doesn’t feel very heroic. When Hiccup and the other boys his age are challenged to pick baby dragons from the dragon nursery, Hiccup actually manages to catch a small one. But now how will he train his stubborn new pet?

    Susan says: "Not the same as the movie"
    "A delightful suprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this book for my 5 Year old daughter and I to listen to while in the car (I can only take so much Lady Gaga). This is a delightful story that had my daughter (and myself) engrossed. Be forewarned, it bear very little..if any..resemblance to the movie. My daughter tells me that we did see the movie, and that it was indeed very different. If it is the movie I think I remember, well then about the only thing in common with the book is the name of the lead character and the group of Vikings (if that). The book is actually much better in my mind, and a better story for children as it teaches that sometimes what people call "ordinary" can in fact be "extraordinary" and that appearances can be deceiving. In other words, the story is about an "ordinary" boy who becomes a hero, despite what his peers say to him. A great story. Highly recommend it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 56 mins)
    • By Jeff Kinney
    • Narrated By Ramon De Ocampo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (206)
    Story
    (206)

    Sixth grader Greg Heffley doesn't understand his annoying younger brother, obnoxious older one, or well-meaning parents. But he knows enough to record his daily thoughts in a manly journal - not some girly diary. In a unique novel brimming with laugh-out-loud moments, Greg chronicles his first turbulent year of middle school.

    Catherine says: "You need the cartoons!"
    "Mixed feelings about this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let me first say that my daughter and I both had mixed feelings regarding this book. Here is the short description...the main character is an athletically challenged middle schooler who is trying to get through middle school and avoid being teased and/or bullied. Much of the story is recognizable to any person who went to school in America. As such, there are many funny points in the story, although some of the humor is along the lines of bathroom humor, it is mostly harmless. There were two things that we did not like about the novel. First , the main character is not really all that nice. He often throws his friends under the bus to save his own butt. Second, we did not like how this book also seemed to almost condone the bullying or at least tried to present bullying as an inevitable fact of life that all kids must go through as a sort of Rite of Passage to adulthood. The bullies themselves seem to be presented as good kids, who are just a bit rambunctious. I personally reject this interpretation of bullies, while I don't necessarily think they should be thrown in jail, I certainly don't think it is all harmless and the bullied should just learn how to deal with it. The book presents the bullies as the cool kids and the bullied as the dweebs and dorks. I don't like the premise that the bullies are the "cool kids", and neither did my daughter. I certainly don't like the idea of sending the message to my daughter that sets an equivalency of cool kids to bullies. I don't think I will be getting her the rest of these books for this reason.

    Perhaps I am a bit over critical regarding this and I should not take this book so seriously, kids are able to differentiate stores from real life. My daughter did think the book was funny at times, and she did finish it. I could not finish it, I did not like bullies when I was a kid, and I like them even less as I contemplate them bullying my children or worse, finding out that I raised one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Heir: The Gryphon Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By E.G. Foley
    • Narrated By Jamie du Pont MacKenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (92)

    Jake is a scrappy orphaned pickpocket living by his wits on the streets of Victorian London. Lately he's started seeing ghosts, and discovers he can move solid objects with his mind! He has no idea why. Next thing he knows, a Sinister Gentleman and his minions come hunting him. On the run for his life, Jake is plunged headlong into a mysterious world full of magic and deadly peril. A world that holds the secret to who he really is: the long-lost heir of an aristocratic family - with magical powers!

    Christopher says: "Enjoyable, even if a bit derivative"
    "Enjoyable, even if a bit derivative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first of a series of children novels set in a steampunk Victorian era. Think Harry Potter during Queen Victoria's reign with some steam mechanicals. First let me say that I and my daughter did really enjoy this novel, in fact my 8 y'old daughter finished it in 2 days. The characters are diverse and interesting. The relationships between the characters are what really makes this novel. Additionally, the narration was in my opinion, spot on for this novel. Although, the narrator is not exactly a "master of voices"..his "young girl voice" definitely sounds like a grown man pretending to sound like a young girl, to the point that I wondered at first if he was mocking the character. But his voices are consistent, and overall his cadence and speed was excellent.
    Now for the story itself, as the title and cover infers, this is a story of a young boy, Jake, who is the long lost heir to an earldom. The current earl tries to kill him to prevent being deposed and all sorts of ugliness ensues and is revealed. During the course of this plot line we meet all sorts of magical creatures and characters. This is where things get a bit derivative, you will recognize many of these characters from various other stories and movies. For example, the sea hag in this story is almost identical to the sea hag in The Little Mermaid. Jake's origin story is very similar to Septimus Heap, additionally the ghost interactions also reminded me of the Septimus Heap series. There are other examples, but I think you get what I am saying. Despite this, all the characters work. I liked them all, and I even really liked the evil antagonist.
    The story never gets too dark for young kids, and avoids being to simplistic for adults. I highly recommend this novel as a fun family friendly listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dragon Champion: Age of Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By E. E. Knight
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    Overall
    (514)
    Performance
    (324)
    Story
    (325)

    High in the mountains, deep in the safety of a cave, a brood of dragons is born. The four young ones are among the last of a dying breed---the final hope for dragons' survival. But hope shatters when a murderous group of slave-trading dwarves breaks into the cave, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Only young Auron, a rare scaleless gray dragon, manages to escape.

    Andy says: "Dragon lover of old. . . .reborn"
    "I like the book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't think that all the killing was needed.but I still like the book .and I can't wait to get the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lives of Christopher Chant

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Diana Wynne Jones
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (92)

    Christopher Chant has no real power. He can't perform spells or do anything magical. However, he does possess something that most humans do not. Christopher has nine lives. Gerard Doyle's spellbinding narration is sure to capture every listener's attention.

    G. Rokosz says: "Fascinating!"
    "One of the best books ever sincerely Maddie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think that the book is a good idea but it was a little confusing at first and a bit after that too but I still think that this book is a good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Magic Breaks: Kate Daniels, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    Overall
    (1115)
    Performance
    (1030)
    Story
    (1033)

    No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: If there' s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it. As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers.

    Angela says: "I LOVED IT!!!"
    "Nice ending, but the middle got annoying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ok, I wanted to like the book. I REALLY wanted to like this book. All the previous books in the series were amongst my favorite. The character Kate Daniels was FUN to read/listen. Remember when she was fighting in the Arena in one of the previous books, where she first came to the attention of Hugh, and an older cocky competitor asks her what she meant about remembering what is was like to fight in arena? Because she was too young to fight in the last gladiator arenas, and she tells him how her father made her fight in some other arena years ago...then the guy realizes that the 13 year old girl he saw fight years ago is the same person standing right before him...and he darn near poops his pants right there and runs off to figure out how the heck he and his team were going to survive this?...That was the *fun* Kate Daniels...this Kate Daniels spend FAAAAARRR to much time wondering where Kern is..."Ohh, where is Kern?...I LOVE Kern.....Kern will save me....Oh My gosh, I sooo want to have Kern's babies." It was annoying!! I kept hoping that Kick-butt Kate would return, and she does at the very end of the book. But for the first 75-85% we get whiny Kate. I get what Illona is trying to do, she is trying to convey the emotional growth that is transforming Kate from a loner killer into a family women. But I am afraid I don't buy it. While all character need to grow and evolve in a a series this long, I just felt that Kate's growth would have been more "I want to be married, so I am going to kill everyone who tries to prevent it", and then actually killing them. I this novel, Kern and the other weres are the big bad and Kate seems to be always waiting for Kern to show up and take care of the problem. Yes, she leads them, but it is the weres doing the vast majority of the work while she pines for Kern.

    I have to point out, that the real problem may have been in the narrator's interpretation. It seemed to me that when a line could be read two ways, for example "where is Kern". The narrator opted for a more simpering quiet "Where is Kern" instead of a shouting angry "WHERE IS KERN!!!" . I may have to try reading the novel to see if Angry Kate was there all along.

    All this....and I have to admit I still liked the book overall. I like this series. The writing is still mostly superb, and the characters are very well conceived and fully fleshed. I like these characters and I wanted to see how this story arc finished, and I liked how it ended. There will supposedly be three more novels in the World of Kate Daniels, and the ending sets up what may be a very fun and exciting story arc. While this is the weakest novel in the series (in my opinion) overall this is still a good book/listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Annihilation: Love Conquers All

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Saxon Andrew
    • Narrated By Liam Owen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (226)
    Story
    (227)

    Tag, an exceptional young human living in Central City on the planet Earth, tries to keep his powerful, one-of-a-kind skills undetected by leading an ordinary life and staying under the radar. But one day, on the way home from school, Tag's compassion leads him to make a decision that alters the course of his life - and history.

    Michael says: "Great Scifi Action Audiobook!"
    "This was good!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this book on a whim because it hit one of the sales on Audible. I normally don't go for sci-fi military novels, but occasionally I pick one up, so I did not have much expectation, I just thought it sounded interesting...but not interesting enough to pay full price. I was wrong about that. I admit, I had a very hard time turning this book off. I listened to the entire book within 36 hours. I even stayed up to 3am last night to finish it. The story is engrossing, although it is hard to tell you why exactly. Mr. Saxon's language is not particularly complex or impressive, but it remains compelling. Perhaps it is the very simpleness of how he tells this story that conveys the beauty of the protagonist's life.
    The production, and it was a production, of the reading was top notch. The main author was complemented seamlessly with the various voices that portrayed the some of the characters. I don't think that there was a new voice for every character, just the main characters and I am pretty sure a few other voice actors were involved with creating them. But, unlike some other productions, this production did NOT forget to keep including the " said" (voiced by main reader) during the reading. To make it clear a sentence like "Bring up the star drive, said Captain Orvlosky" would have two voices, one voice would "be" Cpt Orvlosky and the second would be the main reader say "said Capatin orvlosky". In other productions that attempted this, the exchange would be clumsy with awkward breaks between the two voices. Not in this production. I really felt that the production was top notch.
    The story itself is not nearly as maudlin as the title may lead someone to expect. This is not a "romance novel", there are no "heaving bosoms" or "swelling manhood". It is though, in part a love story, a love story between two very young characters (17 - 20). And I liked how the author kept the love story at a realistic level for two people of that age during the 3 years the book takes place. It is also a sci-fi military thriller with a philosophical bent. I will admit the aptitude with which each side was able to discern their opponents motives and actions was, at times, a bit over the top. But to be honest, I did not even mind it then.

    Some reviews on Amazon criticize the language of this book (one in particular) and the supposed lack of skill of the author. Well, I hold a BA in English Lit. I see what they are talking about, but I think they are wrong in hating this book. I would have to label those reviewers as that type of reader who are a bit on the pretentious side. Where every book they read must drip with social comment and Shakespearean overtones. They can not appreciate a novel that simply tells a simple story. This novel tells a simple story, with simple language. And I think that is why the novel is so engrossing...perhaps the difference is in reading vs. listening. But I thought this was a great listen.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Bobby Dollar, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Tad Williams
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (512)
    Performance
    (463)
    Story
    (471)

    Bobby Dollar is an angel - a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own - pride, anger, even lust. But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions.

    Michael says: "Angel Noir"
    "Angels as gritty investigators...I like it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I came into this book with little expectations, I have read some of Tad Williams other novels and had mixed reactions to them. Some I liked a great deal, others...not so much. But I was looking for something a little different from my usual fare, and the title of this novel intrigued me. The base world of this novel is contemporary Earth, near San Francisco but in this world angels and devils/demons walk among us every day. You see, they all have day jobs in the employ of Heaven and Hell as part of the eternal struggle of Heaven and Hell for the souls of the living. At our deaths we are put on trial, a literal trial..complete with Judge (an angel) an advocate (basically an angelic public defender assigned by the court) and a demonic prosecutor assigned by hell. The prosecutor and the advocate present arguments why the soul should be damned or a saved. I will admit, at first I was not liking this novel, I am not much for overtly religious rhetoric and feared that this novel would devolve into a treatise on the pros and cons of Judeao-Christian-Islamic religious dogma. Luckily it did not, Mr. Williams keeps clear of endorsing or refuting any particular religious dogma and presents his world largely outside the constraints of established contemporary religious thought. He sticks to the story and the characters instead. The lead character of this novel can be described as a slightly dis-enchanted advocate of Heaven. A kind of gritty angelic Colombo character, and he is very entertaining. I enjoyed the character self-deprecation and infinite compassion. All the characters in the novel were well conceived, and explored. Completely believable albeit in a "film noir" way. The novel was light, funny, and at times poignant. I highly recommend this novel for those of you who like a "gum-shoe" type tale with a supernatural twist, and especially for those of you who have never read a "gritty PI"-style novel but are a bit curious about one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Born of Hatred: The Hellequin Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Steve McHugh
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (432)

    When Nathan Garrett’s friend seeks his help investigating a bloody serial killer, the pattern of horrific crimes leads to a creature of pure malevolence, born of hatred and dark magic. As powerful as he is, Nate fears he may be overmatched, but when evil targets those he cares about and he is confronted by dire threats both old and new, Nate must reveal a secret from his recently remembered past to remind his enemies why they should fear him once more.

    Cliff says: "Another good book in the series."
    "There will be Hellequin to pay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In this book Mr. McHugh really starts to delve into what makes Nathan tick, and by the end you realize that you REALLY want Nathan on your side. I am really enjoying this character, who is becoming for me the quintessential anti-hero. He is dark, angry, nuanced, and very self-righteous, even downright scary...a true "bad@$$" The character just keep getting deeper and deeper throughout this book and I could not wait to discover what next secret Mr. McHugh was going to divulge. Now that Nathan has his memories back, we also get to start meeting some of the people from his past, and they don't disappoint either. The characters in this book are amongst some of the most interesting characters I have ever met, even the bad guy in this novel had me intensely curious about his past. While the plot if this book is tense, gripping, and well-paced what really drives this book are Mr. McHugh's characters. He provides detailed back story for almost every character we meet in this novel, including one of the most complete back stories for the evil protagonist I have ever come across. I was particularly impressed how he presented the "bad guy's” backstory in small little tidbits delivered throughout the novel as part of the action of the "present day" action. Most authors provide the back story of the protagonist as a one off flash back presented in a couple of pages. The result is usually an, at least somewhat, one dimensional origin story. Not here, the protagonist was almost as intriguing to discover as Nathan's past.

    As for the plot itself, as I said, it is intense and gripping. We have two plots in play, the major plot of a really evil person doing really evil things whom needs to be stopped. But we also get a secondary plot of evil behind the scenes machinations of which the main plot is only a part. We meet a very evil protagonist and are given hints at a larger, more menacing master controlling things behind the scenes. Both plots mover at the exact correct speed and with a perfect balance of detail. Once again Mr. McHugh is able to accomplish telling his story without going "to far". I personally don't like to read about truly horrific things done to nice people in such detail that it gives me nightmares. I like them stated, but not overly dwelled upon so that I get the level of evil that is happening without wanting to scrub my brain out with soap afterwards, and Mr. McHugh for me reaches this exact level. I highly recommend this novel for adults who want a light easy listen.

    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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (597)
    Story
    (595)

    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.

    Veronica says: "Testosterone IV Drip"
    "Excellent World"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This take on the paranormal detective/mystery novel is one of the better worlds I have come across. In a nutshell, in this world all the old legends are true, the old gods are/were real etc... and now live in secret in the modern day world. A secret hidden island/land, called Avalon, is where the seat of power that rules these hidden entities resides. Our intrepid Hero runs afoul of an evil cabal out of Avalon, and must fight his way clear. What made this book for me was our intrepid hero. While he is definitely a "good guy", he is no overgrown boy scout. He is dark, angry, and at times vicious. He is more avenging angel then superman, if you know what I mean. The story itself while at times dark, is well written, intriguing and easy to follow and never gets so dark that you want to fast forward. Mr. McHugh is an excellent writer, who is able to keep his language simple while still remaining very descriptive as he paints his world. If you are looking for a light adult listen, I can highly recommend this book. I have already purchased the second novel and am looking forward to it.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Gunmetal Magic

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ilona Andrews
    • Narrated By Renée Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1390)
    Performance
    (1246)
    Story
    (1252)

    After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano-the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea's former lover-die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate.

    Kindle Customer says: "They're BACK! Loved It!!"
    "Hmmm not bad, but a little annoying"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, I have to get it off my chest, it has to be said that the cover art is moronic...all I can think is if she fires that gun she will be smacked in the face by the recoil, and fails to convey the "hard sharpshooting" mystic that is supposed to be Andrea. But oh well, who cares about that anyways.
    The story: The story is a little aggravating, even annoying at times. I think that Ms. Andrews is trying to explore the ramifications of shape shifters who are subject to becoming mated, a condition that is supposedly a great deal more intense than just married and apparently consists of a biological attachment as much as a romantic attachment, and how it affects a person who also possess a human mind that is capable of deciding against the mating. Basically what I am trying to say is that half of this book is about how Andrea and Raphael fight this "mating" and the emotional and intellectual angst this creates in Andrea's mind. Unfortunately is makes Andrea come across a bit like a dimwitted teenage girl. I did not like the whole "irresistibly drawn to him" subplots and "what the hell is wrong with me" angst that permeates much of this novel. But the overall story/plot line was not bad. Andrea investigates a murder, said investigation leads to major bad guy that needs to be defeated. (I don't want to give away any spoilers). When Andrea is not whining about Raphael, she is an interesting character whom I came to root for. It helps that the Narration was quite good. If, like me, you have come to really enjoy the Kate Daniels series, of which this is an offshoot (pun intended), you will probably enjoy the novel. But if this is your first foray into Ilona Andrews novels, I suggest you read the Kate Daniels series first (Magic Bites is book 1).
    I found this one a little on the average side, although I did enjoy it for the most part. Of course if you LIKE listening to the whiney ramblings of a teen-age like women pine after an ex-boyfriend whom she "just can't seem to call" to discuss the issue, and then wonders why that is not working. So she spends all her time getting angry and... well, acting like a jilted teenage girl ..then hell… you will probably love this book. I just can't bring myself to believe that rational, real women act like that so I find it annoying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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