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Chad

LA GRANDE, OR, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
21
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
16

  • Looking for Alaska

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1197)
    Performance
    (1008)
    Story
    (1020)

    Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words - and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

    Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another.

    FanB14 says: "Humorous YA for Adults"
    "You Will Feel This One"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an amazing masterpiece of a story. A book written in the overwrought world of boarding schools somehow manages to push past the tired and trite to find not only a new story, but a new, heart-wrenching look at life and love. This book leaves you guessing, from the "will he, won't she" tension of a good teenage romance to the astounding twist that managed to catch someone who has read hundreds of teen fiction books by surprise to the "how is this going to work out" ending. John Green managed to take the ordinary, turn it into something extraordinary, then bring it around to something that anyone who has ever loved can connect with. The depth of the characters is at once amazingly deep and tantalizingly not quite enough in that perfect blend that makes you sad the book is over but somehow unable to think of anything it was lacking. If you like the non-fantasy teen genre, do yourself a favor and get this book. You won't regret it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ashes: Ashes Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ilsa J. Bick
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (755)
    Performance
    (682)
    Story
    (687)

    An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom, a young soldier, and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it's now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

    Aser Tolentino says: "Another Readable Story About the End of the World"
    "A Chilling Tale from Start to End"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an amazing edge-of-your-seat thriller that leaves you guessing right up to the end, and beyond. The author starts the story pretty slowly but, before you realize it, you have already identified with the main character, and just when you get there, the world falls apart. At it's core it is a moderately creative riff on the classic zombie story, but it is the willingness of the author to delve into the parts of an end of the world tale that most stories shy away from that make is amazing. The author pulls no punches in describing the sheer horror of her universe and there are moments I found myself queasy at the clarity with which I could see the scenes. There is a solid, if sometimes slavish balance between teenage sentimentality and cold-hard fact and my only true critique is that, while most of the characters are well-nuanced, several of them are dangerously cliche (the unrealistically pouty pre-teen, the haunted and scarred veteran, etc)

    The narration was spot on and captured the characters well, though I found myself annoyed by the whiny voice of one of the characters. This fit the story and the writing well, but almost pushed me over the edge.

    In all, this is a great listen and well worth a credit. Doubly so because, while it says it is a trilogy, I didn't notice that when buying it and would have sworn that the author deliberately finished the story. Even if you don't love it, you will leave with some closure.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    Overall
    (16508)
    Performance
    (14940)
    Story
    (15055)

    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."
    "A Great Foundation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Divergent is a fabulous book that paints a picture of a sweepingly altered future, with an easily relateable touch-point in the main character. While the post-apocalypic setting isn't clearly explained, the circumstances that got us from now to then are neatly bypassed, and all but the most basic functions of the society are left alone, this book is, at it's core a very accessible story about a young girl who leaves her family to follow her own strength and passion. Along the way, we watch the character grow to become more than she, or we, ever thought she could be. The story is clearly intended to be the foundation for a series, and leaved a lot to the future. There are tantalizing hints for the careful listener about possible future plot lines, but they don't detract from the core of the story, which is gripping and compelling. The narration is wonderful and captures the emotion and internal conflict of the book beautifully.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By John Green, David Levithan
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews, Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1069)
    Performance
    (853)
    Story
    (863)

    One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

    FanB14 says: "Another John Green Hit"
    "An Amazing Story Told Right"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a deep, insightful, painful, tragically real book that gives readers a rare glimpse into the world of not one but two very different, but somehow deeply connected, inter-related lives. The emotions, the feelings, the awkwardness, it all rings absolutely true and is amazingly transmitted through the narrators. The book takes what could have been a confusing mess and, by using two authors, turns it into a masterpiece performance that makes the story much more than the sum of it's pages. I love audiobooks but, usually, I know that I am sacrificing something of the story. Not in this case. The narrators make sure you know the point of view you are in, portray multiple voices well, and even read what could be a tedious writing device, IM screen names, with an accelerating pace that makes you feel what the characters must be feeling. I finished this book feeling like I had connected to not only the characters, but the vision of the writers in a very big way. This is the way audiobooks should be done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass
    • Narrated By Johny Heller
    Overall
    (306)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (139)

    About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know---and that means the good stuff.

    A. Hochberg says: "This was just great!"
    "Disjointed, but Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suppose I only have myself to blame for my unhappiness in this case. The book is exactly as advertised "an irreverent romp." This is obviously a case where the print version of this book is probably amazing, but it doesn't translate well in the listening. Minutes long lists of dates and events at the end of each chapter are probably very interesting when you look at a timeline. Listening to it...less so. Also, the topic "romps" quite frequently, meaning that there is almost a vignette quality to the book, jumping from era to era and topic to topic pretty quickly. I gave it a good try a couple of times and made it more than half-way, but I just can't stay into this book...I may have to read it in paper form though, because it sounds very interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Wouldn't Start From Here: The 21st Century and Where it All Went Wrong

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Andrew Mueller
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    I Wouldn't Start From Here is Andrew Mueller's personal memoir of the 21st century so far. It features any number of exotic locations, and a cast of revolutionaries, rock stars, politicians, hitmen, warmongers and peacemakers. Between ducking for cover in Gaza, running roadblocks in Iraq, getting arrested in Cameroon and hanging out with Hezbollah, this is a search for an answer to perhaps the key question of our time: "What is it with these people?"

    John says: "Excellent"
    "Interesting, if Self-Aggrandizing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a decent memoir-style journey through the war-torn places on the 20th century. The author talks of his personal journey to many places we only hear about in the news. It is both helped and hindered by the author's personal experiences however. At times, it creates an amazing sense of realism, as the author tells of the gritty details of live in a war-torn region. At other times, it feels more like a self-proclaimed victory lap as the author almost seems to be looking for a sense of awe or amazement from the readers for his career choice. While it is a great way to hear about the world, it is clearly through the lens of an author who is proud of himself for seeing it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anathem

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1817)
    Performance
    (822)
    Story
    (830)

    In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

    Richard says: "Tour de force"
    "A Sweeping Epic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a dense, rich, massive epic of a novel. Exactly what you expect and love from Neil Stephenson. Unfortunately, it lacks the trademark tongue-in-cheek humor that Stephenson does so well. Once you can move past that and accept this book on its own, you will be pulled into the familiar but at the same time wondrous world of 'Arbre' that Stephenson has built. In the style of Herbert's Dune and SnowCrash/Diamond Age before, Stephenson is willing to put in the pages to completely flesh out the world he has created. Be warned, at times, the pace of the book mirrors the pace of life in the monastery in which much of the book is set; slow, deliberate, and with patience bordering on the eternal.

    I strongly recommend this book if you are looking to get lost in a new world, but be warned, it is a definite investment of time, and it takes some patience to get into.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1927)
    Performance
    (1115)
    Story
    (1117)

    Neil deGrasse Tyson has a talent for guiding readers through the mysteries of outer space with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. This collection of his essays from Natural History magazine explores a myriad of cosmic topics. Tyson introduces us to the physics of black holes by explaining what would happen to our bodies if we fell into one; he also examines the needless friction between science and religion, and notes Earth's status as "an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos".

    Lind says: "Well written and well read"
    "Funny, interesting, a great read!"
    Overall

    I love Neil deGrasse Tyson to begin with, so this was a natural use of a credit. It is amazingly well-written, with just the right mix of hard-core science and easy to understand analogy. The topics are amazingly interesting and he explains them in a way that makes it fun and funny!

    The only quibbles I have, which hold it back from the 5th star are 1) the material is a bit dated in some obvious places. While I don't expect a cutting-edge science read to be a classic, the constant mentions of Pluto as a planet get in the way a bit; and 2) it was compiled from a series of articles written over a span of years so, while Tyson does his best to tie the book together with comments like "as we learned in Section 2" for the most part, it feels like a series of discrete articles rather than a cohesive book.

    All in all, well worth the credit, a great value for the money and a great listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Wallace, Henry Robert Schelsinger
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (549)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (223)

    Now, in the first book ever written about this ultrasecretive department, the former director of OTS teams up with an internationally renowned intelligence historian to give listeners an unprecedented look at the devices and operations deemed "inappropriate for public disclosure" by the CIA just two years ago.

    Richard says: "Unique, informative history of the CIA"
    "An interesing, if wandering history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is a definite must read for lovers of spy-tech and spy history. It is very detailed in its stories of individual instances used to illustrate techniques and technologies. Unfortunately, it meanders just a bit in its tellings. In using individual people as vehicles for technology, it seems to cover large spans of time (years or decades) talking about a specific peice of spycraft, then jumps back in time to tell yet another story of another person, in the same time periods, to talk about another peice of technology. Finally, the use of the title word (Spycraft) for every peice of technology, technique, and procedure, while potentially acurate, gets some what distracting as you listen along and hear everything described as a "new piece of spycraft" or an "innovative development in spycraft."

    All in all, the reading is magnificent, the stories are fun and the technology is innovative. A great genre piece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Interface

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (526)
    Performance
    (373)
    Story
    (376)

    In this now-classic thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a shocking tale with an all-too plausible premise. There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage - an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers.

    reena says: "Interface"
    "A Great Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am ever a Neil Stephenson fan and this book didn't fail me. It is fast-paced, high-energy and mind-bending in its scope and complexity. There is the quentisential Stephenson mix of humor, science, and excitement tied together by an amazing focus on characters. The only things holding this book back from a fifth star are the minor quibbles about the voices (the attempts at mid-west/southern, old man voices just don't quite hit home) and less scientific explanation than Stephenson usually adds to his stories (you can decide if that is good or bad in your own preferences. I felt left wanting more depth in the explanations, but overall it is most certainly worth the listen!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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