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J

Greenville, SC, United States | Member Since 2008

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 254 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (173)
    Story
    (175)

    When Union Colonel Andrew Keane led his blue-coated soldiers aboard the transport ship, he could not have foreseen that their next port of call would be neither in the North nor the South, but on an alternate world where no human was free. Storm-swept through a space-time warp, Keane's regiment was shipwrecked in an alien land, a land where all that stood between them and destruction was the power of rifles over swords, spears, and crossbows.

    pakkmom says: "Kept my interest"
    "Good story, some reservations"
    Overall

    This is a new series to me (though I've read Forstchen's "One Second After" and recommend it to anyone and everyone) -- and it was an entertaining listen.


    As several other reviewers mentioned, the author's choice of adverbs is a bit limited and repetitious. If it had been written in software that has a word search, one could eliminate abut 75% of the uses of "evenly" and not lose a thing.


    There are some other "oops" moments, as well, as Forstchen seems to forget occasionally that the protagonist has but one arm, and would have a bit of trouble leading a charge on horseback while brandishing a sabre or firing a weapon. There are several instances in which characters of different cultures and different languages have no trouble conversing without an interpreter... But the striking omission to me is the lack of attention to the feelings of the regiment over losing the link to ALL their loved ones in the "tunnel of light" event. The author devotes just a couple of paragraphs to this, which would have an overwhelming effect on everyone in the regiment.


    Despite all that, Forstchen really knows how to write battle scenes, and keep them exciting and engaging. Lawlor's narration is fine once you get used to him, and I liked the listening experience well enough to order the next one in the series.

    1 of 1 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
    (7612)
    Performance
    (7243)
    Story
    (7254)

    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"
    "One of the best."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Martian rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very near the top. Suspenseful, exciting, believable story, wonderfully narrated. Caught myself in parking lots several times waiting for a break so I could exit my vehicle.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact that the author obviously did a LOT of research about the plausibility of this work of fiction, and left the educated reader with a feeling that this could have happened as described.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending was powerful and emotional. There were other moments that brought an unbidden fist pump from me.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't write a lot of reviews. This deserved one. The top of my list (after a couple hundred audiobooks) includes The Help, Water for Elephants, the Axis of Time series and this one. I will definitely give it another listen soon. If you're reading this review, just stop and spend the credit. You won't regret it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bees: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Laline Paull
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (145)

    Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen.

    Katrina says: "A very unique story"
    "Meh."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If it had more drama or been less predictable. I listened to it twice but not intentionally... My mind kept wandering to other, more interesting things (like watching a fly crawl up a wall) and I would have to rewind a bit and listen again


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator chose the same voice for different bees, and sometimes it was hard to discern who was speaking. One time she used a unique voice for the main character (Fl;ora 717) and didn't go back and edit a change. Unthinkable.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not so much. It wasn't horrible, it just tried too hard to force normal bee activity into human attributes and feelings, and it didn't work. It seemed to be well researched... as the offspring of a beekeeper, I recognized many of the activities described, but it just proved that though they may sound interesting, to live them as a bee is pretty boring.


    Any additional comments?

    To compare this to Watership Down is an insult to Richard Adams and the legion of fans who treasure that work. This wasn't even a shadow of that.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Agincourt

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1485)
    Performance
    (604)
    Story
    (615)

    Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a curse, haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death.

    Andrew says: "Fantastic!"
    "Vulgar"
    Overall

    Visceral. Profane. Gritty. Real.
    This was a powerful historical novel by a prolific author who knows his stuff. The reading was beyond compare... Charles Keating brought life to the charcters in a masterful way and made me a fan of his narration. Not for everyone, but for anyone who isn't offended by the rough dialogue of 15th Century British warriors, this is a "can't wait to be in the car to listen to the next section" listen. One of my favorite downloads to date.
    One caveat: Very annoying musical interludes battle with the narration from time to time for no apparent reason.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Earth Abides: The 60th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George R. Stewart
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Connie Willis
    Overall
    (1433)
    Performance
    (891)
    Story
    (910)

    A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.

    V. Sharol says: "Thought provoking and entertaining"
    "Not timeless"
    Overall

    Maybe 60 years ago, this was a good book. In 2009, it's not a good listen.
    Great start, but the protagonist turns out to be lazy and a bit stupid. The author gets us through the first few months after the Apocalypse, then skips through years, with the only description being the "naming" of each year. What? How about schooling the young? How about trying to rebuild civilization? How about making a effort to improve the situation? In thirty years of time, they never got around to building the pump house to give them running water.
    The most difficult part is that the reader has no one to identify with or like throughout the entire book. I listened out of obligation to the purchase, but wouldn't recommend this "classic" to anyone I respect.

    9 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Lucifer's Hammer

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3212)
    Performance
    (1849)
    Story
    (1867)

    The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival--a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known....

    DJM says: "Good story from front to back"
    "Great listening"
    Overall

    I read this book twenty years ago, and it's always been one of my favorite "Apocalyptic" novels. I was so happy to see it released as an audiobook.
    While some novels of this ilk don't stand up to the "technology test of time" -- written before the proliferation of cell phones and computers -- this one does, for the most part.
    Niven and Pourelle's great characterizations make this a wonderfully compelling read, and one that is hard to put down. However, there are a LOT of characters, so it may help to go to a website that allows you to "look inside the book," and print out the beginning pages that list the "Dramatis Personae." Easier to jog your memory on a long listen like this one.

    30 of 32 people found this review helpful
  • One Second After

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5243)
    Performance
    (3240)
    Story
    (3267)

    Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.

    Andy Spooner says: "A page-turner, no doubt, but..."
    "Essential listening"
    Overall

    Just finihed my second listen of this. There will be a third.
    This work of fiction should scare anyone who reads it, as it could easily be our future. Forstchen has done us all a favor with his research and compelling writing... this is a hard book to walk away from. The narration is first rate as well; Joe Barrett nails all the voices and remembers them. Quit hesitating -- spend the credit and LISTEN to this one.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1619)
    Performance
    (610)
    Story
    (617)

    At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism's violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism.

    Elysabeth Cummings says: "Interesting @ arm's length"
    "Not what you might expect"
    Overall

    Krakauer is a good author, Scott Brick is excellent at narration and characterization.
    Krakauer states late in the book that this "isn't the book he set out to write," that it became quite different after his research. As the "reader," it wasn't quite what I expected either. Billed as an in-depth look into the murders Brenda and Elizabeth Lafferty in 1984, the book started out there, but quickly delved into a detailed description and history of the Mormon religion. After a tireless string of examples, I became tired, and it was a long time before we ever got to see how this affected the "incident" at the heart of the book. I know Mormons who considered this book an attack on their religion, and it is easy to see why, though Krakauer keeps his text accurate to history and published works. As a listener, I found the book very interesting and educational, if not a compelling listen.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Without Warning

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By John Birmingham
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (155)

    On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Baghdad, as the world waits for war, a miles-high energy wave cordons a vast area from southern Canada to northern Mexico. In a moment, 99 percent of the U.S. population has been wiped from the face of the earth.

    J says: "Solid, entertaining listen"
    "Solid, entertaining listen"
    Overall

    Really a compelling listen. Tense, exciting writing, hard to put down. Author's choice of characters was unique and a bit unexpected, but managed to tie things together at the end. Epilogue was somewhat of a letdown... the huge mystery was left unrevealed, but I understand there are sequels in the works.
    Narration was a bit gruff, but it worked for most of the characters.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (52 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2082)
    Performance
    (409)
    Story
    (416)

    This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world - and did. Is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he fight his hardest battle not against his enemies, but against the woman he loves? Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's magnum opus and launched an ideology and a movement. With the publication of this work in 1957, Rand gained an instant following and became a phenomenon. Atlas Shrugged emerged as a premier moral apologia for capitalism, a defense that had an electrifying effect on millions of readers (and now listeners) who had never heard capitalism defended in other than technical terms.

    Robert says: "Over before you know it"
    "Painfully overdone"
    Overall

    Rand's "magnum opus" audible book is a great concept, a good story, a wonderful narrator... and stretched from a tidy 6 hours of material into a 52-hour marathon. I had heard this was a landmark book and downloaded the unabridged version because I didn't want to miss out on what the author had to say. In retrospect, the abridged version would have been much smarter.

    I did enjoy the storyline, albeit contrived and quite unrealistic at times (it IS fiction, after all,) but was put off by Rand's "agenda," which reflects her early years in Russia before emigrating to America.

    The manifesto that the protagonist delivers in part seven is over three hours long, and makes the point in the first 15 minutes.

    I realize I am in the minority among many glowing reviews, but this opinion needs to be here as well.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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