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crazybatcow

I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007

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  • 252 reviews
  • 358 ratings
  • 768 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • The First Bird, Episode 3

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Greig Beck
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (59)

    Matt Kearns and the remnants of the scientific team return to a ravaged America. Modern medicine has failed to halt the spread of the flesh-consuming parasite, and humans have been forced to hide, even from one another. The infected roam the cities and suburbs of a ruined nation. But the devastating effects on human physiology are only the beginning. Something has been let loose, something that the team were not prepared for - human nature itself.

    Kim Venatries says: "One Cliche Too Many; But Still a Good Listen"
    "I wouldn't start book 1 knowing how bad 3 is..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This warning is probably too late but... if you haven't yet started this series (it was released in 3 parts), DON'T!!! Save your time and money.

    Episode one was the only installment even worth the paper it was printed on - and its plot just stopped mid-scene. Book two was full of abnormally (and inconsistently) behaving characters and had a distinct Jurassic Park feel to it. This book - Episode 3 - is bad. Plain and simple.

    The biggest issue with Episode 3 is that the characters do not behave normally, at all. For example: they are told, specifically and directly, that if they do X, then people will die... so, what happens?? they go ahead and DO X. Then (yes, seriously) in the NEXT scene, after two people died from their first stupid ignoring of instructions, they DO IT AGAIN.... and guess what... more people die!!! wow... what a surprise... If you have the only potential cure for humankind, are you going to go wading through hordes of infected, 30 minutes after you just lost two of your party to the infected? No... I didn't think so...

    That, and the 'bad guy' (added to the story at the last minute) was ridiculous and gave the book the same feel as some very trashy low-brow zombie novels out there.

    Anything redeeming in this book??? hmmm... the epilogue... was probably the only part worth reading after the first half of the first episode. And no, I am not exaggerating. The underlying story might have been half decent, if only the characters didn't behave like imbeciles.

    It is not graphic or gory and there is no sex. The narration is good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Communication

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1116)
    Performance
    (1036)
    Story
    (1033)

    In the years since the wave of living death swept the globe, St George and his fellow heroes haven't just kept Los Angeles' last humans alive - they’ve created a real community, a bustling town that's spreading beyond its original walls and swelling with new refugees. But now one of the heroes, perhaps the most powerful among them, seems to be losing his mind. The implacable enemy known as Legion has found terrifying new ways of using zombies as pawns in his attacks.

    Lore says: "Corpse Girl for the win!"
    "Back to good, which is good too..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book one was good, book two was excellent, and this book is back to good. Overall the series was a great read, but individually, this might have been the weakest book of the three.

    Why? Because nothing really happened. The book was spent exploring the characters' relationships with each other, more than interacting with the outside world. Also... the bad guys seemed like they were tacked on. We start the book with Legion - ohh... very bad - but then we get the demon appearance and Legion just sorta fades to the background. The reason for Legion's end-story acquiesance doesn't ring true, especially considering how focused on rage he was in the first of the book. And I don't really believe the heroes' naivete that led to the freeing of the demon in the first place.

    The existing main characters were still there, and a couple were added, but... some of the previously added heroes (Driver) were just cameos here. There was a little bit of mystery around Corpse girl, but it didn't go anywhere in this story - I am hoping it will be further developed in the next book.

    But, even so, it was a great series and now that I see there is another book in the series, I will go get it!

    Narration is excellent, there is no gore or significant violence, and any swearing was not excessive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga - Free Version

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Karl Schroeder
    • Narrated By Joyce Irvine
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (48)

    It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon 3,000 kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

    Maureen says: "A very good... listen."
    "Took a couple tries to get into it..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually started this book twice. The first time I got hopelessly lost in the first chapter so put it down. The 2nd time, I stuck it out until the world and setting made sense. This took a little bit of effort, but if you can make it past that initial hiccup with a foreign world, and their measures of space, etc, it is actually quite an engaging story.

    I will likely read more in the series, but they will be lower down on my reading list because, well, there is not really a cliff-hanger here that requires you to pick up the next book. Maybe we are supposed to care about the characters and want to find out what happens to them, but... I don't think they are strong enough, or distinct enough, that we really care. I almost hate to admit it, but it happened more than once that I got Vanera Fanning mixed up with Hayden's love interest. - Oh, and where did that come from anyway?... until the love interest occured, I was sure Hayden was 16... I even attempted to do math to figure out his age.

    The part I did like about the book was the world/reality they inhabit and how it interacts with the "outside" world, and what this outside world actually is. And what Virga is, and why... you get my drift? It was the hard components of the science fiction and not Schroeder's attempt to write characters that made this story worth reading.

    The narration was okay... the narrator has a British accent and is older and female, so it didn't necessarily fit the main character who is young and male. There might have been a tiny bit of swearing, but no graphic anything.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Patriots

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam, Mark Boyett, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1808)
    Performance
    (1609)
    Story
    (1617)

    It’s been two years since the world ended. Two years since the dead rose and the plague of ex-humanity decimated mankind. For most of that time, the superhero called St. George, formerly known to the world as the Mighty Dragon, has protected the people of Los Angeles at their film-studio-turned-fortress, The Mount. Together with his fellow heroes, he’s tried to give the survivors hope and something like a real life. But the swollen population of The Mount is becoming harder and harder to sustain....

    Ryan David Bedford says: "Best worst book ever!"
    "More suspenseful than first book, plus a twist..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is even better than Ex-Heroes (the first book in the series). It is suspenseful, and there is a twist (or maybe even two twists) that I did not expect.

    It is a rather mature zombie book (i.e. there is more to the story than just zombies eating everyone) and, while some readers have complained about the swearing, I didn't find it excessive at all. There are a couple characters who swear, but they don't show up much.

    The heroes just feel like regular people, who have the goal of trying their best to save the remaining people from zombies. We don't really bat an eye at their powers because the powers are seamlessly woven into the story. And the heroes are distinct and we are made to care about them as individuals, not just in how they can save the day.

    I think Clines is becoming a better writer the more he writes. I look forward to the next book in the series because I can't wait to see what the heroes do next, and if they can, indeed, save what is left of the world. There is not a cliff-hanger so you don't *have* to go out and buy the next book immediately, but I did anyway.

    The narration is very good, there is some swearing but no real gore or graphic content.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Junkie Quatrain

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, Therese Plummer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (740)
    Performance
    (684)
    Story
    (694)

    Six months ago, the world ended. The Baugh Contagion swept across the planet. Its victims were left twitching, adrenalized cannibals that quickly became know as Junkies. Civilization crumbled as people created isolated safe havens to hide from the infected... and the possibly infected. Now, as society nears a tipping point, lives will intersect and intertwine across two days in a desolate city.

    Tango says: "An awesome set of vignettes"
    "Yay! Not really short stories after all..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was (sort of ) a collection of 4 inter-related short stories. I am not sure if I knew that fact when I started the book and, if I had, I might have skipped it because I don't normally like short stories. However, this book reads more like a single story, told from 4 different view points. Sure, each of the sections has different characters as the centrepiece, but they are all connected, and the world and happenings in it are all the same.

    So, essentially, it is a novel with 4 different main characters rather than a collection of short stories. And I actually quite enjoyed it. It is a zombie tale, so of course there is the usual death and gore, but it is not a hack-n-slash type, and the characters do behave in normal ways (i.e. the author doesn't make them do stupid things like walk down a dark alley by themselves in order to create an opportunity for "bad things" to happen).

    There is a logical explanation for the zombie breakout because they are not actually the living dead (which would take a greater leap of faith to accept as possible) - they are infected with a virus, which does make the possibility of their existence quite believable. (Don't misunderstand me though, this is a zombie novel, so, of course, there is a whole level of gross behaviour that will require you suspend your disbelief).

    The narration is good, there is no sex, minimal swearing and not much gore, considering it is a zombie book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stray: Shifters, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rachel Vincent
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1248)
    Performance
    (634)
    Story
    (635)

    "I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds. Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked."

    Alexis says: "Loved it!"
    "As good as any in the genre..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is not as strong as Armstrong's wolf series, but... it is a decent story, for a were book published by a romance line.

    What I didn't like about it is the misogynistic bent of 3/4 of the story. I assume this is to appeal to the "romance" readers who have been conditioned to think of women as weak, and ready and willing to be saved by the knight in shining armour. Perhaps Vincent was trying to make a point with this: such as how silly it is to treat women this way, but... there was so much time spent covering the same material on how the men in her life controlled Faythe that it became obnoxious to read.

    For example, every time a male character came into a scene, he tried (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much) to control her. It was like not a single male could think of her as a real person, and not a possession.

    The sad thing is that she WAS written as a strong character, and was fully capable and competent. She just wasn't allowed to be so. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if there was less focus on "look how controlling men are" and more focus on how Faythe solved the problems all by her little self.

    But, other than that, I quite liked the storyline, and the main character. I will read more in the series. The narration was good and it is not gory or particularly graphic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Domain of the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Iain McKinnon
    • Narrated By Karl Miller, Iain McKinnon
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (107)

    The world is dead, devoured by a plague of reanimated corpses. In a crumbling city, Sarah, Nathan, and a band of survivors barricade themselves inside a warehouse surrounded by a sea of shambling putrefaction. Days in seclusion blur by, and their food is nearly gone. The group is faced with two possible deaths: creeping starvation, or the undead outside the warehouse. As Sarah stands on the edge of the warehouse roof preparing to step out into oblivion she spots a glimmer of hope.

    Amanda says: "CERTIFIABLE ZOMBIE BOOK"
    "Bad, even for a zombie novel..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sorry... if a woman literally just watched a man get killed, turn into a zombie and nearly succeed in biting her, the very next thought in her head WILL NEVER be how hot the guy next to her is. PERIOD. NEVER. If you think it could be, you're obviously 12. Or related to this author.

    Zombie has no bite marks. Zombie has a`"love bite" (aka hickey) on her breast. You have a conversation that the zombie virus is like AIDS and spread by body fluids and is NOT airborn. So the boss concludes: it MUST have mutated and become airborn because he is too stupid to think...hmmm... body fluids... lovebite on breast. wonder if she was having sex with someone?

    How the hell else did a lovebite arrive on her breast you numbskull?!

    Was this the worst scene? Yeah, probably... but it is also representative. And, sadly, to top it off, the book just stops mid-scene...I don't know if this is part of a series and there is another book where the story is finished, but I assure you, I won't be buying it if there is.

    It is poorly written but not particularly gory or violent, for a zombie book. There is some swearing, no sex and no plot to worry about.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dark Horse: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (1909)
    Performance
    (1316)
    Story
    (1292)

    The Denver Post hails Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire mystery series as a must-read. Joining the four previous novels - all of which have been Book Sense picks - The Dark Horse puts a unique Wyoming twist on the classic British village mystery. When Longmire meets a woman jailed for her husband's death, he travels outside his usual haunts to discover the truth behind this unusual murder case.

    V. Sharol says: "Another outstanding book from Johnson"
    "And another good story involving Walt."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another complex and emotionally invested "mystery" novel. It is true that many of the supporting cast are not present in this book (because Walt leaves them behind to go "undercover"), but I don't think that hurt the story at all. There wasn't much room (or need) for the sidekicks here.

    It might have been a bit more "hands on" than previous books - where Walt has to physically interact with the "bad guys", but this whole thread had a secondary motive: to help Walt purge some of his internalized anger. Yeah, Walt is an angry man... an angry man who works for the "good" side, but still very angry. I think the events in this book might have helped purge him of some of that (and we shall see for sure in the next Walt installation).

    The mystery might actually have been a bit more detailed than usual, and I liked the flash forward way the story was told for the bulk of the book. This difference in the story telling method actually helped differentiate this book from others in the series (after all, after awhile, books with the same characters, in the same setting, solving mysteries, might become hard to distinguish from each other).

    The narrator *is* Walt Longmire. There is some swearing but it is not excessive. There is no sex or graphic violence (though there is violence). I have bought the rest of the series from Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swords of Waar: Jane Carver, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Nathan Long
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    Jane Carver, a hell-raising, redheaded biker chick from Coral Gables, Florida, had found a new life and love on Waar, a savage planet of fearsome creatures and swashbuckling warriors. Until the planet’s high priests sent her back to Earth against her will. But nobody keeps Jane from her man, even if he happens to be a purple-skinned alien nobleman. Against all odds, she returns to Waar, only to find herself accused of kidnapping the Emperor’s beautiful daughter.

    Anne Roberts says: "She's Baaaaack!"
    "Better story/plot than book one."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think this book was actually better than book one. There was much less sense of "Action A leading to Result A" and "Action B leading to Result B" formula, and more sense of plot and storyline.

    The characters are the same, and maybe Jane wasn't quite as funny this time, or as rough-and-tumble... it is almost like the author tamed Jane down a bit. The romance that 'caused' this book to take place at all actually gets developed a bit throughout the story; so, while at the beginning you might wonder at Jane's choice to go back to Waar, by the end it makes more sense.

    There is a bit more science fiction here (as oppposed to the fantasy novel feel of book one) and I think there might still be room to carry on this series (i.e. who created this world in the first place?). Anyway, I would read it.

    There is no graphic anything, but there might have been the occasional swear word. The narration is very good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Fleet: Fearless

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, Jack Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3377)
    Performance
    (2233)
    Story
    (2261)

    Outnumbered by the superior forces and firepower of the Syndicate Worlds, the Alliance fleet continues its dangerous retreat across the enemy star system. Led by the legendary Captain John "Black Jack" Geary, who returned to the fleet after a hundred-year suspended animation, the Alliance is desperately trying to return home with its captured prize: the key to the Syndic hypernet, and the key to victory.

    Jean says: "The lost fleet: fearless"
    "And the Black Jack story continues..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You really should read the first book in the series before this one, or you will miss a good chunk of the storyline/history. Essentially, this book is just a continuation of the story begun in book one - but both book one, and this one, are sufficiently wrapped up at the end so you don't feel like you've been cheated out of a proper book. Though, you will have to get the next (and then the next) in the series to find out if they reach their final destination.

    It is "medium" science fiction (as opposed to hard or soft)... there is some space/techie jargon, but you won't be overwhelmed with it, and there is some touchy-feely stuff, but you won't forget you are still reading a science fiction novel.

    Black Jack Geary is a little more humanized in this installment, and some of the other characters are a bit better fleshed, but, ultimately, this book has John Geary as the centerpiece and everything that occurs is in relation to him.

    The plot is tense and well paced. The characters are believable and their actions make sense, even when we disagree with them. There is a bit of moralizing, but it doesn't become lecture-y or annoying.

    The narration is good. There is no graphic violence, language or sex. I have purchased the rest in the series from Audible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Another Man's Moccasins: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (1590)
    Performance
    (1199)
    Story
    (1181)

    Craig Johnson's mystery stories have earned him an esteemed position in the pantheon of contemporary crime novelists. In this fourth installment, Longmire is called to investigate a dead Vietnamese girl found along the Wyoming highway.

    Patroo says: "The best writer and the best reader get together"
    "So, it was Vietnam that made the man..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another excellent instalment in the life and times of Walt Longmire. In this book, we actually get to see some of Walt's past - his time in Vietnam. And we learn more about him, and why he and Bear are so close. We also learn a lot about what motivates Walt to be the way he is in these books (justice-seeking, upright, willing to bend the rules a bit if he has to).

    I don't know how "believable" the premise of the modern day story is, but it was very well written, and we care about all the characters, even those who are only "passing through" the storyline (i.e. we likely won't see them again in Walt's world).

    There is just enough mention of Native American life to indicate how that life must be, but not so much that we feel we are being lectured, or that the author is trying to make us feel sorry for/guilty about the situation (even though this might be the state we end up in, it doesn't feel like Johnson is moralizing to get us there).

    All in all I think it is my favourite in the series so far, most likely because we learn a lot about Walt's past, and how that has made him into the man he is today. The narration is superb. There is no graphic violence or sex and the swearing is minimal. I bought the rest of the series on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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