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S. Schieber

McMinnville, OR United States | Member Since 2006

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 67 ratings
  • 480 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2014
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  • The Terror

    • ABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    Their captain's insane vision of a Northwest Passage has kept the crewmen of HMS Terror trapped in Arctic ice for two years without a thaw. But the real threat to their survival isn't the ever-shifting landscape of white, the provisions that have turned to poison, or the ship slowly buckling in the grip of the frozen ocean. The real threat is whatever is out in the frigid darkness, stalking their ship, snatching and brutally killing their fellow seamen.

    Edward A. Kokkila says: "Great Story - better if unabridged"
    "Excellently written and narrated."
    Overall

    I've been listening to audiobooks for over 5 years, and this story is in my top 5.

    This book is extremely well-written, with a narrative that moves you along like a good adventure story, but has elements of mythological tales, murder mystery, suspense drama, and historical fiction all worked in. The setting is fascinating - 1800's naval exploration of the NW Passage, and the characters are complex and interesting (though not all likable).

    It's a dark tale, and doesn't necessarily all wrap up cleanly or as the reader would want, but it's nice to listen to a story that is not predictable.

    I cannot say enough good things about the narrator. His style, cadence, characters, EVERYTHING is spot-on, and moves the story forward to where you more experience it than listen to it.

    Overall, I highly recommend this book.

    9 of 9 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
    (7867)
    Performance
    (7483)
    Story
    (7492)

    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"
    "Of the 250+ books I own, this is my favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is amazing. It is a blend of an edge-of-your-seat disaster story, fascinating science, completely engaging characters and humor (yes, humor; I laughed out loud time and time again) that is utterly compelling. There is nothing about this book that I didn't absolutely love.
    R.C. Bray is one of the most skilled narrators I have heard in any book I've listened to. He moves from accent to accent (Indian, Chinese, German) so well it sounds like a different person, but his portrayal of astronaut Mark Watney, is absolute stand-out. This character is a nerd and a smart-ass, and the narration gets every nuance of this guy across.
    You will need to have at least a passing interest in science, and astronomy, and physics to really get the most enjoyment out of this book. The story stands on its own, but the science specifics are so wondrously and meticulously detailed, that I feel by the end I've taken a course on astrophysics - which is one of the many appeals of this book.
    As my title says, I've downloaded over 250 audiobooks over the years, in pretty much every genre (history, fiction, non-fiction, mystery, crime, fantasy....), and this (so far) has been my favorite (and my only triple-five-star review).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2453)
    Performance
    (624)
    Story
    (612)

    Dave Robicheaux returns in another Bayou adventure, this one more gruesome and gut-wrenching than any that have come before. Hurricane Katrina has ravaged New Orleans, leaving the streets and buildings flooded and the city awash with opportunists, looters, and vicious criminals. There is no order, no law. Police are shooting randomly at innocent people, prison guards have abandoned their posts, and bodies float through the streets and hang from trees.

    Deborah says: "How Does One Manage?"
    "Why didn't I like this more?"
    Overall

    I have listened to over 200 audiobooks, and can't figure out why I didn't like this story more.

    The narrator was excellent, among the best I've heard at producing exactly the right regional accent as well as voicing different characters independently.

    The story setting was compelling, and gave some disturbing insight into Louisiana post-Katrina.

    The plot itself seemed to have the elements I like: deep characters, thought-out plot, enough action to keep things from being too dull.

    But despite all this, the book just never really set its hooks into me. I didn't have any "driveway moments" with it, and didn't find excuses to listen like I have with other books. The plot and especially the numerous characters are a little difficult to keep track of, and maybe if I had really concentrated on identifying everyone and their back story I may have found the story more compelling.

    If you're good with multiple characters and following a plot closely (mystery fans?), or want a story set in the unique post-Katrina south, give it a try. If you're going to be multi-tasking while listening, or want a hard-driven plot line, this is probably not the book for you.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (5433)
    Performance
    (3690)
    Story
    (3702)

    The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of 30 million souls, to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.

    Steve says: "Good but Too Short!"
    "Zombie audiobook perfection"
    Overall

    I've listened to 100's of audiobooks, this is my first "Zombie" genre, and I LOVED it. The story is set as various 1st hand accounts from around the world, and the myriad of actors in the audiobook lend a fantastic authenticity to the story as they speak English in their native accents.
    I tend to like unabridged versions, and would love one of this, but I'll take even 7 hours of this tale.
    Of all the audiobooks I've listened to, I would rank this in the top 10, probably the top 5. You won't be disappointed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Marcus Luttrell
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    Overall
    (1579)
    Performance
    (649)
    Story
    (645)

    In June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in Afghanistan for the Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader. Less then 24 hours later, only one of those SEALs remained alive. This is the story of how team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle that led to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history.

    Michael says: "Great listen"
    "Brave soldier, good story, too political"
    Overall

    This is Marcus Luttrell's story, and it's his absolute right to tell it in his words. And while his particular political views are an integral part of his experience, they are a distraction from the narrative. His ordeal and bravery would be no less significant if he did not frequently drop derogatory epithets about the enemy, gush praise for political leaders, or blame the "liberal media" for decisions he made in impossible situations that later went bad.

    The author's writing style was also distracting. He would emphasize powerful situations that needed no emphasizing with over-the-top comparisons (a time of heightened awareness: "I could have heard a goat fart from a mile away") or employ misstated analogies ("you couldn't have pried me off with a chainsaw").

    Books like Black Hawk Down tell a compelling story, give a basic political background, but do not get bogged up in extreme political opinions to the point where it detracts from the story.

    This is as much a story of Marcus Luttrell and his particular history and beliefs as it is a story of battle and survival. That is fine and legitimate, but it is not made clear from the book's title or publisher summary.

    It is a compelling story, but it is hard to follow the events with the frequency of the author's political interjections.

    The narrator reads well, and seems to have been picked for a down-home, Southern drawl to match the author's East Texas roots. It grated me a little that certain military words like Chinook were mis-pronounced (chin-ook instead of shi-nook).

    Overall, the story told about the author's amazing heroism was too hard to find amid the other commentary.

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, Updated and Expanded

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Thomas L. Friedman
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (748)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (89)

    Friedman brilliantly demystifies the new flat world for listeners, allowing them to make sense of the advances in technology and communications that are creating an explosion of wealth in India and China, and challenging the rest of us to run even faster just to stay in place. For this updated and expanded edition, Friedman has provided more than five hours of new reporting and commentary, bringing fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world.

    Gene says: "Great research, good insights, interesting read"
    "Important but verbose and dry"
    Overall

    I really wanted to like this book. I'm a fan of Friedman and his writings, but this book was just too redundant and dry. His points are valid and important, but the presentation in this book did not carry me along.
    There seemed to be little editing. Points were made over and over again in the same way. In an effort to neatly compartmentalize things Mr. Friedman seems to forcibly categorize broad events and overstate the importance of certain dates while minimalizing others.
    It seemed as important as conveying the significance of globalization was the effort to have us adopt the language ("flat world", "globalization 2.0") Mr. Friedman assigns to it.
    This is one book where I think I might actually prefer an abridged version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Echelon Vendetta: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By David Stone
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (931)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (113)

    When CIA "fixer" Micah Dalton's friend and mentor turns up dead, he's put on a collision course with a killer who has a penchant for intricate knife-work and Native American mysticism, a sadist who is killing ex-CIA agents. The victims are hard-nosed field men whose only link to one another seems to be a global surveillance operation called Echelon. The murders appear to be acts of retribution. But for what?

    Carmela08 says: "Excellent spy tale"
    "Perfect mix narrator and narrative"
    Overall

    There were a lot of good reviews for this book, so I bought it. I was not disappointed. The story moves along, and the settings and characters are rich. The narrator does accents and voices PERFECTLY; this is exactly what a great audiobook should be.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2251)
    Performance
    (886)
    Story
    (879)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "On the mark!"
    Overall

    Excellent audiobook!! I've listened to about 6 books this year in this genre, and this is by far the best.

    I, like others, found it hard to stop listening and get on to other things that I was supposed to do.

    The narrator does and excellent job, the story is fast-paced, believable, and well-crafted.

    I can't imagine anyone regretting getting this book; it's everything an audiobook should be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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