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Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.

Chicago, IL | Member Since 2009

221
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 34 reviews
  • 75 ratings
  • 281 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
13

  • The Providence of Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (882)
    Performance
    (797)
    Story
    (795)

    Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

    L. Sheldon Clark says: "Miscommunication driven plot ruined a good story"
    "A step backwards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Only if they were really into fantasy.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Brian Staveley? Why or why not?

    Yeah I'll probably read the 3rd one. I loved the Emperor's Blades but I feel like this book is a step back not forward.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    He does a great job, doesn't go overboard with voices.


    Could you see The Providence of Fire being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Possibly a movie, mostly because the Ketral would be so fun to film.


    Any additional comments?

    -glad we got to see more Ketral in action
    -overall story was pretty confused. didn't like how no one ever knows what's going on, seems like the whole thing is a "kent-kissing goat f***" as the author would say
    -not really sure what's going to pull this all together in Book 3
    -like I said it just seems like a step backwards
    -the birds are half the fun, and they are basically absent from the story
    -totally confused about the role of the Ksestrim. not in a good way.
    -also kind of weird how crazy things happen all the time and everyone knows about leeches, but no one ever seems to put the two together, "well yeah that's probably just a leech." instead everyone is just always stunned that something weird or unexplained is going on. kind of a major story flaw.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fourth of July Creek: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Smith Henderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews, Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (235)

    After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral 11-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face-to-face with the boy's profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times. But as Pete's own family spins out of control, Pearl's activities spark the full-blown interest of the FBI, putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.

    Mel says: "The Ghost of Tom Joad & the Wrath of Grapes"
    "Stunning, haunting, and sad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Fourth of July Creek rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 20%


    What did you like best about this story?

    Pete was the most interesting character. But by the far the most gripping/haunting parts were the Pete/Rose chapters.


    What does MacLeod Andrews and Jenna Lamia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Andrews is probably the best narrator I've heard. The first time he has an outburst as Benjamin Pearl I jumped in shock in my car.Lamia totally steals the show. You want to jump through the speakers and hug her and tell her it will all be ok.


    If you could take any character from Fourth of July Creek out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Ha ha. Pete and the old man who takes in foster kids are probably the only ones who wouldn't tell you to go to hell or hold a gun to your face. But I'm not even sure about that. I'm going to say Rose because she would probably need the meal.


    Any additional comments?

    Incredible book. I think if you look at the reviews that are lower than 5 stars you'll see that most of them just found the book too depressing. That's not really the same as saying it wasn't a good book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3083)
    Performance
    (2802)
    Story
    (2821)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "It's not really a horror book..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I think if it's billed as horror it should actually be scary rather than just vaguely creepy.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen King? Why or why not?

    Yes of course, overall he's very enjoyable.


    Have you listened to any of David Morse’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No but the narration is great, some people dog in in reviews but the guy does a great job.


    Was Revival worth the listening time?

    Barely. There is literally NOTHING scary in this book until the last maybe 45 minutes. Compare to Salem's Lot which is terrifying basically all the way through. Even the horror that is there is more existential than anything else.


    Any additional comments?

    The best part of this book had nothing to do with horror and was just a good yarn about a kid growing up in the 60s and being a musician. Maybe King should just be writing novels without trying to be scary? Seriously the horror stuff seems to be tacked on by an editor after the fact.

    1 of 2 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
    (21431)
    Performance
    (19779)
    Story
    (19787)

    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?"

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Macgyver on Mars"
    "Good sci-fi, kind of repetitive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Martian again? Why?

    no, it's mostly a thriller and therefore not really the kind of book that you listen to more than once.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Martian?

    The first launch from NASA is really well written.


    What about R. C. Bray’s performance did you like?

    Everything, is a fantastic narrator. Doesn't overdo the voices but definitely plays it up a little bit.


    Any additional comments?

    This is really well written and the physics background is really fun. I almost wonder if this would've been better as a shorter book like a novella. The basic formula is

    a) everything seems to be going okay
    b) disaster which seems like it will scuttle everything
    c) creative resolution of disaster

    It's not bad but the fact that it repeats over and over and over gets fairly old. I actually didn't finish the book just read a summary of the last few hours on Wikipedia.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Brian Staveley
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (1916)
    Performance
    (1778)
    Story
    (1785)

    In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

    Ethan M. says: "Of the various new fantasy series, this is... fine"
    "Phenomenal, much better than the rest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Emperor's Blades rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 5% It's incredible.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Emperor's Blades?

    When you find out what Hull's Trial is going to be.
    When you figure out what the evil leech's well is.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Didn't overdo the voices, a few subtle accents but didn't go crazy.


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

    Some parts of this book are just laugh out loud funny. It's one of the only epic fantasy books that incorporates profanity really well. Instead of something fancy like "By the goddess!" or "to the seven hells!" the characters in TEB just say f***.


    Any additional comments?

    As others have noted there are a few loose ends. Motivations are not always clear and when they are not they are only sporadically set up for a later answer.

    Probably the biggest confusion is why the 2 princes are willing to be abused and nearly tortured for 8-10 years, this is particularly true for Kaiden who doesn't even understand why he's with the monks.

    It's also true for Yurl (sp?), why does he go through the entire training? Couldn't he be 90% as cruel and nasty without risking his life for 10 years?

    Lots of people compare this to Abercrombie, Rothfuss, Riyira, Kingkiller, etc, this is WAAAY better. If some of those left you a little unsatisfied this will not. I've been trying to find my next fantasy series since Mistborn and this is as good as that. Truly a "driveway" title.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rise of Empire: Riyria Revelations, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4808)
    Performance
    (4389)
    Story
    (4417)

    Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan’s mesmerizing Riyria Revelations series has found a welcome home with fans of magic, clashing swords, and daring heroes. This second volume finds Royce and Hadrian on a quest to enlist the southern Nationalists to aid the ever-weakening kingdom of Melengar. Royce suspects an ancient wizard is manipulating them all, but to find the truth he’ll have to decipher Hadrian’s past—a past Hadrian wants to keep secret.

    Adnan says: "Great continuation of the first book. Tons of fun!"
    "The best thing to say is "A-""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Rise of Empire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    middle


    What other book might you compare Rise of Empire to and why?

    tough to say


    What about Tim Gerard Reynolds’s performance did you like?

    he does a great job with everything, doesn't over do the voices


    Any additional comments?

    I think after listening to 3 of the books I would say that this is A-. It's definitely good, in fact it's really good. Creative, well written, compelling characters. For whatever reason it doesn't have that driveway quality to it where you want to sit in your car and let it play. I enjoy listening to Ryira but find I stray away from it for podcasts or another book. I'll probably finish the series but very slowly as I'll be constantly interrupted by other things.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Terms of Enlistment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1265)
    Performance
    (1152)
    Story
    (1153)

    The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth.

    DAVE says: "Solid military sci-fi."
    "Setting the stage for a series?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The plot twist in the middle is quite odd. It's almost like 2 different books.


    Would you recommend Terms of Enlistment to your friends? Why or why not?

    If they were hard-core sci-fi people.


    What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He's a good narrator.


    Do you think Terms of Enlistment needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Absolutely. This is like the Fellowship of the Ring, it doesn't stand alone very well.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a solid B+ sci-fi book. The combat is really cool. It's a little weird that the most vicious scene is the protagonist fighting people just like him and this is never really processed.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • American Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6284)
    Performance
    (3704)
    Story
    (3711)

    Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorists worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world . . . and then tragedy struck.

    Lesley says: "Flynn never disappoints"
    "Pretty bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Not sure, someone who liked generics spy novels?


    What could Vince Flynn have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The whole book seems to be about Hurley's temper tantrums. Also I have to say that Rapp is a completely cardboard character. I've rarely read a book with so little development of the main character.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has a great voice, but he sounds the way you'd expect Hurley to sound (gruff) and so it seems weird for him to be voicing all the other characters.


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

    A few parts are pretty fun.


    Any additional comments?

    For those who like Archer, I think the show may have been slightly influenced by this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Command Authority

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2560)
    Performance
    (2298)
    Story
    (2303)

    There's a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.

    Marci says: "Great story with a couple of flaws"
    "Pretty fun stuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Command Authority rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    middle


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Didn't really have one.


    What three words best describe Lou Diamond Phillips’s performance?

    Stop doing accents.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Given what a stickler Clancy was about details down to the material on gun stocks and things like that I think it's pretty funny that Junior and Dom can basically become Tier 1 special forces operators with like 3 years experience at the Campus. Driscoll is believable but I must have missed the part in the series where the other 2 become interchangeable with Delta.

    Final fight at the hotel is near Rainbow Six quality excitement.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Locked On

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4139)
    Performance
    (3560)
    Story
    (3543)

    Although his father had been reluctant to become a field operative, Jack Ryan Jr. wants nothing more. Privately training with a seasoned Special Forces drill instructor, he’s honing his skills to transition his work within The Campus from intelligence analysis to hunting down and eliminating terrorists wherever he can—even as Jack Ryan Sr. campaigns for re-election as President of the United States. But what neither father nor son knows is that the political and the personal have just become equally dangerous.

    Joseph says: "Give me more! Loved it!"
    "Political stuff is out of control"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If it were an actual old school Clancy book. I understand he's a pretty conservative guy but this reads like a Sean Hannity fever dream. When I got to the part about the obese, single female lawyer who was "married to her convictions" and who actually gets a quasi-sexual frisson from defending terrorists who have attacked the country I almost had to quit. It's all just caricature. Clancy has created the Clark/Ryan universe and in that universe Fox News doesn't exist and the Democrats are literally 2 degrees of separation from the KGB. He constantly talks about the media while ignoring the fact that the most powerful media outlets around today are outspokenly conservative. The book is basically set in a world that Tea Partiers think exists: the media is all-powerful and arrayed against them, Democratic politicians will happily do anything (even let the US get attacked) to stay in power, liberal oligarchs are actively working to bring down the country, and torture works every time!

    Can't we just get back to Rainbow 6? When it was all about running, gunning, and espionage? I never cared how Ding Chavez voted....


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    No idea.


    What does Lou Diamond Phillips bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He reads them well.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment at how far into the silly right wing politics of the day a really talented author has sunk.


    Any additional comments?

    I just really wish the Clark/Ryan universe could go on as a fun, readable, thriller series.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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