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K. Hall

rugbycritic

Central Texas | Member Since 2010

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 25 ratings
  • 137 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • Currency: Book Seven of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Neal Stephenson, Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (280)

    Daniel Waterhouse finds himself embroiled in a dark conflict that has been raging in the shadows for decades. It is a secret war between the brilliant, enigmatic Master of the Mint (and closet alchemist) Isaac Newton and his archnemesis, the insidious counterfeiter Jack the Coiner, a.k.a. Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds.

    Rusty Korhonen says: "Very Keen Indeed!"
    "It's a wonder we're here at all."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    My main commentary is on the last (System of the World) part of this amazing eight part epic. Can't say enough about how much fun it was.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rainbow Six

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1467)
    Performance
    (1167)
    Story
    (1184)

    Ex-Navy SEAL John Clark is the newly named head of Rainbow, an international task force dedicated to combating terrorism. In a trial by fire, he must stop a terrorist group of men and women so extreme that their success could literally mean the end of life on earth as we know it.

    Nathan says: "Rainbow Six review"
    "More of Mr. Clark - That's a Good Thing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This installment of the Ryanverse has us following Mr. Clark and Diego Chavez as they set up the international, counter-terrorism, uber-special ops team known as Rainbow Six. This story was published in 1998, but seems to presage the apparent security state as we know it today. Mr. Clark & Co. get into lots of jams, take out lots of bad guys, and save the day many times, like they are supposed to.

    I always liked the Clark stories, and the Clark parts of the Ryan stories, much more than Jack Ryan, and Rainbow Six does not disappoint. Mr. Clark always seemed more of team player, having built up high functioning groups of men focused on doing bad things to bad people. While Ryan appears to be a bit of a cowboy, trying to go it alone, eschewing teamwork. While this is probably overly simplistic, it's the impression that's carried for me.

    I have always enjoyed Tom Clancy, just in moderation. At 35+ hours, Rainbow Six could be more moderation than some will think is prudent. ;)

    As always, on to the next Ryanverse chapter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Orders

    • UNABRIDGED (51 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (1329)
    Performance
    (1025)
    Story
    (1054)

    Debt of Honor ends as Jack Ryan is confirmed vice president minutes before a mammoth act of terrorism kills the President, most of his cabinet, all but a few members of Congress, the entire Supreme Court and all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suddenly Ryan is President, which is where Executive Orders begins.

    Thomas says: "Don't some of us wish Jack ryan was real?"
    "Vintage Clancy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Coming in at over 50 hours, this picks up where Debt of Honor left off. Jack Ryan is the unelected President without a government to govern. And of course there are plots against him. Because? Well, because he's Jack Ryan of course.

    This is classic Clancy, rich on the militaristic details that fans have come to love and expect. And the typical depth of characterization to go along with it. You'll love it if that's what you're expecting. Like Vince Flynn, Clancy likes to rail against "liberal" politics of nearly any stripe; any form of adult supervision; or anyone who may question the unfettered executive with unlimited resources. It gets a bit tiresome. While that's not my cup of tea, it's a good yarn nonetheless.

    I'm thinking this could have been tightened up a bit and not lost anything. I had left the Ryanverse behind many years ago, having returned recently with a later story. I found I missed Mr. Clark and Diego Chavez. While they do not appear in this installment, I know they'll be around again.

    This is as good as it gets for Jack Ryan. Or does it? On to the next chapter to find out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Battle

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Cornelius Ryan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (235)

    The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater. The last offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich, it devastated one of Europe’s historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany. It was also one of the war’s bloodiest and most pivotal battles, whose outcome would shape international politics for decades to come.

    GB says: "Thanks to Dan Carlin of Hardcore History podcasts."
    "Utterly Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Last Battle?

    Cornelius Ryan is one of the best writers on WWII ever. His ability to bring disparate material together cohesively to paint a clear picture of otherwise chaotic events is heroic. He mixes the great (figures of history) with the small (folks in the towns and villages) to fantastic effect. You often feel that you were there yourself. The excitement, and impending doom, of the times is clearly carried through.

    It is easy to understand that the outcome wasn't always certain, when the mistakes are made clear in the cold light of history.


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

    Simon's dulcet tones brought the historical figures to life.


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

    There were many. The greatest were descriptions of how the civilians in and around Berlin survived, and the Allied liberations of the camps.


    Any additional comments?

    I would (and will) read anything by Cornelius Ryan.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Marine One

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By James W. Huston
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (601)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (381)

    After the presidents' helicopter, Marine One, goes down in a brutal thunderstorm, the government blames the European manufacturer of the helicopter, accusing them of killing the president. Senate investigations and Justice Department accusations multiply as Mike Nolan, a Marine Corps reserve helicopter pilot and trial attorney in civilian life, is hired to defend the company from the criminal investigations and a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the most notorious lawyer in America.

    Ron says: "Great courtroom thriller"
    "Interesting Entry in Crowded Field"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend Marine One to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would recommend to readers (listeners) who enjoy the legal procedural in the Grisham style. Hotshot young (or early middle-age) lawyer type in a small but skilled firm is faced with a huge case that all the legal beagles think they can't handle, and who happens to fly the same helicopter type as the President. And who is a former Marine. There are twists and turns all the way through, but they feel like we've been here before. The most interesting aspect was the discussion of helicopters, how they work, their manufacture, and the deconstruction of a crash.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Joe's performance was able and did not get in the way of the material. The pomposity of the antagonist lawyer was great, bringing to mind some of the biggest stuffed shirts of all time.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall this is a very good, but not great, story. It felt like it was trying for the tension of a Clancy or Flynn, but sort of missed the mark. The resolution felt too Hollywood, and the repercussions not fully followed through. Often times the epilogue is the most interesting and impactful.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Among the Living

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Timothy W. Long
    • Narrated By David DeVries
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (165)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (153)

    The dead walk. Now the real battle for Seattle has begun. When a gas leak causes the National Guard to forcibly evacuate the neighborhood, Lester isn't going anywhere. The former dope pusher has a new clientele… the kind that require him to deal lead instead of drugs.

    Mark says: "Eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint"
    "A Good Start to An Interesting Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Among the Living the most enjoyable?

    The story is told as vignettes of characters during the zombie apocalypse breakout in Seattle. Each is well drawn and interesting, especially when one of the most sympathetic is the local pot dealer. Go Lester!


    Would you be willing to try another book from Timothy W. Long? Why or why not?

    I am most definitely continuing onto part 2. This is too good to not, as well as the team was left facing certain doom, or at least a butt-load of deaders.


    Which character – as performed by David DeVries – was your favorite?

    Lester and Angela were my favorite, followed by Kate. Gotta love good swordplay. They were played well, with the females not all coming across falsetto as some readers do. I found them believable.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Almost one sitting. I would have listened to another 6 to 8 hours without a problem.


    Any additional comments?

    This might be a bit of a spoiler, so read on at your peril! I'm a bit disappointed in that two of the interesting female characters, that we spent much of the story developing and investing in, were killed off. Now I understand that we need to have emotional investment and have the peril be real, but really. That seemed a bit excessive for both, when I'd have been happy with one or the other. Well, not happy, but at least not feeling cheated. This is why I gave the Story only 3 stars. Otherwise a worthy entry in the Zom canon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Life as a White Trash Zombie

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Diana Rowland
    • Narrated By Allison McLemore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2126)
    Performance
    (1963)
    Story
    (1961)

    Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She's a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she's made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay "alive".

    Marvin says: "New diet trend, become a zombie!"
    "Sooky Better Watch Out"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This had me at the sample. Of course I've already recommended it, and it's not even finished yet. I've been through a number of zom and vamp stories, and this one is a good one. A great new perspective with an approachable heroine, or zomb-oine as it were.


    Which character – as performed by Allison McLemore – was your favorite?

    Angel Crawford, of course. Allison's hit the right mix of southern sound with smart aleck that works. Also, her dumbass cops are funny too.


    Any additional comments?

    This is just good fun. My only wish is it were longer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The System of the World: Book Eight of The Baroque Cycle

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble, Kevin Pariseau, Neal Stephenson
    Overall
    (426)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (281)

    In this concluding volume of Neal Stephenson’s epic work, “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe must escape the noose of Jack Ketch; the rivalry between Newton and Leibniz comes to a head; and Daniel Waterhouse pursues his dream to build the Logic Mill

    Tim says: "Last Nibble"
    "An epic tale of the world on the brink"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The System of the World the most enjoyable?

    I made it through all eight parts of this most intriguing tale. Stephenson creates characters that seem to jump through the mists of time to be real and alive.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Where to start. All the characters were intriguing. The main - Half-Cocked Jack, Drs. Waterhouse, Leibnitz and Newton, Lady Eliza, and Enoch the Red. Plus the minors of Jack's brother Bob and Jack's sons, Father Ed, Fraze, Dapper, Princess Caroline, Roger Comstock, Hook, Wren, and the rest of the lot.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Simon Prebble has as gifted a voice as Jim Dale. Each character was fully realized, different, and distinctive. Even the ladies. I'd recommend this for him alone if the story were half as good as it is. They were all great.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an epic tale of the birth of modernism of the baroque period. It is fiction, Stephenson refers to it as science-fiction due to it centering around Isaac Newton and many other contemporaries of the Royal Society; I'd go a bit further with historical science fiction. It's a great long yarn told with names of dead white guys with big wigs you heard in school, but didn't know anything about them. All eight parts of the tale probably total over 75 hours, but what a ride.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kill Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2968)
    Performance
    (2648)
    Story
    (2657)

    Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

    Madeleine says: "What's that droning sound?"
    "Daniel Suarez Scores Again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Kill Decision again? Why?

    Suarez delivers a riveting "page turner" that's just fun to listen to. Definitely come back again to it.


    Which character – as performed by Jeff Gurner – was your favorite?

    Gurner, having listened to him in Suarez two previous books, has a good grasp of the style. He has the sound needed for these very contemporary technological tales. The right mix of confidence and smarm.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghosts of Belfast

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Stuart Neville
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (514)
    Story
    (516)

    Fegan has been a "hard man" - an IRA killer in Northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by 12 ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he's going to have to kill the men who gave him orders. As he's working his way down the list, he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too.

    Rebecca says: "You've love this Story"
    "Just a little jaunt in the old country"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Ghosts of Belfast?

    Listening with a native Irish speaker made this sublime.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The lead Gerry Fagin as the skilled, flawed and broken thug is compelling. Trying to do the right thing to stop the voices and followers in his head. I could see Liam Neeson doing him justice.


    Any additional comments?

    Stewart Neville has a convincing and harrowing tale of redemption and damnation all wrapped up into one. Ireland is a beautiful and haunted place that came alive for me in this tale. No one gets out undamaged.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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