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Russell

Keswick, ON, Canada | Member Since 2005

261
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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94

  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4790)
    Performance
    (4475)
    Story
    (4469)

    Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

    Cristina Hatfield says: "Quite an enjoyable read"
    "I'm Glad This Universe has a Scalzi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've always really liked Scalzi books and this latest one is a fine addition to an impressive body of work. The main story is a lot of fun and occasionally provokes some deep thinking. It ended too quickly and I wondered what the heck could John do with three Codas - I wanted more of the main characters. But, leaving the reader wanting more isn't a bad thing for any author. The Codas actually turned out quite well and interweaved into the story with some new characters in a different time and place. I actually got choked up at the last spoken sentence of the final coda.

    Wil Wheaton gives a magnificent performance and I hope he and Scalzi will team up again in the future.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Leopard: A Harry Hole Novel, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1043)
    Performance
    (868)
    Story
    (861)

    Two young women are found murdered in Oslo, both drowned in their own blood. Media coverage quickly reaches fever pitch: Could this be the work of a serial killer? The crime scenes offer no coherent clues, the police investigation is stalled, and the one man who might be able to help doesn't want to be found. Traumatized by his last case, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong's opium dens. Yet when he is compelled, at last, to return to Norway - his father is dying - Harry's buried instincts begin to take over. Then a female MP is discovered brutally murdered.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Simply Fantastic! A great buy!"
    "The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down, Michael"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Connelly, Jo Nesbo - the two best writers of detective fiction over the last decade in this humble reviewers opinion. Occasionally I've decided that Michael is the best on the planet after an inspired story - but then I go through an intense journey with Jo and have to admit that the Norwegian has all the tools to claim that mantle.

    This story has a lot of subtle twists I did not see coming. I even thought the book was over and did not understand why my ipod indicated that there was 3 hours left. Does it really take that length of time to wrap things up? I quickly learned that there was a lot of adventure, suspense and twists still in store for me.

    Nesbo introduces a diabolical device called a Leopold's Apple in this book. I had to research if it really exists after finishing the book. I will leave the answer to that for all the mystery readers who do not read the back of the book first or in this case Google the answers before starting their new adventure.

    So Michael (as if he really cares), you were the best a few months ago - but the gauntlet has just been thrown down by Mr. Nesbo. I hope you and your narrator are up to the challenge and I get to reap the rewards when I acquire your next audiobook.


    3 of 3 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
    (2849)
    Performance
    (2703)
    Story
    (2706)

    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 plainold ""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"
    "This Will Become a Science Fiction Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The science fiction bar has been raised high in this tale of a struggle for survival on a hostile planet. Our hero has been left behind and assumed dead by his mission mates. Mark must overcome many obstacles and each life threatening conundrum he has to face is fascinating along with the plausible technical solution he comes up with. If you are not a fan of detailed explanations outlining the very real situations faced on a journey like this, you may feel a bit bogged down.

    A fine tuned sense of humor has been mixed in with hard science as this astronaut makes wry observations while battling to endure in a harsh environment. The narrator, R. C. Bray does an excellent job in getting that comedy across.

    There are three main perspectives in this epic tale. We hear from Mark with his daily trials, and I will let you discover the other two for yourself if you decide to give this book a listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Twelve Years a Slave

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Solomon Northup
    • Narrated By Louis Gossett, Jr.
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (610)
    Performance
    (547)
    Story
    (549)

    In this riveting landmark autobiography, which reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York; Washington, D.C.; and Louisiana to experience the kidnapping and 12 years of bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War.

    Fran H. Willingham says: "I've waited for this a long time"
    "Watched the Movie First, Then listened to the Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The movie made such an impact on me that I purchased the audiobook. Tarantino's Django Unchained with it's slave superman gave me no emotional understanding of what it meant to be a slave in the deep south. This movie did and I wanted to listen to the book to extend that knowledge.

    Then it sat for a while, because this started to feel like a homework assignment (I'm ashamed to admit). It wasn't. The book did start slowly as the mundane life of Solomon Northrup was laid out in the first thirty minutes. But that was necessary to identify our ordinary lives with Solomon's average lifestyle and therefore really "feel" his sudden revocation of freedom when it happened.

    This story was able to educate, fascinate and spark my outrage towards slavery all over again. If you are like me and have already seen this movie, here are some tips for your upcoming audio adventure.

    There are some scenes in the movie that were made up. You will recognize that with the noticeable omissions during your second time through this incredible story. There were some scenes that were in the movie and in the book. They will became richer with a second telling from a deeper perspective. Finally there was a lot that wasn't in the movie or glossed over in the movie. These pieces were totally absorbing as you take in the reality of slavery in the deep south all over again.

    Some stories should not be ignored. This is one of them.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Guilt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2064)
    Performance
    (1825)
    Story
    (1816)

    Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life.

    Jane says: "Definitely entertaining. I had some smiles."
    "Connelly Connects Again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Connelly has always been dependable in delivering a top notch Harry Bosh or Mickey Haller story. His detective and lawyer yarns have been so good, I never bothered to write a review in this forum. Most everybody loves chocolate, so why rave and try and convince more people to partake in this pleasure.

    I've noticed a number of reviewers indicating that this book about the lawyer is not up to the standards of one or more previous books. My only question for them is - did they really read the same book that I did!

    I was fascinated by the intricacies of the trial, I got choked up near the end of the book (good thing I was alone in my car at the time and nobody saw that), and was blindsided by how a major witness ended up testifying. This was very entertaining from start to finish.

    The neat thing about a Mickey Haller book is you never know if his client is really guilty or innocent until you are well into the story. Mr. Connelly is willing to expose that person you have been rooting for as a villain. This author is also willing to show our hero lawyer as not so praiseworthy in defending and freeing obviously guilty criminals.

    You will have to read "The Gods of Guilt" to find out if he pulls any of those stunts in his latest book. I'm sure the majority of you will be glad you did.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Trigger City

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Sean Chercover
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (112)

    A routine investigation of an open-and-shut case is just what PI Ray Dudgeon needs to recover from the physical and emotional consequences of confronting the Chicago Outfit - until "routine" spirals out of control. The victim was no quiet, unassuming, unlucky single woman; she lived a double life in the shadowy realm of covert intelligence...and she died for the truth.

    Russell says: "Entertaining All the Way Through"
    "Entertaining All the Way Through"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some books take a while to build up your interest. Some never get to that point. The last one I listened to, I had to give up on after a few hours - rare for me.

    It was nice that this one was entertaining from start to finish. Joe Barrett was a new refreshing voice for me - you can get tired of hearing the same great voice over so many adventures by different authors.

    I enjoyed the action, mystery, political subtext, and the ending. I can't figure out why this book is only showing as a 3.8. The ending may have something to do with it. Good doesn't always triumph over evil - but can sometimes do just enough to keep a little of it at bay.

    This is a good introduction to the colorful, imperfect detective. Ray Dudgeon and the backdrop of Chicago makes this a ripping good yarn.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Snowman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1886)
    Performance
    (1245)
    Story
    (1247)

    Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf. Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother - and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn....

    Anita says: "many layered thriller"
    "Nesbo is the Cat and I am The Mouse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the best I've experienced of an excellent Harry Hole series. I know Nesbo is toying with me by bringing in so many possibilities as to who is really the Snowman. It is a very difficult case for Harry and I can see so many escape routes to naming the evil villain. But, just like the cat who lets the mouse think he is home free, Nesbo in one swoop cuts off each promising avenue after I've committed to it. What a game of cat and mouse - and I'm loving it!

    It was interesting to view some suspects and the actual murderer from Harry's perspective and then have a pause in the investigation to get a back story from their viewpoint.

    The ending for this yarn takes you on a roller coaster ride of suspense. Be prepared to be immersed into a top notch detective story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Nexus: Ascension

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Robert Boyczuk
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    After returning from a 30-year trade mission, the crew of the Ea wake from cryonic suspension to find that their home world, Bh'Haret, is dead. "Screamer" satellites have been strung around their planet, warning of a plague. A scan of the surface of Bh'Haret reveals no trace of human life - only crumbling cities. Their fuel and other supplies nearly exhausted, the crew has little choice but to make planet fall on Bh'Haret, infected with a virulent and deadly disease.

    Russell says: "Science Fiction That Packs a Punch"
    "Science Fiction That Packs a Punch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is great on so many levels. Good solid Science Fiction, great characters, complicated but interesting relationships, solid plot twists and an excellent narrator.

    Although the books stands up well as an entertaining single read, I am hoping a sequel is in the works.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dead I Well May Be

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (977)
    Performance
    (442)
    Story
    (438)

    Young Michael, an illegal immigrant escaping the troubles in Northern Ireland is strong and fearless and clever, just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month.

    Robert says: "What an amazing book"
    "A Tough,Likeable But Deadly Irish Kid Gets Revenge"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Forsythe is rendered superbly by narrator Gerald Doyle as he navigates his way through a fling with the crime bosses girlfriend and the horrible repercussions to follow that ensnare him and his associates.

    The "Irish" accent and expressions transport the reader into a fascinating underworld where the peelers (police) are absent through much of the mayhem. The main character makes several wry intelligent observations that belie his youth and upbringing adding some panache to the storytelling.

    This first book has convinced me to continue following Michael's story in "The Dead Yard". ....... Hooked, I well may be.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3007)
    Performance
    (2071)
    Story
    (2069)

    Always leave a little salt on the bread. Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

    karen says: "Best audiobook of the year!"
    "An Outstanding Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story evolves over the early 1800's and immerses you in the underbelly of London's poor and criminal classes with the notorious Ikey Solomon who was known as the Prince of Fences. It is great historical fiction based on this real life man who became the inspiration for Charles Dickens Fagin in Oliver Twist. Although this man was despicable, he was a product of the times and I actually grew a bit fond of him as he mellowed in the last years of his life in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania).

    Some great fictional characters are sprinkled into this well researched book and I will let you discover them for yourself. There are some tough scenes you need to survive (I've seen some reviewers here gave up in reaction to gritty situations). It is worth it to follow the book to its uplifting end. The expression "Always leave a little salt on the bread" will forever resonate with me from this moment on.

    I would never have bought a book entitled "The Potato Factory" if a few thousand people hadn't recommended it. Even then I was reluctant. But, after reading the book, it is a perfect title. It is funny you only get and like the title after reading the book. It is something that doesn't grab you when scanning for your next audible purchase.

    Fortunately I am primed for the second title in this trilogy, "Tommo and Hawk". It makes perfect sense as a heading and I immediately bought the second book after finishing "The Potato Factory".

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Autobiography of Henry VIII

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Margaret George
    • Narrated By David Case
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (137)

    Margaret George's novel brings into focus the larger-than-life King Henry VIII, monarch of prodigious appetites for wine, women, and song.

    Amy M. Walts says: "Perfection!"
    "Kept My Attention for Forty One Hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fascinating study of the enigmatic Henry VIII. This historical adventure's masterful voicing by David Case was an acquired taste that required a little patience at the beginning - but paid off many times over by the end.

    Much research went into the production of this and it was interesting to hear this perspective and compare it to the Wikipedia version. I also couldn't help mixing in a little of the Tudors TV series and must admit to seeing Natalie Dormer in my minds eye when the Anne Boleyn story unfolded. When the book emphasized how fat Cardinal Wolsey was, I adjusted by seeing Sam Neill with a few extra pounds.

    This was a comprehensive life story coming from a unique imagined perspective of an often misunderstood historical figure. If you have enjoyed those epic fantasy books that have a medieval flavor, you will enjoy this book that is grounded on actual events.

    I don't always latch on to these long productions and was a little amazed to hear the narrator intone "Chapter 127" as the story drew to a close. My attention hadn't wavered for forty one hours and my first response was to check out more of the history of this period online. That is what a great book does - gets you thinking and hungry to learn more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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