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James

Austin, TX, USA | Member Since 2004

89
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 471 ratings
  • 798 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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5

  • Darwin's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Greg Bear
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (82)

    Eleven years have passed since SHEVA was discovered in human DNA, a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence...and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths are also ticking time bombs that could exterminate the "old" human race...

    Jim says: "Serious Science Fiction"
    "College level biological fancy"
    Overall

    Although the book was read fairly well, I found the content to be difficult to wade through in audio form. There are long parts of the book where virology and biological term papers seem to be discussed with complete abandon. The impact on the listener is bewildering terms and loss of train of thought. In book form, it would be easy to backtrack to slowly go through the passages to understand what was being said. Not so with audio. Also, I found some of the time jumps difficult to transition. Perhaps the book does this visually, but with no long pauses or any audible queue, it is hard to warp several years mentally. All in all, I found the book to be an interesting topic and somewhat translatable to current race clash issues today brought about by terrorism.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart: Reckoners, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    Overall
    (6415)
    Performance
    (5987)
    Story
    (6011)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Super villain comic book fans rejoice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If you like comic books, you may like this. There's no pictures, but it's a predictable piece complete with capes, catchy super villain names, and explosions. After listening to his other series, I was hoping for another winner, but it was not to be for me.

    There's nothing new about super powers, or super mutants, or having the secret "kryptonite" invulnerability. There's nothing new about combating evil power or teenagers fighting evil to save the world.

    The characters seemed only half developed. Yes, I found the quips from the main character amusing at times and yes, we seem to know him the best, but I found myself caring little for whether any of the characters lived or died. As a comic book in audio form (a truly odd twist), it has lots of action, but I find that rather dull in a book. It doesn't make me think.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I thought it was predictable, or at least partially so. There were some aspects that I had not figured out on my own, but nothing that engrossed my attention. I have to say that it doesn't leave me with the cliff hanger feeling that I can't wait to get the next book. Instead, I'll be avoiding the rest of this series (assuming there is ever another).


    What aspect of Macleod Andrews’s performance would you have changed?

    The vocals were fair. Voice characterizations were good and maybe even rated four stars, but I couldn't justify that with such a low overall rating of the book.


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

    If you don't expect to find Brandon Sanderson uniqueness and quality, then it might be a decent diversion for the comic book types. If you haven't read any of his other series, then you may actually even like the book.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Memory of Light: Wheel of Time, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5084)
    Performance
    (4622)
    Story
    (4671)

    Since 1990, when Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time® burst on the world with its first book, The Eye of the World, listeners have been anticipating the final scenes of this extraordinary saga, which has sold over 40 million copies in over 32 languages. When Robert Jordan died in 2007, all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork.

    Amazon Customer says: "End of one of my favorite fantasy series ever."
    "A disappointing end to a fantastic series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson and/or Michael Kramer and Kate Reading ?

    I really liked this series and Brandon Sanderson was an excellent choice to finish it up, but the ending really didn't meet my expectations. It's too bad, since other Jordan and Sanderson books are well worth the read or listen.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Asking a non-author how to make a story better is like asking your plumber to be a doctor. However, I thought there was too much time spent on head smashing and bashing in "The Last Battle". Perhaps that's to be expected, but it went on for too long and I expected more intrigue out of the Jordan / Sanderson characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cyteen

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By C. J. Cherryh
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman, Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (424)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (384)

    The saga of two young friends trapped in an endless nightmare of suspicion and surveillance, of cyber-programmed servants and a ruling class with century-long lives – and the enigmatic woman who dominates them all.

    troy says: "This is a Heavy Book (lovely too)"
    "Confusing story of politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Cyteen?

    If politics isn't your thing, then this book is probably not for you. Although it has a scifi twist to it, it's really more about the politics and power plays of families in control of things. I find that pretty boring myself. However, the characters lack any values that make me interested in them and the plot leaves dangling loose ends all over everywhere.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Memory and Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Charles de Lint
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    Overall
    (218)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (110)

    As the young student of the cruel, brilliant artist Vincent Rushkin, Isabelle Copley discovered that she could paint images so vividly real they brought her wildest fantasies to life. Now, 20 years later, Isabelle must come to terms with the shattering memories she has long denied and unlock the slumbering power of her brush. And, in a dark reckoning with her old master, she must find the courage to live out her dreams and bring the magic back to life.

    David E. Ballard says: "If this is your first de Lint"
    "Artsy audience murder mystery"
    Overall

    To me, this book was a sci-fi murder mystery for the female art lover. I was never able to relate to the characters much because it was so focused on life for the artsy crowd. The sci-fi aspects were mildly interesting, but tame compared to what could have been done. Again, it was focused on the artist's ultimate fantasy, to create something so real that it becomes real. The murder mystery aspect wasn't touched much either. Someone was killed, lets move on was the general tone. The female target audience perception is based on the female main characters and their conversations and reactions to the world around them. I also had trouble at times with the distinguishing characters when conversations occured between two of the main female characters. As I am neither an artist, nor that much of an art lover, nor a female, and with not much drama to hold up the sci-fi / murder mystery end, this barely rates a 3 (I almost gave up listening at one point).

    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The War with the Mein: Book One of the Acacia Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By David Anthony Durham
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (852)
    Performance
    (406)
    Story
    (413)

    A deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen north, strikes at Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, while the Mein also unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to his separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father's death and restore the Acacian empire, this time on the basis of universal freedom.

    Glen says: "Thumbs up!"
    "Good story, but predictable in places"
    Overall

    I found this book to hold my interest all the way through. The story was interesting and the characters were developed and differentiated enough to keep things moving along. The reader did a great job with voice characterization.

    I found the first person character switch to be only mildly distracting. There was only a small amount of overlap, so it wasn't boring hearing the same thing happen, just from a different perspective. If there were any real flaws, I found the plot to be predictable in places and I wished that more time was spent developing some of the not quite so main characters.

    Anyway, I plan to pick up the next book to see where things go.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Camel Club

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (3051)
    Performance
    (1224)
    Story
    (1229)

    It exists at the fringes of Washington, D.C., has no power, and consists solely of four eccentric and downtrodden members whom society has forgotten. Their simple goal is to find the "truth" behind their country's actions.

    Alex says: "The Good, Bad, and the So-So"
    "Ho hum"
    Overall

    A found this book to be somewhat less than engaging. I can't tell if it was the book itself or the narrators lack of voice characterizations and flippant tone. The book certainly didn't help with overused cliches of the military and government. I liked David Baldacci's book last man standing, but I'm having a hard time recommending this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Citizen Soldiers

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Stephen E. Ambrose
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    This New York Times best seller is a breathtaking account of what faced the U.S. Army after the Normandy invasion of World War II. Told largely through personal accounts, Citizen Soldiers captures the stunning reality of the citizens who summoned the courage to become soldiers and save the world.

    James says: "Slow start, but ok finish"
    "Slow start, but ok finish"
    Overall

    I thought this was going to be more focused on the perception of warfare from the soldiers point of view. Instead, the beginning of the book is more of a "win one for the gipper" view point and doesn't seem to portray warfare from the view of the soldier at all.

    It did improve later in the book with more detailed stories of what it was like.

    If you want a linear history of the war in Europe with a mix of impressions from soldiers, this may be a good book for you. Since I was looking for more soldier experience used to tell the history, I only give it 3 stars.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mayday

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille, Thomas Block
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (870)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (355)

    Twelve miles above the Pacific Ocean, a missile strikes a jumbo passenger jet and leaves the flight crew either crippled or dead. This is the story of how three survivors must achieve the impossible and land the plane. Master storyteller Nelson DeMille and veteran pilot Thomas Block collaborated on Mayday, the most terrifyingly realistic air disaster thriller of all time. Also available abridged.

    Douglas says: "Great adventure! Hard to put down."
    "Engaging suspense"
    Overall

    Tensions mount as problem after problem pile up on one man who has a chance to save his own life and that of the few survivors of a mid-air incident.

    This was an engaging book, but the bad guys are a bit of a push. It positions both the military and big business as the bad guy and while this is possible, I had to shake my head at the justifications and decisions being made by characters in the book.

    Being a private pilot myself, I have to think that I'm not alone in thoughts of saving the plane when some mid-air mishap occurs. This has to be appealing to other pilots as well. There is a lot of familiar cockpit decisions being made here and it's easy to put yourself in that plane through the narration.

    All in all, I found it entertaining and a good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tourist Season

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    Overall
    (671)
    Performance
    (194)
    Story
    (198)

    Tourist season is swinging into high gear in Miami. So are the activities of a bizarre terrorist group determined to keep the hapless "snowbirds" away. Armed with bombs, weed, and jumbled credos, they move toward their grand target, the Orange Bowl Parade, with plans to bring Miami and its tourist trade to a halt.

    Glenn says: "Not his best"
    "Ecclectic characters, but nothing special"
    Overall

    If you like an odd mix of characters, Tourist Season may be for you. This is the second book I've tried by the author and both have been odd and a bit of a reach for plots. The wacko characters will hold some interest, but I think I've tried enough from the author to hold off getting any more.

    A found the pretense that an eco-terrorist gang made up of such disfunctional characters could ever hold together long enough to accomplish anything quite a stretch. You definitely need to suspend disbelief here.

    I also think the ending was a bit rushed and incomplete.

    The narration was reasonable and I didn't have much trouble in following character dialog changes.

    All in all, I found the book an ok diversion, but nothing that is going to keep me coming back for more.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Night Fall

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2515)
    Performance
    (990)
    Story
    (992)

    Five years after the crashof TWA Flight 800, the government has declared it a result of mechanical failure. But John Corey, an ex-NYPD detective who is now a contract agent with the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force, is persuaded by Kate Mayfield, his wife and task force partner, that the case deserves a second look.

    Ms Discus says: "Addictive mix of fact & intriguing storyline"
    "A nice (though predictable) diversion"
    Overall

    As a continuation of the John Corley books, this was a nice addition. I like the wise cracking main character and the reader does a pretty good job with voice differentiation. However, the plot (or at least the ending) was a bit predictable and the end of the book was not as good as I think it could have been. If you like the John Corley stuff, then pick it up as another diversion for those hum-drum drives to work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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