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Cyndie

Lincoln, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

51
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 178 ratings
  • 902 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35673)
    Performance
    (26690)
    Story
    (27069)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "A very pleasant surprise"
    Overall

    I purchased this book because it was on sale and the story seemed interesting. It is probably one of the best books I've listened to all year. Well written, well narrated, with a good story and intriguing characters. Worth every penny and I enjoyed every second.

    0 of 0 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
    (1357)
    Performance
    (1275)
    Story
    (1278)

    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"
    "The best thing about this book is the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Brian Staveley and/or Simon Vance?

    Simon Vance is an excellent narrator and brings more to this story than the author does. I will certainly listen to another Vance narration, but I don't believe I will give the author any more of my time.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Brian Staveley again?

    No, I don't think so. The author clearly can't write female characters, writing as if women have no value and are incapable of rational action. The women are generally incapable of making sound decisions or displaying any degree of self control. Lets see we have psychotic lesbians, prostitutes, death cultists or 'victims', generally of male dominance including male on female torture and/or rape. I think that pretty much sums major character traits of every single female character in the entire book. I would say the author hates women but the male characters are not that much better so perhaps its just terrible writing in general?


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

    This book had potential but I don't think an editor actually read the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The author has several horrible habits which made listening to the book very tough. His descriptions are overdone. Instead of saying the mountains are tall and the peaks are jagged he says they are tall, like X, and like Y, and like Z, and they are jagged, like A, and B, and C. The author took way too long to take the reader from the start of the story to the end. Perhaps 70-75% of the book was one very long and very boring transition from the start of the story to the point where the characters are able to do something about it. Way too much of the story was given over to making the reader hate antagonists in the story, I did not need to be given 15 different reasons to dislike them when 5 would have done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Raiders: Dragon Brigade, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Margaret Weis, Robert Krammes
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (133)

    The known world floats upon the Breath of God, a thick gas similar to Earth's oceans, with land masses accessible by airship. The largest of these land masses are ruled by the rival empires of Freya and Rosia. Magic is intrinsic to the functioning of these societies, and is even incorporated into their technological devices. But now a crucial scientific discovery has occurred that could destroy the balance of power - and change the empires forever.

    Lisa says: "Starts Very Slow, gets interesting, left hanging"
    "I managed to finish the story, barely."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I finished the book but this is clearly a series and I won't be getting book 2. I wish I had listened to one of the other books I had waiting.


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

    The book is written from multiple viewpoints the view is omniscient. The authors have this horrible habit of rewriting the same scene from a second or even a third perspective repeatedly through the book, even after the reader knows what has happened. It is very frustrating and makes the story drag. The book could have been cut down 25-35% and told the story in 15 hours and just as well, but it felt as if there was a page count they were targeting.


    Which character – as performed by Kirby Heyborne – was your favorite?

    The narrator was generally good, and did well with translating the feelings into tone. This did detract from the book in places as, when the characters were frantic, it made listening to the story difficult.


    Do you think Shadow Raiders needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, this one needs to be re-written and shortened. Only then would a 2nd book be worth listening to.


    Any additional comments?

    The author writes to get from point A to point B in the story, in preparation for book 2. In a couple of instances things happened which are clearly impossible based on the timeline set by the authors themselves. No spoiler alerts here but, right at the end, it is clear the authors want to leave the main characters in a very specific place and position and something is manufactured to make that occur. When the reader gets to this point there are comments about the actions of from 1 faction which imply communications had to have occurred which clearly fall outside of the timeline. You can't send a message about person A to person B weeks before you even know you are going to meet up with person A to begin with. This is a book, so the author controls everything, but this feels obviously manufactured considering the setting and when I as a reader see that it is very frustrating and distracts from the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Godling Chronicles: The Sword of Truth, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Brian D. Anderson
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (341)
    Story
    (344)

    Darkness comes as a new power rises in Angrääl. The Dark Knight has betrayed the Gods and stolen The Sword of Truth, trapping them in heaven. With the power of the Sword he can reshape the world and bring death to all who oppose him. Only one thing stands between the darkness and the light. Gewey Stedding. Only he has the power to stand against the oncoming storm. Only he can mend the world. But only if he can discover his power....

    Bob-o says: "This is a great series!"
    "Very basic coming of age fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The characters were all flat and no one, not even the main character, seemed to develop in any way.


    What was most disappointing about Brian D. Anderson’s story?

    The fact that I purchased it.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration was good generally.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is written like many of the new Serial books you see on amazon, or which have 2 hour 'installments' for sale on Audible. It is formulaic and lacks any depth.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5021)
    Performance
    (4752)
    Story
    (4738)

    Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    D says: "Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back."
    "Worth the read, but clearly a transition book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend to a friend


    Any additional comments?

    Butcher's Dresden is always worth reading, lets get that out there first. This book, however, really feels as if it was designed entirely to set the stage for the next books in the series. Its as if the story was merely a vehicle to get Harry from point A to point B in his relationship with the other characters and powers in the Dresden universe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3567)
    Performance
    (1952)
    Story
    (1962)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Its all that... and more"
    Overall

    This is my first listen to Paolo Bacigalupi ever and I was shocked at how good the book actually was. The prior review mention words like 'outstanding' and 'engrossing' and this was all of that and more. The author takes a huge right turn along the scifi highway to post apocalyptic future tales and ends up in one of the most unique takes on our possible future that I have read or listened to. Easily one of the top 10 and, in my opinion, it tops the recent efforts of other writers, such as Stirling, who are dominating the genre right now.

    That said... this story is definitely NOT for younger readers as the language and several of the scenes would be beyond X rated if the book were made into a movie.

    For adult readers, prepared for harsh language and a harsh reality in a harsh future, and interested in dystopia novels and novels of a post apocalyptic future, this truly a gem.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Scott Lynch
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3536)
    Performance
    (2800)
    Story
    (2801)

    An orphan's life is harsh---and often short---in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains---a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans---a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards.

    Luke A. Reynolds says: "Stupendous, but be warned."
    "Outstanding Effort"
    Overall

    I was not looking for much when I bought this AB but it has turned out to be one of the best I've listened to all year. The characters are rough and real, the action is gritty and the interaction between the characters is realistic. I agree with the reviewer that said the language and action is definitely mature, but worth it as it adds a very realistic flavor to the interactions. I was very happily surprised and am moving on now to the next book in the series and wondering how it could possibly top this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Moon Called: Mercy Thompson, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Patricia Briggs
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4403)
    Performance
    (2924)
    Story
    (2932)

    Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself.

    Susan says: "I love this series.."
    "Very enjoyable"
    Overall

    I had this referred to me and, to my pleasant surprise, I found it very enjoyable and well worth the credit. I generally don't appreciate much of the dark urban fantasy that is out there other than the Rachel Morgan series, and even some of that has too much of the Harlequin feel to it. I do try most of it hoping against hope for the best. This was a good and fresh look at a human/fey world and was well done, especially for a first book in a new series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Towers of Midnight: Wheel of Time, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5882)
    Performance
    (3547)
    Story
    (3584)

    The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight. The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age. Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck....

    Jacob says: "Doesn't wrap as nicely as Gathering Storm"
    "Its a necessary step..."
    Overall

    I'm a long time WOT fan but for me, like many, the series really bogged down as Jordan overwrote every book since the 5th one. RJ pursued so many story lines it made it almost impossible to follow one character or story arc effectively as a reader, and the mess he left for Brandon Sanderson to clean up is truly atrocious. How RJ expected to finish all of this off in 1 last mammoth book is beyond me. Clearly BS has a made an effort to retain the Jordan pattern of giving every single minor character anyone runs across a back story. Unfortunately that tendency was one of the things I liked least about how RJ wrote his books. Like many here I'm terribly tired of P Aybarra's constant introspection, just get over yourself already. Further I believe that Kramer's voice for him, along with the dialog, makes him seem like a petulant child and I've found myself skipping parts of his section that clearly repeat what has been said too many times before. I generally like Mat's character and it feels to me like BS has brought some new life to that story line, and some of the plot lines finally resolve themselves to clean that up. Rand's story arc and character are HUGE upgrades over RJ's last efforts and I finally find, again, that the story seems to be advancing along well with his character. Egwene's character is still far too much for me to stomach and she seems to be becoming a pivotal female character who is influencing the other female characters in the story line, such as Elayne and Nyneave who are stronger characters and much more likable in my opinion. I find myself wishing Egwene is killed off in a tragic moment to show that even the main characters can be touched by the Dark... but if that happened there would be WAY to much work to be done on the White Tower story line so I guess she has to be kept around. Avienda, one of my favorite early characters is virtually non-existant, as are most of the Aiel characters. This is clearly a necessary step, just finish already.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Old Man's War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4122)
    Performance
    (3056)
    Story
    (3083)

    John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First, he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce - and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So, we fight, to defend Earth and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

    Michael says: "As good as Heinlein"
    "Worth every second"
    Overall

    A very thought provoking book which uses the excellent writing and engaging characters to hide some huge themes. First time I've listened to a Dufris narration and he does a great job. I'm off to the next book in the series hoping it at least equals this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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