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McCoffee

I like history and biography, novels too. I do have a thing for zombie books as well. I need crappy thrillers now and then.

Saratoga, CA, United States

ratings
53
REVIEWS
18
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
13

  • Canoeing The Congo: First Source to Sea Descent of the Congo River

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Phil Harwood
    • Narrated By Gareth Armstrong
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    Canoeing the Congo narrates the journey of Phil Harwood, who undertook an epic five-month solo attempt to canoe the Congo River in war-torn Central Africa. It was a historic 'first descent' from the true source in the highlands of Zambia. Just short of 3,000 miles long, the Congo River is the eighth longest in the world and the deepest river in the world, with a flow rate second only to the Amazon. Along the way, Phil encountered numerous waterfalls, huge rapids, man-eating crocodiles, hippos, aggressive snakes...

    McCoffee says: "Adventure travel is human harassment"
    "Adventure travel is human harassment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very good book. Phil Harwood comes across as a reasonable and friendly badass. He's ready with a smile and a handshake, but he's not going to be pushed around. There's not a lot of nature encounters in the book: it is mostly a tale of alternating harassment from venal officials and kindness from fishermen and their families. But Harwood does a good job capturing the feel of the river--while convincing you that no matter who cool this trip sounds, you don't really want to do it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Intensity: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Kate Burton
    Overall
    (531)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (224)

    Past midnight, Chyna Shepherd, 26, gazed out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend's family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Forman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed "homicidal adventurer", Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse, or limits, to live with intensity.

    Connie says: "One of the best Koontz Books!"
    "Not really intense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some intense moments, but long. Actually, I like Koontz attention to detail. Parts of this are good. But I'm tired of authors telling us the crazed or quirky thoughts of serial killers. I don't really buy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Wanderers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Carlos Sisi
    • Narrated By Ray Chase
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    One of the best-selling apocalyptic thrillers in Spain available for the first time in English! The city of Malaga is dead, but the promised eternal rest has yet to come to its inhabitants. In the Carranque camp, 30 survivors have built a shelter to keep out the dangers of the world. They fight not only to recover the city, but also the physical and mental degradation of surviving day to day after the pandemic. One of the survivors, Isabel, casts handwritten notes from the penthouse into the dead-filled streets below.

    McCoffee says: "Zombies for Spain ... a nice change"
    "Zombies for Spain ... a nice change"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Narrator Ray Chase reads all characters with a Spanish accent--and it works. Gutsy move, but it does keep you reminded where the story is happening. This is a different type of Z story. There're guns, but they aren't going off constantly. The writing tends to be hit and miss. If your a zombie fan, I think it's worth a credit.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10289)
    Performance
    (9323)
    Story
    (9402)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    Livia says: "Formulaic and Hard to Finish...."
    "Better than Angels and Demons"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dan Brown writes some really trite sentences, so if you don't mind that, go ahead and listen. Actually, listen to Paul Michael is better than reading. Of course, a person reads Dan Brown for the historical oddities and tidbits. At least I do, and there is enough in here to keep one's interest. I like to that the repercussions of this so-called terrorist attack or not completely ignored or undone at the end of the novel. If you've read it, you'll know what I mean. Dan Brown sticks to his guns there.

    So this book is kind of fun if you keep your expectations restrained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark Steinberg
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (67)

    It's difficult to imagine a nation with a history more compelling for Americans than Russia. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, this was the nation against which we measured our own nation's values and power and with whom war, if it ever came, could spell unimaginable catastrophe for our planet.Yet many Americans have never had the opportunity to study Russia in depth, and to see how the forces of history came together to shape a future so different from the dreams of most ordinary Russian people, eager to see their nation embrace Western values of progress, human rights, and justice.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not story-telling but history-telling at its best"
    "Good overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Steinberg is good, speaks well. This doesn't go too deep with the early czars, but I've enjoyed it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Swann's Way, Part 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By John Rowe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (62)

    In this first part, Proust paints an unforgettable, scathing and, at times, comic portrait of French society at the close of the19th century, and reveals a profound vision of obsessive love.

    Maggie says: "EXCELLENT!"
    "Can't get tired of this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Yeah, it's long. But I go back when I drift off during a sentence or paragraph. Nobody creates a whole life like and universe like Proust. Great narration. I'm wondering if I should try the Neville Jason narration for other books, but I'm reluctant because John Rowe is so good. Recommendation to those who have second thoughts about starting Proust: Jump in. No harm in listening to other books while you do this one. Let the whole series take you a year or two or three. It's your life, let it be your pace.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Timothy Snyder
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (345)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (224)

    Americans think of World War II as “The Good War”, a moment when the forces of good resoundingly triumphed over evil. Yet the war was not decided by D-day. It was decided in the East, by the Red Army and Joseph Stalin. While conventional wisdom locates the horrors of World War II in the six million Jews killed in German concentration camps, the reality is even grimmer. In 13 years, the Nazi and Soviet regimes killed 13 million people in the lands between Germany and Russia.

    Joseph says: "Stuck between mad men"
    "Scrunched"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We tend to think of Hitler and Germany to their west, but Ukraine and Belarus got it bad from both sides. Hard to believe what humans can do to each other. Well-researched, well-narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (1962)
    Performance
    (1839)
    Story
    (1847)

    In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission....

    Mike Naka says: "top notch! highly recommended!"
    "Writing and narration - unfortunate combination"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The dogs tail whirled like a helicopter. That's the kind of simile you can expect, which at its core, is inaccurate. Dogs tails and helicopter blades don't move in the same way. At all. Good writing is not a requisite for a good Z book (see the Day By Day Armageddon books), but language that isn't careful or that is cliche continually interrupt a reader's focus. Or my focus anyway.

    I'm astonished by the positive reviews. The female characters are helpless, hapless screamers. Is that what people like to see?

    Horror and thriller narrations come across best when done quietly, straightforward. Narrator Christian Rummels--who might be great in other works--is dramatic here. With the unrefined prose, and B-movie tough-ass dialog, the result is cheesy and old-fashioned.

    And this all comes form someone who LIKES zombie/apocalypse books. Maybe Molles picks up with the next books in the series, but I won't be trying them.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Adam Hochschild
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Howard
    Overall
    (281)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (205)

    In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company's ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo. Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms. Correctly concluding that only slave labor could account for these cargoes, Morel almost singlehandedly made this slave-labor regime the premier human rights story in the world.

    Edith says: "Fascinating"
    "Brutal history one should know more about"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fascinating, horrible history. Good research, but the the voice comes off more academic than necessary.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Rainbow in the Night: The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dominique Lapierre
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    In 1652 a small group of Dutch farmers landed on the southernmost tip of Africa. Sent by the powerful Dutch India Company, their mission was simply to grow vegetables and supply ships rounding the cape. The colonists, however, were convinced by their strict Calvinist faith that they were among God's "Elect," chosen to rule over the continent. Their saga - bloody, ferocious, and fervent - would culminate three centuries later in one of the greatest tragedies of history.

    A says: "Must read (listen)"
    "History of South Africa--what's more interesting?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    South Africa's history is endlessly interesting and I can read book after book. Lapierre's writing, or the translation, is not very lively, and the Rudnicki's baritone narration is dry too. The history rushes through the early years and the Zulu and Boer Wars, spending a bit more time in the 20th century. I've listened to it about 3 times, so even though my rating isn't high, I like it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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