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Howard

When I like something I'll let you know. If I don't, I'll let you know that too!

Cumberland, MD, United States | Member Since 2010

304
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 38 reviews
  • 65 ratings
  • 150 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
12
FOLLOWERS
49

  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3220)
    Performance
    (2818)
    Story
    (2850)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "It's a long journey - worth the investment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! This story packs on the miles. I enjoyed it almost as much as Ready Player One. The story moves along and makes you want to keep listening. The author makes you want to care about the charaters and anxious to see what happens next. There is one plot line that I still don't understand how it contributed to the story, but maybe that is me. The author uses this as a vehicle to comment on society and how people can hate each other if only for their on promotion or just the joy of having an enemy. I think this slowed down the story, but that's my opinion, you may feel different after you have listened to Reamde. The narrator does an outstanding job with this epic. I enjoyed the time I spent with Reamde.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Help for the Haunted: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By John Searles
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (99)

    It begins with a call one snowy February night. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation: helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet something in Sylvie senses that this call is different from the others, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town.

    Melinda says: "Fuzzy on the Haunted Part"
    "Truths are not as they appear."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Truths are not as they appear - even to those closest to us.

    John Searles crafted an entertaining novel - presented as a paranormal mystery with pro-religious overtones. But things are not always as they first appear. Searles uses Help for the Haunted to expose the fact that we not only keep secrets from those we love and those we don't, but we often keep them from ourselves. At the very end, you have to decide for yourself what is fact and what is not.

    Sylvie, the smart, young teenage daughter of Sylvester and Rose, is dragged from bed in the middle of a snowy night by her parents to meet their older daughter, also named Rose. Sylvie's parents are murdered at the church and Sylvie is assaulted. Sylvie then tells us the stories of her family, their work, and travels. These stories are woven in between Sylvie's stories as a ward of her older sister and their treatment from those in the community.

    Sylvie learns the prime murder suspect has a rock solid alibi for the time the murders were committed. Sylvie searches for the truth about the deaths of her parents and learns about their lives along the way. She also learns secrets about them, her sister and plenty of others before finding her parent's murderer. The story moves along quite steadily and had me finding reasons to keep listening past the end of several chapters. While not all the questions are answered, there is enough of a conclusion to make reading Help for the Haunted satisfying.

    Some reviewers here have complained about the narrator. I completely disagree with their unfavorable comments about Emma Galvin, the narrator of Help for the Haunted. I enjoy listening to her performance of this book and others. She is very appropriate for narrating a story from the young female perspective, especially someone with a world as upset as Sylvie's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4620)
    Performance
    (4326)
    Story
    (4344)

    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"
    "Steelheart had me looking for ways to listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Super-human Epics take control and enslave the populace with terror. A small boy (David) witnesses an Epic kill his father and obliterate an entire city. Fast forward 10 years and the boy has survived the orphanage/factory system that has educated and sustained him. Now, he hunts Epics and teams up with a small group of 'Reckoners' dedicated to eliminating Epics. David's done his homework and planning and convinces the Reckoners to go after the most powerful Epic of all - the one who killed David's father. Oh, don't forget there is also a well-written sweetheart story artfully woven into all this plotting and fighting. What's not to love? It has fast-paced action scenes and wonderfully quirky conversations which let you catch your breath without have to pause the recording. David, I'm looking to hearing more of your battles with Epics.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Bone Season

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Samantha Shannon
    • Narrated By Alana Kerr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1178)
    Performance
    (1090)
    Story
    (1090)

    The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant, and in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.... It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford - a city kept secret for 200 years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race.

    linda says: "Engaging, Room for Improvement"
    "I'm never living in London"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Bone Season creates an interesting future London where a tear in dimensions has allowed super-spirits to enter our realm and take control of natural human clairvoyants. This creates an underworld for ‘voyants’ in London who must evade capture and death or banishments for having unnatural talents. (London, of course is the setting for so many ‘unnatural’ occurrences, aliens, cybermen, etc., that I wonder if there isn’t something in the water - - maybe Stonehenge is to blame.) Our hero is a dream walker, a rare voyant who has the ability to walk through other’s dreamscape and learn secrets that the underworld gangs use to their advantage. When she is cornered by the conscripted voyants who are charged with rounding up the unnaturals she kills one of them and scrambles the brain of the second, exposing her talents to the super-spirits who want to acquire her abilities. She is eventually captured and then claimed by a high ranking super-spirit who rarely ever deals with humans.

    I have to admit that I started this book a couple of times and listened for maybe two chapters before I set it aside. Eventually I came back faced with a long Thanksgiving week drive. I hit play to give it another chance and glad that I did. This book got better as it went along and I concentrated on the world Ms. Shannon created. It is probably something that I will listen to again, perhaps several times to get a full appreciation for the characters and story. There are plenty of interesting characters and delicious plot lines to experience in the Bone Season. The author has done well in crafting them together. Pay very close attention throughout the entire book to truly enjoy The Bone Season.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pawn

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Aimee Carter
    • Narrated By Lameece Issaq
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

    Ashley says: "Surprisingly addictive"
    "Not as strong as others in this ilk"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another in the young heroine leads the rebellion breed of young adult novels. Not a strong of character development or plot as Hunger Games or Divergent but an enjoyable listening experience. Kitty has just turned legal age and must be tested for assignment to one of the six classes of citizens in future America. Her disappointing upbringing in an orphanage in Washington D.C. leads to a less than satisfactory class and work assignment in a distant city away from her slightly younger lover interest. After seeking an alternate life style on the edges of society she is recruited by the heads of the country to serve as a replacement for a deceased third in line successor to the throne. To tell you more would spoil the enjoyment of Pawn.

    The story makes several half-hearted stabs at making social commentary about the divisions which separate the ‘haves’ and the ‘haves not’ of the country and the abuses which corrupts those with absolute power. The author inflicts no particular judgment allowing the reader to decide for themselves the proper level of outrage they wish to assign to any particular atrocities exposed through Kitty’s assumption of the secretly deceased niece’s life.

    Pawn is a perfectly adequate expenditure of a credit and may just be the start of as entertaining series of novels. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4205)
    Performance
    (3880)
    Story
    (3908)

    What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

    Teddy says: "I hate it when this happens"
    "Takes us in a different direction than anticipated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Allegiant concludes the trilogy about a girl who made changes - changes to herself. her family, and the world she inhabits. Those who are giving poor ratings are likely looking for popcorn ending and complaining when the get a steak dinner. It is worthy of the investment to read Allegiant even though the conclusion is not what most readers likely expect. I hope it is the story Ms. Roth wanted to tell because she did so with style and dignity for Tris Pryor - putting Tris's story above easy fortune.

    Great stories and characters challenge us to be better than we currently are. They should force us to realize time is short and heroes are few. The story of Tris Pryor should get us to question the changes going on us and, more importantly, the lack of change heading towards the better. Tris stands for questioning and acting against the status quo. Tris is a hero, even before the start of Allegiant. Although she may not 'officially' be thought of as one at the end, the change she brings forth is indeed heroic in so many unstated ways. Take time to think about the story beyond the words on the page. Contemplate what this diminutive teenage character accomplishes from the time she walks home from school wondering which faction to choose until the final confrontation with David in the laboratory. Recognize Tris's sacrifices for people who knew her and the thousands of others who never had that privilege. Let go of your on selfish expectation and see the change in you the author is trying to develop today, so that a Tris in the future doesn't have to end like the one in Allegiant.

    Expect to be moved by Allegiant instead of handed another formulaic and marketable conclusion. Congratulations Ms. Roth, for choosing to be Divergent. Emma Galvin will forever be the voice of Tris Pryor - an accomplishment for which she should be proud.

    17 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • The Rook: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Daniel O'Malley
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1782)
    Performance
    (1615)
    Story
    (1615)

    Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization - and this person wants her dead.

    Ethan M. says: "Harry Dresden meets English bureaucracy"
    "Sometimes I get lucky. This is one of those times!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    The Rook is a wonderful book. Just enough strangeness and mystery to keep you wanting to hear more and not needing to make crib notes about which dastardly evil entity Rook Thomas is facing.

    The Rook starts out with someone waking up with amnesia and finding they have a sudden choice to make, assume their old life or abandon it and start totally over. Fortunately Ms. Myfanwy Thomas, decides to resume her existing life after her memory was rebooted and takes us all along on an enjoyable journey. We discover the many wonders and challenges she faces as a domestic section chief of a secret 'government' agency charged with protecting Brittan from abnormals. It is a challenging task with some great twists and turns O'Mally deftly switches between monsters du jour and the letters from her old self helping to teach Myfanwy about whom she was/is, the life she led, and how it all helps her face this day's challenges.

    Daniel O'Malley has written a solid first novel and a great foundation that could support one or a half dozen more. The pacing of The Rook kept me enjoying every passing minute, especially with the detours of the letters from ‘Me’ to ‘You,’ Myfanwy's prior and post memory reboot alter egos. O'Mally moves these passages along and, although they suddenly leave one story arc, I don't remember ever wishing he would just hurry up and get back to the main plot.

    Whoever selected Susan Duerden to narrate this book is an absolute genius. She is a perfect Myfanwy Thomas and has such an ability to bring each of O'Malley's characters solidly to life (even the slimly / barely alive ones)! I am looking forward to enjoying the work of each of these artists again and again (including an instant replay of The Rook).

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Redeemer: Harry Hole, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (242)
    Story
    (239)

    Christmas shoppers stop to hear a Salvation Army concert on a crowded Oslo street. An explosion cuts through the music and the bitter cold: One of the singers falls dead, shot in the head at point-blank range. Harry Hole - the Oslo Police Department’s best investigator and worst civil servant - has little to work with: no suspect, no weapon, and no motive. But Harry’s troubles will multiply. As the search closes in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate, and Harry’s chase takes him to the most forbidden corners of the former Yugoslavia. Yet it’s when he returns to Oslo that he encounters true darkness....

    Charles Atkinson says: "Best Modern Detective Series on Audible!"
    "Harry Hole is a terrific series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Redeemer is another great installment in the Harry Hole series. Listening to this book answers some confusion that I had in later books. The Redeemer has plenty of Nesbo trademark detail. twists and turns that make the series so enjoyable. If you're a Hole fan, or just enjoy an interesting police procedural, this is a worthwhile way to spend a credit!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • NOS4A2: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joe Hill
    • Narrated By Kate Mulgrew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2291)
    Performance
    (2129)
    Story
    (2133)

    Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

    Christopher Barnes says: "D*mn near flawless"
    "Yes its five stars - and worth every one of them."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Joe Hill has written an amazing story about a young Victoria with a talent to use her bicycle to find lost things. Unfortunately, Vic finds some things she really isn't looking for. Vic meets many memorable and well developed characters as she puts a child abductor in jail. I don't want to say too much about the story because I'm afraid that I'll spoil your enjoyment of allowing the story to unfold for you. Let me say that this is a riveting story. When you're finished I think you'll understand why I'm not giving out too many details.

    Now, let me say that Kate Mulgrew is every bit as amazing and awesome as Joe Hill's story. If you don't care for the story, listening to Kate Mulgrew's performance alone is worth the credit. Bravo Ms. Mulgrew, bravo.

    NOS4A2 is a great experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Stone Lion

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By William Eisner
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    After 22 years with the same company, George Breal is out of work for the first time in his life. He must confront the unpleasant task of reinventing his career at an age when many are winding down their ambitions and looking forward to retirement. A skilled manager, he finally finds work at the slowly failing Electronic Technologies (ETI), which has come face-to-face with a modern German competitor. ETI is owned by the cantankerous, obsessive, and dictatorial entrepreneur John Lowell, who is starting to realize, as he closes out his 70s, that his shortcomings are a direct result of his misguided actions from the past.

    Howard says: "An interesting piece of fiction"
    "An interesting piece of fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe not your first or second choice in fiction tonight but it is an interesting one. Our story starts with a corporate aquisition of an American manufacturing company. We follow Geogre Breal, a displaced executive from the acquired company move to Boston and work for Electronic Technologies Inc., a firm run by a controlling founder, John Lowell. Mr. Lowell has many problems on his hands including a German competitor who is positioned to eat his lunch, an estranged daughter and a girlfriend with an agenda. Breal is brought into to make ETI more profitable and ends up fighting to keep the company in business. Stone Lion is an interesting book that doesn't necessarily compell you to keep reading hour after hour, but eagerly awaits your return and rewards you with an palette of well developed characters and a fully crafted story of challenges, successes and failures. You'll want to finish Stone Lion but you can take your time and savor some fiction without a murder, sex scene or a lot of foul language - something of a rarity today. Take a break from all of the back biting and violence found in a lot of today's fiction and enjoy a book that challenges it's characters, shows how they grow and develop and doesn't insult you (unless you are or work for an aggressive German Corporation trying to dominate the world of photoelectric micro-switchs).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Cold and Lonely Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Sara J. Henry
    • Narrated By Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body. Troy's assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family who had been playing at a blue collar life in this Adirondack village. And the deeper Troy digs into his life and mysterious death, the murkier things become.

    Howard says: "A strong story of family, loss and redemption."
    "A strong story of family, loss and redemption."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sara J. Henry's second book is another solid novel set in the Lake Placid region of New York. It is a simple then complicated and back to simple type of a story beginning with the discovery of a body in a frozen lake. By coincidence, fate of just plain dumb luck, Troy is there when a mans body is found and recovered from the frozen lake. She knows the person and shares her house with his girlfriend and begins writing a story for the local newspaper. I'll leave the rest of the story for you to discover and enjoy on your own. It is often touching, frightening, emotional and smart all within a single chapter. Some of our friends from Learning to Swim are back, in very minor - but not forgotten - roles.

    Part of my enjoyment of this series is Ms. Henry's spot-on description of the area and the people who inhabit this cold, remote place. They are indeed a hardy people who care about one another and do silly things like cut blocks of ice out of the lake to build and castle in the dead of winter. Occasionally, she takes a little literary license with some of the locations or behavior of the characters, but having many friends who live there, I believe she respects them and what it is they stand for. It is not an easy place to live, but some of the happiest people I know live there and the surrounding 50 miles. Sara has lived it and, if her writing about it is any indication, loves the tri-lakes especially those that call it home.

    I feel I must comment about the Narrator. I did not care for Abby Craden's portrayal of Troy. It was like she was telling the story in a whisper, like it was a secret. This is not how this character tells her story. I found this style/approach troublesome. I hope Suzanne Toren returns as Troy Chance giving us the strength and confidence the author has given her.

    Certainly a worth while listen/read indeed!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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