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James

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2010

75
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 33 ratings
  • 941 titles in library
  • 68 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Term Limits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1060)
    Performance
    (866)
    Story
    (865)

    In one bloody night, three of Washington’s most powerful politicians are executed with surgical precision. Their assassins then deliver a shocking ultimatum to the American government: set aside partisan politics and restore power to the people. No one, they warn, is out of their reach—not even the president. A joint FBI-CIA task force reveals the killers are elite military commandos, but no one knows exactly who they are or when they will strike next.

    Tundrabeast says: "IN THE BEGINNING"
    "Early Flynn -- Too Early"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Laughable plot in which the "hero" leads a group of former soldiers in a plot to kill politicians who refuse to balance the budget (along with one senator who revealed confidential information while drunk, leading to a military mission being compromised). This is right-wing propaganda in extreme form. The heros all love their guns -- anyone who is not a gun nut is of suspect character. Flynn's later novels -- the Mitch Rapp novels -- are enjoyable even for people who are not right wing zealots, although the political orientation of the writer is clear. Term limits, however, has too many rough edges -- and the plot does not make sense. In the final resolution somehow the deficit spending issue that prompted the initial assassinations is forgotten.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Nice Dragons Finish Last: Heartstrikers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Rachel Aaron
    • Narrated By Vikas Adam
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (114)

    As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don't cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn't fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

    Jessica says: "Awesome Dragon Story"
    "Light Urban Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not a big fan of urban fantasy -- where magic has somehow entered the modern world -- and where various magical creatures (dragons in this case) use cell phones, order pizza, and drink coffee. Still I enjoyed this book and would probably buy the next book in the series. The main character is good -- and he does experience some genuine character development. And his brother Bob and sister Jessica are also pretty good. But the main female character got a bit annoying -- implausibly focused on her own interests even when she is about to get herself and the hero killed. The performance was good. I especially liked the dragons with Russian accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Omega Rising: Omega Force, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Joshua Dalzelle
    • Narrated By Paul Heitsch
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    Jason Burke was a man hiding from himself in a small cabin high in the American Rocky Mountains when his simple, quiet life was shattered one night by what he first assumed was an aviation mishap. But when he investigates the crash, what he finds will yank him out of his self-imposed exile and thrust him into a world he could have never imagined.

    Voca Matisse says: "Omega Rising is FANTASTIC!"
    "Good Old-Fashioned Sci-Fi -- For a Change"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am old enough to remember when Sci-Fi was mostly upbeat, the characters were likable, and the plot made sense. This book recaptures that tradition. And the narration was good, much better than in other Sci-Fi series I have recently listened to. The book is not deep but if you want some enjoyable escapist Sci-Fi, this is a good choice. I hope Audible makes the rest of the series available soon.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • When the Bough Breaks: The Empire's Corps, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    The Galactic Empire is dying. In their high towers, the Grand Senators plot and struggle to grasp a larger share of power while on the streets, the poor struggle to survive just one more day. Chaos and anarchy are running through the megacities of Earth, while giant corporations tighten the screws and colony worlds plot to declare independence and escape the Empire's increasing demands for resources. Centuries of mismanagement are finally catching up with the human race.

    Jean says: "A great new series"
    "Major Departure from the First Two Novels"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first two novels in the series have the "new beginning" theme, much like Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, as the hero is exiled to the edge of a failing empire and sets about rebuilding a new and better civilization. I liked these books quite a lot. The third novel goes back in time to show us the details of the decline of the Terran Empire. I have three major reservations:

    1. I suppose the decline of an empire is not likely to be pretty but I am guessing that few if any historical examples (and not many fictional ones) are as ugly as this one. It was pretty depressing reading (or listening) much of the time.

    2. The author seems preoccupied with sexual abuse and sexual violence.

    3. More so than Nuttall's other books this book seems dominated by a kind of "populist tea party" ideology in which government bureaucrats and journalists are uniformly bad and politicians are very bad. University students are lazy, naive and self-indulgent. But guns and "the right to bear arms" are good and marines are very good. Public schools are bad but anything that resembles home schooling or marine boot camp is good. This excessively simplistic ideology is emphasized and repeated throughout the book.

    In addition to these concerns, I was disappointed in the performance. I have never heard so many instances in which the narrator puts the emphasis on the wrong word in a sentence. It was like he could not be bothered to actually understand the meaning of what he was reading.

    There was also one other minor point that bothered me. I admit this is hard to believe for a successful writer of military science fiction, and maybe I am wrong, but Nuttall seems to have inverted the ranks of colonel and major, treating major as senior to colonel instead of the other way around.

    On the other hand, the basic plot is quite good and the central relationship (between the marine heroine and the prince) provided some positive elements in the book.





    0 of 0 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
    (10523)
    Performance
    (10015)
    Story
    (10033)

    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 plain old "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"
    "Reminded me of Apollo 13"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you liked the Apollo 13 movie (as I did) you should love this audiobook. It is the "man against nature" theme except the nature in question is on Mars, not on Earth. Most of the book consists of diary entries (or log entries) by one man who is stranded on Mars. The entries are both funny and gripping, and I appreciated the heavy dose of "real science" as the protagonist figures out how to survive on Mars and how to help with his rescue. And the voice performance was excellent. Loved this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11673)
    Performance
    (10884)
    Story
    (10893)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Great Combination of Three Genres"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the best audiobook I have listened to this year (and that is an embarrassingly large number of audiobooks). It fits into the science fiction category as it takes place in a distopian near future in which vast numbers of people retreat into an online multiplayer game that takes on the status of an alternate reality that is more important to many people than real life. This is also a coming of age novel focusing on a group of young people who learn about themselves and about each other while going through a harrowing online adventure. The third category is the "popular culture" genre as the heroes have to navigate an online game based on 1980s pop culture, especially popular "geek" culture. The combination is very original. This novel is a great nostalgia trip for anyone born between about 1950 and 1975 and is just a great adventure for anyone younger than that. And the performance is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Perilous Shield: The Lost Stars, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (923)
    Performance
    (857)
    Story
    (857)

    Following a successful coup, the leaders of the rebel Midway Star System struggle to forge a government free enough to please its citizens yet strong enough to secure power. But in a world where former rulers have become new foes, an alien threat to humanity may turn old adversaries into uncertain allies. General Artur Drakon knows three words describe someone who confides in a Syndicate CEO: Stupid. Betrayed. Dead. Despite his misgivings, he partnered with another former CEO to overthrow Syndic forces.

    Joki says: "Still Great!"
    "Gripping Novel but Cliffhanger Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Lost Stars series describes many of the same events as the Lost Fleet series and the Beyond the Frontier series but from a different point of view. I like the approach, borrowed from the Alexandria Quartet. I find the characters compelling, the plot lines interesting, and the political and military detail very plausible and insightful. I would have given the first 95% of the book five stars. However, I did not like the ending, which leaves the key issue in the novel unresolved and has two major plot twists. Campbell abandons his normal approach of careful, plausible plot development. I had been completely drawn into the reality of the story and suddenly, in the last few minutes, found the spell broken as the author introduces a stereotypical megalomaniac plot line that seems implausible.

    I hope the author rescues the plot line quickly in the next novel in the series. And I hope the next novel actually has an ending that is not yet another cliffhanger.

    Still worth worth reading or listening to, but I suspect it would be more satisfying to be able to read the sequel right away.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Flashman and the Dragon: Flashman, Book 10

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By George MacDonald Fraser, Kati Nicholl (abridged by)
    • Narrated By Toby Stephens
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In China, in 1860, a lot of people mistakenly put their trust in Flashman: the English vicar’s daughter with her cargo of opium; Lord Elgin in search of an intelligence chief; the Emperor’s ravishing concubine, seeking a champion in her struggles for power; and Szu-Zhan, the female bandit colossus, as practised in the arts of love as in the arts of war. They were not to know that behind his Victoria Cross, Harry Flashman was a base coward and a charlatan. They took him at face value. And he took them, for all he could, while China seethed through the bloodiest civil war in history.

    James says: "Good for an Abridged Version"
    "Good for an Abridged Version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the Flashman series and this is one of my favorites. I would have preferred the unabridged version but this abridgment was very well done and I found the book very enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tarnished Knight: The Lost Stars, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1261)
    Performance
    (1151)
    Story
    (1158)

    The authority of the Syndicate Worlds’ government is crumbling. Civil war and rebellion are breaking out in many star systems, despite the Syndic government’s brutal attempts to suppress disorder. Midway is one of those star systems, and leaders there must decide whether to remain loyal to the old order or fight for something new.

    Aser Tolentino says: "Enjoy OBSTLT (or Be Subject to Life Termination)"
    "Under-rated and Very Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jack Campbell (J.G. Henry) is one of my favorite SF authors and this is an excellent novel (an offshoot of the Lost Fleet Series). The thing I like about J.G. Henry is that the gets the small things right -- the characters, the interactions, the details of life in a military environment -- it is all consistent and makes sense. He does not overindulge in emotion and histrionics and extensive battles. He has some good battle scenes but, ultimately his books are based mainly on interactions between characters. The building trust (professional, not romantic) between Drakon and Iseni -- former Syndicate CEOs -- is very interesting and satisfying.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5264)
    Performance
    (4747)
    Story
    (4836)

    The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is great to finally get the unabridged version of LOTR from Audible - the greatest fantasy series of all time. I asked for this from Audible at least a couple of times and I assume many others sent in requests as well. I am just delighted to finally get it. I listened to it on audio cassette many years ago and it is just great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Litigators

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3964)
    Performance
    (3241)
    Story
    (3209)

    The incomparable master of the legal thriller takes us deeper into the labyrinth that is the American justice system, always drawing us in with an irresistible hook, pulling the thread of tension tighter and tighter, and then knocking us out with a conclusion that's never "by the book". Maybe that's why, after more than 20 years of consecutive number-one New York Times best sellers, a new novel by America's favorite storyteller is still a major publishing event.

    Amazon Customer says: "Typical Grisham, entertaining"
    "Humour with Suspense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nice to see Grisham turn his hand to humour -- combined with some suspense and the usual thoughtful insight into an element of the legal profession. Could be my favorite legal novel ever.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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