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Cidney

Reader. Wannabe writer. That's a picture of me standing in line to see Stephen King!

New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands | Member Since 2006

252
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 439 ratings
  • 839 titles in library
  • 47 purchased in 2014
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34

  • Dead Eye: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2115)
    Performance
    (1891)
    Story
    (1909)

    Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.

    Julius Butcher says: "Fits well into the series"
    "Boiled Down Bourne"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Take the Bourne stories and shave away character development, simplify the plot to good guy runs/bad guys chase, and you’ve got the Gray Man stories.

    This is not necessarily a criticism. What remains is a consistent character – Court Gentry will always be a “singleton,” a lone operator, his character will never be complicated by relationships, and whatever trouble he gets into he will rely only upon himself and his wits to get out of it.

    What we miss are answers to questions like how did Gentry become who he is? Why does the government want him dead? After four books we’re still left with vague and incomplete answers.

    The action is non-stop and the book is a page-turner; I didn’t want to stop listening to it. And it’s a return to classic Gray Man after the book 3 side trip to Mexico. I do wish that there was more character development, and that the storyline had more meat on it. The action was projected; it was too easy to see what was coming next. I like the character Court Gentry. I’d like to see him interact within a more complex storyline.

    Maybe we’ll get that in book 5. Now that Gentry is hooked in with a powerful foreign intelligence agency he’ll start doing the chasing instead of being the chased, and we’ll find out why the CIA wants him dead!

    I love listening to Jay Snyder read these stories. He can go from Frat Boy Dude to Commando in an eye blink. His narration makes all the difference.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Never Coming Back

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tim Weaver
    • Narrated By David Bauckham
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie's house to find the front door unlocked, dinner on the table, and the family nowhere to be found - Carrie, her husband, and two daughters have disappeared. When the police turn up no leads, Emily turns to her former boyfriend David Raker, a missing persons investigator, to track the family down. As Raker pursues the case, he discovers evidence of a sinister cover-up, decades in the making and with a long trail of bodies behind it.

    Cidney says: "Where’s the Pho’ograph?"
    "Where’s the Pho’ograph?"
    Overall
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    Story


    This one could have done with more storytelling and less explaining.

    Part of what made “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series such compelling novels was that the main character, through his actions, told the story. That is, we the readers discovered the story along with the character. In “Never Coming Back,” the main character, David, doesn’t do much worthwhile discovering on his own.

    Just as in the “Dragon Tattoo” there is a photograph and a missing person – well, a whole family, actually – and a distant family member comes to our investigator and says find ‘em. Unlike in the “Dragon Tattoo,” our investigator doesn’t follow one clue to the next and the next. He argues with his partner, he fights with witnesses and suspects, and he doesn’t follow-up on significant leads. Ultimately our investigator follows one corpse to the next and the next, and this high body count does not bode well for our missing family!

    The Big Reveal isn’t learned through independent action on the part of our investigator, but instead is explained to us via exposition from a character on an iffy cell phone connection. I suppose the author intended the dropped words to build suspense. Instead it was tiresome and frustrating. And the last solid 30 minutes of the book is nothing but exposition, the Bad Guy sitting with David explaining why he went along with certain schemes and did what he did.

    All in all “Never Coming Back” is not the best book for fans of mysteries and thrillers. Perhaps someone less familiar with the genre would find this book enjoyable. I found it somewhat uninspired.

    David Bauckham overall wasn’t awful to listen to, but his American accents? Pretty awful to listen to!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Code Zero: Joe Ledger, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (1064)
    Story
    (1054)

    For years the Department of Military Sciences has fought to stop terrorists from using radical bioweapons - designer plagues, weaponized pathogens, genetically modified viruses, and even the zombie plague that first brought Ledger into the DMS. These terrible weapons have been locked away in the world’s most secure facility. Until now. Joe Ledger and Echo Team are scrambled when a highly elite team of killers breaks the unbreakable security and steals the world’s most dangerous weapons.

    Melinda says: "Back Off! Or I'll Bite"
    "Like a Greatest Hits Album"
    Overall
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    They’re all here! Amira’s zombies, the Jacoby twin’s berserkers, and Junie, Toys, Helmut, Violin and Arc Light all make an appearance, and there’s even a shout out to one or two of the short stories. It’s like a fireworks grand finale – they all go off fast and furious, and you have just enough time to recognize one monster before the next one explodes overhead.

    Zombies, berserkers and quick-onset Ebola are scary enough, but what’s even more frightening is the DMS fighting the ultimate monster – one it created. There’s the real sense that Ledger and Echo Team are up against their greatest challenge. And in the end, do they really prevail? “Mr. Church” must answer some serious questions - for himself if no one else - about the DMS teams he’s created.

    Code Zero is a fast-paced thrill ride full of monster mayhem and Ledger’s military might. Ray Porter’s narration is, as usual, brilliant. He is Joe Ledger. He is Mr. Church. He is Rudy, Bunny, Top and Circe too.

    If you’re into monsters and badassery you can’t go wrong with Joe Ledger and the DMS. If you’re new to Ledger this isn’t the best book to start. At least read Patient Zero or the Dragon Factory first. For longtime fans and those who’ve read all the previous books, Code Zero is a real treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bird Box: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Josh Malerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: 20 miles downriver in a rowboat blindfolded with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them....

    Melinda says: "Macaroni Guts vis-à-vis Fear, Itself"
    "Dreary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Not a fun summer read.

    In this book terror takes the form of a knock on the door, a change in the sound of birds cooing, and imagined threats. “Something” is out there! Something unidentifiable, something that, though you don’t know what it is and wouldn’t know it even if you saw it, if seen would drive you mad to the point of murder and suicide.

    Malorie, a young mother, attempts to pilot herself and her children down a river in a rowboat blindfolded. Her destination is a supposed refuge some 20 miles downriver. How Malorie got to the moment of this desperate act is the bulk of the story. She spends most of her time pregnant and scared in a house full of characters that are ill-defined and largely uninteresting. There are Tom, Don and Jules, among others. Tom is fatherly and curious, Don is paranoid and angry and Jules is good with dogs, and that’s about all we get to know about them. They bicker and they plan and they debate the nature of something they can’t see, have never seen and can’t study. All they know is if you see it, you die, and you will likely take a bunch of other people with you when you go down.

    Seeking things with the ends of broomsticks and moments of attempting to identify half heard sounds are obvious attempts at suspense and terror, and end up being neither suspenseful nor terrifying. Imagine you’re standing in full daylight on a beautiful spring morning watching someone blindfolded, obviously terrified of what they only think they’ll run into, attempt to fill a bucket from a well. Yeah, that’s how I felt throughout the whole book. I waited for something to happen, something that wasn’t imagined by the characters or from a second-hand story they heard on the news.

    And the soft, tremulous voice of the narrator only added to the heavy grayness of the story.

    Perhaps this book wasn’t the best choice after reading exciting rip-roaring fare like “Mr. Mercedes” and “Skin Game.” Perhaps this is a story better suited to overcast, wintery days, but I found it somewhat depressing and claustrophobic. I wanted to rip off blindfolds and have the story just be told.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Night Chill

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jeff Gunhus
    • Narrated By James Lewis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    Jack Tremont moves his family to the quiet mountains of Western Maryland hoping to leave behind a troubled past and restart his life. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a nightmare when his daughter Sarah is targeted by Nate Huckley, a mysterious and horrifying stranger driven by a dark power that will stop at nothing to possess Sarah. When Sarah goes missing, suspicion falls on Jack and he must uncover the secrets of the small mountain town of Prescott City and face the evil secret hidden there.

    Kim Venatries says: ""The Place Where Nightmares are Born""
    "More Frustrating Than Frightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    “Night Chills” wasn’t a horrible story, but I did do a lot of eye-rolling listening to it.

    One of the fiction writer’s credos is “only trouble is interesting.” But when the trouble comes about because of your character’s asinine decisions or forced and inexplicable circumstances, then the trouble is more frustrating and less interesting. Here is an example: You’re at a public rest stop. Your kids are in the car with you and you need a pay phone. You spot one some distance from where you’re parked, but instead of driving closer to the phone, you decide to get out and walk to it leaving your kids alone in the unlocked car. Oh, and this just after you’ve gotten a creepy message telling you that someone wanted to hurt one of your kids. So, of course, while you’re on the phone, you turn around to see a creepy man chatting up your daughters in the backseat. My first thought was, “dude, you didn’t see this coming? You’re in a public rest stop! Nothing good ever happens in a public rest stop,” and I rolled my eyes.

    Here’s another one: Your young daughter is lost in a hospital. To help find her you’ve enlisted a couple of orderlies to wander the halls calling her name. It occurs to you that your daughter might not respond to a couple of strange men shouting after her, and so you conclude that she must be hiding. I’m thinking, “hospital is big enough for a child to get lost in but not big enough to have a PA system? Get on the PA and let her hear her mother’s voice,” but this wouldn’t have worked for the story as written. Child stays lost, story moves on, and I rolled my eyes.

    The story’s interesting MacGuffin isn’t revealed until the last third of the novel, and then it’s not fully explored, which makes me think there might be a book 2 on the way. If so, I just hope that Gunhus can make his plot devices a bit more believable.

    James Lewis didn’t do a bad job. In fact he did a great job. He has the wonderfully deep basso voice of a TV news anchor, great for reading the news but doesn’t allow for a wide range in personality and characterization.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Places

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jon Evans
    • Narrated By William Michael Redman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Paul Wood is a modern vagabond, a man who chooses to leave the comforts of San Francisco to spend months backpacking through some of the world's most challenging terrain: Cameroon, Indonesia, Nepal. While hiking in the Himalayas, Paul gets more of a rush than he bargained for when he finds the body of a murdered hiker, the victim mutilated in a way that Paul has witnessed once before, years ago and thousands of miles away. To quell a scandal, the police rule the death a suicide and close the case. But Paul can't let it go....

    Cidney says: "Exotic Locals, Banana Pancakes & Serial Killing"
    "Exotic Locals, Banana Pancakes & Serial Killing"
    Overall
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    The Lonely Planet traveler knows how to see some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic locations on the cheap. A passport, a backpack, a pair of good boots and a map of the local youth hostels and you’re on your way. Typical problems on the road revolve around disease, transportation, food and water. Who would think to add serial killer to this list? This is the idea presented in this creepy little story.

    International backpackers are typically affable, easy-going and a happy-go-lucky bunch. Easy to make new friends of a variety of cultures and always up for “whatever” they are the low hanging fruit to the traveling sociopath on a budget. Our Hero, Paul, a world traveler of The Road, encounters this serial killer and begins a slow chase to find him and stop him forever. Part of this is a revenge quest – Paul’s girlfriend was one of the victims – but along the way Paul learns that the whole situation is even creepier than simple murder.

    This slow thriller, set in the early aughts, has Paul traveling from internet café to internet café, from Cameroon to Nepal to Indonesia. The author paints each location beautifully; you know he’s been there, that he’s eaten the food and seen the sights. The thrill isn’t in the mystery, Paul figures out who the killer is pretty quickly, but in how he’s going to resolve the situation. Local and international law enforcement are less than helpful. It’s down to him, a Lonely Planet web editor, and a handful of acquaintances he met on The Road.

    The storytelling is a little dry, and I would have preferred more mystery, but the backpacking lifestyle and each location is brought to vivid life, and it made me want to pack a pack, buy a water filter and hit The Road – despite the serial killer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sandman Slim

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Richard Kadrey
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1638)
    Performance
    (1374)
    Story
    (1383)

    When he was 19, James Stark was considered to be one of the greatest natural magicians, a reputation that got him demon-snatched and sent downtown - to Hell - where he survived as a gladiator, a sideshow freak entertaining Satan's fallen angels. That was 11 years ago. Now, the hitman who goes only by Stark has escaped and is back in L.A. Armed with a fortune-telling coin, a black bone knife, and an infernal key, Stark is determined to destroy the magic circle.

    Mike Naka says: "jack bauer + spawn = sandman slim"
    "My New Favorite Badass Character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    A guy wakes up in a Los Angeles cemetery. He’s on fire. He beats out the flames and mugs another guy for cash and a jacket. He’s just come back from Hell. Can you be more badass than that? Meet James Stark, also known in Heaven and Hell as Sandman Slim.

    Demon-snatched at 19 and taken “Downtown” (Hell), Stark spends 11 years fighting in Hell’s arena and being abused by Hellions and Lucifer’s army before he finds a way to escape. Now he’s 30 and he’s back in L.A. on a quest for revenge.

    This first person narrative has us in Stark’s head as he encounters old and new friends, and seeks out the enemies that sent him Downtown and killed his beloved Alice.

    Kadrey’s L.A. is vivid, and Stark’s view of it is at the same time loving and cynical. His smirking, smart-assy quips and observations define the character and set a dark tone for the story. Stark is dark! He’s in a similar milieu as Harry Dresden, but he is far darker.

    What can you expect from a guy who spent a decade in Hell? A lot of action and mayhem in colorful settings, from Lucifer’s penthouse suite to a punk tiki bar in L.A. called the Bamboo House of Dolls. If that’s not the best name ever for a bar, I don’t know what is.

    If you ever wished that Dresden were a little darker, or if you ever wished that Atticus O’Sullivan were meaner, well here he is in Sandman Slim.

    MacLeod Andrews’ growl perfectly embodies Stark’s character. He sounds like a guy who's been smoking Maledictions and drinking Aqua Regia for years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • They Thirst

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (128)

    It looked like another ordinary day in Los Angeles. Then night came...Evil as old as the centuries has descended upon the City of Angels - it comes as a kiss from the terrifying but seductive immortals. Slowly at first, then by the legions, the ravenous undead choke Los Angeles with bloodthirsty determination - and the hordes of monstrous victims steadily mount each night.

    Kenneth says: "Not McCammon's best"
    "McCammon’s Nudge & Wink"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Well, if vampires were going to take over I believe they would start in L.A. too! “They Thirst” is McCammon’s love letter to “Dracula,” Los Angeles, and now, looking at 30 years past, the 1980’s – I smiled every time a character needed to find a pay phone or turned up a transistor radio.

    I first read this book as a kid in the 80’s growing up in Los Angeles. At the time this was sort of the cool kid’s antidote to the “Twilight” of the time (“Interview With a Vampire”) because it was current and used real and – nudge-nudge, wink-wink -- “fictional” L.A. references. From Bela Lugosi to Elvira, Los Angeles has always had a special relationship with vampire mythology and storytelling, and McCammon plays this up to full effect in “They Thirst.”

    As an adult I can appreciate his tongue-in-cheek homage to “Dracula,” and his hat tip to “Salem’s Lot” too. He even throws in a couple of shout outs to two of his own earlier novels. Clearly, this is McCammon having fun with the storytelling, so it’s not one of his most polished and mature works. Some of the characters and plot twists are just monster movie over the top. And though it is a little on the long side for this type of story, you still just want to settle in with a big bowl of buttered popcorn and listen the afternoon away. [cue the Theremin and thunder sound effects]

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Cut and Run

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
    • Narrated By Sawyer Allerde
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (535)
    Performance
    (409)
    Story
    (410)

    An erotic gay romance, a suspenseful thriller.... A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case. Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work. He's cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does.

    Zion says: "Stunned and surprised."
    "Let’s Play POV Ping-Pong!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story



    Wow, where to start! This book is a study in how not to write a novel, and yet… and yet, these gals must know something I certainly don’t: they’re published, and this book, Cut and Run, is first in a series of six (!), so far. Or maybe soft-core porn just doesn’t need to be all that well written.

    Trying to keep up with the point of view changes was like trying to watch the ball in a championship ping-pong match. It was hard to keep up with who was speaking, and therefore it was impossible to know whose story was being told. Confusing the reader with POV changes is a huge Writing 101 no-no. In Cut and Run the perspective changes so often, sometimes within the same paragraph, that the moment you, reader, start to identify with one character the perspective has switched and you’re on to the other making it difficult to care about either.

    I would wager that a full third of this book is nothing but adverbs. Oh my god, nearly every action is done carefully, slowly, slightly, doubtfully, soothingly, flatly, softly, curtly, wordlessly, logically, dubiously… “She complained, obviously.” So many adverbs. They stifled the flow and undermined the storytelling. Another Writing 101 no-no, and the classic “show vs. tell” issue. Instead of telling us that “he watched him warily” the writers could have left out the adverbs, let the dialog and the action flow, and just showed us that the watching was wary.

    And speaking of the dialog… the meant-to-be playful banter between the two main characters is forced and sometimes awkward and often clichéd. It’s intended to tell readers, “They hate each other. No, they really hate each other. Well, maybe it’s actually angsty teasing. No, it’s foreplay!” And the writers just beat you over the head with it throughout.

    Let’s just call this for what it is: it’s a buddy cop romance thinly disguised as a mystery. There are a lot of needless descriptions of hotel rooms, what the men wore, and pointless actions that have nothing to do with the story, and all these descriptions are just long lead-ins to the sex scenes. The characters don’t actually spend much time trying to solve the murder mystery that is supposed to be at the heart of the story. As for the mystery, if that is what brought you to this book, I would recommend selecting something else. The mystery, a serial killer in New York, isn’t even mysterious enough to keep the attention of the two main characters.

    While the budding romance was tender and the sex scenes were kinda hot, I wasn't sufficiently moved by the characters or the story in this book to continue with the series.

    Allerde’s narration wasn’t awful – when doing male voices – but his falsettos were pretty bad.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Uninvited Guests: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Sadie Jones
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor - and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief. The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band of visitors is not invited to taste. But nothing, it seems, will go according to plan.

    Cidney says: "And You Think You’re Haunted By Your Past!"
    "And You Think You’re Haunted By Your Past!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In many ways Uninvited Guests is a comedy of manners, particularly British in its wit and depreciating sense of humor.

    The Torrington household is preparing to celebrate the 20th birthday of their eldest daughter, Emerald. At the same time, Charlotte, Em’s mother, is anxious about the state of Sterne, and whether or not she and her children will be able to stay in the house much longer. Her husband, Edward, leaves on the day of the party to negotiate a home loan in town. That’s the set up. And it’s all very dramatic comedy with some upstairs-downstairs conventions and budding romances among the young people, but things change when there’s word of an accident “on the branch line,” and Charlotte’s past, quite literally, comes knocking on the door!

    The Uninvited Guests is quiet and funny and creepy all at once, and I found it to be an enjoyable listen. I have only two criticisms: first, while Kate Reading did a fabulous job for the most part, her interpretations of some of the character affectations seemed a bit off to me. Also, like some other reviewers, I felt the pony situation, though it started off being funny, went on longer than it needed.

    Still, if you’re in the mood for turn of the century wit and a bit of the supernatural you could do worse than The Uninvited Guests.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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