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Cliff

I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)

madison, MS, United States | Member Since 2009

522
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 177 reviews
  • 230 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 53 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hero of Ages: Mistborn, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (5877)
    Performance
    (3939)
    Story
    (3973)

    The conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy fulfills all the promise of the first two books. Revelations abound, connections rooted in early chapters of the series click into place, and surprises, as satisfying as they are stunning, blossom like fireworks to dazzle and delight. It all leads up to a finale unmatched for originality and audacity that will leave listeners shaking their heads in wonder, as if awaking from an amazing dream.

    Julio says: "Well concluded!"
    "A satisfying conclusion to the series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the last book in this series. It is great just like the others. If you already read the other two books I probably couldn't make you stay away from this one if I tried and I definitely wouldn't. This novel kicks the action up several notches and the scale of the powers involved goes up several orders of magnitude. The novel answers all the questions and finishes the series off nicely. The only downside is that this series is so good I wound up with post book depression. You know it is the last of the series and it is like losing old friends. The only downside is that there aren't several more books in the series. Although, in the age of super long seriesh it is nice to see someone actually finish a series.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Deadman's Road

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Joe R. Lansdale
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Deadwood meets Cthulhu in this wild and profane Western romp featuring zombies, werewolves, evil spirits, and one pissed-off gunslinging preacher. The Wild West has never seen the likes of the Reverend Jebidiah Mercer, a hard man wielding a burning Bible in the battle between God and the devil, in an endless struggle he's not sure he cares who wins. With its five stories laced with fast-paced action, nonstop humor, and spine-tingling horror, Deadman's Road is your ride to hell....

    William says: "Excellent"
    "And now for something different."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a collection of weird west tales originally in pulp magazines. The stories are simple, monster attacks town and hero kills monsters. It isn't complicated but the formula works. I enjoyed the stories. The characters are definitely very dark, especially the hero of the piece. I like weird west literature and it is pretty rare to find any out. So, this was a bit of a treat for me.

    One thing to note is that this is pretty graphic. This is definitely adults only as it is very violent, lots of bad language and adult themes. In fact, the main character keeps remembering an incestuous relationship with his sister which drives him to fight monsters for redemption of his soul.

    I don't like short stories but these are pretty good. The problem for me is the narrator. He doesn't have a good range of voices and doesn't do a good western accent. That would be bearable, but the guy breathes very heavily through hid mouth throughout the book. I felt like it was closer to a real weird obscene phone call than an audiobook.

    If the reader had been Gordon McKenzie (did a great job on the hex slinger series) this would have been a 4 star across the board. I like the story but the reading was tough to handle. If you like this genre and don't mind the narrator then you will like this one. This is definitely something different.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sunset Strip: A Tale from the Tome of Bill

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Rick Gualtieri
    • Narrated By Trish Mckinnley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    My name is Sally. For over 30 years I've prowled the night, one of the undead. In that time I've walked amongst you - a wolf in sheep's clothing - doing unspeakable things, killing countless people. Now, on the eve of Armageddon, a chance for redemption presents itself. My past has come looking for me, beckoning me back to the city of my rebirth. Those who killed me the first time are intent on finishing the job. I'm outnumbered and outgunned, but they've got another thing coming if they think I'm outclassed.

    Cliff says: "Something to tide you over"
    "Something to tide you over"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a novella in place before the next book in the series which is out in print but not audible as of the writing of this review. The book is the usual fast paced, humor filled stories I have come to expect from this series. If you like the previous books you will more than likely enjoy this one.

    I think some of the negatives written about this series are more due to the lack of most of the main characters from the previous stories. I , for one, enjoyed learning about Sally's backstory and finding out what makes her tick. She had a sassy, smart-alec sense of humor, but it was different enough that I didn't confuse her viewpoint with that of Bill in the previous novels.

    I was kind of surprised by the low rating of the narrarator by other reviewers. I thought she did an excellent job capturing the attitude and cattiness of the main character. it was a bit over-the-top but then again Sally is pretty over-the-top herself. The only reason I rated the narraration so low was the quality of the editing and recording was one of the worst I have heard in many moons. You can literally hear multiple cuts when they stopped recording and restarted based on the amount and volume of background noise you hear.

    I could defnitely hear a lot of background noise in the recording such as moving pencils, the air conditioner changing and even some car noises in the background, The background volume also changes a lot during the recording. That definitely brings down my evaluation but not so much that I did not enjoy the book.

    If you like the series this is a good continuation, but I think you could get by without this one and just get the next book in the series if you want to save some money. Still, I liked it, but it is a little pricey for a 6 hour recording.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter Nemesis

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (624)
    Story
    (626)

    Agent Franks of the U.S. Monster Control Bureau is a man of many parts - parts from other people, that is. Franks is nearly seven feet tall and all muscle. He's nearly indestructible. Plus he’s animated by a powerful alchemical substance and inhabited by a super-intelligent spirit more ancient than humanity itself. Good thing he’s on our side. More or less.

    Bruce Selzler says: "Another Winner"
    "WWAFD? (What would Agent Franks do)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the next installment in the MHI series. In this novel you get to hear the story from the view of Agent Franks. He has a great backstory which has been hinted at in previous books but now gets explored in much greater detail. This is the typical MHI novel with lots of action, humor and a great story to boot. The narrarator is excellent and I feel that the authors works are actually better in audible format than reading them .

    That being said there are a few minor negatives. First, we get that Franks is awesome. The author keeps the constant reminders up and it gets sort of repetative after a while. Second, the author does perhaps too good a job with the character. Franks isn't loveable, heck he isn't particularly likeable. He does a good job of getting this point across and that is the problem. While a good book, it is a bit harder to enjoy this one in that while Franks is cool, he isn't likeable and that makes it harder to root for him. This improves as the book goes on but it still takes a way from the story just a bit.

    Still overall this is a great book and well worth a credit.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Bound: The Divine, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By M. R. Forbes
    • Narrated By Jeff Hays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    My name is Landon Hamilton. I'm in hell. I was sacrificed to save the world, and imprisoned with the very thing that sought to destroy it. I could handle that, except the love of my afterlife is stuck here with me, and the monster in this cage has all of eternity for payback. Even worse? Our only hope of escaping this torment rests with the vampire who set it loose to begin with. I hope it was worth it.

    Cliff says: "A hard one to get through."
    "A hard one to get through."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the fourth book in the devine series. Unfortunately, for me the quality of the series has steadily been going down hill with each book. What started off as a lively, fun novel with a great world and characters you could root for turned into a book where I cared enough about the outcome to finish reading, but just barely. If I could have found a synopsis online I would have stopped listening altogether.

    This is a werid novel and all the ingredients are there for a great book (good narrarator, cool story, interesting characters lots of action) but it just doesn't quite work. It's like someone made a cake with all the right ingredients and followed the instructions but it still came out tasting bad. I am not quite sure why.

    The book is ok, but barely a 3 in my opinion. I had to fight hard to finish this book as it became extremely tedious. One problem is splitting the point of view from a single landon point to two characters. The author kept bouncing back from one view to another so fast I couldn't really get interested in one story line before he moved onto the next.

    Another problem is for some reason this book creates a high degree of frustration for me while reading it. I don't want a Mary Sue by any stretch but you never feel like the characters are winning they just fail again and again and miraculously pull things out at the end. It's more like the main characters are led around by their noses by circumstances and the actions of offscreen characters rather than making decisions for themsleves.

    It says a lot for the quality of the previous books that I was invested enough to finish this one just to find out how things turned out. It isn't an awful book, but I just can't get into this one even though I liked the previous ones. Based on this book I think I will leave the series here as it concludes tidily enough I don't have enough questions to bother listening to any more in the series.

    If you want to see how the series turns out get this book otherwise I'd advise taking a pass.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Broken: The Divine, Book Three

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By M. R. Forbes
    • Narrated By Jeff Hays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    My name is Landon Hamilton. I'm the only thing keeping the universe in one piece. I thought fighting angels and demons was a tough gig, but now I'd give anything to go back to the not-that-good, not-so-old days. There's a new game in town, and it's one that's threatening to destroy everything that has ever been created. Oh, and my friends and I are the only ones who can stop it.

    Cliff says: "Good book but overloads the reader"
    "Good book but overloads the reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the third book in the series. This one was ok, but a much harder read than the previous ones. I definitely had to put this one down several times and come back in order to finish. Every bit of the book is non-stop action and mostly failure. Several of the actions of the characters do not make a lot of sense and seem to be more filler for the story than anything.

    This novel has what I would call climax overload. It just keeps going on and on building and building without any relase. The heroes would solve a problem, usually get outwitted, and immediately roll on to the next point with nothing to break it up. The only novel I have seen similar to this was the last novel of the Wheel of Time series as far as too much buildup to the point it became more frustration than entertainment.

    Still, it was enjoyable and does come to a satisfactory end. I will say that the tone of the series has gotten more angst ridden, whiny and at times down right emo. I definitely do not like that. Although, with what is going on in the book who can blame them for being down. Fortunately it seems that the author figured that out and fixes it in the next book of the series.

    The world and over-arching story of this series is great. There is tons of action (a bit too much actually) and is fun, but you may have to break up listening to this one to really enjoy it. Still, if you liked the previous books in the series you will want to read this one. It really is a 3.5 star book but I don't have that option as it is better than a 3 but not really a 4. it is worth sticking with the series to see how things turn out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    Overall
    (1324)
    Performance
    (1267)
    Story
    (1264)

    For nearly 2,000 years, only one Druid has walked the Earth - Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company. Atticus’ apprentice, Granuaile, is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.

    D says: "The third druid"
    "Another great Iron Druid book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 7th book in the Iron Druid series. Most series this length start to get stale, but somehow Kevin Hearne manages to keep this one as fresh and vibrant as when he started. The humor is still there in lesser amounts and the pop culture references are reduced and hidden a bit better at times. There is a much greater focus on charcter development and you learn a lot more about Atticus and Granuaile than ever before.

    There are several old friends that show up and a new one or two as well. One thing I like is that this series strikes a great balance between character development and action. So, you are always learning new things about the characters but it has enough action so it doesn't get bogged down and overly agnst ridden like some other books.

    If there was a theme to this book it would be the results of excessive pride (i.e you can't win them all) . So far Atticus has made some mistakes but always seems to come out on top. This time however he and Granuaile aren't always so lucky. I'd say this is closer to The Empire Strikes Back of the Iron Druid series. The bad guys make some significant ground and you finally start to feel they are a credible threat capable of not only out powering the good guys but out thinking them as well. That really has been missing up to this point.

    There is only one negative to this novel and it may not be a bother to most. Hearne has shifted to having three points of view he switches between in standard epic fantasy format. All 3 story lines are interesting and honestly give you a much better alternative perspective on Atticus and how he is viewed by others.

    The problem is that the the Granualie character point of view, while better than the brief looks we have had in previous books, still needs some work as it is the weak link in the novel. It isn't bad, just not as good as the voices of the other two characters. I honestly prefer the single person view from the main character. The author makes it work, but it feels as though the novel lost a bit of steam as a result. Also, by splitting the characters up you get less Oberon who is the best character in the series.

    The meta-plot of the series is advanced while keeping the novel self-contained enough to be a stand alone novel. Still, you would have to read the previous novels to understand fully what is happening. Overall, this is an extrmely fast paced, fun novel that somehow manages not to skimp on character development. Plus, he keeps it clean enough I can listen with my 12 year old daughter and we can enjoy it together without worrying too much about adult content. Kevin Hearne may just be a wizard to pull all of this off at once. This one is definitely worth buying!




    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Betrayal: The Divine, Book Two

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By M. R. Forbes
    • Narrated By Jeff Hays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (47)

    My name is Landon Hamilton. I died five years ago, except I didn’t get to rest in peace like most of the departed. Instead, I was tapped by Dante (yes, that Dante) in Purgatory to become his champion and save humankind from the rest of the Divine - you know, angels and demons and their mortal followers. Yeah, I saved the world; but my vampire almost-girlfriend, Rebecca, stabbed me in the back (literally); I was forced to kill my angel best-friend, Josette; I’ve got a snarky werewolf taking up residence in my soul; and to be honest, I’m getting tired of the whole damn thing.

    Cliff says: "A good follow-up to the previous book."
    "A good follow-up to the previous book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another excellent novel in this series. If you liked the first book in the series this one definitely will not dissappoint you. The world is vibrant and the cosmology of the series is unique and keeps getting more interesting as the series moves forward.

    Heaven and hell continue to war, but the main character finds out there is another faction in play that has been manipulating events all along. The action is non-stop and the author writes a very tight novel. He can balance character development with action so one does not overpower the other.You really get a series of danger and loss that a lot of novels don't provide and feel that something truly bad can happen to any character at any time. That is a major improvement over some of the more Mary-Sue esque main characters in other series.

    The only negative, and why I gave the story 4 stars instead of 5 is that the main character is a lot more whiny in this novel and it gets irritating after a while. That isn't to say there isn't a reason, just that it drags the story down a bit. Once you get past that the story moves at a breakneck pace. The narrarator is excellent and does a great job with a wide variety of voices and accents. Each character is unique and not at all cartoony.

    The best part is that there are so many plot twists and turns in this novel. I was caught flat footed several times with surprises in this book. I read a ton of books and finding one that keeps you guessing without being obtuse or blaming everything on a charater you didn't or barely see is great (although that does happen once). I definitely recommend this one, it is well worth a credit.

    2 of 2 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
    (2891)
    Performance
    (2753)
    Story
    (2735)

    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."
    "Get ready for some fun. PARKOUR!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Dresden Files series is back in top form for Skin Games. The book is less plot and character driven and gravitates more towards action. This is a nice change of pace from the past few books. Jim Butcher writes great action scenes and this story keeps you on the edge of your seat from begining to end. I particularly like all the swerves in the story. I usually can predict where a story is heading, but in this case a lot of the story caught me by surprise and that's a good thing.

    I won't go into details as I do not want to spoil anything, but several new characters are added and one old favorite gets a major power-up in this novel. The new characters are really interesting and I hope to see more of them in the future. Also, we are given answers to several long standing questions that have been fodder for debate for a long time.

    The meta-plot for the series is moved a long a bit, but this novel seems closer to a stand alone novel than most of the previous ones. While the author does a good job of explaining the backstory, I would still advise reading the previous novels to get the full impact of this story.

    In order to be as fair and balanced as possible there are a few things worth noting. First, there is a pretty heavy sex scene in this novel so be aware you might have to forward through that scene if you are listening with younger people.

    Second, some of the character changes are getting mixed reviews from people I know who have read the books with some saying it is really cool and others not so much. I personally like them but found myself scratching my head at a few points and going, huh? That isn't to say the changes were not cool and interesting, just that that portion of the story seemed a bit forced. Kind of like the author said wouldn't it be cool if X happened and then shoe horned it in rather than letting it occur more slowly and organically. That is my only complaint with Jim Butcher as an author is that sometimes he gets into a hurry and rushes major plot changes that would be better developed more slowly.

    The narraration is top notch as usual. Mr. Marsters is clearly one of the best in the business and I wouldn't want anyone else reading these stories if I could help it. The only negative is he was reading very slowly at first. This may be to show how Dresden was feeling at the time but it did drag a bit for my tastes. Still a superb performance and my negative is more of an aside than actual complaint.

    Overall, this is one of the better books in the series and is definitely worth a credit. The author took some major chances with making huge changes to the series in the past few books and now they are starting to pay dividends. Hurry up and get this one, you will not regret it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Balance: The Divine Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By M.R. Forbes
    • Narrated By Jeff Hays
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (95)

    My name is Landon Hamilton. Once upon a time I was a twenty-three year old security guard, trying to regain my life after spending a year in prison for stealing people's credit card numbers. Now, I'm dead. Okay, I was supposed to be dead. I got killed after all; but a funny thing happened after I had turned the mortal coil...

    Cliff says: "Nobody likes me.. Everybody hates me."
    "Nobody likes me.. Everybody hates me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This describes the main character. He goes from being a part-time security guard to being one of 3-4 people who basically have the entire universe against them He has to help maintain the balance between good and evil because if either side wins humanity ultimately loses. Combine this with a scenario similar to Greatest American hero, where the good guy loses the instruction book for his powers and you have an interesting ride ahead.

    This is a well written book. The story is action packed and the author knows how to write a good fight scene. The world is interesting and takes a worn out old trope and breathes some new life into it. The main character has to fight both heaven and hell, so you get a perspective most books never cover.

    The narrarator did an excellent job. He had a great range of voices and each was a distinct character. My only complaint would be that the character development was pretty thin. Hopefully this will improve as the series develops. There is a lot of potential for conflict. Right now the bad guys are winning so it is easy for the protagonist to justify what he does. it will be really interesting if the good guys get the upper hand and he has to start thinning that herd.

    Overall, a fun and entertaining book. Balance is definitely worth a credit if you are looking for a new series to follow.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Technomancer: Unspeakable Things, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (272)
    Story
    (275)

    When Quentin Draith wakes up in a private sanatorium, he has no memory of who he is or how he received the injuries riddling his body. All he knows is that he has to get out, away from the drugs being pumped into him and back to the real world to search for answers. His first question: How did his friend Tony’s internal organs fill with sand, killing him in a Las Vegas car crash? After a narrow escape, he tracks down the basic facts: He is an investigator and blogger specializing in the supernatural - which is a good thing, because Quentin’s life is getting stranger by the minute.

    Rush says: "More good than bad"
    "Good noir sci-fi/ fantasy series with a warning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been trying out new series to find ones I like while waiting for those I am currently reading. I decided to give this one a try and I am glad that I did.

    I was pretty concerned at first as the first few chapters are almost directly lifted from Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. It was well written though and gets into more unique territory quickly after that. The premise of the series is very cool and is similar to the lost room series on sci-fi years ago.

    The main character has amnesia and I hate that trope. Other than that the character development is good, the story is very interesting and the world makes sense. You really can like the main character and root for him. The meta-story is good enough you want to find out what happens not only in this book, but in the ones that follow. There is a lot of action and it is well written and fun.

    This is technically a Sci-fi novel, but it reads very urban fantasy as well. it reminds me of the Harry Connoly 20 palaces series, and in a good way. It is a very dark and dangerous world.
    I really loved the narrarator. If I had to pick a person to do a film noir, detective voice Mr. Lane is the go to guy. He has a great range and I can't imagine anyone else doing a better job reading this book.

    The warning is the second book. I finished this one and was anxious to move onto the next one. I read the reviews and they all talked about how bad the new narrarator was. I thought it might be because the one for this book was so good. So I bought it and started to listen.

    My first impulse was, oh hell no! I stopped the book after about two minutes. The guy sounds like Kirby Heyworth with a sinus infection and I am not overly fond of Kirby Heyword WITHOUT a sinus infection. I will try again in the future, but I am not sure I will be able to listen to it. Be aware you might not like listening to the second book and may have to read it to enjoy it rather than listen on audible format.

    Other than that, Technomancer is an excellent book, great voice acting and although it leaves a lot of questions it stands well on its own.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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