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Cliff

I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.

madison, MS, United States | Member Since 2009

575
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 180 reviews
  • 235 ratings
  • 672 titles in library
  • 64 purchased in 2014
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  • Balance: The Divine Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By M.R. Forbes
    • Narrated By Jeff Hays
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (133)

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Hidden: Alex Verus, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Benedict Jacka
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    With his talent for divining the future, Alex Verus should have foreseen his friends' reactions to the revelations about his previous life. Anne Walker no longer trusts him-and has also cut all ties with the mage community after getting kicked out of the apprentice program. As a favor to Luna, Alex's own apprentice and Anne's best friend, he checks in on her only to be told to leave her alone. Then Anne gets kidnapped.

    Amazon Customer says: "Keep 'em coming!"
    "Another Excellent Alex Verus Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 5th book in the Alex Verus series and fans will not be dissappointed. The book is fast paced and fun. The character development is good and you gain a lot of insight on several of the characters in the story. The author also does a good job of advancing the meta-story while simulatneously producing a story that would stand up on his own. This is definitely not a transitition book. Where many of my other favorite series are starting to lose steam the Alex Verus series containues to move on at full speed. Mr. Jacka is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and this novel is excellent proof why that is the case.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Getaway God: Sandman Slim, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Richard Kadrey
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (137)

    Sandman Slim must save himself - and the entire world - from the wrath of some enraged and vengeful ancient gods in this sixth high-octane adventure in the New York Times best-selling series. Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude - not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer - James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has made a few enemies. None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya - the old gods.

    Kevin says: "Apocalypse Now... with an extra side of donuts."
    "A good story.. but lacks focus"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, let me say I love this series. I really appreciate the way Richard Cadrey can crete such a creepy atmosphere in his stories. He is probably one of only two authors (the other being Harry Connoly) who can truly capture the horror and madness of cthulu/outside monsters. Using the mythos has become trope and sanitized down from sanity shattering terror to mildly scary but beatable.

    This book is fairly light on action. That is ok by me as the real weak point in the character is not in battle but dealing with his personal life. This book moves the meta-plot to a satisfying conclusion. He ties up most loose ends and leaves room to continue the series.

    The problem, as said in the title, is the book almost completely lacks focus. It just kind of rambles along with very little direction. The series has suffered from lack of a tangible strong villian since he offed his Mason Faim. The author had a great opportunity to have a great villian in this novel but pretty much wasted it on a Hannibal Lector knock-off. I'm not saying the character use wasn't clever, but so much more could have been done.

    This novel is your typical transition book. Transition books follow the pattern of wandering around aimlessly then hitting you with a bunch of changes and a big bang at the end. This is exactly what happens here. The last 2 chapters of this story basically set the series up for a complete reboot. I am worried that the series has lost its punk edge which made it cool and may be going to a more traditional Dresden-esque template.

    That being said Kadrey is a great author and hopefully will surprise us all in new and inventive ways in the next book. The bottom line is if you like the series you will like this book, but probably not as much as the previous ones.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Goddamned Freaky Monsters: The Tome of Bill, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Rick Gualtieri
    • Narrated By Christopher John Fetherolf
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (29)

    Three months have passed since the fateful encounter in New York City that ended with the disappearance of Bill Ryder - gamer, geek, and legendary vampire. Now he's back - reawakened halfway across the globe with no allies, clothing, or clue as to how he got there. The only thing he's certain of is that his captors plan to use him for their own nefarious ends and don't care how much blood they spill in the process.

    Cliff says: "Good, but mainly a transition story"
    "Good, but mainly a transition story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 5th book in the Tome of Bill series. Getting right to the point, if you liked the previous books in this series you will like this one as well. If you did not like the previous books then why the heck have you continued this far into the series?

    The story is interesting and the humor is good. There is a bit of character development but not too much which is good as this series is supposed to be light and I'd hate to lose the fun and humor as the series progresses. Some of the character actions don't make great sense, then again stupid actions are Bill's trademark.

    Really I would have given this book 4 stars except that the conclusion of the story is sort of weak and it really is more of a setup for later stories than a true stand alone novel. I hate stories that are left hanging. It's one thing to have a meta-plot but quite another to leave the reader feeling like the story was not adequately resolved.

    The narrarator is good. He does one of the best smart-alec voices I have heard. He doesn't have the greatest range but his ability to bring out the humor more than makes up for other shortcomings. The problem with this one is the audio quality wasn't as good as the previous books. You could definitely could hear different volume levels as they switched tracks which is annoying and makes you turn your mp3 player up and down a good bit

    Other than that this is another fun and enjoyable book in the series. I am looking forward to the next one, but definitely hope for a better ending to the next book..

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Deadman's Road

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

    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....

    Cliff says: "And now for something different."
    "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.

    1 of 1 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
    (39)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    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
    (1750)
    Performance
    (1646)
    Story
    (1651)

    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.

    11 of 14 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
    (28)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    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
    (44)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2528)
    Performance
    (2392)
    Story
    (2390)

    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!




    3 of 5 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
    (79)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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