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Howard

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

Cumberland, MD, United States | Member Since 2010

ratings
68
REVIEWS
41
FOLLOWING
12
FOLLOWERS
47
HELPFUL VOTES
322

  • Kill Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2725)
    Performance
    (2435)
    Story
    (2441)

    Linda McKinney is a myrmecologist, a scientist who studies the social structure of ants. Her academic career has left her entirely unprepared for the day her sophisticated research is conscripted by unknown forces to help run an unmanned - and thanks to her research, automated - drone army. Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into the faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets.

    Madeleine says: "What's that droning sound?"
    "Scary premise of technology and greed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed Kill Decision from beginning to end. It's a scary world when people put greed ahead of human life. Unknown forces kill humans using technology so they can fuel an arms race and fatten corporate coffers. This story demonstrates the length some will go to serve their own interests and how far others have to go to stop them. Science in the book is plausible with a fair amount of literary license. All in all, very glad I listened to this book except for the cheesy sound bite at the beginning of each chapter. Very fine job by Jeff Gurner narrating this compelling book!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Children of God

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Mary Doria Russell
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (122)

    The only member of the original mission to the planet Rakhat to return to Earth, Father Emilio Sandoz has barely begun to recover from his ordeal when the Society of Jesus calls upon him for help in preparing for another mission to Alpha Centauri. Despite his objections and fear, he cannot escape his past or the future.

    Ryan says: "A weaker, but worthwhile sequel"
    "Thought provoking mix of sci-fi and religion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to The Sparrow and immediately moved on to The Children of God. Enjoyed listening to both and following the adventure into the discovery of other intelligent live in the solar system. Many well developed and memorable characters with dialog which propelled the story forward to discover a world beyond our own. It has many political and societal issues woven into the story, if you pay close enough attention to catch the author’s attempts to make statements about the church, capitalism, politics, belief in a higher power, slavery and population control. Some of the characters switch from good to bad and back several times during each book. These are novels that can make you listen for a while and then think about how this effects our present, our past and our future, for just as long. I found myself often stopping to contemplate these issues before continuing on with the story. If you have two credits and want several hours of intelligent novels, by all means get The Sparrow and The Children of God. (please note, you don’t need to get COG, but you really must start with The Sparrow. I don’t think you would understand near as much of COG without first listening to The Sparrow.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sparrow

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Mary Doria Russell
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (586)
    Performance
    (405)
    Story
    (408)

    Emilio Sandoz is a remarkable man, a living saint and Jesuit priest who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience - the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life - begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.

    yvette hatfield says: "Far fetched book but good summer listen."
    "An interesting take on higher powers."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to The Sparrow and immediately moved on to The Children of God. Enjoyed listening to both and following the adventure into the discovery of other intelligent live in the solar system. Many well developed and memorable characters with dialog which propelled the story forward to discover a world beyond our own. It has many political and societal issues woven into the story, if you pay close enough attention to catch the author’s attempts to make statements about the church, capitalism, politics, belief in a higher power, slavery and population control. Some of the characters switch from good to bad and back several times during each book. These are novels that can make you listen for a while and then think about how this effects our present, our past and our future, for just as long. I found myself often stopping to contemplate these issues before continuing on with the story. If you have two credits and want several hours of intelligent novels, by all means get The Sparrow and The Children of God. (please note, you don’t need to get COG, but you really must start with The Sparrow. I don’t think you would understand near as much of COG without first listening to The Sparrow.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Taking

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Kimberly Derting
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    When 16-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas 'n' Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed…yet she hasn't aged a day. Everything else about Kyra's old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

    Howard says: "Disappearance, return, young love, pursuit & more"
    "Disappearance, return, young love, pursuit & more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A strange disappearance after winning a state championship softball game, her return 5 years later, young love, unknown pursuers, a secret government agency and a grand conspiracy. What’s not to love? The Taking is an enjoyable Audible listen of a story about sixteen year-old Kyra Agnew, the winning state champion softball pitcher is abducted shortly after the game and returned five years later without having aged a day. First having to deal with the changes in her friends and families lives during her absence, Kyra has much bigger problems on the horizon. A secret government agency wants to capture her and she has strange new abilities. What has happened to her? Who has done it to her? Are there any others like her? What will happen next - makes for an enjoyable listen without getting too far out into conspiracy land to make it seem to be within the realm of possibility.

    Well written, very appropriate and capable narrator make this an fine production and another great Audible listen. Hopefully, there were be more stories featuring Kyra Agnew .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Help for the Haunted: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By John Searles
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (124)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6273)
    Performance
    (5855)
    Story
    (5878)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Steelheart had me looking for ways to listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

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

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

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Samantha Shannon
    • Narrated By Alana Kerr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1446)
    Performance
    (1329)
    Story
    (1330)

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

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

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

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

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pawn

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Aimee Carter
    • Narrated By Lameece Issaq
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (65)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7527)
    Performance
    (6906)
    Story
    (6976)

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

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

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

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

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

    17 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • The Rook: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Daniel O'Malley
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1940)
    Performance
    (1756)
    Story
    (1757)

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

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


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

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

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

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

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Redeemer: Harry Hole, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By John Lee
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (306)

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

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

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

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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