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Matthew

Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author is Stephen King! Favorite book is Hyperion! (READ/LISTEN to it!)

FORT COLLINS, CO, United States | Member Since 2012

25
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 42 reviews
  • 70 ratings
  • 179 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015
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  • Between Two Fires

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Christopher Buehlman
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (117)

    The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that plague is only part of a larger cataclysm - that the fallen angels under Lucifer are rising in a second war on heaven, and that the world of men has fallen behind the lines of conflict. Is it delirium or is it faith? She believes she has seen the angels of God. She believes the righteous dead speak to her in dreams. And now she has convinced the faithless Thomas to shepherd her across a depraved landscape to Avignon.

    Tango says: "Mesmerizing Knight Errant Tale"
    "Wow! An unexpected surprise!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story of a fallen knight looking for redemption and an innocent child he must protect. Set in the time of the Black Plague, Buehlman captures the horror, the disgust, the putrescence of that setting in exquisite detail. The author delivers the aspects of redemption and innocence to perfection with a thrilling finale. The is the first book I've listened to by this author and I'm looking forward to diving into his other works.
    Definitely recommend this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (19966)
    Performance
    (17765)
    Story
    (17731)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "King at his Masterful Best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    King truly did his research to capture the feel and historical accuracy of the Kennedy assassination in 1963. The story is about Jake Epping who discovers a way to go back in time to a certain point before the assassination of JFK. Jake has made a promise to a friend that he'll do whatever he can to try to stop the assassination.
    Jake goes through multiple iterations of trying to stop the killing of JFK and King expertly, and with great suspense, describes each attempt. At the same time Jake also falls in love with a woman "back-in-time" and his efforts to protect this woman get entangled and mired with his efforts to stop the assassination.
    Action packed and suspenseful. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17502)
    Performance
    (14576)
    Story
    (14573)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "Escape into madness and deceit!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a decent enough tale of a woman who's perspective is so distorted that she is uncertain of her own recollection of events. As many reviews have stated - it is Rear Window meets Gone Girl. The story is told from the pov's of three women: Rachel, Ana, and Megan; each of whom have some connection to the other women through a man or the same house in which they have lived at some point. The main plot is a missing person's mystery and who-done-it type.
    The story is well written in describing the distorted recollections of Rachel. While some have said this is a "unreliable narrator", I would more accurately describe her as a somewhat "psychotic" narrator.
    The majority of the plot takes place on a train and the houses in which the characters are living or have lived. This is the weakest part of the novel. It's somewhat limited in its scope (literally limited in the "sets") and characters that comprise the story. I can't see giving it 5 stars as most others have done.
    Nonetheless, a decent story that will keep you guessing till the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5151)
    Performance
    (4422)
    Story
    (4396)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "Great study on introversion!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Myself being an introvert, I was drawn to this book. I often wonder why I'm reluctant to speak up or why I feel uncomfortable in large group settings. The author (herself an introvert) does an excellent job of analyzing and deconstructing the behaviors and mind sets of introverts. So many times, during the book, I felt like I was reading exactly about myself and my own experiences.
    The author goes into detail on how better to understand introverts and ways in which to use their strengths for greater success.
    The few marks against the book is that there a few areas (very few) where the author seems a tad biased towards introverts (as opposed to extroverts), but overall this was an excellent read.
    Highly recommended for like-minded introverts and people that want to better understand introverts (Perhaps parents of introverted children. Spouses of introverts.).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steel World: Undying Mercenaries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2769)
    Performance
    (2563)
    Story
    (2572)

    In the 20th century Earth sent probes, transmissions, and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn't the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers....

    D says: "Classic Space Opera"
    "Starship Troopers rebooted!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My bar for excellent sci-fi is set at Hyperion, so I judge each sci-fi book in relation to that. However, this book very much reminded me of parts of Heinlein's Starship Troopers, just modernized and more expanded upon.

    A recruit, James McGill, joins up with earth's intergalactic army to fight another alien species on a distant planet: Steel World. Things quickly go awry, and James discovers that the conflicts are not entirely as they seem.

    The book is well written, well narrated and keeps the listener in suspense. The cons are that I have yet to find sci-fi where aliens are not depicted as something similar to an earth species: giant insects, giant lizards, strange barking seal-like creatures. I have yet to listen to sci-fi where the aliens seemed truly ALIEN (as in something we have never encountered before or something that is not like another species on our own planet.)
    That is my one complaint in regards to any otherwise solid and excellent sci-fi novel.
    Great, but not excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heart of Darkness: A Signature Performance by Kenneth Branagh

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1819)
    Performance
    (1535)
    Story
    (1542)

    A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.

    Harold says: "From Civilization into Darkness"
    "Proclaiming darkness does not make darkness."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I realize that this book is considered a classic and that it is the inspiration behind the great war film: Apocalypse Now. However, I must have zoned out in listening to this book as all I ever heard was "heart of darkness" many times over. Thus, the title of my review: simply saying "heart of darkness" several times does not provide an understanding of what it means to have a heart of darkness. The movie, Apocalypse Now, did a far better job of imbuing the character of Kurtz with a "heart of darkness" than this book did of imbuing its character Kurtz with the same. Perhaps my expectations of this tale were skewed as I had first viewed the movie before experiencing this tale.

    The narrator, Kenneth Branagh, is excellent, a very distinct voice. I'm also glad that I got this book at steep discount as I cannot consider it worth the list price. It's also advantageous that it's a short tale as I'd rather spend my time on other books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2818)
    Performance
    (2558)
    Story
    (2560)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Amazon Customer says: "Spoiler-free review below - Amazing book!"
    "Absolute Gem!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An apocalyptic story, but the zombies have a bit of a twist to them. They are not typical undead, even though they hunger for human flesh.
    The story starts out from the perspective of a young girl, Melanie, and her strange, yet wide-eyed naiveté, existence in this post-apocalyptic world. An excellently written character whom you will feel a connection to throughout the entire story.
    The story switches between the perspectives of Melanie, a teacher, a soldier, and a researcher. Each character has superbly described motivations for their respective roles and are very believable.
    The writing is excellent and the narration is top-notch. Only a few dings in the story where plot convenience marred a few areas of story development, but minor quibbles. I absolutely enjoyed this book! The ending is perfect!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of Kings: Book One of The Stormlight Archive

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13859)
    Performance
    (11061)
    Story
    (11124)

    Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor.

    Katy Crumpton says: "Very enjoyable (but a slight warning)"
    "Bloated. Massively Bloated!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Quantity is not directly related to quality. This book is about several characters in a medieval type/fantasy setting who are fighting an invading force of parshendi. It is written from several perspectives: a prince, a slave, an assassin, and a "priestess". This book is extremely heavy on exposition and very light on any action or anything that might cause you to become interested in the story. I'm surprised that it is by the same author as the lean, mean, enthralling story: Steelheart. I'm convinced that either publishing companies have done away with editors to cut costs, or editors don't bother telling bestselling authors what to cut out of their books. This book could easily be reduced by 75% as only about 10-15 hours were at all interesting in my opinion.

    26 hours into this 45 hour book and the only two characters I found interesting were Szeth and Syl. Szeth has a very cool stormlight lashing ability that I would compare to Spiderman's ability to pull himself onto walls, roofs, etc. and run along those surfaces. It is very well described and easily the best of the action scenes in this book. Sadly, it comes at the beginning and disappears for the great majority of the remainder of the book.
    Syl, a "spren" which I think of as a kind of fairie or sprite, is ironically devoid of personality when first introduced (the irony being that most all of the other characters are devoid of personality) and she gains personality as the book continues. I found her to be the best written of any character.

    Dalinor, the prince, spends most of his time wondering about his honor. The priestess, Shallan, spends most of her time eating bread and jam. Literally eating bread and jam to set up a plot point that....zzzz....oh, sorry fell asleep.

    I'd skip this book and anything else in the series. You could get through 4 great books by the time you got through this one. The one bright spot, the narrators are decent and concise in their delivery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Richard Preston
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (666)
    Performance
    (597)
    Story
    (601)

    A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days, 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot" virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.

    aaron says: "If you love viruses and gore and non-fiction..."
    "Even scarier with the recent Ebola breakout!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! I thought there was going to be a worldwide epidemic with the recent ebola breakout. Listening to this book, it seems all but certain. Not a matter of if, but when. It absolutely fascinating how a strain of ebola broke out right near Washington D.C. in a group of monkeys and yet never infected a single human being. Or did it? That's part of the story that leaves you wondering if this deadly virus is only lying in wait.
    Listen to this book. Period!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Mark Owen, Kevin Maurer
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4153)
    Performance
    (3695)
    Story
    (3724)

    From the streets of Iraq to the mountaintops of Afghanistan and to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden's compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group - commonly known as SEAL Team Six - has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines. No Easy Day puts listeners alongside Owen and the other handpicked members of the 24-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives.

    Darwin8u says: "Gripping, first-hand narrative of Op Neptune Spear"
    "An absolute thriller!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've seen Zero Dark Thirty, you need to read this book as well. It gives the perspective of the Osama Bin Laden mission from that of a Navy seal right in the action. He also describes other Navy Seal missions prior to finishing his narrative with the UBL mission. I can't get enough of these stories from the first-hand perspective of those in the mission.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Those Across the River

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Christopher Buehlman
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (118)

    Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate - the Savoyard Plantation - and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

    Charles says: "Major Sound Issues"
    "Well-constructed horror story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Christopher Buehlman because of his vivid and descriptive prose. He's a natural for building a very believable environment. I highly recommend his other book: Between Two Fires. This story - Those Across The River - expertly ratchets up the dread and horror. That being said, I was a bit disappointed with what those across the river turned out to be, but that's a minor quibble.
    The narration is well done, except the sound recording seemed to have a persistent glitch. Towards the end of some chapters, it's like the final word gets partially cut off. It's frequent enough to be irksome.
    Still, I definitely recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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