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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

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 49 reviews
  • 74 ratings
  • 203 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
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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
    (135)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (123)

    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
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others
    Overall
    (3613)
    Performance
    (2760)
    Story
    (2772)

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "Whirlwind for the Mind!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book simply left my head spinning! It begins in the 19th century with a group of sailors headed towards Hawaii. The story then proceeds through character after character over a timeline from the 1800s into a future that is so distant and apocalyptical that the people of that time period don't know the year.

    I can't recall each and ever single character over the timeline, but the ones that stand out are the reporter in the 1970s doing investigative work into a nuclear power plant, the clone Somni in a dystopian future, and the post-post apocalyptical character of Zachry who lives in Hawaii. The reason I remember Zachy is because he's the character I like the least. His manner of speech (while perhaps realistic) is difficult to listen to. I wonder how it would come across when read.

    Once the story hits its furthest point in time with Zachry, it then travels backward again through each character until we are back where we began with the sailor in the 19th century.

    A great tale, expertly cast narrators, and story that effortlessly weaves through time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart: Reckoners, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10894)
    Performance
    (9998)
    Story
    (10036)

    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"
    "X-Men Retold!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Come on, this story is pretty much a retelling of X-Men and mutants with supernatural powers. At least that's what I thought when I first started listening to it. While the story does follow that type of genre where some people have gained tremendous powers due to some sort of alien artifact, it's more of a story about a normal person who is trying to navigate this new reality that has the world filled with super beings. And the author does this perfectly.

    The protagonist, David, witnesses his father being killed by Steelheart, one of these superpowered mutants. He decides that he will kill Steelheart, but how do you kill someone who is pretty much like Superman?

    David begins his quest to gain revenge and ends up joining sides with a group of vigilantes whose goal is to kill these supernatural mutants. It's kind of like X-men in reverse.

    I found the story to be very well paced. The writing is superb on the descriptive and action elements. The ending was a bit over the top in contrivance, but doesn't take away from the overall excellence of this story.

    Recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Testament of Mary

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Colm Toibin
    • Narrated By Meryl Streep
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (462)
    Performance
    (425)
    Story
    (418)

    Meryl Streep’s performance of Colm Tóibín's acclaimed portrait of Mary is hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “an ideal audiobook,” presenting the three-time Academy Award-winner in “yet another great role.” Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary presents Mary as a solitary older woman still seeking to understand the events that become the narrative of the New Testament and the foundation of Christianity. In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel. They are her keepers, providing her with food and shelter and visiting her regularly. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it"; nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples. This woman who we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone, in a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.

    ana says: "from a non believer..."
    "An Interesting Perspective!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book for three reasons: 1. on sale, 2. Meryl Streep, 3. great reviews. I was not disappointed. It is a short audio book, so probably best to obtain when it is a low price. Nonetheless, it gives a very interesting account from the perspective of Mary, Mother of Jesus, as imagined by the author. What's so interesting is the starkness and sort of dour outlook that Mary has upon the activities of her son. Another interesting aspect is the author's telling of how Mary prays to various figurines of her religion. These are aspects that we just never hear about in relation to the lives that people led during that time.
    Recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers for Algernon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Daniel Keyes
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1804)
    Performance
    (1494)
    Story
    (1503)

    Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon.

    FanB14 says: "Phenomenal Classic"
    "Premier first person perspective!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What this book does best is take the reader into a very plausible and realistic first person perspective. The protagonist, Charlie, and a lab mouse both undergo an experimental procedure to determine if their intellect can be increased.
    The character of Charlie starts out as a very slow-witted person and the writing conveys that expertly. The reader actually feels as if they are in the mind of a dullard. As the procedure takes effect, Charlie becomes increasingly smarter such that he surpasses the intellect of the scientists studying him. And the writing again convincingly conveys that transformation.
    A brilliant story ahead of its time, perhaps even ahead of the present time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7817)
    Performance
    (6939)
    Story
    (6947)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Suzn F says: "Dreamlike Experience to Savor"
    "Exquisitely lush and vibrant storytelling!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author's prose is so rich and beautifully descriptive that the reader absolutely feels transported into the tale of a fantastical night circus that takes place in the late 1800s/early 1900s.

    The story is about a couple of elderly magicians who hold a sort of contest between their respective protégés. The contest continues until a winner is determined, and then another contest is begun with new protégés.

    A young girl, Cecilia, and a young boy, Marco are picked as the next protégés in the latest contest. The two, along with the rest of the circus, travel about the world putting on incredible shows, but only at night. The author's description of the magical talents and various spectacles that the two magicians showcase is superb and entrancing. You feel as if you are right there watching the magical displays. The sheer mastery that this author has with words is enough of a reason to get this book.

    Regarding the narration, I am very ambivalent about the choice. First, the narrator is clear, concise, crisp. He delivers a very polished read. However, there is narration and then there is voice acting. If this book were judged solely upon narration, he does a fine job. As for voice acting, his elderly speaking voice, while fine for the elderly magicians, is quite jarring for the young Cecilia and young Marco. It simply took me out of the story again and again. I would liken it to watching a TV where lines keep going across the picture, or the picture keeps getting distorted and jagged at odd intervals. The narrator's voice is entirely "miscast" when reading for the younger characters. In fact, at the end of the novel, where he's reading for the young Cecilia, he sounds like an old woman. It's just, quite frankly, jarring.

    Aside from that, the book is written so well that it was easy for me to overlook what I felt was a poor casting of narrator and simply allow myself to be transported into an excellently written tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Michael Punke
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (122)

    The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Trapping beaver, they contend daily with the threat of Indian tribes turned warlike over the white men's encroachment on their land, and other prairie foes - like the unforgiving landscape and its creatures. Hugh Glass is among the Company's finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker.

    Alexandria says: "Surprisingly addictive."
    "Entertaining despite Oversensationalism."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is a fairly straightforward quest for revenge story. Hugh Glass (protagonist) is attacked and severely wounded. He's abandoned by a couple of men who remained behind to care for him. Thus begins the revenge story.
    This fictionalized account of the real Hugh Glass is quite entertaining and well-researched. You feel as though you're back in the 1820s with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and its men. The writing is vivid and well-paced.

    A few knocks against the story is how often Hugh Glass falls into peril only to be miraculously rescued from that peril by some happenstance or another. It happens so often that these perils/salvations border on contrivances. At eight hours into the story, the author writes "first lucky turn" in describing Hugh Glass's fortunate escape from yet another peril and all I could do was laugh. First? Try tenth!
    There are contradictions as well when Hugh Glass is afraid to build a campfire as it may be seen by enemies, but then is more than willing to build a huge pyre. What?? Of course, such action works in his favor, naturally.

    The narrator is decent and brings different inflections and accents to the different characters. The narrator is especially good at invoking the shaky, tremulous voice of a young man and the broken, harsh voice of Hugh Glass. However, the narrator also can get a bit overdramatic at times suddenly invoking a rough growl at odd points in the narrative. I liked this narrator on No Easy Day. He's not as consistent in this telling.

    Still, an entertaining story and I can see why it'll become a movie. Certainly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mote in God's Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By L J Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4196)
    Performance
    (2599)
    Story
    (2637)

    The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".

    J. Rhoderick says: "A great read!"
    "Maybe it was good back in the 70s."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As the title of my review suggests, perhaps this book was visionary back when it was written in the 70s. Sadly, it is horribly dated in it perceptions and conceptions of that time period. The thing about great sci-fi is that it should TRANSCEND the time period of which it was written. Dune does that. Star Wars does that. Hyperion does that. These are examples of great sci-fi that has transcended the time period (60s/70s/80s) in which they were conceived and still leave us in wonder.

    The Mote in God's Eye is about a spaceship that has journeyed to a far point in the universe and it comes into contact with an alien species called Moties. The moties breed like rabbits, change gender like frogs and are able to mimic/reshape themselves into human copies.

    The "outdatedness" of this book comes from the endless dialogue regarding sexual conventions (of the 70s/80s) and social mores (70s/80s) that the humans attempt to explain to the moties. It's really quite absurd how long this discussion goes on and on.

    The other "outdatedness" is how the men of the ship perceive and act toward the only female (seemingly) that is on the ship: Lady Sally. Really. The men's attitude towards her is a cross between male chauvinism and extreme medieval chivalry.

    The book suffers from an extreme durth of action or anything that might make the story in the least bit interesting. It is very heavy on exposition and nonsense-discussion between the characters in the book.
    I wonder exactly how this book could be rated so highly. I wonder if it's mainly nostalgics who read the book when it first came out and rate it based on how they felt at that time.
    If I never hear the word "fyunch" again, it will be too soon.
    The narrator makes this book even worse with his conceited, imperious-sounding tone of voice.
    Very disappointed in what many have declared as a classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (20484)
    Performance
    (18236)
    Story
    (18201)

    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
    (25615)
    Performance
    (21286)
    Story
    (21269)

    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
    (5410)
    Performance
    (4634)
    Story
    (4609)

    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

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