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Michael Hall

mtbikermike

Olympia, WA United States | Member Since 2013

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 41 ratings
  • 134 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015
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  • Screamscapes

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Evans Light
    • Narrated By Commodore James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    If you love writers like Joe Hill, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz or Joe R. Lansdale, you owe it to yourself to give Evans Light a try…this new voice on the scene packs enough inventive storytelling twists to delight even the most jaded fans of horror and suspense. Screamscapesis a modern collection of uniquely twisted tales to delight even the most jaded horror fan!

    Jynx242 says: "Excellent collection of widely varied horror"
    "Weak."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Evans Light and/or Commodore James?

    Probably not - the stories are moderately interesting, but the prose is turgid (Mr. Light could use a class in metaphors & similes; his comparisons are often absurd) and the narration is flat.


    Would you recommend Screamscapes to your friends? Why or why not?

    No - i didn't finish it myself. As noted above, the stories sometimes had interesting ideas (although some were just silly), but the writing was poor and the narration dull.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hemingway Hoax

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Joe Haldeman
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (51)

    The hoax proposed to John Baird by a two-bit con man in a seedy Key West bar was shady but potentially profitable. With little left to lose, the struggling, middle-aged Hemingway scholar agreed to forge a manuscript and pass it off as Papa's lost masterpiece. But Baird never realized his actions would shatter the history of his own Earth - and others. And now the unsuspecting academic is trapped out of time - propelled through a series of grim parallel worlds and pursued by an interdimensional hitman with a literary license to kill.

    Marisela Monjarrez says: "long to develop"
    "Great story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Hemingway Hoax?

    The combination of historical Hemmingway information and time-travel/multi-verse ideas was incredible. Science and suspense at the same time .... loved it.


    What other book might you compare The Hemingway Hoax to and why?

    Perhaps Time & Again by Jack Finney - a solid time-travel story combined with dramatic historical events.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Don't want to spoil anything ... the train scene was brilliant. "Close your mouth, John. You'll catch flies."


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not especially; mostly just a very good read, some wonderful surprises at the end, and some hard thinking needed to keep up.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen carefully, pay attention. Some of that stuff at the beginning matters at the end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Captains: The Brotherhood of War Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By W. E. B. Griffin
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    Overall
    (448)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (397)

    It was more than an incident: It was a deadly assault across the 38th parallel. It was the Korean War. In the fear and the frenzy of battle, those who had served with heroism before were called again by America to man the trenches and sandbag bunkers. From Pusan to the Yalu, they drove forward with commands too new and tanks too old, brothers in war, bonded together in battle as they had never been in peace....

    Mike From Mesa says: "Excellent second book"
    "Guilty Pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Captains to be better than the print version?

    I don't know since I haven't read the print version - but I expect the audio would be better since the narration is so terrific.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Captains?

    What? You want me to give a spoiler like this? I will try to be vague and say "The Formal Disciplinary Proceeding Near The End." Lowell proves himself again to be, despite his background, an incredible and loyal friend.


    What does Eric G. Dove bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His cadence is brilliant - especially in this book, which is less about battle and more about people. He is lousy at female voices though!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Captains and why?

    Lowell, of course. The book is almost entirely about him. We learn much more about the character than in The Lieutenants - he is a good and thoughtful man, outward appearances to the contrary.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't know why I love these books so much, but I do. They're not especially well-written, they are hardly intellectual, and they use - probably appropriately for the times - the Words You Cannot Speak. (The very frequent use of the n-word, including in places where it wasn't necessary, and the completely unnecessary use of the c-word, are the only reasons I gave this book 4 instead of 5 stars).

    What these books are is exciting and a little bit touching. I can't wait to listen to the next one in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By John Joseph Adams (editor)
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Mary Robinette Kowal, Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (52)

    Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games, and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy, or otherwise dominate the world as we know it. It’s just not fair. So those of us who are so twisted and sick that we love mad scientists have created this guide.

    Michael says: "Hand-Wringing, Power Mad Evil Geniuses, ASSEMBLE!"
    "Amazingly boring for the subject matter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really ..... I think the editor couldn't find enough good stories to put into this collection. Some of the material is boring and some of it is just bad.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell


    What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

    Can't. Save. Material.


    Did The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination inspire you to do anything?

    Stop listening.... I couldn't finish it, too slow.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this would be an amusing and/or whimsical and/or suspenseful collection of stories. The first few stories fit the bill but the effort to go outside the genre led to stories that didn't fit and one or two that were to tortuously slow and long that they seemed to be nothing but filler.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • London Falling

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paul Cornell
    • Narrated By Damian Lynch
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (130)

    Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect, Rob Toshack, is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law - until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.

    Andreas says: "Coopers meets the occult; interesting clash"
    "One of the best books I've heard!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about London Falling?

    The character development of our four "heroes" was just wonderful. I felt like I really understood what made them tick, even in the bizarre supernatural world that they discovered. In the middle of incredible and incomprehensible events, I cared and cheered for these people.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Somehow this impossible world became plausible. I think it's very, very difficult for an author to maintain any credibility while writing about the supernatural - but this book does it. The plot held water in a way that built suspense and was immensely satisfying at the end.


    What about Damian Lynch’s performance did you like?

    He has a sort of halting style that was a little distracting at first, but quickly it became just right for the story because it gave me a bit of time to think between phrases. This can be a tough story to follow but the narrator helped make it work. Plus, of course, his accent is brilliant!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Its British-ness was wonderful to hear! I am one of the countless American anglo-philes out there; this book was written for Brits alone so I had to work to understand some of the language that was used. A labor of love!


    Any additional comments?

    Can't WAIT to listen to the sequel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Longest Day: June 6, 1944

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Cornelius Ryan
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (232)

    >The Longest Day is Cornelius Ryan’s unsurpassed account of D-day, a book that endures as a masterpiece of military history. In this compelling tale of courage and heroism, glory and tragedy, Ryan painstakingly re-creates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism.

    pratalife says: "Seen the movie? Read the book: it is worth it"
    "Riveting narrative, could use a better narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Longest Day in three words, what would they be?

    Exciting, detailed, instructive


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Teddy Roosevelt... I had never known he was involved in D-Day at all, and he is a hero of mine. The depiction of him walking the beach, giving orders, and receiving the medal of honor was wonderful.


    What three words best describe Clive Chafer’s voice?

    Flat, monotone, classroom


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The people behind the greatest invasion in history!


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book - I learned so much about D-Day and the author's research was meticulous to say the least. I liked how he explained what was going on through the eyes of the participants. The narrator didn't work at all for me - I felt like I was in a lecture hall and that the book would have been much improved if there were more inflection and excitement in the narration. The contrast between the exciting events and the bland voice was difficult in places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Richard Matheson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3988)
    Performance
    (1882)
    Story
    (1898)

    In I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and those unfortunate enough to survive are transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Everyone else has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood. By day, he stalks the sleeping undead, by night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

    Amazon Customer says: "Superb!"
    "Slow journey through one man's brain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Richard Matheson and/or Robertson Dean?

    Richard Matheson was an interesting writer - very creative with unusual ideas and a very unusual way of expressing them. I felt like the pace of this book was slow - but that's true of Hell House, the other Matheson book I've read. I would read more by Matheson but not "binge" on him because it requires patience to get the sense of the novels.

    Robertson Dean is a very good narrator for these books; sonorous and slow, just like the books - but not in a bad way. He has GOT to work on women's voices, however - brought the whole book up short when he tried to voice a woman; sounded like a middle school boy making fun of the girls.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well, there's only one character about whom we learn anything; possibly two if you count Ruth. By default, I'll say Neville - although his "science" is rather flawed, even for the 1950s.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Very well, yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Matheson may be an acquired taste. Most important: other than the title and the presence of vampires, this book has nothing whatsoever in common with the movie. The movie is brisk and exciting, this book is neither. You have been warned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Penn Jillette
    • Narrated By Penn Jillette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1937)
    Performance
    (1755)
    Story
    (1753)

    From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist’s experience in the world.

    Paul says: "More memoir than theology"
    "I'M PENN JILLETTE! LISTEN TO MY IMPORTANT WORDS!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Penn Jillette and/or Penn Jillette?

    No... I thought this would be a thoughtful book about atheism from a well-known person. Instead it's just Penn Jillette shouting at me about how awesome he is and how great his life is and how AWESOME HE IS!!!


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I Am Legend


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Penn Jillette?

    Penn is too loud and sounds like he's bragging when he's reading his own bragging from his own braggy book. He also has an unpleasant watery-sounding voice. If you like this sort of thing it does need someone with arrogance, but having the author read his own words about his greatness just got old.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from God, No!?

    The truly crude sex scenes were unnecessary, then boring, then offensive. AT LEAST take out the bathhouse scene and the letter to Penthouse. I GET IT ALREADY - you're a sexual person who has had a lot of interesting sex even though your body is large. I also understand that you're open-minded sexually and want to try (often successfully) new things that most of us don't. So hush up about it and get back to atheism.


    Any additional comments?

    Penn Jillette has gotten famous for living on the edge and doing things few others would do. Then telling the world all about it, loudly and unapologetically. But this book really was too much for me to stomach. It isn't a discourse about atheism from a guy everyone knows is smart and opinionated. It's a very long brag from a guy who wants the world to know how awesome he is. Maybe for die-hard fans this would be enjoyable, but it wore me out and changed me from a fan to a non-fan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Black Hills: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Dan Simmons
    • Narrated By Erik Davies, Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (67)

    Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, first encounters General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at Little Bighorn. He believes - as do the holy men of his tribe - that the legendary general's ghost entered him at that moment and will remain with him until Sapa convinces him to leave.

    Michael says: "Perfect example of audio over print"
    "Boring and slow. Did I mention boring?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who is an American West history buff and who, in particular, wants to be forced to learn more Lakota words than necessary for any fiction book. Also, someone who wants to hear the voice of a deceased General Custer (who for some reason doesn't know he's deceased) talk dirty.


    What could Dan Simmons have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I love Dan Simmons' books and enjoy what I learn while reading them. With Black Hills, however, I felt like the author had gone waaaayyyyyyyy too far into seeming like a smart professor and left any semblance of plot or action in the dust.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Erik Davies and Michael McConnohie ?

    I'm not sure if I disliked the narration, which seemed ponderous, simply because the material was ponderous, or if the readers themselves were also slow and generally without inflection. I would try them again but without expectation.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom and disappointment in equal measure.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was slow and wordy from the outset. I gave it a mighty try, I think, by listening to the first two parts - 11 hours - before I gave up. I spent most of that time thinking about how I could be listening to something better, and finally decided to do that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4229)
    Performance
    (3707)
    Story
    (3742)

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Dull and excessively complex, what a combination."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I felt the book was at least four hours too long. And that was after listening to only three of the five installments - I don't know if there's more baggage, since I had to stop listening.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Black Hills by Dan Simmons


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I thought the narrator was good - it was the story, which was punishing, that made me give up. I love Neal Stephenson and Cryptonomicon is absolutely my favorite book ever, but the tedium in Reamde was astounding.


    What character would you cut from Reamde?

    Half of them. Doesn't matter which ones.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't know how this rates compared to the other reviews, but I'm a Stephenson fanatic and I couldn't handle how bloated this book was. Either story - the game OR the terrorists/etc. - MIGHT have been a manageable book; both together was far too much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter Vendetta

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5794)
    Performance
    (5175)
    Story
    (5185)

    Accountant turned professional monster hunter, Owen Zastava Pitt, managed to stop the nefarious Old Ones' invasion plans last year, but as a result made an enemy out of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now an evil death cult known as the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition wants to capture Owen in order to gain the favor of the great Old Ones.

    Jason says: "Exciting story, well told, with a great villain"
    "Love everything about this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely, provided my friend liked fun and had an LOT of testosterone! The gunplay and creative weapons are what drive the book, but the characters are fun and the plot - as silly as it is - is engrossing. The book has no deep meaning and is nothing other than play, but as such it is perfect.


    Which character – as performed by Oliver Wyman – was your favorite?

    G-Nome is hysterical but Earl Harbinger again takes the cake for me.


    Any additional comments?

    Well, you've got to listen to Monster Hunter International first, but once you do this book is a wonderful, escapist listen. The narration is perfect and the characters are surprisingly deep - but the action is unending and always fun. It's cotton candy listening but if you like this sort of thing and a flawless narrator, you won't go wrong.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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