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Russ

Berryville, VA, United States | Member Since 2010

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 396 titles in library
  • 45 purchased in 2014
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  • Outlander

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18891)
    Performance
    (12991)
    Story
    (12887)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

    Lulu says: "The Reason for the Existence of Audio Books"
    "Great writting, too much pulp sex"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Outlander? What did you like least?

    The narration was wonderful, pacing, accent, voicing all great. The writting was descriptive and usually drew me in to the world described.
    After the fourth or fifth roll in the sheets the very romance-novel-esque sex scenes got pretty tiresome. The writer (not the main character but her creator), whom I had started out viewing in my mind's eye as a sort of khaki wearing adventurer, started degenerating into some sort of home-bound recluse in bull-rim glasses inventing wild sexual fantasies to be consumed with Bon-Bon's on lonely Friday nights...OK, maybe this is a purely male perspective since I notice lots of great reviews from female readers here. And to give the author the benefit of the doubt and because it was on sale, I tried listening to the second book...I got about 4 hours in and had to stop. It was the same book! Historical backdrop as justification for rampant sex. Not that I have anything against rampant sex per se...but the boy toy flavor of the depictions eventually becomes quite sickening and warps the otherwise realistic historical narrative into a trite farce.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Cut the steamy passages by 75%


    Which character – as performed by Davina Porter – was your favorite?

    The ones who were not having sex


    Do you think Outlander needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It has one, but it is the same book n France


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Second After

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5548)
    Performance
    (3513)
    Story
    (3545)

    Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.

    Sara says: "A terrifying story"
    "Poorly researched, propaganda riddled, fluff piece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I love well written, well thought out, post apocalyptic fiction that has no agenda. This was none of those things. Newt actually states in the introduction that this was written specifically to "inform" people of the dangers of EMP, one of the recent political tools. I won't get into the reasons why EMP is a fairly unlikely scenario, I can accept zombies so I could accept EMP as a catalyst, but what unfolds after the "event" is just goofy and comes right out of the paranoid dreams of some urban basement arm chair survivalist. EMP destroys nothing but delicate electronics, if that, and yet suddenly everyone is helpless...even in small towns in rural NC? Nobody seems to have a garden, an ATV (generally very basic electronics on these), a ham radio (many ham sets are tough old tube sets not likely to be affected by EMP), a old farm tractor or any of the many other modern technologies not viulnerable to EMP. 3 cars in a NC college town ... the kind of town that has classic car rallies a couple times a year...and that's it? And no farms? In rural NC? And there are hardly any bikes or horses...seriously?
    I also find that one key characteristic of Americans, self centered, marshmallow soft dopes that we can be, is mostly ignored in this biased account: we do pull together in a crisis, we do help each other even when otherwise we might not give each other the time of day. Sure, that might eventually degrade if things got really bad, but it never even blooms here. Not only is that a cynical perspective but a poor plot plan since it is the conversion under adverse conditions of the characters that usually makes such fiction believable. This is not believable.
    Anyway, with all this, the two dimensional, non-sympathetic characters, and obvious political agenda make this a sadly disappointing entry in the post apocalyptic genre. If you want a really good, haunting tale in this genre try "Earth Abides"


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (746)
    Performance
    (667)
    Story
    (661)

    Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences - the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling - will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest...

    Suzanna says: "Great Steampunk - worth a listen"
    "Fun in spots, but pretty pulpy ... SteamPulp?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It could have been better spent. The book occasionally felt on the edge of being engaging only to fall victim to predictable plot contrivances and Steampunk cliches.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Occasional successful invocation of a Victorian mood was most interesting -- inability to make the Steampunk affectations seem natural, constant Deus Ex Machina devices introducing both implements of salvation and destruction were among the least interesting things.


    Could you see Phoenix Rising being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    It already is, it is called "Sanctuary"


    Any additional comments?

    The narration was fairly pleasant but australian accents were rather odd...or perhaps it was the dialog that made them seem so stilted.Dreadfully obvious setup of a sequel that almost seemed tacked on. Side plot with Australian "mole" character, or secret chamber never developed very well or, at least, never well enough to invoke interest.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Good Omens

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4488)
    Performance
    (2933)
    Story
    (2966)

    The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

    Lauren says: "Great voice adds to already amazing story"
    "Great narration and a story Douglas Adams would ha"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Good Omens to be better than the print version?

    Yes, there is all that looking and reading business with the print version. With the audio version I find it much easier to navigate in traffic without losing my place.


    What other book might you compare Good Omens to and why?

    "The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul" by Douglas Adams...The humors the supernatural deity serving pratts, the little triangular cucumber sandwiches I was eating while listening to the book...


    What does Martin Jarvis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The luxury of closing my eyes, looking at insects scurrying across the path, and a number of regional dialects which, in my head, sound rather more like John Cleese and Eric Idle, or Terry Gilliam trying to sound Brittish.


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

    Armageddon was Never this Much Fun!


    Any additional comments?

    Yes

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swan Song

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3226)
    Performance
    (2812)
    Story
    (2856)

    Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival. In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity.

    Amanda says: "Simply an Amazing Story"
    "Reads like Fan fiction for "The Stand""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    It needed better writing, character developments that shows internal depth, less cliche"victims" on both sides. A bit better research...wolves in the appalachians? Coyotes maybe. It read like a pretty amateur first effort. Many elements were "borrowed" from the Stand, which would be fine if done well as an homage, but the book just never felt better than a cheap pulp.
    Also another narrator who didn't read all female characters with strange whiny voices.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Robert McCammon again?

    Not likely


    What three words best describe Tom Stechschulte’s performance?

    Good, Bad, ugly


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Swan Song?

    Well, Swan putting on the "crown" and getting coated in a gold shield...it was never used again. It was like a deus ex machina without a cause. The entire cabin full of wolf gut eaters chapters...I mean, why were they eating the guts not the meat? The radiation would be very concentrated in internal organs so no better than the meat...oh, and every head coming out of Job's mask scene


    Any additional comments?

    People say if you like the Stand you will like this...I like the stand because of the quality of most of the writing in the Stand as well as subject matter. I did not like this because of the quality of the writing and the way the post-apocolyptic subject matter was handled. It was easier for me to believe Randall Flag than to believe so many people could live through the extremely high levels of radiation the book described

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Windup Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3610)
    Performance
    (1991)
    Story
    (2003)

    Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman.

    Marius says: "Al Gore nightmare meets Blade Runner."
    "Blade Runner meet Dino-dystopia"
    Overall

    I saw this book in the bookstore and I really did want to like it. There were points where I almost got there but I just couldn't form any sort of empathy with the story or the characters. I know the intent was to comment on human nature as being ultimately clanish and self serving while at the same time ironically compasionate at times for inexplicable reasons but the shear vulgarity of all the humans protrayed left no room for hope or redemption.

    SPOILER ALERT

    Even Emiko, the new breed that will no doubt be the Eve of the inheritors of the planet, carries no hope for improvement to anything except immunity and physical prowess.

    All that being said the writting was good and the characters were mostly well formed and the world was painted in detail.
    Suspension of disbelief is required in buckets though since solar energy, bio fuels, geo thermal, wave current generation, wind power and any number of other technologies seem totally forgotten although methane convertors are mention as being fed by executed humans (I imagine in energy terms this is going Soylent "Green" eh?) while gargage fills alleys (Making Methane from protein would be much harder than from vegetation found in garbage).
    The narration was dry and sedate and probably contributed to the overl depressing feeling of the book. I managed to make it through the whole thing and that is the only reason it has three stars instead of two. Probably more of a 2.5

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Patient Zero: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4198)
    Performance
    (3523)
    Story
    (3517)

    When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills - and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective who has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new task force created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle....

    Kim Venatries says: "Yes! It IS that good. Five stars and more."
    "Good Reading, predictable and stilted novel"
    Overall

    This novel never really got off the ground for me. It tried to be a spy story and a Zombie story and only got half way there on both counts. This is what used to be found in a dime store pulp novel

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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