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Russell

Keswick, ON, Canada | Member Since 2012

440
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 41 reviews
  • 45 ratings
  • 976 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2015
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109

  • The Devil’s Star: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (164)

    young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work. A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands....

    Russell says: "A Great Read Becomes a Magnificent Listen"
    "A Great Read Becomes a Magnificent Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My first exposure to this author was the old fashioned visual experience in taking Nesbo's book, "The Redeemer" to read on vacation. That was such a pleasure I decided to plunge into an audio journey with "The Devil's Star". Sean Barrett added immensely to the "Norwegian" feel of this series by correcting my many mispronunciations from the first book. I wasn't even saying the main characters name - Harry Hole - and the authors name - Jo - correctly.

    More importantly I was transported to Norway and a first rate crime fiction novel with interesting characters, complex plot lines and a few surprises. I am now officially hooked on this series and I hope that some of those missing books in the collection can be obtained for the growing legion of Nesbo audible listening fans.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rosewater - Previously Published as 'Then They Came For Me’

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Maziar Bahari, Aimee Molloy
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (97)

    When Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran's presidential election, he assured his pregnant fiancée, Paola, that he'd be back in just a few days, a week at most. Little did he know, as he kissed her good-bye, that he would spend the next three months in Iran’s most notorious prison, enduring brutal interrogation sessions at the hands of a man he knew only by his smell: Rosewater.

    loix says: "Book that would've shined but for the narration"
    "Powerful Indictment of a Corrupt Theocracy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The people who were tortured under the Shah's regime become the torturers in this tale about a journalist who is arrested as a spy by a government that cheated at the ballot box. Those who don't play by civilized rules are given their legitimacy through a spiritual supreme leader, Ali Khamenei and they use this religiosity to justify lies and the brutalizing of innocent Iranians.

    A few of the idealistic revolutionarys of 1979 now realize that they never sufficiently worked out what type of government would follow and this one sounds worse than the one they overthrew.

    Maziar Bahari stands up to the threats to his family inside and outside Iran and to his person either by kidnapping or assassination by daring to tell a story about a ruthless regime. It is remarkable that he argues for a peaceful overthrow of a government that murders and uses rape as a tool to control a population that was angry that their votes were ignored. I hope he is right.

    Oh .. and Rosewater is an asshole.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Blaine Harden
    • Narrated By Blaine Harden
    Overall
    (723)
    Performance
    (640)
    Story
    (645)

    North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped - but Shin Dong-hyuk did.

    Amanda says: "Worthwhile, but difficult on many levels."
    "Non Fiction or Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've always felt that it is important to include books that reflect the reality of our imperfect world along with my regular indulgences into the Sci Fi and Mystery genres. My recent purchase, Escape from Camp 14 was a powerful true story that had me outraged about the labor camps in North Korea. So why did I only give it two stars in that category?

    In January of 2015 the prisoner, Shin Dong-hyuk, recanted parts of his story. It was published in 2012 and fortunately I waited until 2015 to listen to it. Otherwise I would have been indignantly blathering on about a false story for three years. I still think it is horrible over in North Korea labor camps. There is too much other evidence to deny this fact. But, Shin Dong-hyuk has recently recanted parts of this story that had moved me so intensely. The remaining stuff still reflects badly on the North Korean regime, but it is tough to know if this is not more of the same and made up.

    This is the first time I've given out a spoiler that may have ruined the story. Google certainly is a great leveler when researching the truth. It even returned a North Korean propaganda film of Shin's dad responding to the book. That sounded phoney and untrustworthy as well. So now I will probably never know the real true story about a defector who probably experienced torture and injustice at the hands of a brutal dictatorship and felt the need to overstate and lie about it.

    I started out intending to write a review demanding that you read this book. After a bit of research it has ended up as a piece that will probably discourage potential listeners - and I still need to find a non fiction book to balance out my appetite for fiction.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Killer: A Jack Rhodes Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Stephen Carpenter
    • Narrated By Noah Michael Levine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (264)
    Performance
    (247)
    Story
    (246)

    Jack is an author who was on his way to literary success when his life was blown apart by the horrific suicide of his fiancee. Devastated, Jack went on a fifteen-month alcoholic spiral into near oblivion before eventually working past his demons and becoming best-selling crime novelist. Just as Jack is finishing his fourth book, the LAPD interrupts his routine with news of what appears to be a copycat murder from his first book. There's just one problem - the murder took place before Jack's book was published.

    Russell says: "I'd kill to get the next Jack Rhodes book now"
    "I'd kill to get the next Jack Rhodes book now"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jack Rhodes is a best selling author in a series about a ruthless killer. As a connection is exposed between real life murders and Jack's fictional ones, we have an important question to ponder. Had he actually researched his material first hand by participating in a few gruesome decapitations before putting pen to paper? Or ... is our killer someone else. Jack Rhodes certainly looks guilty to either the reader or his contemporaries at different times as two narratives develop.

    One story is in the present and talks about Jack's tragic loss of the love of his life. This is followed by a drunken blacked out mourning period of several months and then redemption when Jack stays sober by pouring his energies into writing. Was his spine chilling descriptions of murders that vaunted him unto the bestseller lists a repressed memory from his blacked out period, or from a split personality? That question arises after some real life murders are discovered with details that closely resemble Jack's books. Jack Rhodes must deal with recalling lost memories as he is pursued by the law. The other story is about an unfortunate twisted childhood that sounds like it is going to end up with a psychopathic killer.

    Narrator Noah Micael Levine does an excellent job of weaving these two story-lines to an epic confrontation. Getting the next Jack Rhodes book is now definitely on my to do list. Unfortunately, the author still has publishing the next book on his to do list.

    Early on I didn't know if I was going to be following a serial killer who was an author or an author who wrote about serial killers. If you don't read too many reviews that give away too much - that will be uppermost on your mind as well as you sit back and start up a smart, well put together story.

    (let's hope some surveillance person had to read this whole review to realize I'm not serious about killing) Really I was only joking --- please take me off your watch list!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The 5th Wave

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Rick Yancey
    • Narrated By Brandon Espinoza, Phoebe Strole
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1127)
    Performance
    (1032)
    Story
    (1035)

    After the first wave, only darkness remains. After the second, only the lucky escape. And after the third, only the unlucky survive. After the fourth wave, only one rule applies: Trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the fifth wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother - or even saving herself.

    FanB14 says: "Not Your Typical YA Dystopian Fare"
    "Original Twist on An Alien Invasion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It takes a lot to wipe out the billions of people residing on Earth and as we experience one of those tactics (the fourth wave) we gradually get filled in on the previous waves that have hit our home planet hard. Each alien attack has resulted in a catastrophic loss of life and as the main protagonist, 16 year old Cassie Sullivan worries about what could possibly be next - the fifth wave - a gripping story of her survival unfolds.

    The odd thing is how under the radar these aliens are. Bad things are happening, but there are no strange looking creatures walking around shooting people. There is a huge spaceship that gives people something to blame when a plague hits (one of the waves), but there are no aliens in sight, no smaller ships attacking earth installations or anything you usually expect to read about in a grand invasion from outer space.

    This is a series and this first book starts out with a lot of quality. There are a lot of mysteries to be solved during Cassie's adventures and the explanations that come near the end of the book are quite satisfying.

    I raved about another Science Fiction series in a previous review and while my daughter (who doesn't see herself as a science fiction fan) thought it was okay - she loved this book and talked me into buying the second volume. I'm noticing this first book is currently on sale for 6.95. .

    Use a credit, or get it on sale. You won't regret getting this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2258)
    Performance
    (2019)
    Story
    (2007)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not up to par"
    "A Twofer - Two cold cases for one credit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Those administrators who have no idea what it is like to be in the field have come up with the brilliant idea of pairing new inexperienced detectives with seasoned vets in the cold cases unit. Harry Bosch gets partnered with Lucia Soto and although she does have a lot to learn, she ends up impressing this grizzled veteran as they end up taking on two old unsolved crimes full time. Things work out so well It sounds like the bosses know what they are doing - but don't worry - they mess it up pretty bad in the end giving us a bitter sweet finale to an excellent story.

    As Harry and Lucia untangle the threads of two different puzzlers we see an old Bosch quote getting pilfered by an unsavory politician for his campaign. "Everyone counts or nobody counts".

    In light of some recent tragic events, we may need to be reminded of this noble truth. All I can say is if I was a victim of a crime, or unjustly accused of one - please put Harry Bosch on the case.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Wormhole: The Rho Agenda, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1092)
    Performance
    (988)
    Story
    (992)

    When the Rho Project’s lead scientist, Dr. Donald Stephenson, is imprisoned for his crimes against humanity, the world dares to think the threat posed by the Rho Project’s alien technologies is finally over. The world is wrong. In Switzerland, scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider have discovered a new threat, a scientific anomaly capable of destroying the earth - and only Rho Project technology can stop it.

    Brian says: "SPECTACULAR SERIES!"
    "A Great Series at a Great Price"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got hooked into this immensely interesting universe by a couple of good reviews and a special price for the first of the three books. The pricing set at $9.79 per book with each providing from 11 - 15 hours of great entertainment wasn't necessary to keep me going, but it sure didn't hurt. This pricing may not last, so I would recommend not burning a credit here and picking up as many as your pocketbook will allow.

    My wife is currently delighting in book two of this series and she isn't even a science fiction fan - she is just a fan of a well written book. You will find three of them in the Rho Agenda series.

    These books were so enjoyable, I actually could have been talked into using two credits on the last one. I loved the story-lines, the science felt right and the characters were superbly handled. Most importantly the ending was satisfying and still left me wanting more.

    Although a lot of loose ends were sewn up in this series finale, I was left wondering about a special talent that Jack Greggory possessed and the status of a certain newly born child.

    And - Lo and behold, my check of the listings for this author shows a new book has just popped up into my view that purports to explain my first question about Jack. It is selling for only $7.90 and weighing in at 11 hours already has 120 favorable reviews.

    I'm definitely not going to use up a credit here (they cost me more) and get this book as soon as this review gets submitted.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Son: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (825)
    Performance
    (738)
    Story
    (732)

    Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....

    Charles Atkinson says: "Maybe The Best Mystery Novelist Anywhere"
    "A Break From The Harry Hole Series Is a Hit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jo Nesbo has said there are advantages and disadvantages when writing about the same universe. The author and reader sharing a knowledge of the back-story might make things a little easier in some cases, but there is a significant challenge in keeping the characters fresh and interesting.

    I am a big fan of the Harry Hole series and this book represented a 17 hour investment of my time in a different Nesbo universe - would it be up to the standard set in 12 Harry Hole books?

    It was. I've always loved the insights Jo Nesbo gives us into his characters and their motivations. This book had more of the same. It was actually a little refreshing to be immersed in this authors style of writing and not revisiting the same old battles that Harry Hole contends with. We get introduced to different detectives with different flaws and a hero who is viewed by many as a villain.

    While listening to this book there never was a moment where i looked at the time remaining and felt like there was work. It was more like - ten hours left ... I don't want this to end.

    Being familiar with this authors style at the 16 hour mark I remember having an aha moment. The current was pushing me in one direction and this was fine, but having been tricked so many times before I actually anticipated a twist in the plot. This was one of the few times I've twigged to a Nesbo formula. That did not detract in any way from the book and there were still plenty of Nesbo zigs when I was ready to zag.

    In short, this is an excellent book and this review has not imparted any of the story line. Sometimes that is the best way to start a book. So download this gem and start listening.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science - and Reality

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Chris Mooney
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (139)

    Best-selling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality - it’s just part of who they are. From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy, and much more. Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

    Ian C Robertson says: "Polls Apart"
    "So That's Why!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to laugh. A search in Audible using the keywords Republican and Brain turn up “The Republican Brain – The Science of Why they Deny Science” and it also turns up Ann Coulter’s “If Democrats had any Brains, They’d Be Republicans”. One is a serious study and the other is penned by an entertainer. Having seen the performer Ann Coulter and not having much respect for her capacity to reason, I will pass on her book but I will do due diligence and Google her take on Evolution and Climate Change for this review.

    It appears that just like many religious right Republicans, she rejects these two convincing science based findings. This book attempts to figure out why a large number of Republicans can ignore solid science. I wanted to know as well. I have Conservative friends and family that I like tremendously but cannot figure out why they reject science and find getting into discussions with them is futile.

    There is a lot of solid research here and while the author is a liberal, he occasionally delivers biting criticism of the liberal state of mind. I wonder if Ann can find anything positive to say about a liberal in her book? Essentially the conservative frame of mind has its positive applications sometimes in society, but there is a lot of positives for the liberal bias. One study among many that impressed me talked about brains scans showing emotions being predominant with Republican reasoning and the cerebral area taking the lead with Liberal reasoning. Studies find a cluster of traits shared by many Republicans. One is they do not like uncertainty – liberals do not have a problem with this. It is no surprise that the majority of scientists are more likely to be liberal with the nature of the vocation being amenable to upheaval of certainties when new solid evidence comes in. A religious right Republican is more likely to let the more primitive emotional brain system kick in when presented with solid facts and dig in their heels and deny.

    Surprisingly an educated Republican science denier is actually more recalcitrant than an uneducated one when good evidence comes in. They are more adept at bringing in complicated nonsense arguments. This is called being idiot smart. For me, the best way to describe this is to go back a few hundred years to Galileo’s time. His notion that the earth was not the center of the universe went against the teachings of the church. I’m sure many educated religious right people of that time scorned the conclusion that the earth revolved around the sun and came up with some very byzantine proofs to support the sun revolved around the earth view. But Galileo was right and he had good evidence to support his contentions. Darwin and the majority of climate change scientists are probably correct as well.

    Liberals and Republicans are human and are capable of similar mistakes with motivated reasoning. I now have a better understanding that my Pollyanna wish to convince a science denier with cogent arguments will ultimately fail because they are reasoning with a more primitive human system that sometimes was the best answer when survival of the group was on the line.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4082)
    Performance
    (3803)
    Story
    (3789)

    For nearly 2,000 years, only one Druid has walked the Earth - Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company. Atticus’ apprentice, Granuaile, is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.

    D says: "The third druid"
    "After Six Good Books, I Was In Seventh Heavan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Shattered has reminded me of that wallop I felt with the first book. All the books in this series are good. But, the first book was always the best until now. It introduced the exquisitely voiced Oberon and for me the unlikely pleasure of following a Druid's adventures. It was also the book that hooked my wife and daughter on this series.

    With this book, I loved the new character, Owen Kennedy. Luke Daniels hit another one out of the park with his voicing of this new cantankerous Druid resurrected from centuries ago. He also does a fine job with Granuaile’s wolf hound.

    We see the story unfold from three perspectives. The conflict between the newly deiced Arch Druid Owen and our original hero Atticus is enriched by not granting all the wisdom to Atticus. The third viewpoint we get is from Atticus’s new convert Granuile as she spends a lot of time in India telling her story.

    One of the best collaborations between author and narrator is served up with this series and with this book in particular.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Ship: The Rho Agenda, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1881)
    Performance
    (1695)
    Story
    (1717)

    In 1948, an alien starship crash-landed in the New Mexico desert and brought with it the key to mankind’s future. Code-named the Rho Project, the landing was shrouded in secrecy, and only the highest-ranking US government and military personnel knew it existed. Until now....

    Mike From Mesa says: "Terrific story"
    "Uninspired Title and Theme Delivers Inspired Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are so many audiobooks out there to choose from and a lot of series to possibly buy into. I recently read Stealheart and it was a good book but there was an unexplained fantasy element and a few other things that kept me from emotionally committing to the story and series.

    I would never have guessed that another "Roswell" type story could hook me so thoroughly. My first reaction to the provocative ominous ending was to immediately decide on reading the second book in this series.

    The science feels legitimate in this captivating story and our young high school heroes are immersed into a very dangerous world made even worse by some despicable characters who have gained advantages from alien technology taken from a spaceship that had crashed in the U.S. Although the government is controlling the access to the ship, that control is not airtight and some of the people working on discovering the ship's secrets are up to a different agenda.

    Fortunately the teens have harnessed some advantages from the alien technology from a second ship they accidentally discovered. There was a battle between both ships that destroyed all the occupants and now it seems the battle is being continued largely in secret between the people who have access to the ships. Meanwhile the young protagonists are trying to alert the NSA to the danger without giving away their identities. This brings in some ruthless heroes who move into the area with harmless cover stories. These agents want to find out if the teens warnings are legitimate and who the leak is for the information coming their way.

    This series is not only for young adults - us old jaded folks will have a grand old time with these books. There are some stomach turning characters you don't normally associate with a YA book. You will not like the man who likes to call himself "The Priest".

    If you choose to start this series, you will have a hard time stopping. Like I said at the beginning - so many audiobooks to choose from and now this set will be demanding your attention. I'm sure most of you will be happy to take on the commitment.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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