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crazybatcow

I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007

ratings
365
REVIEWS
259
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
553
HELPFUL VOTES
1700

  • The First Bird, Episode 3

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Greig Beck
    • Narrated By Sean Mangan
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (61)

    Matt Kearns and the remnants of the scientific team return to a ravaged America. Modern medicine has failed to halt the spread of the flesh-consuming parasite, and humans have been forced to hide, even from one another. The infected roam the cities and suburbs of a ruined nation. But the devastating effects on human physiology are only the beginning. Something has been let loose, something that the team were not prepared for - human nature itself.

    Kim Venatries says: "One Cliche Too Many; But Still a Good Listen"
    "I wouldn't start book 1 knowing how bad 3 is..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This warning is probably too late but... if you haven't yet started this series (it was released in 3 parts), DON'T!!! Save your time and money.

    Episode one was the only installment even worth the paper it was printed on - and its plot just stopped mid-scene. Book two was full of abnormally (and inconsistently) behaving characters and had a distinct Jurassic Park feel to it. This book - Episode 3 - is bad. Plain and simple.

    The biggest issue with Episode 3 is that the characters do not behave normally, at all. For example: they are told, specifically and directly, that if they do X, then people will die... so, what happens?? they go ahead and DO X. Then (yes, seriously) in the NEXT scene, after two people died from their first stupid ignoring of instructions, they DO IT AGAIN.... and guess what... more people die!!! wow... what a surprise... If you have the only potential cure for humankind, are you going to go wading through hordes of infected, 30 minutes after you just lost two of your party to the infected? No... I didn't think so...

    That, and the 'bad guy' (added to the story at the last minute) was ridiculous and gave the book the same feel as some very trashy low-brow zombie novels out there.

    Anything redeeming in this book??? hmmm... the epilogue... was probably the only part worth reading after the first half of the first episode. And no, I am not exaggerating. The underlying story might have been half decent, if only the characters didn't behave like imbeciles.

    It is not graphic or gory and there is no sex. The narration is good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Hertling
    • Narrated By Rob Granniss
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (215)

    David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence. David and his team are initially thrilled when the project is allocated extra servers and programmers.

    Matthew says: "Short but defintely sweet"
    "Skip it. Too formulaic with flat characters."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ummm... okay.

    It was not very well written, and I think this poor writing (specifically dealing with character development/behaviour) took too much away from what, otherwise, might have been an okay story. Maybe.

    It is a lot like Daemon except, of course, much more lecturey and person-does-A and then person-does-B formulaic. The writing simply didn't flow, and there was little suspense.

    This might be because the characters were not very distinct or "real" feeling, so... basically, we don't care what happens to whom or why... they all sound the same, so it is hard to tell if it was person one or person two who had something happen to them.

    Was the techy component good?... well... it was better than the character development, but... again, it was written so stiltedly that it felt like I was reading a how-to manual. And I don't know that the tech was as "cutting edge" as it thinks it is. Sure, it's not "real" at the moment, but this author certainly isn't the first to use a self-actualizing AI as the premise of a story.

    And the sub-title makes no sense at all. Oh well, live and learn. I won't be looking for any more books by this author.

    The narration was okay. There is no sex or gore and the language is too dull to even have much in the way of swearing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Free Fall: A John Ceepak Mystery, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (350)
    Story
    (348)

    “I didn’t do it!” is something cops hear all the time. But when the plea comes from a close friend who’s fallen on hard times, it’s tougher to ignore, especially for young Officer Danny Boyle. It’s the start of another action-packed summer for the wisecracking Boyle and straight-arrow cop (now chief of detectives) John Ceepak down the Jersey Shore as they do their best to help Danny’s friend, a young nurse who claims she has been falsely accused of aggravated assault by a prestigious Sea Haven doctor.

    John S. Johnston says: "Just another great Ceepak book"
    "Back on track with a solid Ceepak storyline"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had been disappointed in the book just before this one in the series. I thought in that book Danny was getting tiresome, and Ceepak was not featured very much. This book has gotten back on track.

    The mystery is a bit more detailed than usual, and there is a huge personal component to the story that had been missing in the last book. Some things were resolved in a very unexpected (but much welcome) way... I am not sure what this will mean for the next book in the series (assuming there is one), but I think the resolution here was fitting, and necessary.

    Otherwise... the tone and pacing, and mystery level of this novel are pretty much the same quality as they were in the other books in the series: A+.

    The narration is excellent. There is some minor swearing, no gore and no sex.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mask of the Swan: The Fearless

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Terry Maggert
    • Narrated By Rebecca Cook
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    When three lovers take a vacation after losing a fight with an elegant monster named Elizabeth, their time for healing is cut short by a new threat…innocent blood will spill. Reaching for the crown of Hell, Elizabeth gathers Archangels around her to fuel her power-mad ascent-but she has powerful enemies who will fight her every step of the way, including Delphine, the 2,400-year-old succubus hooker who knows that inside her beautiful body rests a very human soul.

    crazybatcow says: "An urban fantasy that reads like literature..."
    "An urban fantasy that reads like literature..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay... I hate to admit it, but... I looked up the author on the internet because I was convinced it was a female writer (it is not). Why, you might ask, did I wonder this? Well, because the female characters are fully realized, and not just objects to be rescued, and the main (male) character is sensitive and responsive - like a woman might want a man to be - rather than crass and manly like many 'action' heroes are.

    Of course, Ring is not really an action hero, and this novel falls into the urban fantasy genre, not the action genre. But it is only urban fantasy in that some of the characters are immortal... the story itself, and the main characters, all have a feeling of realism. In fact, the biggest reason why this novel doesn't really feel like an urban fantasy is because of the quality of the writing, and the lack of 'cheese'.

    Maggert has fantastic vocabulary. The book almost feels like literature, but it is not dense or heavy - it just has a lovely use of language. There is some non-graphic sex, which was well-placed and... I don't recall any swearing.

    Overall, this book is actually better than book one was - and that's saying something since book one was pretty good. This one has a more concrete resolution, and characters which are consistent internally and over time as well. It was not a cliff-hanger ending, but I will read any more in the series. I think that if you were going to pick up this book, though, you might enjoy it more if you read the first book first since the characters will make more sense if you do - and this is definitely a character driven novel.

    The narration is terrific. It's a female narrator for a male main character, but don't worry, she doesn't narrate the men in "falsetto", and each of her characters are distinctly voiced.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Undead Haze: Undead, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Eloise J. Knapp
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (86)

    The apocalypse just got worse. When remorse drives Cyrus to abandon his hidden compound he doesn't realize what new dangers lurk in the undead world. He knows he must wade through the vilest remains of humanity and hordes of zombies to settle scores and find the one person who might understand him. But this time, it won't be so easy. Zombies and unpleasant survivors aren't the only thing Cyrus has to worry about. Not anymore.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "It has been worth the wait"
    "As realistic as a zombie book could be..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is actually a bit better than book one. It is a mature, non-hack-n-slash zombie book - well, there is some hack-n-slash, but it is not so much against the zombies as it is against the other survivors.

    In fact... it is almost like the zombies are just a side concern of the book. There is only interaction with them when necessary, and all the 'bad guys' here are other humans. Zombies are sorta treated like mosquitoes: very annoying, you try to avoid them, and kill them when they're close enough, but you won't be digging out the fogger to spray the forest around you.

    Cyrus does spend a little too much time thinking about how sociopathic he is (or is not as the case may be), but I suppose that is also part of his narcissistic nature.

    Is the, err, religous extremism realistic... no, not really, but it is as well written as such a theme could be. And these fanatics are as believable as anything else is in a zombie apocalypse. It is well-paced overall, and the characters are actually pretty well-fleshed.

    The narration is very good, there is some swearing but overall, it is not particularly graphic or gory. I will keep my eyes open for more books by Knapp.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Syndrome E

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Franck Thilliez, Mark Polizzotti (translator)
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (86)

    The classic police procedural meets cutting-edge science in this huge international best seller. Already a runaway bestseller in France, Syndrome E tells the story of beleaguered detective Lucie Henebelle, whose old friend has developed a case of spontaneous blindness after watching an extremely rare—and violent—film from the 1950s. Embedded in the film are subliminal images so unspeakably heinous that Lucie realizes she must get to the bottom of it—especially when nearly everyone who comes into contact with the film starts turning up dead.

    Just Jen says: "Unique and entertaining, an absolute must."
    "Strong beginning, peters out before it concludes."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book on sale and had no idea that it was part of a series, but after some investigation, it turns out that it is: this makes more sense... Sharko did not feel like a 'new' character here, and I kinda wish I had read the back stories before this one.

    That being said, I really enjoyed the tone (dark), the vigilante-feel, and the flawed characters in this book. The first part of the book is better than the latter (and final) parts of the book. The pacing changed from an un-folding story to a 'lecture-style' exposé. And the vigilante component just goes away. In fact, the resolution of the story is based on the description of events by several 3rd parties (some of whom are added in at the last minute) rather than by the detectives discovering clues that lead to the resolution. And I think there are a few too many characters... some just popping in long enough to set the stage for the next scene, and then they disappear (or are killed) .

    Originally, I hadn't realized that it was a translated book, but even that makes more sense now - some of the wording is, ahh... heavier ... than it would be in a North American written novel. And the settings and travel methods are definitely European.

    I am actually going to go read the previous books in the series now... I really like Sharko as a main character - he is so different from the usual detective.

    The narration is very good and there is no graphic violence or sex in the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodshot

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Cherie Priest
    • Narrated By Natalie Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (224)

    Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist - even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files: documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the frozen outskirts of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta.

    Eivind says: "A notch above"
    "Made me want to go find the next book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book. When I finished it, I immediately did a search to see if there was another in the series, or at least with the same characters. It is uncommon that I enjoy a book enough that I will seek out others by the same author rather than continue through my current reading list...so that might be 'nuff said.

    Naw... I'll add more. The main character is strong and independent and non-whiny (nice change for female leads in urban fantasy) and while there are men in the story, she is not dependent on them being around to save her. There are some decent supporting characters - none of which are stereotypical. In fact, it is almost like Priest thought about what *would* be stereotypical in this genre, and twisted them to something else completely.

    The ending was not as resolved as I would have liked it to be, but it was not a cliff-hanger, and, of course, it is book one (of two at the moment)... so I suppose there has to be something to resolve to warrant book 2. And I will go out now and get it!

    The narration is very good and it was not particularly gory or graphic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trapped: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4662)
    Performance
    (4271)
    Story
    (4293)

    After 12 years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave. Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge - but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief.

    Katherine says: "Trapped"
    "You'll keep reading just for Oberon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I took a bit of a break between the previous book in this series and this one. But I am very glad that I came back to it. This was one of my favourite instalments so far...

    There was a bit of romance that I think any series readers would have already seen coming. I don't know that it added anything to the story, however. It was not detailed or graphic and, actually, the sex scenes were treated more like interlude between events... something that was there just to give the sense of time passing.

    There is plenty of Oberon too. Not so much that he got annoying, but enough that it was pretty funny when he did 'speak up'. There was just a bit of mythological history in here; quite a bit less than some of the other books in the series. I liked that Hearne didn't try to turn it into a myth text book.

    The story is told via a series of vingette encounters with the 'bad guys' and I have to admit the overarching storyline that held these little segments together was a little on the sparse side. It felt mostly like: attack A, escape and investigate, attack B, escape and romantic interlude, attack C confront the source and resolve.

    Hah... even saying all that, I still really enjoyed this book. The pacing is terrific, Oberon is terrific, even Atticus has some decent one-liners. I don't think you'd enjoy it nearly as much if you hadn't read the rest of the series. There is no cliffhanger, but I will be reading the next in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Communication

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1205)
    Performance
    (1115)
    Story
    (1113)

    In the years since the wave of living death swept the globe, St George and his fellow heroes haven't just kept Los Angeles' last humans alive - they’ve created a real community, a bustling town that's spreading beyond its original walls and swelling with new refugees. But now one of the heroes, perhaps the most powerful among them, seems to be losing his mind. The implacable enemy known as Legion has found terrifying new ways of using zombies as pawns in his attacks.

    Lore says: "Corpse Girl for the win!"
    "Back to good, which is good too..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book one was good, book two was excellent, and this book is back to good. Overall the series was a great read, but individually, this might have been the weakest book of the three.

    Why? Because nothing really happened. The book was spent exploring the characters' relationships with each other, more than interacting with the outside world. Also... the bad guys seemed like they were tacked on. We start the book with Legion - ohh... very bad - but then we get the demon appearance and Legion just sorta fades to the background. The reason for Legion's end-story acquiesance doesn't ring true, especially considering how focused on rage he was in the first of the book. And I don't really believe the heroes' naivete that led to the freeing of the demon in the first place.

    The existing main characters were still there, and a couple were added, but... some of the previously added heroes (Driver) were just cameos here. There was a little bit of mystery around Corpse girl, but it didn't go anywhere in this story - I am hoping it will be further developed in the next book.

    But, even so, it was a great series and now that I see there is another book in the series, I will go get it!

    Narration is excellent, there is no gore or significant violence, and any swearing was not excessive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga - Free Version

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Karl Schroeder
    • Narrated By Joyce Irvine
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (48)

    It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon 3,000 kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

    Maureen says: "A very good... listen."
    "Took a couple tries to get into it..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually started this book twice. The first time I got hopelessly lost in the first chapter so put it down. The 2nd time, I stuck it out until the world and setting made sense. This took a little bit of effort, but if you can make it past that initial hiccup with a foreign world, and their measures of space, etc, it is actually quite an engaging story.

    I will likely read more in the series, but they will be lower down on my reading list because, well, there is not really a cliff-hanger here that requires you to pick up the next book. Maybe we are supposed to care about the characters and want to find out what happens to them, but... I don't think they are strong enough, or distinct enough, that we really care. I almost hate to admit it, but it happened more than once that I got Vanera Fanning mixed up with Hayden's love interest. - Oh, and where did that come from anyway?... until the love interest occured, I was sure Hayden was 16... I even attempted to do math to figure out his age.

    The part I did like about the book was the world/reality they inhabit and how it interacts with the "outside" world, and what this outside world actually is. And what Virga is, and why... you get my drift? It was the hard components of the science fiction and not Schroeder's attempt to write characters that made this story worth reading.

    The narration was okay... the narrator has a British accent and is older and female, so it didn't necessarily fit the main character who is young and male. There might have been a tiny bit of swearing, but no graphic anything.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ex-Patriots

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder, Khristine Hvam, Mark Boyett, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1896)
    Performance
    (1685)
    Story
    (1694)

    It’s been two years since the world ended. Two years since the dead rose and the plague of ex-humanity decimated mankind. For most of that time, the superhero called St. George, formerly known to the world as the Mighty Dragon, has protected the people of Los Angeles at their film-studio-turned-fortress, The Mount. Together with his fellow heroes, he’s tried to give the survivors hope and something like a real life. But the swollen population of The Mount is becoming harder and harder to sustain....

    Ryan David Bedford says: "Best worst book ever!"
    "More suspenseful than first book, plus a twist..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is even better than Ex-Heroes (the first book in the series). It is suspenseful, and there is a twist (or maybe even two twists) that I did not expect.

    It is a rather mature zombie book (i.e. there is more to the story than just zombies eating everyone) and, while some readers have complained about the swearing, I didn't find it excessive at all. There are a couple characters who swear, but they don't show up much.

    The heroes just feel like regular people, who have the goal of trying their best to save the remaining people from zombies. We don't really bat an eye at their powers because the powers are seamlessly woven into the story. And the heroes are distinct and we are made to care about them as individuals, not just in how they can save the day.

    I think Clines is becoming a better writer the more he writes. I look forward to the next book in the series because I can't wait to see what the heroes do next, and if they can, indeed, save what is left of the world. There is not a cliff-hanger so you don't *have* to go out and buy the next book immediately, but I did anyway.

    The narration is very good, there is some swearing but no real gore or graphic content.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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