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  • 175
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  • 220
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  • Idlewild

  • By: Nick Sagan
  • Narrated by: Clayton Barclay Jones
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 114
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 116

He wakes alone, nameless, in a strangely bucolic day-after-tomorrow world. His amnesia is near-total; he cannot remember his name and doesn't recognize anything around him, but he knows with absolute certainty that someone has tried to kill him – and will surely try again. As he tries to discover the identity of the person who wants him dead, he quickly begins to unravel sinister truths, which make it clear that the ramifications of his search are far greater than he could ever have imagined.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story

  • By Craig on 08-21-03

Too much YA fantasy, too little science

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

I'm proud of myself for not tossing this book within the first 30 pages, because until the story started to gel, it seemed all too much like one of Gaiman's nonsensical fantasies. (Clearly I'm not a fan.) I love scifi, but there is very little science and an awful lot of YA fantasy in here.

I stuck with it, and though I never found the scifi adventure I was hoping to uncover, it wasn't bad. It wasn't great either. It was a fairly drawn-out exploration of one young man's existential crisis, which was interesting but far from compelling.

Will I read the next in the series? Perhaps, but only if I trip over a copy in the library while looking for something, anything, to read.

  • Great North Road

  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 36 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,922
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,927

A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies. Or maybe not so friendly....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Get the Timeline and Cast of Characters

  • By Don M on 02-03-13

Much too long

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

I wanted to love Great North Road. It's a monster of a book, so I wanted to the investment to be worthwhile. But it was too long, much longer than it needed to be, by ~500 pages. And it focused too much on police procedure and odd tangents, instead of exploring and indulging the really intriguing aspects: the Zanth, Angela, the St. Libre creatures.

The novel would introduce a character or subplot with potential, and then ignore it -- literally -- for hundreds of pages. Perhaps this is an editing flaw, or perhaps it's just Hamilton's style. In either case, it didn't work well for me.

As well, the Geordie (Newcastle) dialect was at first charming, but we see only a few colloquialisms, which quickly become tiresome. "Pet" and "crap on it" were overused so much they should have had a drinking game named for them. In a 1000 page book, variety is key.

  • The Accidental Time Machine

  • By: Joe Haldeman
  • Narrated by: Kevin Free
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 847
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 672
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 677

Joe Haldeman is the esteemed Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Forever War. Things are going nowhere for lowly MIT research assistant Matt Fuller - especially not after his girlfriend drops him for another man. But then while working late one night, he inadvertently stumbles upon what may be the greatest scientific breakthrough ever. His luck, however, runs out when he finds himself wanted for murder - in the future.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Cool idea. Tediously told.

  • By Ted on 12-02-16

Enjoyable, easy read

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

The Accidental Time Machine was fun brain candy. I wish I'd saved it for a beach trip, because it was a light and easy enough indulgence to fit into a leisurely week of sunning and swimming. For some reason it vaguely reminded me of Stranger in a Strange Land, but not in a way I can pinpoint.

  • Partials

  • Partials, Book 1
  • By: Dan Wells
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,042
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,843
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,853

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials - engineered organic beings identical to humans - has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Action! Romance! Science!

  • By Tabitha on 07-21-12

Another misunderstood loner saves the world

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

Ehh.

I felt like I was proofing a script for submission to Disney for their next never-understood-loner-who-ends-up-saving-the-world movie. But then, they're already done dozens of those. This would be just another. A decent other, mind you, but I didn't see enough credible uniqueness in the characters, story or struggle to make this really stand out.

The Good: Such a great idea, and I especially have great appreciation for the unique idea of the Hope Act (forced pregnancy to maintain the species) and its ensuing debate.

The Bad: I found it too difficult to be plausible that a mid-teens girl could be carrying so much responsibility, be so well versed in genetics/virology, and turn so quickly from a no one to a most-wanted terrorist to everyone's hero in a world devastated by an apocalyptic war just a decade earlier. It seems an older and wiser character would better shoulder this burden, and the thoroughly YA angle left me disbelieving too often to give myself over to the book. Add in the way-too-YA romance angle, and it's no surprise I spent a bit of time admonishing myself that skimming is never the proper way to read a book, even the boring bits.

  • Passage

  • By: Connie Willis
  • Narrated by: Dina Pearlman
  • Length: 29 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 476
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 426
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 428

Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist specializing in near-death experiences. She is about to get help from a new doctor with the power to give her the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing.........

  • By Ann on 03-14-14

More dodging self-absorbed people, a la Willis

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

If I had not read many of Connie Willis' other books, the plight of the main character would have seemed more charming. However, after a few books, the rigmarole of a protagonist with "but this is important!" investigations and secrets, dodging self-absorbed people, gets old. Tedious even.

I liked this novel well enough, but the story never really went anywhere. The characters were wholly likable, and the idea was genuinely intriguing, but the plot took forever to...well, to float around in the sea just like the Titanic, until it finally and slowly sank. I was hoping for a better wrap-up to the investigation than merely a fizzling out, but I did mostly enjoy the journey getting there.

  • Dust

  • Silo Saga, Book 3
  • By: Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,967
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,614
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,629

Wool introduced the silo and its inhabitants. Shift told the story of their making. Dust will chronicle their undoing. Welcome to the underground.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Is this the end of it all or a new beginning?

  • By Lore on 07-12-17

A satisfying end to the Silo series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

Oh yes! What a satisfying end to the enjoyably unique and imaginative Silo series. Would I prefer it to continue? Of course, but it's always best to leave them wanting more.

My only complaint, and I do mean "only", is that the Audible.com version uses a reader who pronounces the word "palm" so oddly I found myself giggling every time the word was used. It's not a word in too common usage in our current culture, most people preferring "hand" or "grasp", but it became laughably obvious it is one of Howey's favorites, popping up frequently.

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 162,069
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 149,578
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 149,412

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

Geeky, intriguing, funny

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

While I will refrain from standing up and shouting that this book is simply amazing and everyone should read it, I will gladly state that it was a perfect fit for me. Geeky enough to be intriguing, funny enough to have me laughing out loud, and compelling enough to keep me reading even to the point of ignoring more pressing issues, The Martian gave me the satisfying hard scifi fix of my year.

Would I recommend it to others? If you truly enjoy the science part of scifi, and appreciate a down-to-earth narrative, my answer is an enthusiastic "Abso-f***ing-lutely." And here's proof, using the true test of my faith in a book: I have already pre-purchased two copies to be given as gifts.

BOOBIES!

  • Shift Omnibus Edition

  • Shift 1-3, Silo Saga
  • By: Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,873
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,420
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,450

In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Back to where it all started

  • By Lore on 07-05-17

Continues the unique and claustrophobic story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

With Shift, Hugh Howey continues his thoroughly unique, claustrophobic and engrossing story about the world in the silo. We get a skillfully woven background and unexpected explanations for how it all came to be, and this is fed to us in intriguing bits and pieces. I found I could not bite off my next scrap fast enough!

I have shelved these stories science fiction, though these are much less science than they are simply human and somewhat tragic. Hugh Howey understands and portrays loneliness in a way I hope never to experience firsthand. He shows us how love, when it's desperate and dysfunctional, can ruin a relationship and perhaps even a civilization. Bottom line is that he "gets" people and shares his compassionate appreciation for our flaws and our well-intentioned missteps, even when this revelation is far from the sunbeams and rainbows we hope he'll provide.

Taking a breather with a couple other books before I move on to Dust, mostly because I don't want to rush through. I'm trying to pace myself, savoring each morsel of the silo pie.

  • Half Past

  • A Novel
  • By: Victoria Helen Stone
  • Narrated by: Emily Sutton-Smith
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 270

At forty-five, Hannah Smith is at a crossroads. That's her spin on it. The reality is she's divorced, jobless, and moving back to her family home in Iowa to keep an eye on her mother, who's slipping into dementia. Her return stirs up the same unnerving sense of disconnect Hannah has felt since childhood - always the odd girl out, the loner outshone by her two older sisters. Hannah knew the feelings of hurt would come back. But she never expected fear....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Imagine being 45 years old and...

  • By shelley on 09-22-17

Not so much a "thriller" as a cozy mystery

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-19

Half Past is a well-paced suspense novel about a woman named Hannah who uncovers evidence that she cannot be the biological daughter of the mother she's caring for. Her father is dead, and her mother is suffering from dementia and dying. Distraught and eager to find answers, she drops everything and heads to the only place that might hold the truth: the town of her birth.

I did not like Hannah, and for what it's worth, I don't think we're necessarily supposed to. She is realistically flawed and a bit brash, but aware of her shortcomings. She is a straight-shooter, with herself and those she holds close, which is not appreciated as much as one would expect. However, we're supposed to see her for all the reasons she doesn't fit, to understand why her passion for hard answers is so strong.

I wouldn't qualify Half Past as a thriller, because this wasn't an "I can't turn the pages fast enough" kind of book. It was what I guess is called a "cozy mystery"? There was no foul language, no gore, not really even any sex. Instead it was a direct chronicle of one woman's sane and calm search for her true mother, to discover the truth of how she ended up where she did -- in a family where she always felt like an outsider.

  • Magdeburg 1945

  • By: David Hernandez
  • Narrated by: Commodore James
  • Length: 1 hr and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

A squad of American soldiers are given orders to investigate a deserted secret Nazi bunker. Nothing could have prepared them for the unimaginable horrors lurking in the darkness below.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gritty and authentic, bizarre and terrifying

  • By dtamayob on 03-09-19

Gritty and authentic, bizarre and terrifying

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-09-19

This novella is a solid and compelling military horror story about virus experimentation gone awry, not just once but twice. You know what they say about history and how ignorance dooms us to repeat it. And in some cases, it's so very much worse the second time around, especially for a man unfortunate enough to face the devastating events both times.

The characters were gritty and authentic, and the people-become-monsters were bizarre and terrifying. Hernandez eerily knows what *my* nightmares are made of.

I listened to the Audible version, and it was surprisingly well done. The narration is distinctive and precise, very easy to listen to. The background sound effects are an unexpected enhancement, adding just enough to the screenplay style to make it engaging.