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Brian

Niagara Falls, NY
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  • The King Tides

  • Lancaster & Daniels
  • By: James Swain
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 162
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 138
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 138

Nicki Pearl is the perfect daughter - every parent’s dream. And that of strangers, too. Wherever she goes, she’s being watched. Each stalker is different from the last, except for one thing - their alarming obsession with Nicki. Nicki’s father is turning to someone who can protect her: retired private detective and ex-Navy SEAL Jon Lancaster. Unlicensed, and unrestricted, he plays dirty. But this case is unusual. Why so many men? Why this one girl? Does Nicki have something to hide? Or do her parents? Trawling the darkest depths of southern Florida, Lancaster faces a growing tide of secrets and deception.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another excellent series from James Swain!

  • By Wayne on 08-14-18

Well Crafted & Extremely Memorable

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

4.44 out of 5 stars

Yes, I just went there. 4.44 out of 5. I did this because without some of the issues I’ll call out this should have been a 5, but they were bothersome enough that I can’t rate it a 4.5 (which I would round up to a 5). Warning: the issues I call out wouldn’t bother everyone but seemed to bug me.

I can’t really describe the premise of the book better than what is already done, so I’ll just post it here: Nicki Pearl is the perfect daughter – every parent’s dream. And that of strangers, too. Wherever she goes, she’s being watched. Each stalker is different from the last, except for one thing – their alarming obsession with Nicki.

So, there are all these men and they are seemingly obsessed with Nicki – a 15-year-old girl. A private investigator is called and we are introduced to Jon Lancaster. A pot-bellied (medical condition) unassuming former cop who is now a private investigator. Did I mention that he’s also an ex-Navy SEAL? Yeah, he’s that too.

The King Tides is a book that I won’t soon forget. Excellent character development and a story that will definitely stick in your mind. It was an intense ride from beginning to end. Lancaster is a likable good guy who always seems to find the right thing to do or say. He’s able to save the day even when you don’t have much hope. We’re even given a “mini” case to start The King Tides off so that we can really get to know him.

Much later in the book, we are introduced to an FBI agent with a vendetta she needs help completing. I would talk much more about her and how she was introduced – but it will pretty much ruin a big turning point in King Tides.

Now, on to some of the stuff that I was bothered by. I think Swain wrote this book for the airport Thriller readers. Those are the 40-60ish-year-old men and women who read Thrillers while on trips. I say this because he explained things that I did not feel like needed to be explained. For example, there was a scene where he needs to get a replacement phone (skipping some major spoilers here). Swain basically explained the entire process from walking into Verizon, talking to the clerk, buying the new phone, having her transfer data over, etc. It just felt… bloated and unnecessary. But, it got worse once he got home and was looking at the phone. He started going through the apps and literally explaining what they all did – all the way down to the calculator app. Yes, he explained what the calculator app did. Here is how the scene went down (slight paraphrase to not spoil anything):

Then came an app called Calculator, which performed simple mathematical equations. Next up was an app called Calendar that contained… important dates and appointments…

Unfortunately, a lot of the book was little scenes like this where he would over-explain things that I think are either common knowledge or at the very least easily Google-able. It made the book feel a bit choppy for me. Every time the action would pick up or a major scene would happy – I’d get an extra explanation I didn’t need.

Another qualm that I had with it was that some of the things just seemed too simplified. There were numerous scenes where Lancaster would say things like “As a private investigator he doesn’t have to abide by the same rules of law enforcement officers” and he seems to use this to the nth degree. There were parts of King Tides that I thought… yeah that couldn’t happen. Or, yeah, the cops would definitely be called. I’m pretty good at suspending my disbelief but I had a hard time with some of the off-the-wall stunts that Lancaster pulled.

Now, with all of that said – I enjoyed the heck out of The King Tides. It was a blast of a book that I won’t soon forget. A premise that isn’t usually touched upon. Killers that stand out. And a duo that is completely unexpected.

  • Cyber Wars

  • The Black Chamber
  • By: Michael Crawshaw
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

When America's infrastructure comes under attack from hackers, the world's most powerful military doesn't know how to respond. Where should it aim its missiles? Could ISIS or North Korea be behind the cyber attacks? And why does a London hedge fund always bet the right way before each market-moving strike? Enter FBI cyber expert Declin Lehane. But before he can find the real enemy and prevent the crisis from escalating into a global conflict, he must battle the establishment elite, interagency politics, and his own prejudice.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fast-Paced Action & Realistic Cyber Warfare

  • By Brian on 09-13-18

Fast-Paced Action & Realistic Cyber Warfare

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

Reviewed: 09-13-18

4.5 out of 5 stars

The hardest thing I did while listening to The Black Chamber was watching Jack Ryan at the same time.  The plots were similar enough that I was starting to merge the two.  That says something about Crawshaw's book - that it can be on par with a character and series created by one of the best writers to ever write Thrillers.

Black Chamber basically tells the story of a hacker who was caught hacking into .gov website(s) and was given a plea deal of "work for us or go to jail".  He's described as a punk and everyone who meets him is amazed that he's doing the job he's doing. He's call to investigate massive, well-planned, and extremely effective cyber attacks on different places and venues. From oil rigs to Plum Island the hackers will not leave any stone unturned.

Intermixed into this is an investment firm who seems to keep hitting right before the markets take a turn.  The oil rig is hit - but they just bought in oil futures hoping that the price would go up.  Something feels off about this but it can't be proven.

The story itself was fast-paced and I thought that the cyber war stuff in it was extremely realistic and not "dumbed down" for the masses.  It was written for someone who's done some reading into cyber attacks like the Stuxnet attack (it also is funny to hear people claim ownership in this book since no one officially did). But it wasn't "nerdy" enough to lose most readers.

Overall, I found myself really enjoying this one. It was one of those rare technothrillers that felt real without going too far into the future.

I was talking with Paul from ABR the other day about R.C. Bray and how I will basically pick anything he's done up.  But there was a post-apocalyptic series he did where it took place in the UK and they wanted him to do a British accent.  I wasn't sure what he was talking about - but when I started this book I was a little worried.  Bray might be one of my all-time favorite narrators but I do not think that British accents are his strong suit. I can't tell if Bray gave up on the accent midway through The Black Chamber or if I just got used to it, but it didn't bug me nearly as much as I thought it would.

  • Yellowstone: Hellfire

  • By: Bobby Akart
  • Narrated by: Chris Abernathy
  • Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151

The Yellowstone series, a new disaster thriller from international best-selling author Bobby Akart, takes the listener on a thrill ride as a cataclysmic event of extinction level proportions ticks away like a time bomb, awaiting its moment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!!!

  • By PK on 08-26-18

A BANG Start To Your Next Favorite Series

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18

4.5 out of 5 stars

Yellowstone: Hellfire was a book that I honestly had zero idea was coming out (let alone so soon after I finished the Lone Star Series). I knew he was working on something else and I might have even ventured a guess in a contest of his but I wasn't expecting this series.  

I can tell that he put a ton of time into researching the Yellowstone series.  Hellfire is one of those books that might turn a reader off because it's so incredibly well researched.  I say that because you can tell that he's not going for the easy way out.  Akart is trying to make this super believable and I thought it worked.  It wasn't Hollywood by any means.  There were scenes that he could have easily taken the path of least resistance but didn't. 

He was able to write characters that jumped off the page again.  This is the fourth major series I've ventured into with Akart and they all have people in it that I actually care for.  I love that about his books. He's also able to write budding romantic scenes that feel believable and interesting - not forced and quick like your typical PA books.

This is my 20th review of just Bobby Akart - in those twenty books he's taken me places that terrify me and places that comfort me after a long day at work.  He has this way of writing just up to the brink of turning me off (I know that he is a Republican, I know what he thinks of the current President, etc).  But, each and every time that I think he's going to go over that line - he doesn't. He skirts right up to it, but then at the last moment veers away.  And I commend him as an author for doing that.

Overall, I thought that Yellowstone: Hellfire was a book that I wasn't expecting in more than one way.  Akart surprised me with the quick release, the insane amount of research, and just by how back and forth from informative to fun this book way.  

I have not listened to any books narrated by Chris Abernathy before and I can't tell how I felt about the slight overacting in the scenes.  Some needed it and they thrived under Abernathy's narration - where others (yelling/raising voices) felt a little too much.  It wasn't a dramatization by any means - but at times it got a little heavy handed with the way that he used his voice. That being said - I still liked his narration. I requested a copy of this audiobook from the author - it has not affected my review in any way.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Bricked In

  • By: Max Wannow
  • Narrated by: Max Wannow
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Bricked In is a disgusting glimmer of self-recognition. For many, happiness is found in freedom. After winning the lottery, a former gypsy becomes the queen of a dystopia. Newlyweds Bethany and Neil join this isolated society, which is devoid of common American laws. With no holds barred, experimental science takes place.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • All Over The Place

  • By Brian on 09-04-18

All Over The Place

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

Reviewed: 09-04-18

2.5 out of 5 stars

This is going to be a hard book to review because there were aspects in it that I love and some that I just didn’t like (or didn’t work for me.

The premise is that a woman wins the lottery and wants to create a kingdom for her daughter (and does). I would assume she wanted to set out to create a utopia of sorts (since most dystopian books set out to make something well and fail). But I don’t think she wanted the perfect world – she wanted a world the way she wanted it.

We’re first introduced to her at a ceremony where a couple is forced to wear dog collars, walk on their hands and knees and end up being killed (to make room for the newlywed couple that the story follows). Woof. I’m all for weird and unique premises and I’ll give any book a chance when it sounds interesting – but start off like that (I won’t even mention the next scene which would bother a lot of people).

Okay, so this crazy lady, I mean gypsy’s world is kind of a no-holds-barred world where you do pretty much whatever you want – but you also work. And on top of that, it’s falling apart. Definitely the setting of most dystopian novels I’ve read – but Wannow took it a few steps forward and introduced some other topics that could rub people the wrong way. They didn’t completely bother me but I thought I would warn some people.

So, on to some of the things that I liked. This book is super unique – definitely, the way that I think he meant for it to be read. It has some interesting science in it that peaked my interest, along with the interaction between the people who were born there vs those who arrived. It had some great premises that could have been taken a few more steps and they would have really been memorable.

Instead, it felt like Wannow tried a little bit of shock and awe mixed with cherry picking some ideas from dystopian novels that he thought would be interesting. It worked in some aspects and others it just… didn’t.

Combine that with some choppy writing (both chapter/topic switching and dialogue) and this book falls a little flat for me. I ended up looking at other reviews and everyone seemed to come to the same conclusion. There were some parts that were interesting but it falls a bit short. I think a good editor would help smooth out some of the rough patches and help a little with the dialogue.

I did enjoy his narration – I’m not always a fan of self-narrated books because most authors are not narrators too. But, I thought that Wannow did a good job with Bricked In. His female voices weren’t overly annoying (a lot of times guys try too hard) and his male voices were different enough to make it understandable who was speaking. I requested a copy of this audiobook - it has not affected my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Pilgrimage

  • A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Story
  • By: Tom Abrahams
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136

Pilgrimage is a stand-alone post-apocalyptic story of survival. It was previously published as three separate novellas: Crossing, Refuge, and Advent. High School teacher James Rockwell is vacationing in Maine with his family, when an earth-changing explosion sends them on a race for their lives. Their first step is escaping an island in the midst of a tsunami, and it only gets more dangerous from there. Can they find their way home as civilization crumbles around them? And if they do, what horrors will they find?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Typical apocalypse story

  • By June on 08-22-18

A Collection Of Three Stories That Read Like One

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

Reviewed: 08-29-18

4.5 out of 5 stars

Originally published as three novellas partially based (set in the same world) as Steven Konkoly’s Perseid Collapse series – Pilgrimage (which I can’t spell to save my life) takes a normal family and throws them into extraordinary situations. Will they survive or will they perish? Will this new world be too much for them?

Coined as the everyday family surviving type of a book – I wasn’t sure where Abrahams was going to go with it (but if you’re familiar with me, you know that I love his work). Pilgrimage starts in Maine (one of my all time favorite places and we meet a family who is out on vacation trying to relax a bit from their crazy lives (and getting over a death from the pandemic also based on a Konkoly story). We meet the Rockwell family and are introduced to the father a high school teacher.

James Rockwell (Rock) was one of those unforgettable types of characters. He’s not quite to the level of Marcus Battle but was memorable in different ways. The high school teacher was a nice touch – he was able to talk about science and some of the what was happening more than the average post-apocalyptic character can (and I enjoyed that thoroughly).

They are very quickly thrown into the muck when things on their remote island start to go off the rails. They are forced to survive by any means necessary and find out more about themselves and each other as things get harder and harder. I loved watching the family get by and the interaction between the kids, wife, and Rock. It was interesting to see them concerned for each other but also to play off each other’s strengths.

I can’t go much more into what this family endured, but the ending (and last third of the book or so) was a total roller coaster of emotions and action. I wasn’t sure just what was going to happen. I want to quote the ending but it would give too much away.

The changing from book to book wasn’t as harsh as I was expecting it to be and they really worked well together. Couple that together with Pierce’s narration and you have another wonderfully written and performed post-apocalyptic books. I requested a copy of this audiobook and it has not affected my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Extinct

  • By: Ike Hamill
  • Narrated by: Kyle Tait
  • Length: 13 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 22

Channel Two predicted a blanket of snow for Thanksgiving weekend - unusual, but not alarming for the little Maine island. What comes is a blinding blizzard, and a mass disappearance of nearly every person Robby Pierce knows. He and his family flee, trying to escape the snow and the invisible forces stealing people right from the street. Miles away, Brad Jenkins battles the same storm. Alone, he attempts to survive as snow envelops his house. When the storm breaks, Brad makes his way south to where the snow ends and the world lies empty.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I Felt So Middle-of-the-Road About This

  • By Brian on 08-27-18

I Felt So Middle-of-the-Road About This

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

Reviewed: 08-27-18

2.5 out of 5 stars

I've owned this book on Kindle for years now and never picked it up to start it. So, when I found out that it was released on Audible - I jumped because I thought I would finally have the time to listen to it and get it off of my TBR pile.  Unfortunately, my subconscious was telling me something.  Extinct was just an "eh" kind of book that stumbled its way through dialogue and premise settings.  A redeeming factor was that it was action packed and Hamill seemed to be able to write the action scenes with ease.

I do not normally read other reviews for books before I read a book - and I didn't change that for Extinct.  I did, however, read some when I was having a hard time with this book and it seems like my worries were founded.

The biggest issue I had with this book was that as a reader, I'm not given any real "extra' information about the mysterious things that are going on.  I get keeping me in the dark to add some extra suspense, but it didn't work.  It just angered and confused me.  Things would happen and I thought, "sweet, now we'll finally find out...nope."  You can only take that for so long before you feel like the author is punishing you.

Another issue that I had with the book was that it was just too darn long.  There was absolutely no reason to write 6 hours of backstory for these characters.  Their lives weren't important or full enough to warrant that amount of backstory. Some of the best stories have a full story-arc at the 6-hour mark and in Extinct we were just getting into the story.

Some of the positives for this were that it seemed like a new and interesting take on the Post-Apocalyptic world. I've read quite a few books in this genre and it's a genuine surprise when it's something I've never read or heard before. But, saying that - it wasn't executed to the best I thought it could have been.  I'm not sure if Hamill will go in the direction(s) that I expected in the other books in this series because it wasn't done in the first book and we were left without an ending (or some might say enough of an ending, but a major cliffhanger).  I will not be continuing it to find out. I just can't hang in there for more books.

If it weren't for Kyle Tait's narration of this - I don't know if I could have finished it.  He was able to convince me to stay along for the ride since he was giving the characters such depth and keeping the pacing as fast as he could. Thankfully Tait's voice was like a beacon in the dark.  I knew that it was going to take me to safety at some point. I requested a review copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Archangel

  • By: William Gibson, Michael St. John Smith
  • Narrated by: Josh Hurley, Victor Bevine, Elizabeth Jasicki, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 43 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 287
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 270
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 271

The year is 2016. Not our 2016. Theirs. Earth is dying, the result of a worldwide nuclear holocaust caused by America’s dictatorial President-for-Life Lewis Henderson, a man who will use any means necessary to maintain power and survive. Enter: The Splitter. A machine capable of splitting off an exact replica of Henderson’s world. A world where the cataclysmic events causing its destruction have yet to occur. That world is ours. In August of 1945, our postwar Europe becomes the battleground for Henderson’s operatives - led by his sociopathic son - as they engineer a complete redo of their history. By changing ours.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Performances All Around

  • By Brian on 08-26-18

Great Performances All Around

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

I was about halfway through the book when I looked it up on Goodreads to find out that the original version was a graphic novel.  It makes sense to me (especially given the length of it) but I didn't once feel confused or feel like something was missing.  Quite the opposite.  Due to the "full-cast" performance with sound effects and everything - this book felt different than my average audiobook.  I don't listen to many dramatic presentations like this but it was just what I needed.

Short and full of grit - Archangel was a story that I enjoyed from beginning to end. Gibson and St. John Smith tell a story of a world where the President-For-Life is trying to find another world/realm to go back and "fix". We find out as the story progresses what happened to Baltimore (and then again later what really happened).  And we are introduced to some really cool and interesting tech that our characters are in charge or (or get help from).

The story itself jumped around a little bit, but it translated well to audio.  I thought that the cast did a wonderful job - along with the sound/audio editors.  Every sound effect felt like it belonged without being distracting or overwhelming.  The audio was easy to hear and the background noises made the scenes more realistic instead of stealing their thunder.

Overall, I found myself enjoying Archangel and as I said above - it was the perfect book for the mood that I was in. I requested a free copy of this audiobook - it has not affected my review in any way.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Calculating Stars

  • A Lady Astronaut Novel
  • By: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the East Coast of the US, including Washington, DC. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the Earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space and requires a much-larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s drive to become the first lady astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • New found favorite book...

  • By Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore on 07-12-18

Simply out of This World (Pun Intended)

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

The Calculating Stars was simply out of this world (pun intended). As the first full novel of The Lady Astronaut series, it was a phenomenal stand-alone piece but, after reading it, who wouldn't want more? Part Hidden Figures, part The Martian, and part The Day After Tomorrow, Mary Robinette Kowal's The Calculating Stars quickly climbed to the top of my "best books of 2018" list.

This well-written, well-researched book combines my love of historical fiction, sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic/dystopian books while creatively addressing culturally relevant issues like climate change, mental health/anxiety, and gender- and race-based discrimination (in STEM, the workplace, public policymaking, and social settings).

The story begins in the 1950's with a meteorite decimating Washington D.C. and much of the surrounding area while newlyweds Elma and Nathaniel Wexler are vacationing in the mountains. Elma (who had been a WASP pilot in WWII and holds a doctorate in math and physics) and her husband (an esteemed engineer), are both employed by NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. When they hear the impact, they immediately begin calculating and assessing the damage.

Together, they make their way back to their NACA co-workers and soon discover that the meteorite landed in water, initially sparing many lives but unfortunately triggering a "climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity." The severity of the impending climate changes' potential impacts on the planet and those who inhabit it is coupled with an abbreviated timeline developed by the NACA calculators, lending a sense of urgency to the story and rapidly accelerating the space race.

The Calculating Stars is largely plot-driven, with richly developed characters, and a multitude complex conflicts, including man vs. self, man vs. nature, and man vs. society. Elma, our protagonist, battles an anxiety condition,  competes with other candidates for a spot in the astronaut program and confronts the patriarchy in an effort to overcome the odds and...well...save mankind. Kowal masterfully develops her characters in a way that leaves readers feeling incredibly invested in their well-being--I found myself as worried about Elma's family as she seemed to be.

I spent much of book the rooting for the female candidates, snarling at Parker and Clemons and feeling grateful for good men like Nathaniel Wexler. My emotional investment was significant in a way that's only possible with such a masterfully written and narrated book. The Calculating Stars left me with enough closure that I could sleep at night but was so great that I can't wait for book two to come out on Audible! I'll be listening for sure.

I initially felt some trepidation when I realized the author narrated her own work. I usually enjoy pieces where authors read their own memoirs, but I have struggled through a few books of other genres where the authors' narrations were a bit flat and one-dimensional. Some authors are amazing narrators but others aren't as gifted when it comes to voice acting and just don't seem to understand the value of working with another professional. If you share my hesitation, let me assuage your fears: Mary Robinette Kowal is a truly gifted story-teller. I was impressed by both the quality of her writing and her amazing voice acting abilities. Kowal utilizes a variety of reading styles, accents, pitches, tones, and speeds to further develop her characters' personalities, build tension, convey relief, demonstrate anxiety and fear, and distinguish between dialogue and news broadcasts. Kowal's narration was exceptional. I enjoyed her reading of The Calculating Stars so much that I added her to my list of favorite narrators and searched audible by narrator to find more of her work. I requested a free copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lucifer's Nebula

  • Lucifer's Star, Book 2
  • By: C. T. Phipps, Michael Suttkus
  • Narrated by: Eric Burns
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Captain Cassius Mass can only run so far from his problems and the galaxy isn't big enough to hide from those pursuing him. Cassius soon finds himself blackmailed into a mission that will clear him of all charges as well as protect him from future persecution: bring an end to the civil war currently racking the galaxy. Accompanied by a new set of untrustworthy allies, the crew of the Melampus, and the A.I duplicate of his dead wife - Cassius needs to figure out how to not only deal with his target but also his employers. Because the entire universe is at stake.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Universe survives but with funny bad decisions!

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 08-31-18

Definitely Check This One Out

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

Reviewed: 08-17-18

This is my eighth book by CT Phipps and there hasn't been a single one that I haven't liked yet.  Even some of the ones that aren't in my "normal" genres.  Lucifer's Nebula is the second book in the Lucifer's Star series by Phipps and Michael Suttkus and it was a blast to listen to.  Which, ironically is exactly what I said about the first book.

I went back and read my review of the first book and now I have to try really hard not to write the exact same thing.  I felt the same way about this book but it wasn't as much of a whodunit and more of a pure science fiction book.  It has alien races, alien god-like races, cognition AI's, deceit, double-crossing, cloning (legal and illegal), family issues, and so much more.  I've noticed that in these books I think I'm going to get one or two stories and arcs but Phipps and Suttkus always throw 10-15 at me.

I think my favorite parts of this book were just the attitude that Cassius had throughout it.  He grew, a lot, as a character and he both hated and loved himself for it.  His journies - both internal and actual physical ones were both extremely interesting to follow.  I felt like I was getting a deep psychological look into his brain as he was going through these things - without it feeling like too much.

Near the end of this book, I found myself needing to focus a lot since they were jumping all over the place.  I believe this was done on purpose and it caused some disconnect for me (not in a bad way) but just a "what in the heck is going on" way.  I think we were supposed to feel the same confusion and disorientation that Cassius felt.

Combine the excellent writing with the narration by Eric Burns who just brings their words to life - you have a winner in Lucifer's Nebula.  A blast of a book from beginning to end.  You should definitely check this one out. I requested a free copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Failure Is an Option

  • An Attempted Memoir
  • By: H. Jon Benjamin
  • Narrated by: H. Jon Benjamin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,239
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,146
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,141

While he's not quite a household name, most people would consider H. Jon Benjamin, the voice-actor star of Archer and Bob's Burgers (and a sentient can of mixed vegetables in 2015's Wet Hot American Summer) a comedy show business success. But he'd like to remind everyone that as great as success can be, failure is also an option. In a hilarious, self-deprecating memoir, Jon lays out some of his many failures in all areas of life, from Work ("wherein I'm unable to deliver a sizzling fajita") to Family ("wherein a trip to PF Chang's fractures a family").

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love H Jon Benjamin

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-11-18

Hilarious Through and Through

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

You might be familiar with H. Jon Benjamin from shows like Archer and Bob’s Burgers – but this book talks very little about that and gives you a much broader look on all of the failures that Benjamin faced on his way to being where he is today.

Told almost like an anti-self-help book, Failure is an Option was a blast to listen to – hearing him tell stories of his failures was both enlightening and hilarious.  He had a way of telling the stories so that you felt for him along the way – but also knew he was going to make you laugh throughout.

I particularly liked the email correspondences with the two history professors one where he wouldn’t help at all and the other where he was extremely helpful. I cracked up throughout both of those and couldn’t stop the smile on my face when I realized where it was going.

I was familiar with the final story in this memoir because of a podcast I listened to where Jon was the first guest (it was Aisha Tyler’s, I believe) where he told the story about the rental car and the hotel.

Overall, the audiobook version of Failure is an Option was really enjoyable and I think that listening to him tell his own stories makes a book like this work even more than the print version.  I laughed throughout this and found it endearing.