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Jonathan M

Los Angeles
  • 33
  • reviews
  • 45
  • helpful votes
  • 48
  • ratings
  • Columbus Day

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 1
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,725
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25,427
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,371

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sci Fi I didn't know I wanted

  • By Gary Glenn on 06-27-17

Unexpectedly wonderful.

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

Reviewed: 10-30-18

I've learned my taste with respect to Audible titles tends towards simplistic prose and exciting plots. This is entirely due to the fact I listen while driving or walking dogs. I don't just...listen. When I get books that are prose focused I invariably lose track of what I'm supposed to be doing (driving!) and that's no good.

Using this lens Columbus Day is really great. I can't lie, it starts slow but picks up speed quickly and really takes off with the introduction 'Skippy' an AI character that is truly unique in science fiction. I'm reminded of Chris Nolan's INTERSTELLAR robots TARS. The scope of Mr. Alanson's ambition is, on occasion, limited by his abilities but only just and I think overall there is very little to dislike here. It's fun, exciting, well crafted and the world-building is superlative. Plus, Skippy. You'll have to read it to understand. Definite recommend.

  • The Great Alone

  • By: Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,403
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,612
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,527

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Long, Hard Slog Through Endless Despair and Heartache

  • By Morro Schreiber on 04-11-18

Well I grew up here...

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

So perhaps I am not the ideal person to review this book. The problem lies not in the story, which is basic but okay, it’s the quality of the writing and repetition in the narrative. It’s a lot of melodrama.

It’s an ode to a part of the world I recognize and love and I appreciate that but it’s also disappointing prose and characters that truly lack depth. Procedural comes to mind. Plus there is some ludicrous plotting. The kind that makes you want to throw the book against a wall. But of course this being an audible book you cant.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hunger

  • By: Alma Katsu
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 261

Tamsen Donner must be a witch. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone - or something - is stalking them. Whether it was a curse from the beautiful Tamsen, the choice to follow an experimental route West, or just bad luck - the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are at the brink of one of the deadliest adventures in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intense, visceral, excellent read

  • By j on 03-09-18

Creepy

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

Reviewed: 06-11-18

...but too short. A breezy ten hours means this story glossed over the depth that could have taken it from good to great. It's hard to track the number of characters but I enjoyed it, for the most part and who doesn't love a good historical western ghost story? I don't want to send anyone off the book, it's worth the buy, but it's good...not great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Forged in Fire

  • Destiny's Crucible, Book 4
  • By: Olan Thorensen
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 28 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,481
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,335
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,321

Joseph Colsco has survived what many would not have - cast naked on an alien planet amidst humans speaking an unknown language and with a different culture and history. Now, known to the people of Caedellium as Yozef Kolsko, he has risen out of despair to prominence and finds himself a central figure in the culmination of a struggle against an imperialist power bent on subjugation. The clans of the Island of Caedellium must gird themselves for what is to come.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story & narration.

  • By Joe Ibrahim on 02-09-18

Hmmm. A bit of a let down at the end?

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

Reviewed: 06-11-18

I've invested days in this serious. Literally, days. And overall I've really enjoyed the experience of getting to know the characters and world. But there are some major and substantive plotting issues with this final book that I was desperately hoping to see answered, and were not. Instead it became a really tedious plod to a predictable finish with the author choosing to show off historical knowledge...instead of writing compelling characters and prose. In fact, the prose over the whole series was less than top grade but the story, for a long while, engrossing and encouraging enough to forgive the rather pedantic attention to details that don't matter and the over repetitive qualities of the dialogue... "it comes to me..." this is a rather disappointing end to a really fun saga.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Gone World

  • By: Tom Sweterlitsch
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 460
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 422
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 423

Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL's family - and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can't share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship USS Libra - a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What an amazing find!

  • By Veronica on 03-07-18

Every now and then you get surprised.

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

Reviewed: 06-11-18

This book is one of those lovely science fiction surprises that takes you on a fantastic and fantastical journey. The prose is excellent, the characters fresh and scenarios mind-bending in a great way. Any quibbles I have are, for the most part, quite minor as I really stayed engaged and engrossed in the book from start to finish. Well worth the time IMO.

  • Children of Time

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Mel Hudson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,992
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,842
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,817

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 07-30-17

Three stars could be generous

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

Reviewed: 02-14-18

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, despite the intellectual underpinnings of the story (brilliant) it's deeply hamstrung by weak writing.

What did you like best about this story?

The science...or point of fact, the science of evolution.

What aspect of Mel Hudson’s performance would you have changed?

Hudson did fine. No complaints with the performance. In fact, it was pretty good.

Was Children of Time worth the listening time?

In the end, no. I felt that the story was substantially undone by weak writing and characters. The interweaving of the two protagonist narratives was done well, but the actual prose and relationships, were terribly one-note. It felt like a book in service of an idea.

  • A Gift of Time

  • By: Jerry Merritt
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,196
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,840

When Micajah Fenton discovers a crater in his front yard with a broken time glider in the bottom and a naked, virtual woman on his lawn, he delays his plans to kill himself. While helping repair the marooned time traveler's glider, Cager realizes it can return him to his past to correct a mistake that had haunted him his entire life. As payment for his help, the virtual creature living in the circuitry of the marooned glider, sends Cager back in time as his 10-year-old self.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Smart and original

  • By J. OBrennan on 12-29-17

Near Greatness

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

Reviewed: 02-14-18

Would you consider the audio edition of A Gift of Time to be better than the print version?

No idea.

Would you recommend A Gift of Time to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, I would. Anyone who is interested in both time travel, Southern Gothic Pat Conroy style storytelling and rich characters will enjoy this book...and that's a wild mix.

Which character – as performed by Christopher Lane – was your favorite?

Cager is fantastic - and the narrator gave him a near perfect voice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't have an extreme reaction to the book, but I certainly had a reaction. That reaction was 90% positive. The book is wonderfully written - the only concern I have is the writers desire to tie things up in the galactic sense. While satisfying in some ways, the third act does go through some rather extreme plot machinations that take us about 70 million years off track (literally) which is why I can't award it 5 stars across the board.

Any additional comments?

Well worth a listen if you like science fiction and great fiction.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • American War

  • A Novel
  • By: Omar El Akkad
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,462
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,357
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,351

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best listen in years

  • By odin on 04-08-17

Abandoned

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

Reviewed: 02-01-18

I wanted to love this book, but it just didn't have enough of a compelling story to keep me interested. The worst part is that I can't even tell you why. It just felt like I'd read similar stories that were more engaging both in terms of the writing and characters...I wanted to like this book. I gave it a few hours, but never engaged.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Infinite

  • By: Jeremy Robinson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,882
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,356
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,336

The Galahad, a faster-than-light spacecraft, carries 50 scientists and engineers on a mission to prepare Kepler 452b, Earth's nearest habitable neighbor at 1400 light years away. With Earth no longer habitable and the Mars colony slowly failing, they are humanity's best hope. After 10 years in a failed cryogenic bed - body asleep, mind awake - William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart. This is the first time William dies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a rather complex science fiction story

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 12-26-17

TOTALLY UNIQUE

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

Reviewed: 02-01-18

I'm an avid reader (are we past the issue of being a reader vs a listener?) anyway, I listen to a lot of books. Particularly this genre: science fiction. I even write it.

I had no idea what to expect for this book and in truth bought it because I love R.C. Bray and will listen to virtually anything he reads...but this book blew me away.

NO SPOILERS AHEAD

First of all it's written well, always a bonus and when I say well, I mean the writer has some style. He knows his way around the written language and I can appreciate that. The story itself is a mind bender that had me listening at home and walking the dogs, not just on the way to work. This is a huge thing, I hardly ever choose an audible book over traditional entertainment, but the sheer lunacy of this book and the concepts it explores meant I was hooked.

It's also complex, not just intellectually complex (although there is some of that) it's also narratively complex and while I pride myself on seeing things coming, I surprised by a few of the twists in this book - which felt great. I love a good narrative twist when it's earned.

In short - it's awesome and the only 15 star review I've given on Audible. Have fun.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Paradox Bound

  • A Novel
  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,596
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10,999
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,979

Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town's still got a video store, for God's sake. So why doesn't Eli Teague want to leave? Not that he'd ever admit it, but maybe he's been waiting - waiting for the traveler to come back. The one who's roared into his life twice before, pausing just long enough to drop tantalizing clues before disappearing in a cloud of gunfire and a squeal of tires. The one who's a walking anachronism, with her tricorne hat, flintlock rifle, and steampunked Model A Ford.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Standard Clines. Fun and forgettable

  • By Debra on 10-07-17

I'm sad it ended.

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

Reviewed: 12-05-17

I've been a fan of Mr. Clines for some time and this book just proves that he's getting better with age. His stories are absolutely original and in today's day and age that's increasingly more difficult. But what helps him stand out goes beyond his originality: it's his prose. Mr. Clines is a great writer! Well paced, energetic and exciting it's a great audio book. The only thing I wish he would do is go even deeper than he does. There are rabbit holes unexplored and subplots that are given too short shrift and as he matures, I hope his efforts expand even more. Great book!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful