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Dave Hoggan

  • 9
  • reviews
  • 21
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • 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 2,769
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,660
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,645

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
  • Fantastic start to what I hope is a great series

  • By GiffRock on 02-01-17

A Surprisingly Good Find

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

Reviewed: 09-10-17

Let's get one thing on the table first: I am a fan of R.C. Bray. Will that colour my review? 'Hell yeah' as the protagonist would say.

This was bought as a credit waster whilst waiting for the third in the Bobiverse series to be released - a series I love. So it is telling that, despite the third in that series subsequently ending up purchased, I went straight into book two of this series.

You can read the Audible 'blurb' on the story so I'll not recover that ground - nor make any spoilers - which makes it difficult to tell specifics as to why I like this so far, but here goes...

First, the pacing. This is a brisk walk of a story 90% of the time. The other 10% is action. My definition of action in a book is where there's a real chance I need to re-read/rewind in order to keep up. If you've ever watched a film action scene and got to the 'which side is he on?' stage - that's action. The 'brisk walk' is part military; part compendium of the species and their relationships; part interstellar dynamics; part humanity (i.e., the humanity of the situation) and part humour.

Second, the science. OK, this is science-fiction. Stuff is made up, more - and less - based on current and projected levels of what we know possible, But kudos is definitely given for being one of the few books/films/TV series to cover the practicalities of warfare involving distances measured in light-seconds and above. Last time I saw this was Babylon 5.

Third, the story. The blurb - and the initial part of the book - doesn't hold back in telling us the plot. We're invaded and then the invader are vanquished for us only to find the vanquishers are the invaders. But this is a simply the 'draw'. It is what happens next that gets interesting.

Fourth: Well, I can't tell you that as it is a spoiler: I'll just say 'small, but a real a**hole'.

And then there's R.C. Bray. For me, he's got the voice and the delivery that makes a story come alive - not just words in the headphones, but images in my head. This is a mixed blessing: it's great for the story but I listen to the books in a gym on a treadmill. Much of which has me with slack-jawed interest, frowning or laughing. People have noticed. Now I'm likely the 'weird guy'. Thanks. R.C.!

Best credit to have been spent in a long time.

  • A Symphony of Echoes

  • The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 2
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,994
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,851
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,847

Book Two in the madcap time-travel series based at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research that seems to be everyone's cup of tea. In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary's series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas A Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More entertainment

  • By Robyn on 09-11-16

Entertaining

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

Reviewed: 02-09-17

My review for the first book in the series was essentially positive although I couldn't help but shake the feeling of Bridget Jones does time travel. After just finishing this second book I have lost much - although not all - of my initial reservations.

With all the main characters already defined this book can (and does) hit the ground running. There's little point in giving the highlights as either (a) you've read the book already and so know or (b) you haven't and anything I write would be a spoiler. But, Jodi Taylor continues to handle the thorny issue of time travel better than many other authors and also manages to make history sound more three dimensional.

Zara Ramm does a great job in narrating this - and the first - volume.She doesn't attempt to "do" masculine voices, but her strength is in her pacing and intonation.

Given I was in two minds about this second book at the start, I've been swayed enough to bump book three up the listening list a bit.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

  • Bobiverse, Book 1
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,907
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,468
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,449

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An unexpected gem

  • By Andrew on 29-01-17

Not what I expected.

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

Reviewed: 24-03-17

I expected this to be a bit of light, two-demensional filler, but that is one thing it ain't. It does have a lightness of mood throughout, but multiple dark undercurrents rise and fall as the ever-increasing storylines unfold. Ray Porter does a fine job of separating the Bobs and his delivery and interpretation of the written word is"classic Porter".

There are a lot of good moments where the narration and story work particularly well together, which is all you can ask for. Looking forward to book two which is, thankfully, soon to be released.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Going Rogue

  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth Series, Book 3
  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 15 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 231
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 218

Adventuring is a costly affair, and while the tolls are often paid in blood, gold can drain away just as quickly. The party's trek out of Solium and across the lands of Alcatham has left them with only a handful of gold between them. Fortunately, they have drawn near Camnarael, Alcatham's capital, where all manner of quests - and rewards - await. But all is not as expected in the capital.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 3rd Part of the S,S & S series - Still going stron

  • By Amazon Customer on 31-12-18

Well worth the the time.

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

Reviewed: 05-03-17

After the enjoyable, but perhaps somewhat slow, second book in the series, Going Rogue picks up the pace - and keeps it throughout - despite being considerably longer. Longer perhaps, but it still seemed to finish all too soon.

As expected the characters are developed, and all three groups are given the limelight. If you've been reading the series thus far, you're unlikely be be reading a review of this installment (as you'll simply have just bought it!) but in the interests of not giving away any spoilers, the forces behind Broken Bridge Publishing continue to work their mysterious plan. Still, I have no idea what that plan is, but with more pieces of the bridge "in play" the pace - and stakes - are increasing.

Now I just need to find another series to immerse myself in until book 4 is released.

  • Just One Damned Thing After Another

  • The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,174
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,943
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,940

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic and fasinating romp through time

  • By al on 02-12-14

Yes, but...

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

Reviewed: 23-01-17

I picked this up as the overview was intriguing and I'm looking to broaden my listening tastes. A lot of people have given glowing reviews of this, the first in a series and there is a lot to like.

The narration by Zara Ramm is very good and she manages to convey the various characters emotions very convincingly. Often a narrator can have a particular character they struggle with and, if this were the case here, I didn't pick up on it.

The concept of the story is a very novel take on time travel (not that 'we' call it that, of course). Time travel stories often end up either being very formulaic or badly executed but this one neatly side-steps both dead-ends and takes the reader off down a rather tangential path. I was rather impressed how some of the more thorny issues of time travel were handled too. FODs and PODs being one of the many necessary evils in this line of work.

But, halfway-or-so through the book I couldn't help but think the author had a "what if Bridget Jones did time travel" moment when she developed the protagonist Max's character. And, by the end of the book, it became a little grating.

The second in the series is in my wishlist, but I'm having a good look round to see if there is something else of interest first. The premise of the story is good, certainly has potential and written in an engaging way, but Max just feels like someone else's character shoehorned into the story.

  • Opening Moves

  • The Gam3, Book 1
  • By: Cosimo Yap
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 705
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 678
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 678

The Earth is changing. The alien invasion brought social upheaval, advanced technology, and an armada of peacekeeping robots. But Alan, a college student pursuing a now-useless degree, cares little about all of this. He has only one thing on his mind: the Game. A fully immersive virtual reality, the Game appears to be a major part of the invading civilization. Alan can't wait to play, recklessly diving into the digital universe. Soon though, Alan realizes the Game is anything but simple, and the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Good

  • By JONAH8208 on 25-02-17

Experience Online Role Playing - Without Playing

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

Reviewed: 11-01-17

As an ex-MMORPGer (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) this book caught my attention by its somewhat novel concept; aliens invade Earth and give us peace and a virtual realty game the whole galaxy is playing. Not the usual outcome of such a scenario that you've probably come to expect. I gave up MMORPGs as I no longer have the time, but miss the fun, challenges and character building. So bear that in mind as it will colour my views.

The author has obviously has played MMORPGs. A lot. The book delights in the player's experience of building a character and is heavy on game mechanics. Heavy yes, but not to the point of being distracting. With an engaging and novel story concept, the reader experiences all the major aspects of what a player has to contend with when playing a MMORPG: character creation; chosing skills; chosing a moral standpoint; decision making - the list goes on.

But before all this sounds somewhat dull, it is presented against the backdrop of a very interesting story concept. Aliens "invade" Earth and stop humanity from tearing itself apart with war, famine, bigotry and the rest. They give us technology. They give us The Game, a virtual reality simulation where players from cross the galaxy interact, trade, do business, fall in love, and go to war. For the game is the only place where war is now fought. Our protagonist, Alan, is a newbie only equiped with an seemingly overpowered AI assistant Eve. He enters this virtual world only to find that there is a lot more to it than he ever inagined and that the actions in the game will have far reaching and devastating consequences back in the real world.

For the first published book by unknown Cosimo Yap, this really was a pleasant and engaging surprise. So much so that I went looking for the print version only to disappointingly discover there is none. It was also disappointing to discover that volume two is not yet available on Audible, simply as it is still being written.

My Audible reading list is already set for the next few months, but when book two arrives - and I really hope it does - it will be bumped to the head of the queue.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Agent to the Stars

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 241
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239

The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the most unusual stories you will ever read

  • By Laura on 17-11-13

Not What I Expected - Pleasantly So.

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

Reviewed: 09-09-16

If you could sum up Agent to the Stars in three words, what would they be?

Unexpected. Grounded. Enjoyable.

Which character – as performed by Wil Wheaton – was your favourite?

The lead, closely followed by Joshua.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, and I'm not going to spoil it for anyone else.

Any additional comments?

There's a TV series called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Watch the first five or six episodes and you'll form an opinion of the show and may dismiss it, which would be a shame as it takes a suddenly side-step down a different path. Agent to the Stars very much reminds me of that.

Starting the book with Will Wheaton's excellent narration I found it an engaging albeit somewhat unremarkable story. Nice idea though and it has left me wondering whether John Scalzi has either close connections to the world of reps or is simply very thorough in his research; in itself a compliment to the book. But the story took a bit of a left turn and disappeared down a somewhat darker and more intriguing path.

Lots of concepts here and now looking to pick up one of his other works, perhaps Red Shirts or Lock in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,221
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,060
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,998

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Life 💙 New Hobbies Found 💜

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-04-18

A bad first novel: for the author that is, not us!

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

Reviewed: 31-08-16

Where does Ready Player One rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very much close to the top, either in first or second position. I listen in hour-long chunks in the gym and the first hour was difficult to judge whether I would like it or not - very heavy on describing details. But very soon I found myself being drawn in by the surprisingly effective mix of near-future absolutely dripping with 1980's culture and subculture references. The author is either obviously very much taken with the 80s - the music, the television shows, movies and the various subcultures - or he really really very good of convincing us of that. Either way it was impressively executed.

What other book might you compare Ready Player One to, and why?

I can't think of a direct comparison.

Which character – as performed by Wil Wheaton – was your favourite?

Probably the protagonist, Wade. On the plus side I found Wil's narration very engaging - the dramatic delivery was very engaging (especially the chat session between Zee and Art3mis - you'll know the one - where I actually had to stop what I was doing just to just listen to it) and Wil's timbre and pitch was thoroughly enjoyable. On the downside Wil struggled with differentiating between male and female voices. Given the choice, I'm definitely happy with the way he narrates.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

When there is only one prize, how do you play the game of your life?

Any additional comments?

Why bad for the author? Simply because once you've created something that ticks so many boxes, you have to keep doing so - everything else will be judged against it. It is a hard standard to live up to. I hope Ernest Cline does so as he is clearly a storyteller with something to say.


Favourite narrators: Peter Kenny for his ability to wash away the stress of the day; RC Bray for a voice that sounds like your best friend telling the best story ever; Wil Wheaton for the ability to deliver a story where I have no option but to stop what I'm doing and just listen.

Influx
    
    
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        Daniel Suarez
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Jeff Gurner
    
    


    
    Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
    210 ratings
    Overall 4.3
  • Influx

  • By: Daniel Suarez
  • Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
  • Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 201

Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic!!!!

  • By Chris on 03-03-14

Enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 26-06-15

Found myself going to bed early to continue listening. Nice, subtle use of ambient effects. Initially found Jeff Gerner's narration a little uninvolving but warmed to it. Based on this I would listen to one of the author's other books.