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AudioBookReviewer

All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com

Madison, WI, United States | Member Since 2011

1623
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 289 reviews
  • 320 ratings
  • 782 titles in library
  • 145 purchased in 2015
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  • Lonely are the Hunted: Rocky Mountain Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Will Hinton
    • Narrated By Hubert Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    An action-packed western in the true classic tradition by new author Will Hinton. With one pull of the trigger, Dan Kade had purged the Metzal Valley of a rogue and ruthless lawman, But in the process, he had condemned himself to a life on the run…And life on the run, always being hunted, was to prove a very lonely condition.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Once in a while I get hankering for a good western"
    "Once in a while I get hankering for a good western"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once in a while I get a hankering for a good western. This is a great western. It has everything that makes a good old west story. Gunfighting, Indians, outlaws, horse thieving, a little romance, and a lonely young man on the run.
    Dan Kade is a likeable young man of 24 years, who was on his way into town. He met two other men on the way and they rode in together. They were accosted by the local lawmen. What followed was a series of misunderstandings and murder. His new friends and his horse were shot. One friend was killed the other was critical. Dan managed to grab another horse and escape. Later he returns and shoots the evil lawmen. One dies and the other is sent to prison. Dan only knows he killed to lawmen and is now on the run.
    Several weeks of running and poor food have worn him out.When he wakes one morning an Indian is sitting at his campfire eating, bacon, eggs and biscuits. Red Elk, an educated man, knows the land. He also adds a bit of comedy to the story. They become fast friends as they make their way to a cabin in the Grand Canyon. Four more join them and they get ready to catch and gentle wild horses.

    All the characters are well developed. They fit the story with their personalities and talents. For the most part they are carefree and content cowboys. The old mountain man adds a bit of legend. The rugged mountains, desolate desert, the wind swept plains all provide the perfect setting. My favorite part was the Grand Canyon. I’ve been there and seen some of the trails down. Incredible.

    You will soon find that you want Dan to find peace as his life takes several twists and turns. You will also fall hard for his two loveable, trusting, intelligent horses.
    The bond between man and horse is part of the old West and a good story.

    Hubert Williams rendition of the book was very good. He has the perfect gravelly voice for a western. I did have a bit of trouble understanding him at times.

    The Production Quality was good. I did have some problems with skips. It may have been my LP that is to falt with the download. It’s getting old.

    I really enjoyed listening to this audio performance and will be getting the other two books in the series. Already have them bookmarked on Amazon.

    Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Infinite Sea: The 5th Wave, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Rick Yancey
    • Narrated By Phoebe Strole, Ben Yannette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (503)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (451)

    How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity. Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others' ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Wubba. Let me quote X-files for a moment and say,"
    "Wubba. Let me quote X-files for a moment and say,"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wubba. Let me quote X-files for a moment and say, “Trust no one.”

    I only finished the book a little over a week ago and I still don’t fully grasp that last quarter of the book or so. I’m getting ahead of myself here. I hope if you’re reading this that you’ve read or have considered reading The 5th Wave, book #1 in the series. I will, as always, do my absolute best to avoid spoilers… but with this book there are minor spoilers really built-in as this is very much a continuation of the overall story arc.

    At the heart of this story is an alien race trying to wipe us off the face of the Earth. They are quite efficient at creating this outcome.

    The human race, what’s left of it anyway, has survived 4 ‘waves’ of destruction. The 5th wave has been discovered, but it is far more insidious than originally expected. Cassie, Ben, and Ringer leads us further down the rabbit hole and into the dark underbelly of the beast (well, alien rather) to face and fully realize the ultimate endgame of the Others: the extinction of the human infection upon the planet.

    Just when it seems there may be some glimmer of hope – after all, Cassie survived to fight another day – it’s revealed that everything she thought she knew is only the very tip of the iceberg.

    That’s about the best summary I can give without releasing a pack of spoilers. It was not as easy as it might seem. I still want the license plate off the bus that apparently ran me over in the final 20 (or so)% of this book.

    Perhaps this book suffers from second book syndrome? I can’t even fault the writing itself as somehow lacking from the first book, it really is just – wow. Rick Yancey has that ‘wow’ factor. Why am I complaining and not fangirling, you might ask? I still don’t fully grasp the ‘end’ (it’s obviously a set-up to to the next book, no surprise there) and I even listened to that last bit twice. It’s like a movie-goer saying they fully understood Inception after one viewing. I feel like one of those memes belongs here, “One does not just walk into Mordor…” only with this it’s, “One does not just read The Infinite Sea and fully understand it.” Feel welcome to prove me wrong and come back and tell me what I obviously didn’t get.

    I did really love the dual narrators, and how nifty that the new male narrator is named Ben. I know it’s a total coincidence, but it’s a fun one. I held back a perfect score for the narrators on the off chance that maybe they added to my ‘ending’ confusion. It’s a long-shot, as they really made this book pop. There was an additional challenge of more characters to narrate, more points-of-view, more action… just more. They really stepped up to the plate. I fell in love with Phoebe Strole’s narration in book one and The Infinite Sea was just as lovely – and she even had the addition of Ringer’s POV this time around. Both Phoebe and Ben Yannette sold me on the characters. Their age, the angst, the sometimes juvenile thoughts, granted they didn’t write the words but they made the words real for the listener. This is the stuff that makes or breaks an audiobook and they nailed it.

    The production crew also did a fantastic job on this. For me, it’s the mistakes or blips that always seem to glare in a performance and they simply were not there. Another simple thing, the music lead-in to the book. Little touches that made the overall experience just fantastic. Bravo production crew!

    Ultimately, after everything is said and done, it just didn’t quite live up to the first book. It may have been the odd pacing of the book, the extra POVs, maybe even action, the twists… it just ended up a little too cryptic. Despite all this, I am still committed to this series and will happily hand over my money for book #3 once it’s out. If you are a sci-fi and/or dystopian fan that doesn’t mind juvenile characters, this series is NOT to be missed!

    Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Kyrathaba Rising: Kyrathaba Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By William Bryan Miller
    • Narrated By Christine Padovan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    One hundred and seventy years from now, aliens decimate Earth. A relative handful of humans survive, hidden in deep subterranean enclaves that offer some protection from surface radiation. Although the main attack is now seven years in the past, one alien ship remains in orbit, and the conquerors are not content merely to let humanity lick its wounds...

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Within the book one is faced with two worlds"
    "Within the book one is faced with two worlds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kyrathaba Rising is a post-apocalyptic world in the 2200’s and which aliens, robots and humans reside. Discovering unstableness and treachery, the humans and androids break into two fractions. One small group of four travels into a parallel world that is virtual in a sense and filled with magic, kings, orcs and such. The other fraction, a much larger group explores going deeper into the underground system they have been forced to live in since the war of human vs alien seven years prior.

    Within the book one is faced with two worlds, both fighting for the same right to life and freedom from alien domination. The aliens remain above in a space ship, waiting, patiently.

    I found Kyrathaba Rising to be a book one cannot listen to in bits and pieces, rather one must devote longer periods of time because it is very technical in the first 30 minutes. A hardcore science novel, it is very richly devoted to details that creates a clear understanding of what is going on and establishes character development.

    It was interesting to experience the mash-up of hardcore science and fantasy, creating a connection where one would not normally see it. The plot development and character development were well executed.

    The narrator, Christine Padovan did a good job of narrating. If one listened closely one could distinguish the humans from the androids because the androids spoke with the ending of their words being drawn out.

    Production was good as there were no issues and no distracting background noises.

    I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a hardcore science fan.

    Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Exodus: Dead Planet, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Drew Avera
    • Narrated By Al Kessel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Exodus is a dystopian science-fiction audiobook that takes place on Mars in the distant future. The world is full of corruption, and the government is run by an organization of businessmen called the Syndicate. Their aim is global domination through total control of the economy, health, and welfare of the people.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "This is a simplistic story"
    "This is a simplistic story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is far in the future and mankind has left the dying Earth to live on a terraformed Mars. Cruel syndicates (mobs) run commerce and government with an iron fist, murdering anyone who threatens their control. The main character is a hit-man who learns from his scientist sister that Mars is dying due to lack of maintenance of its nuclear power plants.

    And that’s about it. This is a simplistic story of a one-dimensional character who kills his way through society to save his blubbering sister. She is being threatened by the mob who is letting Mars die so they can return to an empty Earth to build a bigger empire. If you are wondering why ruthless, megalomaniacal mobsters would destroy an entire developed, industrialized world to rebuild on one they previously abandoned, keep wondering; because you will not find the answer in this book. If you are wondering how a former hit-man can be threatened, tortured and captured multiple times, but always escape because his enemies neglect to take away his weapon, keep wondering.

    Exodus reads like an outline of a story, without detail or texture. The buildings are “tall,” and night is “dark,” people get information from “media devices.” Of course this technique can give a sense of strangeness to a story, unworldliness, unfortunately in this case, the listener is simply given no soil for his imagination to grow. Mars and its inhabitants sound like a wire drawing done on a CAD program.

    Al Kessel narrates Exodus and does a generally competent job. He seems to be trying hard to put excitement into the words that aren’t carrying it.

    This reviewer knows the effort that goes into writing a book and respects that. Unfortunately, all that effort results in a book that is extremely difficult to listen to. If you are a fan of futuristic Sci-Fi mobster stories, you might give it a test run, but others should look elsewhere.

    Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ennara and the Fallen Druid

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Angela Myron
    • Narrated By Crystal Marcano
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Eleven year-old Ennara Gaern has a serious grudge against the dragon on her right hand. Born with a mask that foretold magical powers, she was immediately inked with the fiendish, fire-breathing tattoo that forces her to study boring texts, cover her hand continuously, and worst of all, keeps her from visiting the beautiful capital city, Dordonne. But her quiet life changes when one night she is attacked by a shadowy demon.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Angela Myron has all the important ingredients"
    "Angela Myron has all the important ingredients"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ennara’s story is a wonderful story by Angela Myron and listen that is narrated by Crystal Marcano. I find that this is a great long trip listen for the whole family. At 5 hours and 13 mins. This is great for those that love paranormal stories filled with wizards, witches and we cannot forget the dragon. The wait of each action scene is “Can Ennara do it?” “Can she get them out of this?” leaves the reader asking this throughout the book.

    So wait! Getting ahead of myself! Angela Myron has all the important ingredients to the plot of this story. Young characters that young readers/listeners can relate to. Starting with 11 year old Ennara and her friend Kithe. Ennara bears a tattoo of a dragon on her wrist. Which she is always told not to reveal it. Under her Aunt’s guidance of teaching Ennara the trade of being a witch. That someday she will save the world. Something that Ennara found so farfetched that she can do such a task. The time period is of the Druids. Traveling by horse, boat and by foot.

    Under the guidance of a Wizard and friend named Tork. The two of them set out on a journey to retrieve the sword called “Sword of Gisilfrid” to destroy the curse that is creating demons called Shadowspawn. In this quest it is predictable as with most stories the friend always ends up following and ends up in the adventure. Kithe is no different. However, what I do like about this character as not seen with many sidekicks. Kithe even at the young age the author has him at has a clearer and much stronger head on his shoulders. So that when Ennara seems to drift towards the bad he helps her stay on a steady course. Ennara has two sides to her magic, good and bad that she is not under full control of yet. Both sides of the magic however, helps in saving them all for the most part throughout the story. However, Tork reminds her to be mindful of not using the bad magic. The travel to the city of Dordonne with Tork, Ennara and Kithe to get supplies as they leave to the Sunken City to retrieve the Sword. An apothecary where they are picking up some of the supplies they will need for the trip. A shop keeper ask Ennara to retrieve a bracelet that she tells her is of no importance. Kithe is an important part to the scene is all I will tell you.

    Along the way Tork encounters trouble with a Shadespawn and goes into a deep sleep. Braving pirates and the rough seas as the try to get to the Sunken City. It is now up to Ennara and Kithe to not only save Tork but everyone. Adding to the twosome is 2 more important supporting characters. A young boy a bit older than them named Gavin and a special marine cat named Smoos.

    Yes, this book is predictable. But, it is geared towards 8-12 year olds. However, anyone older will also enjoy the listen. The narrator Crystal Marcano did an amazing and believable job with each of the characters and their voices. The only voice that seemed really young was Tork. Being an older man he seemed to be their age. I did enjoy the accents since it was more of a Scottish placed story.

    A bonus to the listening of this first book is that the author included a bit of the second book. I would have missed it if I did not shut off my kindle I was using to listen to the book. So keep going as you get to the end. Needs a bit of editing in my opinion to say, “Now for a preview of the upcoming book! “Ennara and the Book of Shadows” It gives the listener something to look forward to. Then give the credits at the end

    As others that have read the book. I have to agree that there is a bit of a Harry Potter feel to the story with the main character being a girl. Something I enjoy seeing is a strong female character and I have been seeing a lot of that lately.

    The cover of the book is simply delightful. Fits the characters perfectly. I look forward to the release of the 2nd audio book.

    Audiobook provided for review by the author.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Users: My Angels Have Demons, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Stacy Buck, Jennifer Buck
    • Narrated By Rich Camillucci
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A pandemic is spreading through the streets of Seattle. Drugs run rampant through its population, and no one knows this better than Carter, an ex-heroin junkie and lifetime User. Born with a superheated heart, Carter can unleash fire through his pores, igniting anything he touches.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Great plot, interesting characters..."
    "Great plot, interesting characters..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This completely caught my attention from the first word. It sort of reminded me of that movie Push, where people have extraordinary abilities but do not always use them for good. The main character, Carter, is a complete mess, even with his abilities.

    Carter’s girlfriend leaves him and even though he has been sober for five years, that’s the first thing he decides to go get; drugs. And because of that decision all hell breaks loose! He also always decides to go to the absolutely wrong people at the worst times.

    The narrator, Rich Camillucci, matched the persona of Carter perfectly. His voice allowed me to get into the story faster than I may have otherwise. The only slight criticism I have is that it seemed like he was hesitating at times. It sounded like he was hesitating. Not even for a full second but a split second that seemed to slow a sentence a fraction. Maybe it was how he felt that Carter would react and feel about all the crap that happens to him. The hesitating spots were not so many that it stopped me being able to enjoy the story though.

    And as good as Rich Camillucci was with Carter, he was that great with inflection and allowing the anticipation of the story to build. This is told as a story while Carter is talking to his (well needed) therapist. It jumps back and forth from speaking with the therapist to his actual story and I loved it! I thought it was a very neat way to set up a story and to give us an insight into Carter’s messed up life. I normally do not prefer to jump back and forth in time but it was done seamlessly.

    The whole portion of the later parts of the story when Carter has to go into hiding did not make sense at first and had me questioning the characters motives. All this pans out in the end. It winds up making perfect sense, even if it does not at first. It actually helps the story flow. Although I would not have guessed things were going to happen they way they do. But Carter knows the other characters and he obviously knows them well enough to anticipate their next actions.

    Great plot, interesting characters, and fascinating story telling makes for one very dramatic story. The only thing that I did not like was Carter’s whining about halfway through. Man, this guy can whine! My hubby and I listened to the middle of this story and sadly that was all he wanted to listen to. Had he listened more I think he would have enjoyed how it ended. Do not stop halfway! Get through Carter’s whining and move along!

    Audiobook provided for review by the author.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Death: A Post Apocalyptic Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By John W. Vance
    • Narrated By Guy Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (99)

    The Death will find you... Devin Chase was just living his life, when the world changed in an instant. In the matter of a week a deadly virus known as The Death ravages the world killing over 90% of those infected. After six months in a self-imposed quarantine, he emerges into a new world. As he travels, he discovers others like him who are immune, but he also discovers that the world he knew is gone. It has been replaced with a savage and brutal one where the only rule is kill or be killed.

    Jim says: "Review of The Death"
    "survivors from a deadly virus"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “The Death: Quarantine” is the first part of The Death trilogy by John W. Vance, self Published in December 2014, narrated by Guy Williams. It is Post Apocalyptic and adventure genres, I didn’t see it as a horror story though, generally speaking it was fun, interesting, and quick paced.

    The story revolves around two sites and groups of survivors from a deadly virus which ended more than 90% of living things on earth, one is in the Midwest and the other in a FEMA camp in Colorado. The first group includes Devine who meets Chase and her dog Brando, he travels with them (since he doesn’t have better things to do ), both of them meet people on their way. While the second group includes Lori, her husband Fred and their son, they are trying to get out of the FEMA camp.

    The setting of the story is excellent, the description of what is left is like during such a situation is realistic, the events were moving in an exciting pace. Even though some events were predictable, however, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.

    The virus plot is done in a very good manner and the way the writer used doubt until the final scenes where you know the truth was intense. Even though I didn’t like the ending (the cliff hanger) it didn’t give me motivation to read the second part like other trilogies.

    I felt the characters within the two groups were different enough. Some of the characters, in the Midwest group, I found to be very shallow and not believable. For example: The main character is indecisive almost cowardly, yet in the battle he transforms into a military general; the teenager who has no emotional package and the obedience of six years old. Like enjoyed the characters in the second group much more, because we can feel the emotional depth and realism (not always though, there were some scenes were so out of place).

    The narrator for this novel was Guy Williams, he was awesome he literally gave the characters lives on their own, each character had its own voice and accent, his reading made me enjoy the fast paced plot more than normal reading, his ability to control the rise and the drop of his voice made this novel a great experience for me.

    Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Deep

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Nick Cutter
    • Narrated By Corey Brill
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (209)

    A strange plague called the "Gets" is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget - small things at first, like where they left their keys... then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily - and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as "ambrosia" has been discovered - a universal healer, from initial reports.

    Charles says: "Troubling"
    "This book is rather strange and disquieting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is rather strange and disquieting. Full of flashbacks and sometimes rather confusing. The story starts out with Luke Nelson traveling 10,000 miles to meet with his estranged brother. The request came from the government and they made the travel arrangements.
    There is a deadly plague that has invaded every country in the world. It makes people forget. They forget everything until they just die from starvation. Worse yet, no one knows how it is transmitted.

    Luke’s brother, Clayton, may had found a cure. A miracle cure not for just this plague but for all disease. He has sent a message for Luke to join him in his research lab that is deep in the Mariana Trench.

    As Luke travels to meet his brother, he thinks back to when they were children. These flashbacks set the tone of their relationship. Clayton is a genius and a sadistic psychopath and a sociopath. He only cares about his research and the fame it brings him. The lives of his subjects have no value. He can’t understand why Clayton would want to see him. He was a animal vet. Clayton was an animal killer. He didn’t want to clean up after him again.

    This is a mix of “Twilight Zone”, “Outer Limits” and “X-Factor.” Horror story at it’s best. It gets very graphic in places. I think it was too much sometimes with all the flashbacks and dream sequences. It was hard to tell sometimes if it was real or another one of Luke’s dreams, or a dream within a dream. The parts that were in the dark with only a flashlight were the most frightening.

    Cory Brill has a nice voice and gave a good rendition. His dictation was flawless. Sometimes his voice was too nice, considering what he was reading.
    Production was clear and without static or breaks. Overall an engrossing story.

    Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Warm Hello

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Dylan Brody
    • Narrated By Jack Voorhies
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    This is a story dealing with space and the celestial bodies in it. When celestial bodies communicate, humans scream - except for a lucky few who live without regrets and journey beyond ordinary understanding.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "enlightening and rather unique"
    "enlightening and rather unique"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Warm Hello by Dylan Brody is an enlightening and rather unique story that is played out over a relatively short period of time. The cover page is simple yet quite beautiful as opposed to the written book cover which is rather cheesy. Basically, a celestial entity of enormous proportions is seen in space and seconds later it says “HELLO!”; the repercussions of that kind word are extraordinary. The narration and production are off the charts excellent and I don’t say that lightly. With the voices, complicated scenes and rather complex lingo Jack Voorhies did a fantastic job keeping all aspects of this story and production in order.

    I must admit I had to listen to the full story twice and fortunately it’s only 4 hours, 50 minutes in duration so easily redone in a day. Quite happy I decided to listen the second time as I had missed something small in the prologue but it created a lot of confusion in the chapters ahead and might have tarnished my review. There are many intricate scenes in the story and multiple perspectives, meaning you will hear a scene played out several times from the different characters….including the cat and various planets, so keep your ears tuned in or you will miss the character and in turn what the scene is doing.

    After the “HELLO” life changes, not only for Earth and her people, but also for the entire galaxy. Senses, not just the five we know about but many more are coming to be in not only humans but also wildlife, plant life, rocks and planets.The “HELLO” from the entity was so devastating it was considered a threat rather than a friendly greeting and naturally the idea is to destroy the thing, but that’s supposed to be a secret……

    It’s a story about war, peace, how regret harms us, and what true well-being could look like. In a world caught up in greed, pleasure and deceit the outcome is rather pleasant. On a gently funny note, there are a few moments when I’m sure the entity is a 1960’s hippie whose only motivation is to find other entities to play with. Even with the often times confusing scientific lingo the story is one I think many will enjoy. I hope to read more from Dylan Brody in the future.

    Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

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    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Bees: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Laline Paull
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (311)
    Performance
    (276)
    Story
    (276)

    Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen.

    Katrina says: "My favorite audio book"
    "The Bees is a fantastic blend of nature and fantas"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Bees by Laline Paull is a superbly imaginative story of one particular bee, Flora 717, and the world encompassed in and about one particular orchard bee hive. Setting this story in the simple, yet complex world of bees, Ms Paull creates a very understandable, recognizable portrait of life in a hive, of a thousand bees working in harmony for the benefit of the Queen Bee, of an inhospitable outer world casting dangers to the hive, including smoke from fire, threats from wasps, spiders and crows, and the impact of seasons on nectar gathering. Likened to The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Watership Down, Animal Farm, 1984, The Rats of NIMH and more, this book encompasses so many genres! While many reviewers are quick to draw similarities to these books and just as many other reviews are quick to discount the said similarities, I’d suggest you wait to make draw your own conclusions. For myself, there is no need to compare this book to another because without reference to another book, this story stands strong on its own merits.

    This creative Regency thought- and speech-tinged, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian novel begins as Flora 717 emerges from her birth chamber. Born of the Flora caste, the sanitation caste, Flora 717 is larger than those typical in her caste and has the capacity for speech, not typical of her caste, her kin. These “deformities” require the police to administer the “kindness” (removal by death) to Flora 717. It is Flora 717’s good fortune that she is save by the curiosity-driven help and encouragement of Sister Sage, of the priestess caste. And, so begins a life in which Flora 717 will demonstrate her courage and resolve to save her hive time and again. It is her determination to do right by the hive, her curiosity and her ability to think that leads Flora 717 into situations requiring “the kindness” to be imposed on her time and again, but good fortune or good luck allows her yet another day, another day to live and another day to reach outside of her caste.

    The Bees is a fantastic blend of nature and fantasy. I found myself thoroughly enamored with the anthropomorphism coupled with the natural science of a bee’s hive; the intelligence and sophisticated organization that is a true wonder of the natural world. It is this anthropomorphism that will draw fans of Richard Adam’s Watership Down and of Robert O’Brien’s Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. The Hive Mind and the All For One (in this case, the “One” being the Queen Bee) and One For All unity of the hive is what may draw fans of dystopian novels in which the underdog (of a society run entirely by women, no less) rises above the “government” to become more than she should have. The dialogue shouts Regency-era, and yet hive mantra regurgitation shouts Animal Farm. The “Deformity Means Death” mindset touts the idealistic benefits of eugenics; all the while the caste system emphasizes the performance perfections of design for function and function for design. As the characters are bees, not “young adults”, this may not be technically be classified as a YA books, but there is nothing in the plot that should concern parents if their teen children express an interest in reading this novel. There is so much in these 330-plus pages to appeal to many readers, including book clubbers who love to dissect a book, to “take sides” and “argue”.

    As my review is in response to listening to the audio book version of the story, I cannot comment on the text version and its state of edit. The audio book is a 10 1/4 hour listen, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy with a very clean, clear production quality. This was my first listen by Ms Cassidy, even as she has many narration performances to her credit from many different genres, and including a dozen performances of David Baldacci novels. Ms Cassidy did an outstanding job with this performance — making her voice distinctive with each caste of characters, including the humorously slothful drones, the meek sanitation workers, the proud, arrogant Sage Caste, the dutiful nursery caste and more.

    Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

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