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Marcus

Willy Wonka of it

SHOEMAKERSVILLE, PA, United States | Member Since 2010

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 48 reviews
  • 84 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
7

  • The Dragon Factory: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2001)
    Performance
    (1747)
    Story
    (1751)

    In The Dragon Factory, Ledger and his team from the Department of Military Sciences square off against two separate groups of corrupt scientists. The beautiful but twisted Jakoby Twins are creating transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenaries for sale to the highest bidder. Their father, who takes evil to an entirely new level, is using cutting-edge science to complete the Nazi master-race program.

    Amanda says: "Fantastical and Fun"
    "Decent followup to the first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Dragon Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Not particularly high. It's a good book within the Joe Ledger series, but the series (including the characters) and the author make it what it is.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm probably going to seem cruel, but the demise of a particular character was the best part for me. I'm hoping it will make future tales more bearable.

    Aside from that, the scenes in the Twins labs were pretty cool. I liked what they were able to do with their genetic talents.


    What does Ray Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ray Porter is just an awesome narrator. His voice and tone perfectly match Ledger's personality. I couldn't imagine anyone else reading him.


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

    I was a bit joyous of the ending.


    Any additional comments?

    Not as great as the first, but a solid story that didn't fall into the trap of blindly rehashing what made the first great.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Joe Ledger: Special Ops

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (169)

    Captain Joe Ledger - former cop, former Army Ranger, and currently the top-kick of Echo Team, an elite squad of first-class shooters who roll out to face down the world's most dangerous terrorists. Not fanatics with explosive vests or political hostage takers. Joe and his team square off against terrorists who have the most advanced and exotic weapons of mass destruction, designer bioweapons, cutting-edge transgenics…real mad-scientist stuff.

    Tracy says: "If you have already read Missing Files"
    "Great additions to the Ledger universe!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A few of the tales in this book were in the last collection, and some others appeared elsewhere. That threw me off at first since I started skipping through stories and ended up missing half of one I hadn't heard.

    That said, they're all top-notch as usual. I especially enjoyed changeling, which added some more mysteries to the overall Joe Ledger universe.

    I also enjoyed the last story in the collection, which starts off years ago and actually follows Mr Church before the DMS was formed before catching up to the present with Joe. It was good to hear a bit more of St. Germaine

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Open Spook: A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By E. J. Copperman
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    In an all-new novella in E.J. Copperman’s “funny, charming, and thoroughly enjoyable” (Spinetingler Magazine) series, the storm of the century bears down on the haunted guesthouse, and stirs up a gale of memories for a troubled ghost. Haunted guesthouse owner Alison Kerby may have only recently discovered her ability to communicate with ghosts, but for her mother Loretta, it’s been a lifelong gift.

    Marcus says: "Enjoyable entry in series, from new perspective"
    "Enjoyable entry in series, from new perspective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This entry in the series is told from the perspective of Allisen's mother. It's a sort of "look back" tale that covers what went on during previous novels, but is done very well.

    The mystery this time around was fairly interesting and opened up a bit more of the ghost world for followers of the series.

    Unlike the other alternate-perspective entry in this series (from Paul's POV), this entry was read by the usual narrator and so characters actually kept their usual voices. That was a relief as I didn't enjoy the differences in the book read by a male.

    Overall, a short and enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shady Palms

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Allen Dusk
    • Narrated By Rose Caraway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (272)

    A sleazy motel, burrowed on the edge of town, is haunted by rumors of dead hookers found between mattresses and peep holes drilled through walls. When Special Agent Daniels targets the motel during an investigation, the nefarious owner, Sanjay, must scramble to conceal evidence of his own dark deeds. Just when he believes things can't get any worse, motel guests begin to vanish without a trace.

    Bill says: "What a fun ride!"
    "A bit genre-confused, but fun listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As others have pointed out: this book is vulgar. We should get that out the way first. Sex, death, gore. All of it in vulgar detail. If you can't stand that, then I wouldn't buy this book.

    That said, I enjoyed it. There were times I felt the vulgarities were unneeded and just in place to make things racier, but I accepted that that was the author's tone with this book, and went with it.

    As for the story, I am unsure what genre this falls under. You've got a tiny bit of mystery (two, in a way), and you've got the usual "skin flick and gore" type of stuff. What's surprising though, is you get a bit of science fiction as well.

    It's hard for me to delve deeper than that without spoiling things, and I suppose that's why the book's summary was equally vague. I can say this: It's a novel about a shady motel, told from many perspectives. The writing is very descriptive (even if vulgar) and each character (even short-lived ones) are well fleshed out. It'll make you cringe, laugh and shake your head, but you'll love every moment of the wild ride.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead of Winter

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jack Night
    • Narrated By Folly Blaine
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    For the Anderson family, Rockwell is the picture-perfect small town. A wholesome place to start over. But as the autumn days begin turning to winter something is awakened deep within the woods. Something bent on revenge. Cut off from the rest of the world they must fight to stay alive as the haunting presence lays claim to Rockwell, exposing the dark secrets of the town that created it.

    Micaiah Evans says: "Top-notch reading of a fairly good book"
    "So glad it's finally over"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a chore to get through. Luckily for me, I had just come off a streak of a few good books, and had another lined up to look forward to.

    Let's start with the narrator. Her voice is fine for a school teacher reading to her kids, but a professional she is not. Aside from the annoying tone of her voice, she often reads sentences as if it were her first time coming across it. This leads to her getting tone and inflection all wrong. In fact, SEVERAL times through the story you'll hear her "end" a sentence with tone, only to add more words:

    "He then turned around and dropped his plate. On the ground."

    That should be one sentence, but she reads it as if it ended at plate, and on the ground is another sentence (this is just an example, and not a line from the story). Coupled with her voice, the narrator got to be very distracting.

    On to the story. It's an odd one as it tries hard to be different, yet ends up being more cliched for it. We have our usual suspects, only slightly different, however they end up more like caricatures:

    -- Big strong, hero, who has no faults, and then he does.
    -- Hero's love interest, who doesn't just want to be a damsel in distress, she now wants to be empowered.
    -- Sheriff, who wants to handle things because this is his town, but then can't and wishes he hadn't.

    I could go on, but it might ruin some of the "surprise". Yes, there are surprises, but they aren't really a surprise. You can see where the story is going a mile away and the plodding exposition is often tedious.

    The author does do a good job of mixing up the plot though. We should try this. No this! Now this! Will this work? In the end, I don't think I even cared. I just wanted it over.

    I will give the author this: he created some creepy scenes. If you can get past the annoying narrator and actually picture the situations as described, you may be slightly disturbed. In fact, coupled with the plot and characters, this book would have made a better movie. That way, we could focus more on the scares and visual creepiness.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • If Walls Could Talk: Haunted Home Renovation, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Juliet Blackwell
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (184)

    Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line. At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man - and not end up a construction casualty herself....

    Ann says: "DIY murder, that spans the here and hereafter...."
    "Not bad, but doesn't quite take off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book because the synopsis read similar to the "Haunted Guesthouse" novels by EJ Copperman. I'll lay out those similarities first:

    -- Both have women who are handy (taught by their dads) and go to renovate an old Victorian.
    -- Both women realize they can see and communicate with ghosts while in the home.
    -- Both are mystery novels in which the ghosts they find need help solving their murders.
    -- Both have narrators with irksome tendencies.

    That said, it was an enjoyable listen, though it never quite seemed to take off, and sort of tumbled to its resolution. We meet up with Mel Turner as she heads over to see the aftermath of a DIY demolition party. She arrives, someone dies, and the tale begins.

    I won't spoil things, but this book is partly set up to have Mel discover how she gained her abilities. Frustratingly though, the reader is likely to figure it out before her because she seems very uninterested and often changes the subject quickly when someone is spilling the beans on her "condition" and things that relate to it. As more and more pieces fall into place, I found myself not caring since I'd figured it out already. Move onto the mystery!

    As for the actual mystery, it's your typical whodunnit with Red Herrings all over the place, which all mostly get resolved in one very odd scene which prompts another very odd scene. Mystery solved, but didn't feel all that fulfilling. I didn't feel like I was part of the "learning" process -- well, scratch that, you are, but the things you "learn" don't really help solve the mystery. In the end, Mel gets "determined", figures it out on her own, and the book ends. Sort of a let down.

    As for the narrator, she's sort of the opposite of EJ Copperman's reader (Amanda Ronconi) in that instead of being whiny and annoying, she sounds like she's trying to be seductive and sultry. Listening in the car became hard as her sentences all seemed to be read in one breath. She'd start out loud and end the sentence in a breathy whisper. The voices of all the male characters sounded like guys on their deathbeds. I never quite got used to it.

    In the end, the tale was OK, not great. What has lead me to decide to skip the next entries in the series (at least for now), however, is the narration alone. Middling interest in the tale, plus an annoying narrator means no credit spent for me.

    If this book sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to check out EJ Copperman's "A Haunted Guesthouse" series. At least that has humor.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: The Skinwalker Conspiracies

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jim Bernheimer
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (215)

    "My name is Mike Ross and I'm a Ferryman - like in the Greek myth. I didn't ask for, or really want, the job, but I'm trying to make the best of it. Most ghosts are okay and just need a little help to get where they need to go. Unfortunately, there are lots of exceptions, like power-mad psychopaths, spirits still trying to fight battles long since lost, and the worst of the lot - the Skinwalkers. They live vicariously by possessing people and controlling them like puppet masters. Then they toss them aside when they've outlived their usefulness."

    A. Hogue says: "I really like this series"
    "A great continuation of the first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The second novel in this series is definitely a worthy followup. It sort of continues the episodic structure of the first book, but all of the events follow each other in a much closer fashion. This is likely due to #1 it taking place on a roadtrip/journey to a destination and #2 because we got the backstory in the first book, so were free to move forward.

    The narrator also seems to have gotten into his stride and his reading is much better this time around (for me anyway).

    As for the story, we continue following Ross as he heads across the country to go after his long lost father. We make some stops on the way, all of which contribute to Mike's growth as a character. Mike makes some interesting allies and his powers (and knowledge) grows.

    The final battle and resolution is far from lackluster, and though it leaves the door wide open for a sequel, there is no cliffhanger and this book stands firmly on its own.

    That said, this is not a book you should read without first taking in the first in the series. The author does some explaining of past events, but not enough for someone jumping in to fully appreciate things. Read the first book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jim Bernheimer
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (350)
    Performance
    (323)
    Story
    (325)

    "My name is Mike Ross. I'm a Ferryman. I help people with ghost problems, or ghosts with people problems. Funny thing, no one ever helps me with my problems. Civil War ghosts bent on killing me, Skinwalkers who just want my body, and a vindictive spirit linked both to my bloodline and my destiny... It turns out the dead still hold a good deal of influence over the world, and they don't want to give it up. I'm in way over my head. Fortunately, I'm too stubborn to quit."

    DonNel says: "Like Harry Dresden? You will love Michael Ross!"
    "Really interesting first entry though a bit rushed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some folks have compared this book and its world to Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files series. I can see the comparison given the theme and the humor, but I think this tale can stand on its own

    It is similar though, in that our protagonist has a connection to the supernatural world and becomes quite notorious within it, causing him to face a great number of dangers (in this book alone). Also like within The Dresden Files universe, our hero slowly finds out he's a bit more special than he thought.

    The ghostly world gets quite fleshed out in this book as well, while still leaving some mysteries open for future tales. We watch our hero perform experiments and gather info that leads to various understandings of the rules of the semi-afterlife. We also see our hero learn some lessons the hard way via some unexpected avenues.

    I said this story was a bit rushed, and it was. If you've ever read the Harry Potter novels, imagine them condensed (devoid of anything not absolutely relevant to the overall story) and in one book. That's sort of how this book felt.

    That's not a bad thing mind you, it's just a different style. It reminds me a lot of "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. Each chapter/episode is a new adventure in the life of our protagonist, so while it does jump forward a bit, it keeps the story moving.

    The downside of the above would be the narrator. Even when in the same chapter (or even page), it's usually clear when the writer wants to break and shift to a new scene; however this narrator plows right through, leaving you feel a bit like you just missed a step. Makes you wonder if they had limited time in the studio to do the reading.

    The narrator also does a fairly poor job at various voices and even tones while reading. Most of the prose is read in the same tone of voice and can easily blend together if you're listening while driving or some other activity.

    Overall, I'd give the story a solid 4-4.5, it was enjoyable, even if rushed (including the resolution). If you consider the story a compilation of adventures, that should help with any jarring transitions.

    I'd have to give the narrator a 3 though.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Missing You

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By January LaVoy
    Overall
    (1415)
    Performance
    (1251)
    Story
    (1253)

    Number-one New York Times best-selling author Harlan Coben set huge sales records with last year’s Six Years - and he’s poised to do it again in his next breathtaking stand-alone thriller. Harlan Coben, author of six consecutive instant number-one New York Times best sellers and a total of 24 award-winning, best-selling, and internationally acclaimed novels, returns with another ripped-from-real-life thriller full of impossibly high emotional stakes and the real-to-life characters for which he has become famous.

    Susan says: "I Ain't Missing You"
    "Not a bad way to spend a credit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Missing You in three words, what would they be?

    A bit disorganized


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Perhaps consolidate some of the "side" and "back" story to streamline things. As it stands, this came across as two tales shoehorned into one.


    Have you listened to any of January LaVoy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first time. Narrator was perfectly fine.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A race against the past?


    Any additional comments?

    If you split the book into two separate mysteries, it likely would have been more focused. I'm not sure if they would have been able to carry separate books on their own, but they certainly would have been focused.

    The problem here is that there are two mysteries in this book. One is in the past, the other is time-sensitive. The way the mysteries are joined is tenuous at best. It just feels forced. On top of that, as the character progresses through the mysteries the bits and pieces that come out only serve to confuse things. Are they related? No? Who knows!

    Again, had they been separate, the story would have felt more focused.

    As an aside, it got VERY annoying hearing the name of the dating website the protagonist used over, and over, and over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arcadia Falls

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Carol Goodman
    • Narrated By Jen Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (241)

    In debt after her husband's unexpected death, Meg Rosenthal secures a job as a teacher at an upstate New York boarding school. Leaving suburban Long Island, Meg and her teenage daughter, Sally, embark on a new life in Arcadia Falls, a beautiful but isolated small town and the inspiration for a number of magically eerie fairy tales.

    Lenne says: "Decent book...horrible reader"
    "Past and present tameet in a great mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First off, some reviewers have noted the annoying teenager and the voices used. I'll have to concur here. The book could have existed without the daughter, and it's possible it could have been better without her. The voice used for her (and most other characters) was definitely annoying.

    That said, it doesn't get in the way of the tale which grips you almost from the beginning. A few chapters in, and it got easy to ignore the nasal and irritating tones the narrator used for various characters. I deducted a star for this.

    On to the story: A widow and her daughter move to an art boarding school in upstate NY to restart their lives. The school and town have a rich history which is slowly revealed through characters, stories and a long-lost diary.

    The "mystery" was great in my opinion and kept you guessing. The story had an eerie supernatural feel to it that only added to the charm for me.

    They say a story is about the journey and not the destination. Often, that's true, and I can live with it. I didn't have to this time around. Not only was the journey thoroughly enjoyable, but the destination was as well.

    The story wraps in such a way to not only bring closure to the adventure, but to leave you replaying major plot points in your head to see how it all "fit". It DOES "fit" too, bringing everything full circle and leaving you wholly content.

    Absolutely recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Code Zero: Joe Ledger, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (937)
    Performance
    (886)
    Story
    (878)

    For years the Department of Military Sciences has fought to stop terrorists from using radical bioweapons - designer plagues, weaponized pathogens, genetically modified viruses, and even the zombie plague that first brought Ledger into the DMS. These terrible weapons have been locked away in the world’s most secure facility. Until now. Joe Ledger and Echo Team are scrambled when a highly elite team of killers breaks the unbreakable security and steals the world’s most dangerous weapons.

    Melinda says: "Back Off! Or I'll Bite"
    "Great return for ledger!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Code Zero to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print, but since I prefer audio books in general, on a personal level, I would have to say yes.


    What did you like best about this story?

    As usual mayberry does pacing and story-telling right. Even with flashbacks and such, the story kept moving and was never hard (or a chore) to follow.


    What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

    Ray IS Ledger. The voice is perfect. The sarcasm, the inflections. He just does it right.


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

    No extreme reaction.


    Any additional comments?

    Another great entry in the series. I think Mayberry may have been a bit misleading in his social media marketing of the book as a return to Book 1 (as if the same people were involved), but it does heavily include the zombie virus from the first book.

    I really liked the baddy in this book as it did deviate from the norm a bit. I also like the way the interludes wove the character into the backstory without seeming forced.

    The action, humor and plot were all top notch as usual. If there were any things I didn't like, it would be the 2 things that I don't like in ALL the Ledger books:

    1) His "rational man" persona is annoying. Listen, you're a special agent that has dealt with the insanity of your job for years. Enough of the "oh my god, we killed PEOPLE! They were actual PEOPLE! It hurt is so bad inside!".

    It's also annoying when Joe gets all uppity in situations that those around him are perfectly calm and rational in (like when discussing things in the DMS war room and he goes all WELL $#% what do we DO?!?!?!". Come on Joe... So not you.

    2) Love interests always seem like a side plot and an overly mushy intrusion into great action. This book is no different, sadly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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