The Painted Darkness is an easy to listen to, fascinating story. The narrator is pitch-perfect and it feels like the narrator teamed up with the author to give everything a cohesive feel that is sometimes missing from audiobooks. I found myself replaying this adventure in my head long after it was over. The quiet terror of the story was an absolute joy to listen to.
I've never heard anything by Alexander McDonald before, but I know for sure I will. His voice recording is top-notch, and I will be seeking out new books narrated by him.
As if told by your favorite front-porch-story-tellin' Southern grandpappy, this tale will leave you breathless. The narrator is excellent for the charm of this tale, and the story is near-perfect. Ronald Kelly outdid himself. If you like this one, pick up his short story collections and The Dark'Un too. I really hope we'll be getting more of Ronald Kelly's novels on Audible soon. VERY soon.
Plot in a nutshell: Kids band together to fight an evil force.
And it's GOOD!
I recommend listening to this on your headphones while swinging on your porch swing and sipping sweet iced tea on a collection of summer evenings.
This classic stand-alone dragon tale is exciting and fun. My kids (5 and 9) listened to it on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. In fact, I really enjoyed it too. It is a real adventure and St. George even makes a hilarious appearance. Kids who like a touch of fantasy in their stories will LOVE this book.
Adult readers might have an issue with the similar overall mystery to the first book in the series, but kids won't mind. Mine sure didn't (age 5 and 9). Their attention remained the entire time and they would NOT let me stop playing it. They had to listen to the whole thing.
This is an enjoyable audiobook. It kept my 5 and 9 year old's attention nicely for its entire length. I am going to try an experiment with the next book in the series and only have them listen to one chapter at a time to increase the mystery.
David Niall Wilson's writing can sometimes be like poetry. And, like poetry, it is easy to get lost in the words and not pay attention to their meaning. This book starts with that style, but quickly goes into a more regular form of story-telling.
This book/series is an urban-fantasy series (like the Dresden Files, Anita Blake, etc...).
Much of this book is located in a Latino barrio. The narrator of the audiobook sometimes mispronounces how the characters would actually pronounce things, but that is forgivable.
Books in this series
1) Heart of a Dragon (which came out after the first couple books...a prequel)
2) Vintage Soul
3) My Soul to Keep & Others
4) Kali's Tale
(Wilson's NEVERMORE also has a link. DeChance mentions that he met Poe in KALI'S TALE, which birthed the need for Wilson to write NEVERMORE according to Wilson's website.)
"Brothers, Braces, and Bullies" brought back a lot of memories of the turnaround time known as "The Fifth and Sixth Grade." The time when new braces and other new changes make many feel like they're on the edge of dorkdom. Awkwardness, being unsure, trying hard to be cool (and failing), keeping as quiet and as invisible as possible are all themes touched on within these pages.
Modern things like text messaging, clear braces, Facebook and more help put this into the "now," but the story feels timeless. The rumor mill just moves faster nowadays with our online lives.
Some of the adults/teachers are a little "dumb," and I really don't like that. But there is also a golden magical Fortune Teller (aka Cootie Catcher). So, this isn't a story fully based in reality.
The narrator does a very good job. Dialogue pops out and she even sings a bit of "Who Let the Dogs Out."
A fun story. A great narrator. An excellent listen.
Chet Williamson makes listening to audiobooks an effortless and enjoyable time. He grabs me with his tone and doesn't lose me even in slower parts of a book. Being a writer himself, he knows how to read and narrate a tale. His voices for dialogue do not distract either.
FIENDS is a great classic horror tale (first published around 1990). Thank goodness for Crossroad Press for picking books like this and Ronald Kelly's classic but forgotten tales for their audiobook line.
This tale is perfect for listening on wintery or rainy nights and long drives. It is unique and yet familiar enough to let yourself get lost in it. I listened to a large part of it on my deck just staring at the trees while my mind was led away.
The book is recorded quite well. No distracting noises, perfect pauses. This was obviously engineered and edited with love and respect for the material. Extremely high quality.
"Johnny Junk" starts like many supernatural horror stories. A phone call from someone who was believed to be gone from this world. But that's close to where familiarity will end for the reader.
In a small town where children have been disappearing, most of the parents have given up. Jim had too. Until he received a phone call from his daughter. A phone call that had a caller ID. A phone call from the residence of a local hermit nicknamed Johnny Junk. Soon a vigilante group of grieving and angry parents are on Johnny Junk's property. That's the start of an ever-building pile of secrets, traps, and strange that is this story.
The story pulls you in and gets you interested. Some of the characters are laid out in a no-nonsense list partway through, but this is a short novelette. Brian Knight wants to tell his story and keep his audience moving as fast as he can write.
The narrator does a great job of keeping this story moving at the ultra-speed it is meant to be read.
I recommend reading this or listening to it -- whichever with you feel more comfortable -- in one sitting.
The ending was mixed for me but still original. I love the duality of the title that will become apparent to the reader after they are done enjoying this tale.
I wrote my main review for this audiobook on Amazon, but here's the gist:
This story is smart. The title translates to, "To be or 'naught' to be." You can read the original Vonnegut version for free on Project Gutenberg. Sands' version extends and re-writes this original short story. Sections are exactly the same as Vonnegut's, so to me this version feels like a Director's Cut, but with a new director behind the camera adding newly shot footage. The story still works.
I like not fully knowing about what a story is about before reading it. Having known this story's "spoilers" before listening made this an uneventful read except for the new material thrown in. If you do any research on "2BR02B" you will get spoilers (or seemingly spoiler-y write-ups).
Parts of Vonnegut's story are very staccato, like bullet shots. Adding to these scenes with extra description kind of slows it down. No matter how colorful the new imagery may be. For this, I subtracted a star.
It looks like Basil Sands has his own recording studio, and he sounds great. No "other" sounds sneak their way in. He has recorded for others and himself on many occasions, and his experience shows.
If you're looking for a well-written, thought provoking 30 minute audio-read, this book works quite well.
"The Sea Was Wet as Wet as Could Be" by Mel Gilden is a hard boiled parody filled with urban fantasy.
In a world where ancient gods walk among us, who's going to be the hard-boiled detective to point a finger at who stole an aquatic deity's prized possession? P.I. Turner Cronyn, that's who. Writing any more than that about the plot of this short story would give away too much. I feel the description on the main page here gives away too much.
I read this book with a wry smile on my face. It didn't make me laugh out loud, but it constantly amused with its style. The story is just that, a story. It is about an hour long in audio (around 40 pages in book form).
While there is some low-key double entendre, this is just a low PG read. Younger kids might enjoy it, but most wouldn't know the mythic gods.
About the narrator and narration: Commodore James reads the Sam-Spade style well enough. Not exactly the way I'd like, but it works. He is quick-paced. The recording engineer chose to record all dialogue separately from the reading of the main narrative. This changes the sound of the dialogue slightly by adding an echo-effect (like being read in an empty room...which may have been how it was done). Like most books, parts are re-recorded at a different time (probably because of mistakes in the original recording). While this is noticeable, it doesn't distract. His voices are pretty normal and discernible. The one fantastical creature that only has one line shows the narrator's chops for more cartoony voices (an imp which sounds like Gurgi from Disney's "The Black Cauldron").
Interesting note: Unbeknownst to me until now, I grew up with elements of Mel Gilden. My favorite TV show was "The Real Ghostbusters" and he was the assistant story editor for it. He also wrote for "M.A.S.K.," "Heathcliff & the Cadillac Cats," "Fraggle Rock," and more shows from my childhood.
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