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  • The Spaceship Next Door

  • By: Gene Doucette
  • Narrated by: Steve Carlson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,933
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,622
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,623

When a spaceship landed in an open field in the quiet mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, everyone realized humankind was not alone in the universe. With that realization everyone freaked out for a little while. Or almost everyone. The residents of Sorrow Falls took the news pretty well. This could have been due to a certain local quality of unflappability, or it could have been that in three years the ship did exactly nothing other than sit quietly in that field, and nobody understood the full extent of this nothing the ship was doing better than the people who lived right next door.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another fun Sci Fi read with an Excellent Reader!

  • By bluestategirl on 12-30-16

Worth your time and credit

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

Gene Doucette (author) and Steve Carlson (narrator) provide the reader with an in-depth, engrossing, and engaging contemporary science fiction story called “The Spaceship Next Door”. What’s even better is that the events take place in a fictional town in my home state of Massachusetts; more on that later. The book is the first in a series, with the second currently available on Audible (The Frequency of Aliens) which I have not yet listened too but plan too. What type of events can happen when one day, out of the blue, a spaceship lands in your backyard? At first people are nervous and apprehensive, that is until they became complacent with this ship sitting there for nearly three years doing absolutely nothing. Yes, nothing. People mostly went about their daily lives and ignored the ship, that is until strange things begin to occur, and Annie is taken down a rabbit hole she never knew existed. Not simply odd, but really abnormal things begin to happen to nearly everyone in town. If you enjoy well developed and narrated works of science fiction, I recommend you pick up a copy and give it a listen. At times it is light-hearted, and other times it is very serious and emotional, but one thing is for sure, the book is never dull.

Taking a coming of age story, blend in a few alien plots from the X-Files, stir in some conspiracy theories, and a dash of apocalyptic events and you have a good idea of what to expect when listening to this story. The author did an exceptional job of entertaining while also information the reader through his book. The world and scenes were well defined, yet left room for one’s imagination. The characters were complex and likeable. When you add on top of it good writing and research, you get an exceptional book like this one. As one can see by other reviewers, this book stands out in a rather crowded space. The author was able to weave in enough humor and fun to make it enjoyable while also having a few scenes that invoke strong and intense emotional feelings. The book starts out with a bang and you feel it is going ninety miles an hour, and that is until you get near the end and look back to see that all the previous action was only traveling at twenty-five miles per hour. There is action, mystery, mayhem, but there is also plenty of down time to allow the reader the ability to surface and take a breath. What appeared odd at first was also all the tech the people living in a trailer pack possessed. We saw facial recognition systems, high-end military hardware, and more. It was fun, but at times seemed over the top. I’m hoping some of this will be addressed in the future parts of the series.

So, let me turn to the one issue I had with the book taking place in Massachusetts rather than Nevada, etc. The state is quite small in area and also contains a quite densely packed population. One statement in the book said that the government thought the aliens were quite inconsiderate for landing their ship in such a remote location; also near a trailer park. I was unable to think of any places in the state where this would be the case. Again, not a show-stopper in any way, but it did take me out of the story as I pondered where Sorrow Falls would be located. Now, if you put it in Montana or one of the many Western states where there are miles and miles between neighbors, I would have been OK with that.

Let me say, that the book’s narration by Steve Carlson has made me seek out other pieces narrated by him. This is his only work that I have listened too and I’m now a fan. His voice was very clean, sharp, and easy to listen too. He was able to articulate and add inflection to the many characters which really brought the book to life. I was quite amazed at this ability to even voice the words of a teenage girl and make it sound believable; this is no easy task and only shows his ability and skill all the more. I do not recall any audio artifacts while listening nor any issues with consistency of volume.

For parents and younger readers, the book does contain some discussions containing sexual subject matter and topics. There are a few references to our main character’s coming of age and her at puberty. There are a few scenes involving gender along with a few references containing alcohol and drug usage. There are a some mild and infrequest anti-religious references sprinkled in a few places throughout the book. All of these were very lightly used, but if you are offended by any of the above I would recommend you find a different book to listen too.

In summary, I’m glad I picked up this book and took the time to listen. I was worth both my credit and time. If you like fun and interesting coming of age stories with very good science fiction writing, you will not be disappointed. All I can leave you with is a recommendation for the book. Go give it a listen.

  • Blind Man's Bluff

  • The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage
  • By: Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew
  • Narrated by: George Wilson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 337
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 305

No espionage missions have been kept more secret than those involving American submarines. Now, Blind Man's Bluff shows for the first time how the navy sent submarines wired with self-destruct charges into the heart of Soviet seas to tap crucial underwater telephone cables. It unveils how the navy's own negligence might have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion, a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, 30 years ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW!!!

  • By Jeff Lambert on 09-29-17

Amazing Cold War Events

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

Reviewed: 05-09-18

“Blind Man's Bluff”, subtitled “The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage”, is written by both Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew. The audiobook edition is performed by George Wilson. The book has become a New York Times Bestseller upon its release and let me say that I can understand why after listening. If you are someone who grew up during the Cold War, or if you enjoy books with submarines, or if you are a person who likes a good Clancy spy novel, you will want to pick up a copy of this audiobook; it is fascinating. Consisting of nearly sixteen hours of action-packed and factual events from history, this book is well worth the Audible credit and your listening time. I have heard rumors and bits of many of these various submarine missions, but the authors of the book bring history to life and fill in many of the gaps in stories available elsewhere. Nowhere have I found a book that covers so much of what was kept secret for such a long period of time; much of it is still classified as Top Secret. Things we will never know and may never want to know.

What I found intriguing was all the amazing men (the Navy’s submariner program was mostly men during this time in history) who risked their lives to collect intelligence on our perceived enemy threats. I was also amazed how much the program expanded from not only leveraging this technology against the Russians, but also other countries we felt were hostile to the United States; and even a few of our allies. It was interesting to see how quickly a program could be developed and that it took so long for people to realize the potential of these “tin cans of death” under the cover of the seas. Not only did we want to build bigger, faster, and quieter submarine technology, we also wanted vessels that could be used to tap underwater communication cables without the other side knowing. All of this clandestine activity needed to be done via the highest level of secrecy while also attempting to build defenses around our own infrastructure preventing others from doing the same to us.

All of the technology and missions were what captivated me the most about this book, yet there was also such well researched material around the various programs, funding, and quite a bit of internal feuding to ultimately see who would get the credit when all of this rolled up to the higher-ups in government. The authors did an exceptional job of not just telling us about the missions, or what could be the more interesting parts, but instead gave us the whole story even when some of it was not all that pretty and people lost their lives. The book goes beyond covering the cable wire taping program that many are familiar with, it also dives into the many cat and mouse games played between the Russians and Americans at the heat of the cold war. It covers the multitude of near misses while the two countries played these games with one another. And, as most have been told by their mothers while young, it is all fun until some gets hurt. This book details what might have been at the heart of the loss of the USS Scorpion which failed to return to port at its assigned time.

The ability of the authors to research and catalogue so much about this program from papers requested via the freedom of information act, interviewing people who were there on the missions, and also from records found from the other side which gave a very different view of what we believe happened. I feel the book only exposes the tip of the iceberg, yet there is so much we will never know about this program.

For me, the book’s narration by George Wilson could have been more professionally recorded or edited prior to being made available on Audible. Overall the narration was decent, yet there were a few times where there were some noticeable volume inconstancies and a few times I could hear background noise. Nothing that would keep me from listening and being engaged with such a powerful story. The narration was not terrible, yet for those who like their narration and audio error free, just be aware there are a few spots if you pick up this book.

For parents and younger readers. This book does have a few places where profanity is used but is only used when the authors are quoting someone. It could have been beeped out, but the authors instead decided to leave quotes unedited, so be aware that there are a few places strong language is used and quite heavy at times. Being this book is a military piece of non-fiction, there are also some quite graphic events covered in the material, however these are factual events and the book does not contain anything that excessive.

In summary, the book was a fascinating piece that brought me into the historic events of cold war and the importance of information during these times. One needs to remember, this was pre-Internet and government hacking. All of these missions required men and women to put their lives as risk in the hope that the information gathered would keep you and I safe from future attack. If you are looking for a piece of engrossing non-fiction and you like to see the world of spies and submarines, I highly recommend you pick up “Blind Man’s Bluff” and give it a listen.

  • Mob Fest '29

  • By: Bill Tonelli
  • Narrated by: Kevin Gallagher
  • Length: 1 hr and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

According to the Encyclopedia of American Crime, "Perhaps the most important criminal conference of the American underworld was held during three days in May 1929 in Atlantic City", during which "the overlords of American crime discussed their future plans" at an event that was "earthshaking in its effect on the development of American crime syndicates". It's a great tale starring Al Capone, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, and Nucky Johnson, who inspired Boardwalk Empire. This story has everything...with maybe one small exception. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The facts about a famous meeting.

  • By cosmitron on 05-06-18

Solid narration, but weak conclusions

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

“Mob Fest ‘29” is the premiere audiobook release for Bill Tonelli available on Audible. It is a rather short book at just short of one and a half hours (1:24min to be exact) and covers details on a specific event in time where well-known mobsters met in Atlantic City to discuss their criminal activities. The book is well narrated by Kevin Gallagher; who I have reviewed three of his other performances. Let me say up front, I’m not an expert in early American crime nor is it one of my favorite genres. However, I found many parts of the book quite interesting and informative that it was worth my listen time. For me, the book opened more questions than it solved, but I will say that it piqued my interest in both these men along with the people who covered them and the police force of the day. If you are one who likes quick novella non-fiction mobster books, you may want to have a listen to this one.

When you have a group of criminals wanting to control prostitution, gambling, money laundering, and other non-legal endeavors, how do you do it? You call a meeting with the others and assign different roles and responsibilities; of course. In other words, you get organized. While listening to this book, I found it interesting that it took organization for what we call organized crime to be as successful as it was. Without meeting and agreeing on a level of organization, these crime bosses would never have achieved the success they had. Yet, as this book shows, crime does not pay as most, if not all, of these men either ended up in prison or dead. Not very good odds for what was perceived as a money making “business” venture. Not only are we given a view into these individuals and their crimes, but we are also shown that it was only successful because of some crooked authorities. There are also very different accounts because of poor or misguided journalism of the day. The author quotes other sources stating that nearly 75+ percent of the material we have relating to the early mob is either false or incorrectly stated. One good reason for this, the author states, is that people printing such salacious news would not face labial or slander changes from the criminal underground. It is similar to drug dealers who get robbed, they will often not report this activity to the authorities for fear of their illegal activity being uncovered.

I liked that the author covered some of the background on these mobster thugs and showed based on others research that most were of low IQ and often had quite bad spelling. We learn that much of the foundation of the US mob back in the 20s was due to the laws around alcohol prohibition. These men saw an opportunity to service the community by providing this forbidden beverage and saw a profit in it. Instead of fighting one another for various territories, the different groups decided it was best to form an alliance and divvy up parts of the US and assign them to the many members. This was all done at what is now the infamous Atlantic City Conference meeting. It was like with pirates, these men also had a code which each abided too, yet as we all know, you cannot trust a thief.

The book along with the research felt to me to be more like a school paper that was narrated to feel like a book. There were no real chapters or outline as the book was very short. It was simply broken down into two sections long with an included preface and epilogue section. The writing style seemed a bit less professional at times due to a few crass words that felt out of place in a researched piece. Words such a “crap” or “whoring” instead of replacing these with more professional words made me question some of the author’s word choice. These words were not a part of quoted material, so could have easily been subsisted for more acceptable words. The book felt a bit unfinished. I did not feel it had a stated premise nor did it fully address the many questions it raised or even more those that come after listening to the book.

The book’s narration was well done and professionally produced by Kevin Gallagher. He has a pleasant voice to listen to and even in this non-fiction piece he added a few elements of character accents when material was being quoted. The audio lacked any noticeable negative artifacts and I thought it was well paced for listening too. As stated earlier, I have enjoyed a few of his other works and they all have this high-quality production.

For parents and younger readers, this book is a piece non-fiction, however it does trace and quote a few portions where profanity is used. The author does not add any himself but be aware that it is included in the book’s narration. The book also discusses at a high level some topics which may not be appropriate for younger readers such as alcohol, criminal activity, and prostitution. I would recommend this book be read only by more mature audiences.

In summary, although the narration was top quality, I felt the piece lacked too many quantities to be considered a complete work on the subject. I can only assume volumes of information have been released on the subject matter (the author states from interviewing others that most is incorrect), yet there were few conclusions to the author’s covering of such a ground-breaking meeting. I felt that I was left with too many unanswered questions to recommend this book to anyone that is not someone versed in the subject matter. Like a said earlier, this subject matter is not one of my core competencies, so it might come down to requiring a pre-understanding of the items covered to fully comprehend and enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Arrival

  • War for Earth, Book 1
  • By: J. Thorn, Zach Bohannon
  • Narrated by: Chelsea Stephens
  • Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18

Paramedic Maya Talbot assumes her children to be safe at Grandma's. However, nothing could have prepared her for the chaos created when a strange obelisk rises from the ground and generates an impenetrable dome over the city. Riots, looting, and violence run rampant. The situation in Nashville deteriorates, and then they arrive, thrusting Maya into a desperate race to escape the dome and save her children from the dangers on the ground and from above. When darkness falls, the intergalactic visitors manifest our worst fears and threaten the future of humankind.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Sci-Fi Adventure.

  • By cosmitron on 04-28-18

Familiar story told in a unique way

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon did not hold back in their new contemporary science fiction thriller, “Arrival” which is the first book in the “War for Earth” trilogy. The audiobook edition is well narrated by Chelsea Stephens, who at times elevates a weaker storyline keeping the book feeling alive and interesting. The publisher’s summary states the book is a post-apocalyptic thriller, and I could not agree more. There are overtones of horror along with elements of science fiction making up this somewhat fractured story involving survival, the unknown, and wanting to be reunited with one’s children. If you are a fan of aliens who are intent on talking over our planet for their own use, enjoy stories with decent character backgrounds and some good descriptive writing, I think you will like what this book provides you in return. Are there points where the story is weaker than I would have liked? Yes, but I found the solid narration helps bring the story upwards and between the two components, the book is worth a coveted Audible credit; that is if you are one who does not mind spending a total of three credits to complete the trilogy.

The book opens on a rather emotional note along with providing the reader with some good background about the various main characters. This extra information helps to ground the reader, so one can better understand the events faced in their new situations. I enjoyed knowing about the characters and the reasons they acted the way they did throughout the story. I will say that I felt this family was overly dysfunctional, but that may be based more on my own upbringing. We are also presented with a few of the standard character tropes one finds in a story like this one. We have the scientist, the know-it-all, and the crazy (but often correct) conspiracy theorist, etc. Even though they are regulars in a story like this, a few twists made them feel unique and slightly different.

What happens when a strange obelisk emerges from the ground and a protective domed shield separates those who are inside from those outside. What drives the story forward is that one of the main characters is separated from her children. She is determination to get them back which find her on an emotional roller coaster wanting to be reunited with them. This passion and desire fuels her every move along the way. If I were to boil the book down to a single word, it would be struggle. From its start to the finish, you could feel the pain, struggle, and drive to find a way of getting through this impenetrable force and once again be in the arms of her children. Often it reminded me of the events that took place in New Orleans after a hurricane stranded many. We quickly observed just how fast humankind devolves when in survival mode, and it is no different in this story. One often has to throw out all they have learned and instead turn to various make-shift weapons and means to stay alive. Even more heart breaking being that the main character determined she was unable to save everyone, only some people would make it out of this mess alive and she was already doing all she could. The story takes us from space, to inside the dome, outside the done, and even under the city looking for a means of escape.

I listen and review many book, and I was quite surprised when I found that Chelsea Stephens is a rather new comer to the Audible narration scene. At the time of this review, she only has a total of two books to her name. Why the surprise? Well the audio was of professional quality, the narration of the characters was better than many other books I have listened too, etc. The use of inflection and accents for the different characters helped make them feel alive. I do not recall any audio artifacts while listening (no swallows, no page turns, no volume inconsistencies), simply clean and clear narration. I look forward to new books by this narrator in the future.

For Parents and younger readers, this book does contain some light romance and topics covering sexual matters. The book also has a light use of profanity based on what one would expect from the genre, however it does get heavier later in the story. As one would have expected, there are quite a few scenes containing rather graphic violence that may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

In summary, this is an action-packed and suspenseful survival story involving aliens. If you are one who likes books such as “War of the Worlds”, I recommend you pick it up and give it a listen. Just remember this is a trilogy, so you will need to purchase all three books to find out what happens. As expected, this book does leave many cliff-hangers for those wanting to jump right into the second book.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

  • Waypoint

  • A Game of Drones
  • By: C. F. WALLER
  • Narrated by: J. Scott Bennett
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

Stacy’s life is in free fall. She finds herself clutching a handgun, searching for a sign that tomorrow will be any better than today. Her cell phone rings, bringing an offer that may postpone her soul searching. The discovery of an airplane graveyard containing a dozen commercial airliners is shocking. When the salvage camera reveals them to be virtually undamaged under in the Indian Ocean, theories abound. Who put them there? How are they still in one piece? What reason could there be? Stacy is about to learn the answers to those questions, as well things she’d prefer to forget.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A book of action, adventure, mystery, and Tech...

  • By Quella on 05-02-18

A book of action, adventure, mystery, and Tech...

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

Reviewed: 05-02-18

“Waypoint: Game of Drones” is a captivating, entertaining, and gripping techno-thriller authored by C. F. Waller; who is known for a few of his other books such as “The Calling Tree” and “Tourists of the Apocalypse”. The audiobook edition is well narrated by J. Scott Bennett who is no stranger to Audible with over 130 books voiced at the time of this review. It is a rather long book consisting of nearly six-hundred pages, or twelve hours of audio, but the book did not feel or seem long when reading and listening to it. If you are a person who likes to be taken around the globe on adventures, enjoys technology and computers, along with a game of Hunt the Wampus, I recommend you pick up this book and give it a try. It contains action, adventure, mystery, and did I mention technology?

The story opens in a rather suspenseful and mysterious way. It quickly engulfs the reader in the rather broken and dark world of one of our main characters. We are given some insight into a few other mysteries which become relevant as the book progresses. In many ways, it is a hard book to review without giving away quite a few of the book’s surprises. Needless to say, this dissimilar set of characters must join forces to defeat their one true enemy. Who does not like a story that takes you from the bottom of the ocean to the tops of the clouds and everywhere in between? We are presented with strong AI (Artificial Intelligence), autonomous drones, conspiratorial countries, and characters who are often broken and in need of one another.

The story overall is believable and shows how vulnerable our wired and dependent on technology our society can be. The book was a bit over-the-top at times, but we are shown how friendships are forged, lost, and let go throughout the story. There are times of deep emotional aspects along with mindless points of action. The characters felt like they had depth and body to them; something that is often lost in many modern books of the genre. Characters were presented as being fragile and did not seem invincible like super heroes making me wonder if they would survive various incidents. The book’s technology was well researched and implemented. Some of the technology was more futuristic then what we have today, which is not a bad thing. It is a piece of fiction and not required to fit within our technological understanding of our present day.

A few things that I would call out, which are not major stumbling blocks to the book overall, would be some of the grammar and spelling issues I came across mostly in my reading of the book, I felt the audiobook edition made most of these disappear. Again, nothing that would prevent me from enjoying the book, but something that could easily have been addressed by an editor or others prior to going to print, once again the audiobook edition did contain a few updates from the pre-release copy I was earlier provided. Even though the book followed a specific path, I felt a few of the more open plotlines were not fully addressed once the book completed. I would have liked to have had a longer epilogue closing out some of the remaining mysteries. But once again, this is only a suggestion as I enjoyed the book’s ending and that it was provided as a stand-along novel not requiring a sequel, even though the story could continue into a future book; maybe if we ask the author nicely.

Let me turn briefly to the book’s narration by J. Scott Bennett. Mr. Bennett is a veteran in the audiobook narration space and I have enjoyed and reviewed a few other books, one of my favorites was “Titanic: Voyage of Death: The Final 48 Hours”. His narration is smooth, clear and well-paced. He provides inflection and emotion to the many different characters. Even the female characters are well voiced and much more enjoyable as they are not voiced in a falsetto tone. The audio is professionally produced with no noticeable audio artifacts. I feel like when he reads a book it is much the same way I myself read books, so I will need to pick up a few other books by him in the future when my queue of books is reduced a bit.

In summary, this book held my attention and drew me in enough that I wanted to read and listen to its end. There were simply too many unknows or mysteries that I wanted to resolve that a few of the book’s bruises pointed out earlier were moot. For me, that is a sign of a good solid story and skilled author. There were a few bumps along the way with grammar and spelling, but I can usually overcome or forgive them when the story takes me on a journey like this one did. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys book in the technology thrillers genre.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy book at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Deep Shadow

  • Caribbean Dive Adventure, Volume 1
  • By: Nick Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Nick Sullivan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

Scuba divers travel from all over the world to visit the little island of Bonaire, with its crystal clear waters and a host of beautiful marine life. After three years in the “Diver's Paradise”, divemaster Boone Fischer thought he’d seen it all, but on a routine afternoon dive, he spots something that will turn his tranquil life upside down. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Diving, Drugs, and Deep Shadows

  • By Ray Johnson on 05-01-18

A thrilling and action packed ride

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

Reviewed: 05-01-18

“Deep Shadow” is the latest action-packed suspense adventure novel, both expertly written and narrated, by Nick Sullivan; also, the famed author of “Zombie Bigfoot” which I also reviewed. If you are someone who enjoys a good Tom Clancy story, 24 the TV series, or deep-water adventure like that found in both The Sphere or The Abyss movies, I really think you will be able to sink your teeth deep into this book. The story takes the listener on a journey not only to many of the most beautiful Caribbean islands, but also into the depths of the ocean which are a very different and unforgiving environment. If you are looking for an exceptionally well written and narrated book of adventure, pirates, terrorists, corrupt governments and drug runners, you will be happy when you dive (pun intended) into Deep Shadow.

I enjoyed that the author not only took me to one of the most stunning places in the North Western hemisphere, but he also added a level of action and intrigue reminiscent of an Indiana Jones story. What happens when an out of work Russian sub designer is approached by a successful drug cartel to build them a mini-sub needed to aide them in their distribution? This alone would make for a great story, but Deep Shadow is so much more. Add to this the people hunting the drug runners and a terrorist plot to bring fear and death to a large number of people; something needs to be done to stop them both. Here is where our band of explorers gets intertwined in all the events, and this is where the book really begins to shine.

The author paints this exciting world with big broad colorful strokes, yet one can also see the subtle and fine detail left by his inclusion of tidbits of information filling in and outlining the full painting. Not only are we given this detail of the world topside, but we are also privy to the undersea world and even to the harsh realities of riding in a mini-sub. The author uses chapter breaks to switch between the various groups of people, so the listener is able to see the activities of the searchers, drug dealers, and terrorists. I enjoy when book provide such well-defined story breaks. The main characters in the book all had depth, breadth, and unique personalities. There were characters I loved, some I liked, and others I hated which means the author brought them to life vividly. Instead of giving me a world made of cardboard, I’m presented with well thought out and developed world and characters.

Even though the book is mainly action-based, the author includes elements that make it feel real. We are given views into some quite scary and emotional scenes and even a few glimpses of romance. Even with all the very serious and powerfully emotional aspects, the author is able to weave in bits and pieces of humor along the way. Similar to the scene from Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom when he refers to voltage being “220 or 221 volts, whatever it takes”, the author has his “AK whatever” scene when one of the characters is referring to an assault rifle; AK-47. I also like the jab where one of the characters said, “boys and their toys”. There is a good balance of emotion but don’t get me wrong, this is primarily an action novel.

As with Zombie Bigfoot, I think Mr. Sullivan did a wonderful job in both strong writing and professional narration. I also thought the afterward chapter, found at the end of the book, to be informative and welcomed once the story was finished. For me, I find the reasoning and understanding of why a book was placed in a given location or based on actual people quite fascinating. It really helps me better understand the author’s intent and, in some ways, it feels like the author is opening himself up and leaving himself a bit vulnerable. The book’s detailed use of technology, diving, and the drug trade makes me believe that the author spent a period of time researching prior to writing the book. We learn about regulators, air mixes, active and passive sonar, sub steering controls, along with so much more, and at no time did I feel the author used technical terms to simply sound technical. I almost feel like wanting to go and get my diving certificate after listening.

Again, like with his Zombie Bigfoot work, the audiobook’s narration was professionally done. I like Mr. Sullivan’s smooth and rich voice, no matter the character he is narrating. Not only was he able to voice female characters quite well, but he was able to also give one a believable UK accent. It was fun to hear words common to a UK speaker also used by this character. The recording quality, I was provided with a pre-release copy, was better than many of the audio book I have reviewed in the past. The recording was clean of any audio artifacts and the narration flowed at a good rate. One can tell the years of experience Mr. Sullivan bring to his narration.

For parents and younger readers, the book’s subject matter dealing with drugs, terrorists, along with some light romance may suggest it be targeted at a mature audience. There was one innuendo I can recall and a few references to more indirect sexual topics. The book contains some profanity; however, the author does not use it in excessively nor was it a surprise when I heard some based on the books plot. Lastly, the book involves kidnapping and some quite graphic scenes of violence.

In summary, Deep Shadow is a fulfilling action-packed thriller with depth and dimension. It was quite an exciting ride and I look forward to future work from Mr. Sullivan. If you enjoy action movies or TV shows, I recommend you put them down and instead pick up Deep Shadow and give it a listen.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Edge of the Stars: A Techno-Thriller Science Fiction Novel

  • The Edge, Book 2
  • By: Andria Stone
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Barta
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Mars invites scientists to participate in terraforming experiments which brings the MAVREK team all the way from Terra. But minutes after landing on the space station, Dr. Mark Warren is accused of murder. The warm welcome continues with an attack on his spaceship, then three Terrans are found dead, and killer cyborgs are spotted. Authorities immediately conduct a massive hunt throughout Martian space and terrible new enemies surface with a direct link to Warren's old nemesis. On the planet, the same fugitives hunting Warren also threaten the downfall of Mars itself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Action, Action, and Development

  • By Daniel Abrams on 04-06-18

Continues the action

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

Reviewed: 04-17-18

“Edge of the Stars” is book two of “The Edge” series. This book is a fast-paced romantic space-based thriller with many plot twists and turns keeping the listener engaged at all times. It has nearly all the elements one can ask for in a science fiction book including: cyborgs, distant colonies, clandestine military, intense action sequences, futuristic medical technology, and much more. The book is written by Andria Stone and the audiobook edition is well narrated by Nicholas Barta. The story picks up close to where the first one left off. This book contains many of the same characters from the first in the series but, there are a few new and more sinister characters found in this one. If you enjoyed the first book of this series, I think you will enjoy the second even though it is less a technology thriller than a suspense novel.

I was quite pleased the author included a prologue chapter allowing the listener the ability to get caught up with the events and activities that concluded from the first book. There are times that the next book in a series is not published for months or years after the first, so it is always nice to have a short chapter getting one caught up. This book takes place about six months after the first and the events occur mostly on mars. For me, I found the second book in the series to be less technology focused as it was concentrated on being a suspense thriller. I would have preferred more technology woven into the story as it was a critical component of the first book in the series, yet this one seemed to be more action and suspense then techno-thriller. There are still aspects of cloning along with medical technology using nanites, but I would have enjoyed having more technology based on the colony, weapons, etc.; yet it seemed to be lacking in this book.

I also enjoyed the author’s use of various small events that seems to run the length of the story such as one character’s drive to complete the task in hopes of receiving a tattoo when all was accomplished. There were also a few other instances where characters had well defined personalities that remained consistent throughout the story; I like this aspect of consistent characters along with their actions. I found it refreshing that both book one and book two stories were mainly completed without leaving many open-ended aspects; each book could be read as stand-alone story, yet you get much more when read them as a series. I enjoyed most of the character’s dialogue between each other, but I would have liked to have had less bantering amongst them. For their level of education and expertise, it seemed at times out of place or forced when they interacted this way or fluently used foul language. I enjoy authors who can paint a picture for me, but not too detailed that it takes away from my own imagination. In some way, I thought the author focused too much attention on descriptive detail such as clothing and less on the more technical aspects. Not a bad things, but more a preference in my part.

Mr. Barta did a decent job with the book’s audio narration. Being a new comer in the narration space with eight books (at the time of this review) on Audible, I felt he did a good job overall. There were a few slight inconsistencies with volume in spots, but these were minor. I also felt that Mr. Barta at times put dramatic emphasis in places where it just did not seem to fit. Overall, the recoding was professionally done and I’m sure his reading will become better as he grows in experience.

For parents or younger listeners, be aware that this book does contain a fair amount of vulgar language along with some mature subject matter. There are discussion involving sex or sexual topics which may not be appropriate for younger listeners. If this type of content is offensive to you, I would recommend locating a different series to listen too.

In summary, the book is a good book, but I enjoyed the first one more due to its emphasis on technology. Even though this book seems to focus more on character development, it still contains a fair amount of action and suspense. If you enjoyed the first book, I would recommend you pick up a copy of the second. If you have not yet listened to the first, I recommend you pick up that one and enjoy a new audiobook series.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

  • The Eye of Strife

  • By: Dave Duncan
  • Narrated by: Anthony Lee
  • Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 13

Sword fights and romance, miracles and mystery, treachery and sly humor.... A god summons a curious assortment of witnesses to his temple to testify on what they know about a jewel that was lost 1,000 years ago. At least one of them is guilty. Others are lying.... Dave Duncan at his devious best.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Everything felt flat

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 03-12-18

Difficult to review

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

Reviewed: 04-17-18

I had a difficult time reviewing “The Eye of Strife” which is a contemporary fantasy book written by Dave Duncan and narrated by Anthony Lee. The book provides little in the way of a description to those considering a new book to read. The only details we are given is that the book is about a God who summons a number of witnesses to testify about a jewel which has been lost for centuries. The Eye of Strife is the first book I have listened to by both this author and narrator. A number of the author’s fans, in their reviews, recommend reading his other material over this book; which seems to tell me that my gut feelings after listening was correct. I cannot speak for the author’s or narrator’s other works, but this one was hard for me to complete. The author appears to be quite a prolific writer and well like author. However, as you will see in my review below, I cannot recommend the book itself nor the audiobook edition do to the number of blemishes and bumps along the way. I’m a big fan of both science fiction and fantasy genres, but there were too many flaws for me to fully enjoy this one.

As a contemporary fantasy story, I enjoyed the varied characters including priests, priestesses, kings, gods, etc. I enjoyed some of the background details, but most of the time they were lacking. I liked the premise which the author laid out in the book’s description, but for me, the execution fell too short on delivering what was promised. If I had one thing that most impacted my dislike for this story, it would be that the book felt less like a tale being told than simply a large dump of events and details like that of a linear computer game. Most of the time I felt pulled along in the story instead of being lead and shown the beauty of it.

I did not feel the book had any life nor did the characters have any dimension to them. Everything felt flat. The descriptive words used to paint the scene were often muted or back and white only. I wanted color and life which was lacking throughout the story. Maybe this was the author’s intent based on the story revolving around a trial-like environment. At times the back and forth between past events and current were confusing as they did not have any solid transitions allowing the listener to smoothly be lead back. There were also points of interludes that attempted to reveal some new information, and at times that work well. As a whole, it just did not work for me. I felt the humor and writing style was more geared towards a young adult (YA) audience than what I have come to expect in a more mature author. For me, the book lacked any level of action or suspense; and some of this may be due to the way it was narrated, the story, or both.

Let me turn to the books narration. Anthony Lee is a newer narrator on audible and I take this into effect while writing my reviews. Even for a newer author, I had numerous issues with the book’s narration. For a book which I believed would be lively, the narration lacked inflection and felt jagged. I felt his ability to narrate the number of different characters was weak and at times confusing for the listener. The audio itself had at least one, if not two, places I noticed it was patched to correct for missing or wrong wording when first recorded. There were also quite a few places where there were volume inconsistencies between chapters. Most professional narrators I know make sure to normalize chapters to a specific level prior to release.

For parents and or younger readers, take note that this book contain a fair amount of crude humor, scenes containing adult subjects or can be graphic in nature which may not be appropriate for younger audiences. There is also a light use of vulgar language sprinkled thought out its pages.

In summary, I found the number of flaws in both the story and narration something I cannot overcome. Even though the audiobook is nearly six hours in length, there were a number of times I was going to mark it as a DNF; Did Not Finish. I expected more from an author who has written so many well received books. As others have recommended, this may not be the best text where the author shines, and maybe a few others would have been better suited for me to listen too.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

  • Free Dive

  • By: C. F. Waller
  • Narrated by: Austin Freeman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27

Stealing tea cups and saucers from the Titanic wreck site is not an easy task. Doing it without getting your feet wet is even harder. Dexter Knight and his two mismatched partners have managed to do it, but are finding it difficult to turn their acquisitions into cold hard cash. When one such sale goes horribly awry, they wind up hijacked, along with their technology.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story very poor Audio

  • By cosmitron on 04-06-18

A great book ruined by poor narration...

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

Reviewed: 04-16-18

I am not one who enjoys writing negative reviews of audiobooks because I understand how long and hard both author and narrator work to release a piece. Yet, it is harder for me when one element of the team brings the other one down. However, this is exactly what much of this review will cover from my listening of “Free Drive”, a new deep sea contemporary science fiction story. The book is written by C. F. Waller with the audiobook narration performed by Austin Freeman. Let me say that it has been some time last I heard an audiobook with such poor audio recording. I am able to forgive a few swallows being picked up, a page turning sound here or there, but when the entire recording sounds like it was performed in a hollow tin can using a USB microphone plugged into a cassette recorder, it is hard to not point out the many flaws. I will admit there were many times I was going to simply mark the book “Did Not Finish” and move on, yet I have enjoyed and reviewed other book by Mr. Waller and knew I would be in for a fun ride. If you are one who cannot put up with poorly produced audiobooks even though there is a strong story behind it, I would recommend you skip this audiobook and pick up the physical or digital print edition instead.

As usual, Mr. Waller pulls all the pieces of the story together making for quite a complex and deep world and characters. I found the book had quite a bit of mystery and suspense, and because of this, I was able to get past the narration and focus on the story itself. As with many of Mr. Waller’s other works, this one had a strong use of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and autonomous mini-subs. What could go wrong when you have the technology to pirate the various treasures lost at sea; including many of the artifacts from the famous Titanic vessel? Additionally, what can happen when a mysterious group of people commandeer the technology for their own purposes? This is what you will find out in “Free Dive”. Much like “The Abyss” or “The Sphere” movies, one really gets a feel for how unforgiving the sea can be. Just like with space flight, the world under the sea is unforgiving and unkind. It felt to me that the author did a good job of researching his topic, or he is already one who is skilled in underwater exploration. The machinery, environmental descriptions, and the science all was quite believable and painted with a very colorful brush.

I will say that a few of the conversations between characters felt forced at times, but it was easy to dismiss. It just seemed like a few characters acted or spoke outside of my understanding or expectations of them. Without giving anything away, I would say that you will want to ensure you listen to the book’s epilogue. There are a few things that get brought up that you will not want to miss. The book did end with a few open-ended plot lines, but overall it really is a stand-alone novel with the potential of becoming a series if the author so chooses.

I’m not going to spend much time here talking about the book’s narration as I believe I addressed most of that in the opening part of the review. Because the narrator only has four total book, at the time of this review, on Audible, I am unsure if this poor recording is more a fluke or not. I know it is difficult for an audiobook to be reuploaded to Audible, but it really should not have been rushed prior to proper editing and validation by others. It is not unusual for a male author to have difficulty with female characters, yet the tinny sound and the narrator’s voice just made it harder for me to listen to female characters. There were quite a few places where I observed the narrator duplicated his lines and did not go back and clean up the mistakes which often take me out of the story for a second. There were noticeable volume consistency issues along with some background noise at times.

For parents and younger readers, be aware that there is some light romance along with a few scenes of quite graphic violence. I will say that of the many Waller books I have listened too, there is usually very little to no profanity. It is harder and harder to find solid stories, strong characters, and interesting worlds with such little use of vulgar language. If you can get past the very poor narration, I would suggest this as a book for teenagers or older.

In summary, I can best describe this book as being a great story that is ruined by very poor narration. The world we are dropped into is unforgiving, the characters are well-developed, and the events all believable and suspenseful. If the audiobook gets re-recorded, I would say this is a good book to pick up. If not, go and get the digital or physical print versions and enjoy.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Zombie Bigfoot

  • Creature Quest Series, Book 1
  • By: Nick Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Nick Sullivan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53

"Bigfoot is real." That's what primatologist Dr. Sarah Bishop's father told her before his academic disgrace and untimely death. Now, Sarah is eager to restore her father's good name. Survival show host Russ Cloud is just as eager to boost his plummeting ratings. They'll both have a shot at redemption when they find themselves hired by eccentric billionaire Cameron Carson. After a series of his publicity stunts end in spectacular failure, Carson has a plan to redeem his tarnished image: capture a live Sasquatch.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome!

  • By Todd (Toad) Vogel on 03-14-17

Be warned, contains "Devil Monkeys"

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

Reviewed: 04-10-18

“Zombie Bigfoot” is a fun, action-packed, unique, and clever story that in many ways is like a traffic accident where everyone looks out of interest but is unsure of what they can expect to find. When it comes to Zombie Bigfoot, this is a good thing and I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised. This well-crafted story is written and expertly narrated by Nick Sullivan himself. I did find it humorous that he included a plug in the book stating that “titles (audiobooks) sell better when the author narrates them.”, which I have to admit is not always the case; yet in this book I could not have thought of a better narrator. It may sound funny when speaking of a book in the genre, but the author takes you on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. There were times I laughed out loud, times I was in shocked, times I nearly cried, and times I wanted to scream at the characters to understand their situation. I am not a zombie or Bigfoot fan, but I’m a fan of Zombie Bigfoot. The story is so well crafted and told, like when watching a Disney movie, you forget the main characters are not all humans. As funny as it sounds, the Bigfoot creatures had their own names, unique personalities, and desires not simply brainless creatures bent on destruction. Most of these characters were better developed than the main characters are in other books I have listened too. Even if you are not a fan of zombie books, nor a fan of Bigfoot, I think you will enjoy the masterful story telling found in Zombie Bigfoot.

For those a little older, you will understand when I say that the book has a campy feeling and at times something you would recognize from a Creature Double Feature episode. It made me feel like I was listening to a better and darker version of “Harry and the Henderson’s” when you add in the horror overtones. As a complement to the author, the story had a feeling of a B-rated monster flick, yet this book was overall believable and the characters all had depth to them. The writing style was mature and detailed. I did not feel like the author was just telling a tale, nor did I ever feel lost in the minutia. There was a great balance of character and plot development without being overly verbose. I felt lead by the writing and not dragged along by the author.

Speaking of the writing, I found this book well thought out and presented. One feels the internal conflict of those infected. It is like when the audience knows what lies beyond that door or down that dark stairway, you just want to scream out and warn them. There were any places in this book that I had that same desire. I also enjoyed the great research that went into making this book. There were little pieces of information that help educate me along the way without feeling the author had a specific hidden agenda. Even though this is mostly an action horror story, the author wove in a fair amount of humor and even some romance. I thought the ever-present troop of girl or boy scouts out on a camping trip during this monstrous rampage was an added extra along with the various stereotypical characters one may find in a horror movie. For me, including these little bits of horror nostalgia made the book all that more fun to listen too. I will say that I wanted more around the mysterious rock, but I’m assuming we will be given this in future books; please...

The bigfoot creatures made me feel a part of the Jane Goodall’s giant ape research project. These creatures had personality, the ability to communicate, and their own desire to survive and even thrive. Each of the main bigfoot characters had a name fitting them. As a community, they created word to describe objects used by humans such as “boom sticks” for guns. Their ability to use sign or body language also was used to interact with humans. I felt the story between the humans and bigfoot creatures could have taken parallel paths, yet in this book we are given a view when these path cross in a rather distinct way. It is both terrifying and emotional at the same time.

Let me fist say that I often steer away from books that are written and narrated by the same person. Often a person is great at one aspect but not the other. This is not the case with Zombie Bigfoot. I do not think I could imagine a person other than Mr. Sullivan performing his own work. His voice is clear, he knows his material (obviously), and he is passionate about it. I often had to laugh as the zombie bigfoot sounding like a rabid and deranged Cookie Monster. It was a pleasure listening to this professionally produced work and I do not recall any issues with the audio or voicing the many characters.

For parents and younger readers, this book some drug and alcohol use and at times contains quite graphic scenes one can expect from a book in the horror genre. These, in many cases, may be too graphic or violent for younger readers.

In summary, even if you are not a fan of horror, zombies, or Bigfoot, I recommend you spend a credit and pick up Zombie Bigfoot. For me, it touched on all the points that make a book to true story. I look forward to seeing where the author will take this series as there are so many exciting places it could go. Just be warned that you may not want to go out in the wood again after listening.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful