LISTENER

MSEreads

Marianna, FL
  • 212
  • reviews
  • 100
  • helpful votes
  • 492
  • ratings
  • Koban: The Mark of Koban, Volume 2

  • By: Stephen W. Bennett
  • Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
  • Length: 22 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,466
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,365
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,368

Already faster and more powerful than the last 17 species that they have destroyed or subjugated, the Krall have set their sights on humankind. After testing humans on their future home world of Koban and finding them worthy opponents, the Krall start a war of slow extermination with the rest of humanity. The war is intended to last generations as they apply their own version of "natural selection" to cull their weaker warriors in combat, purifying the Krall gene pool with their finest warriors for breeding.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best stories in a long time

  • By Douglas E. Noll on 06-07-14

Good Entertainment

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

Reviewed: 05-30-18

I was pulled in following the characters as they developed friendships with other native species. Meanwhile the enemy begins the war and eradication of the human colonies. I like the multiple perspectives, including the enemy. There are a few slow areas with detail of weapons and technology, but even that was fascinating due to the author's imaginative creation. The narration provided distinct voices, emotions and energy. I enjoyed the audio experience and will be getting the next in the series.

  • Quarter Share

  • A Trader's Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, Book 1
  • By: Nathan Lowell
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 585
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 552
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 556

In a universe run by corporations, where profit matters more than life, how can an orphan with no skills, no money, and no prospects survive? When Ishmael Wang's mother dies in a senseless accident, he's given a choice: leave the planet on his own, or the company will remove him. To avoid deportation Ishmael finds work as a mess deck attendant on an interstellar freighter.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nathan vs Jeffrey

  • By Marc on 09-29-16

Surprisingly engaging tale of business trading.

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

Ishmael’s mother dies when he is 17, leaving him on his own with no place to go. Ishmael takes the initiative to get a job as a mess deck attendant on an interstellar freighter, the SC Lois McKendrick. One of his first acts in his new position makes an impression and secures his job. Ishmael knows nothing about space freighters or protocol, but he gets a little help, learns quickly and works hard.

Ishmael’s mess companion and ‘trainer’ is a young man named Pip, a small fellow who left another freighter where he was mocked and bullied. Pip is from a trading family and uses his family skills to enhance his meager wages by trading goods. This task is a balancing act as each spacer only has so much weight allotment on ship and must fit trade goods within that limit as well as within their monetary budget.

Pip and Ishmael begin to combine their efforts to make a few trades. This process expands until it has a surprising impact on the other crewmates and even the ship officers of the SC Lois McKendrick.

There is fascinating detail of day to day life and interaction on a mercantile space ship. Ishmael is a wonderful character with clever ideas and a good work ethic and an attitude that encourages cooperation. I am not a huge fan of coming of age tales, but I found this fully entertaining. It doesn’t have the usual action of military battle that I am accustomed to so I was even more surprised at how engrossed I became. I enjoyed the tensions, surprises and successes of the crew. I plan to pick up the next book fairly soon to follow the bartering talents of Ishmael, Pip and his crew mates.

Audio Notes: Jeffrey Kafer does a fine job with the narration. His voice fit the young, direct personality of Ishmael. He also presents appropriate accents for Pip, Cookie, the Captain and the other crew members. The narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

  • Hell Divers

  • The Hell Divers Series, Book 1
  • By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,837
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,100
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,061

More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to Earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers - men and women who risk their lives by diving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thrilling and awesome

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-10-17

This is a dark, action-packed sci fi thriller.

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

Mankind managed to poison their world through nuclear war and waste. There are only two airships remaining with the last human survivors. The captains of the ships continue to look for a safe place to land and recolonize their own world. First, they have to survive in space to find that safe place.

A fierce electrical storm has endangered one of the ships by damaging it and leaving it stranded above one of the most dangerous places on earth, a city known as Hades. Xavier Rodriguez, 'X’, is a Hell Diver on the second ship. Hell Divers are the men and women who accept the challenge of diving to the earth’s surface to scavenge for supplies needed to keep the ships operating. ‘They dive so humanity survives”. But no sky diver has ever returned from Hades. Yet the divers must try as the necessary fuel and repair parts are located in this hostile area.

Hell divers have shortened life expectancy as many perish after less than 20 dives. X is the longest surviving diver with over 90 dives! He leads a team to the edges of Hades hoping to find supplies on the outskirts. Instead of supplies they find a horrendous monster of great strength and agility, with the ability to climb walls and even fly. These mutant monsters, dubbed ‘sirens’, are vicious killers who eat the prey they catch.

X has been an almost careless diver since he lost his wife a few years back. But a new death leaves him in charge of his best friend’s young son, a child prodigy. X faces the most dangerous dive of his life as he and the other team members agree to dive into Hades to seek the needed supplies.

X was initially presented as a cold, uncaring character but the author did develop his traumas and his depths. I think my favorite character is the boy, Tin. I also liked the captain who fights personal health issues as she desperately tries to save her ship and humanity There is plenty of action in this story, but I wasn’t fully enthralled. It may be because it borders on a horror story but that shouldn’t bother me too much. I felt the beginning was a bit disjointed and maybe I never got back on track. Still, I enjoyed the intense entertainment and I will probably continue with the next book at some point.

Audio Notes: R. C. Bray does a fine job with the narration. He provides depth to the tense scenes and gives the characters unique voices. The narration follows the story with precise timing and pacing. The narration enhanced this reading experience for me.

  • Dead Ever After

  • A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, Book 13
  • By: Charlaine Harris
  • Narrated by: Johanna Parker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,329
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,934
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,944

Number-one New York Times best-selling author Charlaine Harris has won numerous awards for her Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series, which has been adapted into the hit HBO show True Blood. In this 13th and final book, a murder rocks the town of Bon Temps and Sookie is arrested for the crime. After making bail, she sets out to clear her name - but her investigation only leads to more deaths.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Welp, At Least She Didn't Do An Anita Blake

  • By J Barrington on 06-23-13

Entertaining but it seemed time to wrap up series.

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

In the last book Sookie used a magical artifact to save Sam’s life. This has a ripple effect as Eric thought she should have used it for him, others wanted the artifact for themselves, and Sam isn’t sure yet how he feels being brought back to life.

An old friend turned enemy returns to Bon Temps and ends up dead after visiting Sookie. Sookie has an alibi but the detective doesn’t seem to want to listen. A collection of Sookie’s friends show up to help bail her from jail and help her investigate several strangers in town. Sookie narrowly escapes several attacks during the investigations and it just isn’t clear if the vampires want her dead, the fairies, the humans or all of the above.

The continuing love seesaw between Sookie and Eric (always intense but ephemeral) and Sookie and Sam (always at arm’s length) finally gets a push which some readers will be like while others will be disappointed. I was fine with the teeter although the ending result was a little weak.

I enjoyed stepping back into Sookie’s world to wrap up the series. Some of the character abilities seemed weaker and others stronger without a good explanation. Still, I liked the murder investigation and the suspense which gave this story some substance. Otherwise I think this concluding episode seemed somewhat anticlimactic. I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone jumping into the series at the ending, but it had to end somewhere and this is as good a time to wrap as any.

Audio Notes: Johanna Parker does a fine job with the narration. She is the voice of Sookie and manages to convey her quirky personality and also presents the other characters distinctly. The narration enhanced by enjoyment of the series.

Source: Personal Audible Shelf.

  • Scarlet

  • The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2
  • By: Marissa Meyer
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,346
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,710
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,720

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the best-selling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison - even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not sure if fault lies in performance or story

  • By Jennifer on 02-08-13

This story/series is engaging.

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

Scarlet, named for her red hair, is desperately searching for her missing grandmother. The authorities are inclined to think grandmother has just gone off of her free will, but Scarlet is convinced she wouldn’t go without leaving some word. Scarlet continues to run her usual errands but she is greatly frustrated. She happens to run into a young man on the streets, a street fighter who seems keenly interested in her. Scarlet suspects she should be afraid of Wolf but she is oddly drawn to him.

Wolf shows up at Scarlet’s farm as she is arguing with her alcoholic father who is tearing the home apart. She had not seen her father for years and now it appears he has knowledge about her missing grandmother. Her father has clearly been tortured and Scarlet fears for her grandmother.

Wolf convinces Scarlet to let him help her go to Paris seeking her grandmother who has been taken by a pack group that Wolf claims to have left. He tries to talk Scarlet out of it noting how dangerous it will be but she will do whatever it takes to get to her grandmother.

Meanwhile Cinder escapes from prison and picks up another prisoner, “Captain” Thorne. He claims to have an airship they can use to escape authorities. The two are at odds but trouble makes strange companions. Iko adds snark when Cinder brings her back as part of the airship computer.

Evil, awful, Queen LeVana is tightening the trap around Prince Kai as her fury rages at Cinder’s escape. Kai secretly roots for Cinder, not realizing how important she is, even perhaps to his own survival.

This introduced new characters to help Cinder face her destiny. I enjoyed the new characters and the tension between Scarlet and Wolf. I liked how the author moves them along with danger and suspense until they meet Cinder late in the book. The mysteries and dangers continue to surround the characters and I will keep reading or listening to learn if Cinder is willing to do what it takes to challenge the Lunar Queen.

Audio Notes: Rebecca Soler does a good job with the narration. She infuses great emotion into the characters, even a trapped Iko. The energy helps carry the story along at a good pace, although at times the voices are too intense. Still, I enjoyed the audio experience and will probably look to get book three, Cress, on audio.

Source: Personal Audible Shelf; my rating 4.25.

  • For We Are Many

  • Bobiverse, Book 2
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 36,874
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 34,543
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,455

Bob Johansson didn't believe in an afterlife, so waking up after being killed in a car accident was a shock. To add to the surprise, he is now a sentient computer and the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Porter IS Bob!

  • By Kathy on 05-23-17

Entertaining, fun listen!

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

This continues the fun difficulties, joys and growth of the “Bobs”, the sentient computer AIs that are extensions of the brain of Bob Johansson. Bob is/was a brilliant scientist, engineer, computer geek… His AI replicants are each a unique and interesting variety on the original Bob, with different genetic, emotional or moral elements taking precedence. Once replicated, each AI picks his own name.

This book follows several of the many Bobs. Bill, the first computer Bob’s first replicant, is the central computer wizard, always upgrading the technical and communication aspects to give the Bobs the best connection and the best carriers and defenses. The original AI Bob has made the first alien contact and has adopted a young boy in a primitive tribe. The interventions of Bob and his ‘son’ Marvin, are changing the tribe, not always with the approval of the natives.

Riker is one of the earlier replicants who returned to the devastated earth. He and several AI ‘brothers’ or ‘sons’ are trying to evacuate the humans to safe planet colonies that are being discovered by other Bobs. While coping with the competitive arguing of the remaining human groups, Riker and companions are also trying to ferret out the terrorists who are sabotaging food, defenses and other survival resources.

Other “Bobs” have traveled in various directions in space seeking new planets for terraforming and colonization. Some of these “Bobs” have now come across a deadly alien force who destroys entire cities and species. They are racing against time trying to find a way to stop this powerful menace before it wipes out another planet of sentient beings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional elements, intrigues and action in this sequel. The varieties in the personalities are fascinating and it was interesting to see different emotions in the AIs. There are some sad and tense moments and even a bit of romance. Woven throughout is the continuing ironic humor. It is more light entertainment than heavy space opera, but that is fine with me.I will be getting book 3 to find out how the Bobs fair against The Others. I recommend this to sci fi fans who enjoy a lighter work with humor.

Audio Notes: Ray Porter does a spot-on job with the narration. He captures the various personalities with unique and suitable voices. The audio enhanced the reading enjoyment for me.

Source: Personal Audible Shelf; my rating 4.75.

  • Portrait in Death

  • In Death, book 16
  • By: J. D. Robb
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,799
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,613
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,603

After a tip from a reporter, Eve Dallas finds the body of a young woman in a Delancey Street dumpster. Just hours before, the news station had mysteriously received a portfolio of professional portraits of the woman. The photos seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary for any pretty young woman starting a modeling career. Except that she wasn't a model. And that these photos were taken after she had been murdered. Now Dallas is on the trail of a killer who's a perfectionist and an artist. He carefully observes and records his victim's every move.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Precious Peabody Perfection

  • By Music Lover on 07-20-13

Strong love; twisted killer.

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

Reviewed: 04-10-18

Eve is anticipating a time to enjoy at home as Somerset goes on vacation. A bizarre murder is announced through Nadine. The victim appears to be an innocent who is staged for an artistic presentation in death.
Eve and her team gather clues and become more intense when a second victim is staged and found. Meanwhile, Roark is told a shocking detail about his young life. This momentarily throws him into a tailspin where he blocks everyone out, including Eve. The resulting reunion is a beautiful picture of love crafted by a gifted author.
The murder investigation races to a scary climax involving one of Eve's own.
As always, this is great entertainment and narrated with skill and personality.

  • Warship

  • Black Fleet Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Joshua Dalzelle
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,886
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,507
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,476

In the 25th century, humans have conquered space. The advent of faster-than-light travel has opened up hundreds of habitable planets for colonization, and humans have exploited the virtually limitless space and resources for hundreds of years with impunity. So complacent have they become with the overabundance that armed conflict is a thing of the past, and their machines of war are obsolete and decrepit. What would happen if they were suddenly threatened by a terrifying new enemy?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A compelling and satisfying underdog space opera

  • By Elliot on 12-22-15

Entertaining Space Opera

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

Reviewed: 03-23-18

This starts a little slowly and includes some minutia that a listener can lose track of. However, when it starts into action after a couple of hours, it is not stop.

Good world building and character development.
I definitely what to get the next in series.

The narration by Mark Boyett brings strong intensity to the action as well as distinguishable character voices.

  • The Earth Bleeds Red

  • By: Jackson Baer
  • Narrated by: Dan Carroll
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

Scott Miller's daughter Ashley is kidnapped. The scene of the abduction is horrific and bloody, and the police are convinced she couldn't have survived. They accuse her boyfriend, Brandon, of Ashley's murder. He declares his innocence, and claims that a masked man who entered his house and overwhelmed them both took Ashley. No one believes Brandon. Then the bodies of three other missing girls are discovered, all bearing the mark of a known serial killer the FBI has been hunting for years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Earth Bleeds Red

  • By Zoe on 03-15-18

Good Thriller; Flat Narration.

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

Reviewed: 03-13-18

This is a good thriller with family emotions and light faith elements.

Scott Miller loves his wife and his 17-year-old daughter, Ashley. They live in a nice home in the woods of Oregon and Scott has a good job as a college professor. Ashley has been accepted into the University of Notre Dame. She is a lovely young woman who attends church and lives a good live. Live is good for the family until one night when Ashley doesn’t come home.

Ashley disappears from her boyfriend Brandon’s house, leaving a pool of blood behind. Scott and the police don’t buy Brandon’s story of a masked attacker who knew Ashley by name and knocked him out. They are convinced that Brandon is guilty.

No ransom call comes and time goes by with no trace of where Ashley has disappeared. Scott and his wife have tried to accept that she won’t be returning but they don’t want to give up hope.

Months later bodies of young women have surfaced and the FBI is intently investigating a serial killer. They find clues that make them tie Ashley’s disappearance to the Hail Mary Killer. Tension mounts along with personal conflict for Scott and his wife.

This story had an interesting mix of styles. It starts with a cozy family picture that shifts into the suspense of mystery and trauma of the missing daughter. The strong, emotional family elements continue to weave in and out during the tension of the mystery. I liked the light faith comments that were lightly shared. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy a thriller with twists and emotional drama.

Audio Notes: This is one time that I don’t think the story was helped by the narration. I found Dan Carroll’s narration to be flat. The only effort to provide voice characterization consisted of awkward accents. There was little emotion or suspense shared which would have been appropriate. This was little more than a flat reading. Sadly I found this distracting and almost abandoned the audio to pick up the Kindle version. I only continued with the audio for the convenience of listening with my MP3. I suggest listening carefully to the sample before deciding to pick up the audio version.

I received this audio title from the author for an honest review.

  • River Rising

  • Carson Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: John A. Heldt
  • Narrated by: Chaz Allen
  • Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

Weeks after his parents disappear on a hike, engineer Adam Carson, 27, searches for answers. Then he discovers a secret website and learns his mom and dad are time travelers stuck in the past. Armed with the information he needs to find them, Adam convinces his younger siblings to join him on a rescue mission to the 1880s.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good Story Bad Ending

  • By Amazon CustomerBeliever on 05-11-18

Strong Characters and Good History Details.

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

Reviewed: 03-13-18

I enjoyed this time travel adventure. Mr. Hedlt creates engaging characters and situations.

Adam Carson and his four siblings have lost their parents. Months after they are buried Adam gets a package from the family lawyer that reveals a remarkable secret. Their parents might not be dead because they have apparently traveled back in time. Adam presents the proposal to his brothers and sisters: stay without their parents or travel back in time to find them? The children agree to leave their world in 2017 to go to 1880 to find their parents.

The story follows the youths as they adjust to a past without cars, phones, computers or the many other modern conveniences they are accustomed to. Greg takes the train to the West, Arizona and California, running into a bit of frontier trouble. The rest of the family is in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a growing town where some find work, they all make friends and even a couple find romance. They become nicely involved in the community even as they watch the date for their return to 2017. However, they don’t realize they are in the path of a rising flood.

I thoroughly enjoyed the history as well as the story line. Heldt develops the characters of each of the siblings, who are good people, who have growing friendships. I enjoyed the gentle romances, the strength of Natalie’s character, and the excitement and danger that Greg faces. It was also fun to have Samuel Clemens as a brief character.

I have read early books that involved the parents’ time travels. Those explained the time mechanism where this book totally skimmed that which could be a hole for readers who weren’t familiar with the prior works. It was also unclear to me why the parents missed their timely return and the children arrived somewhere they didn’t expect to be. (Maybe it was there, and I missed it in the audio.)

I appreciate the warm characters and the imaginative and engaging story which are consistent with Mr. Heldt’s writings. I also liked how the story is told in different chapters from the view of the siblings. This story has an ending but it is not the end of the journey. I recommend the story to fans of time travel and also to those who like strong sibling adventure, historical details and clean romance.

Audio Notes: Chaz Allen takes a little bit of getting used to. He doesn’t really give a distinct voice to each character. However, his direct presentation with just a touch of a slow drawl, seems to fit the story, especially the historic settings. I was glad to listen to this in audio as it is a longer book than I normally pick up.

I received this audio book from the author for an honest review.