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  • reviews
  • 68
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  • 180
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  • As You Wish

  • Shatterproof Bond, Book 1
  • By: Isobel Starling
  • Narrated by: Gary Furlong
  • Length: 4 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102

Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man. Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the kid isn't a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Declan is sure he's straight, so he's alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Terrific narration

  • By Belen on 12-31-17

Great Narration But Thin Book

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

Plot summary: Straight Declan and gay Sam have coordinated the marriage of their siblings over the past year but meet in person for the first time traveling to the wedding. The initial meeting doesn't bode well, but eventually Declan goes gay for Sam. They have lots of secret sex and quote scenes from The Princess Bride to each other.

What I liked, and comments: The writing was evocative and the writer has a flair for apt, clever word choice and added mood and depth to the novel with vivid language. There were a lot of humorous scenes -- and a lot of references to The Princess Bride -- that I enjoyed. A special nod goes to the narrator, Gary Furlong, for an outstanding job. He had great pacing and admirably performed a bunch of different accents and even some foreign languages. The two main characters were pretty well fleshed-out, and though the author had to hold Sam's past as a mystery for future books and that necessity drained some color from him he was a lot of fun.

I had a few complaints. First, the book was too light on plot. It seemed more teaser for future books than stand-alone novel. Second, there was simply too much time spent on too many sex scenes. I concede that the sex scenes were well-choreographed and well-varied and for some readers would be the best part of the book. Third, the supporting characters were stereotyped and flat; they were static, unmemorable props. Last and most important, Sam and Declan's relationship was too volatile and too obsessive. It became scary rather than romantic. Their ultimate reunion was jarring; I didn't know if a kiss or a homicide was happening next.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review so I don't have skin in the game. There's promise in the book I read for review, but I'm not sure I'm inclined to seek out the next book in the series.

  • The Monster Spawn

  • A LitRPG Series, Adonis Rebirth #1
  • By: Deckhard Davis
  • Narrated by: David Loving
  • Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

Nathan Attis wakes up with no idea where he is, how he got there, or why his memories of the last few days are gone. He's more than a little perturbed to discover that he is dead, but it's not the end of the world. Due to his being in the army, he gets a second chance at existence in a fantasy VR game called Adonis Rebirth. But there's a problem with his transition into the game. His consciousness isn't loaded into a player character, but instead is transplanted into a beast who lives in the bowels of a mountain. Soon, hero players are going to come to kill him....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The Audio quality was poor.

  • By cosmitron on 06-08-18

Not Much More Than an Intro

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

Reviewed: 06-23-18

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

As the subtitle suggests, this short novel is the opening of a series. A lot could have been done with this novel other than introducing the cast and setting the scene. Sadly, not a lot was.

The premise is clever: Nathan, a soldier and real-life hero who is altruistic, brave, kind, and trustworthy, is reincarnated in a VR universe as The Boss Monster, that last powerful Monster that the good guys have to kill to finish a quest. He's a good man cast unwillingly as a monster. I thought the implicit parallel between this casting and Nathan's career as a soldier was also clever. I thought there was great possibility in that struggle between good man and monster nature. I thought the concept of an AI controlled Virtual Reality RPG also had huge possibilities.

I was disappointed that of all this cleverness and possibility, very little is actually used. Maybe it's being left for the future books.

There were, of course, good points. The monster develops his relationship with his goblin minions. The monster must bend to the (disgusting) necessities of eating and sleeping as a monster and the struggle Nathan has to go through with these necessities is well done.

Overall, though, the book felt too much like the recap of a dozen nights spent playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was probably a great dozen nights for the players, but it's just not that exciting for the people hearing about it afterward.

I'm hoping the book is later released as a single volume with, perhaps, the first few sequels. This one doesn't stand on its own very well.

  • Necroscope

  • By: Brian Lumley
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 17 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,208
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,123
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,121

Harry Keogh is the man who can talk to the dead, the man for whom every grave willingly gives up its secrets, the one man who knows how to travel effortlessly through time and space to destroy the vampires that threaten all of humanity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ONE MUST NOT CURSE THE DEAD

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 01-08-16

Whoa

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

Reviewed: 06-17-18

Brilliantly, wonderfully creepy. I wish I had found this book and this author years ago. I was riveted throughout. The writing and the characters and the concepts and the storyline and the narration are all simply fabulous.

  • The Shearing Gun

  • By: Renae Kaye
  • Narrated by: Dave Gillies
  • Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179

At 25 Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia's rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a "shearing gun" - an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since. Elliot is the newbie doctor in town - city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's practically perfect in every way!

  • By Belen on 09-08-15

Wonderful love story, well-told

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

The author gave a great feel for the life of a gay sheep farmer in middle-of-nowhere Western Australia. Great book. I’ve listened through it more than once and will again. The narrator’s Australian accent made the book even better for me.

  • Stress and Your Body

  • By: Robert Sapolsky, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Sapolsky
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,070
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 968
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 960

Feeling stressed? You're not alone. Stress is an inherent aspect of life that can have tremendous negative effects on your mental and physical health. This makes coping with stress a critical part of how well we live.Once you understand the inner workings of your stress response system, you'll possess powerful knowledge that will help you understand and better deal with this common aspect of your busy life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Useful, insightful, and amusing.

  • By Kelid on 01-07-16

Informative, insightful and entertaining

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

Reviewed: 05-01-18

Sapolsky's a wonderful speaker and teacher. It's a treat to listen to anyone teach who's passionate and expert, but Sapolski adds humor and a rapid-fire delivery that kept me riveted. I'll be recommending this to friends.

  • How to Save a Life

  • Howl at the Moon
  • By: Eli Easton
  • Narrated by: Matthew Shaw
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98

Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love this series! ❤

  • By Belen on 01-25-18

Possibly the best of the lot

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

Reviewed: 03-01-18

I adore the first three books in this series. I was checking frequently on Eli Easton’s website and in Audible to see when this installment would arrive.

Like the other books, this is a love story that takes its time to build its characters and its world wonderfully.

Easton’s prose often had me skipping back to relish some particularly apt phrase. Shaw’s narration with his feel for tone and timing adds a whole dimension to the story. All of the books share Easton’s skill with language and Shaw’s skill with delivery. But having just finished this one, I’m tempted to say it’s the best so far.

It would be hard for me to recommend this enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Troubleshooters: The Longest Joke Ever Told

  • By: Ian Thomas Healy
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Patrella
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18

Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse. Such is the credo of the modern mercenary in the economic downturn of the late 2040s. Three such antiheroes are brought together by a billionaire for a unique search-and-retrieval mission. If they succeed, they'll walk away free and clear with a big fat payday. But if they fail... Well, things will go badly for them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Troubleshooters

  • By MANI on 06-19-18

Disjointed Shoot-Em-Up With Bad Narration

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

Reviewed: 02-28-18

Sort of cyberpunk action comics Dungeons & Dragons. With sex.

Three main characters, an assassin, a hacker, and a teenaged getaway driver get together and become the Troubleshooters. Two main supporting characters are a cyborg ninja with excellent manners and an OCD artificial intelligence desperately in need of counseling.

The group is offered a pile of money to go find some collectables and kills many, many people during their world collecting tour. It's a basic D&D quest premise. But unlike my high-school version of D&D, there's combinatoric sex: Cyborg on AI, AI on human, human on cyborg, human on human, sex during fights. Sex without fights. Sex in space. It got tedious. But it took my mind off of the author's apparent idea of how science works, which seemed to be that enough buzzwords in close proximity would fuse and become actual sci-fi.

The main problem with the narrator was that he kept mispronouncing words, which I found grating. Add to that his over-caffeinated enthusiasm in the action scenes -- and most of the book is action scenes -- and it was just painful.

I found the book very difficult to get through. And, sadly, it wasn't worth the effort.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Harris and Me

  • A Summer Remembered
  • By: Gary Paulsen
  • Narrated by: Barbara Caruso
  • Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 128

“I’m 11-years-old, from the city, and my parents are mean alcoholics. One day the deputy takes me away to live with some distant relatives on their sprawling farm in the country. At the Larsen farm, I meet my Uncle Knute and Aunt Clair and their two children, Glennis and her wild brother Harris. I also meet Louie, the crusty old guy who works as a farmhand and steals all the pancakes at breakfast. Harris introduces me to life on the farm, and it proves to be a rude awakening."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Miracle Elixir (If laughter is best med)

  • By J. Fullmer on 12-13-14

All Around Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 10-05-17

One summer on a farm changes everything for a city boy. The book's touching and hysterical and completely wonderful. The performance is pitch-perfect. Worth more than one listen.

  • Straight Outta Fangton

  • A Comedic Vampire Story
  • By: C. T. Phipps
  • Narrated by: Cary Hite
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151

Peter Stone is a poor, black vampire who is wondering where his nightclub, mansion, and sports car is. Instead, he is working a minimum wage job during the night shift, as being a vampire isn't all that impressive in a world where they've come out to mortals. Exiled from the rich and powerful undead in New Detroit, he is forced to go back when someone dumps a newly-transformed vampire in the bathroom of his gas station's store.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So funny, you'll die!!!

  • By Jason on 09-29-17

Great Potential Squandered

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

Reviewed: 09-28-17

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

This is a new take on the vampire-as-romantic-superhero books. This take, though, is through the lens of a recently-turned black vampire, Peter Stone, stuck working a lousy job in New Detroit, a city owned and run by the old vampires. It's not such a great un-life. Racism and classism are still here, but now with a ladle of supernatural racism and classism stirred in. People, even undead ones, are still people.

To summarize the plot, Peter, his smart-mouthed friend/servant David, and a vampire hunter newly turned into a vampire herself, Melissa, discover a menace to vampire existence and join with others to fight it.

Twined in are killer ex-girlfriends, arch-enemies, demented psychics, and assorted supernatural barflies. To complicate matters, Peter's super vampire powers only occasionally work when he needs them and his mind-reading ability lets other people read him. Every time the name of the Lord is spoken by his name-in-vain-prone cohorts, it hurts him. And there's that embarrassing compulsion to count sesame seeds that comes to the fore in a dangerous burger joint.

New Detroit is Detroit as taken over and revamped (so to speak) by the ruling class of vampires while vampires are achieving civil rights in the USA. Other supernatural creatures are coming out of the shadows, too. Of course, organizations exist to violently oppose vampires and vampire rights.

So, there are a lot of really promising, really good ideas. And, yet, somehow it all doesn't gel. The characters, their interactions, the venue with its glitter and danger, the super-villains with their pure, despicable evil -- none of it shone. The book was gauzy to me, muddled, not crisp and vivid. And I'll say the "Comedic" part of the subtitle threw me. I expected coyote-and-roadrunner slapstick when the protagonists could take such abuse; I expected funny cultural mistakes from a character who's 8000 years old or one rich enough to bail out a bankrupt country. Instead, I got sci-fi movie quotes and actor references coming so thick that one of the villains begged for death to put a stop to it.

The narrator didn't help matters. His measured delivery didn't work for the jabbing dialog. His pacing and emphasis seemed off. And his seeming insistence on a noticeable pause with every comma paired with his need to chuckle when the text said chuckle was distracting. The material needed a perky reading, and it didn't get one.

I think the ideas and characters had great potential. But I think that potential wasn't achieved. The world, the plot, and the characters and the comedy didn't hold together well. And the book didn't survive its rebirth as an audiobook with grace.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Utopia audiobook cover art
  • Utopia

  • By: Thomas More
  • Narrated by: Douglas McDonald
  • Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

Utopia is Thomas More's work of fiction in which he presents all the ills of England in the 1500s and proposes a solution, a perfect "utopia" where crime, poverty, diseases, and injustice do not exist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Narration!

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-30-17

Narrator is Huge Value Add

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

Reviewed: 07-17-17

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

Since

a) the text is a classic with CliffsNotes available elsewhere....

b) the author was beheaded in 1535 for annoying Henry VIII and so won't be writing any sequels,

c) and since it was written in Latin

d) and translated in 1684 (by a guy named Gilbert Burnet)

e) and edited by a guy (named Henry Morley) who died in 1894,

f) and the text is available free

I'm thinking nobody is well-served by my trying to actually review the text.

Except to say SOMEONE needed my high-school English teacher writing "RUN ON SENTENCE" and "COULD BE CLEARER" in the margins about a thousand times. And to say that I'm no longer a student required to act like this kind of naive, dated, patronizing, speculative drivel is worth reading however "ahead of its time" it might have been. Yeah, people are still people and the social and political problems of the 1500's are still with us. Not news.

So the actual reading -- the performance by Douglas McDonald -- is the thing I'm concerned about in this review. It was pretty darn good. In fact, McDonald should get five stars just for the breath control required to make it through some of those convoluted sentences. But what he did so well, and this is the honest part of the five-star rating I give him, is that his reading makes the text much more comprehensible. He's infusing understanding of the content into his pacing and inflection. That contribution makes it much easier for me to understand what on earth the text says. As a reader I'd be slogging through this mess on my own. With a pencil and CliffsNotes nearby. Probably in a library. Late at night. Crying.

The text gets two stars, partly because it brought up post-traumatic memories of my college days. Meh -- dock More or Burnet or Morley another star for pomposity. One star. The reading gets five because McDonald did a service to anyone who wants -- or has -- to get through this short, painful, annoying and probably still-required book.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful