LISTENER

Mike T.

  • 351
  • reviews
  • 91
  • helpful votes
  • 439
  • ratings
  • A Scone to Die For

  • Oxford Tearoom Cozy Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 850
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 771
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 762

When an American tourist is murdered with a scone in Gemma Rose's quaint English tearoom, she suddenly finds herself apron-deep in a mystery involving long-buried secrets from Oxford's past. Armed with her insider knowledge of the university and with the help of four nosy old ladies from her local Cotswolds village (not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli), Gemma sets out to solve the mystery - all while dealing with her matchmaking mother and the return of her old college love, Devlin O'Connor, now a dashing CID detective.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ignore the cover and buy this cozy mystery

  • By Eddie Lynn on 10-01-16

Cozy fluff.

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

Cozy factor - Very high
Romance factor - Meh
Murder mystery - Not bad
Characters - Few but unobtrusive and likable
Narration - Borderline cute "storybook lady" voice, but OK
Final verdict - Fluff. But good fluff. Nothing to actually dislike. Good book? No. Likable book? Yes!

  • A Dragon of a Different Color

  • Heartstrikers, Book 4
  • By: Rachel Aaron
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 21 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,357
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,222
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,216

To save his family from his tyrannical mother, Julius had to step on a lot of tails. That doesn't win a nice dragon many friends, but just when he thinks he's starting to make progress, a new threat arrives. Turns out, things can get worse. Heartstriker hasn't begun to pay for its secrets, and the dragons of China are here to collect. When the Golden Emperor demands his surrender, Julius will have to choose between loyalty to the sister who's always watched over him and preserving the clan he gave everything to protect.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A new favorite dragon, Fredrick!

  • By Elisabeth on 09-30-17

Too much and not enough.

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

Reviewed: 10-12-18

Spectacular story escalation. Its complexity and scope is I'm sad to say, getting to be grossly overworked. I sincerely hope that Rachel Aaron manages to finish the story in the next book. Not much is resolved in this one, in spite of it's length and multiple (but connected) storylines.

Still a good listen though. If nothing else listen to it to enjoy Vikas Adam's spectacular command of ALL the characters different voices. Truly marvelous narration.

  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

  • A Novel
  • By: Helen Simonson
  • Narrated by: Peter Altschuler
  • Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,579
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,211
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,204

You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Charming book with an excellent narrator

  • By jc on 03-05-10

Filled with vivid, real people. A great listen.

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

Reviewed: 09-25-18

A delightful listen. The people are not caricatures but feels like real, flawed, likable (and unlikable) persons, that you'd meet in real life. The story is good as well. Fairly light, but not at all as predictable as I feared.

Great writing. Filled with gentle humor and little observations that fits the mood perfectly. "Two Americans in as many weeks approached a major epidemic". "Memories were like paintings ... scrape at them and they come up all red and blazing".

Add to this an excellent narration. Warmly recommended.

  • The Undead: Part 1

  • By: R. R. Haywood
  • Narrated by: Dan Morgan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,126
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,058
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,055

A deadly infection spreads across Europe. The Undead series: a terrifying account of one man desperately struggling to survive this harrowing event day by day. Part one - days one to three. Howie is at home on a rare Friday night off work when an infection which has rapidly spread across Europe hits his hometown on the South Coast of England. Luck sees him through the first night when many others are taken down and infected, only to rise again as the undead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fresh brains for zombie fans!

  • By Lesley on 04-05-15

Great first person present tense zombie action.

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

Written in the hard to master First Person Present Tense format, gives this great book an immediacy that enhances the bewilderment, horror, shame and all the other feelings that the protagonist feels. A great piece of penmanship from R. R. Haywood. Incredibly bloody and gory, but to my surprise it does not feel gratuitous. In no small part due to the "I and Now" of the writing format I suspect.

Not all is blood and horror mind you. Quite funny at times as well. Not flippant humor. More of the gallows humor variety. The lighter parts of the narrative does not fell misplaced or contrived at all. Again great writing.

A long series of books ahead. I'm looking forward to keep following the (initially) hapless Tesco night's manager "Mr. Howie" and the great character Dave, as they traverse a zombie infested England.

  • The Starling Project

  • An Audible Drama
  • By: Jeffery Deaver
  • Narrated by: Alfred Molina, full cast
  • Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,578
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,436
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,427

Audie Award, Original Work, 2016; Audie Award Finalist, Audio Drama, 2016. An aborted raid targeting a major arms dealer. A hostage standoff at a bank that may not be what it seems. A plot to spring a former African dictator from prison. What is the threat that connects them all? And just who is the mysterious mastermind, The Starling? From Mexico to Washington – from London to Marseille to Prague – war crimes investigator Harold Middleton and his team of Volunteers risk their lives to follow the trail of clues. But how can they stop The Starling – when he always seems one step ahead?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is a DRAMA, not a book!

  • By Writrix on 11-25-14

Production value - OK. Direction and editing - bad

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

Reviewed: 08-14-18

The good:
Fast paced convoluted story.
Voice acting is excellent, apart from the character with the "upper class English fop" accent.
Likable characters.
Sound and production value is good.

The bad:
Actors are "speedreading" their lines during conversations. As soon as one character finish speaking, the next one IMMEDIATELY delivers his/her line. No pauses whatsoever between speakers. No real life conversation flows like that. It's a typical bad theater and radio drama flaw, that annoys me no end. With a better director or editor this could have avoided. Too bad the director is also the editor...
Again and again utilizes the cheap trick of hiding things from the reader, for dramatic effect.
The ending.

  • SPQR II

  • The Catiline Conspiracy
  • By: John Maddox Roberts
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 326
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 322

It was a summer of glorious triumph for the mighty Roman Republic. Her invincible legions had brought all foreign enemies to their knees. But in Rome there was no peace. The streets were flooded with the blood of murdered citizens, and there were rumors of more atrocities to come.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Darn... Want more in this series. Please?

  • By Ted on 08-14-12

More history than story.

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

Reviewed: 08-13-18

The good:
"The October Horse".
Narration.
The sense of authenticity.

The bad:
Heavy with long "roman" names. Hard to keep up. So much so that it was tempting to just ignore at times.
Story is thin. Consists mainly of suspicions and speculations and a LOT of names.
The ending!

  • The Trafalgar Gambit

  • Ark Royal, Book 3
  • By: Christopher G. Nuttall
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 14 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,083
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,088

Humanity is losing the war. The once-mighty space navies have been crippled, officers and crew have been stretched to the limit and Earth herself has come under heavy attack. The end cannot be long delayed. For Admiral Smith and the crew of HMS Ark Royal, the stakes have never been so high. The one hope is to make contact with alien factions that might oppose the war.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More of the same with a solid resolution

  • By Lore on 06-23-15

Stronger story, but still...

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

... Nuttall dwells too much on the "royalty dilemma", archaic (and stupid) politics, relationship problems (read: sex), and the sleazy "vermin" reporters. Did Nuttall have a bad run-in with the press at some time?

The repetition of words and phrases is not quite as glaring as in the previous two books.

Narration is OK but I still get Admiral Ackbar vibes when Ralph Lister does senior officer voices. :-)

The story this time is strong, very strong and the portrayal of the aliens is very interesting. It made me tolerate the above niggles.

  • Monster Hunter Legion

  • Monster Hunter, Book 4
  • By: Larry Correia
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,721
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,098
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,084

When hunters from around the world gather in Las Vegas for a conference, a creature left over from a World War Two weapons experiment wakes up and goes on a rampage across the desert. A not-so-friendly wager between the rival companies turns into a race to see who can bag the mysterious creature first. Only there is far more to this particular case than meets the eye, and as Hunters fall prey to their worst nightmares, Owen Zastava Pitt and the staff of Monster Hunter International have to stop an ancient god from turning Sin City into a literal hell on earth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What A Shock...

  • By Sandi on 09-08-12

MHI goes to Vegas. Badassitude galore.

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

Reviewed: 08-01-18

Listening to this book is a little like taking a long roller coaster ride. Starts at a fairly slow pace, building momentum, and then WHEEE! We're off on a wild and almost never-ending ride. Old story threads from previous books are still alive. Some are evolving, but not enough of them are resolved (to my liking). New interesting ones are added. OK- This IS a series but a bit more closure would have been appreciated, even if the main story of the book comes to a satisfying end.

All in all a most enjoyable listen.

Oliver Wyman's narration is nothing short of spectacular.

  • The Great St. Mary's Day Out

  • A Chronicles of St. Mary's Short Story
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 1 hr and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 805
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 737
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 736

Everyone deserves to get away for a bit. Even the miscreants at St Mary's. Astonishingly, Dr. Bairstow has declared a holiday. Even more astonishingly - he's paying for it. Needless to say, there are strings attached. They have to record the 1601 performance of Hamlet, with Shakespeare himself in the role of the Ghost. It doesn't go well, of course.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Saint Mary's Meet Shakespeare

  • By Richard S. Swol on 05-08-17

St. Mary's is the dog's bollocks.

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

There's feelgood books and then there's feeling absolutely giddy with delight books. This short story is of the latter kind.
'Nuff said.

  • A High-End Finish

  • By: Kate Carlisle
  • Narrated by: Angela Starling
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,411
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,296
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,291

In the seaside town of Lighthouse Cove, everyone knows the best man for the job is actually a woman - contractor Shannon Hammer. But while Shannon can do wonders with a power drill and a little elbow grease, her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on.Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry's found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she's been hired to restore, the town's attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It was ok

  • By Diana on 12-19-14

Generic and thin. Cozy fluff.

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

Reviewed: 07-18-18

The murder mystery part is good though. The inevitable (I guess) romance part is (I'm kind here) bad and more like befitting a swooning teenager instead of a mature businesswoman.

Being male, reading a Cozy novel now and again has always been somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me. This however was too thin even for me. But it is an unobtrusive and somewhat likable listen, so I can't fault it for being what it is - a Cozy.

Narration is good.