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Lelia T

Richmond, VA
  • 44
  • reviews
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 45
  • ratings
  • Alt Truths

  • There Are Two Sides to Every Story. Even Genocide.
  • By: Alec Birri
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 6 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

Thirty-year-old UNPOL officer Richard Warren has been embedded with the BBC, and not seeing eye-to-eye with journalist Sarah Dyer is just the start of his problems. News of an Ebola pandemic is being withheld, and when it’s discovered Sarah’s artistic savant brother is involved, Richard’s determination to get to the truth takes an unexpected turn. But what if the truth must never be known?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Alt Truths

  • By Lauren Jones on 02-06-19

Something for Everyone

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

Reviewed: 02-03-19

Having consumed Mr. Birri’s earlier trilogy, Condition, as fast as I possibly could, I really was excited to have the opportunity to listen to this new book, both for the story and for Mr. Keeble’s narration and I wasn’t disappointed although I didn’t connect with it quite as much. I think that’s because there are an awful lot of ideas and plotlines here, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, mind you. I just tended to get a little confused at times.

From the morass of political correctness to a literally explosive attack to biowarfare (of sorts) to the wonders and dangers of being a savant to fake/manipulated news…it’s all here and more, something for nearly every reader who loves the what-ifs to be found in a well-crafted story. Add to that a narrator who is a master at what he does with a collection of voices that almost make you think you’re listening to a bunch of different people and you’ve got what we all want, a book you just can’t stop listening to 😉

  • Murder in Keswick: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

  • By: William Todd
  • Narrated by: Ben Werling
  • Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite. As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Need Sherlock? Try this!

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on Vacation

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

Reviewed: 12-10-18

Not everyone who wishes to add to the the Sherlock Homes pastiche can do so all that well but Mr. Todd pretty much nails it with Murder in Keswick. In fact, I think it might, in time, earn a place in the extracanonical body of work. Rather than the adventures of descendants of Holmes and Watson which have become so popular—and of which I’m very fond—this takes us back to the great detective himself and his companion.

The pair have set off for a vacation in the Lake District and Holmes is already bored without a worthy puzzle to solve so, when they step off the train in Keswick to hear talk about a headless body that’s been found, he can’t be happier. Who IS happier is the local constable, Mr. Wickham, who can’t believe he’ll be able to work with the famous detective.

Mr. Darcy, the victim, is naturally not happy without his head and the trio are soon hot on the trail of clues which, of course, only Holmes takes in but there are two women at the heart of the case, both very strongwilled and appealing. Could one of them be the killer? With a nifty twist near the end, all comes together…after Holmes shares his perspective, of course.

Ben Werling is a credible narrator who took me back to oldstyle Sherlock Holmes narrators, the best kind. He doesn’t differentiate voices all that well, especially females, but I actually don’t mind that. When I listen to a Sherlock Holmes story, I always hear Dr. Watson’s voice telling the story and I expect to hear him, not other characters. The only thing I didn’t care for in the production is the various background noises meant to enhance the settings; my hearing isn’t the greatest and I was distracted trying to figure out what I was hearing. I wouldn’t want them to be louder, just not there at all.

  • Watcher

  • The Watcher Series, Book 1
  • By: AJ Eversley
  • Narrated by: Chelsea Stephens, Steve Campbell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

As a Watcher, Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect her fellow humans. But the Bots and Carbons that overran her city are evolving, and are picking off her comrades one by one. Embarking on a desperate mission to save humanity from extinction, Sawyer discovers that the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn when one of her own betrays them. Faced with a choice between fulfilling her vow and avenging those who have fallen, she must ultimately decide who can be saved...and who can’t.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this!!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 10-19-18

Us Against Them

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

Reviewed: 11-20-18

There's a kind of density to this story that makes it slow-going at first. Very little is given to the reader in terms of background early on so there's much we don't understand about Sawyer's world and even less about Kenzie. Sawyer herself stands out in a crowd but largely because she's pretty much the only female and I found that to be at least somewhat unbelievable.

Sawyer lost her parents at the age of eight and managed to stay alive on her own for the next two years, finally joining up with this band of resisters. Perhaps it's her early years that make her so reckless and defiant but that certainly makes her a more vibrant character, if not especially likeable. Following World War III, a nuclear holocaust, there are only pockets of humans left trying to survive against the Bots and Carbons, the latter sort of cloned copies of humans, and Sawyer is one of those survivors, along with her team. At heart, this is a story of trust and betrayal and the continuing fight against the machines that are evolving. The setting, on the other hand, is somewhat lacking in that we don't really know where the two surviving cities are or how they came to be the only remaining cities.

Having two narrators, one for Sawyer and one for Kenzie, works well. Kenzie, in fact, is a bit of an unknown for quite a while and that certainly added to the sense of not fully understanding this world but it didn't take me long to start liking him and I had a lot of sympathy for his own sense of isolation. Chelsea Stephens does a nice job of conveying Sawyer's story as well as the other members of her team while Steve Campbell portrays Kenzie quite well. He's not as vibrant as Ms. Stephens but that's mostly because Sawyer's part of the story is so much bigger.

All in all, this is a nicely crafted story of a dystopian world in our very near future and I'm eager to read more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Beneath

  • By: Maureen A. Miller
  • Narrated by: Brandy Skelly
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

It was Stella Gullaksen's final break before starting her freshman year at college. Joining her best friend Jill and Jill's family aboard the Starkissed, Stella wakes up to a violent storm that capsizes the boat over a hundred miles off the New Jersey shore. As the waves pull her under, Stella knows that she is going to die. Instead, an unusual current drags her deep into the underwater canyons of the Atlantic Ocean. Powerless against the raging waters, she is suddenly sucked into a ventilated cave.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You never know what is Beneath

  • By Writers and Authors on 10-11-18

Under the Sea

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

I’ve always been fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle; is the phenomenon pure fantasy or science fiction or perhaps even real? No one has the definitive answer but there is no question that a lot of boats and planes have been found on the bottom of the Atlantic and disappearances continue to happen. The premise that Ms. Miller suggests in Beneath is not all that bizarre considering the oddities of the Triangle, is it?

Now, just suppose such a thing happened to you and you found yourself in a vast undersea cave system with other people who had been “saved” over a period of many years. You’d be filled with questions as are Stella and Jill’s brother, Colin, and no one would be surprised when they act on their curiosity, going in search of answers. They find some of those answers, leading to even more, but perhaps the biggest is, are they condemned to remain here until…

Stella is a likeable character—as is Colin but he’s less vibrant—and I had no trouble believing in her personality, her attitudes and her determination to brave the unknown. I’m glad, actually, that her story isn’t over yet and that a sequel is coming.

Brandy Skelly brought Stella to life for me even though there were moments when her narration wasn’t entirely successful. Between Ms. Miller’s intriguing story and Ms. Skelly’s telling of that story, Beneath is a tale worth hearing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mourning Dove

  • By: Claire Fullerton
  • Narrated by: Claire Fullerton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn't know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, 18 months her senior, becomes Millie's guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie's 10th birthday. Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother's upbringing and vastly different from anything they've ever known. Here they are the outsiders. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Profoundly moving

  • By Hugh Sinclair on 07-31-18

A Southern Family Saga

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

Mourning Dove is a compelling Southern family tale that, by turns, had me smile, tear up, laugh out loud, even get irritated with certain characters’ inflexibility, especially Posey and her husband, the Colonel, step-father to Millie and Finley. If things didn’t go exactly the way they expected, there would be hell to pay and life was frequently uncomfortable for the children.

As Millie and Finley grew up, they learned not only how to live with the rules of the household but also found their own way. The two are devoted to each other whether together or apart and they truly depend on each other through all the joys and despair of life. Still, family and friends are caught very much by surprise when a terrible thing happens even though they knew a darkness was brewing.

A couple of things pulled me out of the story occasionally. I’m a born and bred Southerner and some of the author’s pronunciations were different from mine; for instance, she would say “in-TRIC-a-cies” while I say “IN-tric-a-cies” and “de-COR-ous” while I say “DEC-or-ous”. Also, as a Mary Baldwin alumna, I know that it did not change its designation to University from College until 2016, many years after the time period of this story. I also have never heard of the bride’s family being responsible for hosting the wedding rehearsal dinner, especially back then. All that aside, I really did enjoy hearing about places, mannerisms and Southern culture so similar to my own upbringing. Although I managed to talk my parents out of doing the whole debutante thing, I did spend several years in cotillion 😉

I don’t always think an author narrating her own book is a good idea but Ms. Fullerton does bring the characters and the ambience to life, especially because Millie is telling the story. This is a deeply thoughtful look at the South of the 70’s and 80’s and is a true evocation of a time and place that was quite unique. Well done!

  • Uncanny Valley

  • By: C.A. Gray
  • Narrated by: Melissa Williams
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10

Rebecca Cordeaux knows exactly what her future will hold: she will marry Andy, her crush of the last five years. Once Andy is ready to settle down, she's sure he will discover that she is his soulmate. After several small parts on stage, Rebecca knows she can become a renowned actress. Her writing also shows promise as a future author. Robots perform most human jobs that can be automated, leaving many free to pursue their personal creative interests.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not for me, but i don’t think I’m not smart enough...

  • By Brad&Britney on 08-18-18

Robots!

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

I won’t take any time re-hashing the core storyline since the publisher’s description is very thorough, almost too much so. Instead, I’ll focus on what I liked and didn’t like and, this being science fiction, my first thoughts have to be about worldbuilding.

Any speculative fiction needs a strong sense of when, where and how and I have to say there’s a lack here. Certain cities are named occasionally, like Dublin and Geneva, but I got no real sense of when this was taking place or how society had arrived at a bot-driven existence. As a result, I couldn’t get a grasp of how long the bots had been so prevalent nor how long a few conspiracy theorists had been working to stop further development.

The primary characters, on the other hand, were quite well-drawn and I felt I knew them well. That doesn’t mean I liked them all and, in fact, one of the romantic leads plucked my last nerve with his controlling ways although I also saw his good points. The bad guys, Halpert in particular, were appropriately callous and remote and, as for Rebecca, this was a girl I understood. She’s young enough to be starry-eyed about a guy, smart enough to get involved with some serious research and education, well-rounded enough to have other interests and attached enough to her mother to want to please her. In short, she’s a normal young woman.

Narrator Melissa Williams does a credible job with a pleasing tone, good pacing and clear enunciation but I don’t hear much vocal distinction between the characters. Still, I enjoy listening to her.

All that said, my favorite character of all is Madeline, a very small personal bot. Madeline is a pure delight and a great friend to Rebecca even while she’s just shy of having true emotions. This little mechanical creature is involved in the heavy-duty cliffhanger at the end and she’s the reason I’m going to have to read the next book 😉

  • The Phoenix Project

  • The Liberty Box, Book 3
  • By: C.A. Gray
  • Narrated by: Melissa Williams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

The haven city of Beckenshire has been demolished, and most of the rebels lie beneath the rubble. The few that remain scramble to communicate with the outside world, knowing that if they are to stand a chance in the coming war, they can't do it alone. In this gripping conclusion to The Liberty Box Trilogy, new and surprising alliances are formed, passions run high, and our heroes learn what they are really made of. Do they have what it takes to fight for freedom - even if it means paying the ultimate price?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Blossomed

  • By BookAddict'sReviews on 07-31-18

A Fitting End

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

Reviewed: 07-28-18

It would be fair to say that The Phoenix Project neatly wraps everything up for the trilogy and so it does but that doesn’t really do the author justice. A lot goes on in this last volume and I got to know the characters even better, not always pleasantly.

With Kate being held in pampered captivity and seemingly completely under Voltolini’s sway, Jackson in the deepest of dungeons and the remnants of the resistance in tatters, it would appear that all is lost and the dictator has won but some of the rebels have a different plan. At the same time, Kate discovers Jackson in his cell and begins to doubt her thoughts, her implanted belief that he is a murderer and the cause of all that is wrong. Meanwhile, Jackson has his own doubts about himself but meets another prisoner who just might turn out to be a critical piece of his, Jackson’s, redemption.

In this third book, I came to dislike Will more and more as his need to control everything, especially Kate, became increasingly obnoxious. This man truly needs to be set straight about how to behave towards women and he really is kind of stereotypical but, truthfully, he was not my most detested character. That honor goes to Denise (I think that’s her name), Kate’s mother but I’ll leave it to you to find out why—I assure you it won’t be hard to figure it out. As for Jackson, I came away understanding that he is, indeed, very human and not a superhero, making him very likeable indeed while my empathy for Kate intensified even as I wanted to throttle her sometimes.

Narrator Melissa Williams still isn’t my favorite reader because she doesn’t differentiate voices all that well but I still enjoy listening to her. Her tone is very pleasant and I think her vocal strength comes at those times when characters are losing it. In particular, her shrill tones with both Will and Denise made their distress very evident.

All in all, The Liberty Box trilogy has been a pleasure to listen to and I’m glad I had this opportunity.

  • The Eden Conspiracy

  • The Liberty Box Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: C.A. Gray
  • Narrated by: Melissa Williams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

The refugee caves have been destroyed, and most of the refugees are dead. The Potentate now knows of their existence and will stop at nothing to wipe them out completely.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Rebellion!

  • By Lelia T on 07-20-18

Rebellion!

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

Reviewed: 07-20-18

No one will ever accuse this book of suffering from sophomore slump, that’s for sure. After a successful opening in the first book, the action really ratchets up in The Eden Conspiracy and certain characters become more vivid plus I learned a lot more about the two factions.

I already knew that the Potentate and his minions exercise a sort of mind control over the people, brainwashing really, but here I learned that they can direct it at a particular person. Kate has bought into the resistance fullbore but that propels her into doing something rash, bringing herself some very unwanted attention but she shows an unexpected strength when that happens even while she distrusts herself and Jackson immensely.

Things go from bad to worse for the band of refugees but a small group splinters off to find a new sanctuary while Kate heads back home to enlist her brother Charlie’s help with a project. Unfortunately, government agents are soon in hot pursuit and whether Kate can accomplish her mission is in real doubt.

Kate and Jackson come into sharp focus in this part of the trilogy and she especially shows a lot of growth emotionally and physically, no longer the simpering wuss that she used to be. In fact, Will’s behavior towards her becomes much more annoying because she realizes how condescending he’s always been, perhaps warranted before she grew a backbone. Jackson, on the other hand, is the perfect man, to the point of being irritating at times (but he always redeems himself). Many of the characters from the first book kind of fade into the background but Kate’s brother and parents are prominent with her mother being as aggravating as she can be. Last but most certainly not least, the Potentate’s point of view comes into play and, now that he is is much more evident, his bad guy persona comes to the fore with chilling effect.

With the first book, I indicated that I thought the narrator was a bit lacking but I saw a lot of improvement in this second book. Ms. Williams really got into the story this time and there’s more life in her voice although I still think most characters’ voices are too much alike. That aside, I do enjoy listening to her.

All in all, this was a really good continuation of the story and I’m excited to now move on to the third, and last, book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Culling

  • The Culling Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Ramona Finn
  • Narrated by: Stacey Glemboski
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Glade Io is a trained killer. Marked at a young age as an individual with violent tendencies, she was taken from her family and groomed to be a Datapoint—a biotech-enabled analyst who carries out the Culling. She is designed to identify and destroy any potential humans that threaten the colonies: those marked as lawbreakers, unproductive or sick. But when she’s kidnapped by rogue colonists known as the Ferrymen, everything Glade thinks she knows about the colonies, and The Authority that runs them, collapses into doubt.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Much better than I thought!!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 05-12-18

A Sociopath's Tale

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

Reviewed: 07-16-18

3.5 stars

Now, this is a dystopian concept that I haven’t run into before and fresh ideas are always welcome. Much of the tale’s plot and the behavior of the characters is similar to many other books but that all supports the central theme, that sociopathic tendencies can be harnessed to do the bidding of an evil government without a care or concern.

Glade is one of those sociopaths and, after being snatched from her mother and younger sisters as a young girl, she has been melded, in a manner of speaking, with a biotech system so that she is able to locate and assess candidates for culling and then carry out the procedure. What it boils down to is Glade is judge, jury and executioner; she murders people with the approval of the seven-person Authority and, because she’s a sociopath, she feels no remorse or reluctance whatsoever.

Except when she remembers that her own father was culled and she’s never understood why.

Things could have gone along this way for years but Glade and another Datapoint are taken captive by a band of resisters known as the Ferrymen and their leader, Kupier, begins to have a small effect on Glade and on her perspective. For the first time in her life, she has niggling questions about what she does and why and about the Authority. Back on the space station, she has a different view of herself and her fellow Datapoints, especially Dahn, and begins to fear one of the Authority, Jan Ernst Haven.

Even with the similarities to other dystopian stories, I came to really like these characters (my favorite may be Kupier’s kid brother) and some of the details of their world but there are still missing pieces. For instance, I want to know much more about how Earth came to be uninhabitable, how the people became space colonizers and why the Authority turned into such a force for evil. Perhaps more will be revealed in the next book.

Narrator Stacey Glemboski does a nice job with clear tones and good pacing. She has to work with a bit of a hindrance in that the point of view and even the setting frequently change without warning and it can be momentarily difficult to make the transition as a listener/reader but Ms. Glemboski eases the pain with her quite believable and effective voice characrterizations. I’ll gladly listen to more books she does.

  • The Liberty Box, Book 1

  • By: C.A. Gray
  • Narrated by: Melissa Williams
  • Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Kate Brandeis has it all: a famous reporter at the age of 24, she's the face of the Republic of the Americas. She has a loving fiancée and all the success she could wish for. But when she learns of the death of a long-forgotten friend, her investigations unravel her perfect memories, forcing her to face the fact that she's been living a lie. Jackson MacNamera, trained from a young age in the art of mind control, returns to the Republic. Authorities collect Jackson and take him by force to a room called The Liberty Box

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Impressive

  • By Maya K. on 08-04-17

What you don't know...

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

3.5 stars

It’s common in dystopian fiction for the people to be unaware of what their leaders are really like but not so common that they’ve been made to actually not see what’s around them. It’s that element of The Liberty Box that intrigued me the most, knowing that Kate and so many others truly believe they have good lives while the truth is entirely different. When Kate begins to get an inkling of something being off she still resists but the sudden death of someone very close pushes her over the edge and the appearance of clearly dangerous men at her door pushes her to run.

Kate lands with a rebel group, who do see what things are really like, and she meets several people who will make a difference in her life, for good and ill, but I didn’t always buy into the characterizations and the small details. For instance, if someone told me not to worry about the bullets because the government wouldn’t have loaded weapons, I’d tell that person to stand in front of me. I also think it’s unlikely so many people could escape the notice of a government that supposedly has such tight control but, I was intrigued by the story and, in particular, how Kate comes to terms with reality. I also had some good feelings about the very angry Alec and a lot of questions about Jackson who thinks he’s better than sliced bread.

The narration by Melissa Williams is pretty good, not the best I’ve ever heard but not unpleasant in any way. My main issue is that her voice doesn’t really distinguish one character from another very well.

On the whole, this is a promising beginning to the series and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.