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Ian

Frankston South, Australia
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  • Black (4 Novel Bundle)

  • By: Russell Blake
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 29 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 461
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 439
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 438

Artemus Black doesn't believe in fate...but even a hardened Hollywood PI can question destiny when cases turn ugly. With an assistant who mocks him relentlessly, an obese cat that loathes him, a romantic life that's deader than Elvis, money problems, booze, nicotine, and anger management issues, how much worse can it get? The answer is plenty, and Black finds himself in a web of deceit, betrayal, and murder - and bad hair days.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great series. Adventure, mystery, comical, noir.

  • By John Delaney on 07-08-18

Black? More Like Beige.

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

Reviewed: 01-24-19

I will admit I'm only at book 3, but these are so mediocre it's unreal. The story's are contrived waffle with twists and developments straight out of a 20s plot wheel. Characters that aren't bland are just annoying and the ones that aren't annoying are downright murderable (looking at you, Roxy). So far the mysteries have been about as difficult to solve (including who, how and why) as a one-colour Rubiks Cube.

Even the usually excellent Bray can't lift this one.

  • Alien: Out of the Shadows

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Tim Lebbon, Dirk Maggs
  • Narrated by: Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,390
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,629
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,566

As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then, on planet LV178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand-blasted hell - and trimonite, the hardest material known to man. When a shuttle crashes into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating and waiting for suitable prey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • a work that I highly recommend

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 05-02-16

it was free yet I still feel ripped off.

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

Reviewed: 12-16-18

The narration was excellent but the story was cobbled together junk. Banal and painfully derivative. Even though it was free I felt oddly cheated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hell Divers IV: Wolves

  • The Hell Divers Series, Book 4
  • By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,992
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,722
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,703

The Sea Wolf sets out to search for the Metal Islands. Leading the expedition is legendary Hell Diver Xavier Rodriguez. After enduring a decade on the poisoned surface, his survival skills will be put to the test on the dangerous open seas. But storms, sea monsters, and the cannibalistic Cazadores aren't the only threat to X and his small crew. Their mission will uncover hard truths about the history of the war that left humankind stranded in the air for centuries. The fate of those still living on the airships might very well rest on this perilous journey to find a new home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Yet!!!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 11-06-18

All Filler No Killer

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

Worst of the series by a mile. The inconsistencies in language and deeply flawed world building are starting to grate and get irritating. Story and characters are coming a distant second to cramming in as many bone headed and derivative ideas as possible.

Not a brilliant series anyway it was good enough to sustain to book 4. Think I'll give 5 a miss.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Patrick Melrose: The Novels

  • Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk, and At Last
  • By: Edward St. Aubyn
  • Narrated by: Alex Jennings
  • Length: 27 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 410
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375

By turns harrowing and hilarious, this ambitious novel cycle dissects the English upper class. Edward St. Aubyn offers his listener the often darkly funny and self-loathing world of privilege as we follow Patrick Melrose's story of abuse, addiction, and recovery from the age of five into early middle age. The Patrick Melrose novels comprise a modern masterpiece by one of "the most brilliant English novelists of his generation" (Alan Hollinghurst).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • beautifully, brilliantly wrought

  • By Michi Belan on 12-12-15

Not Waving, Drowning

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

Reviewed: 06-17-18

As painful as it is funny, as funny as it is painful. Brilliant books but sometimes it's a hard listen. Pulls no punches, acerbic, bitter, bittersweet and full of melancholy. At times the writing is sharp enough that you feel it might cut.

  • The Singularity Trap

  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,781
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,636
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,602

When Ivan Pritchard signs on as a newbie aboard the Mad Astra, it's his final, desperate stab at giving his wife and children the life they deserve. He can survive the hazing of his crewmates, and how many times, really, can near-zero g make you vomit? But there's another challenge looming out there, in the farthest reaches of human exploration, that will test every man, woman and AI on the ship - and will force Ivan to confront the very essence of what makes him human.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent.

  • By Amy Snider on 06-13-18

Decent Enough

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

Reviewed: 06-17-18

Not a patch on the Bobiverse books, but solid enough sci-fi and a good listen. Just lacked a spark and felt like a promising premise lost it's way a little as the book went on.

  • The Terror

  • A Novel
  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Tom Sellwood
  • Length: 28 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,495
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,331
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,327

The men onboard HMS Terror have every expectation of finding the Northwest Passage. When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the Terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear there is no escape.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Very good then, NOT

  • By Randall on 07-24-18

Too Much Of A Mediocre Thing

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

Reviewed: 04-15-18

Basically I have two main criticisms.

The first is the narrator who was just a terrible choice for this book. His voice has now depth to it, no gravitas, and listening to characters who are meant to be hard-bitten sea-faring types is akin to hearing teenagers role-playing practising their all 'grown up and stuff' voices.

As a comparison, I'm now listening to the Patrick Melrose novels narrated by Alex Jennings who's capable of giving clear and distinct voices, across accents and gender, and can thus give his characters both variation and life. Sellwood just wasn't up to this task.

The second criticism is of the book itself. If Stephen King can be accused of 'verbal diarrhoea' in the length of density of his books, then Dan Simmons must do his writing from the toilet seat.

Good grief but the man can waffle, especially towards the end of the book and in particular the last chapter or two which should be full of melancholy and atmosphere but instead seemed to be little more than the other showing off his 'Inuit to English' dictionary.

Another occasion where I find myself distinctly in the minority. How this has 4.5 stars baffles me.

So, yeah, two main criticisms of an audiobook; the audio... and the book.

35 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • FantasticLand

  • A Novel
  • By: Mike Bockoven
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe, Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,570
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,481
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,471

Since the 1970s, FantasticLand has been the theme park where "Fun is Guaranteed!" But when a hurricane ravages the Florida coast and isolates the park, the employees find it anything but fun. Five weeks later, the authorities who rescue the survivors encounter a scene of horror. Photos soon emerge online of heads on spikes outside of rides and viscera and human bones littering the gift shops, breaking records for hits, views, likes, clicks, and shares.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absurd...But awesome

  • By T.J. on 11-12-17

Maybe It's Me, But...

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

Reviewed: 03-16-18

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

As a rule, I find something that has consistently high reviews (and plenty of them) can be relied upon to deliver to some degree. This is the exception to that rule.

FantasticLand is billed as Battle Royale meets Lord of the Flies, and I'm not sure which one of those should feel more insulted by the comparison. It's nothing like as smart and controversial as BR, and falls laughably short of the genius of LOTF.

It's written from the POV of multiple witness testimonies given to the author of a book about what went on in a theme park cut off from civilisation, which stretches the vocal talents of both narrators.

The premise is that an insanely powerful hurricane isolates a theme park that was already remote, leaving the remaining staff (ostensibly to protect it from looters and other such contrivances) isolated for weeks.

During that time, society breaks down. It's gradual at first, but accelerates as time passes and supplies dwindle and... oh, wait. No, it's not gradual. It happens pretty much after one day. Apparently, deprive young adults from internet access and Facebook, and murderous mayhem will quickly follow. Supplies are plentiful we are repeatedly told, food and water both, and yet long-pig is apparently on the menu at some point. So next thing you know, factions are formed, atrocities are committed and before you can say 'well that didn't take long!', corpses are swinging from lamp-posts.

What characters there are seem thin at best, often little more than roughly sketched caricatures whose motivations are equally flimsy.

Also, a flood of the park keeps people from moving out beyond the main contested area, and yet several characters just wade out, one even setting up on his own in a luxury hotel until he's visited by two other characters who also make this seemingly impossible journey. This hotel, by the way, is one of four and, far as I can tell, no-one else seems to think wading through some foul water is a better option that being beaten to death.

The book is full to the brim with such inconsistencies which, even when they are justified, smack of little more than contrived conveniences.

Another example is that no-one is allowed to keep their phones, that they're all stored in staff lockers in a distant part of the park. So distant that early on, two characters go out there and loot the place. No-one else even bothers.

Towards the end, the writer doing all the interviewing asks why all this happened, and why so fast and so violent. His conclusions are half-baked commentaries on social isolation, reliance on technology and how teens left unattended will naturally follow the first psychopath who shows them where the stabby things are.

Honestly, it's just rubbish.

24 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Artemis

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosario Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63,857
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59,601
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59,451

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A ferrari with no motor

  • By will on 11-18-17

Painfully Generic

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

First, the good.

Rosario Dawson is an excellent narrator, and pitches the characters pretty much perfectly throughout. The one criticism I have is that, whilst she can do accents very well indeed, she needs to work on having a bit more variety with non-accented voices. Without an accent, sometimes conversations were hard to follow as she would have multiple characters using pretty much the same voice. Minor complaint. On the whole, an excellent job.

And that's the good out of the way.

The story, such as it is, is contrived to the point of being able to spot pretty much every twist, plot point and story development way in advance. No surprises, precious little originality and characters doing things that are either borderline inane or so boneheaded any sense of immersion is shattered beyond repair.

The moon as a location works up to a point, but Weir seems torn between world-building and story-building and does neither very well. The Martian walked this line very well because the character of Mark Watney held it all together. Jazz Bashara, who is actually a good character, isn't up to that job. It's like the character belongs in another book, because with Dawson behind the vocals, she has a genuine life and presence, she just feels like Weir doesn't know quite what to do with her and so keeps shoving her as a round peg into square holes, making her a kind of story based Swiss Army knife, a tool for every situation. Also, some of her dialogue and actions in the story, as well as her pop-culture knowledge, jarred badly.

All in all, this feels like that difficult second album, with the pressure of following up The Martian likely a factor in why this one doesn't work.

Maybe his third will suit me more.

  • The Cartel

  • By: Don Winslow
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 23 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,598
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,995
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,972

From the internationally best-selling author of the acclaimed novel The Power of the Dog comes The Cartel, a gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines story of power, corruption, revenge, and justice spanning the past decade of the Mexican-American drug wars.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the best ever…

  • By Kindle Customer on 03-24-16

Cliched But...

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

Reviewed: 10-05-17

An agent who Bend The Rules. A beautiful woman who is Irresistible To Men. A drug dealer who is A Ruthless Killer. Irish mobsters who are Violent and/or Drunk. A priest is Strong and Moral. And on and on it goes, cliche after cliche.

But... it works. Really well. It's not a work of genius but it's perfectly solid, a proper page-turner, decently written and Ray Porter, as always, nails the narration.

I wanted to be bored by it, to dismiss it out of hand. I don't know why, but I had a strongly jaded reaction to this, but not only did I enjoy it enough to get through, I've just bought the sequel...

  • Red Sparrow

  • A Novel
  • By: Jason Matthews
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,012
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,879
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,845

Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Spy Novel (with a few quirks)

  • By Aaron on 01-12-14

Thoroughly Flawed

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

Reviewed: 09-22-17

Decent spy caper thoroughly undermined by being way too long and featuring possibly the dumbest, most contrived and shabbily written spy handler I've come across. And every staggeringly illogical and inexplicably unprofessional action her takes can be explained by love.

The narrator was flawless though and deserved better than this drivel.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful