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DebLynn

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Soul-Eater audiobook cover art

Evil House story ... powerfully written

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

Reviewed: 12-28-18

I received a free copy of this title and freely offer this honest review.
Dana Brookins's powerful writing captures the listener's attention from the outset. Brookins masterfully switches POV between the characters to reveal how the house attracts and seems to possess each one.
Jeffery Hutchins's voicing presents an innocent observer that keeps the listener hoping for the evil Soul Eater to be exposed and explained. Hutchins creates recognizable characters and appropriate emotions for each. A heavier, brooding narrator would have spoiled the listen. This is just right, to compel the listener to keep listening to the very end of this 10 hr book, always hoping to find who is behind this gift to the town. I was disappointed when Brookins revealed the Evil of the house, just as Bobby Topin had known all along.

No One Needed to Know audiobook cover art

Powerful unfolding of what we all Need to Know

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

Reviewed: 12-28-18

Allie James authentically voices these characters and presents the appropriate angst for the young hero, her friends (and enemies) and her brother. D.G. Driver presents a powerful message of discovery, Heidi's discovery that impacts her whole circle of friends. Transformation ensues. Amazing that it's couched in this 2hr 40min tale.
I would prefer the narrator have slowed down quite a bit. I felt like she was racing through the story. I wanted some dramatic pauses, even space between speeches and paragraphs to allow the emotions and events to sink into my awareness before I turned to view the next scene.

Flotsam Prison Blues audiobook cover art

Fascinating allusions

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

Reviewed: 12-03-18

Rather fascinating storyline, considering this isn't my "go to" genre of audiobook. I requested this free book to review because I wanted to study the artistry of narrator Jeffrey Kafer (I'd heard excellent reviews of his craft.). As a narrator, I want to learn from the best, and I was rewarded in many ways as I listened to this 10 hour book.
Kafer, I presume, has that natural gravelly voice that a female narrator avoids, and that was exactly right for this gritty, seedy and convoluted tale. He seamlessly switched from character to character - male or female - with subtle vocal quality shifts that did not strain his voice to execute, yet were distinct w slight variation of pitch male to female. the intensity behind each vocalization created each personality, w a few accents thrown in as noted in the text, and speech pacing to suggest character's size, status, special abilities, and loyalties. All skills which made this an easy listen (that is if you overlook the foul language throughout).
That brings up another fascination in Gibson's text. Since I had not listened to the first book in this Technomancer series, I had to catch-up on backstory and was grateful for many "in the past" flashbacks. Technomancer cyborgs and all, the premise of God having retreated and left demons, Lucifer, and all, to rule and ravage the earth and humankind (or variations thereof) (allusions to post-rapture-Armageddon apocalypse on the earth) painted this horrific picture w a most foul-mouthed and violent killer as its hero. A hero who knows he has been worse in his previous - may I call them - "incarnations" - and is a bad person in many respects in the present one, in need of redemption; yet who makes many moral, conscience-driven choices.
This narrative spurs me to want to research details of the Biblical allusions it references.
I freely offer this review and highly recommend this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

What She Left Behind audiobook cover art

Intriguing juxtaposition of historical and current

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of historical fiction revealing “insane asylums” in the late 20’s and 30’s and modern day characters related to that history and the modern impact of our current perceptions of, and fear of, inheriting insanity. Wiseman carefully interweaves tales at the locations in her narrative from both time periods. Her revelations of treatments for those incarcerated in these “prisons” against their will with no clear medical reason are horrific. Her foreshadowing emerges even to the final modern day scenes. Narrator Tavia Gilbert presents all characters believably and so they are easy to distinguish. I highly recommend this audiobook for which I received a free copy and offer this honest review.

Devil's Claw audiobook cover art

Compelling listen, intriguing intertwined subplots

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

Reviewed: 10-29-18

I wondered what to expect from this title and found it referenced the land formation at the site of the California Southern Sea Otter Center where Logan and her daughter Amy spend some of their time. Intrigue, switching perspectives, keeps the listener wondering from the first pages (for I had not read the previous title in this series, but I'd like to). Compelling narrative is intricately woven to employ issues of our day including mineral rights deeds, immigration and deportation, controversial cancer treatments in foreign lands, and the needs which compel one’s choices. Devil's Claw illustrates efforts to save endangered sea otters. This is a fascinating narrative, creatively voiced by Leonor Woodworth. I highly recommend this audio book for which I received a free copy and offer this honest review.

The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels audiobook cover art

Fun adventure for middle aged reader/listeners

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

Reviewed: 10-29-18

Listening would have been improved by seeing the pictures that would accompany it in the book, so I recommend reading as you listen. The story follows Keira, who found a magic cap in the water, and her grandfather on a case to find the Missing Crown Jewels “across the pond.” She brought along her “doll” and puppy who both play valuable roles in solving the mystery. Young listeners will enjoy this shy, but impressive sleuth, who outshines the adults trying to solve the crime. She is a science experimenter – beyond her age. Fun and encouraging to young listeners who might doubt their own abilities.
The narrator, Erin Rieman, of our heroine shines in presenting her lines, however the pause before each attribution was distracting and could have been shortened in editing. The male narrator Richard Rieman improved as the story progressed. A good listen.
I received a free copy of this audiobook and have willingly provided this honest review.

The Book of Five Rings audiobook cover art

Classic text becomes a meditation

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

Reviewed: 08-04-18

Not trained in The Way Musashi advocates of battle with long sword and short sword with intent to kill the enemy, it took me awhile to adjust to his use of terms throughout. He defines a term and describes the movements or combination of movements denoted by the term.

I had hoped to metaphorically apply his strategies and stances and attitudes, and some of that is possible, but absent the intent "to kill" and finding no one I consider an "enemy to kill," little of his instruction is applicable for me.

This is truly a guide for those studying and practicing battle with long and short swords, to kill their enemies in battle.

Jeff Kiefer's delivery was easy to listen to, once I realized the book is primarily a glossary of terms with definition and description of each. And,thus, repetitive when associated terms appear again later.

I would have preferred a slightly longer pause before each term to distinguish it from the break between sentences. Even a slight change of inflection to indicate each new term would have been helpful to this listener.

I received a free copy of this audio book at my request, and here offer my honest review.

My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla audiobook cover art

Too late to improve the organization/layout

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

Reviewed: 08-04-18

Such a fascinating description of wireless communications (obviously cell phone), robots and missile control systems that Tesla had devised and experimented with prior to 1900. Most laughed at his ideas and inventions - yet his inventions imbue all of our lives today. I found somewhat plausible his idea that every event that seems spiritual or supernatural can be explained by what one has seen or heard prior to the "spiritual occurrence." But he explains most humans have not - perhaps cannot - hone their powers of observation to recall where they encountered the impressions that comprise the "supernatural event."
Aulridge is easy to listen to and presents a clear interpretation of Tesla's feelings and journalistic descriptions of his inventions.
I found it disconcerting and confusing when the text ran from one topic to another without a break or new subtitle. I often wondered as I listened, "How did we get here from what was being discussed a moment ago?" Even chapter headings would have helped. In performance, a slightly longer pause when topic changed would help listener recognize and transition to a new topic. This is more a criticism of what must have been the layout of the text than of the performance.
I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who wants to know about this man who was ahead of his time and who was not given proper credit for his inventions that today surround and empower our lifestyles and warfare. At one point, I wondered if he was describing a drone.
I was given a free copy of this book at my request and offer this honest review.

Love on a Train audiobook cover art

How does a woman navigate choosing who to marry?

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

Reviewed: 08-04-18

A universal question that Colleen Donnelly sets post--WW2. Martha vacillates between her mother's mores and her own desire to marry for love. She creates a novel plot-line during that transitional time for women and incorporates train travel, bridge building, women beginning to drive cars as well as women working full-time, albeit our heroine is in a traditional female role. Donnelly presents the oppressive intensity imposed on a young woman to maintain the status quo of a stable marriage to a dependable man. Yet we engage with Martha's creative muse to write her story into a novel and are surprised when she seems to be walking the path her mother paves for her and puts away her writing. I kept wondering when Martha would take a stand for what she wanted. Character development deepens in the last chapters of the novel with new revelations from each of the main characters. I found it odd that there's no mention of David's response at the end.
It took awhile for me to settle into the story within the story and the repetition that presented.
Amy Deuchler, especially in the later chapters, effectively distinguishes the male characters. However, I was distracted by the too staccato and monotone inflection of the narration and main character. A smoother delivery would be to phrase words into thought-groupings, rather than punching each word at the same inflection.
I recommend lovers of historical fiction to listen to Love on a Train.
I requested a free copy of this audio book and here offer my honest review.

Giving Up Giving Up audiobook cover art

Uplifting and Encouraging

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

Reviewed: 06-27-18

Abigail Gazda recounts her own journey to discover herself and her life's calling. Sincere and believable presentation. Seems she would be a valuable Life Coach. She inspires listener to discover one's own gifts and to live out of love for self and others. Text contains more repetition -- without additional insight -- than I prefer.
Performance is upbeat and easy to listen to. Only drawback is that there are several places where sentences are repeated - usually with better inflection -- but the duplicates should have been edited out before final mastering of the audio book.

I received this audio book free at my request and have voluntarily offered this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful