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Norma Miles

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  • reviews
  • 71
  • helpful votes
  • 112
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  • Zombie USA

  • By: Paul Ibbetson
  • Narrated by: Dwight Goldman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    1.5 out of 5 stars 6

Lt. Colonel Marcus Thorne is on the mission of his life. America is suffering through a zombie virus, that combined with a treasonous rogue President, threatens to destroy the United States. Starting in a secret underground military facility, Thorne will lead an unlikely group of adventurers on a dangerous quest across the country. A quest to save a Kansas senator whose body may hold the only anti-virus able to save the living from the walking dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Zombie Book

  • By Todd Senecal on 05-12-15

There's something nasty up ahead.

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

Reviewed: 12-14-18

Is this supposed to be a joke?

A defensive fence had been effected across the country, dividing the zombie infested country from the free south. The President was thought to have turned rogue and marine colonel Marcus P.Thorne was called to a bunker in New Mexico to swear allegiance to the self elected constitution. Then, after a few weeks of inactivity in which he grieved for his dead wife and son, he pretty well singlehandedly took on hundreds of thousands of walking dead and even greater numbers of the albino black army to try to save the U.S.A. Facing not only zombies and political betrayals, Thorne stays true to his determination to retake his country for the good guys - whoever they may be.

The writing is fast, furious and foolish, a comic strip in text, complete with some poor phrasing (eg: units 'such as what Thorne served in.'). Narrator Dwight Goldman has a rich, deep voice with a southern twang, perfect for this tale, and he reads with speed and good intonation. But with his head!omg performance comes some hesitations and almost universal disregard for end of sentence pauses, adding to this reader's irritation. An interesting book for anyone looking for endless slaughter, especially beheadings, rather than story or character development. Otherwise, forget it.

I was fortunate in being freely gifted a complimentary copy of Zombie USA by the author. Thank you.

  • Not Dead Yet...

  • By: Peg Herring
  • Narrated by: Becky Boyd
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Leo appears to be just another downtown bum, but he and Libby, Memnet, and Roy share a secret that requires constant vigilance. They live off the grid in the basement of an almost forgotten museum and survive mostly by committing petty crimes. Each of them has gifts for surviving; each has weaknesses, as well. They make it through each day by working together and trusting each other. Major changes happen when they meet Jake, an orphan who witnessed a murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not dead yet

  • By MEdy on 06-20-18

My poodle is the only man in my life.

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

Reviewed: 12-14-18


"My poodle is the only man in my life, right now."
It is 1967. In the rarely visited store room three beneath an old Chicago museum, four very different people had made their home.They had all been brought there by Norman, the museum's curator shortly before he fell down some stairs to his death. Alone, dispossessed and in an unfamiliar environment, they had found a way to stay alive by staying together, collecting food with the homeless, pilfering some items and busking for coins. They had survived for two years, forming a peculiar sort of family, their own secret entrance into their basement room. They knew that one day they would have to move or be discovered.
Then a young teenage girl asks for their help. She, too, is on her own and afraid. At first ignored, she is brought into the group after being attacked, her life in danger. And, as a family, they move into a house just down the road from a friendly F.B.I.agent.

This is a mystery in several parts, the first being who are these four people and how did Norman bring them separately to live in the museum? Then the body of a murder victim - where did it go? And who is the F.B.I.captain who seems involved in more than solving crime? What, exactly, is going on?
The characters are, to say the least, unusual, and well drawn and a fairly mundane, though crazy thriller, is transformed by the central reveal. There's humour here, also.

Although narrator Becky Boyce gives a serviceable performance, the book's enjoyment could have been increased with a different presenter. Ms. Boyce's reading has good intonation and understanding of her text but is not fluent with her pacings, sadly, giving a slightly jerky feel to her reading. She voices each of the protagonists individually, with good attempts at accent, but it is rather difficult to differentiate male voices, unfortunate when the majority of characters are men. There are also a few editing glitches where sentences end without full completion. A great pity: a more fluid narration would have raised the overall rating of the book.

I was very fortunate in being freely gifted a complimentary copy of Not Dead Yet by the rights holder, at my request, via F.A.F.Y. Thank you. I enjoyed the story immensely - it was unusual and intriguing from the start - and will be looking out for more by author, Peg Herring.

  • The Ghosts of the British Isles: A Collection of Ghost Stories and Other Supernatural Tales from Britain and Ireland

  • By: Charles River Editors
  • Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    1.5 out of 5 stars 3

The United Kingdom is an ancient land steeped in history and tradition, filled with prehistoric ruins, majestic castles, and a countryside sculpted from millennia of human habitation. Its rolling countryside is dotted with prehistoric burial mounds and stone circles. Medieval churches have elaborate stained glass windows and gruesome carvings, reflecting a mixture of hope and darkness. Every hamlet and village has tales that go back centuries, and folk festivals with roots in pagan times. Thus, it is not surprising that many believe the area is filled with ghosts.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It starts with Purgatory.

  • By Norma Miles on 12-11-18

It starts with Purgatory.

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

An interesting book which really focuses more on historical events surrounding places said to be haunted or which carry some strange myth. The early section on English ghosts is often informative but tends to become overly littered with listings of Scottish legend later.
Narrated by Colin Flaxman in a calm newscaster voice, without histrionics or attempts to cause shivers spines, which gives it all a sense of normality. It would have been more interesting if only the places of forcefully believed ghost appearances occurred, however. It seems that there are too few to fill this book and suppositions and wishful thinking has to fill many of the pages. This reader struggled sometimes to continue.
A handy way to take a painless history lesson, though.

My thanks to the rights holder of The Ghosts of the British Isles, who, at my request freely gifted me a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom. It did feel in need of editing to increase it's interest generally and to eliminate repetition, as in telling, more than once, the difference between a ghost and a poltergeist. But it was very interesting in parts. Worth reading if wanting to look up specific ghost areas such as Hampton Court.

  • An Elbow, a Flower, a Stairwell or Two

  • By: Dale Stubbart
  • Narrated by: Gareth Johnson
  • Length: 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 8

From across the room, he noticed her elbow. As he traced the curve of her elbow with his eyes, he noticed something stenciled there. At this distance, he should not have been able to tell that that something was a flower. But he could, so he gave up reasoning for reality. His eye started tracing the lines of the flower. He was only vaguely aware that the flower was drawn on a woman's elbow some 20 yards away.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Creative and interesting.

  • By cosmitron on 11-02-18

Polka dots have never been so welcome.

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

As the Pythons might say, 'Now for something completely different'. A very short story of a dorky young man's journey from a party to ...
A twenty day adventure in about as many minutes. Just don't trace the staircase.
Weird, and with the perfect dorky reading by very English voiced Gareth Johnson, making the whole entertainment totally surreal.
I was attracted to this book by the title, requested and, to my delight, freely gifted a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom by the rights holder. Thank you so much. It was great fun.

  • Web of Eyes

  • By: Rhett C. Bruno, Jaime Castle
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 181
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180

Self-proclaimed “World's Greatest Thief", Whitney Fierstown, has yet to find a trinket or treasure he couldn't steal. He nearly pulls off the heist of the century by snatching the Glass Crown off the dying king's head until rotten luck throws him into the path of Torsten Unger, a steadfast knight determined to save his vulnerable kingdom. Torsten offers this ultimatum: rot and die in a dank cell or join him on a dangerous expedition and put his skills to good use.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved this book!

  • By Joliet Jill on 11-15-18

The vigilant Eye of Iam.

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

Reviewed: 11-22-18

Not usually a fan of Fantasy stories but one with an enormous respect for the individual halves of author Jamie Castle, this reader decided to give this new, series starting with Web of Eyes, a try - and loved it. So much so that, when this audio version became available, I requested and was freely gifted a complimentary copy by the rights holder.

Although Web of Eyes follows the usual sort of questing of more conventional fantasy books, this storyline is so fresh and full of ironic humour, it is easy to see it as a parody of the genre. The once strong king is dead, the heir a sickly child kept hidden from his peoples, a wicked uncle, and war. Who can save the kingdoms of Pantego? Why, a defrocked Wearer of White, the onetime King's Shield, and a self opinionated thief, dug out of the dungeons for stealing the Glass. crown, of course.
The Audiobook is narrated by the mostly excellent Luke Daniels. He certainly excels in definite and distinctive voicing for all of his characters. But here I found myself glad to have already read the text version as his exuberant portrayal of the thief, Whitney Fierstorm, was, for this reader, over hyper, becoming both irritating and sometimes hard to understand, so that much of the humour was missed. In every other way, though, a fine performance.

Well written, as would be expected, great characters, easy to read, find world building, and absolutely hilarious. I might even become a convert to the genre. Certainly, I look forward to book two. But will probably return to the written word again, rather than the audio.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • And the Wolf Shall Dwell

  • By: Joni Dee
  • Narrated by: Paul Jenkins
  • Length: 5 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

Imagine being knocked over by a strange old man on a cold London morning. The man delivers a garbled message about the queen. Moments later he falls under the wheels of a train. The media calls it suicide, but you know better - something doesn't quite add up. That was the start of the day for John Daniel, a foreign professional working in the city of London.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Spy thriller

  • By Rayc on 11-19-18

Like mushrooms after rain.

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

A spy thriller after the style of John Le Carre, this book is packed with constant twists and moves through different countries with international political intrigue, alliances and betrayals, and personal aspirations to the highest levels always with, as first consideration, the 'cover your back' attitude.

John Daniels has just launched his computer software, the efficacy of otherwise of which will determine his future job security, when an elderly man crashes into him in a London train station. Obviously being pursued by two bulky men, the old chap garbles out something to John about the Queen before continuing his flight to the train tracks: a scream, the screech of brakes - and the man is gone. Suicide? It certainly looked that way.
Retired spymaster Adam Grey is called back to service to investigate, and to take John under his protection. Grey had known the jumper: Henry Haft, also thought retired, had left a dossier for him. 'Your service is rotten,' he'd told Grey previously...

And so begins this exciting tale of intrigue and terrorism set during the time of the break up of the Soviet Union. The pace is fast, plot driven, but the author still finds time for shadow characterisation. The reader needs to listen carefully to keep up.
And fitting pace to text, narrator Paul Jenkins gives an excellent performance, his very English voice clear and well articulated, with good intonation and a whole cast of voicings of the numerous characters involved, complete with all of their various accents. His reading helps to drive this story forward, the seemingly insane decisions of some of the protagonists meeting in their dark but comfortable surroundings made almost sensible.

This is an impressive first novel especially since it is written in a genre especially difficult to cover: the spymaster and his shadowy world made thriller. My deep thanks to the rights holder of And the Wolf Shall Dwell, who, at my request via Audiobook Boom, freely gifted me a complimentary copy. As the author notes in an afterwards to the story, 'Reality surpasses any possible imagination.' it is to be hoped that Joni Dee's imagination continues to work on overdrive to produce further books as enjoyable as this one, and John, as promised, returns soon.

  • Zed's World Book Three: No Way Out

  • By: Rich Baker
  • Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

For Kyle Puckett, Earth has become a savage place. As the world continues to decay, the survivors of the viral plague have started choosing sides. With each encounter the stakes - and the body count - continue to rise. With the skies growing darker and the dead pressing in, both sides may soon find out that there is No Way Out. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More action and twists before volume four!

  • By RJ on 09-08-18

Crazy is the new normal, man.

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

The Zed's World series started well - and just keeps getting better.The characters met in the earlier books, at least those who have survived, continue to grow: real people, all of them, reacting to their fears, hopes and slights the way that normal folks caught in a far from normal situation might well respond. The vast numbers of the undead (an early news bulletin from the government had requested they not be referred to as zombies) vary from fast runners who do not tire to those still mindlessly growling in cars, held by seat belts they don't know how to open, and everything in between. The food is running out for those who managed to stay out of their attention and now survivors have to forage for supplies, risking detection. There might be greater safety in numbers, but there are tensions, too, threatening to upset even the well prepared. And there is real hostility existing from the very beginning between some families.

Well written with excellent characterisation and seen from several points of view, this zombie story is unusual in it's feel of total plausibility. Plenty of action and very visual, there is a fair amount of gore being extracted both from humans and the Zed's.

The narration is by Andrew Wehrlen, reading with just the right amount of flippancy to keep the story both grounded and flowing well. He maintains a fast pace, never becoming over emotional in presentation, allowing the story to tell itself. Each character, too, is individually and appropriately voiced, whether male or female (and there are many). A very good performance.

My thanks to the rights holder for freely gifting me a complimentary copy of No Way Out after I had requested it, via Audiobook Boom. Not usually overly impressed by zombie stories, Zed World has had me gripped since book I. The tensions continue to climb: book four is hugely anticipated by this reader.
Recommended highly for all with a fondness for the zombie genre or any apocalyptic fans. It excels.

  • Exploration: Age of Expansion

  • The Ghost Squadron, Book 2
  • By: Sarah Noffke, Michael Anderle
  • Narrated by: Chris Abernathy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

Eddie and Julianna are hell-bent on tracking down Vas and making him pay for his crimes. He’s armed and dangerous, and to make matters worse, he’s on the hunt for a devastating weapon that could bring destruction to the Federation and all its people. But as Ghost Squadron grows, so do the dangers on the fringe of Federation space. They still don’t know who is behind all the attacks but no matter what, they’re going to bring this faceless enemy down. Experience this exciting military sci-fi saga and the latest addition to the expanded Kurtherian Gambit Universe. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best combination of Syfy with Fantacy

  • By glxyjoe on 07-23-18

Falling down is key, as well as getting up.

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

Reviewed: 09-09-18

Although billed as military science fiction, and, yes, the crew of Archangel are fighting their way through the multiverse, this has the feel more of a space romp. Captained by a rather juvenile personality, even if he's a dependable, hard fighting, hard drinking rogue, and an exceedingly old, but ever young and beautiful, genetically modified woman, given the right weapons they can conquer with ease any foe they encounter. And given the weapons they are. The hardware comes virtue of a genius, eight armed inventor engineer and more cerebral assistance is boosted in this episode with the addition of two new recruits: a super hacker and a female archeologist with a knowledge of numerous intergalactic languages. There are battles but concentration is on fun characters and lots of drinks at the bar in between.

Narration by Chris Abernathy is very good, with many character voices to perform, each one individual and sometimes outrageous. He moves along at a fine pace, echoing the text faithfully.
This is a fun series to hear. So get out the nachos and settle down for a relaxing, galaxy saving listen.

  • War Poet

  • The Life of Alan Seeger and His Rendezvous with Death
  • By: Michael Hill
  • Narrated by: Price Waldman
  • Length: 3 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

War Poet is a biography of American poet, Alan Seeger, author of "I Have a Rendezvous with Death", one of the most powerful and memorable war poems of all time. Drawing on new and important archival material, author Michael Hill paints a noble and poignant portrait of Seeger, a little known but fascinating American poet. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It is written.

  • By Norma Miles on 09-06-18

It is written.

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

Reviewed: 09-06-18

Born in New York, raised both there and in Mexico and attending university at Harvard, Alan Seeger grew up with an intense love of nature and, it would seem, a total belief in himself and what he expected from life. A romantic, a seeker and a poet, living on handouts, he sponged off his family and working friends for money ('I will not be a drudge'), finally persuading his parents to pay for him to go to Paris, the West Bank, home of many Bohemian artists, after having failed to find his inspiration in Greenwich Village. He sailed for France in 1912, found a cheap room with a view and at last he felt at home. 'I have been born anew,' he said, but soon had the reputation of being the poorest American in Paris as he failed to find a publisher for his slim volume of poems.
When war broke out in Europe two years later, he enlisted in the American division of the Foreign Legion to defend the city he loved and it was during his time awaiting the, to him, noble battle against the Germans that he wrote his famous poem, I Have A Rendezvous with Death, which put him into the annals of the Great War Poets.

This short biography of this rather strange man, incidentally uncle to the folk singer, Pete Seeger, is brief. Although littered with famous names, not much is said about Alan's actual nature, possibly because until he'd spent a considerable time in the army, he was thought by many to be rude, self centered and arrogant, keeping to himself alone in his room and refusing to talk to anyone except on his own terms. He died, aged 28, at the Somme, apparently delighted. The book concludes with a reading of his famous (short) poem. The narration throughout was excellent. Price Walman has a warm and pleasant voice with good intonation and pacing, a perfect choice to project a life story without intrusion.

My thanks to the rights ho!der of War Poet who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. Although this reader would have preferred a little more in depth information of Seeger's pre military ideas, given the lack of communication he seemed to have had with almost everyone, perhaps this is unavailable. It was, however, a very interesting introduction to one of the World War One poets of whom I was previously unaware, probably because, being a Brit, we sadly have several masters in that field ourselves already. Too many dead.

  • Sharpe Edge

  • Cozy Suburbs Mystery Series, Book 2
  • By: Lisa B. Thomas
  • Narrated by: Kelley Hazen
  • Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

A Christmas party for the upper crust of the small Texas town of Maycroft turns tragic when the hostess ends up dead. Everyone assumes her death is an accident - everyone except her daughter, Estelle. She turns to Deena to help solve the mystery. A jealous friend and a mysterious heir are just two of the likely suspects. As a school teacher turned newspaper reporter, Deena must get crafty to dig out the truth before anyone else gets hurt, including her own brother.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • another great mystery

  • By Troublemer on 06-02-17

A life lived. A life lost.

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

Almost Christmas and the social event of Maycroft, Texas, the fund raising party of wealthy Caroline Fitzhugh, saw Gary and Deena Sharpe invited: her brother was dating Estelle, only daughter of the hostess. Deena had recently retired from her teaching position and now worked for a local paper, and she enjoyed the luxurious splendour of the assembled guests and dinner. But, just as the cheque books were brought out, everything abruptly ended when Caroline, in her wheelchair, crashed to the bottom of the flight of stairs. She was dead, neck broken. Apparently an accident, Estelle was convinced it was murder and she asked Gary and Deena to investigate further. But who could possibly want to harm so pleasant a woman - apart, that is, from her heir, Deena herself?

Brightly co!ourful and interesting protagonists and an old fashioned atmosphere, this is an enjoyable mystery even if the who-done-it? aspect is rather obvious. A delightful peek into social seperation, too. Narrator, Kelley Hazen does it full justice, reading with confident warmth with good intonation and expression. Good individual character voicings, too, which really he!ps bring them to life.

My thanks to the rights holder of Sharpe Edge who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. An enjoyable cozy mystery, notable more for the individual cameos than the story itself and recommended for pleasant light reading.