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Norma Miles

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  • Broken Prince: A Protostar Prequel

  • The Star-Crossed Saga, Book 4
  • By: Braxton A. Cosby
  • Narrated by: David Rogers
  • Length: 1 hr and 28 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 new Protostar prequel is here! This short origin story follows alien Prince William Derry on his first mission as a bounty hunter before he is sent to Earth to kill the teenage girl, star-child Sydney. Learn about the circumstances that led to William’s dedication to the mission before the civil war, unravel the hidden truth behind his father’s frigid disposition, and meet new characters along the way, and witness the creation of IMPI.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I enjoyed this short story

  • By TU on 02-15-19

Once you take a life, it stains you.

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

Reviewed: 02-24-19

This is a very short prequel novella, written in the first person. William, son of Gregorian, Prince of Fabrecious, has felt estranged from his father since his mother's death. In the final stages of his training, he takes on a mission which turns out very differently from that which he had expected, putting not only his life in danger but that of many others. And changes his understandings.
Interestingly written and very visual at times, the story moves between the present activities and flashbacks of the past. At times confusing, there is a dream like quality to the book. Given the brevity of the book, initial character development is good.

David Rogers gives a nice performance, helping to draw in the reader with his well paced narration. His character voicing is also distinctive and appropriate. This prequel was freely gifted to me at my request, a complimentary copy from the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you. I have not read any of the following series but this taster has certainly piqued my curiosity and left me keen for more.

  • The Silver City

  • A Prequel of the Father Earth Series
  • By: Brad W. King
  • Narrated by: C. J. McAllister
  • Length: 3 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

A helicopter touches down in Fin Shaw's front yard. Inside is a man that has some big news to break. "Fin, you're going with me to Egypt!" The moment the young archaeologist has been waiting for his entire life has arrived! The men arrive in the Valley of the Kings and locate a secret chamber in the tomb of King Tutankhamun that has an insane secret.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exciting thrill ride

  • By Delta Stet on 02-08-19

Discoveries, deceptions and digits.

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

Reviewed: 02-22-19

This book acts as an excellent prequel to a.new series, Father Earth, which details how Finn Shaw, aged 24, came to be the person he will undoubtedly be in the forthcoming books. The earlier part of the novella is devoted to Finn's personal background: his hopes, ambitions and the family he loves, at the same time giving the reader a glimpse into his personality. The the location moves to Egypt with new boss, Ryan, and the excavations taking place, and it is here that the adventure begins.

The story is intriguing but holds little sense of tension and, although considerable energy has been put into building character, they remain mostly flat and unreal, protagonists seen through a misted glass. And the ending, when it comes, seems to be rushed.
C.J.McAllister, the narrator, helps to fill some of the character deficiencies, giving each an individual voice and breathing extra life into each one, Finn included. And his reading was paced with the text. But his performance is tempered by the writing itself - there is only so much that he can do.

Overall, it was a short, easy read which, essentially, simply introduced the man who will almost certainly be the main protagonist of the new series whose nature will be essential in understanding the books to come. These hold promise of exciting stories and great potential. My thanks to the rights holder of Silver City who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom.

  • Sous Chef

  • 24 Hours on the Line
  • By: Michael Gibney
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 141

In this urgent and unique book, chef Michael Gibney uses 24 hours to animate the intricate camaraderie and culinary choreography in an upscale New York restaurant kitchen. Here listeners will find all the details, in rapid-fire succession, of what it takes to deliver an exceptional plate of food - the journey to excellence by way of exhaustion. Told in second-person narrative, Sous Chef is an immersive, adrenaline-fueled run that offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the food service industry, allowing listeners to briefly inhabit the hidden world behind the kitchen doors, in real time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delicious,fast paced, well written and performed

  • By Susan on 07-27-14

Only as good as your last plate.

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

Written in the risky second person style, you, the reader, are the sous chef, arriving for a new day's work at 8.00am on what will be a busy Friday service. The checking of new food deliveries, the freshness of everything from fish (wonderful hints on storage) to meat, to any other produce, as well as personal equipment readiness and the cleanliness of each stage of the kitchen. Then greeting the kitchen team as they arrive, arranging who should prep what and generally prepare for the anticipated busy night ahead. Brief breaks for cigarettes and to meet the girlfriend as she makes her way to work, just calling in to say hello.
If the reader has any interest at all in how much work is involved prior to the first customer even setting foot inside the restaurant, not all of which goes smoothly, then this first section is interesting, tension growing as the witching hour of service allroaches. But it is the explosive rush of service itself which really reads more like an action thriller than a job of work. Each plate must be delivered fast and be more than good: it must be perfect, especially when one table has reporters from the Times. And to achieve perfection requires total commitment and precision from the whole team. With 300 anticipated diners just one person's failure risks disaster for the whole evening. There's anxiety, fear, anger, chaos, bad language and even one of the team throwing up into his waste bin. Finally, it's all over. Time to dress back into civies, speculate on the success or otherwise of the evening and life in general before heading to the bar with your colleagues. Home, a (very) few hours of rest before it's time to head back to the kitchen, late and slightly hung over, to start all over again.

I loved this book. Although a little slow at first, as the pace in the kitchen increased, so did the excitement and involvement. It is your kitchen, your job, your success or failure on the line. Some conversation is in Spanish, untranslated. There are terms used for some equipment, cooking terms or ingredients for which there is no time to explain the meaning - this is all covered in the really excellent extended glossary after the conclusion of the book - the pressure of the hours of service are tangible. And all of this is perfectly captured by Fred Berman, the narrator. He takes the text and runs with it following every nuance, despair, pride, aspiration, hope and sorrow. His pleasant mid tone voice picks up every nuance, his Spanish sounds impeccable. This is a masterful performance which greatly adds to the pleasure of the book.

Different in character to Bourdaine's masterful Kitchen Confidential, Gibney's Sous Chef is still a book I most heartily recommend to anyone either thinking of entering the profession, or, like me, simply fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes to produce fabulous food so quickly in a quality restaurant. It really does have that thriller quality.

  • Earth's Last Starship: A Spaceship Fantasy Adventure

  • By: Daniel Peyton
  • Narrated by: Josiah Bildner
  • Length: 6 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

The Earth had four fleets to fight the invading enemy. The first fleet valiantly protected earth, but it wasn’t enough. Three fleets would arrive soon and end the threat...but they never came through the wormhole. One ship escaped the massacre, fleeing deep into space while the rest of Earth’s defenses were destroyed. Only the barrier around the planet keeps the enemy from finishing what they started. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • very fun

  • By Rebecca Azizov on 02-15-19

Tiptoeing in tapshoes.

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

Reviewed: 02-13-19

Ten years ago, in a desperate attempt to save the Earth from invasion, an impenetrable barrier was created around it. It stopped the would be invaders but then became the problem: without any means of collapsing the shelf, Earth was slowly dying with. All of Earth's defensive fleet had been destroyed: only one space vessel survived, a small but agile craft, the Orlando, now captained by the ship's first officer, a scientist Jack Shepherd. With the enemy fleet again massing and Earth itself suffocating, the Orlando and her crew are the last and only hope to save humanity.
This might sound like a military S.F. book and there is a little of the space fighting which comes with that genre, but essentially it is a study of the interactions between the crew. And it is a really fun read, amusing and quite light-hearted. When a new crew member joins the, a cat like some rescued from a security prison, for example, there is an enjoyable contrast in culture over how to woo someone o the opposite sex.
Narrator Josiah Bildner gives a fine performance, his warm tones matching the lightheadedness of the text, plus his individually differentiated voices of all of the characters the excellent, very much adding to the enjoyment of the story.

This is a fun book so do not expect anything intense. My thanks to the rights holder of The Last Starship, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. Some of the characters were a delight, especially an alien nicknamed simply Can't. The story itself was almost incidental. More a cozy science fiction than intensive battle action story.

  • '50sVille: Vol. 3

  • The Town You Will Absolutely Love, or Else...
  • By: Paul Ibbetson
  • Narrated by: Lucas Schuneman
  • Length: 2 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

In this strange place, only a select few people ever leave the city limits and even then, they leave reluctantly. This is what fifteen and a half year old Benjamin Granault faces as, through a string of amazing events, he finds himself living in a town where he can never talk about modern technology or current events, a place where being an outsider can cost a person his life and being part of the community may very well cost more.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Many clothes but no bodies.

  • By Norma Miles on 12-19-18

Many clothes but no bodies.

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

Reviewed: 12-19-18

Firstly, just to say that this book is the third part of a five book serial.
Not a theme park, not even marked on the map, Ferndale is an ordinary town in many ways except it is a town fixed in the 1950s: when the decade closes, the whole town resets to the beginning again. No cell phones or internet, very little T.V. - the radio is supreme with the music of the Everley Brothers, Pat Boom and Bill Hayley. But beneath the ordinary surface is something very sinister. Because the town doesn't like strangers, as an interested journalist discovers ...

Intriguing, well written and a good mystery, narrator Lucas Schuneman reads with clarity, good pacing and inflection, carrying the story forward, building the tension. Then, just when the reader has fully settled in ... It ends. Time for book four.

I was very fortunate in being freely gifted a complimentary copy of 50sVille, volume three, by the author, at my request. Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed the story so far even though I had not read books one and two, but I do rather wish the entire serial had been grouped together in one volume. I will be getting the following books, however, as my curiosity has been seriously engaged.
Recommended, but remember this is part of a serial.

  • 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.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • There's something nasty up ahead.

  • By Norma Miles on 12-14-18

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 6
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 6

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
  • Better read than listened to

  • By Mary on 01-17-19

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
  • Like A Surrealist Painting - But with Words

  • By Aurora Dawn on 11-19-18

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 out of 5 stars 532
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 509
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 506

When a piece of the crown prince's soul is stolen by a traitorous warlock, disgraced knight Torsten Unger makes it his sworn duty to get it back and save the last hope for the kingdom. But he can't do it alone. Self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Thief" Whitney Fierstown sits in the castle dungeon, destined for the gallows until Torsten offers this choice: rot and die in a dank cell or join him on a dangerous expedition to put his skills to good use and earn his freedom. 

  • 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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful