LISTENER

James ODonnell

  • 27
  • reviews
  • 70
  • helpful votes
  • 80
  • ratings
  • Dark of the West

  • Glass Alliance, Book 1
  • By: Joanna Hathaway
  • Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik, Dan Bittner
  • Length: 14 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the queen of Etania - Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the queen, a plot that sends Athan undercover to Etania.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, expertly performed

  • By James ODonnell on 02-16-19

Beautifully written, expertly performed

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

Reviewed: 02-16-19

This isn’t the type of book I usually read, but I saw it on one of those most anticipated lists so I figured I’d give it a try. Well if Hathaway’s book is any representation of the rest of the genre, I have a whole new genre that I need to start reading and listening to because I loved it. Her characters were all likable and flawed in that perfect way where there is no clear distinction between good guy and bad guy so you end up rooting for everyone to somehow win even though you know it’s impossible. The love story aspect was built up so solidly that I was praying for a HEA even though the prologue implied it wouldn’t happen. Even with all of the romance, the pacing was fast and full of enough action to give some of the best thrillers a run for their money. But the part that made me a fan not just of Hathaway, but of the genre itself, was the world-building. The world was constructed with enough familiarity to the early twentieth century to have you searching for the familiar flags flown during the world wars. At the same time, there was enough of a difference between the real world and Hathaway’s to make you remember this isn’t strictly historical and things might turn out differently.

The narrators both did their jobs to perfection and really brought Hathaway’s words to life. Great listen!

  • Titanborn

  • By: Rhett C. Bruno
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 444
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 424
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 424

After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm's paychecks are clamoring for answers. They force him to team up with a strange new partner who's more interested in statistics than instinct, and they ship them both off to Titan. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn rebels who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth. Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he's learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Mystery Sci-fi

  • By Bryan on 02-08-19

Formulaic and predictable

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

Reviewed: 02-06-19

If you had two cookie cutters, one for a sci-fi and the other for a mystery, but only enough dough for a single cookie, so you tried to fit them together as nicely as you could, but inevitably, you had to leave out all the curves and corners that make the cookie recognizable as good versions of either template, that cookie would be a pretty good representation of this book.

The big bad was apparent at first introduction, and once that was clear, the final twist was also no surprise. The world building was adequate, but not great, the characters were there, but not fleshed-out enough to care about any of them, and the plot was... a plot.

The best part of this book was the narration, which kept the story entertaining enough to continue. As for the writing side, the pacing was great and might’ve kept me reading if it was in book form.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Two Can Keep a Secret

  • By: Karen M. McManus
  • Narrated by: Sophie Amoss, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 309
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 286
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 283

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery's never been there, but she's heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age 17. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now, Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it's hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn’t stop listening

  • By James ODonnell on 01-09-19

Couldn’t stop listening

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

Reviewed: 01-09-19

I’m considering sending McManus my next marriage counseling bill because it’s her fault I did not hear a single word my wife said all day. As long as this doesn’t end in a divorce, I don’t regret filling my ears with McManus’s words in place of everything else today. This book was that good. I’ve read a lot of debuts the last couple years and have been eager to see what my favorites from the bunch would follow up with. McManus is the first second book I’ve read in 2019, and if her book is any sign of what the rest of the year has in store, it’s going to be a great year if reading.

The mystery was expertly written and kept me guessing right up until the end. If you liked Kara Thomas’s THE CHEERLEADERS, you will love this book.

Both Amoss and Heyborne did a fantastic job narrating. Five stars all around.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • 14

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,173
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,221
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37,224

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not My Cup of Anything

  • By Kimberly on 06-01-13

Great crossover

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

The thing I love about Clines’ books are how effortlessly he blends genres. This book is a mystery, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, and an excellent example of each. Ray Porter does a great job narrating.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Imperator

  • Galaxy's Edge Series
  • By: Jason Anspach, Nick Cole
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,699
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,611
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,603

As a crumbling Galactic Republic falls to the relentless assault of a merciless foe, so begins the rise of an enigmatic emperor intent on saving a corrupt galaxy-spanning civilization from itself…and from something much darker that lies beyond the reaches of the known. Just as the reins of power fall into his iron-fisted grasp, an assassination attempt by a hidden cabal within his own inner circle jeopardizes every plan he has set in motion for his Dark Legion, his Imperial Navy, and his ultimate conquest of the stars. But the assassins have no idea who they're actually dealing with.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • love galaxys edge

  • By nicolas palacios on 10-25-18

Great

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

I’ve listened too all of the other Galaxy’s Edge books and this was how a stand alone to a series should be. It had just enough references to the series to make fans happy, but not too many where someone who hadn’t read the series would be lost.

As always, RC Bray was perfect.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty audiobook cover art
  • Free: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  • By: James Thurber
  • Narrated by: Ben Stiller
  • Length: 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5,078
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,508
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,540

Mild-mannered Walter Mitty is a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. This well-known and beloved tale has launched its famous protagonist into the cultural lexicon, warranting his inclusion in English-language dictionaries and countless anthologies. Stiller's imaginative performance as Mitty is the perfect re-introduction to the classic character and a great preface to the upcoming film, for longtime fans and new listeners alike.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We Only Live Once. Or Do We?

  • By Dave on 12-04-13

Good

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

Reviewed: 01-01-19

The only complaint I have about it was Stiller’s narration. At the end, he talks about how an audiobook’s narrator must have the perfect voice for the book. Stiller fails at his own requirement.

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • By: C.S. Lewis
  • Narrated by: Michael York
  • Length: 4 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,821
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,883

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, but the volume was all over the place

  • By Charles Johnson on 12-17-16

How was that a book?

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

Reviewed: 01-01-19

This book made me wish I was born in a different age. Not because the book was so good I wanted to be transported to the period of the work, but because if I lived back then, and the same publishing standards applied, my children could all be published authors producing classics in crayon.

  • The Disasters

  • By: M. K. England
  • Narrated by: James Fouhey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than 24 hours. But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape - barely - but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats. On the run, Nax and his fellow failures plan to pull off a dangerous heist to spread the truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good casual listen

  • By SWK on 03-16-19

Wow!

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

Reviewed: 12-18-18

This was an adrenaline ride from start to finish, with just enough flirting and banter in the moments when no one was being shot at to have people rooting for Team Case and Team Ryan. I was absolutely shocked to learn this was a debut, as the characters were all fleshed out, the world(s) were well-built, the plot was perfect, and the dialogue was spot-on. Great book! I saw in a tweet by the author that this is a stand-alone (yes, the book is that good that I Twitter-stalked the author) and that bit of news is my sole disappointment. I need more of the Kick and its crew!

James Fouhey did an excellent job narrating. Five stars all around!

  • Zero G

  • By: Dan Wells
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller, Margaret Ying Drake, Josh Hurley, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,397
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,688
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,648

Twelve-year-old Zero is traveling with 20,000 people for 105 years to colonize a new planet. Everyone is in stasis, so they'll be safe during the trip, but when Zero's pod malfunctions it wakes him early, like 105 years early. At first he's excited to be the only one awake - he has the entire ship to himself, so he can go anywhere and see and do and eat anything he wants - but when a family of space pirates show up, trying to hijack the ship and kidnap the colonizers, Zero has to think fast and find a way to stop them all on his own.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Passengers movie with space pirates

  • By Kingsley on 12-07-18

Entertaining

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

I haven’t been a huge fan of the free originals so far, and I figured with this being upper MG, something I don’t usually read, I would continue to be disappointed. However, I was wrong. This book was well-written and expertly performed. It’s the first of the free originals that I would’ve paid for.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • The Graveyard Book: Full-Cast Production

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman, Derek Jacobi, Robert Madge, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,661
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10,888
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,855

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family…

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unique children's story... Loved it!

  • By shelley on 12-04-17

Written by a good enough writer

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

Reviewed: 12-07-18

I am a writer, or at least I’ve tried to be, and when reading books like this one, I always wonder if I’ll ever be a good enough writer to produce on this level. The note at the end of this book made me hopeful. Not that I’ll ever really be as good as Gaiman, but that I’m not crazy for believing I’ll someday be good enough to properly write some of the stories in my head. And if, when that day comes, any of the stories turn out half as good as this one, I’ll be happy.