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blueskies982

Dallas, TX
  • 92
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  • 188
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  • Insurgent

  • Ice Hammer, Volume 2
  • By: Basil Sands
  • Narrated by: Basil Sands
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

Following the invasion of the previous year, Brad Stone has become the figurehead of Alaska’s resistance movement. He’s now head of the largest militia in the former state, including the Chiknik Rangers, making him enemy number one to the Chinese leadership based in Anchorage. At the same time his sons, Ben and Ian, find themselves waging a bloody guerrilla operation against Russian troops in the east. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting Read

  • By cosmitron on 09-12-18

Alternate Reality - What if the US was invaded?

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

"Ice Hammer Book 2: Insurgent" continues the story of Americans struggling to survive and defeat their enemies in the frontier of Alaska after a invasion from China to the West and Russians from the East. I didn't read the first book in this series, so I know there's details that I missed out on while reading this second installment. That being said, I felt like I got to know the characters, their back stories, and current challenges very quickly.

Brad Stone ("Ice Hammer") is the figurehead the resistance - leading the Chiknik Rangers. Meanwhile, his sons Ben and Ian, are fighting against Russian troops. The wife Brad assumed was deceased, Youngmi, is a spy inside a Chinese general's household. Survivors keep finding their way to Chiknik; the resistance fighters keep making life difficult for the Russians, and the Chinese are trying their best to establish a stable government.

I love a story where I connect with the characters. The cast of this book is awesome - very REAL in the sense that we see their strengths, flaws, and response to great loss or tragedy. War stories can feel impersonal, but I felt like I connected with the resistance fighters and the "bad guys." The family relationships add an interesting (and painful) dimension to the characters and story. Basil Sands has a way of skillfully creating conflict between characters using personalities, mismatched goals, and selfish motivations.

Note - There are some descriptions of war violence but it isn't over done.

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Murder of Innocence

  • The Tragic Life and Final Rampage of Laurie Dann
  • By: Joel Kaplan, George Papajohn, Eric Zorn
  • Narrated by: Gary Tiedemann
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 248
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222

Early on a May morning in 1988, Laurie Dann, a 30-year-old, profoundly unhappy product of the wealthy North Shore suburb of Chicago, loaded her father's car with a cache of handguns, incendiary chemicals, and arsenic-laced food. Driven by fear and hate, she was going to make something terrible happen. Before the end of the day, Dann had blazed a murderous trail of poison, fire, and bullets through the unsuspecting town of Winnetka, Illinois, and other North Shore suburbs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Applicable to Las Vegas Shooter

  • By Teadrinker on 10-07-17

Tragic story, Relevant topics

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

Laurie Dann was a 30-year-old babysitter who planned to injure or kill hundreds of people with poisoning, fire and shooting in 1988. This book was published in 1990. The topics of the story: gun control and mental illness are especially relevant today.

I love true crime and I was very impressed with the book. In books like this, it's easy to use too wide a brush (i.e., "she's a victim of her childhood" or "she was a killer and got what was coming.") Laurie is presented in a balanced way - as the young girl who never felt accepted or loved, as a student who couldn't find her niche, and as a woman who never dealt with rejection. The authors ask the question, "Why did this happen?" and the answer is somewhere in all the details. In Laurie's case, it's, "Which snowflake is responsible for an avalanche?"

I feel that listeners would benefit from an updated afterward with further information about the investigation, outcome of lawsuits that were pending in 1990, and what happened in the lives of the survivors.

I highly recommend this book!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Too Many Women in the Room

  • A Gilda Greco Mystery
  • By: Joanne Guidoccio
  • Narrated by: Tamara Eastridge
  • Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture - Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unbeknownst to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Mystery not good Audio quality.

  • By cosmitron on 06-22-18

Likable characters, Shrill narration

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

Reviewed: 09-05-18

I really liked this book, especially the main character Gilda. She's caring, intelligent, and wants to help others with her resources. However, the narration was very hard to listen to. The voices did not sound like grown, mature women. The emotion and inflection didn't match the topics being discussed.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • A Bump in the Night

  • Jake Stark Mysteries Collection, Books 1-4
  • By: D. A. Provencher
  • Narrated by: Bryan Anderson, Sonia Anderson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

This is a collection of the first four titles from the Jake Stark Mysteries series with a short bonus story. It includes The Gorham Vampire, The Burning Town, Whispers of the Lost, Heart of Ice, and A Jake Stark Christmas

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A slight bump here and there but still good

  • By Ray Johnson on 08-04-18

Good Start to Series, Distracting Narrator

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

I really enjoyed these stories and there are a lot of great things about it. First, Jake's job as a Centinel. He's part private investigator, part cryptozoologist, and part soldier of faith. I love it! Second, there are some really funny moments in the book. Jake is pretty snarky. It's a good balance to the supernatural elements. Third, the author draws from Church history, Native American lore/legends, and Scripture. The topics are very well researched.

There are a few things that frustrated me. First, the writing seemed pretty simplistic. The author does a lot of telling rather than showing, (i.e., "I hate the cold.") I know the stories are short, but it feels rushed. Second, the narrator sounds like he's a high school student grudgingly reading a short story.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • Debt Collector: Hard to Kill

  • A Jack Winchester Thriller, Book 4
  • By: Jon Mills
  • Narrated by: Adam Gold
  • Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

Jack Winchester is a drifter - a ghost to those who pursue him and a danger to those who confront him. Once a notorious hitman for a New Jersey crime family, Jack is now a fugitive trying to right his wrongs. Wanted by the FBI and hunted by one of the Sicilian Mafia's top assassins, he travels to New Orleans to reconnect with an old flame. But things aren't what they seem. Not only must he cross paths with a ruthless drug lord just as Hurricane Danielle makes landfall, but he's about to discover that he may be the only one that can save his ex and daughter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What would u expect from someone named Winchester?

  • By shelley on 07-19-18

Pretty Grim

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

This is the first Jack Winchester novel that I've listened to, so what I have to go on for this review is what I listened to. I love mysteries/thrillers and the idea of a hitman seeking redemption is intriguing.

That being said, I had a hard time a few aspects of the story. The author trades character development. for grim/graphic violence. Most of the bad guys are one-dimensional thugs. (The assassin's backstory doesn't make him any more sympathetic.) Some of the situations are so absurd that I got distracted. I feel that the author missed some great opportunities by not using an intriguing setting like New Orleans and thematic elements like a hurricane making landfall to its full potential.

The narrator does an excellent job of capturing the voices/accents of different characters.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • Easy like Sunday Mourning

  • A Page Turners Novel, Book 2
  • By: Jennie Marts
  • Narrated by: Stacey Glemboski
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Single mom Maggie Hayes puts up a tough front to hide her loneliness, spending her days in the courtroom as a lawyer and her evenings as a closet video gamer. Another heartache isn't worth the risk, not after her husband left her last year for a Hooters waitress. When she decides to try dating again, a cute video-game-designing nerd seems like a safe bet - until he becomes the prime suspect in a murder. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • laugh out loud moments

  • By Layla on 08-04-18

Love the Page Turners!

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

Reviewed: 07-21-18

This is the second book in the fun Page Turner series. Each book follows one of the book club members. This story is about the whip-smart lawyer, Maggie. Maggie's ex-husband left her for a younger woman and in order to cope, she relies on her book club friends and the escapism of online games. That's how she meets her new love interest, a fellow gamer named Jeremy. Just as Maggie's life is moving forward, her ex-comes crawling back (ick!) and a member of Jeremy's staff is mysteriously murdered. The book club ladies need to solve the mystery!

I love the Page Turners series because of the friendship bond between the ladies in the core group. The author balances humor and light moments with a well-crafted mystery. Highly recommend for fans of humor, romance, and cozy mysteries.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sidetracked: The Betrayal and Murder of Anna Kithcart

  • By: Richard T. Cahill Jr.
  • Narrated by: John N. Gully
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

As the sun rises over the quiet city of Kingston, New York, on July 12, 1988, a local transient discovers the remains of 19-year-old Anna Kithcart. She was strangled and beaten to death, with the letters "KKK" carved into her thighs. While her heartbroken family mourns, and the police work around the clock to uncover the truth, the investigation is complicated by the entrance of the Reverend Al Sharpton who insists that a racist killer is responsible. Only solving the crime can quell the chaos that threatens to ignite a powder keg of racial tension to catch the real killer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Chilling True Crime Story!÷

  • By Kelly Watley on 05-07-18

Blow by Blow of Trial, Not much about Anna

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

Reviewed: 07-21-18

Anna Kithcart was a 19-year-old bi-racial teenager savagely murdered in 1988. Her body was found on a set of railroad tracks with the letters "KKK" carved into her legs. Absolutely tragic!

Anna's death came shortly after the scandal surrounding accusations made by an African American teenager (Ms. Bromley) that she was assaulted in a racially motivated attack. Social and political figures like the Rev. Al Sharpton joined the fight for justice. However, a grand-jury later found that the teenager made up the events of her assault and made false accusations.

There's a line in the book that said the focus of the trial/investigation shifted from the loss of a wonderful young woman to the men accused of murdering her and the political storm carried over from the Bromley scandal. Unfortunately, the author does the same thing.

When I read the description of this book, I thought I'd get to know Anna as an individual. I wanted to read interviews with her family and friends, stories about her life, to get a glimpse of who she was. I thought there would be a thoughtful analysis of how national attention to the Bromley scandal helped or hurt Anna's case. Instead, the author devotes a short section about her last days alive. Then, the book is a blow by blow description of the arrest and trial of her attacker (Mr. Dawson). I know more about Mr. Dawson's lawyer than I do about Anna.

That being said, the book is very well written. The narration really stands out.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • Written Off

  • Forensic Handwriting Series, Book 7
  • By: Sheila Lowe
  • Narrated by: Anna Crowe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

In the dead of winter, handwriting expert Claudia Rose journeys to Maine to retrieve a manuscript about convicted female serial killer, Roxanne Becker. The manuscript, written by Professor Madeleine Maynard, who was, herself, brutally murdered, exposes a shocking secret: explosive research about a group of mentally unstable grad students selected for a special project and dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs”. Was Madeleine conducting research that was at best, unprofessional - and at worst, downright harmful and potentially dangerous? Could that unorthodox research have turned deadly? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • All the elements of a good Mystery.

  • By cosmitron on 06-22-18

Awesome story!

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

Reviewed: 07-10-18

Claudia Rose is asked to travel to Maine as a favor to a friend to pick-up a manuscript that a deceased college professor Madeline Maynard was working on. Claudia's skills as a handwriting analyst come into play when she interacts with Madeline's coworkers, students, and locals. Soon, she's involved in solving the mystery of Madeline's murder.

This is the first book in the Claudia Rose series that I've listened to, so I don't know much of the backstory. However, I didn't feel lost or confused about who the characters are.

The author draws on different elements to create a well-rounded story. The setting - a cold Maine winter and an old house are the perfect backdrops! Claudia skills as a handwriting expert give us insight into who the characters are and while adding depth to the investigation. The characters all have their own secrets and motives. The sciences of writing analysis and psychology add to the story and character motivations without being too dry.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas

  • By: Matthew O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Alan Carlson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 17

What secrets do the Las Vegas storm drains keep? What discoveries wait in the dark? What's beneath the neon? Armed with a flashlight, tape recorder, and expandable baton, Las Vegas CityLife writer-editor Matthew O'Brien explored the Las Vegas flood-control system for more than four years. Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas chronicles O'Brien's adventures in subterranean Vegas. He follows the footsteps of a psycho killer. He braces against a flood. He parties with naked crack-heads. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Get really inside Las Vegas

  • By cosmitron on 07-08-18

Amazing look at lfe under Las Vegas

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

Reviewed: 07-10-18

I saw a short video interview with Matthew O'Brien a few years ago. The idea of men and women living in the drainage tunnels under Sin City was absolutely fascinating. This book carries readers into a hidden world where around 400 men and women live in darkness. The author uses a combination of frank interviews, personal narrative, and some historical sketches about groups of people who have lived underground in caves or sewers - mostly for their own survival. The fact that these men and women live out their lives under a city know for opulence makes it more compelling.

Each chapter describes the author and his coworker setting out into different sections of the tunnels. They encounter individuals who are living in the tunnels (usually related to losing jobs, addictions, or struggles with mental illness). I was impressed by the dignity with which O'Brien portrays these individuals! He is quick to point out their talents, creativity, and intelligence. (This is refreshing when it could've been written with a tone of judgment or pity.)

The writing is humorous, philosophical, and thought-provoking. The narrator is a perfect choice for this book.

Highly recommended!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Trailer Park Wives

  • The Single-Wide Edition
  • By: Denise Gwen
  • Narrated by: Lindsey Corey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

Why, oh why, did Anne Marie Whitehall take her own life, swallowing away her pain and her grief with a handful of Nembutal capsules and a bottle of Merlot? Does Samantha Jacobs, the red-haired vixen grinding away on a pole at the Revue know? Or perhaps Deena Cook, harried mother of four and a regular visitor at Children's Services?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A very strange Book.

  • By cosmitron on 06-25-18

Not my cup of tea

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

Reviewed: 07-03-18

The narrator is excellent. She handles the variety of characters well.

This is a hard book (storywise) to review. The author is clearly talented, but the story gets bogged down in heavy situations and graphic descriptions. On one hand, the author writes in a way that elicits an emotional response. My own responses were visceral (sadness, disgust, anger, frustration). The descriptions are vivid. But this is also where the author fails to provide balance. The story and character building consists of four women's dismal lives being built terrible decision by terrible decision. Not so much character building as digging deeper into a mud pit.

Books give us a glimpse into the lives of others and are a form of escapism. I didn't find any humor or light moments. Yes, I know this is the reality of some women. They struggle to get by, they're constantly fighting for survival. That's well and good, but these characters are not living in a way that is empowering (taking ownership of their situation). They are victims.

Here's an example of what bothered me. One of the characters is asked to take off her watch and jewelry while entering a courthouse. Her husband starts arguing with the guard about his belt buckle/pocket knife. Then, she and her husband disrupt court proceedings, call civil servants hideous names...and then wonder why they're reprimanded. Later, a lawyer wearing a neat suit and carrying a designer bag comes in through security and the character assumes the lawyer's life is "so easy," and falls down a rabbit hole of self-pity. (I have a Ph.D. and I worked hard to earn it. A lawyer carrying a nice bag isn't a sign of an "easy life" - it's the fruit of hard work.) Every interaction feeds into the victim narrative.

The plot is so heavy on descriptions that there is little forward momentum. It's hard enough reading about one character's hard life (with exhibits A-Z), but multiply that by four with an occasional, 'Oh yeah. Anne Marie died.'

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful