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Wes Parker

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 283
  • helpful votes
  • 364
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  • Dragon in Exile

  • Liaden Universe: Arc of the Covenants, Book 1
  • By: Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 166
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169

Star-trading Clan Korval - known to Terrans as the Tree-and-Dragon Family and to the locals simply as the Dragon - has been convicted of crimes against the homeworld. No matter that one of the "crimes" consisted of saving the elitist planet of Liad from very real internal threats, the Council of Clans wanted Korval heads to roll. Unfortunately for the council, the Dragon's allies conspired to impose a milder punishment for saving the world: banishment rather than execution.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Korval on Surebleak, many story lines progress

  • By Kindle Customer on 06-03-15

Worst narration ever?

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

Reviewed: 09-06-16

I thought the narration of Agent of Change was bad. Then I listened to this.
I've been going through the series chronologically, starting with Agent of Change, and on the whole I've enjoyed the series very much. Once I grew accustomed to Lee and Miller wandering through the plot and focusing more on characters and less on action, I was good with it. The authors do what they do very well, and I've enjoyed the trip so far. I bought the audio narration for the books as well as the Kindle versions so that I can listen when I can't read.

Well. That has proven to be a mixed blessing with this series. The women narrators have been competent, if not at the Kellgren level of awesome. The men, though. The narrator of Agent and the following couple of books was slow (I had to speed up the narration, or I'd still be listening to it) , and his sometimes unfortunate choice of accents (Brooklynese? Really?) was off-putting. Still, I persevered.

This guy Collins though. Every time I try to listen to this book, I can only take about 5 minutes of him, and I want to do incapacitating violence to my phone or tablet. Every sentence is portentous. All Liaden accents come across as poor imitations of Received Pronunciation, as if each and every Liaden speaker failed an audition for the BBC. The kompani characters have some weird Eastern European/Romani thing going on. He's too slow at 1x speed, and too fast at 1.25. He seems to know only one dynamic: loud. I don't know if he's done work outside this series, and I never want to find out. I hate this narration so much that it takes me right out of the story, and I have to go back and read what I listen to again to see what I missed. That's a bad thing.

I don't know who is choosing narrators for this series, but they need to pay more attention. That's essential for an audiobook. I have in the past chosen books on the narrator (Kellgren or Guidal, for example) if I wanted to take a chance on a new author. Had I listened to this series, especially this book, before reading it, the book would have gone on my Too Bad To Finish list, and I wouldn't be 11 books into the series. That would be sad, because this is an enjoyable series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • An Eclair to Remember

  • By: Rich Amooi
  • Narrated by: Ryan Kennard Burke
  • Length: 5 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 51

Oscar has his own problems - and his own fiancée. He'd planned the cruise as a last ditch attempt to save their relationship, but she decided to skip it. The tide turns when he meets Sydney as they both reach for the last éclair at the dessert station. Now he can't get the beautiful, feisty woman off his mind.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Light and funny! A very enjoyable listen!

  • By Terri C. on 02-22-16

Good story, told poorly

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

Reviewed: 06-27-16

There's not much suspense in An Eclair to Remember, if you've seen the Grant-Kerr movie, or it's 1939 predecessor Love Affair. That's okay, because it'a nice story, and Amooi has a deft touch with light romance. What put me off was the terrible narration.

I'm glad I had both the Kindle and the Audible versions of this book, because the narrator drove me away pretty quickly. His narration often sounds as if it's directed at a class of elementary school children. The narrator is frequently overly dramatic, and doesn't differentiate between genders. Most important, he overlooks Oscar's Spanish accent and pronunciation which is an important part of the book.

Do yourself a favor and read this one. It's short enough to get through in an afternoon. Skip the recorded version.

  • LeMay

  • By: Warren Kozak
  • Narrated by: Grainger Hines
  • Length: 13 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 68

The firebombing of Tokyo. Strategic Air Command. John F. Kennedy. Dr. Strangelove. George Wallace. All of these have one man in common - General Curtis LeMay, who remains as enigmatic and controversial as he was in life. Until now. Warren Kozak traces the trajectory of America’s most infamous general, from his troubled background and heroic service in Europe to his firebombing of Tokyo, guardianship of the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the Cold War, frustrated career in government, and short-lived political run.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Definition.....Leader.....General Curtis Le May

  • By Nj-Mike on 01-04-15

Okay hagiography; terrible narration

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

Reviewed: 07-06-14

LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay is hagiography from beginning to end. There is little critical insight provided by Kozak, who seems to be attempting to rehabilitate the reputation of a very complex individual. Kozak tends to magnify LeMay's virtues as a military leader (the youngest Major General---really? James Gavin might fit that role, based on date of rank; the only field/general office to lead troops into battle---really? Most Airborne commanders dropped with their troops in War 2) and soft peddled the effectiveness of the whole strategic bombing philosophy, of which LeMay was a dedicated proponent. There is little consideration given to the vicious firebombing campaign which devastated Japanese cities far more than the atomic bomb strikes, other than to adopt a "well, it wasn't nice, but it was war, after all" approach. LeMay's time in SAC received similar treatment.

The worst part of this audiobook was the narration. The narrator constantly mispronounced words, skipped words, and changed words in a bombastic tone that recalled Charlton Heston chewing scenery. I found myself switching frequently to the text just to escale the narrator.

The world deserves a good biography of Curtis LeMay: this isn't it.

  • Kitty's Big Trouble

  • Kitty Norville, Book 9
  • By: Carrie Vaughn
  • Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 766
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645

Kitty Norville is back and in more trouble than ever. Her recent run-in with werewolves traumatized by the horrors of war has made her start wondering how long the U.S. government might have been covertly using werewolves in combat. Have any famous names in our own history actually been supernatural?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not one of her best

  • By Beatrice on 09-10-11

Trouble, all right

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

Reviewed: 01-06-12

The ninth book in the Kitty Norville series was a disappointment to me. This story lacked the tight plotting I've come to expect from Vaughn---instead, we started out bouncing from one unrelated story to another. When the story finally rolled around to San Francisco and Chinatown, the action picked up, but the story itself just wandered around a maze of twisty passages, all alike. Once the action was over, we were left pretty much back where we started, with nothing resolved and nothing of worth accomplished---and we still had what seemed to be an interminable epilogue to wade through. Gavin's narration was okay, but nothing special.

I had to force myself to finish this book, and it's not one that I would read again.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Snuff

  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Stephen Briggs
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,293
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,938
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,950

Sam Vimes is on a well-deserved holiday. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck - not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong - are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper. Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam - out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife) - must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect Pratchett

  • By Tim on 10-14-11

pTerry back in form

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

Reviewed: 10-13-11

What did you love best about Snuff?

Snuff is the best outing from Pratchett in the last few years. It focuses primarily on Vimes, with cameos by the more important members of the Watch. It seemed to me that the book didn't really advance Vimes' character much; mostly we covered much the same ground we covered in Thud!, Vimes' self-doubt, his conflict between being a nob and a regular copper, with yet another dose of the Summoning Dark. Pratchett continues to retcon established characters---the Patrician is chatty, Wilikins has changed from Gentleman's Gentleman to a genteel thug posing as a GG; and sadly, one iconic characters NEVER APPEARS. For all that, Snuff was an engaging story, and held together much better than Unseen Academicals.The narration was not up to snuff. Briggs seemed rushed, as if he could wait to get all the words said and move on to other things. I found that a bit off-putting, as I have enjoyed his narration in the past. Overall, I recommend the book. If it isn't as good as some of the classics in this series, it's still a strong contender.

(And Audible---Filling out a form isn't writing a review, now is it? Please dump this idea RSN.)

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

Ghost Story: The Dresden Files, Book 13 audiobook cover art
  • Ghost Story: The Dresden Files, Book 13

  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: John Glover
  • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,582
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,599
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,598

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin. But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own. To save his friends - and his own soul - Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best audio book in the series

  • By Bill on 08-31-11

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 07-26-11

As many others have said, this book without Marsters narrating it is just not up to the rest of the series. I just finished reading the ebook, and it was great, so no problems on that end. (Yes, I read them then listen to them as well. Sue me.) While I normally like John Glover a lot, and was willing to take the risk to listen to this with his narration, I really wish I hadn't. Marsters set a standard narrating this series that probably can't be met with anyone else---like listening to the Aubrey/Maturin series with anyone but Patrick Tull as narrator.

I wish I had my credit back for this one. If the reason that Marsters didn't narrate this book was a scheduling conflict, then next time, it would be better for Penguin to wait to release the book when Marsters was available. I think they've traded total sales for a quick release. Bad move.

If you like Marsters narration, my advice: get the book or ebook, but skip this audio version.

256 of 301 people found this review helpful

  • Deryni Rising

  • Chronicles of the Deryni, Book 1
  • By: Katherine Kurtz
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174

In the kingdom of Gwynedd, the mysterious forces of magic and the superior power of the Church combine to challenge the rule of young Kelson. Now the fate of the Deryni -- a quasi-mortal race of sorcerers -- and, indeed, the fate of all the Eleven Kingdoms, rests on Kelson's ability to quash the rebellion by any means necessary...including the prescribed use of magic!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WONDERFUL! Thank you Audible!

  • By S. Greene on 06-16-09

Not as good as I remembered

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-28-09

One of the problems with revisiting old favorites is that they don't always shine as brightly as I remembered. That's definitely the case with Deryni Rising. I read the book for the first time back in '71, and at the time I remember being fascinated by the characters, the pomp of the Church, and the politics of Deryni-Human relations. Listening to the book over 35 years later, I'm struck by how amateurish this novel seems. The characters in this book generally come in three varieties: Really, Really Good; Despicably Nasty and Evil; and Worm Food. The only character with any depth is Jehana, Kelson's mother, and even her internal conflicts are predictable, after a certain point. Otherwise, the main characters are like windup toys.

Another problem for me was the narration. For some reason, the voice Woodman chooses for Morgan sounds to me just like Richard Burton in Becket. I kept expecting to hear Morgan come out with "We judge him damned with the devil and his fallen angels and all the reprobate, to eternal fire and everlasting pain!" and throw a candle on the floor. Now, I love Becket, and I love Richard Burton's acting, but it set the wrong tone for Morgan. It makes him sound an insufferable, pompous prig.

While I'm not totally happy with this book, I'm glad that Audible has released this series. I'm hoping that they will carry on with the Camber series, so I can see whether I'm equally deluded about the quality of that series.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Marsbound

  • By: Joe Haldeman
  • Narrated by: Liza Kaplan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

Young Carmen Dula and her family are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime - they're going to Mars. Once on the Red Planet, however, Carmen realizes things are not so different from Earth. There are chores to do, lessons to learn, and oppressive authority figures to rebel against.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story AND narration

  • By Gina A. Emory on 05-09-12

Meh.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-19-09

"Marsbound" initially impressed me as a better than average YA sci-fi story; Carmen seemed at first an interesting character to get to know, and the structure of the story recalled many of the Heinlein YA stories that I cut my teeth on, many years ago. Around the time that Carmen was getting acclimated to Mars and Solingen kept getting nastier, I started to chafe at the lack of pace and coherence. I eventually persevered to the end, but by the time I finished it was more of a chore than a pleasure.

Perhaps had I read this book instead of listening to it, I'd have enjoyed it more. Kaplan's narration was just bad. I know I've been spoiled by narrators such as John Lee and the late, lamented Patrick Tull, but I had expected someone who is, after all, a voice actress to do a better job. Her "voice" for Carmen and the overall narration sounded like a child in elementary school reading a book in a sing-song (truly jarring when she was narrating a sex scene) and her voices for other females reminded me more of some anime characters I've heard. Really, really bad anime characters.

I don't recommend this book. For good YA titles, try John Marsden's "Tomorrow" series, or the YA books by Charles de Lint. For good YA sci-fi, Heinlein is dated, but still good. John Scalzi's "Zoe's Tale" is great. Take the money you would have spent on this book, and look for one of those instead.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful