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Christine Newton

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  • The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale

  • Glen Haven Tales, Book 1
  • By: Michael Breakfield
  • Narrated by: Courtney Sanello
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale is a thriller featuring a cast of strong, complex female protagonists and set in a small East Texas town which is shrouded in mysteries and haunted by the supernatural.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A twist on a classic throw back horror tale.

  • By David on 01-19-19

Not for the squeamish...

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

Reviewed: 03-22-19

As noted by the book summary and other reviewers, this story is strongly reminiscent of slasher horror movies from the 80s and 90s - lots of blood, gore, hedonistic and beautiful young people making questionable decisions, and a very creepy (and abnormally strong) bogeyman. If those elements tick off all your boxes and you are able to suspend disbelief, then you'll be interested in this story.

I liked hearing about each of the survivor stories, and how each of the heroines was affected by her trauma. Part way through the audiobook, I started noticing how often the author used repetition in his sentences (e.g., 'she unsheathed the knife from her sheath') and wished that they'd been caught during proofreading. But that's a minor thing. The main reason why I didn't give this story more stars is because there was confusion, not a conclusion, at the end of the story. This book is the first of a series but it doesn't really have an ending/resolution - you need to proceed to the second book so you can find out what happens next. By the end of this first book, you don't clearly know who/what the bad guy is; although the author starts to unwind an explanation/backstory, it's kind of jumbled and vague. We were also introduced to a male character, who I thought would become prominent plot-wise or else die horribly. Neither happened, so I suppose his story will develop in the next book. We're also unsure about the extent of secrecy/conspiracy in the local community, and I suspect this will be revealed in the next book as well. That's not necessarily a bad thing, for a series - it means that you'll have to read the next book to find out what happens next and what happened before. But...If you prefer each book in a series to be standalone, then you might get a wee bit frustrated about the ending in this story.

Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I didn't warm up to the narration at all. I increased the playback speed substantially because of the halting pacing and lengthy pauses. I also thought that her Southern Peach accent was too much. This narrator's voice was higher-pitched and she emoted. My personal preference is for alto-toned narrators (they seem to do a better job with male voices and it's easier to listen to this type of voice for long periods of time). It's a preference thing, so I respect that other reviewers liked her voice just fine as it was.

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

  • Island of the Flesh Eaters

  • By: Thomas S. Flowers
  • Narrated by: Matt Weight
  • Length: 2 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

Houston, Texas, 1985: While investigating the affluent and seedy Gasper family, Rachel Hawkins, a junior reporter with the Galveston Daily News, stumbles upon a story that will make her career. Billy Gasper, son to the billionaire tycoon Gasper family, is missing. His yacht found near the Port of Galveston, abandoned all but for a seemingly deranged captain. Where are the crew? And where is Billy?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Homage to 80's Zombie Movies

  • By Spooky Mike on 02-18-19

Satisfies the craving for a cheesy zombie snack..

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

Reviewed: 03-14-19

When I was a young person growing up in the 70s and early 80s, weekend television would typically cheesy horror movies that had exactly the same look, feel, and taste as "Island of the Flesh Eaters". They weren't Oscar-winning shows, nor were they intended to be. They were formulaic and predictable, but they were still lots of fun to watch. This audiobook took me right back to those times (thanks, in part, to a lot of familiar culture references from the 80s). It's the perfect length for this type of story. The narrator was good, except I increased the playback speed to suit my preferences.

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

  • Lost Solace

  • By: Karl Drinkwater
  • Narrated by: Marisha Tapera
  • Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Opal is on a mission. She's been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship. Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental, AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship in a lonely nebula far from colonized space. The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star and will soon be truly lost...forever. Legends say the ships harbor death, but there's no time for indecision. Opal gears up to board it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Smart Sci-Fi!

  • By Michael Hicks on 02-09-19

3.5* - would be better as an expanded novel

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

Reviewed: 02-27-19

I strongly agree with another reviewer here, who felt that this story felt like half of a book. Unlike some long novels that can get bloated, I would have liked more detail, more plot, more backstory (e.g., about ghost ships, about the aliens, etc.), and less of a cliffhanger ending. The heroine was interesting and had a feisty personality - I can imagine her having future adventures and I'd like to see her form human relationships. I liked the narrator's voice for the main character, but I admit I wasn't a huge fan of the higher pitched voice she chose for Clarissa. We learn towards the end of the story why the voice sounds the way it does, but it was mildly irritating for me nevertheless. I was particularly impressed with the narrator's AI's emotional voice during tense scenes (e.g., when the AI is under attack, and her voice stutters/speeds up/breaks up).

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

  • The Dark Sacrifice: A Horror Novel

  • By: Jay Bower
  • Narrated by: Jack Clancy
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

East St. Louis deputy Patrick O’Shea is tired of living in the line of fire. So when he gets a chance to transfer to his wife’s small hometown, he doesn’t hesitate to load up the moving van. But his family’s bags are barely unpacked before their newfound peace and quiet shatters in a surge of demonic voices. The deputy has faced his fair share of evil, but nothing quite like this. Normally the first into the fray, he worries they’ve unearthed a force not even his special training and inner-city experience can combat.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hmmm

  • By Anonymous User on 02-01-19

3.5* - good menacing paranormal thriller

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

Reviewed: 02-09-19

Good story – within the first 20 minutes of the audiobook, you’re able to connect the dots enough to figure out what’s going to happen. What you don’t know until the end is how/why it’s happening. I don’t mind when stories are set up this way, because I like to see how the author leads us through the story. The final reveal reminded me a lot of the old Scooby Doo cartoons; I won’t say anything farther about that, for fear of going into spoiler territory. But if you listen to the audiobook, you’ll see what I mean when you get to the ‘final reveal’ scene.

I thought that both the author and narrator knocked it out of the park with the character of the hero’s police partner. I got a bit frustrated with the hero’s reactions to certain situations, and I felt the final chapter wound things up a bit too conveniently. But overall, I have no major complaints – it was an interesting and menacing story that held my attention and kept me engaged.
The narrator was good for most of his voice characters; I’d listen to this narrator again.

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

  • Learn Beginner Spanish Bundle: The Ultimate Spanish for Beginners Bundle: Lessons 1 to 30

  • From the Original Learning Spanish like Crazy Level 1
  • By: Patrick Jackson
  • Narrated by: Paul Rodriguez, Juan Noble, Jessica Ramos-Collins
  • Length: 20 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 79

Take your Spanish to the next level. Learning Spanish like Crazy will empower you to step on the gas and peel rubber, taking you from beginner level - or even absolute beginner level - all the way to Latin American conversational Spanish.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good, maybe very good, but not superb

  • By Judy M. Williams on 01-17-19

learn Spanish starting with the basics

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

Reviewed: 12-25-18

I live in a country where Spanish is not a common language, nor do I visit Spanish-speaking countries often - so my objective for listening to this audiobook is not to become fluent as quickly as possible. I'm happy to learn slowly and incrementally. One of the things I like best about this audiobook is that it includes a .pdf transcript which accompanies the Audible download. The male and female narrators are excellent, but they don't always pronounce words exactly the same way; thus, the .pdf transcript is important for me so I can double check rather than wasting time wondering if I should be making a 'd' sound or a 'v' sound, or a 'j' sound or a 'y' sound. An audio-only format, or a print-only format wouldn't be effective for someone like me; I really do appreciate the multi-media format provided here, with the emphasis on audio repetition but with supplementary printed material provided as well.

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

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Victory Fever on Guadalcanal

  • Japan's First Land Defeat of World War II
  • By: William H. Bartsch
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23

Following their rampage through Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the five months after Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces moved into the Solomon Islands, intending to cut off the critical American supply line to Australia. But when they began to construct an airfield on Guadalcanal in July 1942, the Americans captured the almost completed airfield for their own strategic use. The Japanese Army countered by sending to Guadalcanal a reinforced battalion under the command of Col. Kiyonao Ichiki.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Action Punctuated By The Dry, The Drudge

  • By Gillian on 11-25-18

Detailed account of a specific wartime event

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

Reviewed: 12-19-18

I'm thinking that this book will either be very satisfying to you as a reader, or somewhat frustrating. It will satisfy readers who are looking for lots of details about Guadalcanal and it will satisfy readers who have previous knowledge of the topic and are curious about learning additional information to add layers to their mental pictures of this Battle. On the other hand, I can definitely see how this book might be frustrating for other types of readers, who will have 'trouble seeing the forest for all the trees'. They might have wanted to develop a general understanding of what Guadalcanal was all about, why it happened, the consequences, and so on, without all of the dizzying facts and statistics. Also, these readers might have been looking for more of an emotional-based immersive narrative, perhaps focusing on fewer specific individuals, but giving us a stronger sense of how these guys were feeling during their experience. Different types of expectations from readers, requiring very different writing styles. I honestly think that it would be very challenging for a writer to satisfy the needs of both of these types of audiences in a single book...but.... if you're mindful of this, then this audiobook is worthwhile to listen to.

I'm a newbie on this topic (motivated by a recent episode of Dan Carlin's 'Hardcore History' podcast), so I'm one of the ones who initially felt overwhelmed by the details. However, I realized that if I didn't concentrate on trying to remember or contextualize each new detail, then it freed my mind to listen more broadly to the overall story. With repeat listens of this audiobook, I'm confident that more and more details will fall into place with less effort.

I have two laments about the book. First, especially for newbies like me, I wish I had a map or two to refer to while listening to the story. It's a trade-off with audiobooks - flexibility to listen anytime/anywhere but.... it's only audio, no other supporting medium. I really would like to see the industry address this somehow in the future. In the meantime, no map of Guadalcanal to help me figure out how the chess pieces were moving on the board. Second, it becomes evident early in the audiobook that the personnel on the ground were using faulty maps themselves, so they often thought they were at River A when in fact they were at River B (and so on). My second lament is about the distraction every time the narrator would name a place where the soldiers thought they were, and every single time he would immediately indicate where the soldiers actually were. Perhaps in print format it's less distracting but I found it to be somewhat distracting in audiobook format as the narrator made the continual parenthetical corrections to their geographic orientation.

The narrator was effective. His voice was mostly dispassionate, doing a serviceable job of getting through the details (and there are a lot, particularly in the first two hours of the audiobook!). (I just had a spontaneous mental image of the Professor from Gilligan's Island, for some reason - understated and competent...).

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

  • The Venus Complex

  • By: Barbie Wilde
  • Narrated by: Doug Bradley
  • Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

A man rises out of an abyss of frustration and rage and creates works of art out of destruction, goddesses out of mere dental hygienists, and beauty out of death. It’s also about the sickness and obsession that is love. Enter into Michael’s world through the pages of his personal journal, where every diseased thought, disturbing dream, politically incorrect rant, and sexually explicit murder highlights his journey from zero to psycho. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Two Cenobites take us into their world

  • By Spooky Mike on 12-07-18

Not for the squeamish...

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

Reviewed: 12-19-18

This book goes beyond gratuitous violence of a fictional sexual predator, taking us into his thoughts and motivations about his victims as well as the wider world. I found that I could actually agree with some of the protagonist's musings, but then his logical processes would fracture dangerously, pulling him further along his dark path. His memoirs include past reflections, current frustrations, and future dreams/plans. This audiobook contains graphic sexual violence and the author's very effective writing style may be uncomfortable for some (consider yourself warned). But... as I mentioned, there's way more to this book than that. I'm glad I listened to it, because it gave me food for thought about what might go on in the head of a psychopath. The only reason why I knocked off one star is because I think I would have been more satisfied with a different plot ending.

The narration was perfect for this style of story. This is synergy - excellent story, powerful narration. I'd read this author again and listen to this narrator again. (I increased the playback speed for personal preferences.)

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

  • Skeletons in the Attic: More Tales from a Mortician

  • By: Michael Gore
  • Narrated by: J. Stempien
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

With 15 dark and twisted tales, the mortician is back to terrify you once again. The author of the hit horror anthology Tales from a Mortician has masterfully woven a new collection that will turn your stomach and have you checking under your bed, locking your doors, and leaving the lights on as you listen. From finding a body in your parents' attic to serial killers, cannibals, werewolves, gut-wrenching Halloween tricks, and even a sweet old lady who kills dozens, Skeletons is sure to terrify, disgust, and enthrall everyone who dares to listen to it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Really Twisted Short Stories

  • By Spooky Mike on 11-13-18

Mix of horror stories, some harcore

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

Some of the stories in this audiobook lean towards the lighter, fun side of horror, while others definitely tread into deeper waters with splatterpunk and 'boobs and blood'. Like some other reviewers here have noted, I'm not entertained by stories featuring sexual violence towards women. (Indeed, while reading/listening to them, I'm often distracted thinking about what kind of minds write and read them with such relish and enthusiasm.).

Sexual ultra-violence aside, I enjoyed many of the other story ideas in this collection. For example, 'Paralyzed'had a flavour of the 'Saw' movies. 'Skeletons in the Attic' finished with an ironic twist that made the entire tale darkly humorous. 'Time is Everything' showed us how the possibility of immortality can bring out the worst in some people. 'Ripe' was a twisted story of soulmates. 'Four Halloweens' followed a victim's quest for vengeance. I liked the ideas in all of the aforementioned stories, although I think some of them would have been more satisfying if the endings had been written a wee bit differently.

The narration was enthusiastic and I can understand why other reviewers gave positive ratings for performance. My subjective, personal preference is for male narrators to use less exaggeration for character voices (especially female character voices), and for a deeper sounding voice that resonates more. This narrator sounds very young, which seems to suit some of the stories in this collection better than others.

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

  • Hero Hunter: A Superhero Gamelit Saga

  • The Heroes Rising Series, Book 1
  • By: Darren Hultberg Jr
  • Narrated by: J. Scott Bennett
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 41

Terrax Prime is one of the safest places in the galaxy, a world-spanning metropolis built on the foundations of order, justice, and law. Terrax also happens to be a birthplace of heroes; humans born with powerful, world-altering super-powers. In service to the prime government, these heroes work to keep the streets of Terrax safe, acting as the world's super-hero police force, or so it seems. Terrible secrets lie deep within the core of Terrax Prime’s hero program, and one man will do whatever he can to bring those secrets to the surface..

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I need an Anti-Hero

  • By Ray Johnson on 12-26-18

3.5*- More Superhero fiction than GameLit

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

I've read both superhero fiction and LitRPG in the past few years - although not too deeply into either genre, so take my review with a grain of salt. My two cents are that this audiobook is predominantly superhero fiction and is light on elements of GameLit. If you take away the occasional descriptions of power/speed/agility/etc stats, this story walks and talks just like the pure superhero fiction stories I've read during the past few years. Yes, our (anti-)hero has an AI-assisted inventory of weapons at his disposal, but this seems to be unique to him and not the other superheroes in the story; it's part of his superhero powers/identity. Yes, he's on a quest, but it's not a game-related quest - it's a revenge mission to redress an incident that happened in his past.

Personally, I'm completely comfortable with that, since my preference skews towards superhero fiction rather than LitRPG. But if your preference skews the other way, I'm not certain that your thirst for GameLit will be quenched in this first book of the series.

It's hard to penalize the author for things like lack of character development, since this may come gradually in future installments. We know what motivates his main actions but we don't really get a sense of the main character's (Aidan's) personality. Based on many of his behaviours, he seems to be generally immature and selfish - he doesn't have much depth to his character. I also got restless at times, with secondary characters popping in and out of the story without a smooth transition (e.g., Candace seems to be an integral part of the story for the first part of the book, but then she completely disappears and doesn't even seem to pop into Aidan's mind at all for the rest of the story). Finally, Aidan's revenge quest has been underway for a few years and he has a dauntingly powerful main target in sight, but I definitely had the impression that he hadn't done any pre-planning about how to put down an essentially invincible foe. For a guy who has been stewing in the tarpit of vengeful thoughts for years, it doesn't seem that he did any actual plotting.

It sounds like a lot of negativity here, but the author gives us a sharp little twist at the end of the story - a mini-cliffhanger, I suppose - with an enticing hook that will likely compel readers to check out the next story in the series. I can certainly see why this story receives positive reviews. It's darkly entertaining and I think the author has set the stage for interesting times ahead with future installments.

I've listened to other audiobooks with this narrator. He's a good narrator and I like the way he uses his voice. I increased the playback speed somewhat, to find a narration pace that suited my personal preferences. The only reason why I deducted a star for narration is because I think he's a great narrator but I don't think this was the right project for his particular voice. He doesn't have a young, brash (anti)super-hero voice; the tone and timbre of his voice doesn't align with my mental image of Aidan. I've listened to audiobooks with this narrator in other genres (e.g., dystopian fiction with a wild-west flavour) and the fit seemed to be more authentic and seamless in those other stories.

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

  • Deep Six

  • Just Cause Universe, Book 4
  • By: Ian Thomas Healy
  • Narrated by: Leslie Howard
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

When criminals are convicted, they go to jail. When they have parahuman abilities, they go to Deep Six, the most secure prison facility in the world. Six thousand feet underground, nobody has ever escaped from the maximum security facility. Until now. A parahuman terrorist called Misrule engineers a mass breakout, and it falls to a pair of prison guards to stop the world's most dangerous criminals from reaching freedom.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better then I expected.

  • By cosmitron on 10-11-18

entertaining standalone superhero story

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

Reviewed: 11-09-18

I'm usually hesitant to jump into a story part-way through a series, feeling that I might be bewildered by characters that I should already be familiar with. However, as a newbie to the series, I was easily able to follow the story and didn't feel like I was at a disadvantage. As for the story itself, it was entertaining and held my attention throughout. We're given a soft cliffhanger at the end, but the main story wound down sufficiently so that I didn't feel like I was left dangling by the author. I also liked the budding romance between the two main characters and was glad to see the connection develop gradually rather than having the two main characters fall in love/bed instantly. I liked the good guys and wanted to see them prevail over the bad guys (which is a good thing -- sometimes when hero characters aren't well-developed, I feel no connection to the good guys and cross my fingers that they meet their doom!).

Some of the other reviewers had mixed feelings about the narrator's whispery, feminine voice. I found that if I increased the playback speed to 1.25, the pitch and pacing flowed best (for me, anyway). Some of the narrator's character voices made me wince a bit (e.g., the voice for T-Rex), which is why I knocked a star off of the narration rating.

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