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Hyattsville, MD, United States
  • 8
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  • 93
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  • 15
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  • No One Gets Out Alive

  • By: Adam Nevill
  • Narrated by: Colleen Prendergast
  • Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 114
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 105

Darkness lives within.... Cash strapped, working for agencies and living in shared accommodation, Stephanie Booth feels she can fall no further. So when she takes a new room at the right price, she believes her luck has finally turned. But 82 Edgware Road is not what it appears to be.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • certainly worth the time

  • By michael king on 10-19-15

Gripping like a cold, dead hand

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

Reviewed: 07-13-17

Any additional comments?

Initially I'd thought the supernatural elements were benign, a warning, and the true threat was the evil of man. Thankfully there was more than that. The last part of the book is my favorite, but a few scenes in the house itself are great. I'd say the book is a little unnecessarily long, but Nevill's writing makes up for it, and damn if there isn't atmosphere to spare.

  • Black Angel

  • By: Kyell Gold
  • Narrated by: Max Miller
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

Meg's always thought that love and ghosts are fantasies for gullible people, but her skepticism is about to be tested. As her roommates Sol and Alexei move on with their lives, Meg remains stuck in her rut, unsure what to do about her future or about her best friend Athos. He wants more than friendship from her, but she isn't sure whether she's straight or gay, let alone in love with him. Not helping are the strange trances that show her the lives of two other young girls - one who wants to be a voodoo priestess, and the other who wants to escape a Christian cult.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lackluster ending to a great series.

  • By Dustin Jernigan on 08-08-16

Divine

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

Reviewed: 01-28-17

What did you love best about Black Angel?

This is not your usual 5 star review. I'm not really a Kyell Gold fan; in the past I've been critical of his writing. Not this time. Not this book.

The first chapter captured me. I had the opportunity to hear the author read it and Meg's character was alive. She boldly lets you know she is who she is, she's damn proud of that and you're going to have to deal with it. The rest of the book sucked me in with the writing quality. This book sings. "Black Angel" is three separate narratives braided together, and I immediately loved Hannah and Marie-Belle's tales. There the stories are immediately more intriguing, but also the descriptive prose purrs in ways I haven't seen from what I've read of Gold.

With most of Gold's work, sexual identity is quite important in two of the three stories, with Meg's confusion and struggle with asexuality and Hannah's budding lesbianism set in a very oppresive Christian cult. I have trouble connecting with these elements, and that is a disconnect that is okay, because not every story is for everyone. Even though that part doesn't resonate with me, I was instead deeply touched by Meg's experiences. There is a point where she truly doubts her sanity and she has no idea which way is up. That is very real to many people who have dealt with mental illness and it made me love this book.

The book is not without its flaws.

The biggest one for me is, strangly, Meg's character. Consider she is: irritable by default; hostile to anyone expressing interest in her life; carries a "whatever, I don't care" attitude; only shows rare and grudgingly appreciation. Meg is a crank, 30 years away from chasing kids off her lawn with a broom. She is the dog that growls at anyone who passes by. How she manages to have any friends is beyond me. This makes for a hard character to read at times. It also hampers things from a story perspective. She refuses to tell anyone anything unless she is absolutely cornered. This not only leads to a lot of needless stalling of the story, but because Meg is so guarded, it turns every interaction into an overanalysis of "what does this person mean, what do they want, what should I say, what can I tel them, what will THAT mean to them". Yes, characters with flaws that get in their way and complicate things makes good fiction, but her inability to trust is taken to the level of becoming an exhausting grind. Thank goodness the Marie-Bell and Hannah narratives offer some respite from that. Also, I quickly lost patience with Athos. While he clearly cares a lot about his friend, every scene the two are together, Athos is asking her what's wrong multiple times. She cannot hiccup without him hovering over her. While yes, Meg is going through a crisis, Athos gives her so little space to breathe that I felt smothered.

These frustrations are made up for by the final leg of the book. Those last chapters are excellent.

I must speak about Max Miller, the audiobook narrator. His voice acting was divine. TouTou, the Baron, and Jeffrey leap out as the best in the book, but his consistently excellent voicework, both male and female, made the experience that much more for me.

While I did set the book down when things get frustrating, or when they got too hard and dark, More often I stopped reading because I didn't want to finish the book too soon. It is meant to be savored. Or as the Baron would say, it should be enjoyed.

  • The Builders

  • By: Daniel Polansky
  • Narrated by: Corey Gagne
  • Length: 3 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 91

A missing eye. A broken wing. A stolen country. The last job didn't end well. Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the captain's company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the captain's whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • so good! such fun! much animal!<br />

  • By travis wagstaff on 11-20-15

A gem

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

Reviewed: 10-12-16

Have you listened to any of Corey Gagne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I had not heard this narrator before, but he did a superb job in giving each character a distinct voice that brought them to life in my mind.

Any additional comments?

This book is a pleasure, and my favorite book of the year. I was smiling the whole trip.

In terms of plot, you will not find anything new here. Troubleshooters of old monarchy get the band back together to take vengeance on the crew who deposed them. There are no real surprises there.

The delight comes from the prose. The sentences are almost fairy tale like in the playful way they handle language or even speak to the reader. There is good description, and a full story don't get me wrong, but the writing style is intended to be amusing and clever. Let me give you two examples:

"She was pretty, for a guinea pig, if you didn't mind them heavy. If you did mind them heavy, you pro probably wouldn't go for a guinea pig."

"Drunk as they were, they'd have cheered for the moon to make war with the stars, and offered odds on the result."

Bare in mind though this isn't a fairy tale, and it is quite violent. While not wallowing in graphic descriptions, there is no shyness in describing the results of gunfire. This is not a book for children.

Secondly "The Builders" has great characters. Not in terms of depth but by way of color and distinctness. I could see and hear each each individually. Sometimes when the narrative is in one character's head, it is shaped quite well by their personality, and that brings the lovely sentences to the realm of characters. Also, the author uses animal aspects nicely, as it seems so fundamental to the characters, their personalities, and their abilities. Were this story about humans it would be three times duller, but I am certain the author could still well succeed.

I could happily read a dozen books in this style, in this world. With there only being one, I hope that you will at least read this one.

  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard

  • By: Lawrence M. Schoen
  • Narrated by: J. G. Hertzler
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 368
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 333
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 331

In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity's genius-animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. There, they develop medicines upon which all species now depend.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is the greatest book I've ever read

  • By Connor Penhale on 11-26-16

Wonderful on so many levels.

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

Reviewed: 04-12-16

What other book might you compare Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard to and why?

Although I will say that as a sci-fi book, which bits that take place in space, there's little to no tech discussed at all. You could call it sci-fantasy, but aside from precognitives, telepaths, and the idea that you can summon the dead by way of calling on their memories, there's nothing Fantastical about it either. The book feels more like a mystery and a political thriller, and the closest thing I can think of to it would be "The End of All Things" by Scalzi.

Which character – as performed by J. G. Hertzler – was your favorite?

The voice-actor's best is perhaps with Senator Bish, getting the tone of voice right. Or perhaps Magda's. Both were complex, tonally.

Any additional comments?

The characters are lovely, most of them unpleasant, but still lovely. By the end I adored one of the characters, and hope to more of him with the author's writing. The prose is a welcoming, slow tide that sweeps you along on a pleasant river. The setting is enjoyable, although we only get one deep look at the rich culture of Barsk, at the race of fonts, despite the galaxy being filled with so many races. That's alright, as the plot is so heavily tied in with fonts, their culture, history and the resource on their planet. The fact every race seems to be prejudiced against the font strained my suspension of disbelief, but it comes up in the end that there's a real and legitimate reason for this that satisfied me.

Honestly I can't find anything negative to say about this book, beyond that I don't have more of it already.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • In the House of Mirrors

  • By: Tim Meyer
  • Narrated by: The Soliloquy Man
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 94

When Ritchie Naughton, amateur photographer, stumbles upon a house in the woods, strange things start happening. His camera captures images that should not exist, things that cannot be explained. Soon, he'll realize that the people of Red River, New Jersey, are in terrible danger. A darkness grows within the house, threatening them all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The House of Mirrors: Doorway to Horror!

  • By Susan M Stringer on 10-27-14

Stopped 20 minutes in

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

Reviewed: 01-24-15

What disappointed you about In the House of Mirrors?

The writing is on par with someone attempting their first novel. The narrator sounds like a first year drama student. Also the audio-editing is poor; there are regular pauses for several seconds like a chapter break, but it's not a chapter break.

  • NPCs

  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,487
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,907
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,901

What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters? In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable if you manage your expectations

  • By Miachi on 01-23-15

Charming and Cute

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

Reviewed: 10-14-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you're a gamer, you may appreciate the meta-ness Hayes offers. Without giving away too much, NPCs takes some of the conventions and tropes of tabletop roleplaying and applies them to a world, treating them more seriously than Order of the Stick does - while still keeping a fairly light tone.

The story isn't grand or revolutionary, the characters aren't gripping, but the story still has its own charm and the prose is both readable and has a welcoming feel to it. There are three real action sequences in the book and the first two do get a bit long, because they are told from multiple characters doing their own thing on the battlefield. That said, this point didn't grow too onerous. Overall I enjoyed the book and would gladly read more by Hayes along this vein.

Would you be willing to try another book from Drew Hayes? Why or why not?

Yes - he has a pleasant writing style and a sense of humor that, while it doesn't make you laugh out loud, can still make you smile.

Any additional comments?

The narrator does a good job. His voice is pleasant, and all of the character voices are both distinct and enjoyable. I'd listen to more by him.

79 of 87 people found this review helpful

  • Mr Jingles

  • A Horror Novel
  • By: T. L. Bowns
  • Narrated by: Lynn Benson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    1.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 2

When the lights go out and the city sleeps, a monster preys on the children of Henderson. The little girl next door to Debbie Swanson disappears from her bed, the next day the child's body is found in the river. Debbie may hold the key to what is happening in Henderson, but it is locked away in a childhood memory so terrifying that to remember could destroy her sanity.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Good idea, weak execution

  • By Jonathan on 04-12-13

Good idea, weak execution

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

Reviewed: 04-12-13

What would have made Mr Jingles better?

This book can't decide whether it wants to be a ghost story or a tale about a maniac. The ending is confusing - the explanations are smashed together and it ultimately left me unsure exactly who was doing the deeds. If the author's intent was to leave some doubt, he left me more with a feeling of not understanding, as opposed to subjectiveness.

Furthermore, the very end reads as though a chapter was just cut off from the end of the book. Rather than a feeling of "the story's not over", it was simply unsatisfactory and hastily slapped together.

Also, the author really beat the dead horse in terms of one character repeatedly attributing all of her premonitions to her anxiety and imagination. It went from repetitious to just plain tedious.i

The author had a good idea that was executed weakly.

What was most disappointing about T. L. Bowns’s story?

First, the editing was very poor. When a new section or chapter began, it would start without any pause, sometimes so close to the end of a sentence that it sounded as though there was no punctuation. This was usually jarring, in part because a new section almost always changed character perspectives.

Second, the narrator had no emotion to his voice, nor did it ever change. There was little effort to even change his voice for different characters. The performance was more like the reading of a cereal box's ingredients.

  • Chomp

  • A Novella of the Demons and the Dead
  • By: Brian Rappatta
  • Narrated by: John M. Perry
  • Length: 3 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

They were three teenagers with the power to reanimate dead bodies, students at an elite and secretive school where they learned to hone their abilities and command the dead. And they just wanted to get laid. Because even teenagers with powers over the dead have hormones. What starts as an innocent booty call with a seemingly normal girl turns deadly as they unwittingly summon a dark force bent on slaughter. And as they try to fight the demons of their own conjuring, they find that commanding the dead just might be the easy part....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Quirky and Fun

  • By Jonathan on 03-21-13

Quirky and Fun

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

Reviewed: 03-21-13

Would you be willing to try another one of John M. Perry’s performances?

No - the narrator's voice is very dull. The performance is lackluster at best.

Any additional comments?

For what it is (a novella about teenage necromancers fighting midget demons), Chomp is very good, fun and quirky. The first part is very awkward teenage hijinx, and the latter part is good ol' fashioned demonslaying. Each part is paced well, transitioned nicely, and the three characters are consistent and reasonable.On the downside, it is short; we don't get a lot of detail about the world, the Order the characters are in, the Enemy (other demons), or really a whole lot of anything - the story is tightly focused on the events as they happen. The author has a habit of using certain words repeatedly, sometimes in the same paragraph, which can be tedious.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful