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  • The Emperor's Soul

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Angela Lin
  • Length: 3 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,045
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,547
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,563

When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pure Genius!

  • By bluestategirl on 02-01-18

Very creative and entertaining

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

Reviewed: 11-10-18

This is wonderfully well written and creative story telling.

Shai is a magical “forger” using mediums and soul stamps to forge art, both small and large. If she knows the make-up elements of her subject she is able to recreate it. She is caught as a result of a betrayal. On the eve of her scheduled execution the official arbiters, offer Shai a deal if she will forge a new soul for the secretly comatose Emperor. Although her Soul-Forgery skill is considered an abomination, the arbiters are willing to use it to help them retain their positions of power.

Shai agrees to the project which would allow her freedom… and life. She is ever the opportunist. The arbiters are cautious about her skills as several believe that she is skilled enough to change even the fabric of her cell to make an escape. They go to great lengths to secure her. Shai does plan to forge an escape but she is under constant watch. She is supervised by Gaotona, a man who respects the quality of her skills but disdains her use of them for forgery – not recognizing her form of art.

Shai is offered secret deals by a power-hungry arbiter. She fears that even if she accepts the offer the woman will have her killed before letting her go free. It may take all of Shai’s excellent skills to fashion a way out of her situation and she has a limited amount of time and resources.

This story is wonderfully creative, imaginatively plotted, beautifully written and executed. I kept seeking times to listen as I was fascinated by Shai’s mind maneuvering and the rapport she builds with Gaotona. The story is full even though it is short. By the end my thoughts were “author Brandon Sanderson is an artist”. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a skillfully crafted mystery and fantasy.

Audio Notes: Angela Lin is a narrator who is new to me. Her voice captured the character of Shai and the twisting nuances of the story. The narration enhanced an already excellent work. I would be glad to listen to other books she has narrated.

  • First Death

  • A Seventeen Series Short Story #1
  • By: AD Starrling
  • Narrated by: Michael Bower
  • Length: 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Carpathian Mountains, Moldavia, 1570. Ten-year-old Lucas' life is a simple but happy one. All that changes when the Hunters finally track down his whereabouts. Forced to bear witness to horrific scenes that forever shatter his innocence, he discovers the shocking secret behind his less than ordinary existence. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Short, engaging lead in to the series.

  • By MSEreads on 11-06-18

Short, engaging lead in to the series.

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

Reviewed: 11-06-18

The story is set in Carpathian Mountains in 1570 This introduces a 10-year-old boy, Lucas, who has been raised in seclusion by his loving parents. They have taught him to be a skilled outdoorsman and hunter, but they did not tell him of his heritage or destiny. One afternoon he learns the truth during a horrific attack on his family.

Lucas awakens amid the bodies of his parents and their five attackers. He packs the important items from his home and sets off for a village a few days away. Along his journey he is aware that someone or something follows. He escapes a pack of wolves to arrive at the village and follow his mother’s last spoken word.

The writing is simple and exciting in tone. Although this story barely sets the stage, it pulled me into Lucas’ world and made me want to follow his adventures and learn more of what happens in the series. I can’t say how I will like it until I try a fuller episode. This is a good start for those who enjoy fantasy with adventure and danger.

Audio Notes: Michael Bower does a good job with the narration. The presentation is crisp and clear with voices to match characters. The reading conveys the story with empathy and I will want to listen to the first full volume of the series.

  • Where Wolves Run

  • A Novella of Horror
  • By: Jason Parent
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Ip
  • Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

The dense Bavarian forest outside the town of Rattenberg has long been rumored to harbor something sinister, something wild - mythical beasts that vanish into the shadowy woods after each attack, leaving carnage as the only evidence of their existence. Many villagers turn a blind eye to what is happening, but those who believe tremble at the mere whisper of the word: werewolf.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow. LOVED this story!

  • By Tatiana on 02-16-18

A Quick Listen With Ironic Horror.

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

Reviewed: 11-06-18

Konrad has been raised by his loving mother since they were abandoned by his father. For a number of years he longed to have his father return and develop a relationship. However, as time goes by with no appearance by his father he closes his heart to him. One-night howling and a ruckus is heard outside their door. Konrad's mother rushes him to the root cellar under the floor telling him to stay there no matter what happens. This night brings his father back, now not so welcome, and changes Konrad’s life.

The interaction between Konrad and father and the dangers they face fills the rest of the story and contributes to the ironic horror. The story moves along at a quick pace. There are moments of tenderness but more moments of danger and, of course, horror. I enjoyed this quick story and its irony even though I am not a huge fan of horror stories. I do recommend it to horror fans.

Audio notes: Jonathan does a good job of narrating this short work. He expresses voices for the characters and gives them energy. The narration contributed to my enjoyment of the story.

  • The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

  • By: April Henry
  • Narrated by: Cristina Panfilio
  • Length: 5 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,088
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,934
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,934

"Take her out back and finish her off." She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that two men are arguing over whether or not to kill her.And that she must run.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Strong start sputters to a stall....

  • By Kimberly on 03-17-17

Full of good tension.

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

Reviewed: 11-06-18

Story and Audio rating 4.25.

Cady was kidnapped and tortured for information. When the kidnappers were done with her she was supposed to be killed. Instead she struggled and surprisingly escaped. She is on the run knowing that she is being hunted. She manages to get a young man to help her, pulling Ty into her run from death. They don’t know who to trust or where to hide since the evil men always seem one step behind them and have framed her for a crime in order to pull her in.

The author does a clear presentation in first person with good confusion, mystery and tension expressed through the fear of the character. The story is full of twists, turns and great tension. Although the characters are young and don't always think things through, I was pulled into the story from the beginning and it moved quickly with the suspense. I am glad I picked this up as a daily deal. I will look for more by Ms. Henry. This is suitable for young people as well as adults.

Audio Notes: Cristina Panfilio did a good job with the narration. She portrayed the young voices and gave the characters energy. The narration enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

  • The Lilac Bouquet

  • By: Carolyn Brown
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,326
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,075
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,061

Come hell or high water, Emmy Jo Massey will have a wedding. After three generations of Massey women with children out of wedlock, she wants the whole town of Hickory, Texas, to witness the legitimacy of her union with Logan Grady. But dream weddings aren't cheap. So she accepts a highly lucrative stint as a home health assistant to retired realtor, and town recluse, Seth Thomas - a decision her great-grandmother Tandy is dead-set against.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved this book!

  • By Mercy Boujarwah on 09-28-17

This is a lovely read/listen.

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

Reviewed: 11-06-18

Young lovers preparing to wed must find a way to reconcile their feuding families. My rating 4.5 Story and Audio.

Emmy Jo Massey is a young woman who comes from a family of unwed mothers. Emmy is determined on getting married to her fiance, Logan Grady, so the whole town will know about it. The problem is that their great-grandparents are part of a long time feud, which includes the town recluse, Seth Thomas. These three won't be in the same room together, much less speak to each other. Emmy takes a job as a home health provider to Seth over the objection of Her great-grandmother, Tandy. Seth isn't thrilled with having a Massey in his home either. Emmy is intent on earning the money to help cover her wedding costs and now she is intent on unraveling the secret of the animosity of the people she wants to share her joy with.

Emmy is a lovely character and her determination and sunshine break down the walls of the frozen, bitter hearts around her. The secrets of the past are slowly revealed and evoke emotions of anger and sadness at the wasted years. There were choices that were made and some terrible treatment, even, or especially, by some so-claimed Christians. There are Biblical themes gently shared through the story. The story was an easy read/listen with engaging twists that kept it interesting. It addresses more family, people issues than just a romance. I hope to read more by Carolyn Brown.

Audio Notes: I was very comfortable with the narration by Brittany Pressley. I can't speak to the accuracy of the accents but I enjoyed the voices for the characters. The narration added to my enjoyment of the story.

  • How to Marry a Werewolf

  • A Claw & Courtship Novella, Book 1
  • By: Gail Carriger
  • Narrated by: Emma Newman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151

The monsters left Faith ruined in the eyes of society, so now they're her only option. Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be. Americans: Backward heathens with no culture, Major Channing has never had time for any of them. But there's something special about Faith. Channing finds himself fighting to prove himself and defend his species. But this werewolf has good reason not to trust human women.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • A miss

  • By Dark Siren on 08-23-18

Loved This

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

Reviewed: 11-01-18

It has been a while since I enjoyed the Protectorate series and I was happy to be back in that world. Major Changing is a growly, reluctant suitor but he meets his match in Faith. She is a bit of an independent, strong American who had been rejected by her family and sent to London to capture a werewolf mate if she can.
The character interaction is fun especially with the secondary characters pushing things along.
I enjoyed when these two revealed their vulnerabilities and accepted each other's strengths.
I like this author and recommend her werewolf series for the light escape and romance they share.
Audio Notes: Emma Newman does a fine job with the narration. She gives each character their appropriate voice and personality. There are some 'thought asides' presented in a different tone, which I found acceptable once I realized what it was. I do recommend this as a fun audio experienced.

  • Heartless

  • By: Mary Balogh
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 625
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 574
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 577

Life has taught Lucas Kendrick, duke of Harndon, that a heart is a decided liability. Betrayed by his elder brother, rejected by his fiancée, banished by his father, and shunned by his mother, Luke fled to Paris, where he became the most sought-after bachelor in fashionable society. Ten years later fate has brought him back home to England as head of the family who rejected him. Unwilling as he is to be involved with them, he must assume responsibility for his younger siblings, the family estate he once loved - and the succession.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hero's redemption makes this worth reading

  • By Lady Wesley on 09-03-15

This is engaging and charming!

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

Luke has steeled himself to block out love after losing his first love. He is a consummate dandy but all man, skilled at pistol, sword and women. He has returned from Paris to London at the request of his Uncle to take on the responsibilities of being a Duke and head of the family since his elder brother died two years before. He has been away since he was banished ten years before over a family quarrel. Although he hasn't thought about marriage, and doesn't have love to offer, he decides he should marry before going to face his country home and his widowed sister-in-law.

Lady Anna is a young woman of bright, sunny disposition which hides pain and secrets. She has not planned to marry due to the threat of a man in her not too distant past. But he has not returned from America and she decides to enjoy this taste of freedom in London.

Luke and Anna agree to marry after a three day acquaintance. They have much to learn about each other and the secrets begin to unravel on the wedding night. They both experienced betrayal in their past and current situations and have to reach beyond that if they are going to save their marriage.

I really enjoyed the tone of this story and I loved the growth and transition for these characters. There is good conflict and suspense that carries through to the end. I don't agree that Anna should have held her secrets so long but she had cause to be fearful. I really liked Emily as a character and other secondary characters added to the delightful package. A little more sexual spice than I like which is surprising as this is a back title (1995 I think) set to audio. I do enjoy this author and highly recommend her stories to readers who love historical fiction.

Audio Notes: Rosalyn Landor is a wonderful narrator. She nails the voices and emotions and I love listening to her.
My rating overall 4.5; narration 5.0.

  • Brothers in Valor

  • Man of War, Book 3
  • By: H. Paul Honsinger
  • Narrated by: Ray Chase
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,125
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,029
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,025

Sometimes Captain Max Robichaux fights by the book - and sometimes he throws the book away. This makes him one of the Union Space Navy's rising stars. It's also what has kept him and his green crew alive...thus far.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing too exceptional

  • By Joshua on 05-30-16

Great entertainment.

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

Max Robichaux is a young space Captain on the space destroyer USS Cumberland, a ship that was previously mocked for its losses. The crew knew more about polishing the rivets than fighting the enemy of the Union until Max became their Captain. Since then they have faced danger and come out alive through Max’s quick, sometimes out of the box thinking.

The action starts as Max has to help the ship and crew escape from overwhelming odds. He will have to pull a rabbit out his hat – or try a trick that has never been done- to succeed.

Next the Cumberland is sent on a covert mission that takes them into the heart of the enemy. There is initial conflict as the other Captain he is paired with is a seasoned man who doesn’t want to take orders from Max. Once that conflict is resolved, they proceed with a daring plan. Although it means they may end up stranded with the enemy they have to take the risk to capture a key leader to have a chance of stopping the war.

I loved the non-stop action and danger in this story. Max is a great character who comes up with ingenious tactical solutions and is willing to trust his crew to know their jobs and make effective suggestions. Dr. Sahin, chief medical officer and special ambassador, adds good humor with his side comments and views from a nonmilitary aspect. I like the other crew ‘family’ and shared in their emotions.

I am only sorry that Mr. Honsinger has no other books for me to get. I do recommend this series to readers who enjoy action packed military space battles.

Audio Notes: As with Book 2, Ray Chase does a great job with the narration. He captures the intensity, the dry wit and the quirks of the characters. The listening experience enhanced the entertainment of the story.

My Rating: Entertainment/Story 4.5 of 5.0; Performance 5.0 of 5.0.

  • Discount Armageddon

  • InCryptid, Book 1
  • By: Seanan McGuire
  • Narrated by: Emily Bauer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,344
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,244
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,247

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity - and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Monster hunting and ballroom dancing...who knew?

  • By Dianne Herbert on 04-06-13

Good elements for urban fantasy but didn’t grab me

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

My rating: 3.75.
Verity Price is from a long line of monster hunters who broke away from the original Covenant of St. George. The Covenant believes in killing all monsters whether they are predators or not. The Price family line realized that some cryptids (other than human) are harmless and innocent. The Price family now train as cryptozoologists who study the cryptids, protecting them instead of killing them. They still need to defend themselves and the criptids so they train in all sorts of battle skills and weaponry. Verity’s favorite method of training is through dance but her family will only let her participate in dance under an assumed name and if she can show she still manages her true family purpose.

Verity has gained the privilege to be away from the family, living in Manhatten with a wonderful collection of special talking mice who love to Hail a new celebration almost every day. Verity works as a waitress at a local strip bar which is owned by a boogeyman. She participates in local dance contests hoping to advance to regional and national contests.

Verity stumbles into a trap set by a Covenant hunter in town scouting the monster situation. Their first encounter is less than friendly although they soon find themselves working together to help find local criptids who are going missing. Dominic and Verity encounter lizard-men in the sewer while investigating the missing women and a rumor about a dragon under the city.

I was drawn to the description of various monsters and monster hunters. There is plenty of action but for some reason I had trouble connecting with the main character. I don’t know if it was her portrayal as a young, rather careless warrior or the audio presentation just didn’t jive for me. I liked the secondary characters including Dominic, the Covenant hunter, and Verity’s friend/cousin Sara, a telepathic mathematician. There was more sexual discussion than I like, which isn’t unusual for the genre. As the story moved along I did enjoy the danger and the rescues. Although there are good elements for a strong beginning to an urban fantasy series, it just didn’t get me enthused. There are mixed reviews so take a peek at the inside of the ebook or listen to the sample and see if you want to give it a try.

Audio Notes: Emily Bauer delivers a perky presentation with sometimes nasally and whiney sound. She does provide distinct character voices and energy. Still, the narration didn’t make the package work for me.

  • The Dispatcher

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Zachary Quinto
  • Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,660
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,148
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,090

Zachary Quinto - best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes - brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi. One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Grief This Was Good

  • By Matthew on 11-09-16

A different future dilemma and a good mystery.

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

My Rating 4.5.

It is a future time and murder is almost impossible. Not because there are no criminals or bad people. They can kill, but 99.9% of the victims vanish and wake up at home or a familiar, safe place… and alive. A few people train to become licensed “Dispatchers”. The Dispatchers are called in to ‘dispatch' people who are about to die, whether from a violent act, during surgery gone wrong or an accident. It takes a special person to be able to deal with the emotions and consequences and Tony Valdez is such a person.

A local police detective calls on Tony to help find a fellow Dispatcher who has gone missing. Tony and the man used to be friends but the man’s wife blames Tony for introducing her husband to a shadier part of dispatching -- undocumented or “under the table” jobs. The police detective is sure that Tony can uncover clues even if he is forced to work against his will.

It is clear from the beginning of the story that not everyone approves of the job of a Dispatcher. There are tensions and ethical considerations to explore. Who knew that the aspect of ‘licensed to kill” could be a fun premise for a mystery. Well, obviously talented author John Scalzi figured this out. I enjoyed the quick detective investigation and the sometimes-brash dialogue and interaction between characters. I also liked the clever (albeit cruel) methods for killing that are used.

This does not have the humor aspects readers might associate with Scalzi. However, it has the Scalzi imagination and creativity. This is a short story but I could see it being a premise for other mysteries. I recommend this to mystery and fantasy/sci fi fans.

Audio Notes: Zachary Quinto did a great job with the narration. He nails the tone without infusing excess emotion. This fit the darker nature of the mystery. The narration enhanced my enjoyment of the story.