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Tracey Rains

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  • 479
  • helpful votes
  • 488
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  • The Counterfeit Clue

  • Nosy Parkers Mysteries Series, Book 1
  • By: Lisa Karon Richardson
  • Narrated by: Michelle Brown
  • Length: 4 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

 Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Nosy Parkers club spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Now they're gown up, pursuing more sensible careers. But when Gemma Gaines sees a friend killed in a hit-and-run, all her instincts tell her it wasn't an accident. After finding cryptic notes in her handbag, she's convinced murder has been committed.  

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not a Bad Story, but Audio Wasn’t Edited

  • By Tracey Rains on 07-22-18

Not a Bad Story, but Audio Wasn’t Edited

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

Reviewed: 07-22-18

The story had some holes and read like a first novel. Still, I would have been game to finish it if there weren’t so many errors in the recording. When the narrator made mistakes and caught herself, no one edited it out. This is not a professional production.

  • Warped Conduit

  • Platoon F Book 6
  • By: John P. Logsdon, Christopher P. Young
  • Narrated by: John P. Logsdon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

After breaking away from the Segnal Space Marine Corps, the crew of The SSMC Reluctant is searching for what to do next. Unfortunately, a race of beings who call themselves "The Overseers" already have plans for them. It's one of those deals they can't refuse. Worse, Captain Don Harr quickly learns that his new masters truly want everyone who isn't an Overseer to die. It means no competition...  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilarious and fun

  • By John W Kennington on 08-13-15

I Don't Know What Impressed Me More...

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

Reviewed: 05-28-17

First, this is but a small part of the Platoon F saga. I highly recommend all of them. Well, not the second so much. But anyway, you can read this one first, but if you do, you'll just want to read the others, so I'd recommend you read the others first since you'll be reading them anyway. But this book can stand alone.

Mr. Logsdon and Christopher Young created a wonderful world in the entire Platoon F series. The characters are top notch; the settings are real, and they throw in enough sci-fi tech to keep a geek happy. They successfully juggle space battles with daily life in outer space scenes and first encounters. And more impressively, this novel is hilarious! They found the perfect balance between the humor and the plot. One was never sacrificed for the other.

But on to one of the best audiobook narrators I have ever heard: John P. Logsdon. I know. We're all a little wary when an author reads his own books. But Logsdon brings with him a "full cast" reading. I googled Logsdon to see if he had done voice work or acting. He's that brilliant. I can say with no hesitation that Logsdon is the best reader I have ever heard for this type of novel. I love Wil Wheaton, (and Logsdon sounds a bit Wheatonesque), but Wil Wheaton only wishes he could reach this level of mastery! (Seriously, Wil, give Mr. Logsdon a call. He can give you some pointers.)

The guided review often asks who my favorite character was as voiced by the narrator. I have no problems coming up with an answer: G33Z3R is my fave!

So, I'm still left with the question: Am I more impressed with Logsdon for his voice work, or for the novel he wrote? Maybe G33Z3R can figure it out for me.

If you're looking for some fun sci-fi, get this book now.
If you're looking for something extraordinarily well-narrated, get this book now.
If you're looking for some good laughs, get this book now.

Seriously, you were interested enough to check out a review for this book, so just go ahead and get this book now!

  • Pancakes and Corpses

  • Peridale Cafe Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Agatha Frost
  • Narrated by: Kelly-Anne Smith
  • Length: 3 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 83

Soon to be divorced Julia South never expected to be caught up in solving a murder, until she discovered the body of her cafe's most awkward customer. With a new smug Detective Inspector in town who underestimates her every move, Julia makes it her mission to discover the real murderer, before her village friends are dragged into the frame, and more bodies are discovered.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator Should be Reading to Kindergarten Classes

  • By Tracey Rains on 05-28-17

Narrator Should be Reading to Kindergarten Classes

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

Reviewed: 05-28-17

Would you try another book from Agatha Frost and/or Kelly-Anne Smith?

I might try another book from Agatha Frost, but NEVER anything narrated by Kelley-Anne Smith.

What could Agatha Frost have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Make sure anyone else was hired to read it.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She read too quickly. She was just reading the words; there was no evidence that she understood what she was saying. She could not do voices. This was just a very basic reading that any elementary librarian could have done. If I'm paying to have a book performed, the narrator needs to bring more than just pronouncing the words. Her voice was nice enough sounding in the sample, but it's very redundant over time.

Any additional comments?

This was a shame because the sample I read to myself on Amazon was very engaging. The narrator created a distance between the story and audience--the exact opposite of her job.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Strangler Vine

  • By: M. J. Carter
  • Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,198
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,011
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,009

India, 1837: William Avery is a young soldier with few prospects except rotting away in campaigns in India; Jeremiah Blake is a secret political agent gone native, a genius at languages and disguises, disenchanted with the whole ethos of British rule, but who cannot resist the challenge of an unresolved mystery.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not quite Kipling's India

  • By David on 11-14-16

Don't Waste Time Reading Reviews-Just Buy the Book

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

Reviewed: 03-09-17

OK, so you need more convincing than I gave you in the review title:

I was immediately drawn into this tale by the amazing work of Alex Wyndham. (I actually checked to see if I had missed that Simon Vance, my favorite reader, was the narrator.) By the end of The Strangler Vine, Wyndham may have unseated Vance for that grand honor. Every character is distinct; changes in accent and tone are managed so skillfully I soon forgot that I was hearing only one man's voice. Wyndham even manages to read the the few female characters in the book without making them sound silly, something I have heard very few male narrators do.

Of course, a gifted narrator is only part of the equation for a brilliant audio book. M. J. Carter creates a sense of place immediately. I have read other books set in Colonial India, but none that made it seem so real. Through Carter's characters Avery and Blake, we see two opposing view points on the Company's presence in India. The young Avery's loyalty to his county is laudable, but leads him to several dangerous blunders. Because of his sincerity and naivety, however, his mistakes never make him seem ridiculous. Don't we all long for someone or something in which we can place unquestioning trust? Blake long ago lost his enchantment with Company rule and represents a darker point of view.

While the mystery is centered around Blake and Avery's mission to find a missing British poet, it soon becomes apparent that much more is going on than any one person is told. Several times, I felt (sadly) that the book was almost over only to find that I was about half through, two-thirds through, still had two hours to go... Yet never did the book seem to drag on for no reason. Just when I thought that a conclusion was near, a twist took us (both our heroes and me) in a new directions, and it never felt contrived.

Carter obviously wants her readers to enjoy a dashing adventure in one of the most mysterious settings available without romanticizing the British subjugation of India. At the same time, she never gets up on a soap box. On occasion, I had a few, "Huh... I never knew that" moments; she managed to teach me some things about the British Raj without ever interfering with the flow of her story.

My husband and I generally like quite different books, but as soon as I finished, I recommended this to him, and we listened to it together. He loved it just as much as I did, and I enjoyed it every bit as much on a second listening as I had initially. In fact, on second listening, I realized that it was an even better book than I had realized at first.

I have just over 1,000 books in my library, and this easily makes my Top 10 List.

Stop wasting time; get this book! If you've considered this book, you won't regret it.

107 of 113 people found this review helpful

  • Deal with the Devil

  • Circles in Hell, Book 3
  • By: Mark Cain
  • Narrated by: Michael Gilboe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 311
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 287

The Lord of Hell has a staffing shortage; there aren't enough devils and demons to torment the ever-swelling ranks of the eternally damned. Satan thinks Steve is an ideal candidate for the Demon Corps. He's smart, tenacious and able to dish out punishment when the need arises. But as Old Nick tries to recruit Hell's handyman in chief, Steve gets distracted by a more pressing issue: Florence Nightingale, his on-again, off-again girlfriend, is missing, possibly kidnapped.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • even better than the first two

  • By A. Sines on 03-31-16

Tried Too Hard to be Clever

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

Reviewed: 01-11-17

I generally like books in this vein, but the plot has to be there. This book was simply trying so hard to be funny that the plot was overlooked. I didn't care about the characters or what was going to happen. It was well-read, but that wasn't enough to keep me going until the end.

To be perfectly fair, I gave up after only about 3 hour. If it got better after that, I missed it. There was potential here. If you're just looking for some laughs, it's ok. I will not be trying another book in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Diana's Altar

  • By: Barbara Cleverly
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Cambridge, October 1933. Inside the old All Hallows Church on All Hallows' Eve, Dr. Adelaide Hartest witnesses the final moments of a dying stranger. Despite the dagger plunged into the stranger's chest and his last-minute confession, the death is ruled a suicide. The victim, it is revealed, is known to Scotland Yard, and Assistant Commissioner Joe Sandilands is sent up from London to investigate.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • So. Very. Boring.

  • By Tracey Rains on 06-25-16

So. Very. Boring.

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

Reviewed: 06-25-16

I have enjoyed all of the other novels in this series, but this one was just insanely boring. It starts off with a bang! It's exciting and leads the reader/listener to expect a story that goes somewhere. But don't let that fool you. After that brief burst of activity, the novel descends into talking. Endless talking. Exposition. More talking.

I made it about 3/4 of the way through, thinking that all that jabbering would eventually give way to Cleverly's usual combination of history and plot. Not so. This really just felt like Cleverly's excuse to lecture on some of her favorite historical topics. That was interesting enough, but I wanted to hear a mystery when I started this. The mystery is far in the background. As always, Crossley did a good job with narration. It wasn't his fault that I just didn't care.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Quantum Night

  • By: Robert. J. Sawyer
  • Narrated by: Scott Aiello
  • Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 528
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 477
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 480

Experimental psychologist Jim Marchuk has developed a flawless technique for identifying the previously undetected psychopaths lurking everywhere in society. But while being cross-examined about his breakthrough in court, Jim is shocked to discover that he has lost his memories of six months of his life from 20 years previously - a dark time during which he himself committed heinous acts.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Discombobulated, but interesting

  • By Keith on 03-21-16

Theoretical Philosophy AND an Good Story...Mostly

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

Reviewed: 03-14-16

I've read many of Sawyer's books and generally enjoy them. This one falls near the top of my rating of Sawyer novels. Sawyer is obviously concerned with the nature of consciousness; it's a theme he has dealt with repeatedly. I found the exploration of levels of consciousness driving people’s behavior fascinating. I even looked up the term philosophical zombie. It’s a real thing—not like Sawyer presents it: In Quantum Night P-Zeds actually exist; whereas in reality, they’re just a philosophical construct. (I hope. But it would explain Donald Trump.)

Quantum Night had the potential to end up more an essay on consciousness, rather than a novel based around a story, but Sawyer never lets this happen. He reveals his ideas through conversations, flashbacks, and actions, rather than intrusive commentary. This is a book about ideas, but plenty happens, and the characters are well-developed.

I have to say, however, that I have some pretty serious issues with the plot in the second half. First, there was the “Well, duh, who didn’t see that coming?” moment. I could forgive that, though. More egregious was a clearly manipulated, eye-roll-inducing plot twist added just for the drama. I wanted to be able to call up Sawyer and say, “You’re better than this!”

Still, even if you only listen to the first half or so and bail when it gets silly, I still recommend Quantum Night just for the interesting ideas. Half of this book is still worth a credit.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Orbit

  • By: Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • Narrated by: Melanie Ewbank
  • Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 61

Reports of a strange, new habitable world have reached the 20 Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate. Thora was once a member of the interplanetary elite, but since her prophetic delusions helped mobilize a revolt on Orem, she's been banished to the farthest reaches of space to minimize the risk her very presence may pose.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Should Have Been a Short Story

  • By Tracey Rains on 03-14-16

Should Have Been a Short Story

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

Reviewed: 03-14-16

First, in spite of the low star rating, this is not an awful book; it just has some deal breakers for me.

I was intrigued by this book for the first hour or so. It moved quickly and introduced some interesting ideas about perception and identity. (I'm not going to go into any real plot information; you can find that anywhere.) The framing with switching between diary entries and direct first-person narrative is also well-handled, and the narrator was good.

Gilman's point in writing Dark Orbit was obviously to explore the issue of perception. How much can we trust our senses? How integral are our senses to our ability to our experience of reality? On a related note, she also deals with identity. These are great ideas, and the initial introduction of these concepts is well handled and fascinating. I love science fiction for its ability to do exactly this. I'm not a battles-in-space sci-fi reader.

Unfortunately, the novel bogged down when Moth, a planet native boards the ship and asks to be taught to see. The descriptions of trying to teach not just "her," but her brain to see quickly become tedious and take over the book at the expense of everything else. Gilman had made her point, to me anyway, quickly and did not need to belabor it. Over. And Over. And Over. At this same time, a member of the crew is trying to learn to live without sight. ~sigh~ same song, second verse. I get it, already.

I think this would have been a stellar (pun intended) short story, with all the repetitiveness eliminated and everything tightened up. It could have worked; it should have worked. It didn't. At least not for me.

It's not that nothing happens; it's just that it's so long between things happening that I stopped caring about the plot or characters. These philosophical science fiction novels only work when the philosophy is integrated, not superimposed.

Would I try another Gilman book? Well, Yes and no: The characters were well-developed, and the ideas were worth exploring, but I'd be more apt to pick up another Gilman book in print so that I could just skip over the digressions once I got the point. I don't need ideas pounded into my head with a jack hammer.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Carrier

  • By: Sophie Hannah
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Sastre
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 27

When her plane is delayed overnight, Gaby Struthers finds herself forced to share a hotel room with a stranger: a terrified young woman named Lauren Cookson - but why is she scared of Gaby in particular? Lauren won't explain. Instead, she blurts out something about an innocent man going to prison for a murder he didn't commit, and Gaby soon suspects that Lauren's presence on her flight can't be a coincidence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sophie Hannah, always interesting

  • By Margaret on 04-15-15

Well, It Helped My Insomnia...

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

Reviewed: 01-25-16

What disappointed you about The Carrier?

Everything except the narrator. The story had great promise, but after the first "scene," it was just mind-numbingly boring.

What was most disappointing about Sophie Hannah’s story?

I read the first few pages in a bookstore, and the opening was so compelling, but after that first scene in the airport, everything else was torture to get through. It's one thing if an author just can't write, but this was a particular betrayal as the remainder of the novel had none of the tone of the opening...Bait and Switch, anyone?

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene in the airport was fantastic! Truly. This was my first glance at a Sophie Hannah novel, and I was sold... unfortunately. I immediately felt like I knew the characters; I was invested in the situation; everything was there. Do yourself a favor, though; just read that scene. The rest of the book is boring, and the characters become far less engaging.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Betrayal at how such a stellar beginning became such a boring book.

Any additional comments?

I mentioned earlier that this was my first glance at a Sophie Hannah novel: It will be my last. I'm not trusting this author to maintain quality throughout an entire novel.

The narrator, however, was excellent. I'm searching out more of her work. I'd probably have given her 5 stars if I'd have been able to care about what she was reading.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Malice at the Palace

  • By: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,091
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,866
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,840

While my beau, Darcy, is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the queen - especially one that includes lodging. The king's youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London, and, above all, dispel any rumors about George's libertine history.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Is Darcy becoming another Daniel Sullivan?

  • By Archer on 08-08-15

Queenie Must Die!

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

Reviewed: 09-04-15

I have read or listened to all of the other titles in this series, and looked forward to this one, but somehow this one just didn't work for me. I think it is the over-the-top narration on this one. Every accent, every reaction, every word is a caricature. The posh accents were too snooty, even for royalty, and Queenie made me grit my teeth. I watch more BBC than American television, so I know British accents, and these are just too, too much.

I listened to some of the previous novel again before writing this, and the narration here is very similar, but in this book, it just irritates me. I think the story is less engaging for one thing. I felt like this was just the same characters doing exactly the same things. I'm tired of Georgie being poor and settling for whatever comes her way, putting up with selfish relatives and friends, stumbling into a mystery, and waiting around for Darcy. There, that's the whole book.

Most of all, I'm sick to death of Queenie. I know Georgie can't afford a top-notch maid, but the only murder I'm interested in reading about right now is Queenie's. No sane person would put up with her. Georgie should fire her or kill her and get Darcy to help her hide the body. Kellgren's voicing of Queenie is loud, harsh, and grating, more so than in previous books.

Maybe it's also just me getting tired of Belinda's selfishness, too, but I wanted to at least have the satisfaction of Georgie telling her off.

Take my advice, pass on this one!

50 of 53 people found this review helpful