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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Audiobook Review of Zombie Eyes by Robert W. Walker

Zombie Eyes: Bloodscreams #3
Written by: Robert W. Walker
Narrated by: Robert Neil DeVoe
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins 
Format: Unabridged
Release Date:07-01-14
Publisher: Robert W. Walker
Program Type: Audiobook

What starts out as one of New York’s most promising building projects turns into a nightmare when the construction crew unearths a centuries old ship buried deep below ground.  The ship, while an archeologists dream, spreads an unknown contagion and runs rampant through Manhattan.
In order to save the ever-growing army of “zombie-like” citizens from spreading the contamination throughout the country, David Stroud, who is all too familiar with supernatural occurrences, steps in to try and defeat the ancient evil that threatens to destroy them. 
This is my first “zombie book” and  my first by this author.  The archeological spin of the story made this an appealing read.  I particularly liked how characters actions and behaviors were not always consistent when faced with danger and fear.  This is how most of us would react I believe.  I also feel this more realistic aspect was shown in the conclusion of the book. 
As the story progressed and the action increased, I felt that the story would play out well in movie form and currently this would fit right in with what is popular.
Unfortunately, the narration was mediocre at best.   In my opinion, the narrator was somewhat monotone, did not always pause appropriately and I believe even bungled once on a word.   The narrator did do a good job with the pace of the story, and some of the voices were done fairly well.  I think had the narration been better the story would have pulled me in more.
Overall I would rate the book at 3 stars which for me means… Book considered "okay". I was able to finish the book and was at least partially interested/entertained. I might recommend this book to others if it seemed like something that would be a good fit for them.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Audiobook Review of The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths


Written by: Elly Griffiths
Narrated by:  Jane McDowell
Length:  8 hrs and 26 mins 
Series: Ruth Galloway, Book 1
Format: Unabridged
Release Date:  09-22-09
Publisher:  AudioGO Ltd.
Program Type:  Audiobook
Within the misty saltmarsh along the North Sea, a pile bones is unearthed.  DI Nelson suspects they may be those of a young girl gone missing ten years ago. Nelson has never closed the case and has received cryptic disturbing letters over the years since her disappearance, taunting him about her whereabouts.  He enlists Professor Ruth Galloway, a forensic anthropologist to determine the sex and age of the bones, hoping to finally bring some closure to the little girl’s family.
Then, another little girl goes missing and fearing that the same killer is at work, he and Ruth team up to try to make sense of the grisly letters hoping it will lead them to the girl, before she is gone forever.
Living alone with only her cats as companions, Ruth becomes a focal point for the killer who fears her expert knowledge might lead DI Nelson to discovering just who he/she is.
The Crossing Places is the first in a series by Elly Griffiths, and was my first read by this author.  I was delighted to find a new series that I will surely read more of.  I found the third person style of storytelling refreshing and I was fascinated by tidbits of forensic anthropology thrown into the plot.   Ruth’s lack of self-esteem regarding her appearance is one that many of us can identify with and therefore makes her character seem all the more real.  The descriptions of the saltmarsh area are vivid and captivating making it easy to picture this unique environment that is the setting for the book.
Also a first for me was listening the narration of Jane McDowell who does an excellent using her voice to add to the distinctive flavor of the area and its inhabitants.  Her slower, smooth pace and smooth transition of characters makes this a great listen.  Although there are different dialects in some of the characters she makes them all sound quite natural.
Overall I would rate this book as 4 stars, which for me means that this was a very good book. I enjoyed it, perhaps even had a hard time "putting it down". I would recommend this book to others.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Audibook Review of Crescendo by Deborah Ledford

Written by: Deborah J Ledford
Narrated by: Christina Cox
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins 
Format: Unabridged
Release Date: 12-27-13
Publisher: IOF Productions Ltd
Program Type: Audiobook

Officer Inola Wilela finds herself amidst a tumultuous sea of havoc and uncertainty that begins with what seems like a straightforward traffic stop and turns into a battle to save a young boy.    The father of the boy, a manipulative mad-man, begins a relentless pursuit to find his son so he can cash in on his inheritance.  Inola vows to keep the boy safe but he is determined to locate the boy at any cost, no matter how much violence  and bloodshed ensues.
Inola, being the only female police officer for the Bryson City force in North Carolina, is no stranger to psychological competition, but can her fortitude and strength of mind help her “keep it together “ through the raging chaos in both her professional and personal life?  Together, with the help of her fiancé Sheriff Hawk, an ex-con of a computer whiz and a streak of luck or two, Inola vows to bring the mad-man down even if it means costing her the badge she so dearly loves.
This police procedural hits the ground running and keeps the action moving.  During the few breaks in the action, readers learn more about Inola, what makes her tick, her thoughts and her dreams.  I appreciate the author’s ability to capture that we, as humans, often misjudge what others think of us and that sometimes we must take chances to rectify the mistakes we make. 
The story moves along quickly, but even so, I was routing for  Inola and her comrades and finding myself getting more and more attached to their personalities and abhorring  the “villain” increasingly as the story went on; all signs of a well-written story.  The last scene admittedly made me cry indicating I was definitely in tune with the characters.
It was a first read for me by Deborah Ledford and I would definitely read another especially if it meant I could find out how Inola and Steven Hawk’s relationship develops. 
I would warn readers that there is some strong language in this one, but violence and crime usually lend themselves to this in general.
Christina Cox narrates and does quite a good job “reading” the story, but if you are expecting much in the way of character voices it is not quite there.  I found her tone and pace to be right on the mark, but I had hoped for a bit more when it came to the actual voices.    This is my personal preference and I would not discourage anyone from this narration as she does a fine job of relaying the story in a genuine manner.
Overall I would rate this one at 4 stars which for me means …Very good book. I enjoyed it, perhaps even had a hard time "putting it down". I would recommend this book to others.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Audiobook Review of The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

Written by: John Harwood

Narrated by: Simon Vance

Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins 

Format: Unabridged

Release Date:12-10-13

Program Type: Audiobook

Living a very solitary life with his overly anxious mother, Gerard Freeman’s only reason for getting up each day is his pen friend Alice.  They share everything from the mundane to the mysteries and secrets that surround Gerard’s mothers past.   

Gerard finds his great-grandmother Viola’s ghostly manuscripts and they take him down a shadowy path leading to a dreadfully real crime.  Gerard’s passionate struggle to uncover the truth puts him in mortal danger and may just cost him his chance to be with Alice.

When I first began The Ghost Writer, I found it interesting, but I wasn’t awestruck, I just kept waiting for “something to happen”; for a while I thought it never would, but slowly that changed and I was drawn into the intricate account of Gerard Freeman’s life.   One thing that really impressed me was the author’s ability to tell a story within a story, in fact at one point a story within a story within a story.  To keep the reader engrossed in a tale and then bring them back to be just as engrossed in the overall tale takes an admirable skill, in my opinion.  With that being said, the ending of the book left me puzzled and confused.  That part is frustrating.

Simon Vance narrates and does a superb job.  I have always enjoyed his narration and some of the accents he does makes me forget that it is he alone narrating. The characters come so much to life it also makes me wonder what his real voice is like and where he originates from.

I give this one 4 stars (Which means a very good book. I enjoyed it, perhaps even had a hard time "putting it down". I would recommend this book to others.)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Audiobook Review of Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner

Written by: Lisa Gardner

Narrated by: Elisabeth Rodgers

Length: 14 hrs and 29 mins 

Format: Unabridged

Release Date: 02-05-13

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Program Type: Audiobook



“Pain has a flavor” and that flavor is oranges, at least it is for Libby Denbe.   But not so long ago when Libby’s life was without pain, a time when  her “picture perfect” life really was perfect, the taste of oranges was bliss.  She was married to the perfect man, and they had a beautiful daughter they both loved and cherished, their life together was their dream fused into reality, or at least, so she believed. 

Now, that time is over.  She and her family have been ripped away from their beautiful home into a nightmare that they fear and do not understand.  Their perfect life melts away as the dark secrets each of them holds begins to surface while their current predicament gnaws at them both physically and psychologically.

It is up to Tessa Leone and other law enforcement to find them before it’s too late.  But even if they can be saved physically, will it be too late to save them from their past?

This was the first book I have read/listened to by Lisa Gardner.  Although this is the second in the series featuring Tessa Leone the story follows well by itself.  The premise of the book was something that could be heard about on the news which is not normally the type of book I enjoy because of its modern style but some of the lesser characters were quite interesting and kept my attentiveness.    However;  What was disappointing to me was that they mystery was not challenging. I figured out the predictable conclusion very early on and was just coasting to the end to have my prediction confirmed.

The narrator, Elisabeth Rodgers, does a great job with the accent work of some of the characters, but I did occasionally find the narration a bit lulling.  These parts were very minor and overall I would listen to her narratives again and she does believable work.

I would give this book 3 stars overall (my three star rating means – I can finish the book and am at least partially interested/entertained.)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Audiobook Review of Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #1

Jodi Taylor
Narrator:   Zara Ramm
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins 
Format: Unabridged                                                            
Release Date:04-01-14
Publisher: Audible Studios
Program Type: Audiobook

At a place called St. Mary’s you might expect the words ...”and everything went white…” to be followed by some transcendent spiritual experience.  However; at this St. Mary’s those words are followed by a jump, a jump in time that transports its passengers to periods in history where they are to observe, retrieve data and log their unobtrusive encounters there.   Seems harmless right?  Wrong.   .   Being a historian is not a job for the fearless.  Max has already had her fair share of her own turbulent history before she even arrives at St. Mary’s.  Once there, chaos seems follow her know matter what time continuum she is in.   As if dealing with the complications of being hurled back into a place and time that is utterly foreign and unpredictable wasn’t enough, Max must manage to survive the relationships she shares with her quirky and unconventional colleagues. 

Jodi Taylor’s theme to this first in the series of St. Mary’s books is quite a rollicking ride.  It has all of the elements you could want:   plenty of action, a splash of romance, just a smidge of science fiction, and a spunky, strong-minded (yet quite flawed) heroine that takes you on a unique adventure. 

The narration of the story was spot-on and the peaks and valleys of the story really kept me guessing what would happen next.  I look forward to reading the next installment in the series to see how the quest continues.  I am hopeful that the second in the series will measure up to my now high expectations.

I would recommend this book to anyone and even those that are not science-fiction lovers, because the storyline captivating even without the science fiction component.

Audiobook review of The Seance' by John Harwood

John Harwood

Narrators:  Fiona Hardingham, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren

Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins                 
Format: Unabridged                                                            
Release Date:01-02-14
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.                            
Program Type: Audiobook

 For a girl, growing up in the Victorian era has its own difficulties, but for Constance Langton things are far more ghastly than properly worn bustles and guarded reputations.  Her mother is in an everlasting state of mourning over the loss of her youngest daughter Alma and her father is as detached, cold and indifferent as a wet fish.  Forlorn, Constance makes a desperate attempt to bring her mother peace by arranging a séance’ which leads to Constance finding herself all alone in the world.

An unexpected inheritance befalls her in the form of an old, dilapidated and crumbling mansion with an ominous history.  Constance becomes obsessed with disentangling the web of peculiar and eerie happenings the mansion has held for several generations and in doing so, finds her mind on the precipice of insanity and her life in mortal peril.

The author, John Harwood, does an excellent job of portraying the female character in this Victorian setting, which makes it easy to identify with the characters and follow the storyline with eager interest.  The twists and turns of the mysteries surrounding the mansion and Constance’s life bind into a clever, believable conclusion.  

I listened to the audio version of the book and I felt the narration was good although it did take me a bit to warm up to one of the narrators.  There is one scene in particular where I felt the narration was too loud (even though shouting was taking place), but overall the multiple narrators introduced in separate parts worked quite well. 

The story does take its time to build, but is worth the wait.  I would recommend this book for its grasp of the era, the intricate story that beseeches being pieced together along with it skillful narration.