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review 2018-03-19 18:30
STINGER by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan
Stinger - Robert R. McCammon, Nick Sullivan


STINGER by Robert Mccammon is simply 80's horror F-U-N! With the entire book taking place over the course of one night, it's a great example of the horror being written during that time.


This is the story of a duel alien invasion-one alien crashed on earth due to a ship malfunction, (Daufin) and the other a bounty-hunter come to track the first one down, (Stinger). All of this takes place in the town of Inferno, in west Texas.


With a variety of small town characters putting aside their differences to unite against Stinger, the universal theme of good vs. evil comes into play. The shape-shifting abilities, (for lack of a better word), of Stinger allow it to take over host bodies and bend them to its will, making this a more interesting tale than it otherwise would have been. I think it also must have been quite challenging for the narrator of this audiobook.


The narration here took me a while to get used to, most especially during scenes where there was a lot of action. At first, I wasn't sure if I would make it through the entire way, (Stinger is 500+ pages long), but I did become accustomed to it and began to enjoy it thoroughly.


This is my third time reading STINGER and I think it's possible I might read it again in the future. Sure it's infused with a lot of 80's pop culture and lingo, (all the good looking girls are smash-foxes), but that was a special time for me, and for the horror genre, so I have no problem with that. Also, I think it's possible that STINGER has influenced a lot of authors, (it's difficult not to see a connection to King's UNDER THE DOME), whether they were conscious of it or not.


STINGER was a lot of fun to listen to and Nick Sullivan did a fairly good job of bringing it all home in a fun way. If you're looking for many hours of listening enjoyment and alien invasion action, STINGER is the book for you!


*Thank you to the narrator for the free Audible edition in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-01 22:30
Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Deadfall Hotel - Matt Godfrey,Steve Rasnic Tem,Steve Rasnic Tem

THE DEADFALL HOTEL is a beautifully written story, though difficult to describe with any kind of clarity. To vaguely set the scene: a recently widowed man accepts a job as caretaker at a somewhat remote hotel, bringing along his young daughter. The current, elderly caretaker is the one who recruited him, and will be available for on the job training, in the hopes that he will soon be able to retire.


Anyone going into this book expecting something like King's THE SHINING, or Matheson's HELL HOUSE, is probably going to be disappointed. While the Deadfall does have some ghosts hanging around, the story isn't really about them. Then again, it's not really about the living people at the hotel either. (Remember when I said this is a difficult story to review with clarity?)


Here's how I viewed it, (or tried to view it), and that was by looking at each chapter as its own separate story; connected only by their setting. King of the Cats, for instance. Yes, living people were in the tale, but it was mostly about the cats and the hotel. The Craving-yes the caretaker in training was part of the story, but only incidentally.


In these little vignettes, the author really shines, (especially in regards to the werewolf and the vampire), but when it came to the living people, the narrative didn't work as well for me. I enjoyed the characters, but they did a LOT of things that weren't believable. Towards the end, a few of their confusing actions were explained, (like why they went there in the first place), but the father repeatedly putting his daughter into danger was something that was not explained to my satisfaction.


Aside from these issues, I truly enjoyed this story. I've long been a fan of Tem's writing, but other than his novel UBO, (which I loved), I've not read any of his longer works. I pulled over in my car, so I could bookmark this quote from the audio:


"Fall is but a whisper in these environs. With so much death and decay on display year-round, we hardly notice the autumn and so it truncates, crawling off sullen and insulted by our lack of attention."


As I said above, I listened to this story, and I loved the narration-especially the voicing of Jacob, the elderly caretaker. Most chapters started off with quotes from his journals over the years and I think those were my favorite parts.


Even though DEADFALL HOTEL wasn't quite what I was expecting, it did grow on me, and I did end up enjoying it. I would go there for a visit...as long as I didn't have to go near that godawful swimming pool. (Trust me, that pool was SCARY.)


Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy, and/or weird tales!


*I received the audio of this book free of charge from the narrator with no strings attached. I chose to review it anyway. Furthermore, I consider the narrator to be a friend, even though we've never met in person. That fact did not affect this, my honest review.*

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review 2018-02-20 19:15
West Cork by Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde
West Cork - Audible Originals,Jennifer Forde,J.H. Bungey


For a few years in my teens and early twenties, I considered myself a true crime buff. I especially liked the books written from a criminal profiling point of view-like the books of Robert Ressler or John Douglas. I also loved the books of Jack Olsen and still think about them quite often. When I saw WEST CORK was available as a free pre-order, I jumped on it and I'm told it's still free at Audible, in case you're interested.


Knowing going in that this case was still not solved made this a little different from the true crime I've read in the past. Those books generally involved cases that did have a verdict. This one doesn't and that makes the experience a little bit frustrating. But in the end, it can't be as frustrating as it is for the victim's family who is still pursuing the case to this very day.


WEST CORK is related as a series of half hour shows, (I guess this was originally a Podcast?), so there is a lot of repetition with the opening and closing of each episode. That said,  I appreciated how the story was presented, starting with the murder victim, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, and then proceeding to lay everything out in chronological order. At certain points, it is actually hard to believe how bungled things became during this investigation. Seriously, some of it seemed like it just could NOT be true...but it was. I'm not going to get into the specifics so as you can hear the details as the producers intended.


For myself, as a fan of true crime, I found this case fascinating. Not only as to how the investigation proceeded, but also, later on, as to how the laws for proceeding with criminal and/or civil charges vary from country to country. I was surprised, to be honest, that some of the people acting as eyewitnesses weren't criminally charged, (if you listen to this, you'll know why). Lastly, I was surprised by how much certain people want publicity, be it good or bad, THEY WANT IT. I can't for the life of me see why?


I enjoyed listening to this well put together presentation of the case(s), and I only wish my enjoyment didn't have to come at the expense of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. May she rest in peace.


*Thanks to Audible for the free download of this production.*

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review 2018-01-28 14:23
warm and fuzzies!
Smitty's Sheriff - Cardeno C.,Ezekiel Robison
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I PURCHASED my ebook copy of this book (July 2017) and I was GIFTED the audio file of this book. Richard dumped Todd because was too young to be committed to him, but when Todd gets a second chance at happiness, he pulls out all the stops. This is book three in the Hope series, but you don't need to have read the other two for this to make sense. But they are great reads. As is this one! Richard let Todd go, because Todd was still seeing other guys and Rich did not want to share. But he failed to tell Todd that! So when Todd finds out WHY Rich dumped him, he's keen to clear the air and try to get back into Rich's bed and his heart. And its a beautiful story! It follows a CC track record, with the guys having done their break up, and this story is their make up. Its well written fro both Todd and Rich's point of view. It's sexy in places, and heart breaking in others, especially when we get to just what causes Rich to push Todd away. I read this a while a go, but was going through a rough parch and didn't get a review written, but given the opportunity to LISTEN to it, I jumped at the chance! Ezekiel Robison narrates, and he does an amazing job! I think I preferred the audio version to the print version, if I'm totally honest and ya'll know I gotta be honest!! Robison's voice is smooth, and deep and even and his voices are spot on how I imagined Todd and Rich to sound like. I had no trouble following multi person conversations. He manages to get across what I did not get when I read, what THAT is, exactly, I have no idea, but there was something missing when I read it that was not there when I listened to it, and that can only be put down by the excellent skills of Robison. 4 stars for the book 5 stars for the narration 4.5 overall. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**


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review 2018-01-26 18:45
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on my Face? Written and Narrated by Alan Alda
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating - Alan Alda

Alan Alda is a joy to listen to and he's a good writer. This book, despite its fun title, is a serious tome-focused on getting across how important it is to communicate clearly and effectively. Examples are cited, and exercises and games are detailed to help you do exactly that.


Focusing on the other person in a conversation, (not just waiting for your turn to speak), and noting their facial expressions and body language are key. According to Alda, if you are not willing to be changed by a person/conversation then you are NOT really open and listening.


It turns out that empathy is really important in effective communication. One of the exercises in this book mentions watching a person's face during a conversation and specifically noting and NAMING, (silently), the emotions you see on their face. This will sometimes tell you what they are going to say or do next. It tells you if they're understanding what you're saying, or if instead they are bored or confused. At times and with practice, it will sometimes seem to people that you can read minds, but what you're really doing is truly LISTENING.


Because Alan Alda has such a warm, comfortable style I learned a lot from what in less capable hands could have been a very boring book. It also might be due to the fact that Alda is an extremely effective communicator. I have already started to put some of these games and exercises into practice and I believe they have already helped me in certain areas of my life.


If you are open, (read: WILLING TO BE CHANGED), then I highly recommend this book!


*I borrowed this audiobook from my awesome public library. Libraries RULE!*

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