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Marcus

SHOEMAKERSVILLE, PA, United States
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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-18

Sadly, wasn't a fan

This isn't a HORRIBLE book, but it did not keep me engrossed either. I found the male protagonist to be rather annoying and somewhat idiotic. In the middle of an intense situation (which he gets himself into repeatedly without seemingly learning from the last encounter) he starts thinking about his feelings, and how wonderful and amazing his wife is. What? How about focusing on getting your butt out of the fryer again?

How'd he get into the fryer? Well, he wants to help people with their spiritual problems, but can't even resolve his own and has no real idea how to do so, so he just blunders ahead. He repeatedly engages the supernatural with no real plan on how to combat it other than to wing it, get emotional, full of regret, and then get lucky.

The wife isn't too much better, although at least she is more interesting in that she has SOME level of skill and can contribute to their efforts to combat the supernatural. Their relationship was rather cheesy and it helped make this feel more like a YA novel (maybe it was supposed to be?).

I found the ghost to be the most interesting, and even that was a stretch. His backstory was pretty tragic, but then we were also made to feel that we shouldn't feel sorry for him because he may or may not have been a mean person too. It wasn't all that clear, but I walked away not really caring either way.

The narrator did a pretty good job in my opinion, though I did think her voice was a bit too wistful for some of the more intense moments.

I was provided this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest review. Sadly this one wasn't a hit for me, but I thank the author/narrator for the opportunity.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-18

Kelli makes even foreign concepts relatable

Becoming a fan of Ms Owen's works. This one was far less supernatural than a couple others, but still very interesting. Kelli is a master at developing characters and making you FEEL them.

Though I did enjoy this book, I also felt (as I did with another of Kelli's stories) that something was left on the table. She built our protagonist up to be this Angel of Death type figure -- even spent time developing his various targets, and then the book goes sideways and all of that is basically left on the cutting room floor for something that felt subpar and didn't get fully examined. She did a good job getting me interested in that story line, so much so that the eventual direction the story took left me wanting.

Still, it was an enjoyable short listen, and the narrator did an excellent job. Would recommend.

*The author provided me this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest review*

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-05-18

Great if considered a series, "ehh" as standalone

I thought the idea of this series was pretty great, a group of survivors handling each apocalyptic scenario in a different way. Not quite. While we won't really know which people will remain through the series until more books are released, this story didn't have enough of them as a group together long enough to make that idea a reality. Don't get me wrong, we do see the characters come together at some point, but it's more of a destination than a journey, which means the stories in this series will likely focus on these characters (and groups of characters) individually each time.

Individual focus would also be fine, were it not for the characters being completely forgettable. We've got a guy and a dog (how old? hard to tell since he's divorced, but is written like a 19-20 year old) who repeatedly throws himself into situations you'd think he'd be gung-ho enough to handle, but keeps getting his rear end handed to him. An ex-con for a villain that is more of a threat to himself than anyone else, a group of well-funded preppers, and 4 college students who were by far the most interesting of the pack, but also continously did stupid things that went against the characterizations the author built up for them.

The synopsis says something about "If your favorite character dies in one story, don't worry, they may live in another". I didn't really have a favorite character as none were developed to the point that I'd want to bond with them -- but it did seem the author kept that in mind as a few random deaths (including in the beginning) seemed designed just to give you a taste of someone who may actually live in a future novel.

Overall, the story isn't BAD, but it doesn't really deliver on the premise as I was hoping, and without that, there's just a disaster survival story with a bunch of semi-interesting characters. No real mystery, intrigue or, frankly, any suspense. It was fine, but I wasn't hanging onto every word either. I'll give the second book (due in August) a chance before making a decision on whether or not to stick with the series.

Kevin Pierce did an excellent job with the narration, no complaints there.

I was provided this audiobook for free in exchange for my honest review.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-18

A very good collection

Rating a compilation is always a bit harder than a single story -- especially when there are 52 involved -- so I'll stick to the "overall".

Most of the tales here are very good and some are excellent (good enough to warrant a longer novel, but still great as a self-contained short story). There are only maybe 2-3 I can think of that were disappointing, but they weren't horrible and merely paled in comparison to the rest of the wonderful works here.

The narrator did an excellent job, though at times I felt maybe his voice wasn't a good fit. To be expected I suppose when you've got 52 different stories with various characters spanning ages, sexes and nationalities, so in light of that -- excellent.

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for my honest review, and I can definitely recommend it.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-23-18

Takes the original and turns it up several notches

If you disliked the first one, don't bother here as the second is everything the first one was, but just way more ridiculous. LOTS of political commentary, lots of cheesy jokes, lots of zany plot.

Somehow it all comes together though, and stops JUST short of eye-rolling levels of ridiculous (though, if there's a part 3 and it continues this trajectory, it just might get there).

Overall, an entertaining romp. Alec Baldwin once again does an excellent job of narrating.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-23-18

Good to finally hear it

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde -- it's become a turn of phrase instantly recognizable regardless of whether or not you've read the whole story. I was one that had not, but am now glad that I did.

There are no surprises here for anyone who is familiar with the concept of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at the very least, but it is good to hear in greater detail what happened and why.

The older style of speaking and writing may become a bit distracting, but stick with it, it's good stuff.The narrator did an excellent job with the reading as well.

I was provided this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest review. At just under 3 hours, it's definitely worth a listen.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-23-18

An odd but thoroughly enjoyable short story

This story is short, but there is a LOT to take in. I at first thought that some of the earlier scenes, while good for backstory on the protagonist, were a bit of a waste. I later learned I was wrong, and how good it was to be so! I don't want to give anything away, but the author throws a lot at you and makes it all work into an odd, twisted narrative, that's completely enjoyable.

The good thing about short stories is that they tend to jump into the action quickly and keep momentum, which this story absolutely did. The bad thing? If they're well done, you end up wanting more! That was the case here, but n the positive side, this story did deliver closure so I can live with it.

The narrator did an excellent job across the board.

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for my honest review.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-21-18

Welcome back to Pine Deep

This collection of somewhat-interconnected stories set in Pine Deep were pretty enjoyable. A couple were completely standalone (as in not connected to our cast of characters from the original story), while the others actually did build on the characters we came to know.

Having read the Pine Deep stories years ago, I'd forgotten most of it, but was still able to enjoy the tales here. The final tale includes a bit more backstory as well to fill in the blanks of anything not jogged by the rest of it. That said, as the author notes, you really don't need to have read any of the other stories to enjoy these.

Of course, Ray Porter is always great.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-18

Solid buildup, rather predictable ending

The premise and build up in this story were great. The author pulls us in deep and makes us care about the character and his plight. My only gripe would be that while there was a twist ending (that you could see coming fairly early on), it left other, more important (IMO), elements of the story unresolved. The author spent a good deal of time throwing red herrings to distract us, but for me, those herrings ended up being interesting and I felt they deserved a bit more resolution.

The narrator did a good job on all characters except the main IMO. He tended to give the protagonist a whiny, childish voice even when not in a regression session. Otherwise, top notch.

Overall, a decent listen.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-10-18

Haunting short story

Normally, I start with the tale, but let me first start with the Narrator: Rinelle Harkin did an EXCELLENT job. I love reading tales with native (sounding at least) narrators. She brought the characters alive, reading with the Scottish accents that this tale calls for.

The tale itself was also excellent. It's very short, but lots of character development and history is packed into the run time. So much so, that while I got the ending the first time around, I had to go back and listen to the first section that I sort of zoned out on. I initially had no context and the author seemed to jump around a bit, so what was being said didn't full click.

Make no mistake though, it was completely worthwhile!

I was provided this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

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