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Norma Miles

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  • Schifflebein's Folly

  • By: Iris Chacon
  • Narrated by: Jenny Hoops
  • Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Lloyd Schifflebein wants to adopt children, but he must convince authorities he is not crazy. He isn't. His teapot really is talking to him. When the social worker from hell agrees to give him a chance, things are looking up. Soon, Lloyd is the happy father of six, count ‘em, six special-needs children and their six pet bunny rabbits. The Schifflebein household is a regular day at the circus. And they’ll be a forever family, provided they can get through a probationary period with surprise inspections at any time. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It ain't over till the tea-kettle sings.

  • By Norma Miles on 17-01-19

It ain't over till the tea-kettle sings.

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

Reviewed: 17-01-19

This whimsical story is sheer delight.
Pity the synopsis is so long: best to come into it totally unaware.
It's a life affirming but totally daffy story with characters who deserve to leap straight into a film, stepping from a black and white to Technicolor screen.
This story took me totally by surprise.

Without an excellent narrator, much of the book's magic might have been lost. But Jenny Hoops was superb, voicing her characters with gusto, her expressions both funny and cynical. So her Cockney street kid accent was weird - but that just didn't matter.The whole cast of characters was a little bit odd, anyway.

My deep thanks to the rights holder of Schfflebein's Folly, who, at my request via Audiobook Boom, freely gifted me a complimentary copy to enjoy. And I did. Enormously.
Highly recommended to everyone living in our usually cynical world.

  • Killer Transaction

  • Cindy York Mystery Series, Book 1
  • By: Catherine Bruns
  • Narrated by: Amy Deuchler
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

All struggling real estate agent Cindy York wants is the home listing that was promised to her. But her deceitful co-worker, Tiffany Roberts, has other ideas, and she always manages to get what she wants. Tired of being manipulated, Cindy tells her to back off - or else! But when Cindy stumbles upon Tiffany’s lifeless body, she suddenly finds herself front and center in a deadly investigation. Now everyone from her kids' classmates to her monstrous mother-in-law is sold on the idea that Cindy's guilty.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Are you going to faint again?

  • By Norma Miles on 17-01-19

Are you going to faint again?

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

Reviewed: 17-01-19

Meet Cindy York, mother of twin boys and a teenage daughter, married to Greg for 17 years and working hard as a realtor for Hospitable Homes. But her listings don't bring in much money, especially when a co-worker named Tiffany has a nifty way of stealing her clients. Disliked by everyone in the agency, no one sheds tears for the attractive but dirty tricks woman when she ends up dead. Except Cindy is the one who found her body and she becomes prime suspect.
Filled with the interwoven problems of Cindy's domestic situation and her attempts with the help of friend Jacques, the golden boy from Hospitable Homes, to find out who killed Tiffany, this is a fun and easy to read cozy mystery. The characters are good and brought even more to life by the individual voicing of each one by narrator, Any Deuchler. Her reading of the text is well intoned and natural, closely following the story with full understanding and gentle emotion. She definitely enhances the overall enjoyment of the book.

My thanks to the rights holder of Killer Transaction, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. Sometimes touching and written with good humour, the mystery of who killed Tiffany is not that hard to suspect given the clues scattered through the book but is still a good story.
An enjoyable, non taxing, lighthearted read.

  • Tunnel Rats

  • A Sam Savage Sky Marshal Thriller
  • By: Vincent Zandri
  • Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
  • Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Sky Marshal and former Army Ranger Sam Savage has just been handed his most dangerous assignment yet, and it has nothing to do with keeping a plane full of innocent people safe while cruising the friendly skies at 35,000 feet. This time, the sky marshal is on the trail of a New Viet Cong terrorist bent on wreaking havoc on a hotel full of American and Chinese businesspeople.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Out-Rambos even Rambo.

  • By Norma Miles on 17-01-19

Out-Rambos even Rambo.

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

Reviewed: 17-01-19

No need to reprise a plot line as it is fully covered in the synopsis.
This thriller featuring Air Marshall Sam Savage (what a great name for an action hero) has him leaving his comfort zone of the air to turn into on-the-ground spook and warrior as he confronts a leader of the New Viet Cong. Plenty of explosive action as well as terrors of the more earthy kind. Scary stuff. All was very fittingly narrated by Andrew Wehrlen, whose quick action speech combined with a throwaway indolence, perfectly captured the tone of the book and the laid back attitude of Sam.

As always with Mr.Zandri's tales, this was well thought out and viscerally compelling. Edge of the seat stuff. My thanks to the rights holder of Tunnel Rats who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. Fast paced and visual, this takes readers to places they really won't want to go in their sleep. If you like action and excitement, this book is probably for you.

  • Shallow Graves Don't Lie

  • A Twisted YA Psychological Thriller
  • By: Rebecca Finn
  • Narrated by: Shelby Forbes
  • Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Susan knows she shouldn’t get involved in the murder investigation, but as her best friend’s lies and secrets emerge, they pull her along a twisted and dangerous path. As Susan begins to dig deeper, it triggers new clues that make her realize she never really knew Ally at all. Each fragment of evidence propels Susan to keep searching, but a strange thing starts to happen. She starts to see her dead best friend in the mirror.    

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Everyone you meet is capable of evil.

  • By Norma Miles on 16-01-19

Everyone you meet is capable of evil.

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

Reviewed: 16-01-19

Alysia had been missing for five days prior to the body's discovery. At the funeral, Susan wept for her friend. She thought that they had been close, that she really knew her. She was wrong.
This psychological thri!ler by Rebecca Finn is initially intriguing, becomes compelling, sometimes surreal, as it twists it's way to a surprising ending. But despite the rather tortuous plot line, it left this reader feeling unfulfilled, needing to mentally recap what had gone before.
The book is skillfully advanced by the narration of Shelby Forbes whose pleasant to hear voices breathes additional life into the characters, with good expression and intonation.

A quick book to read, although it does demand a certain amount of concentration to keep up with the plot changes and to determine what was real, but worth the effort. My thanks to the rights holder of Shallow Graves Don't Lie, who, at my request via Audiobook Boom, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy. An enjoyable, sometimes surprising, story.

  • Lady Justice and the Mysterious Box

  • By: Robert Thornhill
  • Narrated by: George Kuch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

A mysterious box left by a dying man falls into Walt’s hands. He learns, much to his dismay, that the box is being sought by agents from four countries. Walt has no idea what the box contains but is told that in the right hands it could be a blessing to mankind, but in the wrong hands, a curse. Walt is charged with the safekeeping of the box, but at what expense? Others who have come in contact with the box are dead. At some point, Walt must decide whether the contents of the box are worth risking the lives of those closest to him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A blessing or curse to mankind.

  • By Norma Miles on 16-01-19

A blessing or curse to mankind.

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

Reviewed: 16-01-19

Once again, Robert Thornhill and George Kutch, voice of Walt Williams, take readers on a glorious ride, this time with a box. It seems that everyone wants it, or, rather, what is in it, from the U.S. government to the Chinese and the Russians. When it comes into Walt William's posession, he just wants to be rid of it, but nothing goes to plan...
Another exciting story in this wonderful, long running series, featuring the elderly detective and the glorious characters he is pleased to call his friends.
Highly recommend.

  • The Agora Letters Volume 2: Five Historical Murder Mysteries

  • By: Clay Boutwell
  • Narrated by: Clay Boutwell
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

It is 1890. In the twilight of his years, Carl Brooke records his reminiscences as a member of the Agora Society. Each letter describes the society's involvement in solving a crime, often coming to the aid of Captain Barnwell of the Boston police.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Could I impose upon you to visit..?

  • By Norma Miles on 15-01-19

Could I impose upon you to visit..?

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

Reviewed: 15-01-19

This delightful series of mysteries, written in a style suited to the time period, is enjoyably convoluted. The text eloquently summons up mental pictures of heavily furnitured rooms and gaslit alleys, an atmosphere slightly darker than that surrounding Sherlock Holmes. The stories themselves,
written in the first person, are emotionally packed and, though not entirely satisfactory, are fun, nevertheless. Each story is a quick and easy listen, and an enjoyable diversion.

This volume centers around arch enemy Drake, and includes:

Murder by Monday - Brooke, of the famed Agora Society is persuaded by his reforming friend Nordlinger, to travel with him to Fowler's Manor where the manservant lives in terror expecting that he will die horribly in a matter of days.
Eggs over Arsenic - The host of a small dinner party, a rather unpleasant man, is found murdered the next morning. It is for Captain Barnwell to help discover which of the six other people present in the house committed the crime.
Remember Thy Oath - Boston in the 1800s. In the Agora Society rooms (a Gentleman's club), one of the most popular members, Edison, becomes seriously disturbed by a newspaper article and disappears. His friends Carl, the narrator of the story, and Otto, together with a mysterious priest, track him down...
The Felled Crab Apple Tree - The request for help in finding her brother from a Miss Anne Scott, brings Carl Brook far more than mere adventure to his life.
The Eye of Benny - Carl Brooke (who is also the narrator) faces his old enemy Thomas Drake in this adventure

My thanks to the rights holder of Agora Letters, volume Two, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom.Narrated with skill by the author, Clay Boutwell, this is another of his finely worded historical mystery series set when travel was slow and deduction played a large part in mystery solving. Different from Mr.Sherlock Ho!mes, but simi!at in style.
A fun read.

  • Night Shadows

  • Children of Nostradamus, Book 2
  • By: Jeremy Flagg
  • Narrated by: Robin J Sitten
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

The Warden is dead. Coming to terms with the blood on his hands, Conthan finds himself alone. But before he succumbs to crippling self-doubt, he declares war on the synthetic army. Attempting to seize power from the president, a secret society instigates a civil war on American soil. Innocent blood is shed. After a sanctuary for people with abilities is targeted and decimated, the Nighthawks are left seeking vengeance. But when the diary of a psychic is discovered Conthan realizes their actions could destroy the country they are fighting to save. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stakes are raised in a strong sequel

  • By C. Rowlands on 05-11-18

We are at war. There are no lines.

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

Reviewed: 15-01-19

Everyone, it seems, is fighting to save America, but the America envisioned is different. The President, the first woman elected, is there for life, and she intends it to be a long one. Eleanor Valentine, the psychic who could, all her life, foresee future patterns and tried to change them, is dead, but before she was murdered, had written letters to be given to people at strategic points over the next 40 years, letters which will greatly influence each recipient. Boston is radioactive. Breaking the curfew will likely result in death. Synthetics, powerful machine sentinels, roam the streets and can destroy a village, and there are strange smiling men in leather jackets appearing who seem without fear.
And then there are the Children, young people, mostly, who have developed special attributes: telportation, telepathy, kinesis, superstrength, the ability to throw lightning, make fire, even fly (almost). The children evolve and are hunted, sometimes to be subjected to laboratory testing, mostly for simple extermination. But the small group of adult Children is determined to stop the killings - even if it means war.

These are colourful comic book characters, both good and evil. And, with visual writing, the author transports the reader between locations engulfed in fire, bombarded by bullets and illusion, or to a sparse grey cell - and all places in between. Narrated again by Robin Sitten, the pace is fast and the text clear. Read with a passion and good inflection, the relative absence of voice differentiation between many of the (numerous) characters is not a problem. This is the second book in the series and it is advisable to read it's predecessor before beginning this book as, moving between 1992 and 2032, it can be a tad confusing without the prior knowledge.
.
An exciting and different Apocalyptic story, fast paced and full of action, My thanks to the rights holder of Night Shadows, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy of the book,. It is one to bring pleasure to any comic fan.

  • What Lies in the Dark

  • By: CM Thompson
  • Narrated by: Pippa Rathborne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

One murder can make a town nervous. Two brings fear. Add three, four, and more, and watch neighbor turn on suspicious neighbor.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Afraid of their own shadows.

  • By Norma Miles on 14-01-19

Afraid of their own shadows.

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

Reviewed: 14-01-19

A city somewhere in the United Kindom, surrounded by woodland and open spaces as well as containing parks and other secluded spots within it. A dog walker finds the body of a woman, her throat cut, thrown over a fence. Police conclude she'd been attacked from behind. One oddity though: the number 22 had been cut into her hand. Was this some sort of code? Or did it reference the fact that the woman was 22 years and 22 days old when she died? Or, worst scenario, that she was the 22nd victim, and there was a serial killer at large? Fears of the latter are believed confirmed when other victims are uncovered, one marked as 2 dating back several years.
In charge of the investigation are Defective Sergeants Aaron Fletcher and Victoria 'Don't call me Bullface' Bullrush, both with long service records. As time passes and bodies line up, desperation and guilt dog the police team and fear suffocates the city.

This police procedural serial killer thriller is unlike others of it's genre in that it concentrates on people: victims, law officers and the killer, their personalities, lives and aspirations, rather than the rather gruesome deaths. and on the effect the deaths have on other people. The victims have nothing in common other than being female and within the late teen to forty age range. The frequently terse writing style brings an immediacy to the story, which quickly becomes compulsive reading. The identity of the killer, though teasingly flashed before the reader, remains hidden until close to the end.

Pippa Rathborne narrates, her attractive sounding voice converting text to speech expertly, conveying emotion where required. Starting slowly, her pace increases after the first intro chapter, and moves through the novel with a confidence which increases the compulsion of the story. A fine performance.

I am grateful to the rights holder of What Lies in the Dark for freely gifting me with a complimentary copy, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you. As previously mentioned, it was unlike any other of it's kind that I have read, and, once started, completely compelling. Characterisation of all of the protagonists, with the possible exception of the killer himself, was good and this made for an even darker than usual peak inside an area being held hostage by fear.
Definitely recommended to those enjoying the serial killer genre.

  • Cafe au Lait

  • A Zion Sawyer Cozy Mystery, Book 2
  • By: M.L. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Kelley Hazen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Zion has settled into her new routine in Sequoia. She runs her coffee shop, spends her evenings on dinner dates with her lawyer boyfriend, and enjoys the calm, quiet of her little cottage. However, summer tourist season begins, and the Sequoia Chamber of Commerce decides to hold Redwood Stock. When a young woman drops dead after the concert, once again, Zion teams up with ex-cop Tate Mercer to find the murderer before anyone else is killed.... 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Probably a briefs kind of guy.

  • By Norma Miles on 13-01-19

Probably a briefs kind of guy.

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

Reviewed: 13-01-19

The Sequoia small town is used to tourists: the quaintly named shops depend upon them for survival. But they were ill prepared for, and not overly delighted by, the enormous surge of increased visitors which accompanied Redwoodstock, the first rock music festival held on the fairground venue. And even more young people flocked to meet Jaguar, lead singer of the headliner group, who elected to stay on with his two body guards, working in Zjon's cafe after the concert was over. He'd grown up in the town and wanted to be close to his sick mother as well as, hlpefully, write something to revive his group's flagging stardom.
Jaguar's help was very welcome, apart from the crowds he attracted. He was an expert with the recalcitrant espresso coffee machine and the shop was understaffed,: the usual barrister, Dimos, was under unofficial house arrest following the death of his girlfriend. Once again, retired police officer Tate was seconded to help the local force investigate, with Zion helping him.

This second book in the Zion Sawyer series is even better than the first, filled with quirky well developed protagonists and ongoing decisions of romance. The rock singer Jaguar, is a delight, despite his tats and piercings, and the mystery is pretty good, too. A fun book and an easy listen,, with narrator Kelly Hazen giving excellent voicing to all of the story's inhabitants, bringing them still further to life, as well as reading the intervening text with delicious tone and good inflection. A good performance of a fun cozy mystery.
Recommended.

  • Sticky Fingers: The Complete Box Set Collection

  • 36 Deliciously Twisted Short Stories
  • By: JT Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Roshina Ratnam, Bianca Flanders
  • Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

This compelling collection of 36 short stories by JT Lawrence is diverse, dark-humored, and deliciously bite-sized.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sticky Fingers

  • By Zoe on 25-10-18

There's something about a kettle...

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

Reviewed: 13-01-19

Sticky Fingers, the Complete Box Set, is is the bringing together of three individual previously published volumes of short stories by talented author, J.T.!awrence. Having previously read, and been impressed by, the first of the books in this series, I requested and was generously and freely gifted with a complimentary copy by the rights holder.

Book one is narrated by Bianca Flanders and it is a reading rather than a performance, with little variation given to different character definition. The timbre of her voice is pleasant and well paced, she reads, too, with apparent understanding and her pronunciation crystal sharp. However, her slight accent (South African?) sometimes left me uncertain of a given word, as in the story entitled The Itch which I initially believed was called The Etch, to my puzzlement. This mistake rapidly was corrected but there were other occasions where the meaning remained unresolved. But overall, hers was a good narration.
Books two and three have Rushina Ratman as the narrator. Sho shares the best qualities of Ms.Flanders' reading but without the distracting accent, making each story a pleasure to hear.

Sticky Fingers is more than a collection of short stories. It is a coming together of a small group of individuals, each with some strange quirk which the author brings vividly to life for the reader. Not necessarily always likable, each is, however, interesting and well worth getting to know. It is a remarkable experience. The stories, although shorter than novellas, pack an imaginative charge which sometimes shock and sometimes inspire a more thoughtful consideration. Very few fail to impress. For this reader, one of the most terrifying was The Shelter, about a small group of people who, for twenty years, have hidden, below ground, from the ravages of war. Survival had radically reduced their life style, naturally, and they were dependent on help from the lone man who had aided them initially and continued to do so through the subsequent years, bringing comfort, food and news every month or so. Then suddenly he fails to arrive.
With each new tale, the author takes the reader inside the head of a character who is telling their own story, and occasionally there just might be another person already inside, as in the detective investigation, She Did It, another favourite. And not everything is as it first appears. Most are enjoyable, all very readable and strange but at the same time completely human and real, little tastes of the surprising unique individuality of people

Although the temptation is to listen to all of the books in just a few sittings, digestion is, of course, greatly improved if taken in bite sized pieces. And the shorter length of these varied and beautifully crafted stories means that they can be enjoyed at many different points in the day.
Recommended.