LISTENER

C. Rowlands

  • 117
  • reviews
  • 71
  • helpful votes
  • 130
  • ratings
  • Lysandra

  • The Cygnus Virus Series, Book 2
  • By: T.J. Zakreski
  • Narrated by: Sarah Sampino
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Lysandra is the second book of a sci-fi trilogy, promising the listener a suspenseful and entertaining listen that will leave them wanting more. Interwoven through both books are themes of cloning, virtual reality, redemption, and vengeance. Lysandra is a genetically modified Magdalene who wants to be like any other teen living on Terra, but the unholy Church won’t leave her alone. After it tries using its ownership of her DNA to try to control her, there’s a nasty trial and some wicked turns through which Lysandra and the listener discover Lysandra’s hidden powers.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting ideas, but whole doesn't quite work

  • By C. Rowlands on 15-02-19

Interesting ideas, but whole doesn't quite work

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

Reviewed: 15-02-19

This book has a lot of very interesting elements, but perhaps the book would have been stronger with a tighter focus on fewer of them as it felt like it spread itself too thinly for much of the book and didn't draw me in as much as it could have done. By the end of the book, it was interesting enough that I would be interested in reading more in the series.

The performance of the narrator was a strong one that nicely enhanced the overall story with a suitably distinctive range of tones for the various characters that feature in this book.

Overall, this was an interesting book that wasn't quite as strong as the sum of it's parts.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • First Login

  • Chronicle, Book 1
  • By: Kevin Murphy
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

In a not-too-distant future ripe with marvels of technological convenience, wage and work disparity are as rampant as they ever were. A new game makes a claim that's bolder than its competition: So long as players are logged in, they'll have extra time to live. Like most, Corbin has been stunted by the real world. Now that chance has given him a new lease on life in the form of a game, he'll do whatever it takes to pursue it. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I need money and I want power.

  • By Norma Miles on 28-01-19

Interesting start to this series

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

Reviewed: 15-02-19

The focus of this book was very much on the in-game stuff, it is unclear if the author intends to split his focus to expand on the real world more in subsequent books, but if that is the style you prefer with these types of book then it might not be an ideal fit for you.

The in-game part of this book amounts to a fairly standard fantasy world with the magic system being well-realised and having some unique elements to it as well, watching the main character slowly come to grips with it actually helps to draw you into the story quite well.

Another thing that draws you into this book is the performance of the narrator, his range of voices for the characters ensures that they are suitably distinctive and he enhances the overall story of the book greatly.

Overall, I found this an enjoyable listen and look forward to subsequent ones in the series.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • Mouse's Tale

  • An Alpha League Supers Novel
  • By: Kevin Hardman
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

Mouse - the mysterious man with the unassuming moniker (and the mentor of teen super Kid Sensation) - finally has his story told. Brilliant and gifted, Mouse is a mental whiz who fails utterly in his initial attempts to join a superhero team. With his dream ostensibly out of reach, he eventually ends up working at an electronics repair shop, toiling in relative obscurity but seemingly content and at peace with the hand fate has dealt to him. However, a surprise visit from the Alpha League - the world's premier team of superheroes - changes all of that in a heartbeat.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Subtle powers make for an interesting listen

  • By C. Rowlands on 15-02-19

Subtle powers make for an interesting listen

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

Reviewed: 15-02-19

This was the first book I have encountered that is set in this universe, so I cannot be sure if I am missing something by starting with this one, but it did seem like a good introduction with the focus on a single hero with fairly subtle powers rather than a flashy team.

The main character in this book was a likeable one, far more so than the mostly overbearing and obnoxious 'Alpha League' team members who were so annoying at times that they made me less interested in reading books that focused on them for most of it.

The narrator did a good job with enhancing this story, helping to make the main character more interesting and keeping the supporting cast sufficiently distinctive from each other too.

Overall, I would be very interested in reading more about Mouse and to a lesser extent other characters in this universe.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • Will of Fire

  • By: Rhett C. Bruno, Jaime Castle
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 17 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

The villainous Drad Redstar has won the favor of king and country after leading a decisive victory over the rebels at Winde Port. Now with a seat on the royal council, he condemns Torsten to a lifetime in the dungeon and invites his militant people to take up residence in the capital. But not all light has been squelched. There is one disgraced King’s Shieldsman left who remains loyal to Torsten, and only he can help free the Glass Kingdom from Redstar and his dark desires to revive the Buried Goddess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Series goes from strength to strength

  • By C. Rowlands on 15-02-19

Series goes from strength to strength

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

Reviewed: 15-02-19

First things first, this is book three in this series and you need to get the first two before this one to fully appreciate it, but you will not regret doing so in the slightest.

This instalment of the series is an enjoyable listen that continues to escalate the troubles for our main heroes and also adds a few more characters, who seem like they will be recurring in subsequent books.

The narration performance continues to be highly entertaining and enjoyable, enhancing the overall story greatly.

Overall, this series is a highly enjoyable one and well worth a listen if you enjoy a fantasy series with likeable and interesting characters.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • Monster M.D.

  • By: Leighton Lawless
  • Narrated by: Chris Graves
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9

In a near future where monsters and humans coexist, Hieronymus "Jer" Bennington isn’t your run-of-the-mill psychiatrist. Despite losing his parents to a monster attack, Jer doesn’t judge people by the clothes they wear or the horns on their head. Instead, he runs a controversial clinic where he offers therapy to beastniks, but when his best friend’s suspicious death implicates him for murder, he hunts for the truth in a sexy-dangerous underworld filled with mythical creatures. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More serious than you might expect

  • By C. Rowlands on 24-01-19

More serious than you might expect

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

Reviewed: 24-01-19

The old saying of not judging a book by it's cover should be expanded to also include the books description with this one, from the cover design and the summary it seems like it is going to be quite a shallow and cheesy book, but on the whole it mostly manages to exceed those expectations to deliver a pretty decent near-future scifi story set in a world where more traditional fantasy creatures have long coexisted with humans, albeit as 2nd class (at best) citizens.

The narrator did a good job overall with this book, delivering the story clearly and ensuring that all the characters were suitably distinctive as well.

Overall, this book was not without it's flaws, but it had entertaining characters and an interesting plot to make it an enjoyable listen.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]



  • Horde

  • By: Ian Thomas Healy
  • Narrated by: Nick Jermyn
  • Length: 14 hrs and 41 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

Orcs used to be a fearsome fighting force, and the unleashing of the Horde brought terror to humans, elves, and dwarves time and time again over the centuries. Nowadays, there aren't any more Ultimate Evils, necromancers, or dark wizards left to hire the Horde. Paug Blumpkin is smart for an orc (rather like saying he's smart for a box of hair). He's bored of training with the rest of the Horde for a war that will never come, and he's definitely tired of polishing his helmet. So he decides to set off in search of adventure, bringing along his cheerfully idiotic brother Milph, who has a regular habit of forgetting his pants.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lighthearted take on traditional fantasy

  • By C. Rowlands on 24-01-19

Lighthearted take on traditional fantasy

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

Reviewed: 24-01-19

I have previously listened to a number of books from this author that were set in his Just Cause superhero universe and having enjoyed those, I was looking forward to this take on the fantasy genre and overall I found it to be very enjoyable.

It is often quite tricky for an author to attempt a more humorous take on a particular genre, if it is done then it can come across as little more than a mean-spirited mockery of the original genre. Luckily, the author has managed to avoid this issue by producing a story that is holds up in it's own right rather than merely serving as a vehicle for the humour of it. The only place where the book could have been a little stronger might have been the ending which seemed to wrap things up a little too neatly, but even that makes for a nice contrast to most books that seem like they are overly focused on the setup of any sequel.

The changes to some of the fantasy race archetypes such as elves being more concerned with drugs etc to relieve their boredom or human heroes actually being arrogant idiots, while the orcs are more a bureaucracy than a race are all nice little twists that show more subtlety than some of the character names where the humour is a little more heavy-handed.

The narrator did a good job with this book, the characters were all suitably distinctive and his overall performance had a clear and pleasant tone that helped to enhance the book, although I was initially slightly distracted at first as his voice sounded quite familiar, sounding quite like Yahtzee Croshaw.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable audiobook from this author and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a slightly more lighthearted take on the traditional fantasy style.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • The Savageside

  • The Flipside Sagas, Book 2
  • By: Jake Bible
  • Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
  • Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Operator Trevon Cash, along with his friends, his colleagues, and an international coalition of military personnel, must fight horrific new dinosaurs, survive a landscape in constant turmoil, and somehow figure out how to get back to their time while their modern technology fails, new mega-predators attack, and a Russian army bears down on them! 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great adventure

  • By MR on 21-01-19

Terrible cover font, much better book

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

Reviewed: 10-01-19

This book is a strong one in it's own right, but I think most people will appreciate it more if they listen or read the first one in the series before it as having that foundation nicely enhances your overall impression of this one. This book again has that same action movie feel to it and for the most part it works, but I do feel that some of the characters may suffer a little because of it.

The narrator put in another strong performance on one of this author's books and I can understand why they continue to work together on them as they seem to be a good fit.

Overall, a good book, but definitely stronger as a book two if you consider the series as a whole.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • Winds of War

  • By: Rhett C. Bruno, Jaime Castle
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

Full-scale rebellion rages in the south, and Sir Torsten Unger must lead the Glass Army to face it. But when a new and unfamiliar king forces Torsten to march alongside one of his fiercest rivals, he must draw on his faith to keep the army from fracturing. Whitney Fierstown continues his tutelage of the blood mage, Sora, who is desperate to get a better handle on her mysterious powers. Their journey brings them to the merchant city of Winde Port, where they seek passage to Yaolin City aboard a ship. It's smooth sailing until they realize an old nemesis is hunting them....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great sequel!

  • By MR on 21-01-19

Strong sequel and still more strong accents

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

Reviewed: 08-01-19

Firstly, this is a direct sequel to book one and you should read or listen to that one first as it is well worth it and you will then appreciate this one much more as well.

Our three protagonists spend quite a bit of time being out of their depth in this book as the overall situation for the world has escalated quite a lot since book one, albeit the self-confidence of Whitney will rarely allow him to admit such a thing even to himself despite the new and returning enemies they have to face this time round.

I am not sure if the narrator is having fun with these books or not, but he certainly sounds like he is with some accents continuing to be a little outlandish at times, although thankfully he has either toned down the one he uses for Whitney or I have become acclimatised to it by now as that one no longer grates. I do still wish they would drop the reading of the chapter tags that signify who is going to be the focus of it, they are totally unnecessary with the performance and needlessly detract from it in the process.

Overall, this is a quality second book in the series that nicely builds on the good start of the first one and further encourages me to want to move onto the subsequent books in the series too.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • Ancestral Secrets: Book 3 in the Adept Solutions Series of Special Investigations for the Magickally Challenged: An Urban Fantasy Novella

  • By: Teagan Kearney
  • Narrated by: Apryl Renee West
  • Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Blackmail, double dealing and dubious secret organizations. Solving one problem one is doable for the Adept Solutions crew, but dealing with all three will be a challenge. Someone is blackmailing three of the most powerful citizens in Tropolis: the mayor, a master vampire, and a ruthless crime boss, and all three have hired the private detective agency to find the perpetrator.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another strong episode in the series

  • By C. Rowlands on 23-12-18

Another strong episode in the series

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

Reviewed: 23-12-18

Before commenting on the book itself, what is going on with the horribly unwieldy title as it seems like some other fields have been randomly slapped into it unlike the first two in the series and all three books should be tagged as part of the same series so new readers can more easily find the others since they are all well worth a read or listen.

Now that is out of the way, this 3rd book in the series continues the development of the varied cast and their world as they deal with new problems and incidents that expand the scope of that world with new organisations being introduced that you suspect will have an even greater impact in future books.

In the previous book I found that the narrator had seemingly got more comfortable with the cast and added more to that book than the first one, so it might have been slightly worrying that there was a change in narrator with this one. However this was not an issue with this new narrator seeming comfortable with the cast right from the outset and managing to enhance the book quite nicely.

Overall, another quick and enjoyable episode in this series with a length and tone that would make it being well suited to being heard in a single sitting.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

  • The Coilhunter Chronicles - Omnibus (Books 1-3)

  • By: Dean F. Wilson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Three audiobooks from the Coilhunter Chronicles: Coilhunter, Rustkiller, and Dustrunner. Welcome to the Wild North, a desolate wasteland where criminals go to hide - if they can outlast the drought and the dangers of the desert. Or the dangers of something else.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable series of sci-fi westerns

  • By C. Rowlands on 23-12-18

Enjoyable series of sci-fi westerns

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

Reviewed: 23-12-18

I don't know if the author has written or plans to write more books in this series, but with the way things ramp up in these three installments things could get more than a little tricky for Nox if that pattern continues and I would suspect that it would have to expand beyond the Wild North of these books.

Listening to these books as a set, it was interesting to see character recur from the previous ones, it helped to breathe more life into the world as a whole to see the cast grow around the Coilhunter himself, who starts out as a fairly familiar western archetype of the man seeking justice following tragedy.

The tone and voice of the narrator of these books was ideal for the character and setting, enhancing the story and world greatly.

Overall, this was an enjoyable and good value collection of books and I would be interested in further installments from this world in the future.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

2 of 2 people found this review helpful