Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 The Pygmy Dragon by Marc Secchia

 

Introduction:

Whenever you pick up a book by Marc Secchia, you can expect epic adventure. He’s created quite a wide world of dragons, shapeshifters, and humans locked in strife.

The Review:

Summary: Pip gets snatched away from her family and put in a zoo. There she befriends Hoonago (sorry about spelling, I heard the audiobook), a giant ape-like creature. After that, she’s rescued/ kidnapped by a dragon and taken to a dragonrider school.

Additional Comments:
– World Building – 5/5 The story’s full of imagination and neat world-building. The story fits within the same world as Aranya, though if asked to compare, I think that book’s better.
– Pip’s kind of a fun character.
– Pacing 3/5 – Parts of this book are unnecessarily long. I heard the audioversion, which made those sections bearable, but I don’t think it really got to the “meat” of the story until quite a few hours in. The time spent describing the zoo could easily have been halved and still given readers a feel for the horrors Pip faced.
– The end didn’t have as much closure as I like, but it’s still a good story.

  • Content warning: Recommended for upper teens and adults. While there’s nothing I’d consider steamy by any stretch, there are a few references to nudity and subtle suggestive comments made by some of the characters.

Conclusion: If you like dragons, Marc’s definitely a writer to check out.

Conclusion:

This is the second story I’ve listened to by this author. The narrator did a decent job, but I didn’t love his voice as I did with the narrator of Aranya. I know it’s a companion book, but it still sort of suffered sequel syndrome of not quite being as good as the first book experienced. That said, it’s still a solid fantasy read.

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Awesome Audiobooks: The Automaton’s Wife by Vered Ehsani

Introduction:

This story picks up roughly where The Ghosts of Tsavo left off. The series is pretty cool if you’re into strange characters. The narrator’s perfect for the part.

Review:

5/5 Charming, Witty, Weird

Summary: Bee’s back and she’s got her hands full. There’s murder and mayhem afoot and bigger crises like warding off would-be suitors.

Additional Comments:

– I think I’ve said it before: this is my brand of weird. That said, it’s probably not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. If you’re in the mood for a serious book, definitely wrong series.

– If you’re in the mood for fun and weird, definitely a great series to try.

– The series combines the charm of Alexander McCall Smith’s #1 Detective Agency with the random, wacky weirdness of Seth Graham Smith’s Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies.

– I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks lately and these are always a light-hearted bit of escapism.

– The character has a few quirks that can come across as annoying, especially in the way she describes things. But overall, it’s still highly entertaining.

– I find the blurb a tad misleading after you’ve heard or read the story, but if you enjoyed the first story, I see no reason for you to dislike this one. If this is your introduction to the series, you might want to grab book one so you have some context.

Conclusion: Decent entry in an awesome series.

Conclusion:

I’ve listened to dozens of audiobooks this year, and I have to say, this series is one of my favorites. They’re very, very strange, but quirky little mysteries. Most of the charm’s in the characters.

-Jules

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Audiobook Reviews: Christmas and Ghosts – 3 Books by Paul Fitz-George

Something New, Something Strange …

The review this round is going to be a tad different than normal. I’m reviewing three different books by the same author. Paul Fitz-George writes about ghosts. He’s a bit of a supernatural historian.

The Reviews …

4/5 The West End Ghost Book: A Ghostly Gallivant Through London’s Haunted Heartland

Summary: Sort of a who’s who of creepy ghosts and where to find them in London.

Additional Comments:

– Kind of glad that I didn’t have this book before my trip to London.

– I heard the audio version. The narrator did a lovely job with the performance, but some of the titles were really hard to distinguish because of the sound effect used to make it even creepier.

– It’s like an occult history book. I found it interesting because it’s vastly different from my usual listening fare.

Conclusion: If you’re up for some ghosts, give this a go.

4/5 The Whitby Ghost Book

Summary: A peek into the supernatural goings on in Whitby, England.

Additional Comments:

– Writing and narration are both good, though I could do without the sound effects. Sometimes they help, but in this case, they just made some sections hard to hear.

– Cover’s pretty creepy, but it fits the mood nicely.

– A nice companion piece to the West End Ghost Book (though I think this one was actually the first book).

Conclusion: Historical supernatural accounts. Not exactly sure what to call them.

4/5 Christmas Customs of Old Whitby by Paul Christopher Fitz-George

Summary: A super-short, niche book about Christmas customs in an old English town.

Additional Comments:

– The title sort of says it all.

– I heard the audioversion. The narrator fit the project well.

– If you’re into history, it might be a good fit for you.

Conclusion:

Small slice of history with a touch of weird.

Conclusion:

Paul Fitz-George’s works definitely fall outside the realm of normal, but they’re fun and short overall. He’s got two narrators: Time Winters and Petrina Kingham. Both handle their respective stories well. I’d listen to more works by them.

As Always …

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.


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Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

Introduction:

The story falls in the category of “far-fetched” but still fun.

Summary:

It’s like the adult version of a horrible, no good, very bad day. This woman – September Day – knows how to find trouble in spades.

Additional Comments:

  • Warning: Contains strong language throughout. And a bit of violence.
  • Plot’s kind of out there, but that can add to the charm.
  • The author does a decent job narrating her own story. Not a huge fan of the concept of self-narrating, but she does decent sound effects and voice variation.
  • I love Shadow! Feel like I should get a T-shirt with that emblazoned on it. He’s adorable. I could go either way on sections of a book being written from a dog’s point of view, but it’s done well here.
  • Some of the “bad guys” aren’t really believable, but it’s good to have some moral ambiguity to wrestle with. (sometimes)
  • The part about drug trials is realistic enough.
  • Loved the end twist. I had heard book 2 first, so I might have known it already, but I’d forgotten enough.
  • There are quite a few perspectives to keep track of, not all of them necessary. But the skipping around didn’t bother me in audio form.
  • I love how ordinary September is. That makes her an awesome heroine.

Conclusion:

Don’t think too hard about plausibility. Grab the audiobook and enjoy the wild ride.

 

* I received a copy of the audiobook, but the choice to review it as well as the opinions expressed here are my own.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Associate links to follow…

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 A Memory of Grief by Dale T. Phillips

Haunting cover

Introduction:

The cover’s a bit more haunting than it probably ought to be. It’s one of the few times that I don’t think it fits well unless you want to get deeply philosophical about the main character’s mood.

Summary: Zack Taylor’s told his best friend just committed suicide, but he knows better … and he’s going to prove it.

Additional Comments:

– Warning – not a “clean” book. Contains half a dozen f-bombs and plenty of violence.

– It’s a bit like a Jack Reacher book in that certain people get pounded and you still end up rooting for the good guy.

– There’s a romance subplot that the book could have done without. It’s not that it was bad, but it seemed a tad forced.

– The characters are likable – or unlikable – as they’re supposed to be. That’s always fun. I also enjoyed the fact that the main character isn’t invincible, but he’s still admirable and tough as nails.

– There are a few light-hearted moments. The descriptions are decent.

– I heard the narrated version. Although I can’t say the narrator’s voice is my favorite, he fits the character well and put on a solid performance. I would listen to another of his books.

Conclusion:

Mystery that provides an excellent excuse for the main character to bust people’s heads (and arms and whatnot). Highly enjoyable if you can stomach the violence.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Associate links to follow…

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4 More Freebies – Grab Bag – Children’s, Romance, Fantasy

Cover reminds me of old school classics.

Introduction:

We’ve moved from weird to romance. Now, let’s settle on sweet and nostalgic and romantic. Eh, life’s like a box of chocolates and all that.

Children’s Tale

He Whistles for the Cricket by Gwen Walker

I can’t make heads or tails of that title, but the story sounds lovely.

Second Chance at Love

Still Falling by Crystal Walton

Okay, so maybe there’s still a bit of romance here. They do look cute together.

A Wee Bit of Fantasy

The Movement of Crowns by Nadine Keels

The heir to a crown balances duty and love.

YA Action and Adventure

A Measure of Disorder by Alan Tucker

Goblins, fairies, dragons, and middle schoolers … recipe for interesting.

Conclusion:

Besides being free, I admit these have little to do with each other. But grab bags and randomness can be fun too.

 

Yaddah, yaddah, blah, blah – links below are associate ones.


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3 Free Clean Romance Stories

I like the new cover.

Introduction:

I’ve been throwing weird at you. And murders. Here’s a collection of sweet looking romance stories.

Most Akin to a Hallmark Movie

Her Best Match by Tamie Dearen.

A billionaire, a matchmaker, and a meddlesome grandmother, what could go wrong?

Friends or more than friends?

Far from Falling by K.D. Garcia

Heads wrestle with many questions when hearts are on the line.

Enough Contemporary … Let’s head back in time…

Gabriella by Brenda Hiatt (Regency Romance)

A common girl and a handsome duke each get more than they bargained for.

Conclusion:

If romance is your thing, there’s bound to be one of these that appeals to you.

 

(Fair warning: There be associate links below.)

But just in case … here are yet more options


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A Mysterious Collection of Cozy, Clean, Free Mysteries

Love this cover.

Introduction:

After so much strangeness, I’m pleased to present something sort of normal. Okay, so people die, but what’s life without a little mystery. Each of these little gems is categorized as cozy, except the last, which I’d say is more suspense.

Winner of the most interesting title award:

Raining Men and Corpses by Anne R. Tan

An amateur sleuth becomes the prime suspect in her professor’s murder.

A Close Runner up to most interesting title award:

middle finger of fate

The Middle Finger of Fate by Kim Hunt Harris

I love the series title. The dog in the corner is cute. Okay, so I lied on the little part. This behemoth clocks in at 391 pages. Still, looks like a fun ride.

Cozies Come in Threes…

Actually kind of a gruesome cover if you think about it.

Sunny Side Up by Sonia Parin

Ex-husbands and handsome detectives. 168 pages in length.

And they’re getting shorter still …

Yes, I like the cover. Me = biased.

The Collins Case by Julie C. Gilbert

A pair of FBI agents race against time to rescue a kidnapped family. Fits in the Christian mystery novella category.

Conclusion:

Well, there ya have it folks: a fine collection of clean, murderous freebies.

*Note, the following section contains associate links.

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4 More Free Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Starstruck Cover

Introduction:

And we’re back with more fantasy. This time, I’m chucking in the science fiction option too.

YA Paranormal Romance: Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt

Arguably one of the few genres that fit in the “not my thing” category, but they’re popular. Oh, so popular. I do love the cover.

Epic Fantasy: Slumbering by C.S. Johnson

While we’re judging books by their covers … this one looks dark, foreboding, and awesome. Love the angel wings or are they demon wings?

Fantasy not your thing? Try Science Fiction.

Nothing says Scifi like Time travel: Knot in Time by Alan Tucker

This one’s definitely going to have a distinct voice. You get that much from the blurb. Some people love time travel books and some don’t. If you’re in the “do” category, give this a go.

Bonus:

Nyssa Glass and the Crisis Caper by H. L. Burke

Steampunk novelette.

Conclusion:

This collection hits multiple flavors: epic, lighthearted, and romantic. If you’re a reading omnivore, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all three.

(associate links to follow)

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Anybody ever tried this? What do you think of Kindle Unlimited? When I retire in like 60 years, I’m totally signing up.

 

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Awesome Audiobooks 4.5/5: Swim Season by Marianne Sciucco

4.5/5 High School Sports Drama

Summary:

There’s drama in and out of the pool for the Two Rivers’s high school girls swim team. Aerin Keane’s been on a ton of teams in the last few years, but she’s spending her senior year living with friends of her mother so she doesn’t have to live with her father and his new family. She’s the outsider who just wants to fit in. Meanwhile, there’s a high-stakes challenge with a $50K scholarship on the line …

Additional Comments:

– I’m not sure about some of the details concerning school attendance and sports laws. Most public and private high schools have some sort of anti-recruiting rules in place. Meaning, I’m not sure Aerin would have legally been allowed to join the Two Rivers high school team. I’m not even sure how she would attend the school, though there might have been an exception given her family situation. (Doubtful because she could have lived with her father.)
– Another nitpicky point – quizzes do not get taken and graded in a day if they’re on paper. They “might” get graded instantly if they’re on the computer, but if somebody’s got to handle paper, there’s about a .0001% chance of that paper getting graded same day. Trust me. I’m a high school chem teacher. Also, why does Mel’s twin brother drive and she doesn’t?

Point by Point:

– Length 4/5: It’s long. Very long. Probably could have been slimmed down by 200 pages and been fine.
– I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version because then the length doesn’t mean much, somebody’s reading the story to you. The narrator’s very believable and gave a solid performance.
– Main Character 4.5/5: The main character’s likeable for most of the book. The first third or so she annoyed me, but you knew she’d come around.
– Side Characters 4.5/5: Erica (sorry about spelling if that’s wrong; friend), Mel (new best friend), Tatiana (rival), and Jordan (mean girl) are a tad cliche, but high schools tend to have them, so in that sense it’s realistic. I really liked Aerin’s background. It might be cliche, but it works very well.
– Plot 4/5: While one could probably predict the outcome if you’ve read enough of these sorts of books, it’s still satisfying. The Allison Singer Challenge is kind of cool. I liked how the whole community really got into the swim team’s season. That sort of fervor’s usually saved for football in most towns.
– Swim details 4/5: In audio form, following the competition times got a tad difficult.
– Themes 5/5: I loved that the book contained a bunch of YA themes: fitting in, dealing with bullies, finding yourself, discovering your potential, pushing yourself, pressing on, the flightiness of popularity, etc.

Conclusion:

Swim season delivers an enjoyable high school sports drama.

The Ebook is only $0.99. That’s an awesome deal for a 600+ page book.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge is completely free, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Please, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

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