Audiobook Reviews: Crossfire (Omega Group 1) by Andrea Domanski

Introduction:

Now this is my kind of story. It’s got a gifted kid with the power and destiny to save the world, a huge cast of people to support her, and a bad guy who wants to rule the world. Superpowers and secret government organizations, what’s not to love?

Summary:

Marissa discovers some intriguing powers and finds herself at the center of a much larger conflict.

 

Additional Comments:

– The flashbacks at the beginning were a tad difficult to follow. That might be because I heard the audiobook version. But once it settled into a rhythm, it was a quick, intriguing “read.”

– Marissa came across as whiny at first, but by the end, she’s pretty cool.

What I loved:

– Characters: Marin and Steve are also interesting characters. There’s a whole host of other Omega Group characters with intriguing powers. Marissa’s okay. I think she’s got a ways to go, but that’s cool.

– I enjoyed the way this story wove in Greek gods/goddesses, demigods, and amazon warriors.

– Fight scenes were excellent.

– The narrator’s performance was good.

– Once the plot settled after the flashbacks it moved forward with great speed and nice tension.

– Overall, this is an awesome YA story about a young woman just discovering her destiny.

Conclusion:

Quick, entertaining YA adventure.

 

Special Treat:

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

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

 

A Note from Spencer Hawke on Audiobooks

The following is straight from the horse’s mouth as it were …

My editor and writing “confidant” has just asked me to record an audiobook of my recently released novel, The Arrows of Islam by Spencer Hawke. We can make a lot of money on Audible.com, ACX and Amazon.com I am assured. “What am I going to do?” I ask myself.

(Not always the truth, but audiobooks are one heck of a fun journey.)

“ME?” “I am not an actor, my voice is strange, I’m not a Voice Over Artist. At most parties I don’t talk very much, unless I stiffen my resolve with a martini!”

“So what’s the problem?” you ask.
You’ve obviously never met my editor, say I.
“So?” you say.
She is not very tall, but she packs the punch of a Texan Longhorn.
“She can’t be that bad,” you assure me.
Let me put it this way, a Texas Rainbow Cactus has the prettiest flower in Springtime, but ya still don’t want to sit on one!

(So true. Words of wisdom)
My editor pairs me up with a tech-guru … Fearing my first Voice Over Audition, we email back and forth. He suggests I come to his recording studio, way the heck out of town, “Shouldn’t take more than a couple of days” says he confidently. All I can see is the face of a Las Vegas slot machine, “CaShing, CaShing, CaShing!” I can’t possibly afford that, not at least not with my voice,
“ABSURD idea…” I tell him.
My first attempt is a disaster. Techy Dude listens to my audio, “What’s all that WHITE NOISE? “White Noise?” I ask ignorantly.
“It sounds like you have a bulldozer in the recording studio.”
I didn’t want to tell him I was doing this on my iPad in my home office and the bulldozer he hears is my air conditioning unit; it’s bloody 105 degrees here!
Around and around we go. “WHITE NOISE!” his emails bellow. I furiously type back “WHAT BLOODY NOISE?!”
After many, many false trials, I wait for all the family to leave, I switch OFF my A/C (YES IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER!) I even switch off every fan in the house. I’m ready to go to my new recording studio. Then a great big pick-up hauling a trailer pulls up outside my neighbor’s yard. Her lawn mowing people have just arrived. DO you KNOW how BLOODY LOUD those things are?
(Anything is loud when you’re recording.)
The sweat is dripping down my brow, but the mowing is finished. I sneak off to my studio. It is in fact my CLOSET, a mouse hole of a room where the clothes insulate me from WHITE NOISE. I am ready with a jug of water, a rag to mop my brow, my trusty iPhone and microphone.
Two days later, I get an email back from my tech-guru, the subject line, GREAT JOB. I think to myself ‘Yeah right…” With much trepidation I read his email. “Well at least he’s not yelling at me, I think.” Across the bottom of the email is a link to his professionally engineered work of my recording.

I am BLOODY AMAZED. I love it; it’s really good. Over my years perusing headlines, I have read of all different types of “CLOSET” people. Now I have to admit I am one; I’m a Closet Voice Artist. If you ever fly over Oklahoma, the pilot might warn you of turbulence ahead, don’t worry, tis only I, practicing my lines in my sweatbox of a recording studio. But you know what? I’m having more fun than any human being has a right to.

About the Author

A love for adventure as a young boy, travel across the African continent as a young man and a brief stint in Sao Paulo fed into the over-active imagination of Spencer Hawke to produce a plethora of interesting projects. His first work, The Eyes of Athena — the first in the Ari Cohen series — is now being produced as an audiobook. From his home base in Oklahoma City, Spencer spends his days with wife, Jenny, and grandson Devon, already an avid adventurer, and is always working on his next four of five projects …
Moral of the Story:
Anybody can become a VO artist!
Spencer Hawke is one of the brave authors trying out Audiobook Edge. If you want your clean mystery, scifi, fantasy, or thriller reviewed then placed on a monthly list to readers who love audiobooks, join us on Audiobook Edge for Authors/Narrators! If you’d prefer to see loads of free audiobooks every month, check out the Reader version.

 

Audiobook Reviews: The King’s Trap by Peter Meredith

Introduction:

This is a beautifully performed high fantasy story about a prince trying to regain his throne.

Summary:

Erieden fights for his throne, Ella tries to find her mother, and battles are found all over the place. This is definitely high fantasy – elves, dwarves, goblins, maug (?? sorry, I might not be spelling that right since I heard the audio version), etc.

Additional Comments:

– I have not read book 1 in the series. Although I think it would be better to have read book 1, one can follow the events easily enough.
– The story itself was okay. It meanders all over the place and the romance seems either forced or ridiculous (ie. everybody’s falling all over themselves to love Erieden).
– The world-building is fine, but most of the “honor is everything” gets old pretty quickly. You just want to reach in and smack some sense into people.
– The bad guy doesn’t seem to have much of a motive besides “destroy everything b/c I hate everybody who’s not me”. Maybe that was explained more in book one.

– Switching back and forth between the Hidden Land and America was odd.
– This is high fantasy but there wasn’t much of an emphasis on the dwarves or elves.

  • Prejudice swings pretty hard in the book, especially with one of the MC’s at the end of the story. It seems silly.
  • Ella’s okay, but the quest to find her mother seemed a tad useless.

Content Warning:

  • Battle descriptions are gruesome but very well-handled both in the writing and the performance.
  • strong language
  • There are some awesome reversals at the end of the book.

What I loved:

– I listened to the audiobook narration by Tom Adams. He’s perfect for the story.
– Characters – Whip-whip is adorable. The effect for the fairy voices was neat.

Conclusion:

Excellent performance of an intricate story.

 

Special Treat:

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

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured on the weekly list, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Audiobook Reviews: Earth-Sim: Escapades in Planetary Management By Jade Kerrion

Introduction:

This is a very unique look at Earth’s history wrapped in a short story about a girl with a secret.

Summary:

Jem Moran and Kir Davos participate in the world simulation program which sets clueless college and grad students in charge of planets. (It’s like risk on the galactic scale.)

 

What is Earth-Sim?

– Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s got an interesting premise: Every major disaster/event to touch Earth has an explanation in the incompetence and/or the moral decisions made by neophyte planetary managers or mishaps caused by letting a 5 year old boy near the planet.

– It’s almost like two stories though. Earth-sim is 80% philosophical discussion between Jem and Kir and 20% other plot that I can’t talk about too much without giving spoilers.

– The philosophical discussion piece could have been a hilarious short story. Not being a particular fan of philosophy though, the length of those discussions was on the long side to me.

– Content warnings: There are a few curse words scattered about.

  • I also love the ebook cover. The audiobook cover’s okay but not as pretty as the ebook one.

Bothersome Wiki quotes…

– The frequent Wikipedia quotes bothered me. Here you have a book about an advanced civilization and the inspirational and informational quotes at the beginning chapters come from arguably the weakest online source.

What I enjoyed

  • I was torn on the inclusion of the 20% other plot. Everything ties together nicely in the end, but I’m not sure it’s necessary. There are enough openings to set up a sequel but I’m not sure how that would tie back to the Earth-sim project. Jem’s secret is a quite significant. It adds a totally different dimension to the story.
  • There are enough references to history and geek stuff to keep it funny: origin of Superman, Atlantis, loch ness monster, tower of babel, the flood, etc. It’s like watching a movie for the Easter eggs.
  • The narration was handled well.

 

Conclusion:

A quirky look at planetary history wrapped in a scifi short story about a girl with a secret to protect.

Special Treat:

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

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Awesome Audiobooks: Aranya by Marc Secchia

Introduction:

It’s been a while since I’ve heard a story like this. Don’t think I’ve ever come across the notion of Shapeshifter dragons, but Marc Secchia does a lovely job fleshing the concept out. The story’s on the long side, but it’s got fantastic world-building, great characters, and decent descriptions. I love, love, love this narrator. I’m super picky, so that’s saying a lot.

Summary:

Aranya goes from exiled princess to shapeshifter dragon.

Additional Comments:

– Content warnings: It’s a very enjoyable story with stellar narration, but this is not for children. I’d place it in the 14+ range. I’ve never seen so many references to nudity w/o there being a sexual connotation. (It’s mixed in with the rules of being a shapeshifter.) There’s mention of harsh torture. There are also a few curses.

– I love the narrator’s voice. The performance itself wasn’t flawless, but it was very, very good. (Some spots had the sound drop off oddly. Others, I think the character accents shifted about a bit.)

– It’s long; 14 hr 22 minutes as an audiobook. I get it, most fantasy books are long, but this one definitely could have been even stronger if it weren’t prone to quite so many meandering plot pts. For example, the big, long journey at the end didn’t add much. I think it went on for about 45 minutes or more and the basic gist was “it was a long, hard journey.”

– Character development is good, though I’m guessing some may think it clichéd.

 

What’s not to love:

  • Must every fantasy book use the word incorrigible? (It’s bothersome.)
  • Did I mention it’s long? It does have some pacing issues, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty mild complaint, esp in light of the fact that the narrator could make a dictionary sound awesome.

What’s to love:

  • Shapeshifter dragons! (awesome concept)
  • great world-building
  • evil empire/outnumbered good guys
  • Zip (some of her sass is hilarious)
  • end battle was sweet

Conclusion:

Overall – excellent dragon tale that will delight fantasy fans.

 

Special Treat:

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

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Audiobook Reviews: Story Keeping: The Night I became a Hero by AR Marshall

Introduction:

I really am expanding my reading these days. A while ago, I’d done a series of reviews on Carol P. Roman’s “If you were me and lived in __” series. I think I also reviewed a picture book about bugs. Other than that, it’s been some time. These days, I tend to be more of a murder, mystery, and mayhem kinda gal. This series is more the “enjoy with your kids” sort of thing.

Summary:

A lovely introduction to a children’s series. Riles and his siblings find much more than words within the pages of a book their grandfather reads to them.

Additional Comments:

– I am not the target audience, but I can see the merits of a story like this. It’s got great imagination.
– I heard the audio version. The author did an admirable job bringing the story to life.
– It’s clearly the beginning of a series. The end spends more time setting up the next story than wrapping up this one, but it’s satisfying enough.
– The premise of being able to interact with stories is very cool. I’m sure it will appeal to many children.
– The cover is charming too.

Conclusion:

Short, intriguing tale for children.

Special Treat:

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

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Awesome Audiobooks – Tea and Dark Chocolate by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Introduction:

I haven’t read too many books of short stories or humorous stories, but I think I may have been missing out. Flash fiction has never really been my thing, but this was a fun introduction. It’s full of twisted versions of the familiar. The author has a way of personifying objects that makes for delightful listening. The narrator did a lovely job. Took me a moment to get used to her accent, but it definitely fit the work well.

What is Tea and Dark Chocolate?

  • This is a charming collection of random. It’s filled with original short stories and a few twists of familiar tales.
  • I especially loved Mr. Dumpty’s interview with the psychologist.
  • The narrator does a lovely job with the haughty cat attitudes.
  • It’s relatively short for an audiobook.
  • The author has a great imagination.

Conclusion:

Highly recommended. This book will be featured in the May 7, 2017 edition of Audiobook Edge.

 

 

Special Treat:

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

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured on the weekly list, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Audiobook Reviews: Swept Up by Kayla Dawn Thomas

Introduction:

I don’t generally read romance so I can’t compare it to tons of other books. That said, I thought it was pretty good.

Summary:

This is a complicated book. Webster Baker and Kara Deleray meet in a very unusual way and their relationship stays cool, then rocky for a while.

Additional Comments:

– The beginning could be seen as the adventures of Web picks up the pieces of Kara. Every couple meets some way. Web almost runs over Kara with his street sweeper. The introduction of Web takes quite a bit but it’s worth it.
– Kara’s relationship with Darren didn’t exactly put her in a flattering light. Some people are probably going to have issues with her being a professor and him being a grad student.
– Romance isn’t a genre I necessarily gravitate to. That said, I’d categorize it as mild/medium heat level. It wouldn’t land on a “clean” fiction list, but the physical side of the relationship is handled with care.

– I didn’t care for the way Kara’s family was portrayed, (ie. that Christian = judgmental) but there are mitigating circumstances explained later in the story. She was a realistically flawed character.
– A plot point or two could be considered the “expected unexpected” but it works here. You’ll probably find yourself rooting for the couple.

Pros:

– The author includes some pretty heavy-hitting topics. (Alcoholism, need for love/acceptance, mental illness and it’s effects on family, etc.) All of these are also handled with relative grace.
– The main character’s struggle with alcohol is genuine, but I personally got annoyed at her a few times. This tells me that the author has some skill at creating realistic characters. Web’s a little too saint-like to be realistic, but I think that’s fitting. He’s not quite knight-in-shining-armor status, but he’s up there.
– I heard the audiobook. The narrator wasn’t my favorite, but she does a hands-down awesome job at male voices. (It might be the best I’ve ever heard from a female narrator.)
– My favorite scene by far is at the cowboy bar.

Conclusion:

Kara and Web’s journey together is a worthwhile one to watch if you enjoy romance stories.

 

Special Offer:

If you want the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge. Note, this will not be featured on the main list but it is available in the Matchmaker Program.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured on the weekly list, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Awesome Audiobooks – Hide and Seek by Amy Shojai

For all who love audiobooks …

Welcome to this series of reviews. Since starting Audiobook Edge, I have had the privilege of listening to a slew of wonderful audiobooks. I’m eager to share them with you. These are the books that will be available to you – the reader courtesy of the author or in some cases, the narrator. In this case, that applies to both since the author did the narrator herself.

*I will do my best to keep spoilers to a minimum*

Summary:

September Day’s got a past that’s catching up in a dangerous way.

Random Comments:

– I’ve not read or heard the first in the series.

– There are a few sections in here from Shadow’s (the dog) pov. I’d become familiar with the author’s penchant for such things through her Kindle Worlds story, Born to Love, so it fit fine. It adds a charming element to the work.

– Much of the story is grim as there’s clearly a stalker at work. But there are enough other sideplots to keep it light.

– The narration was decent. I’m super picky about such things and I’ve heard a lot of audios, so I could hear where some of the edit pts weren’t completely clean. They were few enough and far enough between to keep from interfering with the entertainment value.

– There was quite a bit of setup. Things were tied together in the end, but it’s on the long side, so expect to need to wade in to get the full value out of the work.

– The cover makes more sense once the story’s done. I love when that happens.

– There are some authors you would never want to be a character for … this is certainly true for Ms. Shojai. Poor September.

Conclusion:

A great addition to the world of audiobooks. This can be read/listened to without having heard the first, though I’m sure that there’s an added layer of enjoyment for fans familiar with the series already. Check this one out.

Special Treat:

If you want the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge. This book will appear in the May 7, 2017 edition of the program.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured on the weekly list, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Audiobook Edge Matchmaker Program – for Authors

Introduction:

If you’re an author looking to get more publicity for your audiobook, check out Audiobook Edge for Authors.

Many books won’t be appropriate for the larger list. So, I’d like to start a Matchmaker Program within Audiobook Edge. I will survey the readers and find out what they like. After I gain insight into each person’s tolerance for strong language, adult content, violence, and audiobook length as well as their genre preferences, I will match readers to books. You – the author – will prep a pitch highlighting the wonders of your book. Then, I will send it to them. The readers contact the author if they want to try the book. If the reader chooses not to accept a book, they get in touch with me with the reason and I get back to the author. As such, I fully intend to play middleman.

Pros:

  • You trade numbers and volume of exposure for a more targeted audience. Because of the personal touch, I  expect you’ll have an easier time of getting a reader to review your book, keep in touch, etc.
  • You can do both! Books accepted to the larger list can be relisted privately. Or you can list a second and third book here while one remains on the larger list. I will keep it open for second and third books by the same author to make it to the general list but they do get low priority in the queue.
  • Many more genres will be accepted. (Nonfiction, contemporary romance, historical fiction, true crime, comedy, mythology, poetry, sports fic, western, short story, etc.)

The Catch:

  • This will be a paid service. Initially – $2.00 for 1-5 possible matches. I’m all about making things affordable for authors, but it should help with the overhead of maintaining the list. If all 5 of the first people I query turn it down, I will ask another 5. After that, we can talk. Most likely, I’ll just refund your $2.00. The first 5 will be free as I’ll be using them as experiments to work out the kinks.
  • Please note, you are not paying for a review. You are paying to get your audiobook into the hands of 1-5 reader(s) who will likely enjoy your work. In your personal pitch, you can talk about yourself, the nature of your works, and anything else you think that would “sell” it to the reader. Please include content warnings as appropriate. (There’s nothing worse than connecting with somebody who hates what you write.) Ultimately, it’s their choice to get in contact with you. If nobody contacts you in a few days, email me and I’ll follow up with them to see what’s up.

More Fine Print:

  • It could be a while before your book works its way through this program. I’m going to take it slow at first.
  • Please only include your public email address. I am only making the introduction; the rest is up to you.
  • I cannot guarantee you will have success with this venture, but hopefully, we’ll all get the chance to meet some wonderful readers.
  • I reserve the right to reject certain genres. (ie. erotica, dark horror, and similar genres)

Not a part of Audiobook Edge for Authors? No problem, sign up here.

Questions and comments may be directed to me at devyaschildren @gmail.com.