Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Crane by Stacey Rourke narrated by Karen Krause

 

Content warning: Language; graphic violence

(Sorry about the name spellings. I heard the audio version.)

Summary:

Ireland Crane moves to Sleepy Hollow/ Terrytown to get away from a disastrous romance. What awakens in her when she gets there is much, much worse.

 

Additional Comments:

– There’s a good deal of snark in the lines of dialogue and in the protagonist’s thoughts. It adds a much-needed lightness to an otherwise gripping but very, very grim, dark, horrific plotline.

– Content warnings: language, graphic violence

– Characters: excellent. One can truly sympathize with Ireland. Noah’s kind of a flat character, but he’s still awesome. Rip is funny, but he doesn’t play much more of a role than inept conscience.

– Although the main character’s supposed to be a school guidance counselor, she does and says some stuff that makes me doubt she’s ever been in earshot of a school.

Plot: Good but there are some leaps of logic required that have nothing to do with the fantasy side of the story.

– It’s an interesting twist on the legend of the headless horseman.

Conclusion:

If you can handle gruesome, go for it. There’s even some fun to be had in this bloody tale.

It’s one of the creepiest books I’ve heard in a long time, yet it was very, very compelling.

 

 

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 The Time Pedaler by Michael Maxwell and Tally Scully

 

Summary:

Chant Baker finds and old time machine in the basement of his parents’ shop. He uses it to visit a few key spots in history and solve a small mystery.

Additional Comments:

– It’s middle grade appropriate.

– I’m not big on time travel books in general because logic always messes with my head. They tried to address the issue of clothes a few times, but it just seemed like everywhere Chant went initially, people were very friendly and totally accepting of the fact that he appeared out of nowhere. I can see his clothes blending in well enough in the 1960’s but 1860’s?

– His family’s perfect, but that’s cool. The fact that a perfect nuclear family strikes me as abnormal is probably just a sad commentary on the state of the modern world.

– The places Chant chooses to visit do follow a certain logic, which I appreciate. (Mostly, they’re places he wants to study for history or English class.) I enjoyed the fact that he didn’t get a perfect grade even though he’d traveled back in time and witnessed the event in person because history isn’t always remembered perfectly.

– There wasn’t a real sense of danger, but that might come from the general middle grade feel than something in the plot. Probably don’t want a story like this to come across as too scary anyway.

– I hear the audio version, which was very good.

– Fun, unique premise that’s well-executed (in audio format anyway)

Conclusion:

If middle grade time travel’s something you enjoy, Chant won’t disappoint you.

 

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Julie C. Gilbert

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Audiobook Reviews: 3.45/5 Diviner’s Prophecy by Nicolette Andrews

 

Summary:

A girl gets visions of the future and finds herself at the center of dangerous political games.

Additional Comments:

  • No ending. The end is more like the end of Act 1. Large portions of the story are therefore unresolved. Some people love things that are part of a larger story. I like that too, but I like there to be a complete closure to one story arc.
  • Characters are okay. Maea’s powers are cool. She can see other people’s dreams. I love the concept.
  • I loved Princess Sabine. Her guard was kind of a stick figure until the end of the story. I like that he gained more depth later.
  • The plot kind of meandered. There’s a lot of political intrigue going on. The beginning didn’t make much sense. Johai and the lady stole her memories? Why?
  • The thing with the handsome prince didn’t seem to make much sense either. One second she’s appalled by his casual sex with a lady during a party. And the next she’s inextricably attracted to him.
  • The end twist was decently handled.
  • The cover’s gorgeous, but the woman looks way older than the main character.
  • Narration was good. I like Anna Castiglioni’s voice.

Conclusion:

The beginning of a much longer tale that doesn’t really hold up on its own, but if you’re willing to read the whole trilogy, it offers a lot of magic and political intrigue.

The e-book is a free download. Go for it.

 

 

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

 

Summary:

Charley can’t abide by the system that would condemn innocent people to certain death.

Additional Comments:

  • Typical fun dystopia. The hero’s flat but he was never meant to be more. He’s perfect. A great fighter. A High Score. A compassionate kid. His justification for everything is what they did to his brother.
  • Side characters. Only Charley’s female counterpart had any depth to her. I liked her. Sven’s development didn’t go very far. It reads like this: he was a nice guy then he saw horrors in the tower and turned into a sullen violent jerk.
  • No ending… or very little ending. There’s a giant exciting battle at the end but it doesn’t really get resolved. It might as well have ended with the big, fat “TO BE CONTINUED” sign. There’s talk of a bigger, badder, meaner threat coming and then the book just ends.
  • I probably would have given it a much higher rating for the fun premise if it had a ton more closure, but as is it reads like a part 1.
  • Narrator did a decent job.

Conclusion:

Fantastic start but doesn’t stand on its own. If you are willing to invest in the whole series, you will likely enjoy it. If you like closure to your story, it’s not for you.

 

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Sink or Swim by Stacy Juba

 

4.5/5 Fame’s not what Cassidy thought it would be

Summary:

Cassidy’s stint on a hot new reality TV show, Sink or Swim, propels her into unwanted stardom and earns her a stalker. She misses the million by five points, but still winds up with more attention than she’d like.

 

Additional Comments:

  • It’s a predictable yet enjoyable story.
  • I heard the audiobook, and the narrator’s performance was very good.
  •  I like the concept of the reality TV show and the idea of stalker angle. It went on a tad longer than it truly had momentum for, but there were some interesting red herrings. It’s not really about the TV series, but that’s a neat angle.
  • Her family dynamics worked for me. Mother and father divorced amiably and a devoted kid half-brother. I enjoyed the fact that the family wasn’t picture perfect with a white picket fence.
  • The murder angle was okay, but I think it distracts from the terror caused by the stalker.
  • The gun thing was kinda dumb, but I can forgive the character under pressure some irrationality.
  • I didn’t get a big “personal trainer” vibe from Cassidy. I’m not sure the book describes her running once, though I do remember her lifting weights or something. I haven’t had a personal trainer, but I think a lot of their job is the mental piece. I would have expected some of that disciplined mindset to bleed into her thought process while dealing with the stalker.

Conclusion:

Intriguing stalker book.

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Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Hound’s Bite by E.J. Stevens

 

Summary:

Ivy Granger’s a snarky faerie princess. The main plot can be summed up in a quest to save harboursmouth from Herne the Hunter and his hounds.

Additional Comments:

– Not sure where the psychic detective part comes in since this is my first experience with the series. I’m assuming the detective bit had more to do with earlier stories. This story just has her running around the city trying to forge alliances and save the human population from a few crazy plots. There’s some mystery but very little detective work.

– The character voice Ivy has is awesome, but you gotta like snark.

Content warnings: quite a few references to adult content (lots of innuendo); quite a few curses (and a few hexes thrown in too); definite references to the occult – can’t really escape that with a book stuffed full of mythological creatures (kelpies, faeries, vampires, etc).

– Side characters are well-developed, but I think that’s to be expected in a book 5 of a series. There are references to events that happened in previous volumes, but the work feels complete enough that you can jump in here without feeling too lost. There’s an opening for more without sounding like a blatant “buy my next book” plea.

– Narrators were well-picked. It was interesting to have a male and female split the narration duties. The sound effects were okay. It didn’t bother me, but I also don’t think it enhanced it too much either.

Conclusion:

If you like your heroine’s strong and weird, Ivy Granger’s the faerie princess for you.

 

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Julie C. Gilbert

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Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Quest of the Dreamwalker by Stacy Bennett

Disclaimers: Forgive any spelling issues I heard the audiobook. And I don’t own the rights to the pic. Got it off of audible.com.

Summary:

Cara’s a dreamwalker who’s practically raised by an evil sorcerer bent on gaining immortality. Captain Mason Khourey and Archer are mercenaries who get caught up in a tangled web of danger and intrigue. (Totally was not picturing the name spelled like that.)

Additional Comments:

– The world-building is fun, but a few aspects aren’t really fleshed out. Cara’s abilities aren’t really fully realized. I think that’s probably because this is book 1 of a longer story, but still, we’re told she’s a dreamwalker and then given maybe 2 glimpses of this at at play. Could be because it’s part one of a longer story.

– The characters are great, though I will say Cara kind of got annoying. I ended up liking Falin a lot more than Cara and she came into the book like 8 hrs into the story. There were a few points when she does something massively stupid that made me raise an eyebrow, but I can understand to some extent the necessity in moving the plot forward that way. It’s just not pretty.

– Several plot points fall under “well, that’s convenient” but it’s still a very compelling story.

– The end twist is excellent. But then the book continues, opening up a new aspect to the journey, which really messes with the sense of closure that could have been had.

Content warnings: at least 2 “adult” content scenes; graphic violence and disturbing images

– The narrator’s performance worked wonders in bringing the story to life. It’s a long story, but he handled it well. The voices are distinct and pleasant to listen to.

Conclusion:

If you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely a series to snap up.

 

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Julie C. Gilbert

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Awesome Audiobooks: 5/5 Stars Princess Kayla and the Dragon Who Wouldn’t Clean Up

5/5 Princess Kayla and the Dragon Who Wouldn’t Clean Up

Most of the things I’ve been reviewing have been available through audible, but this one came through it’s own app.

Summary:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a choose-your-own adventure type book. This one’s pretty much summed up by the title. It’s about a 10-year-old princess who takes it upon herself to solve the kingdom’s dragon problem. Basically, Gorof and his hoard are taking over all the caves the villagers like to shelter their livestock in. Oh, and his hoard makes a lot of noise.

Additional Comments:

– I made it to the best ending first, but being me, I had to go back and see some of the other endings.

– The narration’s clear and the words highlight so you can read along with the narrator if you wish.

– I am totally not the right age bracket for this story, but it’s still a fun, cute read. This is definitely a kid-friendly book. I was sort of secretly rooting for some more realistic, adult or YA endings, but alas, tame, nice endings it is.

– The scrolling down part was harder than it needed to be, but it all worked out.

Conclusion:

If you have a kid in the right age bracket, this is the perfect fantasy read along adventure.

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Julie C. Gilbert

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Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Stars The Kili Wanna Affair by Scott A. Combs

4.5/5 A study in ridiculousness

Summary:

A semi-competent ensign gets assigned as the liaison to Kili Wanna with the job of getting them to sign a treaty with the Galactic Guild. What follows is a series of predictable yet amusing events.

 

Additional Comments:

– Don’t take the book too seriously. If you’re looking for serious, you are definitely in the wrong place.

– At times, the book was kind of annoying, but I broke it up with a family drama/romance book so it’s all good. In the end, it leaves one with a mildly amused feeling, which is a great note to end on.

– The narrator did a lovely job with all the voices. Definitely worth getting the audiobook. Grab the free kindle version and you usually get a discount on the audio.

Content warnings: brief mention of nudity, a few sophomoric references to George’s breasts, and a few curses. Most of the curses were confined to tick-tick-pops.

– Sali Terri’s a dude, so of course George Shooters is a lady.

– I love Bethel. She’s hilarious, and she does everything.

– You can get a feel for the tone of the book by some of the names. i.e. Snookums, royal cat like thing. I won’t attempt to spell that because I heard the audible version.

– The characters are more like caricatures, but that’s definitely done on purpose. Sali’s a (lovable) bumbling idiot who happens to get everything right. George is a top-of-the-class, straight-laced sort who ends up being the assistant for the bumbling idiot.

– The style’s like A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy without quite so much dry humor. (It’s more in-your-face stupid humor like Flex being an Arnoldian and always wanting to break things or maim people.)

 

Conclusion:

Amusing opening to what’s sure to be a series of galactic misadventures.

 

As Always …

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Audiobook Reviews: 3.45/5 Stars The Girl in Seat 24B by Jennifer Peel

 

Summary:

Carly’s left to fend for herself emotionally and practically become a single mom because her husband, Michael Bishop, decides to pursue some career opportunities.

Additional Comments:

– It’s predictable.
– There’s excellent character development in everybody but the main characters. I love Joseph Xavier and his family. Even the in-laws progressed believably. Michael, not so much. Carly … yeah, I can believe her character development.
– I was really hoping it’d turn into a murder mystery at several points. That says a lot for the author’s skill to make realistic characters, but annoyed typically isn’t the vibe you want for 95% of the book.
– I heard the audiobook and the narrator did a lovely job. There weren’t too many voices she needed to do, but there were quite a few emotional moments that she captured nicely.
– I had to take the book in small doses, but luckily, I had a scifi study in ridiculousness to balance out this family drama thing.
– Although the characters were pretty realistic, their circumstances were not. Besides the major plot of “I don’t love you anymore” Michael walking out for 80% of the book, everything else works out like a dream.

  • Carly has 0 wants for money. Her business just flourishes from nothing to she’s turning down jobs left and right. She’s a social media hit with her wonderful pictures, and so forth. Even Michael, as he pursues his new career goals, he gets plush assignments and book deals thrown at him. The two kids are wonderful in every way. Oh, there are a few references to crankiness, but otherwise they’re little angels who love each other. There’s references to trouble with the in-laws but throughout this journey they’re nothing but supportive and loving.
    Content warnings – a few curse words; adult themes
    – I can’t speak to grammar because I heard it read to me, but aloud, it flowed decently well.

Conclusion:

If family drama’s your thing, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s basically one woman’s journey to survive a stint of single motherhood while her husband’s an idiot then her battle to forgive him once he comes to his senses. (All that can be gathered from the book description.)

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.