Audiobook Reviews: Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz

Introduction:

Some superhero books try to be serious. This isn’t one of those times. There might be possible spoilers ahead in my discussion. I have some mixed feelings about the book as a whole. There’s a lot to love and some stuff that raises eyebrows.

Summary:

Tori Lewis discovers she has a superpower. Meanwhile, her new husband, Joe Clarke, also has a secret identity.

Additional Comments:

  • I love the pop culture references. The references include: Spiderman, The X-Files, Superman, and much more.
  • Comic books do not qualify as research.
  • Neutral:
  • Limited first person sometimes slips into stream of consciousness. In general, the amount of arghs and grrs should be kept to a bare minimum in books, especially audios.
  • The MC gets mugged twice.

What I couldn’t connect with … :

  • The genres flip quite regularly. It’s mostly a lighthearted romantic comedy set in a mildly urban fantasy setting. In addition, there are elements of Christian romance, Harlequin romance, mystery, and scifi. I happen to like most of those, but I’ll admit the blend is not always pretty. Odds are very good that either you’re going to be offended by the amount of intimate scenes described between the newlyweds or you’re going to be offended by the amount of times Tori prays or somebody brings up a Bible verse.
  • Content warning: contains curse words and “moderate spice adult scenes”
  • There’s a fair amount of very slow build. I clocked it. Tori took 7.5 hrs to tell Joe the truth, and he took about 9.2 hours to tell the truth. That’s weeks upon weeks in their time. I’ll tell him soon, I’ll tell him later, I’ll tell her soon, I’ll tell her later, well maybe … It got maddening.
  • Some plot threads get brushed off in a “that’s not really our focus as super heroes” vibe instead of wrapped up.

What I liked:

  • The narrator fit the character very well. She gave a solid performance.
  • The scifi and mystery aspects are great. I wish more of this existed.
  • I enjoyed Kane (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio) as a villain.
  • The last hr and a half was excellent. Once they leveled with each other and finally got to the exciting stuff including the showdown, it was awesome.

Conclusion:

If you can handle the “heat level” and don’t mind genres flipping all over the place, it’s an intriguing tale.

 

As Always …

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Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke

Title: Unique Take on Magic

Summary:

Leilani and Zebedy overcome the cast differences to become fast friends and become embroiled in a mystery that

Additional Comments:

What I didn’t like:

  • Zeb’s voice sounded like a perpetually whiny 10-yr-old child.
  • Repeated use of “strains” as an expression. (“strains this” and “oh strains that” … at one pt I believe there was even an “oh, strains, the Strains can be…” expression)
  • A few plot points detracted from “kid appeal,” but generally, the story’s suitable for middle grade.
  • The characters whine quite a bit.

Neutral:

  • The book had a little trouble picking a mood. It started as a “girls from opposite worlds come together as friends tale” then morphed into a “Nancy Drew-like mystery” then turned into a teen romance and finally wrapped up as a feel-good “let’s fix our broken world” story.
  • Title’s unique but doesn’t really capture the story.

What I liked:

  • Brick. (Can’t say much more without spoilers.)
  • The fights between friends work.
  • The idea of magic being music is very interesting. The idea could be developed more.
  • Convenient yet satisfying end.
  • Contains likeable characters and unique world-building.

Conclusion:

It’s definitely a worthwhile read if you enjoy MG fantasy stuff.

Awesome Audiobook Reviews: 4.5/5 stars Cora and the Nurse Dragon

Introduction:

Prior to listening to this book, my experience with dragons was very limited. That said, I enjoyed the new twist the author gave to dragons in general. The story contains some violence at the end, but overall, I would still consider it kid-friendly. If you’re a dragon fan, you will want to get to know HL Burke’s works better.

Summary:

A 12-yr-old girl named Cora accidentally ends up with a nurse dragon. She names him Cricket.

Random Comments:
– Overall (4.5/5) – This is a cute story that you can read as much or as little into if you want. It could be about animal rights. Or it could be a lesson about the morals of greed. Just as easily, it could be a kiddie story about a girl, her friend, the town bully, and a baby nurse dragon. I love that there are layers.
– Narration (3.45/5) – The narrator did a nice job of distinguishing between different characters, but her “normal narrator” voice sort of struck me as monotone.
– Main Characters (3.5/5) – In a book this size, you’re not going to get giant character development from beginning to end, but there are some changes.
– Side Characters (4/5) – The side characters are decently well-developed.
– Plot (3/5) – Nothing surprising happens, but it’s a fitting story.
– Dialogue (5/5) – The dialogue sounds realistic.
– World-building (4/5) – It’s mainly an early 1900’s type setting like the beginning of the industrial revolution. (first lady lawyer in town, automobiles – but not everybody has them, rich tycoons, etc) Yet, there are elements that are unique and sometimes smack of way more modern. There are dragon breeding facilities, sedatives, etc.

Conclusion:

It’s a nice, short fantasy story made for dragon lovers. Check it out. If it’s in paperback, it would make a nice gift for young dragon lovers in your life. It’s full of imagination, yet there are good topic openers to have a great conversation with your kid too. Did I mention it’s adorable?

 

As Always …

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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: 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:

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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: 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:

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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:

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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: Dragon’s Future by Kandi J. Wyatt

Introduction:

I’ve probably read 5 stories that have dragons in them in my life. Conclusion = dragons are cool.

Summary:

This is a story about dragons and the people who ride them. The dragon population is dwindling. If nothing’s done, the entire colony could cease to exist.

 

Additional Comments:

– It took me a while to get into the story, but the end fits well and is awesome. There’s a lot of setup that needs to happen.

– The names were a tad difficult to follow in audio format. Ruskya and Duskya, Kyn, Wynn (spelling??), etc. It was hard to keep straight who was a dragon and who was a human. I feel like seeing the words would have made that easier somehow. At least there was also a Carol.

  • It’s a series, so I think some of this will be explained in future books.

– The performance was okay. The narrator was good but didn’t have a great range of characters so it was difficult to delineate who was speaking based on voice alone.

– Duskya could have had more page time, but for the most part, there’s decent balance between who gets to be in what scene.

Pros:

– There are a lot of things to love in here: dragons!, the ability to ride them, mental connections, twin bonds, bad guys, and a ton of great characters. (Yes, distinguishing could be difficult, but there were a ton of people who were so down to earth. You just want to spend an afternoon getting to know them.)

– I think the story’s aimed at the middle grade audience, so even though there’s violence you’ll find it scrubbed fairly well.

 

Conclusion:

This is the type of story that would be good on a long car ride. It’s something to share with younger children. If you love dragons, you won’t want to miss Dragon’s Future.

 

Special Treat:

Please note that this book is permafree. You can grab a copy for FREE. Add the audio version at a discount after that. If you want the 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.