Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Stars Recovery of a Colony Ship by John Thornton

Summary:

Michael and Jamie are sent on a desperate mission to find a new home for the sad remnants of Earth’s population.

Additional Comments:

– It’s a pretty grim future if the remaining population numbers in the thousands.

– The title is … functional, but it might have more zip with just the main colony ship’s name.

– Narration was all right, but the male AI voice got on my nerves. He did great with the female AI though. Other characters are good too.

– I’ve not heard too many stories of this type, but it’s definitely a type. I’m not a big dystopia, end of the world fan, but I enjoyed this tale. (I think it helped to have it read to me.)

– There are frequent references to a disaster in Dome 3, but that thread’s not really explored. I would have liked to see that be a prologue or something for the amount of references it garnered.

– Michael and Jamie are likable enough as main characters, but for Adventurers, they’re kind of naïve. How do they manage to get their stuff stolen out from under their noses on day one?

– The plot reminds me a bit of a video game. They have a mission which promptly goes awry, and they have to figure out a new way to reach their end goal.

– The wrap up is quick.

– The religious fanatics have a fiercer reputation than most of the people Michael and Jamie meet.

– I liked most of the side characters, especially Abigail and the quartermaster guy from Earth.

– Some of the tech was very cool. I like the part about them trying to get into the colony ship.

– I didn’t get a great feel for the colony ship itself. I think some of that was because of the terminology and acronyms. OCM and RC were both explained eventually, but I’m pretty sure I was confused on that (along with the characters) for about an hour. The dimensions were mentioned at one point, I think, but then, later, there was talk of other habitats as worlds.

– The last hour or so had quite a bit of action. I wish the main characters did more of the fighting though. Legionnaires = awesome.

Conclusion:

Scifi adventure across the stars to find a home.

 

As Always …

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Audiobook Reviews: 3/5 Zombie Park by Mark Cusco Ailes

3/5 Zombie Park
*mild spoilers possible in discussion; sorry about name spellings, I heard the audiobook*

Summary:

Mad scientists create zombies for the government to use as soldiers. A down-on-his-luck guy submits an idea he clearly got from a video game to a local business man and wins the idea lottery. Boom – zombie park is born.

Character Comments:

 

  • With a ridiculous premise, one expects to have to suspend disbelief. Even so, there are quite a few giant coincidences that are hard to accept as a reader/audiobook listener. Ie. Forenstein has close ties to the military and General Poe. Why would they need Ben’s idea? They could have come up with something on their own or killed him and swiped the idea. Ben just happens to see and ad for Forenstein’s  “I’ll make you rich” scheme and just happens to submit his idea.
  • The general’s not exactly a people person yet he seems to be doing a lot of the leg work involving people.
  • The scientists clearly can’t stand each other, but their rivalry seems very childish as presented.
  • The emotional markings and cues are all over the place and not very believable. Nicholas Hollman’s reaction to certain events is completely incomprehensible. Even Ben’s reaction to an event when he’s in the donut shop is cold-hearted and unbelievable.

 

 

Additional Comments:

  • content warnings: It’s a zombie book. There’s the requisite descriptions of fountaining gushes of blood scattered throughout as well as a relatively high body count for a book this small. Number of curse words is minimal.
  • The premise of needing “smart zombies” to be soldiers is silly, but let’s indulge it for a moment. If thought about, it actually becomes dangerous as an idea. If you need humans to create zombies then it’s not about making soldiers, it’s about who becomes the soldier. At this pt, it’s actually kidnapping, assault, and ultimately slavery. (creating something/someone to fight for you)
  • The cost/benefit analysis doesn’t hold up. A program like this would cost billions with a b. The government could get hundreds of thousands of willing soldiers by less objectionable, less highly illegal recruitment methods. I am all for mad scientist books, but it needed a little more logic to make me buy in.
  • I’m not sure why pages are wasted on Gus and his two gamer friends. This is a relatively short book, and Gus doesn’t really seem that important. Perhaps he comes into play in a later book.
  • There are fun references to Jurassic Park and several zombie movies.
  • Book is decently narrated, but some of the voice choices were hard to listen to. (ie. Billy)
  • The story doesn’t really have an ending, it just sort of ends. There’s a distinct, this-is-the-first-in-a-series vibe that kind of stomps all over any sense of closure.

 

Conclusion:

If you’re willing to just read/listen without thinking, it’s a decently fun zombie book.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge. Of course, this is going to go live the first Sunday of October …

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

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.

Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Apprentice Cat by Virginia Ripple

4.5/5 Cute Cat Goes to Magic School Type Story

Summary:

Toby’s only mediocre at magic, but he still wants to fulfill his mother’s dream of being accepted into the Academy. Once in, he stumbled across a colossal mystery.

Random Comments:

  • It’s an intriguing world where humans and cats work hand-in-hand. The description of it being a kingdom and them traveling in carriages sort of make me think it’s a steampunk type era. It’s a tad hard to tell though.
  • The characters are well-developed.
  • The narration is nicely handled. I personally didn’t enjoy the voice used for Terrence as that was a little tough to follow, but the characters are distinct.
  • The mystery meanders a bit, but things work out in the end.
  • It finds the balance between giving the reader closure and leaving enough loose ends to gracefully beg for a sequel.

Conclusion:

Slow start and lots of world-building, but overall, a satisfying tale.

 

The book is permafree! Go ahead and download it … then prep yourself for the first Sunday in October when you can request a free audio version.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the 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

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.

Audiobook Reviews: Prestigium by Joseph Barone

4.5/5 Paranormal Detective

Summary:

Tanya Cora gets drawn into a mystery with more magic than she bargained for.

Random Comments:

  • There’s a lot of world-building here, so it takes some getting used to. The informational sessions are handled nicely in that the main character genuinely isn’t aware of most of it, so the reader gets to learn as she does.
  • The MC – Tanya – has a habit of commenting on everything that can get tiresome on occasion, but mostly, it comes across as amusing. She’s got a semi-jaded view of the world, but that fits well with the cop persona.
  • It’s definitely the sort of story that’s more fun to listen to than to read.
  • The cover’s okay. I would like a more solid view of what the main character looks like. Something deeper, darker would be cool.
  • The reader gets cheated a bit in the end where the epic battle is concerned. I’m not looking for blood and gore, but some description would be nice. References exist, but still …
  • The narrator’s good. I’m a fan.
  • I enjoyed how the story took familiar magic and elements and added its own twist.

Conclusion:

A worthwhile fantasy story.

 

As Always …

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

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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

Audiobook Reviews: An Inner Fire by Jacki Delecki

4/5 Stars Romantic Suspense Story with Fun Characters

Summary:

Grayce Walters, paranormal vet, gets a vision from Mitzi that Ewan Davis is in danger. He, of course, is a hot fire investigator who’s looking into a suspicious fire down at the wharf.

Additional Comments:

  • Writing quality is very strong overall.
  • The mystery itself is fairly straightforward. It’s not a police procedural or anything so the main character’s investigation is confined more to generic snooping. She does do some pretty stupid things overall, but it’s all because she loves her man … I guess we can at least understand the why of it.
  • The repeated use of strong language got tedious for me. (But I will say that the narrator did a nice job with the performance.)
  • The touch of paranormal in here was well done. I think more could have been done with the connection to Grayce’s sister, but the dreams/visions were decently described.
  • Twist at the end kind of cheapened all the character(s) did to investigate up to that point.
  • The idea of doing acupuncture on pets is intriguing. I know zip about acupuncture in general, but the descriptions sounded reasonable.
  • Fun side characters – Davis’s aunt and Grayce’s friend James are outlandish in their own ways
  • Content warnings: very strong language, adult content goes beyond the “mild” setting (I’d probably categorize it as medium level in at least 1 scene)

 

Conclusion:

Good romantic suspense/ mystery story if you can handle the descriptions of sex and the repeated strong language.

As Always …

You should still join Audiobook Readers’ Edge, but this book will not be featured in the regular list. It will be available by Matchmaker. Sign up then email me. (Devyaschildren @ gmail.com).

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

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

Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 Derelict by LJ Cohen

3.5/5 Derelict by LJ Cohen

Summary:

Ro and a motley stow-away crew find trouble on a derelict ship.

Additional Comments:

What I Didn’t Enjoy:

  • There’s a LOT of strong language in here, which is weird because the book otherwise seems aimed at young adults. I work with teenagers. Some of them curse, but very strong languages loses its impact when used this casually.
  • There’s not one fleshed-out, competent, sympathetic adult. The adults here come in three flavors: overbearing jerks or manipulative, overbearing jerks or manipulative, overbearing, psychopathic jerks.
  • The friendships and rivalries seemed genuine but there’s also a bizarrely paced, subtle (F/F) romance.

Neutral:

  • At its heart, the plot’s actually rather simple. (Girl wants to get away. Girl and acquaintances get into trouble. Runaway ship nearly kills ’em all.)
  • The purpose of Deadilus (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio version) was never really made clear. Is the station strictly for research or survival?

What I Enjoyed:

  • The technology aspects of this book were pretty cool. The computer programming aspects were nicely described.
  • The music integration and purpose where Halycone is concerned rocks.
  • Bill Burrow’s performance fits very well.
  • The four main characters are both well-developed and likable. I enjoyed how their names unfolded piece by piece. Their nicknames work.

Conclusion:

If you’re okay with a lot of strong language and quite a bit of adult-bashing,  you would probably enjoy this book.

As Always …

Note: this book will not be on the regular Audiobook Readers’ Edge, but it is available via the matchmaker program.

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

Awesome Audiobooks: 5/5 More Fables and Fantasies by Dale T. Phillips

Title: A Fun Collection

Summary:

5 short fantasy stories featuring dragons, peasants, heroes, villains, and interesting twist on fairy tale heroes.

Additional Comments:

  • In a collection like this, everybody’s going to get something different out of it. I especially enjoyed the one in the middle told from Hansel’s point of view. I never thought I’d like twists on old fables, but it’s fun to be able to think of them in a new way.
  • The ending of the Christmas one was predictable yet still awesome.
  • The book contains decent world-building, even in something so short. This stood out in the one about the young man and the dragon.
  • The one with the young woman who finds truffles had the markings of traditional fairy tale. It felt very similar to the one with the young man and the dragon.
  • The narrator handled the stories well. I’m a huge proponent of audiobooks (if you couldn’t tell yet). It adds a wonderful layer to each story. I especially loved the wood carver’s voice.

 

Conclusion:

This is definitely a worth-while collection to listen to/read.

 

As Always …

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

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Missing: Lessons from Fiori Book 2 by Peggy M. McAloon

Title: Solid Entry in MG Fantasy Series

Summary:

Elle Burton’s brother has disappeared, and her friend Jimmy becomes a Guardian. Elle might be the Chosen One, but she has to save her brother first.

Additional Comments:

  • It’s definitely middle grade. That said, it’s kid-safe and fairly realistic. I like the balance between the kid being a hero and still being a kid.
  • It probably helps to read book 1, but it’s enjoyable as is.
  • The narrator did a lovely job.
  • Elle’s a fun character. I don’t get much sense of Jimmy, but I think he’ll be important in the series later.
  • The side characters are a little hard to distinguish if you’re not familiar with them already, but it’s still fun.
  • The magic world is pretty well-defined. There are some terms that are probably better explained in book 1.
  • The danger and way they solve the mystery is fairly realistic.
  • I enjoyed the way Elle’s home life progressed. There’s good balance of her being a hero and just being a 10 year old kid with a heart of gold. She’s the sort of kid you can totally believe lives next door.
  • I don’t usually comment on covers but the audiobook one is by far my preferred one vs the ebook one. I think the cartoon-ish one captures the essence of the story better. The ebook one says YA, but not fantasy. This is definitely a fantasy book.

Conclusion:

Solid entry in an interesting MG fantasy series.

P.S. The author is a lovely person. You should find her on FB and say “hi.”

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the 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

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.

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Scotland’s Guardians by Katharina Gerlach

Title: 4/5 Fun Fantasy Tale of Friendship

Summary:

Bryanna and her new friend Kaylee (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio) go on a long, perilous journey that could determine the fate of Scotland.

Additional Comments:

  • Bryanna and Kaylee’s friendship goes through natural ups and downs. Their loyalties are tested in numerous ways.
  • Because this is a fantasy, the plot takes some delightful and weird twists and turns. At times, the journey seemed simply for the sake of the journey, but overall, the plot moved nicely to the climax.
  • Bryanna’s got a good heart. That comes through pretty clearly.
  • I love how the cover reflects what’s inside. It’s beautiful and will have more meaning after you’ve read/listened to it.
  • Along the way the girls get into some crazy situations. That keeps the journey interesting.
  • Some of the hidden nature of certain relationships seemed ridiculous in the long run, more for the reader’s benefit of surprise than for the main character.
  • Bryanna and Kaylee are likable main characters. I suppose Kaylee could be seen as a side character, but if she is, she’s very well-developed.
  • The narrator did a wonderful job with all the tough pronunciations.
  • The end was a tad anticlimactic. I think the end battle took place in about ten minutes.

 

Conclusion:

A strong tale of friendship set in fantasy settings.

 

As Always …

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

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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

Audiobook Reviews: The Natural Order by R.J. Vickers

 

Introduction:

A troubled teen goes off to magic school and finds trouble of a different sort.

Summary:

Tristan Fairholm gets a second chance at an extraordinary school where not everything is as it seems.

Additional Comments:

Neutral:

– There are a lot of plot threads being juggled here. Overall, this is done well, but a few seem to have petered off. (ie. Evie and the twins)

– There are 15 students gathered from all over the US (presumably), but the story focuses only on 5-6 of them. (I believe that’s for the best, but the number of overall students seems small. If the others don’t matter, then why bring them up at all?)

– Content warnings: rampant casual cursing

– There’s not much explanation for the vast wealth of the school.

– Tristan makes some gains in many aspects but not the driving force presented at the beginning.

– Passage of time was sporadic. It was almost like a survey of the holidays.

What I didn’t like:

*disclaimer – I am a teacher, so my perspectives on how schools are run might be different than the average reader.*

– The idea of rewarding students by letting them out of an assigned homework is terrible. Homework’s not supposed to be busy work. Either it has value or it doesn’t. If nobody “needs” to do it, then why assign it? If it’s vital, then letting some students skip it is kind of counter productive.

– There’s a strong emphasis on hours of punishments and students working them off. The dolling out of such seemed a mite capricious. Keeping discipline and order is important in school settings, and I imagine that’s magnified in a boarding school setting. However, when handing out discipline, it’s important not to punish oneself at the same time. Are the teachers working 90+ hrs a week?

– Some of the cardinal rules of the school seemed to matter one minute and not so much the next. (ie. can the students leave or not? Can anybody leave or not?)

– The vandal’s methods and logic are fundamentally flawed.

– The first practical exam was a terrible idea. The teachers admit this later, but it’s not really an exam if nothing’s taught first.

– Tristan’s acceptance of the end twists seemed way too easy. The mystery built up some good momentum then sort of fizzled.

What I liked:

– There’s a unique premise here and some nice twists in the end.

– The character development is pretty decent at least in the main character.

– I liked Amber and wish her role were expanded. She was left as the “little miss perfect student” instead of becoming a foil for the hero.

– Side characters were decent, although the Zeke/ Leila thing got old very quickly. The relationship has an interesting turn at the end, but nothing’s settled. They seem very antagonistic for no good reason.

– The book as a whole has a summer camp bonding experience vibe to it.

– The narrator’s performance was good.

– End twist is built on a very intriguing premise.

Conclusion:

I don’t think the things that bothered me about the running of the school will affect the general public. Overall, this is a decent coming-of-age fantasy with its own brand of magic.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge. The ebook is $0.99, and if you miss out on getting a free code, then you can always buy the book for a discounted price once you have the ebook. (This holds true for most titles anyway.)

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

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.