Audiobook Reviews: Shadow Grove by Lacey Edward

 

Introduction:

This is a case where the book probably makes more sense in context of it being part of a series. It took quite a bit of time and didn’t have that much of a bang in the end, but there is still potential for the series.

Summary:

Around her 18th birthday, Ariel finds out she’s a witch. The rest of the story’s pretty much about her training to use those powers and avoiding the people trying to kill her because of those powers.

Additional Comments:

Content warning: a few mild curses

Neutral:

– The plots pretty slow moving. I get that there’s a lot of setup, but really, I could only think of 2 pts in the book that had any sort of action.

– Some of the bad guys’ motives seem weak.

– Ethan kind of seems along for the ride. He doesn’t add or detract much. Wish he’d done more as Ariel’s father.

– I wish Ariel had done more. She’s learning a lot, but it seems a lot of other things/people are protecting her. I want to see her become the in control witch ready to take on the forces of darkness.

What I didn’t like:

– A lot of the training scenes involved inane questions that seemed designed solely to move the conversation on so the other character could continue his/her lecture. For some reason, in the audio, that drove me nuts. (Really? I’m a witch? A book? Etc)

– Unresolved questions: – Why does Oren offer to help her if he’s just a collector? Who is the queen? What the heck happened to James? The queen shows up at the beginning and the end, but we’re specifically not told anything about her.

– Lack of closure in the end. There would have been better closure without the very last scene. We already know it’s book 1 and the story continues, but the last scene sort of stamps a “to be continued” sign on the story. I find those annoying.

What I liked:

– I enjoyed Ariel as a character. The tried and true girl-has-special-powers trope is always a fun one, and Ariel’s pretty likable.

– Oddly enough, I enjoyed the Vampire. He was a nice addition.

– I think the series as a whole has merit. There’s a lot of setup in this book.

– I loved the narrator’s voice for Dione. (British accents rock.)

Conclusion:

It’s a slow start, but there’s a ton of potential for the series.

 

 

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

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

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.

My Audiobook Obsession and AE Code Shortage Remedy

Introduction:

In the last couple of months, I’ve spent much time setting up Audiobook Edge to bring authors/narrators and readers together. (If you’re not a member yet, no problem. Go here to fix that.) I want everybody to get something good out of the experience, but I realize that some weeks there might be a shortage of codes. To help remedy that, I will be offering up to 5 copies of my books each week as necessary to fill in some of the gaps.

*Please note, that I’m not purposefully shorting the list, but I am keeping the number of books low so people get the maximum exposure possible.

This post will introduce you to the works I have available.

My Audiobooks:

Over the past few years, I’ve embraced the opportunity to work with several talented narrators to give my books that added layer. I have 8 titles with one in the works and another under contract. I’m waiting to see what happens with The Davidson Case before leaping to find somebody for The Keres Case. First, I’ll break down which books are credited to which narrator. Then, I’ll give you details on which are available to you.

Who Did What:

Ashlynn’s Dreams became my first book to morph into an audiobook. I knew zip about the process, but luckily, Kristin Condon submitted an audition. Eager to begin, I closed auditions very soon after hearing how close Kristin came to how I pictured the characters of Jillian and Danielle.

These things, meaning audiobooks, don’t happen overnight. They take weeks and months, depending on how much time the narrator has to devote to a project. The sad reality is that very few people can make a living off of this sort of work. Over the course of several years, Kristin worked on Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, Nadia’s Tears, The Collins Case, and The Kiverson Case. Then, life interfered and we parted ways.

Julie Hinton stepped in to take over the creation of Malia’s Miracles. She did a lovely job taking my scattered notes on the characters and bringing her talent bear here. I’m grateful for her willingness to tackle the center of a series. She’s currently working through Varick’s Quest. My guess is that should be ready Summer 2017.

Brian Troxell performed the prequel to the Devya’s Children series, The Dark Side of Science. I absolutely love this guy’s voice and range of characters. He did a superb job. It’s best to be familiar with the Devya’s Children characters before jumping into this book, but it can stand alone. Some might disagree with my choice, but I wanted a male voice for this story. The rest of the Devya’s Children series is set very much in the head of Jillian and Danielle, but Dark Side is third person. I wanted more of a storyteller of old feel to its presentation.

Caitlin Jacques became the voice of Victoria Saveron and many more characters from Awakening. I would have hired Julie Hinton again as I enjoy working with her, but I wanted a new voice for the Redeemer Chronicles series. The auditions for this one were very tight. It was a very tough decision because I got some great auditions, but I’m happy with how the project turned out.

Lightning Quick Summaries:

      Devya’s Children (YA, Science Fiction)

  • The Dark Side of Science (prequel) – a scientist struggles to regain her memories so she can help her children survive a brutal competition.
  • Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts (short stories, prequel) – Jillian’s pre-kidnapping journal entries.
  • Ashlynn’s Dreams – Jillian and her babysitter get kidnapped so she can learn to be a Dream Shaper.
  • Nadia’s Tears – Jillian struggles to wake her sister from a coma while Danielle tries to save a friend from stupid decisions.
  • Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings fight cancer and try to stay free.
  • Varick’s Quest (coming soon…) – an admirer of Dr. Devya snatches Jillian and Danielle for his own purposes.

    Heartfelt Cases (Christian Mystery)

  • The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents race against time to save a kidnapped family.
  • The Kiverson Case – Ann and Patrick play a deadly game with a man bent on revenge.

    Redeemer Chronicles (Fantasy)

  • Awakening – a girl and her two friends try to survive zombies and her uncle’s schemes.

What You Can Request:

Although technically anything I have available in audio form is up for the asking, you will likely get the most out of the first in each series. If you’d like Malia’s Miracles but you want to catch up first, head over to my website and join the Spec Fic list. You’ll get Ashlynn’s Dreams for free. That should help a little. If you like the book and review it on amazon, you can then email me the review link with a request for a copy of Nadia’s Tears. (These are very limited, so act fast.)

As with all audiobooks, you should listen to the retail sample to see if you enjoy the narrator’s voice. I personally love each of the narrators I’ve worked with. That said, having listened to 15+ audiobooks in the last few weeks, I understand that not everybody’s going to fall in love with every voice. That’s just the way life goes.

For Kristin Condon, I’d recommend going with Ashlynn’s Dreams.

 

The others currently only have one title each.

Sorry, I couldn’t find the audiobook version of The Dark Side of Science. Click through and you should still get to an audiobook sample though.

Caitlin Jacques’ audiobook debut:

Julie Hinton’s first work for me.

 

Audiobook Buying Ninja Tips:

Any book you own the official kindle version for, you should be able to buy on audio for around $1.99. I have mixed feelings on this. From a reader perspective, it’s awesome, but it does tend to short the authors/narrators. (Royalties are based on sale price.) For example, the Dark Side of Science was free on amazon for a few years. If you download it, you should be able to add the audiobook for the steeply discounted price.

If you find that you love audible and want to move to a paid plan, an easy way to help your favorite author/narrator is to buy their book first. ACX offers bounties, which is an ingenious way on their part to get some free advertising out of people. I’ve got 8 title, so if you’re moving that way, I’d love for you to choose one of them as your first book. Oh, and before you move to a paid plan anyway, do the free trial, so you get the first book or two free.

Meet the Narrators:

Kristin Condon

Brian Troxell

Julie Hinton

Caitlin Jacques – Sorry, she’s a bit of a mystery. I couldn’t find an official website.

Conclusion:

Audiobooks allow one to do other things while still experiencing stories. They’re great for long car rides, quiet afternoons, and something to do while ironing. Let me show you a whole new world.

As Always …

If you haven’t done so yet, join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

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

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

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 …

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: 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.

 

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.

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: 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.

Take the Book Quiz; Win Stuff

So, this is gonna be a super short post.

Go here: http://www.litring.com/giveaways/ and answer a few simple questions to grab some freebies and enter to win some great stuff.

The concept is pretty cool. These questions will help you narrow down from a bunch of different genres to get you a focused list of books aimed at your likes and passions.

Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

quiz-graphic