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.

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Whirlpool by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts

Introduction:

Whirlpool contains a romance book wrapped up in a woman vs nature plot. It features interesting side characters and some of the turmoil and unrest that led to the women’s movement in the 1920’s. I’m not a huge fan of flashbacks, but the ones here are handled very well. Thus, they add layers to the story without detracting from what’s going on in the “present.”

Full Summary:

It’s the first half of the 1920’s and the women’s movement pins its hopes and dreams on a silly woman named Evangeline Murray who wants to be rich and famous. Her plan: go over Niagra Falls in a barrel. She’s not in it alone. She’s helped by two of the movers and shakers of the women’s movement along with a Canadian woman and the lady’s grumpy brother.

Additional Comments:

  • The characters are realistic, but sometimes irksome. (They’re not perfect.) Many attributes get represented here: selfishness, greed, lack of scruples, shallowness, bravery, and heroism.
  • I found several of the plot-points very satisfying, but I can’t elaborate without spoilers.
  • The romance thread comes across as intriguing and sometimes annoying due to cryptic messages. Everything works out in the end, but it’s a longer journey than it needs to be. It was almost a comedy of errors, which I think will make some people like it more.
  • I especially enjoyed Maddie’s flashback to the war. The flashbacks in general were very well handled and seamlessly woven into the narrative.
  • My favorite character was Danny most of the time, but there one a moment or two even he needed a good smack. I think it reminded me of the silly antics some of my students pull. Therefore, I don’t think that moment will bother anybody else.
  • I wish I liked Evangeline’s sons more. In the beginning, they’re cads, and there’s not much change by the end.
  • The narrator did a nice job.
  • There’s a decent story here. Tags would make following the narration easier.
  • The river scene at the end was well done, and the descriptions of the Niagara River’s raw power are wonderful.
  • Content Warnings: occasional curse word and off screen sex

Conclusion:

Whirlpool is a surprisingly simple story (a woman wants to ride the Falls in a barrel) made complex by the multitude of human interactions and stored up emotions (Josh vs river, Evangeline vs her benefactors, her benefactors vs those who would stop her, etc). If you enjoy historical romance, this is a work you’ll want to check out.

 

 

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.

 

Movie Review: 4.5/5 Guardians of the Galaxy Spoiler Free Version

 

Introduction:

I know a lot of movie review sites use a 4 star system, but I’m too well-trained by Amazon reviews to adhere to it. Just saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. As I didn’t know much besides what I’d seen in the first movie, I shall leave this spoiler-free for now.

Summary and First Impressions:

Crude humor and well-placed jokes punctuate the movie in all the right places and a few oddball ones. Still, there’s a surprisingly deep and touching story to be found if you really dig through the crassness. It probably won’t be on my must-buy and watch 80x list, but I’m glad I saw the movie. Most people will think it pales compared to the first in the series. While it suffers a tad from being a sequel, the makers took the story in a cool direction.

Fun Stuff:

Guardians of the Galaxy would never fall under “serious” movies, but I love how much fun they had with it. Things like “Taser Face,” the Sovereign golden people fighting with video game like drones, repeated “I am Groots” all over the credits, and so forth.

How many “I am groots” did you come up with in the credits?

I found 9, but I may have missed a few. Marvel does a stellar job of making you want to watch the credits. There’s so much going on in the sides.

Conclusion:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 lives up to the ridiculous tone set by the first movie while also moving the story along. (It doesn’t come off as a “gee, we just want to cash in another payday” sort of movie.) Go see it!

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.

Coming Soon … Lei Crime Kindle World: Echoes by Scott Bury

Introduction:

May 12, 2017 will be quite the exciting day for those who love the Lei Crime Kindle World. A grand total of 11-ish new titles will launch that day. Join us for a Facebook Party too. It runs 3-11 PM EST on Friday, May 12, 2017. You’re cordially invited to come hang with us, chat, win prizes, and check out the sweet books releasing that day.

Echoes (Excerpt From Chapter 1): Out of the Past

Dylan nodded slowly and took a deep breath. “Cole’s wanted by the police. They say he shot two cops.”

“I know.”

“You know?”

“I’m a cop. FBI. Did you think the Oahu Field Office wouldn’t get notified about the shooting of two officers on the same island? And, of course, I recognized the name.”

“You knew? And you’re not doing anything about it?”

“I was pretty shocked, Dylan. I couldn’t imagine little Cole getting into any kind of trouble, let alone shooting anyone. But I read the reports. Although he hasn’t been convicted yet, he has a pretty long record for possession of drugs and association with criminals. He’s supposed to be a pretty big supplier of marijuana, ecstasy and other drugs on Oahu. And he apparently has been trying to move in on the heroin trade.”

She leaned in. “I’ve been following the case daily. You’re right. He’s gone dark. There’s an all-island alert for him, but no sightings since he burned down a house he was dealing from outside Hamika and shot two officers to escape.” Only then did she realize her hand was on Dylan’s knee.

He glanced down and smiled, but the smile vanished. “Can you help him?”

Vanessa withdrew her hand and looked at the ground. “Dylan, if he really shot two cops, he’s going to have to take responsibility for it.”

“You mean, he’s going to have to die for it?”

“No. Luckily, neither cop was killed. One’s still in hospital, the other’s out. Lucky for Cole, too. But he’s going to have to stand trial, and if he’s guilty, he’s going to have to serve time.”

Dylan snorted. “You know the cops in Hamika. They’ll never let him live long enough to get to trial. If they find him, he’s dead.”

He turned toward her and took her hand between his. He looked into her green eyes, and Vanessa suddenly felt like she was 17 again, like that night, the last time she had seen him until now, looking into Dylan’s eyes as dark and rich as chocolate. Her throat felt dry. She used sipping her iced coffee as an excuse to tear her eyes away.

The thinking part of her brain reminded her then that fifteen years had passed since that night, that special, so very important night.

She calculated. There were no urgent cases on her plate right now. She could tell Waxman, the Special Agent in Charge of the Honolulu Field Office, that she needed to take some personal time. The Bureau owed her more than a week.

“All right, Dylan. I’ll help you, but it can’t be in any official capacity. So far, Cole’s case belongs to the Honolulu Police Department, specifically the Hamika detachment. I can take time off to help find Cole and convince him to turn himself in.” She touched his shoulder to stop his protest. “That’s all I can do, Dylan. And I’ll be acting in my own capacity, which means I won’t be able to use any Bureau files, networks or other resources. It will be personal.”

Dylan looked into her eyes again, but she was ready for him this time. He wasn’t going to wear her down today. After a beat, he nodded. “Okay. That will do.”

“And Dylan? You’re going to tell me about that night fifteen years ago. The truth. That’s the deal.”

Dylan sighed, not breaking eye contact. “That night. The truth. Deal.”

About Echoes:

“I am hopelessly in love with a memory. An echo from another time, another place.” — Michel Foucault

In 1999, the Kahuna was The Man on Oahu’s west coast. The coolest guy at the wildest parties, with the coolest posse, the best weed and the most beautiful girlfriend.

Then he disappeared.

Fifteen years later, that girlfriend is no longer a high school senior. She is FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm, and she sees through every lie the Kahuna spins when he shows up again to beg her help.

How can she say no when the Kahuna wants her help not for himself, but to protect his little brother. Young Cole ‘Aukai is ready to set fire to the whole Oahu illegal drug trade—for revenge.

Echoes is Scott Bury’s fourth Lei Crime Kindle World title, joining:

About the author:

Scott Bury can’t stay in one category.

After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. He has written children’s fiction, mysteries, historical magic realism, action thrillers, memoirs and erotic romance.

In between writing books and blog posts, Scott helped found an author’s cooperative publishing venture, Independent Authors International. He is also President of author’s professional association BestSelling Reads.

You can find more about Scott Bury, and contact him through his website, http://www.writtenword.ca, his blog, Written Words, and on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

 

 

Audiobook Reviews: The Amazing Adventures of Mr. Tinker by Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson

Introduction:

Lately, I’ve been expanding my reading palate. It’s been quite an adventure, which is fitting given the book being featured today. I’ve not read a time travel story for a very long time. I think the last time travel movie I saw was Timeline (excellent movie by the way). Here, we meet Jovan. He’s an orphan taken in as an apprentice to this brilliant professor. In 59 pages, there isn’t a lot of time to develop their characters, but a lot happens. They meet up with Hitler, visit Woodstock, and much more.

Summary:

Mr. Tinker, in of Nicola Tesla’s associates, works with a young assistant named Jovan to try and recover 9 missing time travel devices.

Slight Disappointments:

  • This is not a novel. It’s a short story.
  • It doesn’t really have an ending either. It’s more of a part 1 of 3 or 4. As a big fan of closure, that’s disappointing.
  • Content warnings: There are a few curse words near the end, ~ last half hr. Their trip to Woodstock leaves them with some striking images burned on their brains.

What I Enjoyed:

  • The story is filled with wonders of a wild imagination. That’s one of the most compelling aspects of scifi in general. You never know what you’re going to get because the author can break almost any rule as long as there’s a plausible explanation.
  • The premise is simple yet fun. A professor and his assistant travel across time to prevent 9 villains from destroying time with their misuse of a great invention.
  • The tiger and little aliens are interesting side characters.
  • The book has an unusual yet interesting cover.

Conclusion:

In The Amazing Adventures of Mr. Tinker, we have a neat intro to an intriguing series.

Want a crack at owning this book for free?

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.