Audiobook Reviews: Next Stop, Chancey by Kay Dew Shostak

3.5/5 A Look at Small Town Life

Summary: Carolina Jessup panics after she finds condoms in her daughter’s purse. She sells her house, packs up her family, and moves them to a small town, all the while hating small towns as she’ll repeatedly let you know

 

Additional Comments:

  • There are a lot of characters to keep straight, but the audio performance was well-handled. Male voices sort of sound the same, but the main characters have distinct voices and the narrator does the female Southern accent very well.
  • The main character complains a fair amount in the book. She’s constantly doubting her decision to move the family, even though she knows her husband enjoys the new place and the fact that it’s near trains.
  • The book’s essentially a small town soap opera. The gossip flies fast and the muffins are fine. Everybody knows everybody else’s business. The teenage daughter finds herself competing for the top social slot. The boy finds a new friend and sort of disappears into the countryside to reappear from time to time and ask for food.
  • There’s the added intrigue of the ghost story, but to be honest, the explanation sort of ruined it. Maybe I’m just too much a fan of paranormal twists to books.
  • The main character does sort of find out what she wants by the end, but it was a pretty arduous mental “I should be happy here” journey.
  • I love the cover!

Conclusion:

If small town gossip’s your thing, then this is just the book for you. It’s a study in small town modern suburban existence.

As Always …

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Argentum by Debbie Manber Kupfer

4.0/5 Magic, Mystery, and Destiny

Summary:

Miri Katz, a student at P.A.W.S. has a lot more to deal with than mere classes. Her father’s a semi-immortal psychopath of sorts. That’s enough to give you grays even if you don’t have the ability to turn into a cat.

Additional Comments:

  • Although this story can be read and understood without listening or reading book one, I’d recommend doing this series in order.
  • Tons of cool concepts can be found in here. I like the idea of magic schools, powerful pendants, the quest for immortality, moral questions, and stuff like that.

    Content Warning:

There are also some pretty disturbing elements involving multiple forms of abuse of a minor. The book is categorized as YA. I know teens deal with stuff like this. The tough content is handled reasonably well, but I just don’t like it in fantasy stuff. It makes stories way less kid-friendly, meaning I can’t recommend it to the target audience. (Everything else fits a 13-ish age bracket splendidly, except that.)

  • The narrator performede with heart.
  • Alas, I didn’t like certain characters. I don’t think you’re meant to like the particular character I had in mind, but it’s really annoying to actively hate story characters. (On the flip side, that means they’ve got some depth to them.) This could just be the voice used for the character, it grated on the nerves. Pretty sure that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do …
  • There’s not a great deal of closure. It’s very much a part two of multiple stories. I would have liked a few more threads to be tied up. I’m sure they will be, but that will have to wait for book 3.

Conclusion:

If you’re okay with slightly depressing themes like sexual abuse of a kid and can get past that, then it’s actually a really good book.

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

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.

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Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 The Journey of the Bell by Spencer Hawke

I pulled the picture from Audible.

Summary:

A very short novella about two men and a secret society.

Additional Comments:

  • I heard the audiobook. The author has a very nice reading voice.
  • The book’s mostly a setup for the rest of the series, so in that sense, this is a prequel. However, I personally didn’t like that twenty minutes of this book are actually an excerpt from a different book.
  • Historical fiction always takes liberties with facts and public figures. The Eyes of Athena are probably supposed to be the Masons. I probably missed something but I sort of wish I knew more about how the fictional counterpart got its name.
  • It’s all right, but I think it would be more enjoyable as a prequel, meaning as something to fill in gaps and give greater depth to things for current fans of the regular series. It’s really about the setup of the secret society and two random early members, not about Ari.
  • The skipping around in the timeline threw me a bit.

Conclusion:

A story geared more toward fans of the Ari Cohen series. It’s also light historical fiction. If you’re looking for a quick read, it’s a decent fit.

*I received a copy of the audio free. I chose to review it.*

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.

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Sweet Summer Offers – August 21, 2017

Introduction:

Happy August, friends, family, and friendly strangers.

Thought you’d all be interested in some cool giveaways going on right now. No matter what you like, you’re probably going to find something to fall in love with.

My Book Cave promo Back to School with YA Fiction.

Click on the picture below to enter:

You could win a $50 gift card to Amazon/B&N/iTunes courtesy of the nice folks at My Book Cave.

Want More Freebies?

Click the picture to get in on some quick deals. Note: These are all available from Instafreebie.

On Sale!

Get Alabaster Island (YA, fantasy) for only $0.99!

Looks like paradise holds some dark secrets. 17-year-old Marei makes some choices that will affect the fate of many.

Another Cool Contest:

Win an entire epic fantasy trilogy on Audiobook.

With over 36 hours of epic fantasy adventure on audio you will live the journey, danger, and romance as forces strive to control a forbidden branch of magic in the world of Myrrah. I’ve heard one of the narrators (Thom Bowers) before. He’s excellent.

Personal Offers:

As always, you can get Ashlynn’s Dreams, The Kiverson Case, Awakening, and a rotating mystery free just by signing up for my newsletter. (All 3 pages will get you the same 3 books, so only sign up once.)

With over 36 hours of epic fantasy adventure on audio you will live the journey, danger, and romance as forces strive to control a forbidden branch of magic in the world of Myrrah.

Students get a discount on Amazon Prime.
Did I mention I’m jealous?

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Try Kindle Unlimited absolutely free.

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Three Nails by Michael Maxwell

4.0/5 A Snapshot Look at a Teacher’s Personal Tragedy

Summary:

A public school teacher has his whole life turned upside down by a personal tragedy.

Additional Comments:

  • Plot: It goes all over the place, but it’s really a snapshot of a guy’s life. The description pretty much tells you what’s wrong in his world. Most of the first half centers around the devastating loss of his son, Logan. However, I’m not sure how the very first scene fits in. I know it plays into his nightmares later, but I’d thought the book must be a murder mystery given the way it begins.
  • The side characters felt a little flat to me. I mean Logan’s death obviously devastates this guy, but since the reader doesn’t really get to meet him, there’s not a big emotional pull.
  • The guy works in a much tougher school than I do, but the descriptions of some of the frustrations public school teachers face are accurate, except that his first teaching assignment probably would never have happened. I think you need a special ed license to be assigned a classroom like that. At the very least, it would probably be a co-taught class, meaning there would be two teachers/witnesses supervising and instructing the students.
  • I like that the book didn’t shy away from showing the dark side of life. The things some of these kids in this guy’s classroom face are horrific, and the sad part is that even though it’s fiction, the scenarios are very realistic.

    Characters:

  • The characters are pretty well fleshed out, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the main character’s name.
  • – Not sure why it’s categorized as Christian fiction. While there is nothing offensive besides a few curse words, the main character doesn’t ring true as a Christian. His daughter who becomes a missionary – maybe – but his comments at the end sort of tell the reader he’s not sure what’s “up/out there.” I don’t think there’s a set requirement that the MC has to be a Christian to categorize the book as one, but it certainly would help.

Conclusion:

A snapshot look into a teacher’s life during one of the darkest times he faces.

 

As Always …

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

If you’re an author (or a narrator) 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.

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Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 Empty Threat by Danny Bell

 

Summary:

Elana Black can hop into the pages of a book and save people.

Additional Comments:

  • This is the second time I’ve seen this premise. The idea of entering stories to save characters. It’s very cool. The first time was in a children’s book.
  • First person narratives lend themselves very strongly to conveying character voice. Elena’s voice is very strong. She’s uses self-deprecating humor all over the place.
  • Plot was all over the place, but that’s to be expected in a fantasy of this nature. You’re literally hopping into and out of books.
  • The bad guys made no sense to me at certain points. (I’m told that there’s a lot of stuff in here that will be explained in future, but that doesn’t really help the stand alone work.)
  • Elana’s big end strategy doesn’t seem like it would work as described.
  • The pacing is weird. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
  • Performance was nicely handled by Whitton Frank.

Conclusion:

There are a lot of story seeds that will likely be expanded in later books of the series. I’m pretty sure that I missed quite a few things along the way. Might have been easier to pick up on in the kindle version. Not sure. I’m on an audiobook kick. If you’re looking for a quirky female character with neat powers, this is a great book for you.

Only $0.99 !

 

 

As Always …

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

If you’re an author (or a narrator) 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 Readers’ Edge Update

What is Audiobook Edge for Readers?

·         A short, vetted list of clean indie audiobooks I recommend every month. I’ll try to give you a clear rating system in terms of curses, adult content, and the like. The first Sunday to be precise. By “clean” I mean the book has minimal curse words and adult content. (There will also be Matchmaker, which has some stuff I will not post to the main list – email me to get on that list.)

What do you get?

·         Free audiobooks. (The author emails of those willing to share audible gift codes or directly gift you the book you’ve select.)
·         News of any audiobook price drops, giveaways, and cool contests put on by the lovely authors on the list.

What’s the “catch”?

I run by the principle: “If you like it, then you shoulda put a review on it.” (And if you don’t like it, let the author know privately.)

These authors and their narrators have put hours upon hours into creating an entertaining or informative show for you. Listening and enjoying their hard work is one step, but it costs you about five minutes of your time to thank them with a review. It also helps other readers find and enjoy things you love.

Details:

By “vetted” I mean I’ve either read the book or know the author and the quality of their work personally. (I will be gathering a small team of audiobook readers I trust to make such decisions, but right now, it’s just me.) My reading tastes tend very strongly toward mystery, thriller, and science fiction with a smidgen of fantasy and a few other genres. Therefore, you can expect the list to lean heavily toward these genres. Also, I write (and therefore tend to read) squeaky clean stuff. I’m not saying there won’t be curse words here and there as it fits the story, but these will be the works you wouldn’t mind if your grandmother caught you reading it.

I’m just the middleman here as it were. I’ll show you thing I’ve enjoyed or am excited to try out. It’s up to you to contact the authors who are kind enough to offer some free codes.

Reviews:

Eventually, I’ll be posting the lists to my wordpress blog. After they’re up and running, I’ll send you a link to the recent post(s) at the bottom of the weekly newsletter.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, please sign up below. As a bonus, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of 5 ebook, audiobook, and paperback bundles of any of my applicable works. (Clarification: It has to be a title that has an audiobook, ebook, and paperback version.)

Update as of 8/12/17: I also have a matchmaker list of things rejected from the normal list due to excessive curses, too many adult scenes or gory descriptions.

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)

Ready to get your Audiobook Edge?

Join up here.

 

If 1-2 free books ain’t enough, check out Audible’s paid programs.

The first two books are free through the link below.

*Bonus: I also have free codes for all my audiobooks and if you join Audiobook Edge and email me the title of one of my books you’d like to review, I will send you a code to purchase it. See my Amazon page for a list of my books. (Eligible titles: Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, Varick’s Quest, The Collins Case, The Kiverson Case, The Dark Side of Science, Awakening.)

*Double Bonus: If you buy one of my books as your very first Audible.com account purchase (needs to be a paid account), I’ll give you a $10 gift card/code to Amazon.com (please note, you have to be able to buy from the US site.) Also, this is only doable because of Audible’s bounty program, you’ll need to prove the purchase and wait until the bounty clears on my end.

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 stars Treasure: Seed Savers by S. Smith

 

Summary:

Two siblings, Dante and Claire, go on a journey to find a place where they can be safe from an overbearing government, a place where people can grow real food without fear.

 

Additional Comments:

– The premise – that genetically altered, government sanctioned plants and processes have taken over America – is well-handled but still not very believable. The idea that all knowledge of gardening and farming is pretty much gone from the world except for some books and a few brave souls, is hard to accept, especially given the ending. I believe the part where the government wants to control everything, but I just don’t buy that these kids have 0 knowledge of things like apple trees and chickens. The internet would have to be completely gone. It’s been renamed the monitor, so it’s still there.

– Claire and Dante are believable.

– Dialogue’s good.

– Plot’s okay. It’s a little slow for my tastes, but that could be because of the recent stuff I’ve been listening to.

– I don’t get much of a sense of danger or fear for the young travelers. It unfolds like that “Everything is Awesome” song from the Lego movie. By extension, that means it will be exactly what some people are looking for, but just wasn’t “my thing.”

 

Conclusion:

An intriguing look at a future where processing food has reached uncharted heights.

 

As Always …

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

If you’re an author (or a narrator) 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 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.

 

 

As Always …

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

If you’re an author (or a narrator) 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.

 

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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.

 

As Always …

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

If you’re an author (or a narrator) 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.