4.25/5 Stars Goblins, The X-Files Book 1 by Charles Grant

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor

Run Time: 6 hrs and 31 mins

Summary:

A man gets his throat slashed by an invisible enemy, and the only witness is a drunk. Another woman swears the attacker is a goblin. Mulder is a little reluctant to hop on the investigative bandwagon, especially now that he’s saddled with a rookie agent and an interdepartmental loaner agent. He thinks the case is too normal for him, but somebody high up pulls a string and gets him assigned to the case anyway.

Additional Comments:

  • Mulder and Scully and two others are sent to New Jersey to investigate a brutal murder
  • I’ve been on a kick to hear X-files books. This is one of my favorites of the lot so far. They’re all good in different ways.
  • I may also be partial to this one because it’s set in NJ near Fort Dix.
  • I love how most of them skirt the edge of possibility. They come in a few flavors. This one falls on the government conspiracies side, rather than the horror or straight up paranormal.
  • Of the ones I’ve heard thus far, I think this is probably the most plausible so far. (Just finished Ground Zero, Whirlwind, and Ruins recently.)
  • I don’t remember everything, but the plot moved along at a steady pace. The end twist was reasonably satisfying.
  • Patrick Lawlor captures Mulder and Scully and their dynamic pretty well.

Conclusion:

If you loved the show, you might like this series.

Audiobook Promotions …

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Many of my 50 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you. Free codes are probably on audiobooks unleashed.
Normal links go to audible. *The Amazon labeled links are affiliate links. That means I get a very small payment from Amazon if you go through with a purchase.*
Note: Filter by US if you’re looking for those codes as many titles are out.
Ones I think may still have US codes: Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Never Again, Innova, The Golden City Captives, The Holy War, Reclaim the Darklands, Eagle Eyes, Treachery Makes it Tense, Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, The Dark Side of Science, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, and Varick’s Quest
There are plenty of UK codes, but not many US ones left.

Redeemer Chronicles (Fantasy)

Awakening – Redeemer Chronicles Book 1, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
The Holy War – Redeemer Chronicles Book 2, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
Reclaim the Darklands – Redeemer Chronicles Book 3, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
River’s Edge Ransom – Prequel to Redeemer Chronicles (Amazon) (email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DC-set-ad-1024x536.jpg

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian. (Amazon) (free codes)
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live. (Amazon) (Please email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift. (Amazon) (free codes)
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma. (Amazon) (free codes)
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother. (Amazon) (free codes)
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble. (Amazon) (free codes)
More Scifi:
Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi) just made it there. (Amazon) (free codes)

Guardian Angel Files:

Spirit’s Bane – Allister and Mina are training to be Guardians. Satan’s out to get them. (Amazon) (free codes)
Kindred Spirits – Mina’s exiled to Earth. Allister’s stuck in the Heavens. (Amazon) (free codes)

4.25/5 Stars Pemberley: Mr. Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace

Jane Austen’s Dragons Book 1

Narrated by Benjamin Fife

Run Time: 8 hrs and 11 mins

Summary:

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy scramble to find the dragonnapped firedrake egg that disappeared from Pemberley. If that dragon hatches without humans, the fragile peace between mankind and dragonkind could shatter.

Additional Comments:

  • I quite honestly do not know what people’s obsession is with Jane Austen, but this is the first rewriting/retelling since Seth Graham Smith added zombies that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve half a mind to think Austen has a legit cult, rather than just a cult following. The other retellings were too normal for my tastes, I guess.
  • Adding dragons is certainly a way to spice up the stiff formal language that characterizes/plagues (depending on your point of view) Austen’s original work.
  • This one got off to quite the slow start, but I enjoyed the latter half of the book.
  • There’s great worldbuilding as far as the dragon stuff goes, but the blithering on about balls and betrothals is quite tedious.
  • Benjamin Fife’s performance is stellar. I still cringe every time that dratted little fairy dragon speaks (April), but I almost forgive that because the baby dragon at the end of this is so darn cute.
  • You do not need to read the prequel to understand this, and this is actually far better.

Conclusion:

Solid start to a quirky, cool concept series.

Audiobook Promotions …

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rc-1-3-audio-ad-1024x536.jpg

Many of my 50 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you. Free codes are probably on audiobooks unleashed.
Normal links go to audible. *The Amazon labeled links are affiliate links. That means I get a very small payment from Amazon if you go through with a purchase.*
Note: Filter by US if you’re looking for those codes as many titles are out.
Ones I think may still have US codes: Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Never Again, Innova, The Golden City Captives, The Holy War, Reclaim the Darklands, Eagle Eyes, Treachery Makes it Tense, Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, The Dark Side of Science, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, and Varick’s Quest
There are plenty of UK codes, but not many US ones left.

Redeemer Chronicles (Fantasy)

Awakening – Redeemer Chronicles Book 1, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
The Holy War – Redeemer Chronicles Book 2, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
Reclaim the Darklands – Redeemer Chronicles Book 3, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
River’s Edge Ransom – Prequel to Redeemer Chronicles (Amazon) (email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DC-set-ad-1024x536.jpg

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian. (Amazon) (free codes)
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live. (Amazon) (Please email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift. (Amazon) (free codes)
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma. (Amazon) (free codes)
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother. (Amazon) (free codes)
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble. (Amazon) (free codes)
More Scifi:
Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi) just made it there. (Amazon) (free codes)

Guardian Angel Files:

Spirit’s Bane – Allister and Mina are training to be Guardians. Satan’s out to get them. (Amazon) (free codes)
Kindred Spirits – Mina’s exiled to Earth. Allister’s stuck in the Heavens. (Amazon) (free codes)

3.5/5 Ballasted Wings: Why That Day? By Susan Knox Kopta

Narrated by Kathleen Li

Run Time: 1 hr and 13 mins

Summary:

A mother recounts the heartbreaking journey of her bipolar daughter’s life.

Additional Comments:

  • The back cover copy pretty much spells out the story, but since I didn’t read it, the conclusion struck me as a twist.
  • Performance/reading 4/5 stars: Kathleen Li has a nice voice for nonfiction. Her reading rhythm is natural, which is good when given a book like this.
  • Story/writing 3/5 stars: The writing itself is very stilted with very little flow.
  • There are sections written in third person with a very far perspective. It has a caveman style ring to it. Alexis does this. Alexis does that. I guess it could be going for clinical detachment. Other sections are written in first person, which makes sense since this is the mother’s recounting based on notes and journals.
  • Story itself: Is sad as promised.
  • The retelling comes across as the mother’s coping mechanism. She wants her daughter’s life to mean something, so this stands as a “there’s hope and resources, get thee to some before it’s too late” sort of tale.

Conclusion:

It’s a short and bittersweet tale of a bright life cut short by a mental illness.

Audiobook Promotions …

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rc-1-3-audio-ad-1024x536.jpg

Many of my 50 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you. Free codes are probably on audiobooks unleashed.
Normal links go to audible. *The Amazon labeled links are affiliate links. That means I get a very small payment from Amazon if you go through with a purchase.*
Note: Filter by US if you’re looking for those codes as many titles are out.
Ones I think may still have US codes: Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Never Again, Innova, The Golden City Captives, The Holy War, Reclaim the Darklands, Eagle Eyes, Treachery Makes it Tense, Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, The Dark Side of Science, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, and Varick’s Quest
There are plenty of UK codes, but not many US ones left.

Redeemer Chronicles (Fantasy)

Awakening – Redeemer Chronicles Book 1, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
The Holy War – Redeemer Chronicles Book 2, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
Reclaim the Darklands – Redeemer Chronicles Book 3, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
River’s Edge Ransom – Prequel to Redeemer Chronicles (Amazon) (email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DC-set-ad-1024x536.jpg

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian. (Amazon) (free codes)
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live. (Amazon) (Please email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift. (Amazon) (free codes)
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma. (Amazon) (free codes)
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother. (Amazon) (free codes)
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble. (Amazon) (free codes)
More Scifi:
Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi) just made it there. (Amazon) (free codes)

Guardian Angel Files:

Spirit’s Bane – Allister and Mina are training to be Guardians. Satan’s out to get them. (Amazon) (free codes)
Kindred Spirits – Mina’s exiled to Earth. Allister’s stuck in the Heavens. (Amazon) (free codes)

3/5 Stars Cloaked Shadows by Melissa Hawkes

Narrated by Rebecca H. Lee

Run Time: 8 hrs and 57 mins

*Mild spoilers possible in discussion

Summary:

Scarred by her witnessing her father’s brutal death by soul-sucking monsters, Ikena Ralliday just wants to help her family survive. She suddenly develops magic runs away to get trained to use her powers by some dude living in the woods because a book she felt drawn to described the situation.

Additional Comments:

  • Performance 4/5: Very nice performance. Characters are distinguishable. Awkward phrases were handled well.
  • plot 2.5/5: So, the girl runs to the woods and meets her mentor figure. She asks to be trained. He says no. She asks again and he relents. After a week of training, she is like this is too easy, take me bad guy hunting. And he is like no, too dangerous. She insists and they end up in the woods fighting the shadows soul-sucking creatures.
  • The cyclical nature of events got comical.
  • Cedric – the love interest gets hits with a blade that will turn him into a bad guy, but wait, there’s more, he’s saved as long as she agrees to help the Cloaks, exactly what she wanted to avoid. The love interest’s role is purely as love interest. Otherwise, the dear boy is useless. Soldiers: you can’t come in. Please. Oh, ok. Later … Soldier: you can’t come in. Main Character: Please? Soldier: Oh. Ok. King: I won’t help. Please. Oh. Ok. If u join the army.
  • During training: Mentor: No time to rest. MC: But I’m tired. Mentor: Take a pop quiz … eh, you’re great at this, take a break. … later MC: *uses dark magic. Mentor: I’m telling the king. MC: Please don’t. Mentor: oh, ok.
  • The Big Bad Plan to Defeat Evil is to find a key to a box that the bad guys have. MC: (I want to go on the key mission. King: No. MC: Yes. King: Oh. All right. MC: I have no idea how to find this key. Has a dream/vision. King: I know where to find the key.) Result: MC and 3 week training buddies are dispatched to find the key.
  • Odd grammar/dialogue tags not really fitting the situation or just being exceedingly awkward (some are kind of funny): whispering tone; beautiful garden she witnessed; tears strolled down her face; darkness wielding her in; put her in a disadvantageous position; copy her doing the same thing; situation dispersed; waited for the other group to disperse in; “well done,” he roared; tactics she thought of in her mind; “don’t think I will get used to that,” he groaned; I will endeavor you; killing a Sinturi who happened on be standing next to him in a fit of anger and rage; distasted the word; giggled between themselves; the scenery was deserted; Dispersed the looks; In the commander’s office there was a commander; who were all sat around the table; felt her heartbeats begin to beat faster; her headache grew in her brain; their mouths escaped soft whispers; Barked as a dialogue tag is fine; 15 times in a book, not so fine.
  • The end twist: Highly predictable and subtle as a bulldozer; one piece of foreshadowing practically announced it with a loudspeaker.
  • Random social justice commentaries: MC: What about the poor crew? (Kid is constantly appalled by the social disparities.) They need to concentrate on running the boat. Kid invites them all to eat the big feast prepared for the cloaks. MC laments: The king’s so rich yet people in my village are starving. Aside from being righteously indignant about 4 times in the book and inviting the crew to join the festivities, she does zip about it. It’s fine, just another point that kind of sucks you out of the story.
  • They are elite soldiers, but their training is like another year of high school
  • 3/5 Stars World-building is ok but repetitive. I’m pretty sure the history’s in there like 5 times.
  • Other Oddities: Soldier: cease fire (um, nobody was firing); presence of things like: professors, bullies, radios, holograms, ancient armor, bunk buddies (the whole village vs. posh palace life thing is reminiscent of Hunger Games, but it doesn’t ever provide a valid enough reason.) (These sorts of things don’t fit the fantasy world of magic power and Chosen One lore.) Daggers in back holsters. (I’ve heard of dagger sheathes, but not holsters.)
  • Who gets sent on the mission: The MC insists on her friends being the team to go after the key. I can see why she’d go, but unless she trained extensively (not 3 weeks), it doesn’t seem like a great plan to send untested people as her support. The former bully is now a seafaring commander-in-training, so she’s sent on the mission to retrieve the key.
  • Teaching style: Teacher: Do this. Students: *do this* … then they practice; no real struggle, (they just automatically know what the heck the teacher’s talking about; even in a magical school, that’s just not how teaching goes. I am a teacher, so that’s probably just a pet peeve.)

Conclusion:

Aside from needing a line editor and the random fits of scifi and modern influences, it’s your typical Chosen One fantasy story.

Audiobook Promotions …

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rc-1-3-audio-ad-1024x536.jpg

Many of my 50 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you. Free codes are probably on audiobooks unleashed.
Normal links go to audible. *The Amazon labeled links are affiliate links. That means I get a very small payment from Amazon if you go through with a purchase.*
Note: Filter by US if you’re looking for those codes as many titles are out.
Ones I think may still have US codes: Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Never Again, Innova, The Golden City Captives, The Holy War, Reclaim the Darklands, Eagle Eyes, Treachery Makes it Tense, Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, The Dark Side of Science, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, and Varick’s Quest
There are plenty of UK codes, but not many US ones left.

Redeemer Chronicles (Fantasy)

Awakening – Redeemer Chronicles Book 1, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
The Holy War – Redeemer Chronicles Book 2, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
Reclaim the Darklands – Redeemer Chronicles Book 3, MG fantasy (Amazon) (free codes)
River’s Edge Ransom – Prequel to Redeemer Chronicles (Amazon) (email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DC-set-ad-1024x536.jpg

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian. (Amazon) (free codes)
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live. (Amazon) (Please email devyaschildren @ gmail.com for free codes)
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift. (Amazon) (free codes)
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma. (Amazon) (free codes)
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother. (Amazon) (free codes)
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble. (Amazon) (free codes)
More Scifi:
Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi) just made it there. (Amazon) (free codes)

Guardian Angel Files:

Spirit’s Bane – Allister and Mina are training to be Guardians. Satan’s out to get them. (Amazon) (free codes)
Kindred Spirits – Mina’s exiled to Earth. Allister’s stuck in the Heavens. (Amazon) (free codes)