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Audio Book Review: H.A.L.F. Origins by Natalie Wright

H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS - Natalie Wright

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

We pick up where the second book, The Makers, ended with our characters. They are all still separate in a work of turmoil as a few major cities on Earth are attacked by a deadly alien. Erika, Jack, Ian, Tex, and Alecto learn what they must do to save the world.

Dylan voices the story with different feelings in his voice for the characters, even different tones for our characters. One thing that I struggled with though, the audio sounded as though there was an object that moved in front and away from the microphone, blocking it and sounding muffled from time to time. I always wonder if it's my iPod or if it's the actual audio when I hear these things. There is one small section that's repeated, missed in editing. But these are small if you are looking to listen to the ending of the series.

Everyone's in tough spots. They've all done things they aren't proud of, and still doing those things to survive. There are attacks in Europe - London and Paris - putting the area in darkness. The attack on Earth has started. The world feels to be falling apart and Tex, Erika, Jack, and others feel to be the glue to bring it all together and save the world.

We get a few POVs that tell us what is happening as information is gathered from different directions. We stay with our friends, all in different areas as they fight to survive. Erika, Jack, and Tex. We also get to see through William Croft's eyes. He's one of The Makers and has insight to what was created to save them when the attacks started. Ian wasn't as much a main character in this book as he was in the past. And we got a point of view for the captain of the M'Uktah who have invaded the Earth.

Our friends learn much about themselves as they age in feelings and mind through this book. They live through terrible tragedies and have to do things to survive they don't want to do, like kill. But through this they see things are changing, and so are they. They even find loves in their lives they never thought they'd find, and worry about what their dear friends would think.

The M'Uktah we see here learns much about his world and what was to happen to him based on those who were around him. I thought at the end that there's possibly more to the story with M'Uktah and on their world. But things care cleared up here on Earth for everyone.

We see Tex and our friends figure out what to do with the M'Uktah along with what happens to the The Makers organization that had plans in place for when the M'Uktah arrived. This was the reason all of this started, with Tex and Alecto, bring the story full circle for the reason Tex and Alecto and the underground city were created.

Tex grows as a person as well. He makes some huge discoveries but also learns what it's like to be a teenage boy in love. He has some huge decisions to make. Alecto struggles a little with not being commanded by Lillian Sturgis. Alecto feels she was created to take and follow commands, so this is something she needs to learn to work through, and become an individual.

The title of the book is true to the story. Origins. We learn where the human race along with others came from. This is a journey that Tex needs to make to figure out how to save the people he's come to care deeply about. In doing so, he learns of the origin of his people along with humans and other races in the universe. This is where the story stretched further than just aliens in science fiction fantasy.

There are lines in the story that feel as though they were lines the author wanted to use like others have. These lines are ones that feel to be said in about every other book. I would have loved these to be written differently. All I do and will do are for you, where one ended and the other began - in a love scene, emotions run high, they are a matched pair, she fits perfectly to him. Ugh. Put these in different words. It would have felt to have fit the writing style better for me if the author reworded these sayings.

These small sayings aside, the book came to a conclusion for the series. It all comes together as things tie up.

Audio Book Review: Fairytale Christmas by Merrie Destefano

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

We start with the banishing of the faery from Ireland by the Milesian. Then see through Eire's eyes and mind that the fair folk are dividing, and she's losing standing with her people. But, Eire will find another life years from now.

Sally has a slight accent that fits the tone and place of the story. It's not strong, but slight so to feel the story setting. The nice thing here is there are lyrics of songs for Eire to sing, and Sally does sing them. It's lovely to hear. I'm starting to think my iPod is acting up, but it sounds okay for other stories. At times it sounded as Sally was in a bucket and not near the microphone. Then the next chapter it's back to normal. There were a few small moments of mouth noise, closing or opening lips. There are moments that Sally sounded a different feel to her words than what felt to flow with words afterward or in the moment I would have thought would have fit. But these last two items were limited in listening. The lilt she uses to tell the story feels true to the characters and a lovely addition to the story.

This is a tale of the battle the faery folk have to fight, how it started. Not only do they have an enemy that comes to take their beloved land, but as they travel to exile their people start to divide between the queen who's lost her husband in battle and the man who's stepped up to control the army.

People, immortal and mortal, are not perfect but in terrible times what one experiences steers them to what they will do. Their actions then starts to drive who they are. We start to see this with the faery folk.

Eire is the Queen of Faery in Ireland, and who the story is focused on. When the faery are exiled and the betrayal of one of her own, it brings her to another life she'll live. Yet Eire still has some strong allies and carries a love for her people as she's on the run for her life and her twin boys.

I very much enjoyed the Celtic and faery feel to the story along with events that take place. It feels as the old stories were used to create this story and the world we find them in.

This is a short story but each chapter moves forward for Eire and tells how she comes to where she is in the end. And how she finds love. This story is not a light read. It's deeper with Eire's story and the events that come to pass. Each event important to move the story quickly along. There is also a dark blood magic that is present in the story as well.

The story does bring us to Christmas time, making it a very nice creation for a Christmas story. There's a blend of Christmas brought to an Irish Faery.

Audio Book Review: Teeth of Gods by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Teeth of the Gods (Unweaving Chronicles Book 1) - Sarah K. L. Wilson

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Veronica is one of my favorite voice actors. She slips into the characters and their rules with ease. We can hear the emotion of each individual as she puts voice to their thoughts, words, and actions. She uses different tones, accents, and personality to differentiate each character for us. I feel this is a blessing when listening to audiobooks. Veronica has brought the characters to life for us.

I'm taken with the world. There was a lot of thought and creation in this world and culture of the people. From their dress to their land. From their beliefs to their magic system. The relation to other lands after a ruler defeats them. It's all so well drawn out. The best part is we see all of this through details of what Tylira is living through. It's all conveyed through events, which makes the story rich and full.

Tylira is an interesting character. She hasn't connected with The Common as others have. She doesn't know why. When she starts to connect it's because of the cruel nature of discipline inflicted on her by her fathers high consort to find it. Tylira wants more in life than sitting in the Silken Gardens. Tylira finds her way to a new city with a summons from her father, High Tazmina, in order to be bonded with another that can teach her new things. She finds more than she expected, along with a strong determination to join the Hunt for the Teeth of the Gods.

Tylira is a bit young, more naive. She's lived at the Silken Gardens with her half sisters and trained her whole life thus far, she's eighteen. She's not kissed a boy yet and has many things she wants to do, like seeing the world. Tylira sees her chance to experience many things and takes it. Though, she's stubborn in taking advice. She's struggling with her "magic" and she refuses to listen to a few things that could help her. This is something I think comes from the way she is raised, alone in the Silken Gardens, and treatment from others since her mother is said to be The Tazmin's least favorite wife. She is determined to be independent and free, though at times I would like to shack her to get her to listen. lol. I can see her being a character that readers could get frustrated with because of her decisions.

I like Amadera. I have mixed feelings of her as the book goes. I didn't like her at first. She's the High Tazmina's High Consort and acts all mighty. Even what she does to Tylira to get her to connect to the Common. Grrr. But, there is something more to Amadera, or so I think I see flashes of. Maybe Amadera thinks she's really helping Tylira and making her a stronger person for what may come in the future for Tylira.

The magic in this book is something I liked. They use heart stones to show when they have made a connection to The Common, and it shows clear with their color and power. I found I was attracted to the meditation spirit area that Tylira goes to speak to her ancestors. I looked forward to the moments when visiting these deceased ancestors. There is one ancestor that is a bit strange but interesting - An'alepp. She's an old woman who's a bit crazy. I kept trying to place the influence in the culture and world to something in our world. I just keep getting drawn into what's created here and love it.

There is a growing romance here. I like this kind of romance, when two people are thrown together and very individually strong. They work at a friendship first, then the rest follows. But they have to get through "other" things in their lives before they can trust and like each other.

Coming to the end of the book, it took a turn I hadn't expected. As much as I enjoyed the story, world, and character interaction, I found I was really sparked by this surprise. I thought back, thinking on what we learned through the book and where we ended up. There were hints given as we came here, not as much in the beginning but more so the closer we got. Very cool!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story for all the aspects and the turn at the end. I am ready to ride along with Tylira on her next adventure. I'm curious to see what comes and if she can learn what she must.

Audio Book Review: Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel - Samantha Silva

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

A November warm day, Charles Dickens is lost in writing his next adventure for Chuzzlewit. However, his publishers show up. Chuzzlewit is not selling and they have an idea. They "suggest" Charles writes a short Christmas book. With a ghost. And it's scheduled to be read on Christmas Eve. Charles doesn't like the idea, but finds his family has become use to a style of living and he likes to make donations so in order to continue with life as they know it he'll have to write the Christmas book he doesn't want to write. His feeling of the book idea seeps through into his life and he'll have an eye opening season.

I've never listened to Euan Morton until now. I found I enjoyed his proper sound and accent from the beginning. It fit for the time setting and people present in the book. I felt as though I was sitting, drawn to his voice, listening to him tell me a Christmas story. Euan also gets to voice parts of Christmas Carol at the end as well. So well done with all the voices. Euan has the tone that fits a Christmas story, perfectly.

I adore Charles's interaction with his kids and wife. There is so much love there, and they have fun. But Charles always wants to give them everything, which helps drive home that his chapters for his current adventure isn't doing as well. This is what starts to drive a wedge between him and his family.

As Charles lives his life, after learning he will lose money if he doesn't do the Christmas book, you see sparks of what influences A Christmas Carol. He tries to teach his children there is more to Christmas than toys, in a means to try to "cut back". It doesn't go well, but there is truth in his words and a hint of what will come in his book he'll ultimately end up writing. I understand Charles's worries over income. He's seeing how his family lives and his attempts to "cut back" are squashed at every try. Though, in his families defense, they didn't know what he was trying to do or why. So, he decides to write the Christmas book.

Charles seems to struggle to find his own way through Christmas. He grows frustrated by the threat of losing income, and that his family has grown to love spending so much (they don't realize it). He tries to point out others and needs at this time of year, but it goes unnoticed or acknowledged. He wants his kids to see more in the holiday than what they get. Charles starts to lose his way and the feel of the holiday while frustrated with events around him. Charles goes looking for his muse to get through. This book is Charles living his own Christmas Carol, while crossing flashes of the story to come.

Samantha has taken an old tale and sprinkled it into the life of the original creator, creating a new story of her own with links to the original story. There is also history drizzled in for our enjoyment. Samantha touched on emotions in me. There were a few places that I smiled, but she did have me tear up as well. It was toward the end and with Timothy, of course. But it was the moment that felt right, like Charles was starting to make that last turn to himself again and even feeling better about himself. Then, in the end, I did cry. Such a great moment to be brought to.

This book felt true to the characters present and was a wonderful Christmas Carol rendition to highlight Charles Dickens. Wonderful story.

Audio Book Review: Spirited Christmas

Spirited Christmas: A Jonathan Shade Holiday Story - Gary Jonas

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Jonathan arrives at the office one cold December morning to find a little girl has been balled up waiting for him for an hour. Madison wants to hire him to take care of the ghost that haunts her house at Christmas and grabs at her.

I've listened to previous Jonathan Shade books and Joe does a great job, as he always does, with Jonathan. Joe knows Jonathan inside and out as he voices Jonathan when joking and being serious. You know what Jonathan is up to by Joe's voice. I'm so glad Joe has continued to carry through as the voice of this series. As always, the audio is clean and clear listening. I'm not distracted from the story in any way.

I love how Jonathan is with Madison. She's young, ten, and he treats her so well. When Esther tells him he wasn't going to not help this little girl, he is great at his payment as Madison only has change to pay with - all her money in the world. This is a small Christmas gift to the young girl so she can enjoy Christmas. Madison made me smile with her humor and personality. She could give Jonathan a run for his money on humors remarks. lol. She is a cute little girl. I enjoyed her interaction with Jonathan.

Jonathan finds that there's more to the ghost haunting than expected. In true Gary Jonas fashion, there is much more to the story than one would expect. Jonathan has a soft heart and it shows in this book. He's determined to do what's right but also what is wanted. The two do go hand in hand from time to time.

The ending brings the feeling of the heart of the Christmas spirit story, like many endings of Christmas stories. It made me smile as it warmed my heart. Also we have Jonathan in his fun remarks with Kelly as friends at the holiday.

The novella is marked at 9.5 in the series, but it's placed before the first book. There are things still in place for the first book or two. If you listen or read this novella, you can do so at any time. Read it before you get to the series or any time during the series. It gives nothing away for the events in the novels but gives a feel for Jonathan and Kelly, the major characters in the series. So, pick it up for the holiday this month!

Audio Book Review: Hell's Rejects

Hell's Rejects (Chaos of the Covenant Book 1) - M.R. Forbes

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The powers of the Republic will do about anything to stop the Outworlders after their latest attack. They destroyed a station with many powerful and elite captains present then stole of the two powerful space ships that were the only thing strong enough to fight the Outworlders. On a secret order, Captain Olis Mann is to do anything to kill who killed their people and stole the ships. Captain Mann feels creating a crew of ex-military and now prisoners with nothing left to lose is the answer.

Jeff is one of the most entertaining voice actors I've listened to. And I will continue to listen to him. He has a voice for every single character, no matter how large or small the part. When we have more than one character responding, we hear more than one character responding. Jeff truly brings the story to life when he tells it. This book is no different than I'd expect from Jeff.

So I know I enjoy M.R. Forbes's books. I know I love listening to Jeff Hays. And I absolutely love this title and description. How could I go wrong when I see it up for review? I HAD TO HAVE IT!

Forbes dives right in with events that shows us the Republic is struggling with Outworlders. There is a real battle between them in the universe. And being in space, it's life or death, and they are fighting for life.

We do get a large cast of characters. Each is in a different place or side of the battles. In doing this we get to see all that is happening, giving the story and world a large feel.

In getting these many different characters views, a few of them are lives that are extinguished with the battles they fight. Sad, but gives us a great view without giving away the "bad guy" and their full intentions. It also gives us the information that another character is sent to investigate while we follow our main characters. There are views from solid characters we follow through the book. Abigail Cage is one of these characters. She's severely wronged. Then someone wants to use her. But she's stronger than them - mentally. She outwits them. Though, because of that she almost gets overlooked when Captain Olis Mann going about fixing things (so we think) is looking for help. Captain Olis Mann is a man on a mission. He's to do what it takes to stop the Outworlders. The Republic have given him free rein to find the ships stolen, and kill who took them and killed so many people in the process.

It's mentioned by a few characters of how the Republic is corrupt. We start to see that with some of the actions being done to and with a few characters. There really is something more than meets the eye with the Republic that's to be good. I'm guessing the Outworlders have very good reason to fight them. But it's sad to see so many lives lost. We also see the Outworlders are not the innocent side either. But in the end we see there may be a third option here. Who are these people and what side are they on? If they are even on a side.

The universe is large. We get many different beings in this book. There are many different aliens (and I'm including humans as we are a being in a vast space system) in this world. I love it! It adds diversity to the cast but also adds to their personalities. Who they are and what they believe makes a huge difference in how they react.

I enjoyed this story. The crew too. A bunch of misfits, or rejects as the title says, that are brought together. But they make an awesome crew with some conflicts mixed in. The crew has a feel like the crew on the tv series Dark Matter. I enjoy this blend of personalities.

This story is all science fiction, though not heavy in the way of trying to understand technology. It's in space, on spaceships, with neat things they all can do. But! There is an element of something more. You get a paranormal feel at the very end of the story. Is it divine or is it alien powers? I don't know, and that's an added curiosity to keep me coming back for more!

Audio Book Review: Strain of Resistance

Strain of Resistance (The Bixby Series Book 1) - MS Michelle Crowningshield-Bryan

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


Marnye Young is a new narrator for me. I found I enjoyed her smooth voice and pace from the beginning. My brain didn't fight her voice, but instead instantly fell into pace with her narration. The characters felt to be true to the feelings she gave us in voice.

The first chapter is how the world ended and what happened to the people. This could have easily been boring, but it was well done! I got to know Bixby and what happened to the world. We see what the threat is and what they will be fighting. We also get hints as to weaknesses for the creatures. All this was well written that it kept my attention with being filled with a faster pace.

We have people who were not infected by the alien spores and are now fighting to survive in the world of people who are zombie like with the alien in them. Why are these people not infected? We get that answer as the story goes. I like that there are reasons for how and why things are the way they are. It puts my mind to ease, and the author does that. She gives me these answers so I can focus on the characters and what they are fighting for, and the romance that is present.

The story also has a romance to it. Bixby has a current lover, but she doesn't want love involved. Her heart still has a strong hold on Sam, who left a year ago and hasn't returned. Bixby starts to learn that she needs to open up her heart again, and this man is a perfect match for her. This is something Bixby thinks on through the book and finally accepts. (Although, after the ending, I think there's going to be heartache.)

It's been eight years since the first infection. They know what they are fighting and how to fight it. Though, there are changes seen. It's looking like the leeches are evolving and becoming a new, more dangerous, threat to the dwindling human survivors. Now, how do they stop this new threat from birthing and destroying what's remaining of humanity?

This is not a new story. The idea of the aliens and even the love relationships are something we're familiar with. But the author did a wonderful job of creating her own characters in the world. They are their own individuals and felt to stick out in this world for me. That's what makes the story for me.

The blend of hard personality to prevent feeling the hurt of lose in this world and growth of love along with an infected world one has to fight to survive was something that I slipped into and enjoyed. The book held my attention and I enjoyed Bixby's hard personality. Though, I can see some readers not liking Bixby's harsh personality. But, in her defense, it's her way of protecting herself and her heart. I really felt to understand why she was the way she was. And loved seeing her come to a realization in the end.

This book has an ending for what they are working to achieve. However, there was a comment made in the end that had me curious for the next book. Then, we get the last chapter which goes with the comment and REALLY has me curious about what will happen in the next book - with threat and love sides of the story.

Audio Book Review: Steamforged

Steamforged - Eric R. Asher

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


I do enjoy listening to Saskia voice this story. She was the narrator from the first book as well. She does a great job at differentiating the characters by voice. But, again, I felt I had to speed up the audio. At a faster pace, I moved through the book catching all that was happening.

We learn more of the land and see outlying areas. In the first book we primarily were in Ancora and started to hear names of other places, ending at a new place. Now we start to see different lands and learn more. There is a great deal more outside of Ancora than the kids had ever expected. They had read of the places in the book they found, but to see and experience the places is all new. However, with these new places come great dangers.

This feels a story that is catching for it's atmosphere. The world that the characters live in is different and interesting with the bugs and land and mechanics. We see many of what is described in the book Jacob and Alice have read. We do get to see the Mechs. The people with mechanical body parts that are feared. Though I do think the story is slower paced with all we see in the world.

For me, the beginning of the story is rather slow with all the world details we are given. I wanted to get to the important stuff. It felt that all we lived through was secondary items that are in life.

Every world has some sort of prejudice, whether it's poverty level or skin tone or even body parts of metal. This world has it too. We small glimpses of it as the story goes. That helps build the world but seeing some of this highlighted in the beginning and what is pointed out in the world, I expected it to surface again more importantly later in the book. Some of it does pop up, but not as heavy yet. Though, it does show where the fears and thoughts in the system at Ancora had come from. I'm wondering if it's a huge build up to the end.

Most of the story is from Jacob's POV, but we do get views from Alice, Charles, and Samuel. Even Drakkar. Jacob has an obstacle he must overcome. With the way the book began (actually the first book touched on), I expected it to happen. And it did. Alice is not a dainty little girl as some would thing. She hardens here, and comes to a new view on things. I like the person Alice is. She's got a flare to her.

If it wasn't for the danger that the characters are coming into, I'd say this book would be for the younger group of young adults. The story is simple and things are repeated to clarify what is happening and the plans they are making. Well written for a younger reader.

This book feels like a transition book. It's setting up for a great battle and war to come in the next book. It's putting into place all the pieces and people so we understand why things are going to get ugly in the future. It also brings the characters across events and actions they must take to be to a place to go into war.

Audio Book Review: Hunter, Healer

Hunter - Healer - Lilith Saintcrow

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

It's been three months since Delgado was taken. Rowan and the Society have been on the move, staying a hairs breath reach away from Sigma's fingers. Delgado did something to his mind, and he can't remember. He does know that Sigma has been drugging and beating him, asking where some girl named Rowan Price is. They want this girl. Bad. He doesn't know who she is, but if she's staying ahead of Sigma then he potentially trained her, and maybe she could help him.

Rayna is back for book two! Yes! I thought her voice fit Rowan perfectly in the first book as it fits the descriptions given of Rowan's voice. Rayna carries Rowan's emotions so well in her voice. Along with Delgado when we are in his head. There are moments that are italicized in the book to represent thoughts, which can be hard to relate vocally so the listener doesn't think the character is talking. Doing it with a slightly lower volume or whisper helps us differentiate these moments. I'm amazed at the talent Rayna has in jumping from Rowan's emotions to Delgado's emotions. They are both on a different feel, and it's portrayed in the quick scenes with grace from Rowan.

I was waiting for this audio book. I wanted to know how things would go after the ending of the first book.

Where Delgado kept his ability hidden and reserved in book one, we see him in action here. He's a killing machine when Sigma needs him to be. Or when he wants to be. We also get to see Rowan starting to understand her powers. She does more with them now, knowingly.

Rowan has grown stronger. In her ability and in character. She was weaker in the first book and still looks for her rock and love, Delgado, but she can function on her own. As a matter of fact, she can help run the team. She doesn't realize she's stepped into the position Delgado held, and she's doing an amazing job at it. Rowan is a complicated character. At times she seems like she should be weak and dependent, but she's not. There is so much more to her that makes her stronger and caring.

Delgado trained her to fight, in case this happened. In case he was taken and turned against her. He pushed Rowan past her limits when they were last together in the training room, but he knew he had to in order to keep her safe. Delgado's worst fears came true, and now Rowan is strong enough to survive against him. But she's more than that. She means the world to Delgado and he will find his way back to her.

What Delgado had to do to himself to protect Rowan from being found has lingering flickers for Delgado. Things are a tad rocky with him and Rowan as they find each other again. We see Rowan and Delgado as they are attracted to each other, but they are afraid of how things have changed. The story is more romance of how they find their way back to each other than what happens in bed, although that is present as well. This is more of the growing love they have.

The book feels to have a balance of romance and action. There is more story with Rowan and Sigma and Delgado and Sigma, as we get POV's from Rowan and Delgado. The story comes to an end, but there is an opening to possibly continue with these characters. I'd be up for it if it happens, but I'm happy with the way this ended as well.

Audio Book Review: The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones - Silvia Moreno-Garcia, P.J. Ochlan

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


P.J. Ochlan is a new narrator for me. It took me a few chapters to get use to his proper feel to the words, as is expected with the style of the time our characters are in. I do very much like his sound for Hector, though for Antonina I had to get use to it. He does do different tones and voices for the characters, easily differentiating them for us. I found I really enjoyed his narration as the book went on. When we came to the emotional moments, his voice was full of love. Though, when he voiced Valerie. Grrr. He did a great job and made my heart thump with anger. Well done!

Antonina, Nina as she likes to be called, comes across as a sweet girl that's staying at her cousins in the city to help form her to the proper way as she's from more country setting. I love the more informal feel we get from Nina. She seems so friendly and not backstabbing and two faced as some in the city are. She finds a friend in Hector from the moment she meets him. She's starting to find she's attracted to Hector with each meeting.

Hector... He sounds formal. He's been away from "home" for ten years, and is hoping to see the woman he fell in love with before he left. Valerie. It happens that Nina is the cousin of Valerie's husband. Where Nina is falling for Hector, I feared Hector was using Nina to get into Valerie's home and to see her. This could only go one way, right?

This is more a historical fantasy romance with a touch of paranormal to it. The setting and formalities remind me of a historical setting. But Hector has a special ability, telekinetic powers, that bring a paranormal feel to the story. And Nina has a special ability as well, which is something she and Hector have in common and brings them together.

We get three POV's - Hector, Nina, and Valerie. Yes, this is a love triangle that's very complicated. Valerie's married to Nina's cousin. Nina is visiting to be shaped into the formal lady she can be. Hector. Well, Hector has returned to see his long love, Valerie, but stumbles across Nina which gives him a connection to Valerie.

I get frustrated and angered when people use others or play with emotions of others for their benefit. This book frustrated me in that way. Which is not a bad thing. I felt for the characters which drew me to feel frustrated with them and what they are doing to others. Grrr. I wanted to slap these people. All they think about is their selves and not the harm they are doing. Playing games with another person's life for their own pleasures. That's a selfishness of the rich in this world, or so it seems.

That all being said, the book was well written in this way, to rise a feeling from me. This means I cared for someone and didn't like others. But, as this is happening I saw sparks of moments where the one being used was slowly making her way into the man's heart and attention. I melted in these small moments.

This is a romance. The paranormal with the talent of moving things with ones mind is a part of the characters, something that could be a connection. More a historical romance feel to the story. This story has two parts. In these two parts it seems the positions shift, slightly, in who is the innocent love. These characters have to fight for what they want. Even if it's not for love but for money.

Some times people have to live through the hard times and mistakes in love to find their true love, learning the feelings.

Audio Book Review: Boneyard

Deadlands: Boneyard - Seanan McGuire

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


Emily is a new voice actor for me. I found I liked her early on. She tells us the story as though I'm sitting and listening to a talented story teller. When she comes to the voices of the characters she puts added tones and innuendos into the voices that fit for the characters. Each character had their own voice and emotion to fit their personality and the moment they are in. She even voices a little girl as young as she should sound. Emily did a great job with voicing all characters differently. Wow. She's one great voice actor. Emily's tension grew with the story as we went. In the darkest moments, her voice was strong with emotion, tension, and worry. I felt all the emotions and was drawn to keep listening. Amazing work. I enjoyed her voice acting very much!

I've not read or listened to any of Seanan's books yet. This is my first. And I liked how she hints at things with details instead of just saying what the obvious is. Like the description of bruises and seeing ribs, instead of telling there was abuse or lack of food. This gives me a feel rather than just knowing what has possibly happened.

We start the book with the Blackstone Family Circus traveling and get a feel for the people in the circus. It's a bit slower paced as we meet the characters in their surroundings.

As the story is told, we get it mostly from Annie's view point. But there are times we get the view from Nathanial's mind along with a few others. It's a graceful shift in the story that you don't realize it right away that you are seeing the story from another's view. It keeps the story going forward with a smooth transition.

I think if I was reading this book, I would have stopped. It felt slow moving for me. But, Emily's narration kept me holding on. And I started to grow curious about The Clearing. Chapter seven is about when I started getting interested in the story. The reaction of the town to the circus people and Oddities Annie cares for. Things picked up for me in the book when we got to The Clearing. When we got into the woods, oh yes, this is what I was looking for. But before all this, it felt slow.

When we get to The Clearing, we start to see the personality of the people who live here. They are... unkind. And the things that could go oh so wrong with what the circus has and the way these town folk are... oh so wrong can happen. Though, when out on the search I get lost in Annie's thoughts as she's walking through the forest. I just didn't feel to connect with this character. I felt as though it was more character driven and I just wasn't into it. I wanted more events to happen.

The cover depicts some of the Oddities that Annie cares for very well. I really like this cover.

These characters have internal battles they are fighting before they come to the external ones. They grow in their experiences and understandings along with fighting what's after them. Great parallel here with both. Sometimes external battles help make the internal ones clearer. Annie has more baggage she's carrying along, more battles she'll have to fight with what and who is after her.

Audio Book Review: Curiouser and Curiouser

Curiouser and Curiouser - Melanie Karsak

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Alice follows the boy who stole her employers pocket watch, Rabbit, back into the life she left behind. Into the rough part of town she returns, summoned. The love she once felt for William surfaces as the man he is now needs her help. Blackmailed into helping to save her sisters love, The Hatter, from his debt, Alice agrees to help Caterpillar.

Lesley's tone when speaking as Alice feels to fit her curiosity, which is the feel we get from Alice in many stories of her adventure. She has an opinion that she voices, not mean or rude, just a thought to add to the discussion.

Melanie writes Alice with the feel we would expect. A curious young lady with thoughts of her own to share. The story isn't as much falling down a literal hole like in the original story. But Alice living in a world full of wonder, and following a boy nicknamed Rabbit. The world created is full of steamwork and clockwork items. This blended with the steam and smoke draws a world of danger and mystery in which Alice is pulled back into. This is a talent as Melanie very craftily wrote the story in the actual living of the characters.

We see the world full of clockwork and steampunk from the beginning. There is a darkness to the story as well, particularly with one of the characters. Creepy, dark. But fits in the harsh life of the characters here. There is even a touch of magic present. Just a touch. Mostly the world is steam and clockwork.

There is a feel of double meaning to words, it's not confusing but tricky. Listen closely to catch it. I love how people have two names; real name and a nickname. Like William who's known as Caterpillar in town. Each name goes with a different part of his life. Which person is he when talking to Alice? William or Caterpillar? Both are of a different nature and are known for different things to Alice. This gives the twisty feel that we get from Wonderland.

Melanie touches on all the main characters from Alice in Wonderland in her remake. It was a nice game for me to see about spotting them all, though their names do give them away.

I was pleasantly surprised with Melanie's creation here. She captured so many important elements from Alice in Wonderland yet wrote a different story that feels true to the world. So well done!

Audio Book Review: The Half-Assed Wizard

The Half-Assed Wizard (Volume 1) - Gary Jonas

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.


Don't let the length full you. It's a shorter read/listen, but we quickly get into Brett's world of wizards that's he's worked to NOT be part of and the band life he enjoys as it all crashes together in trouble.

Joe is a narrator I've listened to before. He fits Gary's characters well with their dry sense of humor. Joe voices the characters with tones that fit their standing and personalities. There is a twist to the characters and they (or the narrator) acts their parts well. Nicely done.

Brett doesn't want to do magic. The pain of the blood price is something he's not into.

Brett is a younger man and feels to fit the part of a band member. He's a stereo type where he doesn't like wordy explanations, but at times he shows how smart he really is. He comes across as a slacker, but is still the star of the show in the book as he knows what to do and it's easy for him when he applies himself. He's surrounded by strong secondary characters thanks to his family's reputation.

Sabrina, his cousin, is a strong and smart character here. She has no problems using magic and yields it with perfection. Then we have Michael, a band mate of Brett's. He's special and had my attention from the moment we met him. The author did well in how he "spoke" of Michael through Brett before we met Michael, and it drew my attention to him when first walked on the page.

Brett then grows more responsible as the story goes. He is distracted with the people working to get to him and the tarot cards.

Want to talk magic? Do it in six words or less - that's Brett request, as he doesn't want to deal with it. He might be lazy, but we repeatedly see he's not dumb. Now, Brett being lazy is not all bad. It gives a little spice to the book and Brett's character. At times it feels as though he doesn't know what to do, but then all the sudden he does. More a smart aleck than anything. I enjoyed his flavor of spunk.

I enjoyed the way Gary plotted this story to come together in the end. Crafty. There was a twist to who's connected to who and what the ultimate goal is. I was surprised at one twist to the story. I enjoyed the power we find in Brett and curious to see what he may do with it in the future, along with his friends too.

I would enjoy listening to the rest of the series.

Audio Book Review: Primordial

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Sam Aston knows his stuff when it comes to marine biology, however it doesn't pay the best and he has severe debts he's racked up with unpleasant people. Sam has no choice but to take the high paying job offer from Ellis Holloway when the thugs come to collect his over due debt. Thinking it's all a farce with a cryptozoologist, exaggerate show host, and legends of mythical creatures, Sam just wants to get done and take his money as fast as he can so his biological credit isn't ruined. Sam's eyes are opened with the evidence they find of a hidden creature of the sea.

When I see the name David Wood on a book for review, I jump to get it. I've really enjoyed his blend of history and fantasy with action and adventure. Then the wondrous beast added in. Yes, thank you! There's just enough to believe in the tales, yet holds my attention with details and fighting or running. I know I'm in for an exciting adventure that will get my brain thinking. This book doesn't let me down.

Jeffrey is a voice I could listen to all day. He has a matter of fact, dry humor feel to his voice when he narrates the stories. In this story, he gets to add slight accents to the characters. They are not strong, but just a hint. If you listen closely you'll hear them. One is Australian, another is Boston style. I like that they are hints in the voice as the narration is still clear to understand. As always Jeffrey delivers another clean and enjoyable audio book.

One thing about the writing here, there is no down time. We get all the important moments - offered job, why take, and while investigating. There is no need to waste time on the plane getting here, so we get to focus on what's happening. I love that every moment written here is a scene we need. The story is written as a thriller. We get the creepy, sneaking feeling before the few deaths we read happen.

Sam feels and voices much of what many people believe, that these things aren't real and there's science to explain all. But when we get talking with the television show host, Joanne Slater, we see that some people don't know if it's real or not. It's neat to think about, but the likelyhood... slim.

This may sound like a normal monster hunting story, but it's all in how it's told. The writing keeps this story with a thriller feel. There's a mystery as people keep disappearing and the beast that's to be present. But there is more to this little village and lake. I was intrigued by the potential of what the beast could be. There is a blend of history and local legends present at this lake and we get to see it all, along with current technology used to flesh it all out. We see and hear examples of the danger throughout the story.

I was hooked on this story. I wanted to know the truth behind it all. The mystery cloaked person and what the beast was. Then, I was snagged on the adrenaline feeling as the story was told. I had to keep listening to see who made it, who didn't, and what would happen next and how!

Audio Book Review: Air and Ash

Air and Ash (TIDES) (Volume 1) - Alex Lidell

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The story starts fast with battle at sea with Nile Greysik part of the crew. There is mention of a decade war and that the ship carries a code book of the enemy which could help end the war. However, things fall apart and Nile's ship, Faithful, and crew takes the brunt of it.

Kaitlin is a new voice for me to listen to. She starts off strong with there being a battle at sea. She picks up on the quick thoughts and actions voicing it all so we are in that chaotic moment. She also voices different characters with adjusting her voice and tone so each sound to match the characters age and personality. Yes! She had my attention from the get go. Solid start! Kaitlin felt to be Nile in this book, which is a great feeling for the listener. The story comes to life and the narrator is part of it.

This book is Young Adult, but it reads stronger than that. I love how Nile speaks of many aspects and dynamics in honest and forward way, as she's dealt and talked about it openly her life so far. The relationship of men and woman on a ship and what happens to people that are Gifted. She doesn't shy from many topics, making them matter of fact feeling.

The Gifted. This is a special magic that comes out in some people in the world. It's based on elements and controlling them. But, there is great consequences that comes from having this ability. Heavy drawback on the body for being Gifted. I like the price for the ability, though no one has a choice to be gifted or not.

It felt that Nile's drive is true, and there are added reasons for that drive that affect her as well. Of course she runs for one reason, but her true desire was stated before that and is what becomes her main goal. I really like how these topics are written to overlap and the world and events drive her to do what she may not have done, or doing sooner than would have.

Alex has created an enticing story with Nile and her world. The way the story is told, there is much that can happen on the ship with the crew present. Nile's views of how things are handled in the world are firm, and there is much happening in the world to fight against. This is a huge story in it's own. It's also a stepping stone for Nile to get to where she wants to be, but has to do her time. Great blend of ultimate goal with immediate obstacles.

This is a storyline and characters I'd love to follow the story along when the books come out in audiobook in the future.

Audio Book Review: Reconnaissance in Force

Reconnaissance in Force - Terry Mixon

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Do I need to tell of my love of the voice acting work? Veronica is amazing at different voices, personalities, accents, and infliction. At this point of the series, book six, she is all the characters. There have been several over the books and she has made each individual and unique to hear. In doing so, I feel like I'm watching an amazing tv series and not even listening to a book. Thank you for such a great experience!

The Empire is working to get many things in action and done to protect them from what's coming - More ships like what Jared found, AI's like Marcus made, flip point jammers made, and implants produced and implanted. All of which could take several months to several years to finish. They are working against the clock to be prepared for when Rebel Empire arrives for war.

The beginning places us where everyone is and what the Empire has to do in order to prepare for the Rebel Empire eventually coming to attack. There is a lot to be done. But they have it all in order. In this breakdown we see what Jared's next mission will be - a reconnaissance mission. They need data of the area and the supplies on the supply ship from the Rebels to make more Raiders.

The first few hours of this book could be seen by some as slow, but for me it's exactly what I want. This is book six and I'm HIGHLY invested in these characters and what happens to them. This part is on more a personal level rather than the fighting and space quests of unknown danger. Terry writes these characters in such depth that I feel their anxiety as they are re-positioned in the lives they know. None of this is a bad thing. It's all elevating their statuses that they deserve. And yet there's a lot of events that happen in their lives as well. Families and friends. lol.

I love the family connections that have grown with these characters. Not only the sibling feel that's grown between Jared and Kelsey, but also the matching of others and friendship bonds that have formed rather strongly. The characters and their stories and troubles smoothly flow through the story.

Then we go out on our next mission. The threats escalated more than we could have expected. Wow. What is found here are things that are highly needed and could be used by the Empire. Where our friends end up... Let me just say, it is something to have seen how they've all grown in their abilities. With what they've learned and lived through, they may still doubt themselves but they are ready for the tricks they need to work up in order to live.

These stories are so like Star Trek. We get personal life and the big action and adventure and danger. Then we come out at the other end with a huge sigh. My heart beats for the characters and their dangers. I love this creation.

Goodness. Where's the next book!?! lol. We come in with the major expedition done. Now real life sets in before we are shipped out again. On this mission we end with more than expected. We conclude what we are looking for, but we are left hoping for the safety of all. I know the next book is going to bring us much adventure and danger that leads to fighting. I can't wait!

I don't want to give anything away with this book, as it's the sixth and it's growing harder to not tip the hat. So you need to read this series! That way we can talk about it in more depth. Believe me, it's worth it.