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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.

Audio Book Review: Steamborn

Steamborn - Eric R. Asher

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

This is my first listen to Saskia. She has a lovely voice that's easy to listen to. I didn't found there was some difference in tone or sound to help differentiate the characters, but nothing major. However, the book was still rather easy to follow who was talking. Saskia does sound older for Charles and a scratchy sound for men. She did well with slight differences. I did find the story felt to be moving slow, so I did speed up to 1.25x the speed as opposed to my normal 1.00x speed. I wanted to move along with all that's to happen, I was a little anxious to get going. I was back and forth on the speed.

This is very much a young reader style story. Not just because our main character is 15 going on 16 but in the reading of the story. It's easy to follow as Jacob grows from a teen into a young man, as the city sees kids this age but also in his own thinking and doing.

The world is different. It's a feel of post apocalyptic with steam and clockworks powering things. We also see large insects. Some are friendly and like pets or horses to ride. Other bugs are strong and attack the city, where the walls have grown weak. This shows the division in people in the village/city areas. There are lowborn and highborn sections of the city, a very fantasy feel to the city.

The people in this book are kind to each other, with a few slurs or feelings for the lowborn shown. But all are suffering when the village is attacked by the huge insects and they have to work together. This is something our world needs to see more of. The kind hearts of adults and children willing to eagerly help each other, not expecting payment in return. This warmed my heart to hear! That's not to say there aren't people that look down on others, but there is a focus on kindness.

The story is told from Jacob's POV. We see the city and people as he sees them. There is some bad out there, but the author has chosen to focus on the good. Thank you. There is to much bad out there that many see, so to have a story highlighting the good in people is a pleasure to read. And, even though the world is rough with the giant bugs attacking, it seems like a world I'd like to visit.

The only downfall in the story for me was I didn't feel Jacob, our main character, had a drive or want for something. Not even a major conflict in his character and world. He's a boy living to get by. Sure, he's poor and life is hard, but it doesn't feel as he has a real want, something to drive to get or fight against. He does come across events that give him points to work toward - his father being sick which is a desire for his father to get well, the bugs attacking his part of town and wanting his family and friends safe, then what he learns in the catacombs. But nothing overall for him other than curiosity of a brilliant kid getting him into trouble.

The world is attention attracting. And at the end of this book, I'm curious to where the story goes with what we are learning. I'll be carrying on with the books to see where our characters end up.

Audio Book Review: Hero of Thera

Hero of Thera - Eric Nylund

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

Hector Savage is on death row, for a bombing he's framed for. He's received his last request and ready to game on the laptop for his last twelve hours of life. As he readies to log in, time stops and a demon visits who claims to have business to conduct with Hector. Play as a character in the world of Thera. This is a live action game that keeps many universes from warring. Hector has a choice - die via lethal injection in less than twelve hours or play the ultimate, coolest game there is...and maybe live.


Jeff shines again with a multitude of characters and voices to match. It's great to see Mr. Null in 3 forms when we meet him, and the voice in each form matches, making it feel real and fitting. Jeff never lets me down in his performances. He entertains me while I'm drawn into the story, listening to what feels like a live show. Thank you for another amazing voice action performance!

I found I was drawn into the creation of the realm of Thera. The way Hector is drawn to it, it's like a game but oh so real. You live or die here, but it's the adventure and action that everyone who's played video games could ever want.

I love the early on irony that appears in Hector's life here. The Hector's reason for being in prison and what the last choice to save those in a village in Thera is. The one thing he didn't do in life, he'll have to do in Thera. Then when we get the secrets behind all that's happened with Hector. Wow. I loved how things panned out.

There was a few moments the direction of the character felt to get a little distorted for me. When we start we know exactly what he wants, and still wants, and where things are going with the trial. We then know he does not want to be a fighter for the clan he's in (demons, that's not good), so he figures out how to adjust for that. After that... I'm a little fuzzy on what his new drive and direction is. There was a lot of details given at one time here with the Game Master so it could be tucked in there and I missed it. I'm thinking his new direction is to stay alive on Thera, and prevent the Abyssal Lords from coming after him. But there felt like there should be more. He has a huge secret that NO ONE can know of, and that's something that's got to stay that way. When things calmed in the story, after I thought this, we got Hector listing things out and this is clarified.

I got the feel of a theme that asked and had me wondering, what really is evil. There are things people do in their lives that's not good, but it's to survive. There are those who just do mean things. But which is worse than the other? This got my mind spinning on the idea and thinking.

I do enjoy the world of Thera. It's a fantasy world with rifts. Rather cool. Sort of like many fantasy worlds we've seen or read about in the way of creatures and living. And rifts that connect to other worlds. Hector has to live here in Thera, but he has an overlay that he can tap into to see his health and skills along with a virtual carrying system. It's real life with a game overlay for him and any other players here.

I like the need of balance along with the creation of Game Master (GM). GM is neither good or bad, but the one that works to keep things on an even keel in the world. This feels to go hand in hand with the theme of what's evil. I found there is much you can play with on this type of board and feel to a character.

In the end, I found I really liked the world created and how the game is also life for the characters. I will gladly listen to future installments of books in this world.

Audio Book Review: EverRealm

EverRealm (Level Dead Book 1) - Jake Bible

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

The human world has ended. Humans and animals are now the undead and own the world. Steve is one of nine who have created virtual worlds that join at the place they call Center. They plan to live in their own Domains for eternity, as long as the main power keeps going. But, when they arrive at the Center there are two of the nine missing. Trying to help his friend, then warn others, Henry brings the nightmare of the real world to them when he thought he could filter the infection out while transitioning to where they were to be safe. Now they need to find the infected that's loose in their worlds...somewhere...

When I go into an audiobook knowing Jeff's the narrator, I have high expectations. I look for different voices and personalities to come to life. And I get them. I love listening to Jeff voice all the characters differently. It's entertaining for me in listening along with makes it easy to differentiate everyone. When a voice actor puts this much effort into a piece, it shows and makes the book along with his work shine. Sometimes the small things make the book all the better, like overlaying several voices at one time when all speak. Jeff does that, and it's totally cool. He really makes me feel as though it's a show and live.

Let me talk about the world creation. I wasn't sure how it was all going to relate at the beginning. Jake gives us the ground work as to why and how this is done, though it's quick to not slow the pacing of the story. I followed it all easily and found it interesting to see it come together when I get into the Center with Steve and others. And what we learn through the book in how the worlds are connected.

Undead, gaming worlds of different structure... action has to happen! Cool combo!

Steve's relationships with each of the characters grows more as they fight together to save the worlds they've created for themselves. And we get to know his friends as we go. I like the humor Steve's written with. And felt bad for him because when he tried to make a joke or state anything he was wrong in his doing in EverRealm it Always seeming to cause problems.

Speaking of problems... wow, do things really get messed up here in EverRealm. With the undead and with what Steve and friends do. It's crazy! But it all works together and somehow works out in the end. For me, the story felt smooth in flow with these problems. It all fit the world, characters, and situations.

Another cool creation for the LitRPG world in books. I really like that they are leaving the "real" world behind for virtual ones, and the reason behind it all. This gives the solid reason for coming to the gaming worlds in my mind. We get the explanations of how it's done, but it's not over science-y to lose us. It's just what it is.

I will say this is a game RPG setting, but I don't feel like I'm in a "game". The RPG setting is actually to be their homes. That makes the world real and important to them. What they do here has an impact and they try to live knowing that. Also, we aren't always grasping for our tool bar to see supplies and stats. Steve does do it, but it's not a constant thing.

I'm really enjoying the LitRPG books I've been getting lately. Jeff's voice acting is fun and fits the worlds and characters so well. And the stories are alive and feel more than just a "gaming" atmosphere. Well done with this one Jake!

Book Review: A Dark and Twisted Heart

A Dark And Twisted Heart (The Dark Heart Chronicles Book 1) - Merrie Destefano
*I offered to read this book for an honest review.

William is a young man that loves yet struggles with more. He's done something he shouldn't have done. And having that ghost with him may push him to do something again.

Wow, this is one quick read. An hour at tops. (Really, I'm a slow reader and it didn't take me that long.)

Katrina is a ghost, and she's haunting her love. William. The story is from William's mind as he's the one alive and doing things he shouldn't.

We get to see an evening with William. We meet Katrina, his love, as he's walking through the woods. Katrina is a constant reminder of his love for her and what he did to her. But he's been spending time with Adelle too.

Merrie has created a story in one moment of a person's life. This moment is one that will change his life forever. The details of the forest aren't given as you know what it is from what the forest is named and believed to be. It's called Dead Man's Wood. Just the name alone lets you know people don't normally visit this part and what they believe, it is a ghost story. The story is in what William lives through this evening...

William gets what he deserves in the end. And Katrina and her friend seem to enjoy it. You can tell from Katrina's actions she is up to more than what she's saying. The girls have left me a bit curious as to the world they live in and what they are thinking.

A quick story with ghosts and a warped love for the Halloween season. This is the first in a series of short stories, and I'm looking forward to where they go.

Book Review: Of Flame and Fate

Of Flame and Fate: A Weird Girls Novel (Weird Girls Flame Book 2) - Cecy Robson

*I offered to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Taran will do all she can to make sure her sister, Celia, and her baby will be safe. Even tracking down powerful relics at her own harm. Gemini, Taran's mate, is upset because she goes off without telling him. Though, she knows he would do all he can to stop her from what she feels she must do - protect her sister and baby.

Things are getting tense in the Alliance. Each group had a powerful leader attacked. Some group is acting to take out the powerful in order to get to Celia and her baby. The baby destined to do great things. All are assigned to protect the leaders, leaving Taran to protect Destiny. Destiny has fun plans for them, but when they go to a concert of rock star Johnny Fate things take a turn no one ever saw coming.

This beginning was a grabber! Wow, that's a way to start a book. And this scene is totally a Taran moment. lol. I loved it!

Taran is one of the most amusing characters to follow. Her colorful phrases and comparisons make me wonder what she'll say or think next. I love reading them. She makes me smile with each unique phrasing. Taran is a fighter. Dang girl. She may not fist fight in her pink heels but she won't stop going on and she'll fight if she has to. She's strong in her personality and determination.

Taran does what Taran does best...blow stuff up. Taran's arm... Yep. If you've read the previous books, you know her arm is rather special. Even seems to have a mind of it's own. But there is more to it. Totally awesome. I love how Taran has her own major spot in the way things will go in the future. These Wird girls are rather special, you can't deny that.

I get some view of Em here through Taran's interactions with her. This is interesting. I had questions regarding her at the end of Celia's last book. I'm glad to get some outsider view of Em and her interactions with others. I still have questions, but I feel like I'm getting pieces I am wanting.

As a whole the story gives us more tidbits on Taran and her sisters impact in the future. There's even talk of the girls children. Yes, girls, plural. This leaves us knowing there are more books to come to get to those moments. Also, the new enemy is known. So we'll have to deal with them as well.

Oh Cecy. You had me smiling with these crazy characters. And you had me tearing up. I should know by now that when I read one of these books, I'll feel an array of emotions with the characters. I love it!

Another entertaining installment to the Weird Sisters world full of action, determination, and love.