Thursday, October 19, 2017

Audio Book Review: Reconnaissance in Force

Reconnaissance in Force

By:  Terry Mixon

Publish Date:  December 2, 2016, Audiobook Release August 8, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 10 hrs 23 mins
Narrated By:  Veronica Giguere

Genre:  Science Fiction

Series:  6th in The Empire of Bones series; 1st Book ~ Empire of Bones, 2nd Book ~ Veil of Shadows, 3rd Book ~ Command Decisions, 4th Book ~ Ghosts of Empire, 5th Book ~ Paying the Price

Impression:  Wow. Space opera at it's best.

Synopsis:
When going to war, it pays to know your enemy. Particularly when they can crush you like a bug.

Princess Kelsey Bandar has one slim chance to steal the tech her people need to survive. Only a bold strike deep into enemy space keeps the New Terran Empire alive.

Success gives them a chance. Failure dooms them to death and worse.

Kelsey and her friends once again risk everything for their people. If you love military science fiction and grand adventure on a galactic scale, grab “Reconnaissance in Force” and the rest of The Empire of Bones Saga.

First Sentence:
Admiral Jared Mertz wrapped up his presentation to the senior Fleet officers aboard Orbital One with more than a hint of relief.

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*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.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Audio Book Review: Steamborn

Steamborn

By:  Eric Asher

Publish Date:  November 30, 2015, Audiobook Release February 1, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs 31 mins
Narrated By:  Saskia Maarleveld

Genre:  Fantasy, Steampunk, Teen

Series:  1st in Steamborn series

Impression:  A young man starts to grow up, for family and friends.

Synopsis:
Jacob, a tinker's apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.

A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob's closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city's elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.

First Sentence:
Jacob ran.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*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.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Post #182

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

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Some days I feel like throwing in the towel. I have been hoping and looking for things and life to relax. But it doesn't seem that's going to happen. I don't even know what I do each evening of the week that my days are slipping away far to fast. I know in weekends what's happening, but during the week... Gah. I'm going to have to start writing down what I do each night to keep track of it all.

It seems that two weeks is becoming my normal for Sunday Posts. With football on Saturday's and doing photos for the games, my time is creeping away from me on Sunday's.

I've been going rather, RATHER, slow with reading. Time hasn't been a very good friend these days. Why couldn't we have that extra hour a day? Ugh. I would be so exhausted if the day was 25 hours long. lol. But! We could require that hour to be reading hour. You can read anything you want, but you have to read.

So, on with the fast moving weekend I go. Have a great one all!

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The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I'm reallllly hoping the change of weather will bring time for exercise for me. I neeeeed to get back at it. How do you do everything in one day!?


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What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Danger's Halo by Amanda Carlson
AND Content Editing work

Current Audiobook:
Air and Ash by Alex Lidell

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)


Finished Last Week: 
Hoping to get done reading this week.


Audiobooks from Audible:
Steamborn by Eric Asher
Reconnaissance in Force by Terry Mixon
Primordial by David Wood & Alan Baxter


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.


DNFed:

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Last Two Weeks on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)




Guest Posts:


Posts:


Around the Internet...



Reviews:
A Dark and Twisted Heart by Merrie Destefano

"Merrie has created a story in one moment of a person's life. This moment is one that will change his life forever."


EverRealm by Jake Bible

"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. "


Hero of Thera by Erik Nylund

"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."



Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:


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This Week to Come on the Blog:


I have two reviews schedule.



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Received Last Week:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)


For Review Consideration:
Malice of Crows by Lila Bowen
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
The Ranger known as Rhett has shut down a terrible enterprise running on the blood of magical folk, but failed to catch the dark alchemist behind it. And now the Shadow refuses to let him rest.

Rhett must make the ultimate transformation if he has any hope of stopping the alchemist or fulfilling his destiny; he must become the leader of a new Rangers outpost. 

To save his friends, and the lives of countless others, he'll first have to lead them on a mission more dangerous than anything they've ever faced.



Audio Books Requested for Review:
Hunter, Healer by Lilith Saintcrow
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Their first mistake? Kidnapping her lover. Their second? Thinking she wouldn't do something about it.
The black-ops government agency known as Sigma has shattered the resistance, destroyed its infrastructure, and taken its best operative captive. It's about as bad as it can get, but Sigma's forgotten one thing: Rowan Price.
Rowan is no longer a civilian in the shadow war. Her talents are fully trained, and she's become something she never dreamed of—a cool, clinical, lethal psionic operative. Working as Henderson's second-in-command, she's utterly focused on two things: repairing the Society's infrastructure and rescuing Justin Delgado. Yet under her shell of calm and gentleness, her rage is simmering...and it's about to break loose.
Delgado knows he can't remember something important. He puts up with Sigma's beatings and questioning, the pain and the torture...
Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire
PREORDER AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
The newest book based on the hit Weird West RPG franchise Deadlands!

Step right up to see the oddities and marvels of The Blackstone Family Circus and Travelling Wonder Show! Gasp at pit wasps the size of a man’s forearm. Beware the pumpkin-headed corn stalker, lest it plant its roots in you!

Annie Pearl is the keeper of oddities, the mistress of monsters. Her unique collection of creatures is one of the circus’s star attractions, drawing wide-eyed crowds at every small frontier town they visit. But Annie is also a woman running from her past . . . and the mother of a mute young daughter, Adeline, whom she will do anything to protect.

Hoping to fill its coffers before winter sets in, the circus steers its wagons to The Clearing, a remote community deep in the Oregon wilderness, surrounded by an ominous dark wood. Word is that a traveling show can turn a tidy profit at The Clearing, but there are whispers, too, of unexplained disappearances that afflict one out of every four shows that pass through the town.

The Clearing has it secrets, and so does Annie. And it may take everything she has to save her daughter―and the circus―from both.

A gripping tale of the Weird West, set on the haunted frontier of DEADLANDS, the award-winning game from Pinnacle Entertainment Group.


Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:
The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
From the creators of the award-winning steampunk series comes a new adventure set in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences world. 

Before the Maestro launched his sinister plan to rule to world… 

Before the Phoenix Society attempted to unleash the Mechamen on the Empire… 

Before Ministry archivist Wellington Books was captured by the House of Usher… 

…there was Verity Fitzroy and the Ministry Seven. 

They were all orphans, each with their own stories and their own demons, enjoying the run of London. Then they came under the care of Agent Harrison Thorne of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and a whole new adventure began for them all. Now calling themselves The Ministry Seven, they serve at the behest of Her Majesty in between the odd con job or two. 

While Verity Fitzroy loses herself in magical mechanications and fantastical science of London, she harbours from her fellow street urchins secrets of the death of her parents, of a mystery she can't leave alone, and of a power over machinery that both excites and terrifies her. 

When an Egyptologist from the British Museum is kidnapped, and the only clue leads to an elite school for gifted, young scientists, the Ministry Seven are called upon to go where their agents cannot. Within the walls of the Delancy Academy, Verity uncovers an ancient evil that could herald the end of the world as well as the truth behind her father’s most trusted confidant. 

The Seven set down a dangerous path of intrigue, mystery, and murder; and find that ancient curses are especially difficult to contend with when you have assignments for Chemistry class due the following day.

Portion Disaster by Zoe Arden
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Murders are never far from cupcakes in Sweetland Cove... 

Ava Fortune is celebrating her twenty-second birthday with just a few witches, a few sweets...

And a murder.

When all eyes in Sweetland turn to Polly Peacock as their prime suspect, Ava will have to decide who to believe.

Polly's dangerous.
She's a criminal.
She should be back behind bars.


That's what most of Sweetland says but is it true? 

There's more happening in Sweetland than simple murder.
Everyone has a secret, and no one wants to share.

And Polly's not going back to prison.
Ava can't trust her but then she can't trust anyone.
When Ava finds herself among the suspects, she turns to her boyfriend Colt Hudson for help.
Soon Colt's life is in danger, too. 

Can Ava figure out who the real villain is before it's too late, or was the town of Sweetland Cove right all along?
If Polly's not the killer, then who else could it be? 



Audio:



Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle and Nook App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Fly: Goose Girl Retold by Demelza Carlton
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Two princesses. One prince. And the war has just begun.
Once upon a time...
Princess Ava was sent to a neighbouring kingdom as a lady-in-waiting to her sister, their future queen. Until a runaway horse, a case of amnesia and a cold-hearted king conspire to bring her to the prince's attention.
Now the prince believes Ava is his bride, and her sister is just a serving maid. One thing is certain: the prince must marry one of the princesses, or there will be war.
But when all's fair in love and war...who will win the battle for the prince's heart?

Beneath Northumberland by K.T. Bryski & P.C. Haring
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Taking pity on the plucky intern in the Archives of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences might not have been the best choice for Agent Brandon Hill. What seemed like a simple kindness has brought him to the bottom of the Northumberland Straight, and into a very peculiar kind of Canadian danger. 

Tales from the Archives are short stories set in the world of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. They explore events mentioned in the novels, characters seen and unseen and may include novel teasers of things to come.

Snowfall and Secrets by Kimberly Loth
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Tess escapes from Florida with a secret as big as Miami. She needs to find someplace to lay low and hide from her overbearing family. Mackinac Island, Michigan, should be the perfect place to hide out. However, her timing is a little off, it's the dead of winter and she's never been in temperatures below fifty degrees. Just her luck, her landlord, Lukas, is as hot as the sun. He's also moody and hiding secrets as well. Which suits Tess fine. A man is the last complication she needs. A Michigan blizzard leaves them trapped in the same house together and things heat up, fast. Tess finds herself falling for Lukas, in spite of the secrets that could ruin everything before it even begins.

Witch Slap by Val St. Crowe
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Welcome to Ravenridge College. 
Get drunk. Make stupid decisions. And kick serious interdimensional butt. 

Petra Brightshade was under the impression that college meant going to, like, classes. But she was recruited to this “prestigious mage college” because she’s something called a primal. Her innate magic is uniquely suited to fighting monstrous creatures from another dimension. Those creatures are pouring through a breach in the fabric of the universe right into the college’s library. 

Petra would rather carve the word “primal” into her own stomach than fight those freaking creatures. She’s been fighting them her whole life, and they haunt her nightmares. 

But that hot gargoyle that recruited her said that she was pretty much the only hope to save the world. And he’s intriguingly straight-laced. She can’t help but want to loosen him up a bit. And it’s true that the other primals seem to subscribe to the philosophy, “Fight hard. Party harder.” 

So, Petra’s in. She’s going to fight. As soon as she gets some coffee, that is.

Dancing Days by Val St. Crowe
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
If Hogwarts was more like Woodstock, and Voldemort was your childhood sweetheart turned abusive boyfriend...

As long as Nora Sparrow can remember, Owen has protected her. He’s been there through years of miserable foster homes and snobby mean girls, always whispering to her that she doesn’t belong here. Telling her that this is the mundane world, and someday, he’ll get them back to Helicon, the world of the muses. The world where they belong.

But Nora’s fifteen years old, and she isn’t sure she quite believes it anymore. When he begs her to try another ritual to open the dimensions, she agrees mostly to humor him. Owen’s rituals never work.

But this one does, and Nora is flung into the whimsical, bohemian land of Helicon, where she’s expected to do nothing more than create and inspire. With the help of her new muse friends, Nora sets out to discover who is creating holes in the fabric of Helicon and draining away the muses’ energy.

Everything would be perfect, if only Owen’s protectiveness wasn’t starting to seem so...obsessive.
 

The Toil and Trouble Trilogy, Book 1 by Val St. Crowe
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
The jettatori are male witches. They make and sell illegal magical charms. Their underground network controls the city, and it’s boys’ club—no women allowed. 

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Calabrese is tough as nails. She not only wants in, she wants to be boss. 

She’s got the pedigree. Her father ran the crew until he was arrested and locked up. 

She’s got a secret weapon. Brice Ventresca—super powerful, super gorgeous. 

Now all she has to do is survive the competition against her cousin and scrabble her way to the top. 

Except her cousin’s not playing fair. He whispers something to her that throws her off track. Says that her dead mother wasn’t killed by stray bullets from the police, like she thought. It was a hit, one ordered by her father. 

Now Olivia’s determined to find out the truth. 

And gorgeous Brice? Well, he’s contracted a magical virus that makes him turn into a rage-filled monster every night at midnight.



Free Audio Books/Stories:


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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Steamborn by Eric Asher
Reconnaissance in Force by Terry Mixon
Primordial by David Wood & Alan Baxter

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Audio Book Review: Hero of Thera

Hero of Thera

By:  Eric Nylund

Publish Date:  June 1, 2017, Audiobook Release July 31, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 11 hrs 38 mins
Narrated By:  Jeff Hays

Genre:  Fantasy, LitRPG

Series:  1st in Hero of Thera series

Impression:  Only option for this gamer is to live the real life ultimate game.

Synopsis:
BE A HERO IN THE ULTIMATE GAME
Are you a top-rated gamer?
Then you might have the skills to play the Game … where players are sponsored by actual demon lords, gods and goddesses, or Lovecraftian nightmares.
Enter Thera, a real kingdom at the crossroads of many other worlds, but with all the augmented-reality interfaces, character progression, and game mechanics that players know and love.
And the stakes of The Game?
Nothing less than Creation—every world in every universe and reality.
So … no pressure.
Thus Hector Savage, gamer extraordinaire, comes to Thera. Nothing can prepare him, though, for the schemes of Abyssal Lords,
rampaging barbarian ghosts, and a host of nefarious forces who want him dead—before he can even make fifth level!

First Sentence:
I'd be killed in twelve hours.

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*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.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Audio Book Review: EverRealm

EverRealm

By:  Jake Bible

Publish Date:  March 29, 2017, Audiobook Release August 2, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 7 hrs 28 mins
Narrated By:  Jeff Hays

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in Level Dead series

Impression:  They created their dreamworlds to live, now they have to fight to save them.

Synopsis:
In the 23rd century, the world is at an end, and a group of gaming and programming friends decide that their only way to survive is to discard their bodies and send their minds into the quantum matrix of a virtual gaming world. They have created the Domains and there they plan to reside forever.

Except, the nightmares of reality have followed them into their new quantum dimension and those nightmares threaten to destroy it all!

Now it is up to one of them to help navigate the quantum platform known as EverRealm, a fantasy MMORPG of epic proportions, in order to complete a quest he neither wants to complete nor knows how. With the help of his friends, and a lot of luck, he will have to face trials and tribulations like he's never faced as a player! Because now it is no longer a matter of Game Over, but of life or death!

Can he survive it all and come out a winner? The only way he'll know is if he plays the game to the bitter end!

First Sentence:
The end of the world arrived one night and nobody knew it.

Purchase At:
Amazon

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*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!



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Book Review: A Dark and Twisted Heart

A Dark and Twisted Heart

By:  Merrie Destefano

Publish Date:  October 1, 2017

Format:  ebook, 34 pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy Romance

Series:  1st book in Dear Heart Chronicles series

First Impression:  Ghostly revenge.

Synopsis:
Katrina is so beautiful, she’s almost perfect. She only has two flaws. She’s possessive.

And she’s dead.

William adores Katrina, but he almost forgets about her when he meets Adelle, with her gentle smile and winsome ways.

So what’s he to do? He certainly can’t be faithful to a dead girl.

Even though he loves her, so much so he visits her grave every day.

Even though she haunts him and constantly reminds him of the terrible thing he did.

Even though she might just drive him to do something terrible again. Very soon.

First Sentence:
Every time I walk through the woods, I see her face.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles   

My Thoughts and Summary:
*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.



****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon. Thank you!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Post #181

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

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Monday went to Phipps Conservatory. It was free admission day and I've never been there. I took a friend and away we went. I was surprised that it wasn't as crowded as I was fearing. There were lots of people, but I could easily get lots of pictures. Some of the rooms were breathtaking! And I absolutely loved the Longfellows. I'm working on pictures and will be sharing over at Spellbound in a Flash.

Tuesday was an eye doctor's appointment. I need more contacts. Ugh. Wednesday was an evening of baseball watching my nephew play. The week slipped away so fast! Saturday was football day.

I need more hours in a day! I have so much I want to do and short on time. I *think* this coming week is going to be slower in the evenings...maybe?

As for tv shows... I started watching The Orville with Kiddo. We are enjoying it more with each episode. The pilot was a bit iffy. Then I watched the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery. I was...not as impressed as I thought I would be. Then what bummed me out more, that I heard from others it's not a normal tv show but is on the pay channel. Really!?! I can't afford cable as it is and you want me to pay for special channels? Nope. Disappointing. I won't be watching that show. Now, Friday started Marvel's Inhumans. Wow. The first two hours were gripping. I couldn't stop watching. Designated Survivor started back up this past week. It's a year later, and some new problems and continued searching for others.

I'm tired. lol. I feel like I can sleep all day today. Hope you have a rather relaxing one!
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The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... I'm reallllly hoping the change of weather will bring time for exercise for me. I neeeeed to get back at it. How do you do everything in one day!?


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What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Danger's Halo by Amanda Carlson
AND Content Editing work

Current Audiobook:
Steamborn by Eric Asher

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)


Finished Last Week: 
A Dark And Twisted Heart by Merrie Destefano


Audiobooks from Audible:
EverRealm by Jake Bible
Hero of Thera by Eric Nylund


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.


DNFed:

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Last Two Weeks on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)




Guest Posts:


Posts:

Spellbound in a Flash:
Twin Lakes (2) - Birds and a Violin


Spellbound in a Flash now has a Facebook Page!
Football season has started, so you can catch my photos of the games at the Facebook Page.

Challenged Writers:
(I need to update)


Around the Internet...



Reviews:
Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

"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!"



Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:


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This Week to Come on the Blog:


I will write up two reviews and schedule.



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Received Last Week:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)


For Review Consideration:



Audio Books Requested for Review:
Curiouser and Curiouser: Steampunk Alice in Wonderland by Melanie Karsak
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
To save the Hatter, Alice must work with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.

* * * 

Alice thought she’d turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London's criminal underbelly. But she’d been bonkers to dream.

Hatter’s reckless behavior leads Alice back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar's mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is no problem for this Bandersnatch. But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.



Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:



Audio:



Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle and Nook App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Embrace by Stacey Rourke
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Laugh-out Loud Series of 2012 & Author of the Year 2012 to Stacey Rourke! Whether she likes it or not, eighteen year old Celeste Garrett has come to terms with being the Chosen One. She knew having a "normal life" would be tricky, between intense training sessions and epic demonic battles, but she didn't know at what cost it would come. That is, until a dear friend is harmed by the malicious forces hunting her. Now, she'd like nothing more than to retreat into a hermit lifestyle to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. But startling revelations, amazing new abilities, and mortifying moments in front of insanely hot guys won't allow time for that. Soon, Celeste finds herself surrounded by darkness and wondering who she can trust-if anyone.

Stealing Time by K.J. Waters
PICK UP AT AMAZON
Goodreads Synopsis:
As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph heads back to her house. 

During the peak of the storm Ronnie is hurtled back in time to eighteenth-century London where she is caught in a web of superstition, deception, and lies in a life and death struggle to return to her own time. 

Steph is thrust into the middle of the hurricane to rescue, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as she is faced with losing everything. Stealing Time: Book 1 in the Stealing Time Trilogy. 


Free Audio Books/Stories:


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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson
A Dark And Twisted Heart by Merrie Destefano
EverRealm by Jake Bible
Hero of Thera by Eric Nylund