Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Audio Book Review: Sellsword's Oath

Sellsword's Oath

By:  Gail Z. Martin

Publish Date:  January 20, 2020, Audiobook Release January 20, 2020

Format:  Audiobook - 5 hrs 59 mins
Narrated By:  Samuel Roukin

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2nd in Assassins of Landria series; 1st Book ~ Assassin's Honor

Impression:  Interesting assassin team.

Wandering mystic Yefim Makary, known to his followers as the ‘Witch Lord’, disappeared before he could be accused of inciting dissent against King Kristoph. His supporters among the disenchanted aristocrats who weren’t arrested have fled or died by their own hand. The king is happy to put the matter behind him. Yet Burke, the commander of the elite King’s Shadows, doesn’t believe the threat is over, and he assigns his two most troublesome, rule-breaking—and successful—assassins to ferret out the real threat and put a stop to Makary’s plots.

Joel “Ridge” Breckinridge and Garrett “Rett” Kennard rose through the ranks of the Landrian army together, from teenaged conscripts to seasoned fighters. Together, they became the most feared team of assassins in Landria, surviving longer that most in their profession by virtue of excellent fighting skills, legendary bravado, peerless strategy, and an uncanny synchronicity.

As the threads of a new plot come together revealing disloyalty among the priests and generals, Ridge and Rett once again find themselves on the run, hoping they and their allies can figure out the Witch Lord’s latest scheme before it costs them their lives—and the king his throne.

First Sentence:
The trick, when setting off gunpowder, was to be far enough away.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Samuel narrated the first book and I'm glad he returned for the next! His voice and personality that he gives to Rett and Ridge feels to be them for me. The audio is clean and clear for listening pleasure.

Rett and Ridge are sent on a mission to go after the counterfeiters and destroy their forge. If they hear or see anything regarding Yefin Makary, or the Witch Lord as he is called, who got away in the first book they are to report directly to Burke. Rett and Ridge are sure he's going to cause trouble in the future. The deeper they dig into the counterfeiting, the more they find that Makary is involved and has more going on than meets the eye.

I enjoy Rett and Ridge as a team. They are great brothers, though not by blood but from growing up together in the orphanage as children. They have each other's back and work well together. They also have a touch of the sight, which is frowned on by others so they keep it hidden. There are a few that learn of their abilities and it comes in handy with their mission, again. 

I love how these two also help captured children get to a safe place. There are children out there with abilities as well, and with the help of one they saved in the first book, they find more of these children who've been taken from their families or put in terrible situations. This shows there is a heart in these assassins. 

I enjoyed the missions as we got to see what was happening while Rett and Ridge are in disguise then the fight that will come. We get closer and closer to what's happening and how things are connected as we follow Rett and Ridge on a few missions.

We get more ghosts in this one. I found I had very similar thoughts on assassin ghosts. lol. Cool idea.

The series is well worth a read or listen. I enjoy the fantasy story and setting in a shorter length. I get all I enjoy in fantasy from magic to fights and more. I know listening is limited these days, so to have the shorter length is a nice bonus.

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Audio Book Review: Hook: Dead Wrong

Hook: Dead Wrong

By:  Melissa Snark

Publish Date:  August 1, 2019, Audiobook Release September 26, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs 33 mins
Narrated By:  Natalie Naudus

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  2nd in Captain Hook and the Pirates of Neverland series; Book 1 ~ Dead to Rights

Impression:  Closer view at Hook and what she faces personally.

People who complicate my life earn the business end of my hook.
Funny how that never seems to stop them.

Think I’m exaggerating? I stand accused of colluding with Fomorian raiders who are abducting young mermaids… And one of the Lost Boys I rescued from Neverland is being terrorized by a Faerie nightmare… A dark menace connects the two things. With the help of my pixie companion, I must solve the mystery while evading the interference of my meddlesome ex-lover.

He’s sinfully distracting, but the fun must wait.

All those delectable sirens need rescuing.

First Sentence:
The towering peak of Old Crack-A-Toe, a long dormant volcano, thrust from the center of Rackham's Cay's South Island.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Natalie returns to continue voicing Hook and her adventures. I'm pleased to hear Natalie again. I enjoy her accent for Hook and the many voices she's given to additional characters. The many voices makes the book feel like a full cast in audio. The audio is cut clean and clear for listening.

Hook's ship, Revenge, limps along on the waters after the battle with Peter Pan. They lost crew and the ship is on the verge of sinking. They then cross paths with Admiral William Kidd, who's determined to kill Hook. Then, we move on to a month later. Hook is chased from a married woman's bed and home.

This book has more going on behind the scenes as we listen to the story. We get the connections as the story progresses but earlier in the book we don't know how it's going to connect.

We get to see Hook use her siren song early in this book. It's nice to see she uses it when in need of help. Which we see that using her siren song could have consequences, which Hook is concerned about.

Hook is captain of her ship and she has to act the part, though Hook does care even if she appears hard in the face of her crew. She only wants the best for her crew and to keep them safe, especially from Peter Pan. I get a kick out of Hook and her camaraderie with Buzz, a pixie. They are fun together and Buzz makes me smile with some of his off hand comments.

We see Hook alone and a deeper look into who Hook is. We also get to see Hook with crew and friends on a one on one bases. The story feels to be a character developing one for us with the feelings we see flow through Hook here.

I think, in the end, Hook has a new appreciation for her crew and those she keeps near. She sees they are more to her, and she to them, than she originally leads on. Will this change the way she commands? I hope not. To me, she's always had care in her barked orders, it seems now she knows her crew and friends care for her too.

We get to see Hook with Captain Rackham. I do enjoy the way these two banter. Rackham and Hook seem so good at getting at the other with remarks, and they both take it in stride. There is a history here, and maybe a future? I'd love to see these two interact more in the future. Hook even makes a new friend in the water as well. It's always interesting to see Hook's connection to the mermaids. I wonder if this will come up again in the future.

A fun read that has me looking forward to future installments with Hook and all around her.

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

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Audio Book Review: Flux


By:  Jeremy Robinson

Publish Date:  May 14, 2019, Audiobook Release May 31, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 10 hrs 55 mins
Narrated By:  Jeffrey Kafer

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  Stand alone

Impression:  An adventure through time with action and growth.

For Owen McCoy, a typical day on the job as head of security for Synergy, a research company conducting mysterious experiments, is boring at best. And that's the way he likes it. Patrolling the Appalachian mountainside, where his now deceased father taught him how to hunt, is relaxing and connects him to the past.

But today is not a typical day on the job. It begins with asking a thief to join him for breakfast. Seeking to set the young man on a better path, Owen invites him to walk the perimeter with him and consider a more honest living. Before their patrol can begin, they discover evidence that the facility has been breached. When Owen's truck explodes, he's confused, but ready for whatever might come his way.

At least, he thinks he is.

A wave of light-bending energy--the Flux--rolls down the mountainside, transporting Owen, and everyone in the nearby town of Black Creek, to October 14, 1985, the day before his father died. Two hours later, the second Flux hits, and then a third, and a fourth, each time collecting Black Creek residents from various times. They're carried through eras filled with wild animals, monsters of myth, and ancient beasts...and then beyond.

Joined by a ragtag group of temporal stowaways, including family members, Owen fights to restore order, stop the Flux, and return home, facing off against futuristic tech, primal killers, and the fear of losing his father...again.

First Sentence:
"Ain't gonna ask again." The gun in his hand - a rusted piece of junk from a time before his birth - is more likely to explode in his face than put a bullet through mine.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

By now I'm sure you know Jeffrey is one of my favorite narrators. Jeffrey doesn't let me down. Jeffrey narrates with perfection. He fits the voices of all the characters well as they live through their events. Jeffrey adds different tones, accents, and personality to each character as they speak.

Owen's day is far from routine. From speaking to, and helping, his would be robber to his day at the job. Nothing is close to normal. Working as head of security at Synergy, Owen doesn't know what the company is working on. Owen seems to take a long stroll through the past on this day.

It doesn't take Jeremy long before things go sideways in the normal day for his main character, Owen. I enjoyed meeting Levi and how Owen befriends him. I am thrilled Jeremy dives in and throws the world into chaos for Owen immediately. It made me curious and kept my attention on the story.

I love going on adventures in Jeremy's books. He always has an interesting spin in his stories. Every chapter drives the story forward and brings more action and details to play into the story to come. I enjoy the tidbits hinted at and seeing them come to fruit as the story goes.

Our main character, Owen, gets to see how he has changed over the years with what he's lived through. It opens Owen's eyes as to what he's missed out on too. As Owen travels and his group grows in number, he realizes much about himself and starts to open up to the idea of how he lives his life. Owen grows as a character through the book. Owen is also given new chances in this story that help with the growth he makes. Owen's a great character, he just starts out a little closed off due to the losses he's felt and lived through.

For the secondary characters, I was drawn to Levi right away. The young adult had some cool sayings and a bit nervous when we meet him, but he was quick to pick up on things too. I really liked the bond created with Levi and Owen. We come across other characters as well that are mysterious or important to Owen that made an impact on me as well; Minute Man, Cassie, little Owen, Dad, Inola, are a few that stick out for me mind.

In the end we come to a small tie that connects this book to another of Jeremy's, The Others. You do not have to read The Others in order to pick anything up, but it may spark you to want to get The Others as I'm now wanting to listen to it.

As always, Jeremy has lived up to my expectations and beyond. Well done.

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Audio Book Review: The Blood of Kings

The Blood of Kings

By:  Kyle Alexander Romines

Publish Date:  May 1, 2019, Audiobook Release September 16, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 11 hrs 59 mins
Narrated By:  Matt Addis

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2nd in Warden of Fal series; 1st Book ~ The Wrath of Lords

Impression:  Amazing blend of fantasy and mystery.

Being a warden is tough work at the best of times. Keeping the tenuous peace between the five kingdoms of Fál is a difficult business, especially in a land of monsters and magic.

Esben Berengar, the realm’s most feared warden, relies on his wits and his axe to deal with unscrupulous rulers, bloodthirsty outlaws, and the occasional witch.

When the king of Munster is murdered, Berengar is called upon to investigate. Many had cause to want the king dead, and treachery lurks behind every corner.

As tensions between humans and all others threaten to boil over, the warden finds himself reluctantly partnered with Morwen, Munster’s court magician, to solve the murder before the killer strikes at the royal family again.

First Sentence:
It was never a good idea to keep a king waiting--even for a warden.

Purchase At:


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Summoned to help King Mor with the simple task of returning the court magician to his castle turns into more when King Mor dies. Now, Berengar is tasked with finding who killed the king and why. King Mor had a feeling there was dark magic in his lands, but what is really going on?

Matt returns to narrate the story for us. I enjoy his accent on words and speech as he breathes life into the characters. I enjoyed listening to Matt voice the cast. His accent and proper sound fits the world for me. Also, he gives different tones to different character's voices. This helps differentiate the characters for me as I listen. Clean and clear as a bell audio.

Berengar. He sure is a special person. People all around are scared of him due to the stories of his strength and deaths he's brought. But I love him for those stories and how he acts. He's just a man who likes to be on his own with his wolfhound. He's cut off a part of himself from the world for what he's been through and what he has to do in his employment.

This is the second book of the series, and I've found I very much enjoy the woman characters Kyle writes. They are not weak of mind or spirit. They are strong in their own ways. The one that makes a huge impact in this story is Morwen. She's a magician but she's very strong willed along with brilliant. She's determined to help Berengar, and will do so with no fear of the large scarred man.

I enjoy the tale told here. Berengar is smart and has the brass too. There are many secrets in King Mor's castle that Berengar uncovers as he investigates King Mor's death. The king had many things going on that was kept from others. There are deaths as Berengar comes closer to people who could tell some small sliver to help with the investigation of who killed the king. Berengar keeps track of all that he learns and works with Morwen to put it all together, even if it feels to be separate incidents. It all comes together as Berengar digs too deep for those involved and puts Berengar's life in danger, though Berengar is use to this.

Not only is there a mystery where we get the details, it's set in a fantasy world. I love this blend! We get the action, fights, and magic that can be found in fantasy stories. The world feels as though I'm familiar with it. It's not heavy with rules and magic, it's easy to follow the world and events.

This is book two in the series, but how the books are written I think you could read them out of order. Sure, there are mentions of the first book here but that doesn't heavily sway the mystery in this book. Now we do have an evolution to Berengar that's happening, so reading the first book will give you the beginnings of how Berengar is growing as a character.

I'm totally in for the series! Can't wait for more!

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

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Audio Book Review: The Tesla Legacy

The Tesla Legacy

By:  Rebecca Cantrell

Publish Date:  January 22, 2015, Audiobook Release May 6, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 6 hrs 41 mins
Narrated By:  Jeffrey Kafer

Genre:  Mystery Thriller

Series:  2nd in Joe Tesla series, 1st Book ~ The World Beneath

Impression:  Paranormal thriller with a grip.

In New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Cantrell's sequel to the award-winning The World Beneath, software genius, Joe Tesla, confronts an equally brilliant and far more powerful foe. Still crippled by agoraphobia and confined to the tunnels under New York City, Joe is haunted by the fact that he cannot even attend his father's funeral. His father's death brings threats to the safety of Joe's underground home: guilt over the broken relationship that can never be healed, a mysterious box of papers inherited from eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, and a ruthless enemy determined to steal those papers no matter the cost. Mystified by why his inheritance is so valuable, Joe and his service dog, Edison, follow clues left a century ago by Joe's famous ancestor to reveal the power of his family legacy. While Joe must rely on his considerable talents as a hacker, he must also reach out to friends. But whom can he trust as he battles to save his beloved city from . . . The Tesla Legacy?

First Sentence:
Most men would not care about a simple pigeon, but Nikola Tesla was not most men.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Jeffrey is always a pleasure for me to listen to. He's grown to be one of my favorite narrators. (Yes, there's a list.) Jeffrey doesn't let me down with his vocals as Nikola Tesla again. Jeffrey voices Nikola with the emotion Nikola feels, even in his most stressful moments.

Joe Tesla is struggling with his agoraphobia with his father's funeral. Seeing it through a cell phone lens, Joe learns a secret his father kept. He's not a Tesla descendant. However, there are people out there that want the plans for the Oscillator that Nikola Tesla designed. The real plans, not the adjusted and dysfunctional version that's public. And what his father left him in a suitcase may lead him, and these dangerous people to the true plans.

Joe has a huge obstacle to work around with his agoraphobia. He can't walk outside, and a lot of what happens involves going outside. He has his housing arrangements, groceries, and walking for his dog all taken care of, but the trouble Joe finds himself in could lead to having to leave his underground home. We see Joe react to the outside light with his agoraphobia. We also learn new medical troubles for Joe. When I learned this, I hoped that he will find the person that did this to him and we would get to see that in the books.

I find it really cool how the underground railroads and tunnels lead to several of the buildings in the city. This makes it easier for Joe to venture to places, though he's not done so yet. With what he's left by his father, Joe has to brave new tunnels to building to look for something. When he finds it, trouble finds him.

Joe learns a truth about his family, which dredges up old memories of his father making Joe work hard at school work. We also meet Joe's mother, and see her interact with him.

I enjoy seeing Vivian, who Joe has hired to help. She's a body guard sort and can do errands for Joe on the outside world. Even Dirk. We get to see Celeste and Joe interact via phone calls and what Joe does with computers for her.

Joe starts to see the program he created to help find people or criminals in the world is being used in a way he didn't plan. Joe has to figure out what to do with that program, if anything, so no one knows he's been monitoring it and tampering with it to stop them.

There are a few pieces in the story that Joe doesn't know about that another character knows. These items could become a problem in the future that Joe will have to deal with. Also, Joe's health is something he has to keep in mind. I'm curious to see how these continue on in future books.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Audio Book Review: Dead Before Dying

Dead Before Dying

By:  Kerry Schafer

Publish Date:  February 9, 2016, Audiobook Release October 30, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 7 hrs 46 mins
Narrated By:  Teri Clark Linden

Genre:  Paranormal, Mystery Thriller

Series:  1st in The Shadow Valley Manor Novel series

Impression:  Paranormal thriller with a grip.

Sidelined by an on the job injury, veteran paranormal investigator Maureen Keslyn reluctantly accepts an assignment at Shadow Valley Manor, an upscale retirement facility where someone—or something—is picking off residents and staff at a grisly clip.

With her resources dwindling one death at a time and unnatural forces on the loose, Maureen’s experience fighting the supernatural provides her only hope to destroy a clever and powerful evil before everybody in the manor—and the town—winds up dead. Together with a ragtag team that includes the local sheriff, the undertaker's daughter, and the facility cook whose knife skills in the kitchen could prove deadly out of it--Maureen is on a mission to bring rest to the weary, and peace to the dead...

First Sentence:
I don't care what his nametag says, the young man standing by my bed can't really be a doctor.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The book starts with getting a great view into Maureen's personality. I loved it! Kerry's writing and Teri's voice adding the personality makes a perfect fit for Maureen out of the gate. I also can relate to the sound and feel of Maureen at the opening, both writing and vocals make it easy to believe and relate to. Listening to this story, I feel Teri is a perfect match for Maureen's personality. Wow. I never questioned the character tones or personalities as Teri voiced them all. I slipped into the story, listening and ready to learn what I could.

I really enjoyed Kerry's writing as we walk into empty homes and areas of the manor. I feel as though I'm with Maureen and don't know what we'll find, just creeping along taking in the sights with her. I'm drawn into the moment and wondering what we'll find. I love when this happens, as I don't feel as I'm just listening to a story but a part of it with the character and learning things as she does.

I love Maureen! She's got a strong personality and she doesn't fear anything. She speaks of what's on her mind when it comes to Ed and Abel. She's older than your normal main character, but she's got loads of experience to rely on. She's one strong woman who can battle through troubles and make it out the other side.

I felt like the world of paranormal was a huge secret here with how Maureen works and steps around all the questions. There feels to be a big presence that's not a good one in the paranormal world. There also feels to be a huge, dark research group that are hiding in the shadows of the world. So much more to the hushed world of paranormal here. We start to peel back the layers of this onion, slowly so we get to learn what's here and keep the suspense going. By the end, we get our answers on what's happened. However, even though we got answers, there's lots of elements that could be investigated and found.

Okay. I this is a new favorite paranormal series. I love the paranormal present in the book. We have illegal research that's happened and there are creatures out there that are dangerous. I love how the characters match even though they are not trusted by each other. Great blend of everything here! I will totally be watching for more books in this world!

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

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Audio Book Review: The Future of Supervillainy

The Future of Supervillainy

By:  C.T. Phipps

Publish Date:  June 25, 2019, Audiobook Release August 30, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 7 hrs 3 mins
Narrated By:  Jeffrey Kafer

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  6th in The Supervillainy Saga series; 1st Book ~ The Rule of Supervillainy, 2nd Book ~ The Games of Supervillainy, 3rd Book ~ The Secrets of Supervillainy, 4th Book ~ The Science of Supervillainy, 5th Book ~ The Tournament of Supervillainy

Impression:  It's all for the protection of the family

Gary Karkofsky, a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillainy without Mercy, has decided to retire from supervillainy. He's lost too many friends and killed too many people (though they all had it coming). Unfortunately, this proves to be easier said than done when the Department of Supernatural Services (DOSS) shows up to arrest him for all of his crimes. Quickly landing himself in more trouble, he decides to get out of town and help a struggling underground kingdom in the center of the Earth. What he finds is an army of Nazis, gods, lost temples, and dinosaurs. He also is forced to fight once more against the world's first supervillain: Tom Terror, archenemy of heroes everywhere.

He just can't catch a break, can he?

First Sentence:
"So, yeah, it's been a year since I quit being a supervillain," I said, standing there with my hands in the pockets of my large leather coat.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I had a few rough weeks and wanted an audio book I could enjoy and relax with. This fit the mold. I always enjoy Gary's antics and adventures. This book follows through with what I was looking for.

Gary gave up being a super villain a year ago. Until the special United States agency sets out to arrest him, and threatens his children. Wanting to get away from the potential attack coming, and getting a chance to kill Nazi's, Gary agrees to help an underground kingdom in the center of the Earth.

John from C.T.'s Apocalyptic books joins our favorites on this mission. We get a quick view of his life and world here. These crumbs could make you curious to pick up those books.

When I think there couldn't be more '80's and '90's movies to pull from, C.T. surprises me with ones I've forgotten about. I love listening to the story and thinking of what movie, comic, book, and more that influences the events and quick comebacks. There is so much great material to be inspired by! I love how C.T. does that.

Gary loves his family. This is the one thing he fights for, or doesn't fight. All to keep them safe. He loves his women deeply, all the women close to him. He has to face that his children and niece could be in danger because of what he and the moms do. Will that stop Gary from doing what needs done though?

Gary's life feels to be evolving and growing, as life should. By now we know Gary's not a true villain in his intent but he doesn't act as a straight laced hero either. Gary calls himself an antihero, which fits perfectly. Gary does seem to have a great capability of screwing things up too, which brings humor and highlights additional characters in the book. And yet, in some strange way, it works out for Gary. lol. I enjoy these moments, when things go off the rails for Gary because it feels creative with how we get to where we still need to be. There are moments where it feels as though it's the easy route, but it's all good because Gary is his own character.

You know when Gary is not thrilled with something or disappointed as he wont waste a great Star Wars quote, or pop culture quote, on that person or situation. That weighs more in meaning than giving a great quote to lighten the moment.

As always, I had fun listening to Gary and his family and friends take this adventure and fight on. It seems Gary's life might take another turn in the future with what he does in life. Or maybe not.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Audio Book Review: Evil is a Matter of Perspective

Evil is a Matter of Perspective

Edited By:  Adrian Collins

Publish Date:  March 31, 2017, Audiobook Release July 5, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 17 hrs 9 mins
Narrated By:  Greg Patmore

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  Anthology

Impression:  The perspective is not always as you think.

Experience your favourite fantasy worlds through some of the most fearsome, devious, and brutal antagonists in fantasy. Villains take centre stage in nineteen dark and magical stories that will have you cheering for all the wrong heroes as they perform savage deeds towards wicked ends. And why not? They are the champions of their own stories—evil is a matter of perspective.


R. Scott Bakker (The Second Apocalypse)
Adrian Tchaikovsky (Shadows of the Apt, The Tiger and the Wolf)
Michael R. Fletcher (Manifest Delusions)
Shawn Speakman (The Annwn Cycles)
Teresa Frohock (Los Nefilim)
Kaaron Warren (The Gate Theory, Mistification)
Courtney Schafer (The Shattered Sigil)
Marc Turner (Chronicles of the Exile)
Jeff Salyards (Bloodsounder's Arc)
Mazarkis Williams (The Tower & Knife)
Deborah A. Wolf (The Dragon's Legacy)
Brian Staveley (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne)
Alex Marshall (Crimson Empire)
Bradley P. Beaulieu (The Song of the Shattered Sands, The Lays of Anuskaya)
Matthew Ward (Shadow of the Raven, Coldharbour)
Mark Alder (Banners of Blood)
Janny Wurts (The Wars of Light and Shadow, The Empire Trilogy)
E.V. Morrigan (Glyph War world)
Peter Orullian (The Vault of Heaven)

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 


My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I very much enjoyed Greg's narration of the stories. His voice feels to fit the moments in the story, great combination with the written words. He has the proper feel to his words and accents that goes with the fantasy realm of narrations. Greg gets to show different angles of his voice here. We get stories with woman and men characters voiced, but also different feelings to portray with each story. There aren't many different voices for each character but each has a personality to the words as Greg narrates.

This book took me longer than I'd like to get through it. I struggled with some of the stories feeling long and not pulling me into the story as I would like. I didn't feel the magnetism to the book to listen. Overall, I wonder if I had read part of the series the novella's are set in that maybe I'd feel the draw to them more. I'm not sure.

I'll share a small bit about each story as I listen to them.

Forward by R. Scott Bakker
A well thought out thinking on the perspective of good and evil. How people have it present in culture. Scott shares thoughts on how this was used to justify actions against other people. There are examples of good vs evil in fantasy and how it can help the worlds. All leading to Grim Dark Fantasy, where characters are willing do evil to stop evil.

The Broken Dead by Michael R. Fletcher
In this story we get glimpses to Anomie's past with her father and Matthaus, her lover. Then her current life as a dead assassin and her mission. It took me a few moments when the story shifted from present to past with being audio to catch the shift. There is a pause between the shifts in time which I learn is the indicator of a change in story somehow.

I really like the manner in which Anomie lives, or doesn't live. Very interesting how the assassins are preserved. I wish the story focused on this part of her life.

The story of Anomie's previous life is the focus here. It was okay, until the end when things blend and feel to become confused. I'm thinking the goal wasn't accomplished by Anomie, but I'm not 100% sure what the end result is. I have an idea, but not sure.

Every Hair Casts a Shadow by Teresa Frochock
Raphael is in danger, Elviro sees his moment to win his grandson to his side. Using the moment to save, win him over, and have a tie to him, Elviro is granted the moment to help. But things have a turn to how they play out.

This is a short story set in the world of Los Nefilim. I've not had the pleasure of reading or listening to this world, but it's an interesting world with Angels and Demons and a civil war.

There is history with the characters present. We get the strong feel of that and their feelings for each other in this story of danger for Raphael. Nicely done as I like Raphael's response.

The Divine Death of Jirella Martigore by Alex Marshall
Jirella is summoned home to her Uncle, thinking she's in trouble she learns she's returned home for much more. Although she'll be a target for those searching to take power for their own until she comes into her station.

As the title tells and as the story implies, Jirella's body is meant for more. I leave the story wondering if the way the other girls treated her is why she's sent to this point, and why she's ready for this to be so. It is a great honor, but it's an end and a beginning wrapped in one.

The story was okay, but didn't feel to have a gripping pull for me.

A Royal Gift by Mark Alder
The Dark Prince knows who he is and what he is. He is to rule, yet shouldn't. The Dark Prince goes to the church and asks his question when he's visited. He has an answer to what he may face.

Nice. This is the most important moment in the Dark Prince's life. This is a turning point for him in what he will do and how he sees things.

This is a short story, 15 minutes in audio.

Old Blood by Adrian Tchaikovsky
This story is from the Shadows of the Apt series. I've not read/listened to this series yet, but listening to this story makes me curious about the world and if what's started here comes to be and the Wasps finished off.

This story had me hoping for one character, while the others grow in strength and gained my heart. What they have planned could help more with what the Wasps are doing. The story grew stronger as it went, ending with a point and a plan. I really enjoyed the creativity of the world and how things go for these characters.

Black Bargain by Janny Wurts
This story takes place in her series The Wars of Light and Shadow.

I'm sorry, but the detailed fantasy writing got in the way of the story for me. Sometimes the descriptions and world details given take over and I lose what the story plot and point is. That happened here. It felt like too much going on at once for me to listen to it. Maybe if I read the story rather than listen to it I would be able to stay focused. I've heard great things about Janny Wurts and was looking forward to her story, but I'm just not able to stay on track with all the details given.

The Syldoon Sun by Jeff Salyards
Set in Jeff's Bloodsounder's Arc world.

Our main character wants nothing more than to be a Syldoon, however because of tradition and disregarding a direct order, which results in him not being a soldier any longer so he'll never be a Syldoon. Emperor Cynead has an offer for him to become more than a soldier for spying on the Jackal's as he suspects they are doing things not in the Emperors favor.

I've not heard of Jeff until this story. I enjoyed the story, which made me curious about the Jackals and what they were up to. I'm a little lost on how they figured out the man was a traitor to them though, this is what dampened the story for me.

The Darkness Within the Light by Shawn Speakman
The wizard knows she has information, and he'll get it. After he learns how to get to the place he's been searching for, he makes the trip. The wizard comes face to face with The Lady of the Lake. He is determined to find the one thing that will help him face God.

The wizard has a drive and direction he's going from the beginning of the story. We may not know all the reasons behind it in the beginning, but we know where he's trying to go.

I really like Shawn's writing style. He's detailing out the fantasy world, but I don't feel like I'm stuck listening to descriptions. Shawn creates the world through his characters with what they do and what they want. There is a thread that connects the characters with the world they live in.

There is a blend of action and information here that kept me held to the story. There is a blend of fairy and Arthurian legend in this story and world. I really like the creation here.

The Greater of Two Evils by Marc Turner
This story is set in The Chronicles of Exile series.

Mazana is sent to retrieve a stolen ship and the pirate who took it.

I found the pirates reasoning interesting. It's a way of thinking that some people have, to free the harmed and harm the rich at any cost. I like the feel of character I get from Mazana. She seems to be fair yet hard and will do what needs done to accomplish the mission. She is smart too.

I'm a little curious about the world and series of books after this story. I'm wondering what the Storm Lords have done to create people that hate them and their rule so bad. I'm also curious about Mazana and her connections along with reasons for what she does. There is more to her and the Storm Lords than meets the eye.

Exceeding Bitter by Kaaron Warren
This story is .1 of The Unwanted Women of Surrey series, which I couldn't find other books in this world yet, so maybe more to come after this?

I liked the way the story started, with the three Grey Ladies and Mrs. Jacobs. But then the story went to the three Grey Ladies story and how they came to be the Grey Ladies. I was a little bored with the story from here. Not that it was bad, just not what I wanted to hear.

A Game of Mages by Courtney Schafer
This story is .1 in The Shattered Sigil series.

Ruslan searches for his apprentices, and grows close to them. Lizaveta learns of an exiled mage, Simon, who is on the move. Ruslan and Lizaveta have a bloody history with Simon that could bring harm to them, but they are determined to find Simon first.

This fantasy story has a writing style I can enjoy. Lizaveta shares lots of knowledge about her life with Rulan and then the boys, but also with Simon. The details move with the story and create a plot and world as we go. I love when this happens.

This story also has me wondering about how all the characters live on and grow.

The Tattered Prince and the Demon Veiled by Bradley P. Beaulieu
This story is set in Bradley's series, The Song of the Shattered Sands.

Brama sees a young woman with sparkles of light around her. He's drawn to her and looks for her. When he finds her he finds more trouble than he expected. But still feeling the attraction to her and why the lights around her, he helps her. But what will the cost be for Brama?

This is the longest story in the collection. This novella holds my attention as I listened to it. I was curious about the person talking, who's trapped in a gem that Brama wears. Brama knows of the demon locked inside, they have an uneasy relationship.

I liked this style as we grow close to the demon who's telling the story, and Brama as we travel with him in the city area he calls home. The story feels it follows a constant pace in telling, not rushed to get it all in with limited words. Much of the details we get are in relation to the characters or actions, drawing a picture in my mind with the events happening.

A Storm Unbound by E.V. Morrigan
He's found them. Shae runs home to find it burning, her lover dying on the floor, and their girl gone. Eroghast is here and wants her back in his service, as she pledged a blood oath to him. He wants the head of another brought to him, to absolve Aruur from Shae's debt to him. Shae will do anything to keep Aruur safe.

This story starts quick! We dive right into events from the get go. In doing this, the author has caught my attention and I'm ready to go on the adventure with Shae. We see quickly that Shae is more than meets the eye, though she wants to be a common person.

Yes, yes, yes. This story had me listening and not guessing with the little twists it had with the characters. Thank you.

The Game by Matthew Ward
Set in Matthew's world of The World of Aradane.

Lord Solomon is taken by the scum of the city. They plan to make him pay for the family that were lost to make a point to stop thieving and killing, what helped Lord Solomon get to the seat he's at in the city. All Solomon wants is to make his beloved city safe for common people.

I found I drifted off in sections of the story as we get history and details on who people are to Solomon. The action is low in the story.

I do find Arlia to be a mystery and someone that has me curious about who or what she is.

Blood Penny by Deborah A. Wolf
A story set in The Dragon's Legacy series.

Awitsu and Kanati are close, and Awitsu wants to keep it that way though knows in a short time things will change. She has a plan. They are tied to the Emperor because of their birth and can't buy their freedom. But with the blood penny Awitsu has and the Witching Well, she can make those that hurt her and all pay.

Awitsu is not lucky. She tries as she might to activate the blood penny, but fights through more troubles than she expects.

The story feels to have a Romeo and Juliet feel to the turn of events with Awitsu and Kanati, though their lives and situation is a little different. The story also has a feel as though it's a history that's how a couple came to a place that's important in the series.

I liked the way things turned out for Awitsu and Kanati. I'd be curious to see if they appear in the series.

Better than Breath by Brian Staveley
The story is set in the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne series.

A mother's love. The love of children for their mother. This story focuses on the love for and from children. Even when the mother that's loved stole the children from their homes for the reason of love.

This story is a moment in the mother's life. I'm not sure if she lives or dies at the end. It's left with a hint of what the answer is. I'm not as impressed with this story as it doesn't feel to have a strong story, other than the children.

Foundation of Bones by Mazarkis Williams
This story is .1 in Tower and Knife series.

Adam is a young priest, four years out of training. One day Adam notices one of the students is different from the others. The boy is gifted. Adam tries to keep Didryk's gifts hidden from the others. Could Didryk be the child that'll bring about the new world?

Adam has a strong instinct to protect Didryk. Didryk brings a new way of thinking to Adam's view of things. I like the creation of what Didryk can do. This makes the world very interesting and makes me curious of what could come.

This story felt to have a strong rise and fall and story for me while creating something that makes the world interesting and curious to pick up the series. Adam has a story that he's living, and though this story is done it feels as there could be greater consequences in the future.

The Aging of a Kill by Peter Orullian
The story is set in The Vault of Heaven series.

Audra has been working the vineyard two years to hear the confession of the politician she's working with. Audra is asked to tell a story of her kill as a Dannire, who enforce the laws. We get more than one story of Audra's adventures.

Audra is a smart woman as she knows much about her targets and the professions they are in. She does her research and it shows. However, listening to these different stories of Audra's jobs started to bore me as I listened. I know the stories all fit together with the end, but it felt long.

The Carathayan by R. Scott Bakker
Uster looks around to see he's killed the little boy and the Lord of the home. The mother comes too to see her daughter and Uster's girlfriend, Mirrim, walk in. They need to talk.

The story is of a curse in the family where the first daughter is given over to the wood for the Carathayan on a specified birthday. Mirrim and her mother talk about why she was turned out. There is a lot of hurt feelings with Mirrim and her mother here, in a terrible moment surrounded by death.

I feel as though I missed something with Uster and the way of the world here. I got the gist of the story but felt there could have been more given. We get moments of Uster's past as flashes in the current events happening. In audio, it's not differentiated very well.

The story was just okay for me.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Audio Book Review: The Kings

The Kings

By:  Kimberly Loth

Publish Date:  December 14, 2016, Audiobook Release October 6, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 6 hrs 5 mins
Narrated By:  Angela Rysk

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  5th in The Dragon Kings series; 1st Book ~ Obsidian, 2nd Book ~ Aspen, 3rd Book ~ Valentine, 4th Book ~ Skye

Impression:  The prophecy is heard and seen come to pass.

Sid and his friends wake from a nightmare of a prophecy to find themselves right in the middle of a war they didn't even know had arrived. All three kings plunge right into the fray knowing only one will survive.

Out of nowhere, the war takes a terrible twist when instead of attacking dragons, the white witch goes after human cities, slaughtering hundreds of thousands. The humans band together and declare war upon all dragons.

With the arctic and canyon dragons bearing down on the rest of the dragons and humans coming after them with new weapons, the war seems all but lost.

Will they win the war? Or will all the dragons be wiped forever from the earth?

Don’t wait to read this exciting conclusion to The Dragon Kings. Full of exciting twists and turns, be prepared for an ending that changes everything.

First Sentence:
Sid blinked his eyes open.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 

Audible    (Box Set of Series)

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Angela finishes out the series for us as she returns to voice the final book. Angela brings the voices she's assigned to each character back for us. What sticks out in my head for this book is Aspen when she makes a point and tells she's the dragon queen. There was a strong feel to her voice here. Even Runa when she's excited or disappointed sticks out strong for me. There was one spot where there was a delay between characters speaking, but that would be a second longer than normal, nothing extreme. Thank you for carrying through with the series, Angela.

This story starts where Skye leaves off. And we get the prophecy!! Woot woot. We finally get to hear it as it is written. The story holds to the prophecy as well. We get to see how it all plays out in the end. Though, there is a small part that's different, who is prophesied to kill another does not come to be.

I listened to the whole story and remember getting Sid and Skye's POV. I think we get Val's too, but I can't remember now. Most of the story is with Sid or Skye that I remember. We do get to see through Aspen's eyes from time to time too.

Death is something that happens in this book, also in previous books, but it feels the characters are not as emotional when it happens. It felt like a lacking part in their empathy for me. I guess if you are going to rule, you can't feel strongly or show it to the world. I found I liked Skye's reaction to what they had to do to protect themselves, yes this is war but it fit.

I was bummed at the loss of life in this one, but the epilogue helps with that. There is one loss that I felt wasn't dealt with as I'd like to have seen how others reacted to it. I think there would be a rift with one person for what it.

This book brings an end to the series. It's hard but there is hope for the future as well. I wasn't sure what I expected at the end, but this had a few different takes to it. They work nicely.

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

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Audio Book Review: Skye


By:  Kimberly Loth

Publish Date:  October, 2016, Audiobook Release August 28, 2017

Format:  Audiobook - 5 hrs 26 mins
Narrated By:  Angela Rysk

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  4th in The Dragon Kings series; 1st Book ~ Obsidian, 2nd Book ~ Aspen, 3rd Book ~ Valentine

Impression:  Skye can't love and danger is coming for the kings.

Rowan Winters is completely in love. With a shifter dragon.

But the drop-dead gorgeous Skye only thinks of Rowan as her best friend. But when she turns up in his room in the middle of the night in tears, he yearns to do whatever he can to help her. Even if that means running away and letting his family think he’s dead.

Skye’s entire world turns upside down the day her scales turns black. She knows she’ll have to flee to find answers. But she wasn’t planning on Rowan coming too. She just wanted to say goodbye. He is so eager to help that she can’t leave him behind even though she knows she’ll never be able to love him in return.

Together, they fight off murderous dragons and uncover sinister plans. But can they find the answers Skye so desperately seeks? And can Rowan sacrifice everything he knows to win her heart?

First Sentence:
Nerves settled in Skye's belly as she and Rowan flew toward the council.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 

Audible   (Box Set for Series)

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Angela has returned to voice Rowan and Skye along with friends again. I've noticed I don't have a focus on her voice but on the story. That's a great thing in audiobooks because she's letting the story tell itself through her. The audio is clean and clear, easy to listen to.

Skye's story starts at the exact same moment that Valentine ends at.

I really like that Kimberly has taken a different approach to each dragon's story of finding out about Kings and finding their love. The variety fits the dragons and the story of the dragon war approaching.

For me, the beginning is a bit slow moving. It's basically a reiteration of how Rowan loves Skye and how Skye can't love anyone. A few times. We do get the explanation for Skye's inability to love though. The beginning focuses on Skye's comfort with Rowan and how he's her best friend then how Rowan loves Skye and would do anything for her, even if they are only friends. There's no real danger present yet, just Skye with questions. When things start to move, it picks up and goes.

Once into the story, we start to see the dangers present. We even see the potential danger in others, and don't trust them wholly. We see where trust is questioned between a few of the dragons, as it is one thing to hold dear with war on the horizon.

Skye comes across as a woman who needs someone with her, emotionally. She doesn't know everything in the human world so she does need help, but it feels like more with her. Skye even notes how she's not been alone before. She doesn't feel clingy needy, just that she likes to have a companion with her in the world. Rowan has started to figure out what to do to help with his anxiety, which he doesn't have his medicine for. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I agree in some cases what he does really helps, but I know of other cases where it does not. I do like how Skye and Rowan balance each other though. They bring a comfort to each other.

I do like the realization that comes to Skye when she finally talks to Rowan about her issue with love. This is a great turn for her.

This book does end with what leads into the next book, as each book has done. There is a small cliff hanger at the end. So it's a good thing I have to complete set in audio. On to the last book to see how things end with the war that's rising.

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Audio Book Review: Valentine


By:  Kimberly Loth

Publish Date:  June 30, 2016, Audiobook Release June 14, 2019

Format:  Audiobook - 5 hrs 58 mins
Narrated By:  Angela Rysk

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  3rd in The Dragon Kings series; 1st Book ~ Obsidian, 2nd Book ~ Aspen

Impression:  New couple, new adventure in love finding.

Three kings will arise. One from the land. One from the sea. One from fire.
Hazel’s entire world is turned upside down after her brother Rowan goes missing. Everyone believes he was eaten by a dragon. Everyone but Hazel’s sister, Aspen, that is.
Hazel has never heard of the dragon prophecy before. She knew about dragons, of course. Her sister, Aspen, made sure of that even though Hazel would have preferred to stay ignorant of the vicious creatures. But the more Hazel learns about Aspen and their family’s connection to the dragons, the less she wishes she knew.
Val never wanted to be king. He never even considered it a possibility. But now the prophecy’s fulfillment has begun, and it starts with him. His journey begins by training with Obsidian. In the process, he learns secrets from his past that shatters everything he knows..
On the way to mainland from Hawaii, Hazel and Val’s worlds collide and will soon have to rely on each other to find Rowan and prevent a human-dragon war.

First Sentence:
It didn't matter how often she made this journey, Hazel didn't like the flight home or, for that matter, waiting in crowded airports.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles 

Audible    (Box Set for series)

My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was given this free review copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Angela Rysk returns to continue narrating the series for us. She has given voice to the characters in previous books and continues on with the same voices, along with adding in Val and Hazel. The audio sounds seamless in narration. Angela has become a voice to the world by now.

Going into this book I had one huge question. How does a dragon that's NOT a royal turn into a human? It was said through the first two books that only Royal dragons can turn human. Skye had a small pass because she's half Royal. Valentine is not a Royal dragon. This is explained quickly in the beginning, how Val gets a human form. I'm not sure if I agree to the quick reason for it, I thought there was more to the transformation process, but we move on from there.

Valentine is a new dragon to view. He was mentioned at the end of the previous book, but the order of the story fits with Valentine next. I'm not one for instant love, and shortly after meeting it happens here. Though, it feels to work for Val. Val feels to be a genuine nice guy. He's not out to play all the ladies and he seems as though he's truly interested in Hazel and people. He has a humble feel to him.

This story is of Val finding his way as a king and finding his queen. I like that the story of Val falling for his queen, and she for him, is different than Aspen's. It would have been easy to repeat the same story, but it's different.

I noticed in listening that there are wrong names and pronouns in place. I'm thinking this is an editing thing on behalf of the author and not the narrator, but I don't know.

I like Hazel's evolution in this book. I think she still has further to go and much to learn, but she's got a fair mind about what she sees. Hazel is a tough girl to get close to though, and she has her reasons for this. Hazel questions everything, and gets frustrated when she doesn't get answers. I understand this feeling. I was getting frustrated for her too. But there is an order to things before you can blurt out the truth about dragons to someone who does not like dragons.

We do solve the human killing dragon issue in this book. And start to see the possibility of war among the dragons. This book ends with the arrival of a dragon and person that have been searched for in this book. That will be the next stories tale. I am curious about their tale and why they stayed hidden, so on to the next book I will go.

The series is arcing nicely with the troubles in each book and when the troubles get solved along with adding new elements to the danger list.

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