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MelHay

Adamsburg, PA

207
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 220 reviews
  • 221 ratings
  • 269 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2018
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  • Hunting in Bruges: Hunters' Guild, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By E.J. Stevens
    • Narrated By Melanie A. Mason, Anthony Bowling
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    With a desire to prove herself, protect the innocent, and advance within the ranks of the Hunters' Guild, Jenna Lehane hits the cobbled streets of Bruges with blades at the ready. Someone, or something, is murdering tourists and dumping their bodies in the city's scenic canals. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Jenna begins to piece together clues that are dotted throughout the city like blood spatter. Determined to stop the killings, Jenna delves into a bloody local history that only raises more questions - but some secrets are best left buried.

    Adriana B says: "Excellent Fast Paced Urban Fantasy"
    "Jenna's a focused hunter on a mission"
    Overall
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    Story

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

    Melanie & Anthony are the same duo that's voiced the Ivy Granger stories. I might have liked a new voice for Jenna and the people she meets then works with, but they do well. As always they have clean audio with two voices. They break the characters as female and male, as expected. It's nice to hear the male voices voiced separately from the original narrator. Some of the characters have accents, which is portrayed by the narrators. Nice.

    We start with Jenna and why she feels she's sent on this mission so suddenly. And getting to Bruges. This gives us a transition from Harborsmouth and Ivy to Jenna and Bruges We also learn about Jenna's ability to see and hear ghosts.

    This story gives us insight into the Hunters' Guild. Interesting group of people. We start to get to see more of them with Ivy, but now we are in the inner loop.

    The story feels tightly written. The case of the multiple dead bodies is something Jenna is on. She's determined to find the monster doing the work. But she also has to deal with the hunters guild here in Burge. She's quick to get started when she arrives in town. Though, she starts to make the current hunters look as though they are slacking with her quick work.

    E.J. has a few red herrings tossed in there to get us to wonder about who is behind these events, but I figured it out from the beginning. And I was happy to see I was right in my thinking when I got verification in the end.

    I like the chapter headings. It is a line from in the chapter, but it points out Hunter ways or Jenna's "rules". It's a neat way to highlight them and give us a feel of Jenna and a few other characters. Jenna's focused. And I get a feel she's modest yet aware of her abilities. She very much tries to follow the rules and takes being a hunter seriously. I like this about her. In the beginning Jenna came across as though she reminded me of another Ivy. As the story went, Jenna became her own person and I found I liked her. I really like she doesn't talk about herself like Ivy does, like she has to explain who she is. Jenna just does and knows who she is. I think I enjoyed Jenna and her story much more than Ivy's.

    Jenna's quickly meeting people and making friends... and enemies. Grrrr. There is one man who is against all women in the guild along with supernaturals. He's a real jerk. I couldn't wait for Jenna to knock him down a peg, or five. Then there's Ash, he's a joy. I love her time with him although I want to shack her as she should have picked up the signs and hints about Ash right away. However, there is something different about Ash when he's with Jenna. I'm hoping we get answers to this in the future. But I do love Ash. He's a cutie.

    All in all, I enjoyed Jenna's adventures. And would like to hear more of her adventures with her new crew. Sounds like these adventures could be interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Was a Teenage Weredeer: Bright Falls Mysteries Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By C. T. Phipps, Michael Suttkus
    • Narrated By Arielle DeLisle
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Jane Doe is a weredeer, the least-threatening shapechanger species in the world. Blessed with the ability to turn furry at will and psychically read objects, Jane has done her best to live a normal life working as a waitress at the Deerlightful Diner. She has big dreams of escaping life in the supernatural-filled town of Bright Falls, Michigan. Unfortunately, her 18th birthday is ruined by the sudden murder of her best friend's sister in an apparent occult killing. Oh, and her brother is the primary suspect.

    Natalie @ ABookLoversLife says: "My favourite by this author!! "
    "A fun, relaxing mystery in a shifter town."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

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

    Arielle has a young voice that fits Jane Doe. She also pulls off Jane's sarcastic humor of stating the obvious in a dry tone. Totally works and sounds like a young adult. Arielle also voices each character in different tones when they speak. The audio is very clear and clean listening. Arielle's pronunciation of words is clear. No distractions from the story.

    Jane has a dry sarcastic humor about her, stating the obvious in a dry tone. And it totally works. Especially in audio format. Oh the deer puns. lol.

    As in true C.T. Phipps fashion, we have references to t.v. shows and more throughout the book. It's not done in the Supervillainy humor but in an undertone to give a feel of what Jane is seeing as happening or a description. This is always something I find fun, as I get to see if I can pick them out and know the references.

    Off the bat we get a lot of information. Wow. The first chapter is packed full of names and world info. It almost feels like an info dump. I don't think I'm going to remember all the names as they hit me so fast here. Once you read through this, and you are great through the remainder of the book.

    Being a shifter is dangerous now. The world knows of vampires and shifters, but fears them all. It's set in the same world as Straight Outta Fangton, but you don't have to read it to understand the world here. (I haven't, yet.) This story is in Bright Falls, Michigan where Straight Outta Fangton is in New Detroit. But what happened with the vampires there affects the shifters here, and we hear about some of that, which then also makes me curious for the vampire book. People, states, and government have not taken well to the reveal of vampires and shifters. It's dangerous to go other places because of the laws.

    A mystery! This is a shifter town where a murder has happened. Actually, we find out this is the third murder. Jane has the ability to read items with a touch, so she becomes important in helping with the case. Her mom and her best friend (who's sister was murdered) want her to help with the case, and clear her brothers name. Jane's visions help point her in directions, but don't give her the complete answer. So she works the case, looking for answers with the clues she finds.

    I look forward to Jane "reading" items when she wants. She gets enough to send her in a direction, but learns there is more to the vision than she saw. Cool. I'm glad things aren't always black and white. Jane also has a new friend that's not really a friend or alive. It's the gun. It's actually cool, and reminds me a bit of the gun from Wynonna Earp. Jane also seems to find herself with new friends she never expected; Lucian and Alex. Lucian is the towns bad guy and drug dealer, but there maybe more to him. And Alex is new to town. We have Jane's long time friend Emma, who's part of the powerful family in town. It's a neat little group of people here. I even like Maria who finds herself as an ally.

    The town is neat with all the shifters. Many shifters have abilities that come in handy. They have a social structure based on their were-animal as well.

    Something that pops up through the book is prejudice. Jane sees it with the social structure of the weres and she even sees herself referencing it as that's what has been drilled into her from the old ways. Jane is working past the prejudices though.

    I found this mystery story to be relaxing with Jane's personality and small jokes and puns. I look forward to Jane continuing to learn magic and spending time with her friends. Also, there are a few visions she had that may, or may not, come to pass. I'm curious if they do.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Codex: A Jake Crowley Adventure: Jake Crowley Adventures, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By David Wood, Alan Baxter
    • Narrated By Jonathan Waters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    When Jake Crowley rescues Rose Black from assailants on the streets of London, the two find themselves embroiled in a mystery that could cost them their lives. People are dying, and all the victims have one thing in common with Rose: a birthmark in the shape of an eagle. From beneath the streets of London, to castle dungeons, to the heart of Christendom and beyond, Jake and Rose must race to stay alive as they seek to unlock the secrets of the Blood Codex.

    cosmitron says: "A good writer and a very capable Narrator"
    "Blend of adventure and a touch of mythical belief."
    Overall
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    *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

    The prologue is in a time of warriors and kings of battle. I found I enjoyed Jonathan's narration of this from the first word. He voiced the two strong men with power and emotion that I believed them to be kings. When I started the book, I wondered if I'd listened to Jonathan Waters before as his name looked familiar but I don't think I have. I did enjoy listening to him here. He's someone I'll have to keep an eye out for. I love the different voice tones and personalities he brings to life! Even the teenage boy.

    The POV's: Prologue, a king killed by invaders. Danny, Jake, and Rose. Even Margarete and a few others in short clips to show what's happening to others. We get most of the story from our main characters, but to complete the circle and explain things we get a few bonus views. This fills in the story where we need extra information.

    I always enjoy adventures for the mystical unknown. This book takes Jake and Rose on an adventure they never thought to go on. They end up searching for the Devil's Bible. I did enjoy the journey. The rush to stay ahead of those looking for Rose. Then learning about the Devil's Bible and what they find. It's not the complete reason why the guys are after Rose, but it does back the reason. It sort of saves Rose's life as well.

    I had a few small hiccups in the path. Do they have enough money to go on this adventure? They aren't using their credit cards or bank cards so they aren't tracked by those after Rose. And as for their professions...would they have the money to go traveling? Jake's a retired military man who's now a high school teacher. Rose is a historian at a museum. They seem to have no problems travelling freely though. And then the cell phone... a burner phone that's to have no tracking, and I assumed no connection to them. This is a small thing that feels an inconsistency for me, but I guess they would have downloaded their contacts to it so could call who they needed.

    Those two small things aside, I enjoy how all they find and what's looking for them come together to complete each other. The information from two sides is like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together, filling in missing gaps and telling a whole story. Very cool.

    Jake Crowley and Rose Black make a great team. And when Jake's friend Cameron joins them, he fits right in. This is a team I could see fighting side by side in the future. They have great contacts between them that can help find information they may need, Cameron filling these shoes as well as ready for a fight. Jake and Rose seem fearless and headstrong when it comes to a path they are to follow. They both fight for their lives, and seem to enjoy the touch of adrenaline that comes from the adventure.

    I did enjoy the book and the adventure. I think there could be more to come with our characters (plus, it says book 1). I think there was a small thing with the "burner" cell phones they picked up that could lead to more in the future with the way this ended.

    All in all, it was an enjoyable adventure. Always fun to hear the blend of adventure, thrilling, and a touch of mythical.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hush: Book Two of the Dragon Apocalypse

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By James Maxey
    • Narrated By Jake Urry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The invulnerable, super-strong warrior, Infidel, has a secret: she's lost her magical powers right at the moment when she needs them most. To keep a promise to a fallen friend, she must journey to the frozen wastelands of the north. Her quest leads her through the abstract realms of the Sea of Wine, where she uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all life. Hush, the primal dragon of cold, has formed an alliance with the ghost of a vengeful witch to murder Glorious, the dragon of the sun, plunging the world into an unending winter night.

    Jack says: "loved it. "
    "An adventure where legend becomes life."
    Overall
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    *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

    Once again we see the story through Stagger's eyes. I enjoy the troubles of the Commonplace and what comes for Infidel. Even the adventures she goes on.

    Jake is a pleasure to listen to. He voices each character differently, not only in personality but in tone too. Stagger is a great example of this. He's going to have two sounds to him (you have to listen to understand why). Jake makes sure to make a difference in Stagger's voice to fit the descriptions. Jake paces the story and feels like Stagger's relaxed personality. But we get a feel for urgency at times when Stagger feels it. I slip into the story with Jake narrating. I don't have to worry about slips, it's all clean and feels natural.

    We meet a few new characters. I found the Romers very interesting. They are pirates. The mother is captain and the kids are crew. But what caught my attention is the magical abilities they have. So cool. Then there's Sorrow, who's a weaver (or witch). Sorrow is interesting, but when she started talking about how she sees through things, my mind drifted. However, the connection she has to the current events and situation Infidel finds herself in IS interesting. Sorrow can shed some light on a few things for us.

    The world is expanding for us. We know the world is full of history and magic, and we are seeing more of it now. We seem to dive into the thinking of magics in the world and belief in it. This is a spiral of thinking Stagger falls into. And we start to get an inner view of magic.

    Infidel is in a bit of a tough spot as her invulnerability has disappeared, along with her super strength. But she's found armor she can use to help protect herself. Stagger, also, finds himself in a bit of a pickle. He is a ghost, after all. But someone who knows about ghosts and has magic can use that.

    Stagger feels to have become rather insightful and informative. He's more out spoken, or thinking, of his wants and desires, how he feels about Infidel and others. He also comes across intellectual about the ways of different people - wanderers, witches, and many more - in this world. With the traveling and exploring he's done, he's learned a lot over the years and it shows now. He's the one that gives us the back story on many things and ways of living in the world.

    Infidel has her own missions. She's falling off the path that Black Swan had planned for her, the dragon apocalypse. We don't have a direct dragon mission (per say) in the beginning of this book. Which feels slow. But we do end up on a mission based on Hush with the Jagged Heart, Aurora's people, and Sorrow. Things are guided that way.

    We get to see the history of the artifact - the Jagged Heart with Hush and her once love. We also get more in depth with magic and theories behind it. Also there is more to ghosts too, leaving thoughts and hopes for Stagger.

    There is a lot of theoretical discussion of magic and the ways thing work. When the characters get into these discussions, I sort of phased out. I know some are important, but the theory didn't seem to get me to where we needed to be. Now, when we learned of history of the dragons, I listened.

    I think the end is worth it. I like where everyone ends up here. It all feels fitting for what we've learned and the paths they've taken.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winter Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 57 mins)
    • By Rachel A. Marks
    • Narrated By Starla Huchton
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    A dark and haunting tale of a young girl trapped in Winter, longing to be free. When Rose and her sister are left to fend for themselves and an ailing mother, they must fight both nature and the darkness of the soul to survive.

    MelHay says: "Powerful short story."
    "Powerful short story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

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

    Let me catch my breath and calm my emotions. Ooooh. Rachel catches my attention from the first sentence. In moments I'm gripped with a strong protective feel for Rose, Becca, and their mamma. The details shared tell more than saying plainly what's happening. Well written.

    Starla acts on the emotions I feel instantly. She brings the details to life through voice, as though I'm seeing it through Rose's eyes. One thing I usually find difficult to determine in audiobooks, the division between sections in a chapter. It IS rather easy to get the feel of those in this story. Starla has added a space or gap between these sections that feels a breath longer than should be, which indicates a jump in time for our characters. This is something that's hard to feel, and I felt it in Starla's rise and fall as she tells each section. Also the writers words help with this flow. Well done team!

    This story is of dark, terrible things. Rape and murder are present. But the story Rachel tells of Rose and her sister is breathtaking, heart-wrenching, and gripping. The days get dark but there can always be hope, even a sliver of a chance.

    I felt many emotions through this book. All the terrible we see here has me flustered as I want to help these girls. Rachel takes that anger and irritation and turns it into more. A slow change happens through the book as love grows. Wow. I think back and I'm surprised I ventured through these emotions and they relate. The flow of actions by Rose and others all fit to bring Rose to grow inside.

    This is such a short read/listen and I can't believe how emotional I got with it. That says a lot for Rachel and Starla. The perfect words and the exact voice for the characters. Wow. I kept tearing up at the end. It's a slow gradual change, but it's there. Such great growth at the right pacing for Rose. I'm blown away at the tremendous journey in such a short frame, yet it didn't feel as though we were making huge leaps. The growth was done with a gentle progression with the perfect moments in time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dragon School: First Flight (Volume 1)

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Sarah K. L. Wilson
    • Narrated By Jigisha Patel
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    Sixteen-year-old Amel arrived at Dragon School just like everyone else - with a dream to ride dragons and join the Dominion Dragon Riders. But Amel has a crippled leg, and Dragon School training is grueling. Before she can even become an initiate, she must complete her First Flight on a dragon. Can Amel survive First Flight and become a Dragon School initiate, or will her dreams dash on the rocks below? 

    Amazon CustomerBeliever says: "Great"
    "Amel finds more in her dragon than expected"
    Overall
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    *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

    This story is Amel fighting against the odds to be what she wants to be. She has no support in school from the other students. In fact, they all doubt her. But Raolcan, her dragon, feels to have as strong a determination as Amel. Amel has to decide if she really wants to do this when she learns it means her dragon will be a slave, magically bound.

    Jigisha Patel is a new voice for me. The introduction by Audible and title page sound clear but the first chapter sounds muffled which jumps out at me within seconds. There were a few moments I thought it was clearing up, but it got muffled again. The muffle clears up at the end of first chapter and the remainder of the book is clear as a bell. As Jigisha narrates, I could hear her breath. I know everyone breaths, but some narrators are easier to hear than others. Knowing this helped me not focus on it and listen to the story. Jigisha voiced Amel with character and determination, which fits Amel as she is determined.

    Amel has a handicap, her leg. She's determined to not be judged or stopped by it. This is awesome. We see, with Amel, a lot of people think she won't make it through the difficult lessons with her dragon, but Amel's strength shows through. She's more and can do more, than people want to give her credit for. People see a handicap and stop there. Amel's determined to show them she's more. And she is. I love the dragon that picks her though. Raolcan doesn't see a handicap. He sees a strong young woman who is like him in views.

    Amel and Raolcan don't trust others, but they'll have to trust each other to survive the first flight. Yet, the seem to be fast friends. They find something in the other they aren't given by other people, a support and strength to keep going. Sometimes having that one person (or dragon) can help.

    This story is very much a good story for young readers. Amel doesn't bulk under the negative vibe of others. She's strong and willing to keep going for what she wants. AND, she's a kind person. She'll help anyone. She's sincere in her worries for Raolcan as well. This is a clean story in language and affections.

    This is a dragon school. We learn little details of the dragons and their positions and jobs based on their color. We even learn how dragons come to the school and why. There is a interesting connection with the dragons, and I'm glad Amel sees the truth in it.

    The way the story ends with the dragon school leaves us to think there is possibly trouble somewhere. There is going to be more to come and I'm kind of curious about what Amel and Raolcan will come across.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forbidden Island

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Jeremy Robinson
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (92)

    On the precipice of a cliff, contemplating suicide, dishonorably discharged US Army Ranger Rowan Baer is invited to provide security to a research team visiting the most dangerous island in the world - North Sentinel Island in the Sea of Bengal. Seeking redemption, he accepts. Living among Amazon rainforest tribes, eccentric Israeli anthropologist Talia Mayer is recruited to study the island's elusive inhabitants - the Sentinelese - who have resided on the tropical island since the dawn of mankind.

    Matthew says: "Not the best from Mr.Robinson"
    "Their mission and island are more than expected"
    Overall
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    Jeffrey lives up to my expectations from his audio work. This book is the style I've come to know Jeffrey for. He voices the characters with their own personality and accents, breathing life into them as he speaks. I love that Jeffrey never gives away a hint of what's to come as he becomes the characters. He is them in the moment, not aware of how the adventure will go. Thank you. Another great job for Jeffrey.

    In the first few chapters we meet our team as Sashi visits each, bringing them in on the mission - to go to Sentinal Islands. It seems each of our new members have a little bit of a colored past. As Rowan likes to say, they are each broken. And, in a way, they are.

    The prologue gives us a view of one of the Sentinal Islands. The natives here are...interesting. So I'm curious what our crew will come across when they arrive there.

    The POV is between our team: Rowan Baer the ex-U.S. Army Ranger, Talia Mayer the anthropologist, Mahdi Barakat the linguist. They are all of different cultures and backgrounds, but seem to have fun together personality wise. Cool. Before we get off on our adventure, I thought it'd be fun with these three people. And it was. Each has a different insight and knowledge they bring to the table, and it works.

    The story is rather fast paced, but the actions to the natives on Sentinal Island seem to work with the story. So it doesn't feel as it's rushed. There is something that happens in each chapter, whether working toward communicating with the Sentinelese or the mystery behind other things involving the Sentinelese.

    The natives are different. There are some lewd sexual gestures hinted at here. Or what some may take as lewd, but it's in reference to the natives on the island and it's how they perceive to communicate. You don't get all the details, but you get the gist of the display. It did not bother me. It held true through the book so felt to fit the nature of the natives. Then we see their reactions to the crew when we are ON the island.

    The experiences with this island grow stranger and stranger. Really. What they find here are mind blowing. I never expected to come in and find what we did...how we did. I had to know what was behind these natives being as they are. Then I worried if all would make it off the island, or at least the people I'd grown fond of.

    This is a quick paced adventure story that keeps you wondering what strange event will happen next. And leave you wondering if it's all true or not. Jeremy gave me what I was expecting and more in this story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Witch's Concern: A Witch's Path, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By N. E. Conneely
    • Narrated By Jeff Hays, Laurie Catherine Winkel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Michelle has been figuring out what her life is like now that the demon has been killed, and Sylvia and Varro are dead. Even the clans of witches trying to attract her to their way of life have backed off and given her a chance to grieve. Her relationship with Elron is stronger than ever, but there are things left unsaid. On the way to her parents' wedding, the delicate calm she’d been living in is broken. Witches are out for her blood, her family is caught in the crossfire, and friendships are threatened.

    Ian Mitchell says: "I enjoyed the first 3, this is better."
    "Michelle's clan scar is explained as she fights"
    Overall
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    *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

    I like the blend of two narrators, dividing the male and female roles. It gives more dynamic to the characters. Jeff knows these characters well, and has all their voices ready to go for us here. Laurie is new to me and the series, and reads through the female cast with heart. When I first started I didn't know if I liked the up-swing at the end of her sentences when voicing Michelle. It gave Michelle a felling that she was better than others that I didn't think Michelle had. As the book went, it eased and Laurie fell into Michelle's voice for me.

    Michelle is such a nice person/character. I like that about her. Trouble finds her because she works with the police on cases. But in this books, it's because she's a clanless witch and her grandmother is determined Michelle will take her rightful place in her clan. Michelle, however, likes the freedom of being clanless. Michelle doesn't want to hurt anyone, she wants to help and not be tied to a specific clans rules. However she still has lingering memories of what she had to do in the last book. It weighs on her mind, even though it was the only option and something Sylvia wanted. She worries about her and Elron as well as it's something she doesn't want to do.

    Oh my. Elron is such a great person. He's an elf, and he's fighting his protective instincts when it comes to Michelle. Elron's feelings for Michelle are finally seen by Michelle. Michelle starts to see that even though she had to do what she did, Elron does not hold it against her. They are just so adorable!

    We have a case of characters that live in the lodge. It's always great seeing them as they are friends and a few rotate through. We don't see as many of them in this book as this book is focused on Michelle and the problems that have found her - the clans. We do get answers to Michelle's clan scar and things with her grandmother. Michelle fights hard against many things, but she's going to have a very full future ahead of her.

    This book felt to be a little different in the story line. We follow Michelle and the troubles that find her, bringing her to make some tough choices. We don't get a case she's working on, though there are small items that come up she tends to. This is mostly Michelle learning about herself and growing. The story still has the same action and full of spell being thrown around, but it's about Michelle this time and not just helping others.

    There are more books in the series with Michelle. I'm looking forward to them as there are hints of what's to come in this book... what's next in Michelle's life, demons, and more I'm sure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Villains Pride: The Shadow Master, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By M. K. Gibson
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (512)
    Performance
    (483)
    Story
    (481)

    Jackson Blackwell, The Shadowmaster, is in over his head this time. After his last adventure, where he tore fantasy novels a new one, Jackson has to deal with the repercussions of angry gods, angrier conspirators, and the wrath of his pregnant girlfriend! Thanks to a godly decree and a crafty clause, Jackson has been banished from his home. And the only universe kindly enough to take him in is one infested with comic-book-style superheroes and supervillains.

    MEDY says: "Book 2"
    "A fun romp of a book with a play on Villains"
    Overall
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    *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

    Jeffrey Kafer was the narrator for the first book and returns for this one. Hahaha. I love him! I love his voice and can listen to him forever. But he has a great dry humor to his voice that fits The Shadowmaster. How does he get through this book without laughing? I don't know, but I might want to hear a few bloopers from him. lol. I'm sure they would be fun. But, back to Jeffrey... Oh my. When Jeffrey did voices for Dr. Pain and a few other villains, I had to laugh. They fit the characters and were a hoot to hear! This is the Jeffrey I enjoyed listening to, he's really enjoying narrating this. I think the enthusiasm comes through in his performance of emotions and voices. The voice and personality changes are awesome, and fit the story.

    Going into this book, I was looking for fun and adventure. And many pop culture references of shows, books, comics, and so much more. And I got it from the first word. Gibson likes to have fun with what he writes, and it shows. Hahaha. The references to the superheroes anatomy...in spandex... Hahaha. Gibson adds in small superhero facts about comics throughout the book.

    As I looked through the beginning of the book for the first sentence, I got drawn into reading the Dedication and Forward. All of it is fun. Really. Gibson has written a Dedication from his main characters view, and it's a hoot. Along with the Forward, it's all done in fun.

    I have fun with Jackson. He's a crafty villain. He knows the rules and plays with and around them. Jackson also has a code of conduct. He's a villain but he's not evil in treatment of people. He openly voices his views on different things that could really fit, yet it's humorous how it's done. Jeffrey pulls these moments off perfectly. It's a matter of fact tone that isn't nasty, bringing the dry humor into the words. So well done!

    Jackson is great at turning peoples thoughts around. Jackson firmly believes in what he's saying, whether he actually does or not is another thing but he believes it in that moment, and uses examples he can sway his direction to turn thoughts around. I love it!

    Jackson may seem like he's having fun in King Stanley's realm of superheroes as a supervillain but he still has things nagging at the back of his mind. He's been kicked out of his realm by his pregnant partner. As much as he wants to be home, he has the parenting issue nagging at him. And he doesn't seem to notice it. Jackson's determined he doesn't need to change with having a kid on the way, but he's living that time before his first child where your mind has to adapt and accept things DO change. Throughout the book Jackson has kids or family on his mind.

    If you are looking for a fun romp of a book, this is one for you. Nothing in life, seen, or in books, movies, and much more are safe from Jackson's criticism. And it's awesome when he goes on a rampage about it all. I look forward to Jackson growing as a character, and I love the fun we have with him too.

    Oh goodness. Gibson had me chuckling throughout the book, but in the end... I had to stop the audio to laugh. Great play with the narrator and book. Really interactive and worked wonderfully. The way Jackson is written really brings this to life.

    Seriously, listen to the audio book. It's so much fun and the story really comes alive. You'll love it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Darkstorm: The Rhenwars Saga, Book 0

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By M. L. Spencer
    • Narrated By Simon Wright
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Braden and Quin Reis share a tragic past, but it’s now up to them to save the future. When a secret conspiracy resorts to harnessing the powers of the Netherworld to save their legacy, Braden and Quin are the only mages capable of stopping them. But these two would-be heroes are compromised, harboring terrible secrets. Can Braden and Quin put aside their differences long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they relent and join the conspiracy?

    Natalie @ ABookLoversLife says: "Entertaining dark fantasy. "
    "A fight to save the world as they know it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

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

    I found Simon's accent attractive for the book. Very nice. He has great control of words and puts emotion with the words. One small thing I noticed is at times it sounds like a hard stop to the stillness around him. It's only happened once in a while, like maybe where recording ended and new started. Very minor thing. His cadence and emotion flowing with the words and events our characters live through.

    We start with a prologue. It tells the situation that Braden Reis finds himself in, at this very moment. Then chapter one goes back three weeks prior, telling the story of events that got Braden in his predicament. We do get back to this moment close to the end of the book, and see a conclusion to where he's at. This prologue shows there are interesting things in this world and magic. These things we will learn about as the story is told. And it also makes me curious what Braden did to be brought to this sentencing.

    The book is told through a few different point of views. Those POV's are Merris, Sephana, Braden, and Quin through book. These four people are very important in the actions to save the world as they know it.

    When we first meet Merris, I found I got a feel for the world she lives in. Her actions and feelings give quick descriptions of things around her. This helps build the world from the beginning for us.

    I was impressed with how fast we get to the troubles in the story along with getting to know the characters and world. M.L. weaved together the details, characters, and story line together in a way that it felt to be fast to get to the big troubles and what could be coming, I don't think I realized all I learned quickly because I was enjoying the details and characters along with the troubles that we saw and were learning were coming. Well done at drawing everything together in a great image!

    With the story moving forward with events and details, you'll want to pay attention so you don't miss anything on the systems here. There is a lot of details given of the mage that I feel will come up later in the story, like what they can do and the magic system they have.

    Aerysius is open to woman being strong and individuals. However, Caladorn has a different view on women. Women seem to be seen as a lower status and need to work hard to grow in status in Caladorn. But they can excel here as well. Caladorn does see sex more openly. This opens the story up to a touch of romance. We do not get the detailed scenes, but you know what is lead into.

    I would have liked more of a time base in the sections, so I know how much time has passed. I think this would have helped with what felt like a quick relationship for Merris and Quin. I struggle with quick loves. This relationship escalated quick, though, I do think there is more than meets the eye with these two. It feels as Merris is drawn to Quin's power after she gets a taste of it. This brings me to wonder if Merris is using Quin. But seeing things through Quin's eyes at times through the book brings me to feeling for him as I think he's starting to really like Merris. When I came to a part of the book where I learned more about this, I was so proud of myself for catching it AND of M.L. for writing it! I TOTALLY got the right feel leading me to where the author went with it in the book. I love when this happens!

    I know Braden thinks himself a bad person, but I found I really like him. He's more humble and learned to care for people. He seems to have a soul purpose and drive to stop a bad thing that's to correct another terrible event. Two bads do not make a right. But many others think it will. Braden has Sephana at his side to help. Sephana has a strong mind that works well with balancing Braden's strong power.

    Throughout the book I found myself drawn into the world and the magic here. I enjoyed the characters. Even when I was getting a bad vibe from a character or two because this is a sign of them being written very well for me to get the right feel off their actions and emotions. The end happened fast because we were moved from one character to another to get the whole view as it was happening, which pulled me back some, but that's the movement of everything happening.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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