Although I read one or two of the Chicago Stars series I have really enjoyed the rest of the series on Audible and am glad I have them to go back to listen to when I want a fun, easy listen. The characters are flawed and have issues and that makes them more realistic. As in all of SEP books, there is fun and snappy dialog and good sexual chemistry. The sex scenes are steamy and fun without being unnecessarily graphic like a lot of authors are doing today. As I have noted with some other SEP books, there is a primary couple, but also a love story for a secondary couple. I think April Fields does a GREAT job narrating and changing voices. She even does a fine job singing a little in this one!
Jay Anderson and his friends are quirky high school seniors, already ostracized because of their high intelligence. Jay is suddenly accused of selling drugs making him a pariah to his teachers, fellow students and even his parents. The only people who believe him innocent are his best friends, Kathy, Jeff, Ryan and Rachel. Kathy tears apart the evidence managing to get the case dismissed but that doesn’t change the minds of those who were quick to deem him guilty.
Rachel finds an incriminating picture that places a high government official involved in framing Jay. Amid an unusual rash of anger and high tempers in town, Jeff finds evidence of another government cover-up effecting the town’s water reservoir. The 'bug' not only causes the violent tempers but can cause death too. The teens are alarmed and head out in different directions to try to figure out what is going on and how to save their town.
Jay and Kathy visit a Senator in Washington, DC, who is a friend of the family. Jay hopes that perhaps he can give help but the next thing they know they are on the run from government officials. Their race to prevent the deadly plan sends them on a train ride, into desolate, cold mountains on foot and eventually to Russia.
Jay and Kathy have secrets that are a surprise even to them. While certain high level conspirators want them captured, controlled or maybe dead, there is finally a high government force that decides to protect and help them. The problem is the ‘good guys’ can’t get close to the kids to let them know they have back-up.
There is a lot of action that keeps this moving and interesting. However, there are also a lot of improbable episodes. These teens are portrayed as some type of genius superheroes. I enjoyed the quiet faith input and confidence that was portrayed, especially in Jay. I also appreciated the depth of friendship between Kathy and Jay who are resisting the temptations to be ‘friends with benefits’.
This is fun and entertaining as long as you set aside realism. I recommend it as fun action, suspense and entertainment.
Audio Notes: Robert Martinez does a good job providing different voices for the characters. His narration helps to keep the story fun and enhanced the "reading" experience for me.
I received this audiobook through Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review.
My Rating 4.5.
Royce, the thief, and Hadrian, the ex-mercenary, have joined to create a business known as Riyria. They take odd jobs to recover lost objects or escort travelers and seekers. Once again they have stepped into a job that brings trouble. They were hired by a candlemaker to help gather pieces of a treasure map and then locate the treasure. The problem is that the treasure belonged to a dwarf who not only left mixed, riddling clues, but the passage is riddled with traps. One of the clues was possessed by a pig farmer who insisted on joining the treasure hunt. Now he is sorry he came along as the four escape one monster only to get trapped in another room. They face another puzzle and have to make the right choice of action if they want to survive and escape.
I enjoyed the puzzle and the moral in the solution. There is plenty of action and fun dialogue to make it interesting even though short. I enjoyed the main protagonists in Volumes 1 and 2 of The Riyria Revelations. I have Volume 3 in my Audible library and plan to listen to that soon. I was glad to pick up this free story that gives a short, quick visit with Royce and Hadrian. If you haven't read in the Revelations or Chronicle series this is a good way to get just a little taste of the excitement and fun. If you have read any of the other books you will no doubt want to grab this morsel to enjoy. The story can easily be read or listened to without having read the other works, although I recommend the whole series.
Audio Notes: Tim Gerard Reynolds does a wonderful job with this quick story. He manages voices for each of the characters that conveys a bit of their personalities that fit into the tale. I am looking forward to listening to Reynolds on Heir of Novron.
I received this audiobook through AudioBook Jukebox for an honest review.
This book is filled with totally engaging characters and a gripping tale of tragedy, hardships, folklore and dark magic! The story is told in a versatile manner from the rotating first person views of the three primary characters, Blackthorn, Grim and Oran. There are wonderful historic descriptions of the settings - dungeon, fortress, village, gypsy camp - all blended nicely into the storyline. There is backstory woven in as well as mysteries to be solved with steady reasoning and bold courage. Although I guessed the details in both mysteries it was still a delight to watch the protagonists unravel the truth and deal with the wrongdoers.
This was a delightful surprise and a book I did not want to put down. This entanglement concludes satisfactorily but leaves open questions that make me eager for more episodes and adventures. I have not read Ms. Marillier before but I will definitely be seeking the next book in this series and other works too. I highly recommend this tale to readers who enjoy a thoroughly engaging fantasy.
Audio Notes: The three narrators, Scott Aiello, Natalie Gold and Nick Sullivan, did a great job in sharing the depths of their characters. There were times I was annoyed by the characters’ emotional responses, or lack thereof, but I felt this was intentional and that the narration conveyed the nuances of each character. The audio enhanced my pleasure in an already absorbing story.
I received the audiobook through AudioBook Jukebox for an honest review. (Full review at Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.)
Aimee is a modern day nurse who has settled two hundred years in the past. She chose to remain with mountain man, Daniel, in the Yellowstone wilderness. They are raising their three young sons in a secluded cabin. Aimee has insisted on her modern day tradition of selecting a fresh tree and decorating their Christmas tree with homemade decorations.
The little family enjoys a fun tracking adventure on the way to pick their tree. However, when they return home they are alarmed to find a newborn infant on their doorstep. Aimee and the boys take the babe inside while Daniel heads out to track the mother. After he returns Daniel and Aimee try to uncover the story from the reluctant mother. She appears to be of one tribe but wearing clothes from another.
Danger comes to their home while Daniel and his tribe brother are out. Now Daniel must do more tracking to protect his family. Two other tribes are involved in the conflict to be resolved. Meanwhile the family members hope they will be able to decorate their tree and share in Christmas blessings.
This is a warm Christmas novella, with love, action, mystery and danger. I enjoyed the easy style of the story and I loved the historic details which are a distinct and wonderful element. I enjoyed meeting the characters in this quick listen and look forward to reading/listening to more from this series.
Audio Notes: Alexandra Haag does a nice job narrating. The voices of the characters flows easily and the overall presentation is direct and engaging.
I failed to heed the warning and the language is explicitly rough making this less pleasant for me than it might have been otherwise.
The story follows six or so characters who wake up to discover their family, friends, neighbors and strangers in the surrounding areas gone. There are no traces and no explanations. The chapters bounce between the characters which makes it a little hard to follow. There is a journalist in the city who seeks his wife and son; an awkward teenager at home is sort of pleased to be alone; a young boy follows rainbows looking for his parents; and a sociopath is glad when he finds other survivors to kill. There is also a mother trying to protect her daughter and a fugitive who views his plane crash as a means to a second chance.
There is something strange about the cats and dogs that have survived and most of the survivors sense they are not alone. This episode ends with a horrific discovery but it does not reveal the cause of the disappearances.
I found some of the characters interesting and their stories were engaging with a sense of fear and some of horror. This might be well suited to those who like horror mystery and don’t mind horrendous foul language. I don't think I'll be pulling up other episodes right away.
Audio Notes: I enjoyed the narration from all of the readers. I really didn’t focus on the narrators so it seemed natural and unobtrusive to the story. This is a story I would like better in audio mode than reading.
James McGill and the Legion Varus troops are back in action again. Their mission is to seek out a lost earth colony. Before they locate the colony their ship is attacked by a new alien species, dubbed the “squids”. The troops have to make an emergency evacuation to a dust world or a water world. Since the hostile aliens may be on the water world, they head for the other planet.
They find strange plants and critters on the planet as they do reconnaissance for food and supplies. Then McGill makes human contact! Although the colonists dress as primitives they have weapons that are advanced nano technology. McGill's first attempt at diplomacy ends in his death but he swears he will return. They are shocked when McGill makes good on his threat after being ‘regrown’ by the replication machine.
It looks like Varus troops are going to have to battle the local colonists until another huge ship lands and giant hunters start seeking ‘prey’. Apparently the Squids capture humans for breeding or mutation into slaves. A temporary truce is reached so the troops and the colonists can fight the common foe. But what will happen once the Squids are defeated and the alien ship is captured? And what will happen when the Galactic enforcers arrive and find an Earth colony?
McGill continues, with his brash arrogance, to woe his favorite ladies, even adding a colonist to his conquests. He also continues to anger many of his team and superiors with his refusal to abide by the rules. McGill's tendency to go outside the box and follow his own, sometimes unorthodox, methods gets him into trouble but also provides solutions to problems.
Several of the characters, including McGill at times, are annoying and most of the superiors tend to be callous. McGill really has a caring heart for others even though some don’t recognize it. The story and action are very entertaining and I liked how the political issues were worked out with the Galactic enforcers. I recommend this to action fans and I am definitely looking forward to listening to the next book, Tech World.
Audio Notes: Mark Boyett does a great job narrating this series. He manages to give distinct accents to the characters. He also conveys the action with good pacing and energy. I have enjoyed both book 1 and 2 on audio and will listen to the next on audio too.
Gigi comes home from college to spend Christmas Holidays with her sister, Iris, a newly turned vampire. Iris has been afraid to be around Gigi so she gathers many family friends to help out. Most of the friends at home are supernatural, either vampire or werewolf. They all - well mostly all - care for both Iris and Gigi and are glad to support the reunion. The one awkward situation might be with Ophilia, the icy, leader of the vampires and possibly Gigi’s soon to be boss. Gigi’s computer skills would be a great asset to the vampires but Iris will be furious if Gigi takes the job that will not only require a ‘till death’ type of commitment but will also expose Gigi to danger...even more than she is now.
While home Gigi hopes to figure out how break up with her long time boyfriend, Ben, whom she cares for but “not in that way.” Between cooking accidents, juggling new and old family traditions and coping with the emotional issues of her relationships, Gigi keeps getting glimpses of a vampire with golden, flashing eyes. She thinks he may be a phantom even after an up close and personal kissing encounter.
I have not read this Half-Moon Hollow series but I find that Molly Harper stories have a wonderful underlying humor with pleasing, and sometimes wacky, characters. This short audio fits the formula and makes for a really fun Christmas visit with these characters. Although short, the story has a little bit of intrigue, a hint of danger and plenty of warm camaraderie. I will keep the series in mind when I am looking for some light, fun action and warm romance. This is a quick, fun listen that is a lovely free gift.
Audio Notes: Amanda Ronconi does a great job narrating. She picks up different accents and conveys the proper sense of the situations, including the snark and affection. It seems to me that certain narrators fit well with certain stories or authors and Ronconi seems to be an excellent fit with Harper. Her narration makes the reading/listening more fun for me.
This is an intensely active series - always danger. There are strange waves of wicked magical energy reeking havoc in Cinncinnati and the Hollows. These are causing magical spells to backfire resulting in physical damage around the city. Strangely the waves seem to be following Rachel Morgan. Meanwhile the undead vampire masters, who control the younger living vampires, have all disappeared and the living vampires are beginning to attack humans and Inderlanders, including some of Rachel’s werewolf pack. Rachel isn’t a werewolf but she is a powerful witch and day-walking demon with a tie to the werewolves through her friend, David, the true Alpha leader.
Rachel has been working as security for Trent while Quinn is away with the girls, Lucy and Rae. Rachel and Trent have enjoyed working together as they dance around their mutual attraction. Trent wants one night with Rachel on a date instead of as security employee. Dangerous but tempting. They are clearly drawn to each other but Trent is expected to marry one of his own kind, a high elven society member, Elsbeth, the mother of Lucy.
As Rachel tries to help the authorities control the chaos in the community, elven leaders arrive with Elsbeth at Trent’s home. The elven leaders suspect that the wild magic may be coming from an elven goddess who is seeking to make contact through Rachel. The tension increases as one of the elven leaders betrays Trent by lying to Rachel, talking her into a ritual that turns out to allow the goddess a partial possession. Tiny bits of sentient energy move into Rachel threatening to drive her mad unless she can find a way to communicate and control them and stop the goddess from more destruction.
This is what I call a ‘high octane’ series! Rachel seems to be a trouble magnet but somehow, with the help of her friends - vampire Ivy, pixie Jenks, David and Trent - she manages to save the city and come out alive. I love the action intensity and the romantic tension that is finally developed in this book between Rachel and Trent. I wonder how Kim Harrison keeps coming up with great plots and I will look forward to the next adventure.
Audio Notes: Marguerite Gavin is a fixture for me with this series. She does such a good job and makes the series more enjoyable listening entertainment.
At the end of Surviving Home, Book Two in this series, Morgan and his friends, Danny, a neighbor, Thad, his traveling companion, and Sarge and his three team members (met in Going Home, Book One), had done a reconnaissance of the local ‘government’ camp to see if they could tell how things were going. It wasn’t clear if those living in the camps were being helped or mistreated but Morgan and Thad were surprised to spot a young woman that looked like Jess, the girl they helped travel home to Ocala in Book One. Unfortunately the spies were spotted and had to pull out under gunfire.
Sarge is insisting that everyone start panning the move to an alternative location since the government troops most likely know where Morgan and Danny live. Morgan’s wife doesn’t like the idea although the girls think it might be a fun ‘camping adventure.’ The guys begin to make trips moving necessary and wanted equipment and supplies to the rugged cabins that Morgan showed them.
Many trips with a lot of gear draws some unwanted attention and the survivors face an ambush. Finally the attack on their own homes comes including the hostile presence of one of their old neighbors who insists they all move to the government facility.
Contact is made by a stranded Marine troop who offers some helpful intel to Sarge in exchange for needed supplies. These men have come across a man who survived a disastrous escape attempt from the government camp. Meanwhile, the slave-like conditions of the government camp are portrayed through Jess and her roommates.
This is the third installment in the series and seemed not quite as action packed as the prior books. There was still good action but I would say that this was a ‘preparing’ interlude to the next book. I was fully engaged by the story which read (listened) very quickly. I am looking forward to the next installment.
Marty Singer is a retired DC Homicide cop about to begin chemo treatments when an unexpected visitor knocks on his door. Amanda is now a graduate student who remembers Marty as the lead Detective in the case against Michael Wheeler, her mother’s murderer from twelve years before. Although Wheeler walked free due to trial errors and lost evidence, Amanda is sure that Marty can help her. She needs protection because the killer is back, leaving white carnations at her door.
Marty vows to protect Amanda seeking help from his old partner who is still angry about the botched trial but agrees to help. Trying every lead, Marty practically accosts Julie, the defense attorney who represented Wheeler. She is pretty bitter about the experience and doesn't really want to talk about it.
Amanda goes into hiding with Marty and soon Marty discovers goons ransacking his house for his files. Threats and circumstances change Julie’s mind so that she returns to Marty and now all three are hiding from an unknown threat as well as the killer. Marty continues to investigate even as his usual strength and reactions fail him due to weakening from the chemo treatments.
There is good suspense, action and twists in this mystery thriller. It is very sharp and realistic with ‘real-to-life’, characters complete with physical (age and illness), mental (madness and weakness) and moral (greed, pride and more) flaws. Some of the investigation paths lead to dead ends which adds to the realism. Also, the primary hero being older and coping with cancer issues makes him an interesting character with more depth than some young, hot shot detective.
Mr. Iden does a good job of weaving in unexpected twists, a little bit of romance and a bit more of moral dilemmas that have the reader/listener pondering levels of madness, ethics, loyalty and honesty. How far do professionals go to protect themselves, their families and their clients? I like Marty as a character and love the crisp suspense. I recommend this to mystery readers and would enjoy more suspense stories featuring Marty's tenacious pursuit.
Audio Notes: I was impressed with the narration by Lloyd Sherr. He was able to capture the emotional stresses of the characters and maintain the movement and suspense of the story. I was engaged for the full story and my assessment of the presentation is “well done.”
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