Mr. Nickson does a superb job of creating a devastating picture of the poverty of the community and giving personal life to the characters. There are good twists in the mystery and the suspense is built up well, especially when Richard has to seek the help of an enemy to locate Emily. She is found wearing the token missing from the first murder victim but refuses to name the source of the gift which could lead to the identity of the killer. The revealed history of the token is an added element of interest.
None come to mind.
I thoroughly enjoyed the strong, accented narration. The voice fit well with the dark period and the mystery plot. Mr. Pacey’s inflection helped me to visualize the scenes and the despair of the characters.
A fitting description for the city:
...[A] place were most people existed rather than lived.
Some might find the times and setting bleak but I liked the details that were softened a bit by the caring emotions of Richard and his family. I recommend this particularly to mystery lovers who enjoy historical detail.
Hosteen Storm was raised on Terra where he learned Navaho discipline and gentle but firm handling of animals. When war decimated his home world of Terra he became a commando for the Planetary Confederacy forces with a designation as beast master. His superior was reluctant to let him go due to the volubility of the Terran survivors. But Storm has survived a year without incident and there is no apparent reason for his superiors to withhold permission for him to travel to Arzor, a frontier world. Storm travels with his special team with whom he has special telepathic abilities: two meercats, a dune cat and an eagle.
Storm has not let anyone know his history and the reason he seeks access to Arzor. Storm makes his way on the frontier planet by proving his value to a man hired to drive cattle and horses. Storm shows his skills by managing a horse who is added to his team.
One of the other drivers is immediately hostile to Storm who has learned to observe carefully and watch over his shoulders. Storm makes a friend with a young Norbie who is a native people whose anatomy precludes them from vocal talk so they have developed sign language that Storm picks up fairly quickly. It seems their culture is very similar to that of Storm's early life. But there are other native tribes and natural land hazards, including floods and huge beasts, that threaten the men on their trek.
The crew reaches a way-station after surviving the wild hazards. There Storm runs into the man he is seeking but he is surprised and unprepared for the character of the man. Storm takes on another job with an archaeological research group. They run into problems too and Storm uncovers evidence of a danger that no one has expected on this planet. He must survive the wilds and enemy attacks to get word of the danger to those who can take action. He is met with surprising revelations before it is over.
Hosteen Storm is a wonderful hero. I really enjoyed the whole package of characters, animals and plot with secrets and dangers. I was impressed by the engaging writing and the extent of the plot especially considering this was written in 1959. I was surprised that I had never read this series (which apparently is not really followed in the movie of same name). I look forward to reading more books by Andre Norton.
Audio Notes: Richard Brewer does a good job with the narration. He gives enough distinction to the characters to make it interesting. I became engrossed in the story and the narration made this an easy read for me which I finished in one day.
Sookie, who can read minds of humans and to some degree the two-natured, has opened her home to her uncle and grandfather, two fae fairies. Sookie seems to think that their nearness is increasing her own fae qualities. While pondering that Sookie is worrying about the loss of business at Merlot’s as some of the patrons are visiting a recently opened vampire bar. Business was down even before a fire bomb is thrown through the window.
Adding to her troubles, a two-natured female enemy has escaped from jail seeking revenge against Sookie. Sookie’s boyfriend, vampire sheriff Eric, is struggling with the competition from the new vampire regent who is doing everything he can to encroach on Eric’s territory. Adding insult to injury, the regent has refused his permission for Eric’s ‘child’, Pam, to change a young woman who is dying. It is becoming clear that the two vampire leaders aren’t going to be able to share the area so plots for killing are working both ways. Sookie gets caught up in a plan to take out the regent even as she learns that Eric is keeping secrets that may break her heart.
I had stopped reading this series in 2010 and my recollection is that it had gotten a bit too racy plus the last title seemed a bit fractured. I apparently didn’t review book #10 when I read it. I am glad that I enjoyed revisiting these characters, including Sam, Eric, Bill and even Bubba. There is danger and death, as always seems to surround Sookie, the vampires and the two-natured, but I wasn’t offended by anything.
Although there are still plenty of open questions in the series, I appreciated the tension that remains with Eric’s dilemma at the end of this installment. I am also interested to find out what happens with the fae and the special stone that Sookie has found.
I recommend reading this series in order for the best enjoyment and I recommend it in audio. Just be prepared for some sex in some of the volumes and violence in most of them.
Audio Notes: I totally enjoy Johanna Parker as the narrator for this series. She does a great job portraying the Southern Sookie and the other characters. They each have an appropriate distinct voice that helps me to visualize the characters and enjoy the story more than just reading.
Sage is an 18 year old who awakens 100 years in the past. As though time warping isn’t enough to cope with she quickly discovers that preternatural creatures - vampires, weres and shifters - believed to be the stuff of fantasy and myth are alive and well ... and threatening her life. Sage is rescued from the streets and brought to a home for young women. She is informed by her new friends that she is a Warper who has arrived so that she could prevent a disaster that would impact time.
The home’s proprietress, the scarred but still handsome professor, Dr. Aldwin Blake, and her young eager rescuer are part of a special society assigned to keep preternatural activities secret from the public. The team takes up the task of training Sage who must learn etiquette and dress suitable for the time period, defense with knifes and strategies, and how to control her own unique abilities. The plan is to have Sage inserted in the household of one of the strongest vampires in town so she can infiltrate his circles and learn what major threat is imminent.
Sage is attracted to Aldwin and thinks he likes her too but he remains aloof. Then she meets the remarkable vampire and finds an attraction there as well. Through bumbling luck as much as anything Sage and the vampire uncover hints that help them track down an assassin plan. Now the team has to step in to help prevent the murder that would change history. Sage is eager to help stop the danger but she isn’t sure if she will then get to go home to 2004, or if she wants to.
I appreciated the action and danger that were the base of the story along with the bits of historical clothing and features. The love triangle, although too swift and obvious, added some additional tension and interest, especially for the ending. There are some weaknesses in the story with Sage being viewed as confident and sure when she really is just a mass of confusion and pretty much inept. I thought the writing a bit more on the YA level than I like. (It is categorized for Ages 11-13 which I don't think is really accurate.) Still, the story was engaging enough to keep my attention for a quick listen.
Audio Notes: Amanda C. Miller did an acceptable job on narration. There is no real effort to make a distinction between many of the characters, but the narrator’s voice suits Sage who tells the story in first person. I enjoyed the quick audiobook for this story which I might not have chosen to read in print/ebook.
Mo is a girl after my own heart. She is strong and determined. She has moved to Alaska to make a break from a broken engagement and her very hippy and controlling parents. She didn’t plan to work right away but somehow steps right into working as a short order cook at the local gathering diner.
Mo is attracted to the sulky, quite guy in the place, Cooper, even though he makes it clear he doesn’t think she’ll make it past the first winter. Since Cooper wants to remain sullen and stand-offish, Mo goes out with Park Ranger, Alan, who is a really nice guy but doesn’t give her shivers like Cooper. As Mo puts it ‘Cooper was caramel triple chocolate cheesecake deep fired on a stick. Alan was angel food cake, sweet and wholesome and nothing you’d regret.’
Mo suspects there is something really different about Cooper and then she learns it for sure when he shows up on her porch naked with a bear trap around his ankle. Cooper takes Mo home to meet his pack when he is summoned because his grandfather is so ill. The pack is at odds because Cooper is the Alpha but he is running from the responsibility. His sister is furious with him and attacks him whenever they are near each other.
There is trouble in town because several people have been injured or killed by a wolf. Mo is sure that Cooper is not the wolf who is attacking people but he isn’t sure of himself so again he backs away from her rather than risk hurting her.
I really enjoyed the push, pull of the romance between Cooper and Mo with the added tension of conflict from Alan’s interest in Mo. The author gives good development of the characters and interesting wolf-pack dynamic as a family struggling under traditional rules. There is plenty of fun dialog and phrasing that had me chuckling out loud. This isn’t fast paced action but it moves along well with a good mix of romance and mystery.
The narrator did a really nice job of catching the quirkiness of the characters and I would enjoy more from both the author and the narrator. I recommend this if you want a light fun read or listen.
Father Frank is a Catholic Priest who has a hands on approach to helping his parishioners. He sincerely seeks the Lord’s guidance and help but he plays an active part too. He is involved helping the youth of his church by playing and organizing basketball games and he keeps tabs on other activities such as a new “pop” band.
An arsonist has burned down a Baptist church in the community and Father Frank takes a personal interest. That interest is increased by an anonymous confession of a youth who seems to have some knowledge but won’t reveal it. Father Frank thinks he knows which boy makes the confession but he is restricted from disclosing any information given in the confessional. As more Baptist churches are burned down Father Frank lines up a handful of suspects. There is the rough, mysterious, man who keeps hanging around the ball park asking about drug sources; a young man who seems to have a drug problem; an angry teen who was abused as a young boy by his mother’s boyfriend; and a man in a bar who sneers at Father Frank as he burns a paper steeple.
Meanwhile Father Frank encourages the budding romance of an active widow in his church who has captured the heart of the local police detective. These two add a nice, gentle side line to the mystery story.
I really liked Father Frank’s character. He lives his grounded faith in a real way, including some impulsive action. The story moves along well with Father Frank actively investigating any clue he can follow. There are side lines of interest including the youth choir and the sweet romance. There is danger, faith and sweetness in a short package that combine to make this a solid Christian cozy mystery.
Audio Notes: I’m sorry to say that I found the narration rather dry. It seemed more like a reading than a narration. I still enjoyed the overall book but I recommend a prospective listener try the audio sample to decide if this might be a story to read in print or ebook instead of audio.
I received this title for review through Audiobook Jukebox.
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.
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