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  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 8 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • If Not for the Dawn

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dane St. John
    • Narrated By David DeBoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    AltaMira Pharmaceuticals releases Vigorex, a drug that allows people to sleep and experience R.E.M. while they're awake. A colorful cast of characters begin to take the drug, which if not taken properly will have hazardous consequences. But each of these people has undergone a deeply traumatic episode in their formative years, which will affect them in differing ways; murder, arson, kidnapping, vigilantism, among other crimes, will characterize their nightly personalities and send them crashing into one another.

    Maika says: "Captivating... you'll stay up late listening!"
    If you could sum up If Not for the Dawn in three words, what would they be?


    What did you like best about this story?

    St. John creates a new reality that is almost frightening in its plausibility. LA is grittier, and darker, despite being constantly bathed in light. Neighborhoods like Watts, even more cut-wrenchingly, dragged down by a drug that is turning people into shells of themselves. Not only is this new world painstakingly portrayed, but each character is developed to be incredibly human. Those you envision as the good guys, have their flaws; and the bad guys, their redeeming qualities. Not everyone is what they seem.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Definitely the warehouse scene at the end! Wow!

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Mia's piano scenes were emotionally powerful and intricately explained. I understood her very well.

    Any additional comments?

    The author does a phenomenal job of creating real people that you want to know, to understand, and to hope for. Each has their own story line that draws you in; each twists and turns in ways that are shocking and enthralling. The book also raises interesting questions about life, death, medicine, and morality. The drug the storyline revolves around is a creation of the author, but he clearly did his research (and I work in the pharmaceutical industry). He presents the science in a way that it contributes to the story and is understandable to anyone. In fact it is this science that will raise those questions I mentioned in the minds of the reader. Admittedly, I don't read or listen to a lot of modern fiction, usually preferring Dumas, Faulkner, and Austen. Often I take in a chapter of a modern work of fiction and put it aside because I am unengaged by the poor writing, lack of compelling characters, and implausible story lines; this book has none of these issues. In fact the way St. John adjusts his perspective from character to character is a bit like Faulker's approach to As I Lay Dying and the way his characters choices make you cringe reminiscent of Dumas. He is amazing in his ability to invoke empathy and really get inside the psyches of a quite diverse cast of characters. I can't help but thinking how easily it could transition to big or small screen, selfishly because I would love to see these characters and this world come to life. I applaud this amazing book and encourage everyone to read or listen to it and think about the questions it raises and its implications for choices we are all making right now. And thank you to the author for bringing around a well-crafted work of fiction in a time when so many books are empty throw aways. Truly, thank you!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Venom of Serpents: Book Two of the Arrowsmith Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Dane St. John
    • Narrated By R.D. Watson

    In the second segment of David Arrowsmith's dramatic narrative, nectar - the wine that flows between England and France during the 14th century - truly turns to venom as Jean Créton continues to record the man's scintillating account. This as they nervously await Hugh Lawrence of Colchester to reveal himself at the Scottish friary and reclaim the panel of saints in David's possession. The story resumes in the year 1370, when David has married the ravishing Eleanor, taken over the Pelican Tavern Inn in London, and recommenced his apprenticeship in the wine trade.

    Maika says: "A sequel that lives up to expectations & then some"
    "Part two is even better than part one"
    If you could sum up The Venom of Serpents in three words, what would they be?

    Wine, war, betrayal

    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the in-depth history of this book- it's very well-researched, and a lot of the characters are real (as I found out when I went to search for them on Wikipedia or in books). The buildup leading to the Peasants Revolt is a pretty fun ride, and hard to believe a lot of it actually happened the way St. John portrays.

    What does R.D. Watson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Amazing talent. I got to the point where I just felt like I wasn't having a good day unless I listened to his voice (and this story) at least once. He is a true artist, bringing lots of flavor and dialects and accents that really round out such a diverse set of characters.

    Any additional comments?

    If part one "The Nectar of Angels" is a stroll through the countryside then part two is a heated race to a harrowing end. Dane St. John does NOT disappoint in his conclusion of the Arrowsmith saga. I couldn't put it down, I had to know how this saga ended! Besides the immense knowledge that the author shows for 14th century Europe, the saga created by St. John is one of creativity and master storytelling.Great job Dane St. John and I'm looking forward to your next novel!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Nectar of Angels: The Arrowsmith Saga, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Dane St. John
    • Narrated By R. D. Watson

    In the chaos of 14th-century England and France, wine is the nectar of angels - a valuable commodity buttressing kingdoms and vaulting vast fortunes. A mysterious old archer named David Arrowsmith recounts his tale to an eager French chronicler, Jean Créton, when the latter learns that his mission to Scotland seems a failure. The burden of Arrowsmith's story rests with Créton, who suddenly finds himself writing about a seemingly cursed infant that barely escapes the grip of the Black Death in rural Wales when his family dies.

    Maika says: "It transports you to another time, another world"
    "An adventure through 14th century Europe"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, if they enjoyed classic historical fiction. Some people might find the history to be too much, but I loved it.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Nectar of Angels?

    Probably the joust or when David went to Wales to find out about his family.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Wine is blood.

    Any additional comments?

    Dane St John's first novel in the Arrowsmith Saga lays down the foundation and the road map that will take you on an epic adventure. I was constantly thrust back into 14th century Europe every time I picked up the book. St. John does a great job of explaining historical facts and references so it was easy to submerse myself into the story that is being told by our narrator, David Arrowsmith. I found myself cheering at one moment and lamenting the next at some of the characters in the story, some of which are actual historical figures. Once you finish this novel you will find yourself immediately picking up the second part "The Venom of Serpents" to finish the epic journey of David Arrowsmith. If part one is a stroll through the countryside then part two is a heated race to a harrowing end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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