The classic far-future novel about the telepathic bond of friendship between human and animal from the grande dame of science fiction and fantasy. Exiled after his home planet was turned into a military outpost following an interstellar war, Troy Horan is relocated to the planet of Korwar. Under the watchful eye of the police state, he lives in the slums in a restricted area for sub-citizens. He works as a day laborer in an interplanetary pet shop and has no idea why the Terran animals have been imported to Korwar or why he has the ability to silently communicate with them.
This book is superbly suspenseful with excellent world building. Norton had a gift with language, and I had a mental movie of this world no matter the scene (a teeming, caste-divided city, an eerie, dead(ish) jungle, even travel in a futuristic flitter.
Our protagonist, Troy, is a sub-citizen who gets a week-long contract for labor, and is poignantly relieved to get it. Little does he know that his new employment is about to open up a can of Her-Hers* on him. But he also finds himself in possession of…a gift. As his ability develops, the exploitation of the underclass ratchets up quickly to the intensely personal, and the stakes quickly lead to violence, flight, and pursuit.
This book seems to be a stand-alone novel. It screams for a sequel, though this will never be, RIP, Ms. Norton. There are other books set in this world, however, and I hope that Ms. Norton's estate is arranging to have all of her work recorded. It is well worth it, appropriate for listeners of all ages.
*Not an anachronism, now that I think about it.
The team of heroes extracted from their timelines to stop the impending apocalypse didn't think they needed a leader. But they've got one anyway. With their mission in tatters, Miri has been called in to steady the ship. And to focus them on their assignment: preventing the end of the world. The problem is, the world doesn't know it's in danger. With governments pursuing them relentlessly, attempting to steal the time-travel device to use for their own ends, the heroes are on the run.
Loved the characters; like a basket full of tumbling puppies. 👀 Er, scratch that. More like a nest of veloceraptor hatchlings! Fun and lethal!
Top-tier performance by Carl Prekopp. Really a significant talent. He brought the story so animatedly to life that I experienced this audiobook in that rare and exquisite way that creates a movie in your head that is so vivid, it's almost like a movie.
I strongly recommend "Executed", and the first in the series, "Extracted". As a consumer, you will be "exhilarated"!
She used to work for the US government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn't even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They've killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
Fell in love with the characters in this book and never want to stop reading about them. Espionage thriller, action thriller, fantastic dialog, disguises, subterfuge, and even a dog...or 12. It's all in here. For those who hate cliffhanger endings, don't worry. This is a complete novel with an ending that wraps everything up nicely as a standalone novel. That said, I hope there will be a sequel...or 12.
Bonus: authentically earned 5-star performance by Ellen Archer.
Buy this right now. It's worth 10 credits! I am still on a psychic rollercoaster after listening to this fantastic book. Dang it's good.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
For Amber Farrell, post-military life as a PI has its ups and downs: She's been hit by a truck. She's being sued by a client. Denver's newest drug lord just put out a contract on her. The sinister Athanate want her to come in for a friendly chat. And it's only Tuesday. Enter Jennifer Kingslund: rich, gorgeous - a tough businesswoman who's known for getting what she wants in the boardroom and the bedroom.
The three things that stood out about this audiobook (Sleight of Hand: Bite Back, Book 1): The heroine, the complexity of the conflicts she faces, and the narrator.
Let's take them one at a time. Our MC is Amber, and I approve. First of all, she has a Pretty Name. I find it hard to connect with so many main characters right out of the gate -- just because they are given dumb clunky names. In Amber, author Mark Henwick has created a heroine who is immediately likable through the simple technique of making her *gasp* Actually Competent. Right from the get-go, she has her spit together. I think that too many authors, wanting to depict a character arc, start their H out making really stupid decisions, avoidable mistakes, and childish judgments. Amber's maturity, commensurate with her life experience, is a breath of fresh air.
Gotta hand it to Mr. Henwick. He threw so many difficulties at our protagonist that I was on the edge of my earbuds the whole time. Not only does she have problems with her case, her struggling business, and a suspicious cop, but also with a bitchy sister, an aspirant best friend, a twitchy government bureaucrat, a disgruntled ex-client, persistent vampires, wolf-prints, and her inevitably pending undeath sentence, just to name a few. This is why it is such a relief that she has so much emotional maturity. There's no angst, whining, or torrents of tears, which may seem to be "natural" reactions to some lazy authors, but are boring, boring, boring to read about.
I must single out the thing that was unique and so very welcome about this story to me. I LOVE paranormal romances. I have gratitude to live in times when I can have them read to me - thanks Audible. Anyway, back on topic. In this story, our heroine, as a result of a vampire attack, is slowly developing vampire-like physical traits. We all know that blood and sex are linked vampire stories (at least the good ones, *grin*). Well, Amber is "between" men, but her libido is growing inexorably as the vampire prions multiply in her blood. As a result, she is attracted to a woman as well as to a man. This is all presented matter-of-factly and publicly. This just…chimes for me and my private little, ah, reading pleasures. Best yet, when things seem to fall apart for one of her perspective liaisons, she does not Burn That Bridge. Did I mention how much I appreciate Amber's maturity?
I cannot say enough about how much I loved Kimberly Henrie's performance as the reader. Those of us who listen to audiobooks recognize that is there is special handful of audiobooks where the talent is perfectly matched to the material. This is one of those. Kimberly's voice is smooth as motor oil, feminine as chantilly lace, and calm as a sunning butterfly. This is the lady I want reading the phone book to me, yo. She will heretofore be referred to as: Voice Angel.
Boogers in the Bisque:
As much as I liked this book, there are some negatives that simply cannot go unremarked on. The first is the cover. The model is depicted with her finger on the trigger of a gun. The Third Rule of gun safety is Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target (and you have made the decision to shoot). Very bad optics indeed for a book whose MC has Army as well as police training, and there it is, ignorance immortalized right on the dang cover. BAD.
Other small demerits go, sadly, to Kimberly. For all that her performance of this book was heavenly, there were a couple of mispronunciations that stood out. For example, the heroine is invited into the opulent home of her wealthy client, and sits down on an elegant "chase". Needle scratch, Voice Angel! Another small criticism is that she did never picked up the pace or add urgency to the big action scenes - especially at the climax of the book. Oh well, piddly quibbles won't result in any stars being deducted from her rating. Take it from me, Kimberly Henrie has the makings of an Audible superstar.
In conclusion, this was over 12 hours (yay) of pure fun, action, suspense, and sexy tension, with a solid gold performance, and more is on the way with Hidden Trump (Bite Back, Book 2). The minute that sequel shows up in Audible, I am whisking it into my cart.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
Lily Handy has problems. Her agent hanged himself in the shower, her television series has been cancelled, and her self-esteem is badly flagging. When she goes to Brandauers department store to redeem a free cosmetic gift, she finds instead that someone has dropped the twenty million dollar Tanzanian diamond into the pocket of her Lauren Bacall trench coat.
What did you like about this audiobook?
It has attractive cover art, which makes it stand out in the lists. There is not much else redeeming. The story is awkward, the heroine is unlikeable, the "mystery" is silly, and there aren't even any memorable secondary characters. Nah, this one is a dud.
How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?
What subject matter?
Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?
I don't know if S. A. Stolinsky (author) and Stephanie Stolinsky (narrator) are the same person, but if so, I would suggest that she invest in a reader with talent and experience.
What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?
The narrator's voice was the "story" here. I have never experienced an audiobook read like this - that voice is so harsh it is cringeworthy. No way does it convince a listener that it represents a pretty, fluffy trophy wife/actress/goofball "detective". Instead it conjures images of bitter, slightly unwell, harping and complaining old aunt-in-law. I am returning this one and getting my credit back.
Do you have any additional comments?
I don't like these questions that Audible generates, apparently at random. After I previewed my first review, I went back to edit and the questions had changed altogether, so that my responses did not match. How about letting me write my review in my own words?
The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius' many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price.
Would you try another book from S.M. Wheeler and/or Bianca Amato?
Yes, because there is nothing particularly horrible about either, I will give more details below.
Would you ever listen to anything by S.M. Wheeler again?
The story was creative, interesting, and unique, but p l o d d i n g.
What didn’t you like about Bianca Amato’s performance?
There was a pause
between every sentence
that a more experienced performer
would put between every
It made the pacing
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Sea Change?
OK I am glad that Audible asked about editing, because here this the main reason that I gave this audiobook ratings in the pits.
The book "ends" halfway into the second half, after the sooper dramatic death of some baddie we have never heard of before, and the emotional burial scene of said stranger. Turns out, there are entire sections missing from the book. Poof. They just never showed up in the reading. Or did they? Some missing chapters seen to be there after the copyright info is read into the record, suddenly the story resumes ~~ somewhere.
This is a faulty recording and needs to be recalled/amended. I know somebody reads these reviews before they are published, so I will say this now. I intend to return this book if Audible does not recall this recording and fix this problem.
Too bad for the author, who is the one whose name is ultimately associated with a middling narrator and a suxxor recording.
Any additional comments?
Give writers some power over the performance and publication of audiobooks. We would get less dross in the marketplace.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Kara Gillian is in some seriously deep trouble. She’s used to summoning supernatural creatures from the demon realm to our world, but now the tables have been turned and she’s the one who’s been summoned. Kara is the prisoner of yet another demonic lord, but she quickly discovers that she’s far more than a mere hostage. Yet waiting for rescue has never been her style, and Kara has no intention of being a pawn in someone else’s game.
What did you love best about Touch of the Demon?
This novel reads like a woodchipper on jet fuel. Battle, betrayal, torture, plot twists, sex, suspense, it's all in here.
What other book might you compare Touch of the Demon to and why?
I would only compare this book to the first four in this unique and remarkable series. Readers should start with Mark of the Demon, and walk with Kara Gillian on her fraught path.
What about Liv Anderson’s performance did you like?
Pitch perfect performance, not a word or a nuance out of place to interfere with our enjoyment of the story.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
If I had to sum up my reaction to this book, it would be one word: Impressed. It made me want to reread the series from the beginning to track the clues that Ms. Rowland planted and which bloomed into one big gaudy demon jungle in this one.
Any additional comments?
I understand that this series has nine books planned. *Kara Gillian fan swoons*. Brava, Diana Rowland.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Anyan may be trapped in an evil dragon and Blondie may be gone, but Jane knows one thing: she's not about to give up. She's ready to tear down heaven and earth to save her lover, despite those who believe he's lost. Luckily for Jane, those who've given up on Anyan do not include those closest to her. Defying The Powers That Be, Jane and company form their own crack squad of misfits, in whose hands the fate of the world may well rest.
Would you try another book from Nicole Peeler and/or Khristine Hvam?
Never, for either of them. Peeler is dead to me as an author. Hvam I will avoid without particular rancor, just out of preference.
Has Tempest Reborn turned you off from other books in this genre?
I am not turned off from other books of this genre, on the contrary, I seek out books of this genre. This was particularly poorly done and that's why I am singling it out for scorn in this category.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Khristine Hvam?
Nobody "deserved" to have to read this book.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I reacted with impatience to turn it off and scroll to a story with merit.
Any additional comments?
I am not returning any of my previous purchases in this series. I continued to buy them as the series continued to fizzle. Buyer beware. Using credits on these is nothing but a Stupid Tax.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful
Amber is more than just a girl with a stolen ID and an attitude; she is a daughter of the wolf-kind, a shapeshifter able to change forms at will. One night, as Amber prowls the Hollywood Hills in wolf form, she stumbles onto an occult ceremony, interrupting the ritual. As a result, Amber finds herself the unwilling mistress of a handsome demonic servant, Richard. Appearing as a fair youth of eighteen years, Richard is a demon accidentally summoned, then captured, by Dr. John Dee, court magician to Queen Elizabeth I.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
I suppose that people who haven't listened to scores of books by more talented writers and who are seeking low-impact YA fiction might give this book a higher score.
Would you ever listen to anything by Carol Wolf again?
I would never listen to a Young Adult title by Carol Wolf again.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
The narration is much finer than the story deserves. No particular demerits for Elizabeth Evans.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Summoning?
Witch coven, so off-putting, so tiresome. Magic women all clustered together, dancing withershins. Good grief.
Any additional comments?
Author benefitted from good cover art and blurb writing. What a rip off, because better authors get poor covers and weak blurbs. This story, for the first time in years of audiobook purchases, was a DNF for me. Trashed it midway through Part 2. I would NOT, however, automatically shun a book read by Elizabeth Evans. I hope her career is not poisoned by contracting to read such dreck.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
This Christmas isn't so merry for Toni. Her best friend's been locked up in a mental hospital ever since she told the police she was attacked by vampires, and the only way for Toni to get her out is to prove that bloodsuckers really do exist. So she's taken a job as a bodyguard for the Undead, but she gets more than she bargained for, especially when she meets Ian MacPhie, a Scottish rascal looking for Ms. Right.
This series just keeps getting better and better as our beautiful, sexy vampires find their true loves and the family grows. This installment contained some delightful laugh-out-loud passages: 314 messages from women (and a couple of men!) who think Ian is HAWT after his profile goes up on an internet dating site, so funny. And, Ian gets an unexpected side effect from the stay-awake medicine, yum.
The writing gets better and better too, with just the perfect balance of madcap comedy, blooming romance, and violent peril. One of my favorite things about this series is the careful attention of the secondary characters. Even the children are endearing instead of annoying, a tricky feat to pull off. Dr. Fang? OHHH Yeah. This book introduces a new sidekick who is also completely charming...and the shapeshifters are finding a role too.
To make this listening experience perfect was the narration by Coleen Marlo. Not only does she have a lovely voice, but she reads prose and dialect with flawless rhythm, and delivers credible accents to the Scots, the Italian, the Russians, the Texan, and more. I wish she had been hired to narrate the entire series, it could have vastly improved a couple of the earlier installments. Thank you and great luck Coleen, you were born to read audiobooks.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful