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British Columbia
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  • 40
  • helpful votes
  • 46
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  • Price of Now

  • By: Michael Bussa
  • Narrated by: Krage Brown
  • Length: 1 hr
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

A short story set in the small, fictional town of Now, Indiana, circa 1940. A man, Troy, returns to his hometown after 10 years when he is diagnosed with cancer in his prime. Distraught, Troy visits a local antique store on Halloween night, hoping to find something to comfort him in his last weeks. He stumbles across a painting so compelling, he must have it at all cost - he must have it...now! Soon, Troy learns there is something more to the painting than for which he bargained. Something diabolical.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, if implausible

  • By Marcus on 12-13-18

Not your father's Dorian Grey

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-13-18

Troy Price is terminally ill. He decides to return to his hometown in Now, Indiana after a decade's absence, despite his family having all passed away. While there, he discovers a strange antique shop, and decides to seek something unique to help combat his waxing depression. A painting catches his eye, and despite the exorbitant price tag of $10,ooo (this is set in 1940), he springs for it. He brings it to his parents now derelict house, and then things start to get weird.

This is a rather engaging short story, with a nice job done by the narrator (it's an audiobook), although he sure doesn't sound like he's from Indiana. The plot moves nicely, and while your never likely to poop your pants, the double ending - yes, double - is well worth your time. I'll have to investigate more of this author's works.

  • Malefic

  • House of Souls, Book 2
  • By: Ambrose Ibsen
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

The move into 889 Morgan Road was supposed to be a fresh start for Joseph Dubois and his family. What they got instead was a nightmare. At night, guttural noises issue from behind the walls, and the family reports seeing a terrifying figure wandering the premises. Desperately seeking someone with experience in supernatural matters, Joseph calls upon his uncle, Marcel. Retired surgeon Marcel Dubois has a special gift: The ability to communicate with his dead wife. Harnessing this gift allows him to plumb the depths of the afterlife and to confront the paranormal. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't Buy the Cheap House in a Nice Neighborhood

  • By Spooky Mike on 11-13-18

A standard haunted house story with nice touches

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-02-18

A family believes their house to be haunted and turns to their uncle for help. Said uncle, Marcel, arrives at the house, and finding nothing amiss initially, endeavours to explain things by more rational means. But Marcel is no hardened cynic, and very much believes in ghosts, as he has contact with his dead wife. The spooks finally materialise, and they are as bad, if not worse, than previously advertised. Marcel sets out to discover who is haunting the house , and why, and it leads him down a rabbit hole of twists and turns that leads to a surprising end.

I haven't read part one of the book, but this seemed to work well as a standalone. The plot isn't particularly novel, but has some interesting turns. There were some nice touches, like the wife haunting a fountain pen, and they communicate through writing each other. This was an audio version, and the narrator did a good job adding life to Marcel. The story is pretty good, although not particularly scary, and it's reads more like a detective story as Marcel investigates the case.

Pretty good. Somewhere between 3-3.5 stars.

  • Embrace the Darkness: And Other Short Stories

  • By: Mr P.J. Blakey-Novis
  • Narrated by: David Sweeney-Bear
  • Length: 1 hr and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Step into the mind of the unstable, where nightmares become reality and reality is not always what it seems. Embrace the Darkness is a collection of six terrifying tales exploring the darker side of human nature and the blurred line between dreams and actuality. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Something For Everyone (Sort Of)

  • By Azura S on 11-24-18

Fun weird horror anthology

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-18

I had a listen to the audiobook version, and it was an enjoyable spin on the ordinary people in extraordinary situations sub-genre. The stories range from a man going for an operation to have a cyst removed from his foot, to twins who have supernatural powers at a time when witches are burnt at the stake, and others. All are well written, and the audiobook is well narrated. The anthology is reasonably short, about 90 minutes or so, and well worth a read or listen if you like weird horror.

  • Shield of Winter

  • Legend of the Gods, Book 2
  • By: Aaron Hodges
  • Narrated by: David Stifel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Alana has been captured. She expected an agonizing death to follow, but instead, she now finds herself a guest of the Tsar. Locked away amidst the wealth and luxury, it isn’t long before she learns the reason she was spared - her entire life has been a lie. Her true identity lurks within, chained by magic, but with promises of untold power. It terrifies her, and yet she must know the truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprise! The truth is hard to swallow!

  • By Paul Vasquez on 12-04-18

An excellent middle book in a trilogy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-21-18

**AUDIOBOOK AND MINOR SPOILER WARNING**

I was only commenting recently on how tough it can be the middle book in a trilogy. THIS is the middle book in a trilogy (Legend of the Gods), and the author pretty much nails it.

Alana has been taken by Quinn to the Tsar's palace, much to her surprise, and there are more surprises to come as she finds out she is so much more than some brave woman rescuing her brother from the fate of other magickers. Devon and Killian head to Trola to find allies. Maybe not his finest idea, as he is known as the hero of Trola after leading the slaughter of thousands of Trolans years before, but he has found allies are in short supply at home.

So far, so standard as far as plotting goes, but in the author's usual fashion, the characters are far more interesting than meets the eye. Devon murdered thousands of men, women and children in the battle of Trola, and has vowed since to change his ways. His friend Killian had a good life, but gave it all up out of loyalty to his friend. Alana and Braden are on the run from the Tsar, but were never sure why - they find out in shocking fashion. Anala finds out she's not the only hero from The Sword of Light trilogy still alive (she is also unaware she is a character in a trilogy).

The author has this writing lark down. He writes enjoyable, pacy adventures with interesting characters and epic plots, and is accessible to both (older) teens and adults. He throws in a lot of gallows humour, and his heroes don't always get their way. The narrator, who I believe also narrated The Sword of Light trilogy as well as Oathbreaker (I could look it up, but I'm too lazy), does a great job in making distinguishable characters and keeping the story ticking along.

Here's the thing though - I think this series could have ended here. I can see the scope for continuation, but I'm mildly concerned it might drop the ball trying to string out the plot. The author, no doubt, will prove me wrong, and I look forward to the end of the trilogy.

A solid 4.5/5 stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cthulhu Armageddon

  • By: C. T. Phipps
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 318
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 300

Cthulhu Armageddon is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other "talking" monsters).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome.

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 11-07-16

HP Lovecraft in a nutshell

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-18

Another day, another audiobook finished.

This time we have CT Phipps' homage to HP Lovecraft, and we runs the gamut through much of HPL's more popular stories, tying it all together nicely along the way.

The Old Ones have returned and laid waste to the earth, leaving a planet greatly changed from the one we know. Much of the earth is a poisoned wasteland, haunted by mutants and many HPL fiends. Pockets of humanity still survive, living in cities dotted throughout the land, but mostly isolated from each other. 

John Henry Booth, through whose eyes we see the evens unfold, is a ranger and traditional CT Phipps anti-hero. He's grizzled, cynical and brave, and about to get put through the ringer.

John is a ranger, living in The Remnant, the biggest stronghold of humanity left (in their opinion). His job is to protect the city from the critters that roam outside the walls, and he's good at his job. On a mission to take out a group of slavers, Booth gets injured and his team wiped out when they enter a strange temple they find in the desert. Booth wakes up strapped to a bed back in the Remnant, and it all goes (further) downhill from here.

This is one of the author's works, and there's a less of the humour and pop culture than his later books. Funnily, those few references heard are usually met with confusion from the characters, who have little knowledge of pre-apocalyptic days. As for Lovecraft references, this obviously has them in spades, with the Necronomicon, Cthulhu, Nyharlotep and more making appearances in one way or another. As for others, there are buildings named after characters, gaunts from the Dreamquest and so forth. In a word something for everyone. Except Cats of Ulthar fans. But there is a sequel.

I think this is my favourite of CT Phipp's books so far (and I've read/heard a lot). It's less jokey (not necessarily a bad thing), more gallows humour than Tarantino gangster banter, and you can sense the author's love and knowledge of HPL at ever juncture. Finally, it's just a good story about humanity fighting on against impossible odds, and it ends on a great note. Oh yeah, and the narrator was terrific.

5/5 stars.

  • Die by the Blade

  • By: James Mace
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Waters
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

The year is 77 AD. On the frontier of the Roman Empire, a Dacian man named Verus is captured and enslaved during an imperial raid north of the Danube. He is sent to a rock quarry known as The Pit, as one among thousands of fresh slaves needed to mine marble for Emperor Vespasian's new amphitheater. Funded by spoils taken during the Siege of Jerusalem, the Emperor promises it will be the largest gladiatorial arena ever; his personal gift to the people of Rome. Requiring years of herculean labor and millions of cubic feet in stone, Vespasian's son, Titus, worries if his father will live.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Cool Gladiator story

  • By KD on 11-16-18

An enjoyable gladiatorial romp

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-05-18

I'm quite the fan of historical fiction, I love how it can breathe life and perspective into great characters and events that we know of, but will never really know. But that's not all historical fiction can do. An author such as James Mace can take an obscure and mostly irrelevant piece of history, and create an enjoyable tale with characters and events that are mostly lost in the sands of the time.

Mace tells the tale of Verus, a Dacian blacksmith who in 77 AD takes up arms to help his people fend off the advance of the Roman army into his territory. Fine warriors though the Dacians may have been, they were no match for the Roman army, a fighting force with hundreds of years of experience. Verus is first sent to a marble quarry, but after spending time there, he gets sent to become a gladiator, a slight improvement on his current state of affairs.

The bulk of the story tells of Verus' trials as a gladiator, and also his friend Prisus (audiobooks don't help with spelling), a Pict (never read a book with a Pict before, as far as I remember) who is the combatant all combatants want to be. Prisus is a likeable character. He's not the killer we expect from gladiator stories, and for the three years of the book, he mourns that he may never see his family again. Prisus on the other hand is a killer, but he's the kind of likeable hardass counterpoint to our hero. The Romans are suitably ghastly, but they add colour to the story when in there, as opposed boo-hiss panto villains. The historical facts and the knowledge of gladiatorial history rings true, although I'm no expert on this matter. The story never goes quite as you'd expect, which is great, and the combat scenes are nicely done. 

The narrator does a good job, adding distinct voices to characters, while moving the pace effectively.

4-4.5/5 stars - looks like I"ll have to add James Mace to my ever growing list of must-read Historical Fiction authors. 

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Chronicles of Starlyn

  • By: Craig A Price Jr
  • Narrated by: Shelley Roit
  • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 8

Starlyn loves her mother and desperately searches for any way to help her, yet it seems there is little she can do but sit and watch. Even the kheshlarn healers and herbalists are stunned and cannot find a way. Other kheshlars turn away from her aid, afraid of a weakness - an illness - in her bloodline, and would rather her mother die than taint the others with her weakness. Starlyn’s sister, Arria, refuses to sit and watch as their mother dies and takes more drastic measures to try and save their mother. She dives into the restricted books in the kheshlarn library about dark magic. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • An okay prequel to The Crimson Claymore

  • By Al on 10-31-18

An okay prequel to The Crimson Claymore

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-31-18

This is a short story, a prequel to the Crimson Claymore which I reviewed once upon a time, so it will be a short(ish) review.

I liked some things about the TCC, and the same can be said about TCOS. Arria, a kheshlar (think elf), breaks an age old law by turning to the dark arts to save her ailing mother. Banished from her home, she seeks to save her mother while gaining revenge on her people. She meets some draeyks, dragonspawn, who share her goals (well,except for the ailing mother bit), and they team up.

Arria's sister Starlyn, aims to save her sister from her fate, but an attack on other kheshlar by an army of draeyks turns her into the vengeful killing machine we see in TCC.

The story was okay, not amazing, but the narration was weird at times. Starlyn sounded a bit like my daughter, which is fine if you're nine years old and not an immortal elf/not an elf. At other times there was an echo to the audio that sounded like the narrator was reading in the can, or some other small room. As there were no accompanying splashes, we'll go with some other small room.

I'd put it somewhere in the 2.5/5 range, mostly due to the weird audio, but don't let that put you off the author's work. The Crimson Claymore has its fans, and his more recent work, the Dragonia series, is far more polished.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Al Clark

  • Book One
  • By: Jonathan G. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Timothy McKean
  • Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

There is a starship in trouble, lost in the void, with no one awake to hear the alarms. A thousand specially selected people left a troubled and unsustainable Earth for another world. Their dream was a new start on a virgin planet 30 years away. Their ship was state-of-the-art and entirely automatic, it's passengers safely sleeping through the journey - but something has gone wrong, something unexpected.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dinosaurs in space!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 03-02-18

Solid Sci-Fi Yarn

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-30-18

This one sat on my TBR for a long time, but when the opportunity for the audiobook popped up (a much shorter list), I was happy to check it out.

Turns out to be a solid yarn. A man wakes up alone on a space station with no idea who he is or how he got there. He finds out he's not the only one awake, and they set about waking up the rest of the crew.

This is standard sci-fi fare. It's got robots, dinosaurs, first contact and setting up a new colony on a hostile world. It's also pacy and interesting, fitting a lot into its nine or so hours. The first half is the slower part, as it sets the scene for the tale, but the second half tears along at a breakneck pace.

The narrator does a decent job, keeping it all flowing, and there's some humour, like where he comes up with the name Al Clark. If you like sci-fi that focuses on colonising new worlds, this is a solid effort. Give it 3.5/5 stars.

  • Flaming Dove

  • By: Daniel Arenson
  • Narrated by: Heather Costa
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

The battle of Armageddon was finally fought... and ended with no clear victor. Upon the mountain, the armies of Hell and Heaven beat each other into a bloody, uneasy standstill, leaving the Earth in ruins. Armageddon should have ended with Heaven winning, ushering in an era of peace. That's what the prophecies said. Instead, the two armies--one of angels, one of demons--hunker down in the scorched planet, lick their wounds, and gear up for a prolonged war with no end in sight. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Flawed demons and angels

  • By Margaret on 12-01-18

Not the author's finest work

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-28-18

I usually like the author's work, whether it's sci-fi or fantasy. This sounded like a great idea - Judgement Day has been and gone and angels and demons are fighting for dominance of the earth. Human beings are an endangered species, taken to hiding in the ruins of cities or living far out in the countryside. Laila, half-demon half-angel, is reviled by both sides, yet the powers that be seem both seem to want her on their side. Also, Lucifer is dead, killed by Beelzebub, who took over hell in his place. The author worked hard on this one, going to Jerusalem (not sure for research or a holiday), but he went and got lost of material for this book. So far, so good.

However, this is certainly not his best work. The angles and demons, instead of being might ethereal powers, behave like a bunch of whiny teenagers. I'm no expert on angels or demons, but I'm sure being immortal and all-powerful would change your world view. They really are just like humans, even with armies and divisions and so forth. The only character who has any business acting like a teenager, Laila (an exile who grew up on earth), isn't, and is a pretty good character.

The plot's a bit messy, with things hinted at then forgotten, and at times is a bit daft. The narrator did a good job with weak material, and I'd be interested to hear what she thought after reading it.

So 2 stars, mostly for a great concept and a decent heroine. Back to the World of Ruin for me.

  • Darkmage

  • The Rhenwars Saga, Book 1
  • By: M. L. Spencer
  • Narrated by: Simon Wright
  • Length: 18 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

Darien Lauchlin has already lost everything. Now the only thing he has left to lose is his soul. When his own brother unseals the Well of Tears, Darien is the last Sentinel left alive to defend his homeland. Now he is faced with an impossible decision: either watch everything he knows shatter - or forsake his oath of peace to become an instrument of pure destruction. Accompanied by Naia, a priestess of Death, Darien embarks on a harrowing journey to save the people of the Rhen. But will he lose his own soul in the process?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!

  • By Leila Kirkconnell on 11-09-18

Dark Fantasy at its finest

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-18-18

You may (or may not) remember I wrote a review for Darkstorm, the precursor to Darkmage, a while back. As far as I know (yell at me if I’m wrong), Darkmage was actually written (or at least published) before Darkstorm, so this is essentially book one, and Darkstorm is book 0.5. I liked Darkstorm, but most of the first 70% or so definitely wallowed in the YA range. Darkmage is very different.

AUDIOBOOK WARNING

Standard Young Adult fare tends to be less satisfying for not Young Adults (or me anyway), as it tends to skirt over issues that less young types find appealing . ML Spencer has skilfully crafted a novel that appeals to the broader audience by dealing with the likes of morality and loss, while maintaining well drawn characters and using a writing style that will appeal to younger readers (as in 18, not 8).

Darkstorm started hard, then softened for a significant chunk of the novel, although it still entertained. Darkmage, on the other hand, starts off dark with the death of the hero’s mother, and destruction of his city. From here, it’s all downhill.

The story revolves around two men, Kyle Archer, just your average Joe, or Kyle, who gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, and sent to Greystone Keep to guard against invasion. This sounds bad enough, but just after he arrives, a huge army shows up ready to attack. Out of the frying pan, and so on.

The other is Darien Lauchlin, a mage and son of the Prime Warden. When his brother Aidan kills their mother and open the Well of Tears, Darien finds he is all that stands between the end of the world. Or is he?

This book has it all – friendships are made and ended, political intrigue, epic battles and most importantly, hard choices and sacrifices must be made. As mentioned earlier, I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator did a terrific job, narrating the book as if the weight of the world was on shoulders, while capturing the tone and humour.

Want to check out a new series, or interested in checking out one of indie publishing’s finest authors, look no further. But don’t take my word for it, just read the darn book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful