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Madison, WI, United States
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  • Fatal Agreements

  • By: Ashley Fontainne
  • Narrated by: Andrea Emmes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

Whispered rumors tickled the ears of the residents of an entire town for decades about the disturbing secrets of the old Halstead House, dating all the way back to the early 1920s. Most people didn't believe them. Several people will soon discover they should have listened. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Suspenseful!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 10-16-18

Dark, Gritty Southern Mystery and More!

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

In this Southern suspense novel, three generations of women from the Chapman family are haunted by secrets from the past and the present. Litigator Samantha Chapman returns to her hometown of Hot Springs to set up her new office and residence in the dilapidated Halstead house. Rumors about what went on within the walls of this former doctor’s office have been surrounding Halstead house for decades. Soon Samantha has to face not just the sadist she thought she had escaped from several years back but also a ruthless foe from high school days.

I haven’t been disappointed by an Ashley Fontainne book yet, and this was no different. There was such a lot of scheming, colluding and manipulating going on, it made my head spin. Intricately plotted, everyone had secrets, everyone had their own agenda, every character was flawed to some degree. Ms. Fontainne has a knack for creating these troubled, nobody-is-perfect characters, and while you may not necessarily like them, they all remain so believable and real despite of all the major drama surrounding them. My favorite characters were actually some of the subsidiary ones: Bradford, the retired cop, what a great guy! And Sam and Suzy’s grandma, she was so funny and entertaining. As the body count rose, the pace remained fast and the unexpected revelations just kept on coming.

Andrea Emmes narrated this audio book with great pacing, suitable accents, and the right emotive tone where necessary. Her male voices were credible and the voice used for children was excellent, but the female characters were not always easy to differentiate. Still, this would have been a top listen if it hadn’t been for the subpar quality of the audio production. There were some sound issues, with the volume increasing and decreasing for the odd sentence here and there. It felt as if these sentences had been inserted at a later stage making the entire production somewhat jagged and disjointed.

Overall though, a very entertaining, dark and gritty Southern mystery with a lot of suspense and family drama.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Tamer Animals

  • By: Justin M. Woodward
  • Narrated by: Ryan Drean
  • Length: 5 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

Down by the old Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge, four high school friends only wanted to kick back for a day or two. Decades earlier, an old goat farmer had been murdered by the Klan, hung from a tree near the bridge solely because of the color of his skin. His body was never found. Since then, numerous sightings of a strange creature - half-man and half-goat - had been reported in the surrounding woods. He was called the Goatman. From the moment they arrived, strange noises echoed around them.... A sense they were being watched pervaded the campsite...and that was just the beginning.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exciting and adventurous coming of age story.

  • By Jason on 09-22-18

Never sleep again!

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

An adventure is to be had near the old Coheelee Creek covered bridge but only for those who are strong at heart and fearless. Seeking to escape their parents for a weekend, explore the urban myth and be teenage boys, Patrick, John, Tim, and Dean set out for the haunted bridge. Unbeknownst to them, Patrick’s young brother, Sam, is a stowaway.

A masterful storyteller, Justin Woodward sets out to grab the reader’s heartstrings and their own experiences to bind them to the characters in the story. Taking the boys home lives, their personalities and exposing them for all to see, the listener cannot help but connect to the boys.

Woodward paralyzes his readers with the gore, the ensuing and horrendous terror as well as the feeling of losing someone close. Long after the last breath is spoken, the listener will be haunted by the story for days afterward.

Fast moving and gory, Woodward spins his tale. He is very adept at keeping the listener off-keel as he throws in several twists. This is a horrifying story (cannot be said enough!). The number of different nightmares that are far reaching is amazing! Parents wondering if their kid is going to sneak off somewhere dangerous, their car is smashed, someone dies, someone goes missing, lies are told, trust is broken and if that’s not enough … guilt. Most of the instances in Woodward’s book is based on realistic situations which result in a horrifying conclusion and could saddle any parent with tons of guilt.

It should be noted that the book itself is short; 5 hours 3 minutes long. However, the amount of horror captured in this coming of age story is amazing!

The narrator, Ryan Drean, was very good. He injected levels of emotion that moved the book and listeners to the right place. He brought the characters to life through his talented voices. Very well done!

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook. However, there were some issues with my sleep patterns after hearing this book!

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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  • The Genesis Conspiracy

  • By: James D. Prescott
  • Narrated by: Gary Tiedemann
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 64

For over a decade, archaeologist Dr. Martin Anders has searched in vain for proof of the fabled continent of Atlantis. After raising a puzzling artifact from the ocean floor, Anders gets more than he bargained for. It is a piece of modern technology thousands of years old. When a deadly global pandemic threatens the human race with extinction, Anders fails to see how it may be connected to his startling new discovery. That is until he's approached by a powerful biotech company.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Genesis conspiracy

  • By trixie on 09-01-18

Action packed thriller with a bit of everything

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Author James D. Prescott and narrator Gary Tiedemann once again team up and pull off an exciting action-packed thriller in “The Genesis Conspiracy”. It is a bit shorter than the author’s other works at just under six in a half hours of audio, but as a listener, the book is fulfilling, enjoyable and engaging. If you like archaeological mysteries and enjoy plunging into the depth of the ocean in search of a lost city, this is the book you have been looking for. Mr. Prescott has set the level quite high in this book along with the others he has written. I have enjoyed each one of them and they all have felt very different from one another. In the same way, Mr. Tiedemann has established himself as quite the narrator as he is able to bring books to life in ways that make one feel they are watching a movie. If books containing adventure and history are your thing, I would say that this is a book to pick up and give it a listen.

The book opens with quite a mystery. A body is discovered at the base of a snowy mountain. It is believed to be over twelve thousand years-old yet a piece of clothing containing a zipper; how could this be? This is not the only strange thing discovered as the body appears to have been enclosed within a modern-day body bag. All of this is only the start of the journey our characters face while you listen to this audiobook. The detail of research and background information feels real and the technology is advanced while not overly progressive. Some of the technology used in the suits the characters wear on their trip was unique and interesting. There are micro drones and other implements which are used in various ways that may have you looking over your shoulders. The author is very good at knowing when to insert a scene with action while also being able to weave in a few emotional parts as well. It is a solid piece of writing.

As with the other books authored by Mr. Prescott, the characters in this book felt real and multidimensional. There was some good backstory included on many of the main characters and each felt distinctive in their own way. I enjoyed the banter between the various groups as each felt like they were a part of something bigger than themselves alone. Their travels took them to a new different place that required each to leverage the expertise of the others. The characters each had their own weakness and strengths much like relationships in the real world. I like the time and detail the author gives the characters as they really are the main support beams holding up the story. The book does have a few of your expected story tropes such as the evil corporation, a killer virus, and a few others. However, Mr. Prescott uses these in a way that feels thought out and a part of the story. For me, the book felt a bit like a blending of The Abyss and The Da Vinci Code with portions of the TV series Lost thrown in for a surprise. Toss in a bit of an apocalyptic storyline, and you have a well-written and narrated tale.

The audiobook’s narration was rich, deep, and clear of any noticeable audio artifacts. Mr. Tiedemann’s narrations are professionally produced, and he does an exceptional job of voicing characters with accents. I have enjoyed many other books from this narrator and not once have I been disappointed in his work. It is no different with this audiobook as either. Volume was consistent and character voicing made each easy to distinguish from the others.

For parents and younger readers, this book does contain a fair amount of vulgar language and crude humor. Also, there is some graphic violence and or more mature subject matter. The above is what many might expect from a team of military personnel, but much of it was unnecessary to the overall story. The story was well done, and if you can ignore the added language, I think for a more mature reader it is worth listening too.

In summary, if you are a fan of thrillers that are action-packed and include elements of science fiction and apocalyptic disasters, I think you would do well to give this book a listen. There are some really well thought out technologies and enough twists and turns keeping you on the edge of your seat. I listened to most of the book during a long road trip and I’m glad it was there by my side keeping me entertained the entire way.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • We Happy Few

  • The Leviathan Universe 2138
  • By: Edward D. Hudson
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Robert Taylor Ford is a renowned Shakespearean actor, delighting the galaxy as he masterfully plays his parts. But when his girlfriend and co-star turn up dead and he is accused of the crime, Ford narrowly escapes arrest aboard the starship Pegasus, only to be attacked by space-faring pirates. His hope of freedom dashed and facing death from seemingly invincible armored brigands, Ford takes on the most dangerous acting role of his life. If he fails to convince his new audience, this next performance will be his last.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Actor on the run gets shanghaied by space Pirates.

  • By ABJ on 02-11-18

Totally Unexpected

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Robert Taylor Ford, the acclaimed Shakespearean actor, is accused of having murdered his girlfriend and her lover. Robert needs to escape and boards the Pegasus without giving too much thought to where he is going. Just his luck the Pegasus is attacked by pirates.

First of all, I would like to say that this book was not what I expected, so my review could be tinted with that feeling of not getting what one thought at first. In a book set in the future, I did not expect the society where Robert lived in to be an almost Victorian society, where not only her Majesty was the ultimate power, but there was also an aristocratic smell all over the place. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these aspects in a story, but they feel out of place for me in a science-fiction book.

I found the first part a bit slow. We start with Robert thinking about committing suicide when a police agent miraculously decides for him that he should escape the authorities because he must be innocent. I don’t know, but this felt forced and not at all realistic.

Before the Pegasus is boarded by pirates, there is a slow part where some of the secondary characters on both ships are introduced. That part felt too long for me, and there are a bunch of names thrown at us almost at once which got me a bit confused.

The rest of the book is quite entertaining, and here it’s where we see Robert’s evolution and his interaction with the rest of the crew.

Something that I found odd, but could very well be connected to the Victorian feeling of the book, is that there are no important female characters. There are exactly three female characters in the book, and they are barely more than decoration: two of them are interested in Robert and only know how to show cleavage, and another one gets romantically attached to one of Robert’s friends. Nevertheless, there is little character development in general, and I was unable to connect with any of the characters, probably also due to the fact that they were all not very likable. For instance, I couldn’t stand Doctor Drake at all, and he was Robert’s friend.

It’s never clear in the story whether Robert killed his girlfriend or not, which makes me think that he did. He starts to show some character toward the end of the book since for the whole story he just happens to suffer anything that comes his way. This is one the things that probably failed for me. If the main character in the story didn’t care about what happened to him, how could I?

I enjoyed Tim Gerard Reynolds. I think narrating a book like this one is not an easy task, with so many characters Reynolds not only gave them different styles but used accents to distinguish the characters from the Pegasus and the pirate crew.

I’m glad that I listened to this book but unfortunately, I failed to see what the fuss was about. There will probably be more character development in future books, but as a first approach, it was just okay.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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  • Tiger Kingdom & the Book of Destiny

  • The Dream Chronicles, Volume 1
  • By: Stacie Eirich
  • Narrated by: Deva Marie Gregory
  • Length: 1 hr and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Once upon a time, on a cold autumn night, Suzie dreams of tigers rushing past on the streets outside her bedroom. Her twin brother, Jack, tells her it was only a dream, but was it? When a school writing assignment turns magical, Suzie and Jack find themselves in a mysterious, enchanted forest: Tiger Kingdom. There, they meet magical creatures, find a fairy-tale castle, and discover that they aren't the only children in the kingdom.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Fantasy Adventure

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 10-17-18

Classic Fantasy Adventure

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Tiger Kingdom is the first book in “The Dream Chronicles” series written by Stacie Eirich and performed by Deva Marie Gregory. The cover gave me a “Magic Treehouse” vibe but while it does include some world traveling, the story is unique. It is also not a series of standalone books; this is a traditional series of books that requires the second book to continue the story. Thank goodness that second book is already out and ready for listening! (It’s titled Bear Kingdom & the Golden Sword). On to the review!

This imaginative novel is set in a myriad of different worlds, the two most imperative to this novel being “our” world and the Tiger Kingdom. We start with an introduction to the main protagonist, 12-year-old Suzie, and her twin brother, Jack, in their bedroom when Suzie wakes up and sees a tiger outside. Then, while drawing a picture of the tiger at school the next day, Suzie is transported to a new world. Her brother joins her on her adventure where they meet some interesting (and some scary!) creatures and find their way to the tiger kingdom.

This book vividly depicted the landscapes of each world, almost like poetry. But, where the descriptions astounded, the underlying plot was unclear for the majority of the novel. This doesn’t necessarily detract because it is such a short story that it doesn’t take long to come across that plot. However, by the time I was really drawn into their adventure, the story was coming to its close. As it is, this was a good first book and I’m intrigued to see how the next one builds off of it! I’d especially like to learn more about the antagonists!

While the setting was well portrayed, it felt like a couple of the characters kept getting lost. Suzie would be focusing on and/or enjoying what she was doing but then Jack would appear and suddenly she was focused on how Jack was finally with her and she could relax, but there was no indication that she was worried in the first place. And, while the story was told from first person through Suzie’s eyes, her voice seemed to get lost in the descriptions. I also noted that several sentences started with present participles (words ending in -ing), which isn’t my favorite writing style, but that is more about a specific preference than a general opinion.

Deva Marie Gregory, the narrator, was magnificent and I have only praise for her. Her tone was great, her singing was beautiful, and she really brought the story to life. It was a pleasure to listen to her performance!

While this story is about 12-year-olds I would say that the writing style and brevity of the book will appeal to both elementary and middle school students. It was easy to read, classic fantasy adventure.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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  • Rogue Wave

  • A Troy Bodean Tropical Thriller, Book 1
  • By: David F. Berens
  • Narrated by: Theo Holland
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

Back from his tour in Afghanistan, Troy Clint Bodean had everything he needed for some peace and quiet: a good fishing pole, a pickup truck, and a beach house on a small island in South Carolina. All was right with the world - until he found the hat. It was a straw cowboy hat with a peacock feather stuck in the band and it looked good on him, really good. That's when everyone started trying to kill him, and he had no idea why. Hold on to your hat!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Carl Hiaseen meets the Coen brothers

  • By Kari Anne on 12-26-17

Laugh until the tears run

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

A new opportunity in Troy Bodean’s life enables him to live the life of a beach bum, well, more or less. His good looks, inability to stay out of trouble and the sexy blonde chick who has recently sent him “interested” vibes turn his world upside down. His landlord has been recently found murdered, his discovery that his (Ms. Right) ex-girlfriend lives up the hill is just the beginning of his bad luck. His finding and rescuing a cowboy hat with a peacock feather in it is a sign of his luck changing … uh, no!

The hat holds the key to murder, intrigue and two very rude illiterate Australian hitmen sent to recover the mystery the hat holds. There are a slew of other characters that bring the listener to near tears of laughter – Chesney, the twin pole dancing blondes, the two Australian hit-men, and the ice cream truck guy.

An interesting and highly entertaining murder thriller with engaging characters that keep the action moving. David Berens has written an action-packed thriller that keeps the listener’s attention. In places, it is highly amusing while in others it is extremely dark. This is a good book, but one that has some highly violent scenes. I’m not sure I believed the two hit-men; they were a bit flakier than I would have imagined.

The characters are well-developed with realistic dialog throughout the book. Lots of moving pieces that come together, although I thought Bodean could have been developed slightly more. There were places where he did not seem the main character or he took too many steps back into the background.

The narrator, Theo Holland, has a talented voice that helped draw the listener in and added a bit of flair to the story. I enjoyed the voices he used for each character. He did a good solid job of narration, I enjoyed his voice.

I had no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Tale of Two Gardens

  • Sentinels of Creation, Volume 2
  • By: Robert W. Ross
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 151

It's been slightly over a year since Kellan Thorne first accepted the Sentinel's mantel, and its power was renewed in him. He thought destroying an Arch Demon and banishing his Chaotic opposite would have brought him more respite than it did. Now Creation itself is under threat, by a Cabal of Angels and Demons who have found a way to shatter the foundational pillars of Time itself. This dire warning is brought to the young Sentinel by an unlikely messenger, who risks all to enlist the aid of God's unchecked hand on the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Never stops being exciting.

  • By Gary on 06-03-18

Unchecked Hand of God Goes Wild!

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Kellan Thorne has been the Sentinel for a year now, learning the ways of the role he took. However, visited by an ancient vampire, Thorne finds himself thrust into yet another universe threatening adventure. A Cabal of Angels and Demons have come together to destroy the foundation of time thus destroying creation.

Thorne must first rescue Shannon who has stayed far too long outside her time period. Aided by Meghan and the being known as Seramai, and many others Thorne travels to defeat the Cabal and save creation. He finds some unlikely supporters in his quest. Kellan’s interactions with Satan, the vampire and vampire’s father are delightfully hilarious!

The conversations Thorne has with himself are engaging, light and fun – almost like listening to “a squirrel on meth” as stated in his book. The characters are well-developed; Kellan, in particular, is delightful given his “gift of gab.” The book is fun, a quick listen and hooks the listener in early. I love this series!

Robert Ross has created a series that has adventure, fun, mischief, and well, one just can’t shut it off until the last word is spoken! Well developed, the plot moves smoothly. Descriptive and vivid imagery adds to the audiobook.

I think because it touches on so much – ancient world to the present day – that it is fascinatingly interesting and fun. I loved how Ross brought in Jarvis (an AI modeled after the AI in Ironman). The interaction between Jarvis and Kellan is hilarious!

The narrator, Nick Podehl is excellent! He is Kellan! He has his “squirrel on meth” conversations down pat; his voice is smooth, calm and draws in the listener completely. Oh my! I loved it! Can’t wait for book 3!

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Deadfall Hotel

  • By: Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21

The Deadfall Hotel is where our nightmares go, it’s where the dead pause to rest between worlds, and it’s where Richard Carter and his daughter Serena go to rediscover life - if the things at the hotel don’t kill them first. Think of it as the vacation resort of the collective unconscious. With the powerful prose that has earned him awards and accolades, Steve Rasnic Tem explores the roots of fear and society’s fascination with things horrific, using the many-layered metaphor of the Deadfall Hotel.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not Scary So Much As Interesting

  • By Big Cheese on 03-23-18

Special Scary Fun

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Man, I wanted to love this book. Give me a haunted hotel or house any day, and I want to immerse myself in it. This story had so much potential for greatness but fell a little short for me.

The setting is a hotel where monsters, ghosts, and creatures go on vacation or to retire. Deadfall Hotel is not what I would call a horror story. It was not scary but more like some of Stephen King’s books’ unusualness rather than scariness. There are supernatural elements like ghosts, monsters, a swimming pool that appears and disappears randomly, and the hotel has its own weird quirks.

Jacob, the current caretaker, was the hotel manager before Richard and his daughter, Serena, came to Deadfall Hotel. Richard takes the manager’s job and Jacob stays on as a mentor of sorts. There seems to be a history of former managers becoming caretakers and staying on to help care for the hotel’s “special” clientele. Throughout the book, Jacob shares parts of the story through his journal entries, and I found those parts the most revealing.

Richard, a single dad following the death of his wife in a house fire, responds to a job ad, and the next thing you know, he’s the new manager of the Deadfall Hotel, where apparently, no experience is required. Although, I don’t know what prior experience he could have had to prepare him to manage a hotel like Deadfall.

After Richard and his daughter settle in, it’s not long before Richard’s dead wife makes several cameo appearances; not so much to interact with Richard or his daughter, but more so with Jacob. Richard is the protagonist in the story, but his character is never fully developed. For a story with so much going for it, none of the characters were compelling. I never discovered a sense of who Richard or his daughter was. I felt lost at times because the story seemed to jump from scene to scene without smooth transitions and no strong sense of the timeline. A book needs a definite ending. This one sort of rambles on.

On the bright side, the narrator, Matt Godfrey, has a pleasant reading voice and did a fantastic job with each of the characters, particularly the voice of Jacob. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bottom-line, I would have liked: more depth to the characters, Jacob’s point of view instead of Richard’s, and that all the under-developed great ideas within the story could have been …well – more.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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  • Benvari Mountains

  • Emerilia, Book 2
  • By: Michael Chatfield
  • Narrated by: Tristan Morris
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 953
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 900
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 898

As the fight for Boran-al's Citadel draws to a close, Dave's learned one important lesson: To protect what he cares for, he's going to have to become stronger. He can't just sit back in Cliff-Hill and take things easy. Emerilia is filled with danger as well as possibilities. It's time that Dave becomes a Master Smith.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Benvari went over the Mountain, the Benvari...

  • By Ray Johnson on 04-02-18

Refreshingly Different

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Benvari Mountains by Michael Chatfield laid out more of the journey of Dave the halfling, Dia and others that were in the first book. It also reintroduced Susie (earth reality) from the first book and who nows begins playing the online game, Emerilia.

This will be the last book of this series for me. The things that I hoped would improve in the second book, didn’t. Some of the things I didn’t care for in the first book, were delved into even more in the second novel. Unfortunately, the main thing that Chatfield excelled at in The Trapped Mind Project (that fantastic battle!) had nothing comparable in Benvari Mountains. If you’re a Litrpg fan and don’t mind listening to a narrated version of someone playing an MMORPG then this is definitely for you. One positive thing (or not) about listening to this series is I that I restarted my Runescape membership. (Compared to the fast-paced MMO’s that are out there now, I feel like I just confessed to playing Neopets again.)

Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about Benvari Mountains:

I loved the dragons and could have listened to much more about them. I really liked that the author didn’t create jealousy or fighting between Dia and Susie. Thank you so very much for that, Mr. Chatfield. The MC’s skill (Smithing) is not associated with the usual skill behind heroics; like Strength, Consitution, Attack etc) and that makes the Emerilia series refreshingly different. The constant reciting of the stats was really pared back in this book. Statistics are something that can be skimmed over in a private reading but will become redundant and mind-numbing in a narration of an audiobook. I didn’t mind that this book was half the size of the first. I felt like the first book was a meld of two novels so I didn’t have a problem with the length of this book.

I’ve read other reviews that absolutely loved the romance between Dia and Dave but I’m not one of them. There can be a good integration but I didn’t see it here. And the EPIC battle that Chatfield wrote in the first book was only a couple of skirmishes in the second. Honestly, that was the main thing that broke my bloodthirsty heart. That battle was such a brilliant part of the first book. The story arc in Benvari Mountains dealt mainly with Dave’s smithing and that wasn’t enough for me to get into a third novel. I had a difficult time finishing this audiobook.

The narration by Tristan Morris was again spot on. He creates just enough differences in characters voices that it’s clear who is speaking but not too different that it becomes distracting or pulls one out of the story. I’m definitely looking into more books he has narrated.

If you take note of this sort of thing: Benvari Mountains has a lot of profanity, sexual situations, and some violence.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
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  • Legacy

  • The Biodome Chronicles Series, Book 1
  • By: Jesikah Sundin
  • Narrated by: Sunil Patel
  • Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

A sensible young nobleman and his fiery sister live in an experimental medieval village. Sealed inside this biodome since infancy, Leaf and Willow have been groomed by The Code to build a sustainable world, one devoid of Outsider interference. One that believes death will give way to life. All is ideal until their father bequeaths a family secret with his dying breath, placing an invisible crown of power on Leaf's head. Now, everyone in their quiet town is suspect.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great world building, intriguing characters . . .

  • By The Book Junkie Reads . . . on 02-08-18

Modern Medieval Green Living

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Jesikah Sundin has done some phenomenal world building in her novel Legacy. The novel is set in the future where almost everything is dependent on technology. Within that world, there is a medieval village contained within a very large biodome. Inside the biodome, there is no technology and life is lived in a “green” way. People can come out of the biodome if they need medical help (but so far none have). The young adults living in the dome were born there and they know no other life. There are some mysterious events and people being manipulated for unknown reasons. This is not a stand-alone novel and the ending was the beginning of a particular part, I had been looking forward to.

The characters are very different from each other but most are very interesting. As is often the case, the rebel is usually the more interesting character but Sundin has created most of her characters as people you cheer for and they aren’t so good that you become bored. In fact, the mannerisms of the characters are so well written, I could see most of the characters in my mind’s eye. I kept picturing Fillion as a young Judd Nelson from Breakfast Club.

The writing is exceptional. I became really engrossed in the story. And when it was finished, I immediately bought the ebook version of the second book. At the time of this writing, there wasn’t an audiobook for the second or third novel.

And there needs to be. (hint, hint)

Production: In the beginning, there was background static/hiss but that goes away eventually. I listened to the beginning of this audiobook on several audiobook player apps, through the computer and my phone and the beginning static was on all the apps and devices. If that bothers you, I highly recommend you bear with it for a bit because this book is magnificent and Sunil Patel is a fantastic narrator.

Patel, does a straight reading but it is well done. I’m usually a fan of the narrator’s who do “voices” but I quickly became very engrossed in the storyline and Patel’s narration. He is an excellent narrator who is lovely to listen to. The only negatives I found were that at times the dialogue was written in such a way that it was difficult to tell which character was saying what and a couple of times, his narrating sped up but he soon went back to a more relaxed speed. Something I thought was humorous was that the narrator acted out the spitting noises. I’m still not sure what I think about that. It felt like he really got into the story and I don’t blame him as the writing is superb. All in all, though, these are very small things and didn’t distract too much from his narration.

Yes, this is a young adult book but this middle-aged wench was thoroughly enthralled with it. I highly recommend this series.

Note: There are drug references, underage drinking, and profanity if you keep track of that sort of thing.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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