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Karissa Eckert

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  • Tropic of Serpents

  • Memoir by Lady Trent, Book 2
  • By: Marie Brennan
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 597
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 598

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp wyrms of the tropics. The expedition is not an easy one....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Like Listening to the Lady Naturalist Herself

  • By Kbozzerelli on 03-25-15

Another great addition to this series!

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

This is the second book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I really enjoyed all the adventure in this book and loved exploring the alternate world that Lady Trent lives in.

I listened to this on audiobook and Kate Reading does an amazing job narrating the story. I would definitely recommend listening to on audiobook if you enjoy audiobooks.

Aside from all the wonderful adventures; Lady Trent grows a lot as a naturalist and starts actually making herself a name in this book. I enjoy her character and how dedicated she is to her science. In this novel she is also working on some personal issues and struggling with how to act and engage as a mother to her young son.

Additionally, I really enjoyed learning about some new species of dragons; each book has introduced a new species and built on information from the previous books.

Overall this was another fun fantasy adventure read set in a Victorian-like time period. I have been enjoying this series a lot and plan on continuing it.

  • Dungeon Born

  • Divine Dungeon Series, Book 1
  • By: Dakota Krout
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,483
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,025
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,998

For eons, conquering dungeons has been the most efficient way to become a strong adventurer. Although not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Several questions have always plagued the minds of those who enter these mythical places of power: why are there so many monsters? Where do the amazing weaponry and heavy gold coins come from? Why does the very air fill with life-giving energies? Cal has all of the answers to these age-old questions, for a very simple reason. He is a Dungeon Heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Gem in the RPG/Fantasy Genre

  • By SirMehr on 04-01-17

Fun take on RPG based fantasy fiction

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

This is the first book in the Divine Dungeon series. This was a fun fantasy read that was creative and had a ton of gamer geek culture references in it. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I listened to this on audiobook and was really impressed with narration. Adam also narrates The Heartstrikers series and does a great job on that series too. I would definitely recommend listening to on audiobook is you love audiobooks.

This book goes between two POVs. The first is that of a newly born dungeon who he trying to grow himself into a more dangerous dungeon. The second is that of a young man who found the dungeon and bought the land the dungeon is on; he is trying to become an adventurer.

The whole idea behind dungeons being grown and being a huge part of society is really intriguing and creative. There are tons of wonderful gamer/geek references throughout that I really enjoyed.

My only complaint is that sometimes it got a bit dry as mechanics for how the dungeon and ranking up were explained...almost reference bookish.

Overall this was a fun read and I plan on continuing the series. I would recommend to those who enjoy fantasy and are into RPGs, the mechanics of gaming, and love reading about dungeon delving.

  • A Natural History of Dragons

  • A Memoir by Lady Trent
  • By: Marie Brennan
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,994
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,867
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,860

You, dear listener, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart - no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments - even at the risk of one's life - is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten….All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Fantastical, Scientific, and Captivating Joy Ride

  • By Abbygail on 03-06-16

Well done Victorian fantasy!

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

Reviewed: 10-27-18

This is the first of five books in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. Previous to reading this book I had also read Brennan’s Doppleganger series (enjoyed it) and the first book in her Onyx Court series (didn’t like it). This is a historical fantasy of sorts and is told from an aged Lady Trent's POV. She tells the reader about her childhood and her start into the research of dragons. I ended up enjoying this quite a bit.

I listened to this on audiobook and really enjoyed it. Kate Reading always does a phenomenal job narrating and I loved listening to her read this book. I would highly recommend listening to this on audiobook if you enjoy audiobooks.

I love this kind of Victorian fantasy, and despite being a bit slow at times, I really enjoyed this. I love how scientific minded Lady Trent is and how she is portrayed throughout. She has a witty and dry sense of humor and is never overly sentimental. There isn’t any romance in this book, so if you are looking for that don’t look here.

Overall this was a great read and I will definitely continue this series. I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book. I would recommend to those who enjoy Victorian fantasies about mythical creatures.

  • Feast of Souls

  • Magister Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: C. S. Friedman
  • Narrated by: Elisabeth Rodgers
  • Length: 18 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 782
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 716
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 717

C.S. Friedman, acclaimed author of The Coldfire Trilogy, returns to the epic style which has made her one of the most popular fantasy writers in the genre. In this first book of the trilogy, Friedman introduces listeners to a world of high fantasy, replete with vampire-like magical powers, erotic interludes, treachery, war, sorcery, and a draconic creature of horrific power and evil that will have listeners eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Price of Power - Would You Pay It??

  • By Stefan on 08-30-13

Excellent start to an amazing epic fantasy series!

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

Previous to reading this book I have read all of Friedmann’s other novels (aside from the Magister series) and really enjoyed them. I ended up really enjoying this book first novel in the Magister series as well. This is a beautifully written epic fantasy series with engaging characters, an interesting magic system, and an intricate plot.

I listened to this on audiobook and it was very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed this as an audiobook and plan on listening to the rest of the series on audiobook as well. I would definitely recommend if you enjoy audiobooks.

The story follow a number of different characters. The first of these is Kamala, a young woman who is determined to become a Magister when previously only men have become Magisters. The second is Andovan, a young prince who is suffering from a wasting disease and decides to strike out on his own to find the cause of this illness. We also hear from a number of Magisters, the mad king Danton, and the king’s wife Gwen.

I love the magic system in this book. It is intriguing and interesting to learn about. All the characters are very engaging and easy to read about, even the evil ones. The story is complex but easy to follow and has themes of good vs evil. I also love all the thoughts and questions around how magic is used and if the Magisters lives are really worth more than anyone else's.

Overall this was an excellent epic fantasy read. I would recommend to those who enjoy epic fantasies with interesting magic systems and classic themes of good vs evil.

  • The Alienist

  • By: Caleb Carr
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 20 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,293
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,889
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,881

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding on several levels.

  • By lyl on 12-30-12

Not for me

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

This is the first book in the Dr. Laszlo Kreizler series. I listened to the first half (10hrs) of this audiobook on a long car trip. I thought it was fairly boring and kept finding my mind wandering while listening to this. I opted to stop listening to this and move onto something else because I didn’t want to fall asleep while driving.

The audiobook is well done. Guidall does an excellent job with narration, conveying emotion, and keeping character voices straight. This is impressive because there are a lot of characters in this book.

My main issues with this book was that there was just too much hashing and rehashing of psychological theories and lots of unnecessary historical information that doesn't have an impact on the overall story. As our characters again rehashed psychological theories about why the killer would be abusing children, my mind would wander and I would wonder if the story was ever going to make any progress….this could have been a 10 hr audiobook easy but stretching it out was ridiculous.

The subject matter here isn’t pleasant; it involves a lot of gruesome child abuse/killings and a lot of sexual abuse/deviancy as well. Just a heads up for those who don’t like to read that kind of thing...this is definitely an adult book.

Overall I wasn’t a fan of this book, it just wasn’t for me. Despite the gruesome subject matter, the material was strangely boring and it took forever for the story to make any progress. If you enjoy mysteries that delve into a lot of irrelevant historical facts and are interested in killer psychology you might enjoy this. I just found it tedious.

  • The Shadow Reader

  • Shadow Reader, Book 1
  • By: Sandy Williams
  • Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 174
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 157
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 156

A Houston college student, McKenzie Lewis, can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae king, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A YA Fae story that I actually loved..

  • By Ezinwanyi on 06-01-14

Feels like a YA book with a horrible love triangle

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

This is the first book in the Shadow Reader series, this series is a trilogy. This was an okay urban fantasy read. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, the characters or the story...everything was just okay.

The story about a human woman named McKenzie who can read the shadows to help fae teleport to different places. McKenzie would love to leave the Shadow Reader job and have a normal human life. However, when she is kidnapped by Rebel Fae her whole life turns topsy turvy.

My main issue with this book is that it sounded very YA but the heroine is a woman in her 20's. I found this very odd; like the book couldn't decide what it was. Writing style, conversations, and the simple story were very YA in style...I kept thinking this character was in her teens and then being reminded by the author that she was much older.

This book really focuses on a romantic triangle, which I am not a fan of. The heroine's skill to read shadows was interesting but this really took a backseat to the romantic triangle (she is going back and forth between the warlord of a Fae court and the battle commander of a Fae rebel group). The story was very simple and unimaginative.

Overall this book wasn't something I liked all that much. I won't be continuing the series. I wouldn’t recommend because there is much better adult urban fantasy out there.

  • Boy's Life

  • By: Robert R. McCammon
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 20 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,009
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,881
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,880

Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson - a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake - and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible, haunting vision of death. As Cory struggles to understand his father's pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that surround him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Feast for the Senses!

  • By Kim Venatries on 10-13-14

Amazing story that works on so many levels!

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

Previous to reading this book I had read McCammon’s “Swan Song” and absolutely loved it. This was amazingly well written and engaging. I enjoyed it a ton. It's a murder mystery all wrapped up in the story of a boy growing up in a small Southern town in the 1960's. This is one of those books I loved so much, that I don’t think I can write an adequate review for it.

I listened to this on audiobook and it was incredibly well read. Newbern was the perfect narrator for this book and I highly recommend listening to this on audiobook if you like audiobooks.

McCammon is one of those writers who is just amazing. His writing style is so spectacular and absolutely masterful.

In this book we follow Cory Mackenson through part of his boyhood life. When he is eleven years old him and his father see a man driven into a lake and killed. As Cory’s dad gets more and more obsessed with the murder, Cory himself is driven to figure out who the killer is.

Woven in between the above is Cory’s day to day life, some of it ordinary and some of it spectacular. There are a number of magical things that happen to Cory through this summer, most of them have a tone of magical realism to them rather than outright fantasy.

This story is full of poignant and heartfelt thoughts. In addition to being highly entertaining, humorous, and terrifying it’s also incredibly thought-provoking. This book worked at so many levels for me that I was left amazed and astounded at the cleverness of it all. Some of the scenes get a bit gory and intense but I still plan on reading this again with my son (11 yr old)/husband on audiobook.

Overall this was an amazing read, it was so much more than I was expecting. I think this is one of those books everyone should read. It’s a great look into the past, a thrilling story, a wondrous look at growing up, magical, and a great look at family too!

  • The Demon's Lexicon

  • By: Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely fabulous

  • By Kari on 07-16-09

Standard YA urban fantasy fare...

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

Reviewed: 09-27-18

This is the first book in the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. This was an okay YA paranormal/UF book. It's a fairly dark story, and while I didn't hate it, it was incredibly predictable. I kept hoping for something to happen that I didn't expect and it never did.

I listened to this on audiobook and the narration was fine; I didn’t really love it or hate it. I would recommend listening to on audiobook if you enjoy audiobooks.

The story is about a couple brothers that are fleeing a cult of evil mages that are after their insane mother. It’s pretty dark for a YA novel, but not awfully so. There is some action, mystery, and of course demonic elements.

I did enjoy the creative take on demons and their interaction with humans and our world; this was a bit different than other YA demon themed urban fantasies I have read. I also liked that this wasn't really "romance" focused but was focused more on family, friendship, and what it means to be human.

Overall an okay book, but I wasn't all that engaged in the story and found that whole thing to be too predictable. I don't plan on continuing with the series.

  • Red-Headed Stepchild

  • By: Jaye Wells
  • Narrated by: Cynthia Holloway
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 424
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 341
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 341

Sabina Kane doesn't really fit in. And being an assassin doesn't help matters. But she's never brought her work home. Until now. Sabina's latest mission is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As she scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family, and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life changing, but together they could be lethal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • All I can say is WOW!

  • By RC on 10-27-12

Stereotypical UF

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

This is the first book in the Sabina Kane series; there are five books in this series. This was okay, it was a pretty typical vampire urban fantasy. The dialogue was kind of awkward throughout and there wasn’t a lot of description throughout the book. I didn’t really engage with any of the characters either. Previous to reading this book I had read Wells’ “Dirty Magic” and didn’t really enjoy that book either.

I listened to this on audiobook and the narration was okay but not great. The narrator was pretty stiff sounding and didn’t do a very good job conveying excitement and emotion. She did the different character voices fine, but her stiffness made it hard to engage in the story.

I found a lot of the actions the characters took and the plot elements to be silly and contrived. I didn’t really enjoy the world or the characters presented here.

The writing was a bit stiff and awkward, although I think the narration contributed to that some as well. Considering I didn’t like the first book in Wells’ other series either “Dirty Magic”, I just don’t seem to like her writing style.

The plot is a fairly typical blend of vampires, mages, and fae. There really wasn’t anything all that creative or interesting here.

Overall this was an okay book but not great. It’s a pretty typical UF read and makes for a quick read. I think there’s much better UF out there and won’t be continuing the series.

  • Magic Triumphs

  • Kate Daniels, Book 10
  • By: Ilona Andrews
  • Narrated by: Renee Raudman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,560
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,456
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,448

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be. Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything we hoped for...

  • By IreneMBBT on 08-28-18

Spectacular conclusion to the Kate Daniels series!

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

This is the tenth and final book in the Kate Daniels series. I was very impressed with this conclusion to the Kate Daniels series. I love how everything was wrapped up and enjoy that this series ended on a high note.

Kate and Curran are trying to juggle their jobs and their new baby just like any parents. However, when a whole town goes missing Kate knows things are about to get very serious and very complicated. As more and more strange things start happening around Atlanta, Kate is surprised to find the danger coming from an unexpected source.

I had a couple small complaints but nothing big. I wasn’t sure how I felt about mom-Kate; some of the stuff was funny but I also like to read these books because they deal with crazy problems...not the same everyday sorts of problems I have to deal with in real life. I also thought a lot of the things that happened towards the end felt a bit rushed and a bit too convenient.

Aside from those small complaints I really enjoyed this. There was a good amount of action, all our favorite characters get in on the action, and the plot is entertaining. All the main plot threads were tied up nicely. This has been a great urban fantasy series and I am glad things ended on a positive note. I feel like the series had gone down hill a bit the last couple novels and thought this was the perfect place to wrap things up.

Overall this was an amazing way to end the Kate Daniels series! I would highly recommend this series to urban fantasy fans. This is a high quality and creative UF series that is action packed and just very well done.