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Brian

Niagara Falls, NY
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  • Opus Adventure

  • A Survival and Preparedness Story (One Man's Opus, Book 3)
  • By: Boyd Craven III
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85

Rick, Tina, and their new family members embark on a journey with Annette to Miami, Florida, for a cruise where trouble was brewing. Once again, Rick, Tina, and their furry owners must use their preps and wits to survive the fury of more than a mere hurricane. With first Tina and then Owen going missing, Rick and his canines must race to find them before it's too late.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Book For Dog Lovers

  • By Brian on 10-16-18

A Book For Dog Lovers

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

First and foremost: thank you to Boyd Craven for writing a book where Kevin Pierce, the voice of the apocalypse, has to talk… like a toddler. Seriously, this made the book for me. As unbelievable as it was, it was perfect to hear him try and do scenes of “Mamamamama” and “Dadadada”. I know they weren’t meant to be funny, but I hope a part of you wrote that knowing that Kevin was going to have to narrate it later.

I think this is one of those books where if you own a dog – you will absolutely love it. The main characters in it are three well trained German Shepard’s. Sure there are the human characters (husband Rick, wife Tina, and 2-year-old son) but we all know that these Opus books are about the dogs.

I have a dog who is a mix between a Shiba Inu and American Eskimo – while he doesn’t do all of the things that Opus, Ophelia, and Sarge do – he does some of them. And that made me like this book even more. He chuffs and answers me when I ask him questions. It’s pretty funny reading a book where the dogs do the same thing.

There were chapters where Craven would write the story from the Dogs point of view – and those were my absolute favorites. There would be lines like “the human that I’m babysitting” and “up like the sky and down like the ocean” when talking about going up vs down the stairs. Lots of these little lines were in the book but really made the characters likable and to anyone who owns a dog and wonders how they think, it was endearing for sure.

This is an extremely hard book to characterize because it wasn’t a Post-Apocalyptic story (at least as typical stories like this go). But it was more of a Thriller that contained a character who was a Prepper.

Overall, I thought that Opus Adventure was a great book that really warmed my heart. I’m sorry to hear about Craven’s loss at the end and I can imagine how hard writing a book like this would be after losing your best friend like that. You could tell that he added in some of the “feelings” that Opus was going through (being stiff, not feeling the way he used to, still feeling like a puppy) that were probably related to the aging and loss of his dog. It was extremely well done though. I requested a free copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

  • Daughters of Forgotten Light

  • By: Sean Grigsby
  • Narrated by: Morgan Hallett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Lena "Horror" Horowitz leads the Daughters of Forgotten Light, one of three vicious gangs fighting for survival on the deep-space prison of Oubliette. Their fragile truce is shaken when a new shipment arrives from Earth carrying a fresh batch of prisoners and supplies to squabble over. But the delivery includes two new surprises: a drone and a baby. Earth Senator Linda Dolfuse wants evidence of the bloodthirsty gangs to justify the government finally eradicating the wasters dumped on Oubliette. There's only one problem: The baby in the drone's video may be hers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Extremely Poignant Cyberpunk Sci-Fi

  • By Brian on 10-16-18

Extremely Poignant Cyberpunk Sci-Fi

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

I’ve had this one since I requested it as an ARC – unfortunately life got in the way and I wasn’t able to finish it in time (or even near pre-release). But, I’m glad that I checked this one out. It was a well thought out adventure.

I honestly picked this up synopsis-unread because of Sean’s first book Smoke Eaters. I loved that book so much that I knew I needed to read whatever else he put up. Plus, check out that sweet cover. It’s awesome, isn’t it?

Daughters of Forgotten Light tells a story of a space colony where girls are sent by mothers and families who don’t want them anymore. They are sent up to pay debts. They are sent up because the girls are considered broken or other incredibly messed up reasons.

Grigsby throws in a lot of the political turmoil that our country is currently going through into Daughters. He talks a lot about “a mothers right to choose” and then about the regrets (or not) associated with making a life-altering decision. I won’t get into the major pros and cons of this approach but know that this book was needed. And reading it around the time of the whole Kavanaugh debacle – made it even more poignant.

Daughters is part thriller, part political, part sci-fi, and a big part cyberpunk. The characters in it were real and memorable. The stories they told were unique and needed. The book itself was a blast to read – I finished it in a couple days and I’m glad I picked it up on audio.

Honestly, I can’t really talk about any of the plot because it’ll give away too much. Just know you’re in for Tron-like bike riding, girls/women who know exactly what they want, cannibals, and a corrupted political system.

  • Make Something Good Today

  • By: Ben Napier, Erin Napier
  • Narrated by: Erin Napier, Ben Napier
  • Length: 5 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 43

From Ben and Erin Napier, the stars of the hit HGTV show Home Town, comes Make Something Good Today, a memoir that lets us all know that great love stories are possible, big things can bloom in small towns, and there is always magic in the ordinary if you know where to look for it. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Wonderful Memoir

  • By Brian on 10-16-18

A Wonderful Memoir

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

When I first found out that Fixer Upper was going away I was worried that I wasn’t going to find another show that I liked similar to that. Then comes Ben & Erin Napier and Home Town. I instantly fell in love with the show, their personalities, and their big southern charm.

So, when I found out they were writing and narrating a book I was excited. I really don’t know much about their backstory and I was intrigued to figure out who they were and where they came from. Make Something Good Today Gave me that and more.

I’m a big guy like Ben (not as tall) and have a similar heritage – so I identified with him a lot on the show. My wife is also short, cute, and, creative like Erin – so you can see why we fell in love with them. I was not prepared for just how cute Ben really is. I consider myself to be a romantic but Ben blows me out of the water. The scenes where they talked about when they first met, first dated, and where he proposed had me smiling from ear to ear while listening. If you didn’t know what I was listening to you might think I was a bit crazy. It was just so cute and so incredibly adorable to listen to them tell it from both of their perspectives.

They don’t go too much into the story behind Home Town which was fine with me. They talk a little bit about the pilot and what it was like shooting in the southern heat. But a lot of the story is where they came from, what shaped them, and how they overcame certain issues (quitting jobs, not knowing what they wanted to do next, not getting a political position, etc).

There was so much in Make Something Good Today that I didn’t know it was a joy to read from beginning to end. I’m glad I picked this one up!

  • Watcher

  • The Watcher Series, Book 1
  • By: AJ Eversley
  • Narrated by: Chelsea Stephens, Steve Campbell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

As a Watcher, Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect her fellow humans. But the Bots and Carbons that overran her city are evolving, and are picking off her comrades one by one. Embarking on a desperate mission to save humanity from extinction, Sawyer discovers that the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn when one of her own betrays them. Faced with a choice between fulfilling her vow and avenging those who have fallen, she must ultimately decide who can be saved...and who can’t.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Story!

  • By D. Sturgeon on 10-15-18

YA Dystopian Done Right

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

4.5 out of 5 stars

I'm not always a fan of when an author includes an "it's like this thing you like meets this thing you like".  It always feels like they are trying to link themselves to something more famous even if their books have nothing to do with it (or very little).  Fortunately, for Watcher - Eversley was dead on.  It was really like Divergent meets Terminator.  It had the dystopian groups (the Watchers reminded me a lot of Dauntless).  And then there were humanoid robots and Cabrons who were out to destroy the remaining humans in pretty much any way they could.  I'd say that comparing it to those two films (and books) was pretty dead on.

Sawyer was a slight cookie cutter heroine but it didn't take away from the story at all.  She was kind of reckless - putting herself and others in danger when she didn't really need to, wasn't really a rule follower, etc. While these are all the norm for books like this. Sawyer was given a little more to like.  The guy she meets later in the story is also a little typical (sort of bad boy but also good for her). In my eyes, in YA books like this, it's as much about the world and the interaction with it as it is the characters.  I also assume it's really hard to make a standout and unique character when you have the Katniss and Tris's of the YA Dystopian world without making them a little similar. 

I was a big fan of Divergent and I thought that Eversley created a world that was more interesting while also making the story stand on its own.  Sawyer was one of those should be forgetful characters but something stuck out to me about her.  I think the flashbacks and the "it's been 10 years" parts of the book (taking her from 8 to 18) made me feel for her on a deeper level. Realizing that she was basically raised to be a Watcher and nothing else (no teenager moments, boys, etc).

I've never read anything by Eversley before - but I will be continuing the series.  I think that it translated really well to audio especially with Chelsea Stephens at the helm.  She was able to give a voice to Sawyer - allowing her to jump off the page.  The addition of Steven Campbell was also needed in my opinion.  For Chelsea to read his parts (even if they were in the third person) would/could have been jarring.  But having a male narrate the major male character (especially while getting a glimpse into his mind) really stood out to me. I think it was needed and allowed Chelsea to focus on moving Sawyer forward without much distraction or interruption. 

Overall, a YA Dystopian novel that was a genuine surprise to me.  So many books try to be the next YA hit and fail on so many levels - but Eversley including the typical YA fare with brooding teenagers, first loves, and suspense. But also threw in a lot of heart, some betrayal (I guess this is pretty typical too), and freakin' robots!

If you liked Divergent or Terminator - give this one a try.  If you like YA Dystopian Trilogies - I couldn't imagine this letting you down. I requested a free copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Second Korean War

  • By: Ted Halstead
  • Narrated by: Cody Banning
  • Length: 15 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10

Two Russian agents discover a missing nuclear weapon was hidden in an American city by North Korea. Another nuclear weapon nears Seoul in a tunnel built by North Koreans. And North Korea's new military dictator launches an all-out invasion. Will Seoul or Pyongyang be the new capital of a united Korea? 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A “What If” Imagining a 2nd Korean War

  • By Brian on 10-03-18

A “What If” Imagining a 2nd Korean War

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

Reviewed: 10-03-18

The synopsis doesn’t give you too much (which in a way doesn’t spoil anything like some can) – but going into this I imagined that I was going to get introduced to a story where… a second Korean War was started.

I can tell that Halstead put a ton of heart and research into this book. He is able to write something that makes you think and feel.

Overall, I thought that Halstead did a good job imagining a what if situation and telling it to us from a ton of points of view – probably too many, but that’s just my opinion. I kept going from breezing through scenes to ones where I just felt like I needed a break. If you’re a fan of military fiction, lots of characters, and an original idea and plot – I do think you’ll enjoy The Second Korean War.

  • The Last Storm

  • By: Jack Hunt
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

Following the death of his son, Alex Riley moves to a small town with his family to take a position from a recently deceased police officer. However, their peaceful existence is shattered when a sudden catastrophic storm sweeps the nation and they find themselves trapped in the town's 14-story building with local gang boss Cayden Jones. When Alex learns the truth behind the death and the reason Cayden is there, Alex, an aging chief, and a small band of survivors must ride out the storm and fight back to stay alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Die Hard in the worst storm ever.

  • By Amazon Customer on 08-25-18

This Book Has A Heart of Gold

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

Reviewed: 10-03-18

4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s really weird to read a post-apocalyptic story (especially one narrated by Kevin Pierce) that is just one story. This isn’t a series and there really isn’t much that Hunt could do that would match what happens in The Last Storm. Sure, he could continue their story – but it wouldn’t be the same and wouldn’t even match the pacing that he set up in this book.

What I found most interesting was that this wasn’t just your typical PA book. There was a whole other theme going on. Sure, most PA books have “bad guys” but this was a slight change from that. The storm and subsequent issues that it caused really played in the background to a “what would you do to protect your family” type of a story. Hunt was able to turn the PA tropes on their side a little and played with the apocalypse some too.

The world he created would be fun to read from other angles though. It was at its heart a Cli-Fi book. He doesn’t dive too far into what caused it (really he doesn’t dive into it at all) and we just find out that there is flooding and a massive storm hitting this tiny Alaska town. The town that Hunt describes reminded me of some of the smaller towns I visited on my recent Alaskan cruise. You could tell that if something major happened that they were going to be partially prepared – but also that they would be screwed pretty quickly.

Overall, The Last Storm was a really enjoyable PA and Cli-Fi book that had a heart of gold. I requested a free copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

  • Zombie Island

  • Still Alive, Book Two
  • By: Javan Bonds
  • Narrated by: S.W. Salzman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

The crew of the replica pirate ship, the Viva Ancora, is growing, and the characters of this cast are fulfilling their roles toward destiny. As the group swells, the need to clear the town of the infected and secure Guntersville Island becomes paramount. Isolation from the world will protect them from the naked, blue, undead cannibals - or will it?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hey Mo, is that a burning bridge I smell?

  • By Ray Johnson on 09-22-18

A Change-Of-Pace Zombie Series

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

Reviewed: 10-03-18

There is something about this series that just cracks me up. It’s also just slightly different than any other zombie series I’ve ever read. From the “things” that leave behind to the way that the main characters talk about different things. It’s just a great change of pace.

Book two finds the teams building up their almost-island fortress in attempts to try and stay safe and sound from the zombies. It’s focused on some raiding, some building, and a lot on the people that were left.

There is scavaging, house runs, and the occasional zombie pooping all over the place and ruining a good day. Mo is Mo and Smokes is himself – funny as ever. Making Zombie Island another unforgettable but really needed change-of-pace book in the zombie/post-apocalyptic genre.

Honestly, this book wouldn’t have been as good without the great narration of S.W. Salzman. The way that he voices the different characters (especially Smokes and Mo) absolutely make this book. Without his narration (and the specific voices he gives to these characters) it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

If you’re looking for a change-of-pace funny zombie book – check this series out. It’s funny, full of enjoyable scenes, and definitely a book I won’t forget. I requested a free copy of this audiobook - it has not affected my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cockblock

  • By: C.V. Hunt
  • Narrated by: Ramona Master
  • Length: 3 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Sonya and Callie discover it’s not just the men who verbally assaulted them on the street who’ve lost their minds; men everywhere have gone insane. And they believe they’ve found the origin of the mayhem. A radio in the kitchen is playing a hate-filled message against women, and it’s being delivered by the president. There’s only one way to stop the men from attacking women, and logic tells them they need to terminate the chaos at its source.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • ok then

  • By Tyler on 09-19-18

What. A. Book.

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

Reviewed: 10-02-18

I have never read a book by Grindhouse Press or by C.V. Hunt – so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It was an insane book that I enjoyed deeply. Even a book as short as this was able to tell the story it wanted to while also invoking the emotions and feelings that Hunt wanted to.

At the center of this story is the controversy and insanity that is the current Presidency. You can tell that Hunt wanted to tell a story that at its heartfelt crazy and out of the blue – but when you read the whole thing and get into the characters you realize that it’s not that far off.

A radio broadcast seems to send every man into a madness. It makes them want to go out and assault (edited from another word so Audible would let me post this) each and every girl that they come across.

Reading this as a feminist who has a strong dislike for President Trump made it a lot easier. I’m sure that this book will find its way into the hands of a Trumpeter or a misogynist and they will not like it. If you see/read any one-star reviews – I would bet it’s from a person like that.

A fair word of warning – this book is graphic. It needed to be – but it was graphic. Hunt told the story that she wanted to and did it in her way and I’m so glad she did. I don't always use the word trigger warning, but this one definitely has it for anyone who has been assaulted before.

Ramona Master read this book in a way that, honestly, I wasn't expecting but made it even better than I had hoped for. When you read a book first and then listen to the audiobook - you have a tone in your head for it - and most of the time it matches and when it doesn't - it can throw you off. Master's performance of this book definitely threw me, but in such a good way. I loved that she gave the character a real voice and that every aggressive scene was voiced with passion. I requested a review copy of this book which has not affected my review in any way.

  • Torrent

  • The Alt Apocalypse, Book 3
  • By: Tom Abrahams
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

In Torrent, Abrahams plunges his characters into an unforgiving flood. College students on vacation, a family trapped and unable to swim, a journalist out of his depth, and a doctor prepared but overwhelmed all face the rising water. The beginnings of a conspiracy begin to surface, possibly connecting strangers and their roles in catastrophes they only vaguely recall. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Book I Won't Soon Forget

  • By Brian on 10-02-18

A Book I Won't Soon Forget

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

Reviewed: 10-02-18

First and foremost I need to call out the cover art on this.  I didn't realize when I first started it just how much the imagery was going to ring true to the story - but the yield sign almost underwater, the one-story building up to its eaves and the 2-story building more than half flooded are all parts of the story.  Along with the flotsam that comes along with a major flood.  So, kudos to Hristo Kovatliev for this stellar artwork.

Second, I need to point out that I've been championing this series on my blog and in my interview with Paul Stokes (the audiobook reviewer) because it feels so original and incredibly unique.  I thought that with the first two books.  This third book has completely blown the other two out of the water (pardon my pun).

This might be one of the best non-apocalyptic apocalypse books I've ever read (I say that because it appears to have only affected New Orleans and not the rest of the world).  Abrahams was able to portray a city in panic both outwardly and quietly.  There were people who were riding out the storm and surviving with no issue, others who weren't going to make it, and then there were the heroes.  The ones who run into the fire (in this case swim into the water) to selflessly save others.  One of the lines that stood out to me was:

"Freaking A, man... You were amazing. I didn’t think you had that in you. No offense. But…freaking A, man."
..."Anybody would have done it."
"Not true," said the field producer. "I didn’t do it."
"Me neither," said the photographer."

Abrahams also threw in something that was new to me for any of his books (and makes me really want him to write a technothriller once he's done with The Alt Apocalypse).  I can't go too deep into it, but the scene(s) with the tech guy had me scratching my head and making wild assumptions and guesses.

Abrahams was able to portray the water and its depth (both actual depth and the amount that's hidden just below the surface) in such a way that when a character would underwater (almost drowning or trying to save someone) I wouldn't even think about it, but I would be holding my breath until they surfaced. It was an exhausting book (in such a good way).  He kept throwing the characters into the water and hoping for the best.

I can say this without any hyperbole.  This will be a book that will be hard to forget.  Seriously, it was my favorite in the series and I'm pretty sure it's going to get better from here.

If you've been on the fence about this series so far (first off, what's wrong with you) and secondly - get it. You won't regret it. I requested a review copy of this book - it has not affected my review in any way.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Murder of Paolo Mancuso

  • A Joey Mancuso, Father O'Brian Crime Mystery
  • By: Owen Parr
  • Narrated by: Fred Filbrich
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 10

Paolo Mancuso was killed in a bar in Little Italy 20 years ago. To this day, his murder has gone unsolved. A cold case the NYPD has not paid much attention to in all these years. Enter "Tony the Hammer" Falcone, Paolo's best friend and co-Mafia family member. Tony, in his deathbed, reveals to Joey that the Mafia had nothing to do with his dad's murder, something Joey always believed it had. Instead, with his last breath, Tony whispers only three words to Joey - Barcelona, Wetherly, Stevens. With just those three words, Joey sets off to Barcelona. Is it justice or revenge Joey seeks?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I love this series!

  • By Claire on 10-16-18

Three Mysteries In One (Parr's Best Yet)

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

Reviewed: 09-26-18

I was not expecting to get three stories in one. I really was expecting to get the "vendetta-like" search for his fathers killer.  Not a complex interweaving story that is as intricate as it is enjoyable.

This has almost everything you could imagine. Mafia stories, people end up dead, crazy and atypical murder weapons and a cold case over 20 years old.  Also, a former cop who is the Last Advocate of the victim trying to solve it all while also solving his father's murder.

I couldn't put this book down.  I loved every minute of it.  It was both similar to and slightly different from the other books in this series because it was so close to home for Mancuso.  I got to see some of his more sneaky tactics along with following him to more exotic locations.

Parr was also able to throw some slight romance and tossed in a little "self-realization" by Mancuso that really topped his character off.  Mancuso's arc could be complete with this story but I hope that it isn't.  They are just such a fun duo trying to solve crimes that normal people (and even the cops) can't seem to crack.

Overall, it might be my favorite Mancuso and Father O'Brian story yet.  And I think that anyone who has enjoyed the series until now will love this one. I requested a free copy of this audiobook - it has not affected my review in any way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful