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sci teacher

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  • War Dog

  • Boneyard Dog, Book 1
  • By: Andrew Beery
  • Narrated by: Dave Cruse
  • Length: 5 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

Did you ever wake up wondering where you were…and perhaps equally important, how you got there? Yeah, me too. The only the thing is, it usually happens when I've been drinking…and I'd been dry for the better part of two years. I'm Commodore Jeremy David Riker…my friends call me JD or just plain “Dog.” I have the dubious honor of running a starship boneyard in the middle of nowhere. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable sci-fi military story

  • By chieftwidgit on 10-02-18

Fun Scifi

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

Reviewed: 04-20-19

Summary: Jeremy Riker wakes up feeling like he must have had a really bad night. Turns out he’s been elected to save the galaxy.



Additional Comments:

- Aside from the main characters affiliation to his past job, the whole boneyard dog angle is kind of lost on me.

- The blurb is stylistic but tells the reader zip about the story. The only thing you get out of it is a sense for the writing style. It’s first person, lighthearted, and tongue-in-cheek for the most part. If that style works for you, you’ll probably enjoy it. If it ticks you off, avoid like a plague.

- Quite a few places have comments referencing future events. While an okay tactic to use once in a while, it got old very quickly.

- Content warnings: Nothing described but a lot of innuendo. I think there might be a curse word or two.

- Lacks a sense of closure. It’s very short for a scifi story, which isn’t necessarily bad. It falls into that series trap of “we won, or did we”?



Conclusion:

An intriguing start to a fun series. If you can get past the few annoying quirks, you’ll probably enjoy the tale.

  • Cast A Long Shadow

  • The Big Sky Series, Book 1
  • By: Kwen D Griffeth
  • Narrated by: Paul J McSorley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

“Bad Bobby” Trent, star high school athlete, college scholarship holder, pro-rodeo circuit rider, lived an unencumbered life. He was a man, who, by his own definition, limited his concentration to no more than eight seconds at a time - the time required to ride a bull or saddlebronc and win. He’s tough, independent, shallow, and always looking for a good time. Then his father is murdered. Sheriff Robert Trent, was the longtime chief law enforcement officer of Lodge Pole County Montana. He was stern, fair, honest, and dependable. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bad Boys

  • By April H. on 12-15-18

4.45/5 Great Modern Western

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

Reviewed: 04-20-19

4.45/5 stars Cast a Long Shadow by Kwen D Griffeth narrated by Paul J McSorley

Summary: Bobby Trent takes on the task of investigating his father’s murder to clear the man’s good name. As the Sheriff of Lodge Pole, Bobby’s father had a great reputation until the very end when questions arose concerning a drug shipment discovered in the county.



Additional Comments:

- Bobby’s attitude is typical of a thriller star. He’s innately aligned good but willing to drink hard and play hard and take out the bad guys. In that sense, he’s a tad unrealistic. Most people’s fear of consequences have them walking more of the straight and narrow.

- The romance angle is secondary and sends up mixed signals for two different women, but that’s fine. It would lose a lot of the thriller aspects if the book focused on that side.

- There’s a fun, exotic atmosphere in the book for those used to suburban or city life rather than small town western life.

- The characters filling the world are fun and pretty well fleshed out.

- The book has a nice sense of closure. There’s clear to-be-continued vibes but at least the reader gets a feeling that this arc has been closed.

- It falls into that thriller trap of don’t get too attached to any characters, except maybe the hero boy.

- About the only tie-in to the title is the last few lines of the book.



Conclusion:

Excellent modern day western.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Binding Witch and the Fortune Taker

  • The Kate Roark Magic Series, Book 1
  • By: Laura Rich
  • Narrated by: Sara Pauley
  • Length: 1 hr and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Growing up homeschooled on the Renaissance Festival circuit is weird enough, but when you’re the daughter of a powerful binding witch who makes a living as a fortune teller, and your best friend is a middle-aged sari vendor, weird is relative. Fifteen-year-old Kate Roark desperately wants to be a witch but isn't - yet. It’s not likely at her age until she meets the Fortune Taker and gets a taste of unimaginable power - but at what cost? Forced to choose between keeping stolen power or making her magic dreams come true, her ultimate decision throws her entire world into question.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Chopsticks11 on 03-25-19

4/5 Nice start to a YA series

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

Reviewed: 04-20-19

Summary: Kate Roark is a hedge witch, which means she doesn’t have powers herself. That is until a twist of fate or fortune or misfortune changes things for her.



Additional Comments:

- It’s a cute novella with good narration.

- Plot 4/5: simple but that’s understandable in that it’s meant to be a very short work. I’m surprised the two Binden (sorry, spelling could be off) girls ended up where they did given the culture they were/are being raised in.

- Narration 4/5: Enjoyable. Only one or two of the chosen voices are distractible.

- Characters 3.5/5: Kate and her Indian friend are probably the deepest characters in here. Her mother’s intriguing, but we don’t really learn much about her mother. I guess it’s one of those things that can be expanded upon later. Kate has both spunk and sass which can be fun reads, but I feel like so many YA heroines fall in that category.

- Worldbuilding 4/5: The notion of binding witches is interesting. People fear or are intrigued by magic.

- Closure 2/5: It’s clearly meant to run you into book 2. While this is an understandable tactic from a sell-books standpoint, I have never enjoyed it. Some people love cliffhangers and feeling like they need more. I usually just move on to a series that gives me more closure in each work.



Conclusion:

It’s a solid start to what could be a fun series.

  • A Bride for Nathan

  • The Proxy Brides, Book 3
  • By: Barbara Goss
  • Narrated by: Leonor A Woodworth
  • Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

 

Nathan, a widower, is critically injured in a Civil War battle and lies on his death bed. His best friend, Ben, promises to care for his daughter, Belle. Ben’s sister, Allison, is doomed to become a spinster, so she jumps at the chance to become a widow rather than a spinster when Ben suggests she marry Nathan. She must do it quickly, because the doctor said he wouldn’t last out the week. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Bride for Nathan

  • By Catrina P on 03-05-19

Post-Civil War Family Drama

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

Reviewed: 03-21-19

Summary: Nathan Conn gets his leg blasted off in the final days of the Civil War. His friend, Ben, takes care of him, going so far as to take him home and stay with him through his rough recovery. Nathan could die any day. If that happens, what will become of Nathan’s young daughter? Ben’s not exactly equipped to raise Belle. But he might know someone who is.

Additional Comments:
- Characters 4/5 Stars: Everybody is nearly sickeningly sweet, but I think that’s a genre thing. Allie’s nice. Sam’s nice. Belle’s unrealistically the perfect child. Nathan’s hardworking and handsome. Ben’s a saint. You get the picture. Despite this, there is some character development both in Nathan and Allie. Besides, they’re all likeable people.
- Plot 4/5 Stars: This isn’t exactly a shoot-’em-up Western story, but it’s an interesting Civil War era recovery tale. The daily act of living was a struggle sometimes. Add in serious war injuries, emotional scars, and unexpected responsibilities and there’s enough action to keep things going.
- Mini-mystery: One fun thing woven throughout the book is a mini-mystery surrounding Nathan’s first wife.
- Narration 4.5/5: Very nice.
- Content Warnings: None. Some awkward, married people conversations that serve the plot well but that’s about it.

Conclusion: If you enjoy Civil War and post-Civil War, clean stories, this is a good one to check out.

  • Heart of Ikchani

  • By: Craig A. Price Jr.
  • Narrated by: Anne Marie Lewis
  • Length: 2 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

Adnieva loses everything she holds dear and decides to leave her small village of Tiermerra in search of better things. At the top of her list is revenge. Naveen travels from city to city trying to conceal her ability, an ability she learned at a younger age at great cost to her. Divinity grows tired of the politics in the city of Legain and her father's hold over her. She decides to take things into her own hands and escape.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story of female empowerment.

  • By Anonymous User on 03-30-19

4/5 Determined Women Define Their Own Future

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

Reviewed: 02-17-19

Summary: Women from several backgrounds have had it with the incompetent, cruel, or corrupt rule of men. So, they decide to form their own society.

Additional Comments:

- Intriguing concepts. I’ve heard other books by this author from this world. It’s pretty well fleshed out.

- If you’re looking for stories with strong female leads, you’ve definitely found one. Everyone from the duke’s daughter to the bread-maker’s daughter who can control magic has a story and a reason for seeking a society free of men.

- Humor: There are a few lighthearted moments, like the times one of the women turns her foes into toads.

- Not exactly a kid-friendly fantasy, but a fun one nonetheless. The solution these women have to their troubles probably wouldn’t work, but it’s interesting to read. I can see this sparking some interesting conversations in a college lit class.

- Narration was handled well. The audio didn’t have any weird background noise or anything distracting like that. The narrator kept distinct voices. I wasn’t in love with the voice for every character, but that’s neither here nor there, just personal preference. If you get a story like this with a lot of voices, there’s bound to be some that just don’t resonate with you.

- Warnings: Contains fantasy violence and adult concepts. This author doesn’t pull punches when it comes to describing violence. The sex scenes aren’t described in great detail but there are several references to rape.


Conclusion: Not kid-friendly! But a well-written, fun, female character driven short fantasy novel. If you’re a Crimson Claymore fan, you should check this book out.

  • The Freedman

  • Tales From a Revolution Series, North Carolina, Book 9
  • By: Lars D. H. Hedbor
  • Narrated by: Shamaan Casey
  • Length: 5 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18

The Freedman is Hedbor’s standalone novel set in North Carolina from his Tales From a Revolution series, in which he examines the American War of Independence as it unfolded in each of the colonies. If you like enthralling stories of familiar events from unfamiliar viewpoints, you’ll love The Freedman.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A book about freedom, war, and friendship

  • By Victor @ theAudiobookBlog on 01-23-19

4.5/5 (rounded) Great entry in a good series

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

Reviewed: 02-17-19

Summary: Jupiter/Calabar is a slave whose master dies. He has a particular skill for judging indigo, but his master’s son sees no value in that because he plans to turn the land into tobacco farmland. Thus, he sets the man free and kicks him off the property.



Additional Comments:

- I’ve heard 2 of the other Tales of a Revolution series. While I’d give the series as a whole a solid 4, this particular story is fantastic. (The NJ one was okay – way too much period specific language - and the West FL one was a tad boring.) The rating I gave this book is not just me judging being politically correct. Of the series, I found it the most interesting in terms of plot and characters and inclusion of history.

- The point about the owner immediately freeing Calabar instead of trying to sell him first seems a stretch. I suppose it was necessary to the plot, but even a sentence or two about him trying and failing would have made that a tad more realistic. The master (Young Green) is described as a penny pincher, so letting money walk off in the form of a healthy slave doesn’t seem true to his character.

- Race relations are a tricky topic to tackle, especially when depicting the dark time in American history where slavery ruled a large section of the country.

- There’s a happy ending of sorts, but it’s still somewhat realistic in that not everything goes Calabar’s way. He and his family face some very tough things headon.

- Narration: Well done. I love the narrator’s voice and it’s absolutely perfect for the book. He handles different voices well.

- Side Note: Every audiobook, the author reads the thank you personally. While he’s a fantastic writer, he also works with an excellent narrator and should probably just let the man read that part. It’s jarring to hear a completely different voice suddenly break in with a historical note or whatnot.



Conclusion: Great entry in a good series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas

  • By: Matthew O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Alan Carlson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 21

What secrets do the Las Vegas storm drains keep? What discoveries wait in the dark? What's beneath the neon? Armed with a flashlight, tape recorder, and expandable baton, Las Vegas CityLife writer-editor Matthew O'Brien explored the Las Vegas flood-control system for more than four years. Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas chronicles O'Brien's adventures in subterranean Vegas. He follows the footsteps of a psycho killer. He braces against a flood. He parties with naked crack-heads. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Get really inside Las Vegas

  • By cosmitron on 07-08-18

4/5 Stars: Honest Look at a Harsh Reality

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

Reviewed: 02-17-19

By Matthew O’Brien

Narrated by Alan Carlson

Summary: Matthew O’Brien chronicles his experiences exploring the depths of the underground society that exists in the flood drains beneath Las Vegas.


Additional Comments:

- To be honest, not sure why anybody would want to explore the tunnels beneath Las Vegas for the heck of it, but it makes for an interesting audiobook.

- We get a good mix of personal life tales. They sort of blend together after a while.

- The people there are like the homeless anywhere else. They have hopes, dreams, and often, addictions to deal with. Some have fought in wars. Some get visits from their families. Some are downright crazy.

- Nonfiction’s not really my thing, but since I’d mentioned the tunnel people in a book, I gave this one a shot. Overall, I’m glad I did, even though I can’t in good conscience include the book on my promo list of clean works.

- Content warnings: Very strong language. To be fair, in many cases, it fits as part of the recorded conversations this guy had with real people.

- Descriptions of life inside the tunnels are good. It’s interesting to see how people make it by hustling credits or selling their bodies for food or drugs. Besides the fact that you’re one strong rain from drowning, it’s a pretty nice place to be homeless in terms of temperature being steady.


Conclusion: An honest look at a harsh reality. The book doesn’t offer many answers to the problem of homelessness, nor should it. What it offers is a chance to give a voice to those who for one reason or another call the storm drains beneath Las Vegas home. If you can deal with strong language, I highly recommend it.

  • Romance at the Royal Menagerie

  • By: Ruth J. Hartman
  • Narrated by: Julie Hinton
  • Length: 4 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

John Fairgate is torn by the fact that he'll inherit the title of baron upon his uncle’s death. Especially given that his uncle insists that he give up ornithology and marry a childhood acquaintance. The first request, John will honor no matter how much he hates the idea. But marrying a shrew who makes his skin crawl, he simply cannot do. Meeting Miss Francesca Hartwell at the zoo has given him other ideas for a wife. But she’s not titled or wealthy. How will John be able to convince his uncle that she’s the woman of his heart? 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Silly, but fun

  • By Elisabeth Carey on 10-18-18

3.45/5 Romance at the Royal Menagerie:

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

Reviewed: 12-08-18

Mild Spoilers
Summary: Poor but lovely girl meets enchanting rich guy who’s visiting the zoo her father works at. You could probably predict the ending from the title. Francesca (Franny) Hartwell and John Fairgate are from distinctly different social classes.

Additional Comments:
- I hardly ever read any sort of regency romance, but I seem to be tripping over it these last few weeks. Since my pool of the genre’s pretty limited, I can’t compare too much to others, but I can say I find the attitude shifts at the end highly suspect. (No, no, no, no … well, if it’ll make you happy, feel free to break all social conventions.)
- Characters 3.5/5: There’s a distinct lack of a real antagonist. Cartwright’s more of an annoying gnat since John’s not interested in her at all. There would have been more tension if she had some redeeming qualities and was ever some sort of competition for his affections. Conversely, there might have been more tension if Francesca had a suitor of a suitable class or something besides almost mystical powers over large cats. While interesting, we don’t really see her help little old ladies across the street or anything. What makes her the sweet, innocent protagonist we’re supposed to root for?
- Plot 4/5: It’s kind of hard to predict passage of time in here. The sideplot with the birth of the leopards is neat. I know the story’s not really about John and his occupation, but we don’t really see him do anything at all except visit the zoo this entire book. Also, if he’s really into birds, why doesn’t he speak more about it?
- Cover?? I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but there’s a reason these things matter. The ebook has a decent cover, so why does the audiobook get zip?
- Narration was done well. There’s good variety between the characters.

Conclusion: Definitely fits in the Sweet Regency Romance genre. It’s clean. It’s got some romance.
*I received a free copy. I have chosen to review it. All thoughts are my own.

  • Beds Are for Flowers

  • By: R.K. Gold
  • Narrated by: Julie Hinton
  • Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

Death was celebrated when the reapers and humans coexisted. Back when the monsters from around The End stayed in their small pocket of existence, only coming out in nightmares and darkness. Ganedyn was paradise and shared its life with its mortal counterpart. Reapers rewarded those at the end of their time on Earth by leading them through the tree in the in-between to an eternity of color, life, and freedom. In return, they would bring tokens back from Ganedyn. Acorns capable of sprouting into an entire forest and flowers capable of curing disease. Everything was in balance. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Theresa Horton on 11-30-18

3/5 Nature Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 11-24-18

Summary: Clarence’s father is dying from some unknown illness. A Reaper comes by every day to see if he’s ready to travel the long road to Ganedyn, which I’m assuming is paradise. Many who travel the road don’t need it. While his mother’s willing to sacrifice years from her life, she doesn’t want the kids, Clarence and Jessi, doing the same. Desperate they resort to different tactics. Jessi sneaks next door and steals a bird from the Neighbor’s garden. That buys a little time. Clarence goes to speak to the neighbor and gets sent on a quest to dislodge the Reaper in the Tree, who’s presence there is pretty much the source of the problem.

Additional Comments:
- World-building (3/5) – A lot of imagination went into creating this bleak, colorless world. Much of the lore is explained fairly naturally, but the worlds don’t make much sense. There’s a normal, mortal world, a paradise, and The End. Part of what bothered me is the naming system or lack thereof. The Neighbor, the Red Reaper, The Reaper in the Tree, etc. I wish they had real names instead of titles. Caggers (sorry about spelling) are fears from one of the worlds creeping into the mortal realm.
- Characters (3.5/5) – Clarence, Wakoba, and Jessi are stereotypical questing kids. Clarence is the one given the quest. Jessi’s his sister, the brave one who carries a bat around. Wakoba’s the timid friend who has to face his fears to fulfill his part of the quest.
- Plot (3/5) – It follows a logical path, but I don’t get a good sense of the world space or time passing. Part of that might be that time in the dark place they travel to (forest?) and nearing the Pit gets skewed. The characters go from one conversation to another talking about what’s happening with little actually happening until the final confrontation.
- It’s 100% kid-friendly.
- Disclaimer – it’s probably more literature-based fantasy than I’m used to. There are probably deep roots of moral lessons in here about taking care of the Earth/world you have, one person making all the difference, and the power of kids. Guess I just look for more direct, sword or bow-wielding action in my fantasy. There are plenty of scythes about because of the Reapers, but there are too many restrictions on them to make for a good old-fashioned fight. (Can’t kill a reaper with his own weapon.)

Conclusion: Fans of RK Gold will probably enjoy this tale. Those who gravitate to Middle Grade literature too might find lots to love within. It reminds me of Treasure: Seed Savers by S. Smith. They’re both books about a world on the brink of collapse due to mismanagement of resources.

*I received a free copy of the audio from the author or narrator. I chose to leave a review. All thoughts are my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Just Like down Home

  • By: Dale Stubbart
  • Narrated by: Duncan Cassidy
  • Length: 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

In this story, Joel September's life is not going that great. He's stuck in a job he really hates, but it pays the bills. But then a crisis happens, one which starts his life flowing in a much better direction. And Joel starts to be aware that very soon his life is going to be just like down home! Tonight Joel had no worries. Things were about to change for the better, he could feel it in his bones. Pretty soon, Joel felt like he was walking on air. It was a wonderful feeling, to feel like you were floating.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Odd Story

  • By sci teacher on 08-26-18

Odd Story

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

Summary: Strange little fantasy story about an English gentleman named Joel September who doesn’t particularly like his job but things are about to change for him.



Additional Comments:

- The blurb pretty much tells the whole story, though I could have sworn the man’s name was Joe in the book I heard.

- Not really sure I know what Joel’s day job is exactly. His night job was a tad better described.


Conclusion: Strange short story.
*I received a free copy from the narrator. I have freely chosen to review. All views are my own.