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Melissa and Josh

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  • Winter Queen: Fantasy Reverse Harem

  • Daughter of Winter Series, Book 3
  • By: Skye MacKinnon
  • Narrated by: Laurel Schroeder
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 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

"They say grief passes. They say the pain gets less. Well, I don’t want it to go. I don’t want it to stop hurting. The pain helps me function and get through the day. And it helps me focus on one thing: revenge." The Morrigan needs to die, no question about that. But first, Wyn and her Guardians need to find her. While the Realm prepares for war, allies arrive from unexpected places. But there are enemies hiding in plain sight who could stop the war before it's even begun. Can Wyn destroy the Morrigan without sacrificing the lives of her loved ones?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Series!

  • By Melissa and Josh on 01-20-19

Great Series!

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

Reviewed: 01-20-19

I received a free copy of book 1 a few months for an honest review. Obviously, I liked it, that's why I'm posting a review for book 3. Anyways, I rarely buy books/audiobooks, I normally request free copies of interesting-sounding books for reviews from random places. Needless to say, I bought books 2 and 3, and am about to purchase book 4 now. I think this book went the fastest out of the series. It's like I started listening and suddenly it was done. Unlike the majority of my reviews, I have no questions; I didn't find any inconsistencies or whatnot like I usually do. That's a good thing!

The narrator did an awesome job as always. She has such a beautiful, interesting...beautiful voice. Yeah.

  • Death Rites (The Lazarus Codex)

  • By: E. A. Copen
  • Narrated by: Travis Baldree
  • Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Old gods die hard. Professional necromancer Lazarus Kerrigan knows all too well that the Big Easy is anything but. Crime is up, business is down, and someone--or something--crushed an innocent girl to death on his doorstep. After the search for the murderer brings the police to his front door, Laz must prove his innocence by hauling in the real killer with help from the dead. When the sun sets in New Orleans, more than monsters go bump in the night... And what Laz awakens in his quest for answers might just get him--and everyone else in town--killed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun Start to a Promising Series

  • By Spooky Mike on 11-06-18

Necromance, if you want to!

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

Reviewed: 01-09-19

- Josh here

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

Man, what a great way to complete the first half of a 13-hour drive! This was a story that I would not have heard of were it not for a social media group I am a member of (Thanks for the Booky McBookface recommendation, Team TW).

I am growing to be a greater fan of urban fantasy and I feel this is a great representation of that genre. I loved how the story rapidly launched you into the main plot point with Brandy.
As a D&D fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the necromancy narrative and the explanations behind several of the powers/capabilities that Laz displayed throughout. The powers introduced by the Baron were also a great twist and a storyline I can’t wait to see explored more in the sequels. The shifting relationship between Laz, Emma, and Moses was an immediate draw-in-and-keep-you-hooked aspect of the story for me.

The methods Laz used to work with and control the dead, in a manner far different than that of a medium from a traditional story, was fun. I really enjoyed the portrayal of impact the use of the powers Laz possessed had on him, for example the kiss of life. Likewise, watching a skeptic get thrown face first into this world shift their mindset became another great hook for the story.

Oh, and for those that decide to read/listen to the story, wait until you meet Jolene. The Baron was also a fantastic character that actually reminded me of the voodoo character from the latest season of American Horror Story.

This is the third story I have listened to that was narrated by Travis Baldree. He did a fantastic job as usual and really helped bring the story to life.

I can’t wait for the next entry in this series and will be lined up to purchase it once the Audible release is announced. This book definitely helped solidify my interest in Urban Fantasy. I can now firmly say that, as with Starship Troopers, yes, “I would like to know more”.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Extinction Red Line

  • The Extinction Cycle
  • By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Tom Abrahams
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124

For a dozen years, villagers along the ancient Da River in Vietnam have feared a nightmarish creature who hunts and consumes human flesh. Only in whispers do they mention its name, The White Ghost. To the United States military, this creature has a different name - Marine Lieutenant Trevor Brett, the chemically engineered experiment gone wrong that they will do anything to hide. Sole survivor of his platoon, Brett has stalked the jungle for prey. But the men who made him into a monster are searching for him, and when they find him, the line between hunter and hunted will be blurred.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Prequel we have been waiting for!

  • By Jorge on 12-20-18

A story where you end up rooting for the monster

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

Reviewed: 01-09-19

- Josh here

This is a book that is something I felt was long overdue to help set the stage for how VX-99 and the variants came to be. Nick and Tom did a fantastic job of presenting the backstory for one of my favorite book series. By the end of the story, I found myself rooting for Lieutenant Brett. It was very interesting to get inside the head of the monster and understand what was going on in there, what was driving him, and to see the remnants of humanity that lingered after his injection. I also found myself drawn to Lynn and Dew and the way their relationship formed throughout the story.

The only thing I would have added to the story is a transition to the modern time, just before the Team Ghost insertion mission, to showcase the events leading up to that operation. Perhaps a book .75 is coming? If so, I will be first in line to buy it. The teamwork between Nick and Tom resulted in a wonderful precursor to the EC series and I hope the two of them team up to bring us more.

Now I need to re-listen to the series again because I have an itch that must be re-scratched.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Commune: Book Three

  • By: Joshua Gayou
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 17 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,041
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,948
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,942

Having been bolstered with the supplies sufficient to carry them through the winter, the survivors of the Jackson commune must now hunker down and endure the bitter Wyoming snows, while to the south, factions are beginning to form, coalescing from the ashes of the dead world. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best series in sci-fi for great characters.

  • By TK2.0 on 11-19-18

This book was like a pair of skid-mark free chones

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

Reviewed: 12-28-18

Josh here

This was an awesome continuation of the already fabulous Commune series. I really enjoyed the first few chapters which explained the author’s intent for this book and book four to be the original starting point in the series. Knowing what I do now from books one and two, I can see why he chose to add two entries prior to book three.

I was not disappointed with the story in book three and it provided some high levels of entertainment. For example, it brought back memories of me playing my father for a fool when it came to punishments when I listened to Ben play his father for a fool about what GTA IV was really about.

I found myself drawn to Ned as that is the type of character/role I would likely end up taking in a post-apocalyptic world. Similarly, I am beginning to form a very distinct attachment to Jake, which likely means he is going to die in book four given the first book, and I can definitely see some parts in the story where he takes part in the plot but is not called out by name.

I love the different aspects of humanity at play in the story. Highlighting the desire to expand a group so as to create a critical mass of people for the survival of the species while weighing this desire with the need to preserve group integrity. How do you know you can truly trust another group or an individual? At what point do you change your tune to ensure you and your family survive? What is your breaking point? These are all questions poised throughout the story.

On a side note, the opening chapter with the firebug really called to me for some reason. No, don’t worry, I don’t have a desire to go randomly set fire to things, but I will say that entire chapter evoked some strong emotions. I also found it humorous with the adherence to the military rank structure as it provided just that, a structure for the group to follow even without a formal chain of command or forcing function.

Bob, as usual, did a fantastic job with the narration and I loved his stuttering portrayal of Ned. Josh has another winner here and now I begin the long journey waiting for book four to arrive.

Well done, Mr. Gayou. Very well done indeed.

---------------------------------------------------
Melissa's Review
Overall 5 Stars
Performance 5 Stars
Story 5 Stars

Love this series! Let me start by saying that I can’t wait for book 4 to come out. This is one of those series that just gets better and better. Yes, I’ve read series’ that haven’t work out as they should have. Each book brings a new, interesting character, and in this case, book 3 introduced Ned. Speaking of characters, is Clay supposed to be a good guy or bad guy? While he’s done some questionable things (allowing Ronny to lead the chase against innocent survivors, especially the craziness resulting in Wang’s wound), but overall, I like him.

As for RC Bray...has he even not done a great job narrating? Yeah...I didn't so. Great job!

Questions/Comments:

While I understood why Jake killed the fire kid, it was still sad and really makes you think. The kid thought that he was finally able to be himself, but unfortunately, because of the type of person he was, that would never be possible.

It wasn’t until near the end of book 3 that the idea of looking for farm animals came up. I’m curious as to why that wouldn’t have been an idea someone would have thought of sooner? Like, go looking for some chickens that they could bring back with them, especially.

There was a part when Lum(?) and Sarah were having an intimate conversation after the secret Santa event. Otis ends up appearing, interrupting them, and tells them something… I can’t remember what it was, but something mundane. I just thought he was being rude.

There was also a part when Gibbs had to go outside, and the reader learns that he put on his “Uggs.” I thought Gibbs was supposed to be a cool guy? Guys wear Uggs? That’s not cool!

There was an obvious misprint in the story when Ronny was telling Clay why he was so eager to kill random people. Apparently, he and his sister had been staying with a family (two parents and a daughter). There was a part when he was talking about how they’d been out looking for food for the four people, yet there were actually five people.

I loved when Warren met Jake, similar to the nonchalance Jake showed when he ran into Gibbs, needless to say, I love his personality. He’s mysterious, super smart, and very interesting.

  • The Stroke of Thirteen

  • By: Carrie Gessner
  • Narrated by: Kristin Price
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 12

When Grace Pembleton inherited her grandfather's business in rural Pennsylvania, she had no idea what else she was in for. She thought life as a bed-and-breakfast owner would be a quiet one, that the only trouble she'd encounter would be making enough coffee for guests. What she gets instead is a violent gnome, a resident ghost, a secret society, and continuous brushes with the supernatural. Even with new friends at her side, she struggles to fulfill her family's legacy of protecting the town. Then a new threat arises, and it wants Grace. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting if somewhat confusing read............

  • By Katie on 01-11-19

This was an interesting take on a b & b.

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

Reviewed: 12-26-18

Was anyone else left feeling as though there should have been another book prior to this one? Maybe it was just me. After reading the synopsis, I was left with the impression that Grace would either be moving into her grandfather’s place or she would have been there for a short period of time, as the story began. Either way, I thought this story would be more of her being introduced to the supernatural world. Needless to say, she seemed to already know all about it, albeit not everything. I was somewhat disappointed there.

The only big issue I'd say I had with this story was the in-between chapter text/social media messages. I guess the way they were written, well it was somewhat confusing as to what was even going on/being said between the characters. I would have either deleted those from the narration script or rewritten them for easier understanding. I wasn't a fan of those.

The narrator did a great job. The only things that stood out to me were: 1. There were times when Grace’s mother sounded Jamaican, like before I realized she was actually Indian. 2. Clara’s Brazilian accent was questionable. While I don’t personally know any Brazilians, after listening to some youtube videos of Brazilians speaking English, I’m curious to know how long Clara had been in this town and why she spoke so slowly? Other than those two, I had no other issues. I’d definitely listen to her narrate again.

Questions/Comments:

I might have missed this part, but where did the ghost in the b & b come from?

How long had her two best friends (supernatural hunters) been in this town?

There was mention of the sheriff wearing a Kazastani flag on her uniform. What was that all about?

When it came to introductions, why was Allison the only described as being a “young, white woman?” There was no other mention of race when it came to the characters, like with Grace, I didn’t realize she was part Indian for a good portion of the book.

The funniest or most questionable part was after Aaron’s/Erin’s death. A sketchbook was found nearby, and it was believed that she had sketched her killer prior to death. How much time did she have to where she could sketch, yet couldn’t run away?

There was a part when Grace was sitting in the back of an ambulance, wrapped in a blanket. Her friend comes over to her and they talk for a while. This was when Grace told her friend (the male one-not sure how to spell his name) that she knew he liked Clara. Anyways, they’re on the ambulance bay when suddenly it goes back to them and Grace is sitting in the grass (after it’d been raining) and Clara and Roland are suddenly in the ambulance bay. I might have misunderstood that scene but yeah…

Tilly ends up trying to kill Grace. What does Grace do? She knocks her out and ties her to the staircase, then goes in search for clues, leading her to her father’s journal. Why didn’t she call the sheriff? Or her friends?

How did Grace know that she’d be able to stab the witch statue? This was another part in which I felt like I was either clueless about what was going on or…I don’t know what. I thought there was only a little mention of the statue here and there throughout the story. Yet, I felt like Grace was learning all this information that wasn’t actually in the story.

How did Grace know that Perry was an immortal? Again, I felt lost with that news also.

  • Mechanical Error

  • Creature Feature, Book 6
  • By: Tobias Cabral, Joseph Cautilli, Marisha Cautilli, and others
  • Narrated by: Christopher Graham II
  • Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

A string of bizarre murders across New Cyber City. For Earth Corps Agent Charlotte McCain, that should have been just another day at the office. But this case felt different. It wasn't just people inexplicably exploding; weird was her business. This one was hitting nerves she'd worked hard to numb. That irritated her almost as much as partnering up with brilliant but troubled Agent Tom Murdoch to solve the mystery before more victims went up in flames.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • SciFi with soul!

  • By Michael Parker on 12-20-18

I wasn't a fan

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

Reviewed: 12-19-18

Let me start by saying that I asked for a free code to listen to this audiobook all because Roma Gray was involved. I’m a big fan of her.

Needless to say, I wasn’t really a fan of these two stories. I liked the second one more than the first one though. With the first story, it's like I was too stupid to understand what was going on, especially with some of the terminology used. I had a basic understanding of what was going on, thankfully, but I never felt connected to any of the characters or the story itself. Story two was easier to follow, but I felt it ended…when it shouldn’t have ended. It’s like the story is going, the characters are rescued and suddenly it’s done. It was just strange to me.

The narrator did an alright job. Unfortunately, there was this echoing quality to the narration, like he was sitting in a little box and his voice was bouncing off the walls, while other times, it sounded like he was talking through an intercom. Additionally, there were times when it was obvious he’d taken a break and was “getting back to work,” meaning he would be further away or closer to the microphone then he’d previously been. Other than the sound quality of the narration, he did pretty well with the character voices.

Questions/Comments:

In story one, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the androids was. It’s like some of them were with people an in dates, but then there was Bobblepop(?) who would go on stage and read poetry or some other literature. If it was hard for Charlotte to believe one of them might have a sense of their self, and instead thought Bobblepop was just malfunctioning, what was the point of them? If humans just wanted companionship or something else along those lines, why would there be those “on stage?”

In story two, what was with John keeping a razor blade in his cheek? I was lost there. Also, why did John not question Katherine’s fighting skills when she was a lab person like him?

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Schifflebein's Folly

  • By: Iris Chacon
  • Narrated by: Jenny Hoops
  • Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

Lloyd Schifflebein wants to adopt children, but he must convince authorities he is not crazy. He isn't. His teapot really is talking to him. When the social worker from hell agrees to give him a chance, things are looking up. Soon, Lloyd is the happy father of six, count ‘em, six special-needs children and their six pet bunny rabbits. The Schifflebein household is a regular day at the circus. And they’ll be a forever family, provided they can get through a probationary period with surprise inspections at any time. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Top read for those who work tough jobs!

  • By Jan on 12-16-18

What an Interesting Story.

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

Reviewed: 12-15-18

I received a free copy of this audiobook for an honest/unbiased review. Needless to say, this was an interesting listen to. The beginning is questionable because I had no clue how the teapot maker/teapot was going to be incorporated into Lloyd’s life (based on Audible’s blurb). I’m still curious as to who the teapot marker is, how his teapots come to life, and his end goal. I’m just not sure about the supernatural aspect.

While I thought the narrator did an alright job, there were some questionable accents she used. One being Ms. Stoner’s boss who just sounded cheesy, and then Remmy’s. Overall, Remmy sported a country accent, but there was a time (forgot when specifically) that she sounded like she was from Louisiana, and Louisan’s have a unique accent. Plus, the way she spoke for Remmy made her sound like she was a lot older than Lloyd and a good majority of the characters. Until the end, when they’re in court and she tells everyone that her and Lloyd were in foster homes together – meaning close in age – I was surprised.

Questions/Comments:

When it came to Lloyd adopting, I found it strange that not one social worker would have gone to his house to get better acquainted with him in the twelve years prior to getting his first child, yet they referred to him as being crazy. What did he say (since no one saw him in person) that made him appear crazy? Either way, that part just sounded very strange.

I loved the correlation between kids and bunnies, that was a unique take and very interesting.

Amy didn’t like being touched in the beginning, yet there was a time when Lloyd touched her hand with no complaints, yet the next time he went to touch her (I think it was a hug), she shied away from him.
Similar to the social worker staff thinking Lloyd was crazy, the one inspector also did. He’d said that Lloyd was nuts “and always has been.” Again, what made people think he was nuts? Because he wanted kids so badly? I didn’t really get that part.

A law suit is filed against Lloyd regarding being a homosexual, not applicable to adopt kids. Two police officers show up to take the kids away. Now…I’m not in law enforcement, social services, or anything else relating to those areas. But I do know that when situations like this happen, the lead social worker will always be involved. That means that Stoner would have known what was going on. Therefore, I found it strange that she would have continued on with this process (taking the kids away) even though she’d met Charlie and knew that Charlie was a female, not a male.

Speaking of the suing, I could understand a person suing another person with no proof of any wrongdoing on the su-ee’s part. But when it comes to an organization like the zoning office suing an individual with no proof of anything, again, it just sounded strange to me. Like he was charged with having farm animals in his house without anyone actually coming to see what was going on beforehand. Should I mention that I can’t help but really dive into a story? I’m definitely a critical thinker and sometimes have no control over what my brain notices.



0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Priscilla Pratt Mysteries Box Set #1-4: A Vampire & Baking Cozy Mystery Series Box Set

  • By: Melissa Monroe
  • Narrated by: Cindy Kay
  • Length: 23 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

Priscilla Pratt is the friendly vampire who owns Fangs in Fondant, the best bakery in picturesque Bellmare, Massachusetts. But Priscilla keeps getting mixed up - in murder! Whet your appetite for mystery with this cozy mystery audiobook box set! 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Vampire sleuth to the rescue...:)

  • By Lidia Chymkowska on 12-25-18

Interesting Series.

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

Reviewed: 12-14-18

My biggest issue was that Priscilla was always the one to find the corpse, so everyone suspected her. That was a little too predictable, even though the killers were always a surprise. There were times when someone would say something – a clue, leading the gears to turn in Priscilla’s head, yet she couldn’t remember how the clue related to what she already knew. For example, the “Florist.” Italian guy says killer goes by that name, runs into the “Florist,” and later she’s told that the florist had chosen bad flowers. Yet, Priscilla is standing there totally clueless. I wasn’t a fan of that. Additionally, I felt there was a bit too much recap. Priscilla can't cry unless she's recently fed from fresh blood, she's over three-hundred, she's never wanted "kids," she doesn't like driving, etc. That could have just been me though.

In the end, there was something about this series that kept my attention.

The narrator does a good job. One area I’m not a fan of is the fact that she seems to make Priscilla sound really emotional the majority of the time. There were also times when she’d do the wrong accent. Otherwise, she does a great job with the voices for the variety of characters. I’d listen to her narrate again.

Questions/Comments (I had to shorten my review because I had so many questions/comments and it would have been too long to post.):

Part One
This was an okay beginning to this series. I had a hard time “getting into” the story, for whatever reason though. But because this came with the rest of the “parts” of this series, I decided to continue.

Priscilla’s at a half-open door and hears a dripping sound coming from within. She stands there contemplating what the sound is. Years go by. Finally, she decides to take a sniff inside. Why didn’t she do that sooner?

How many days went by from when Olivia calls the police for Priscilla after finding the body, to when she’s at the station handcuffed and being interviewed by the Arthur? Apparently, they have the fasted turn around when it comes to getting toxicology reports back.

I still don’t understand why the physically young vamps needed someone to take care of them. Madison is technically sixty-three and has “parents.”

When Priscilla was sitting with Keira’s fiancé, he was unable to talk. Why did he choose to do Morse code as opposed to using her notepad?

Priscilla goes home and notices her shop is still open. People had been waiting to hear the story…Olivia left the shop open and was selling her food. Who were these people that were waiting for Priscilla? I mean, it doesn’t seem like she has been friends besides Anna and Olivia’s daughter.

Part Two
After Benedict’s death, Priscilla can’t figure out why she wasn’t as upset about Keira’s death from part one as she is with Benedict's when they were both young people. Um…because Keira was a b*tch?

How did Priscilla not see the florist with his flowers walking pass her car, considering she hits him with her door…meaning he was walking toward her car.

Priscilla tries to describe the tattoo she saw Martino wearing. It was a regular-sounding five-pointed star. I don’t understand why she had a hard time describing it, much less drawing one in which Arthur thought it was a ball of fur or hedgehog.

Priscilla knew that Anna wanted to mess with her when she said she’d pack her overnight bag. So how in the world did Priscilla not look before leaving for the dance to see what gown Anna had put in? Better yet, she ended up realizing that no regular clothes were packed, only night clothes and the gown, yet didn’t know which gown it was?

Part two (around Halloween) comes six months after part one. And…it’s still snowing?

Priscilla was not close to killing Anna when she was partly drained of blood. If she didn’t kill the cops while going to the hospital, Anna was more than fine.

Part Three
Priscilla states that Madison hadn’t been old enough to see any wars. Madison was sixty-three. So yes, she was.

Priscilla calls to schedule a dentist appt. She leaves a message, doesn’t actually schedule anything, and still goes to the dentist the next morning.

Arthur comments about Priscilla’s purple room as though he’d never been inside. He’d gone in during part one when he found Joseph/the frog.

Holly is on the run, where is she? Of course, she’s in the abandoned house that has the broken police tape. She couldn’t have just walked under it?

Part Four
I liked the Parliament guy. Because of him, I’m interested in reading/listening to the next book in this series.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hell Divers IV: Wolves

  • The Hell Divers Series, Book 4
  • By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,661
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,463
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,451

The Sea Wolf sets out to search for the Metal Islands. Leading the expedition is legendary Hell Diver Xavier Rodriguez. After enduring a decade on the poisoned surface, his survival skills will be put to the test on the dangerous open seas. But storms, sea monsters, and the cannibalistic Cazadores aren't the only threat to X and his small crew. Their mission will uncover hard truths about the history of the war that left humankind stranded in the air for centuries. The fate of those still living on the airships might very well rest on this perilous journey to find a new home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great day for Hell Divers fans!

  • By Ripcord on 11-06-18

A different dive so humanity survives

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

Reviewed: 12-03-18

Josh here

*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

This entry in the Hell Divers series brings on a shift in tone for the phrase “We dive so humanity survives”. Once you get past the first chapter, you will understand what I mean.

Nick continues our tale of survival in the air in search of a place for humanity to re-establish their life on the surface. In search of the metal islands, we journey out to the sea with X and Magnolia as they seek out the next home for the human race. In this entry, there was plenty of action and story building that helped provide even more depth to each character in the tale. Watching as Magnolia was able to learn from the many years X had spent on the surface was fun and, at times, frustrating.

Nick’s writing brought up an interesting ethical dilemma that I found myself contemplating throughout the narration. How does one group decide to unilaterally raid the encampment of another? In this story, it is clear cut in terms of good vs evil, but when it comes to expansion of territory and survival of the group, where is the line drawn when each side truly believes they are doing what is best for their group to survive in terms of resource and land capture? This is the ethical quandary which I found myself immersed in as the story played out.

The action level was perfect for this entry in what I consider to be my favorite series by Mr. Smith. I did have two questions as it related to the story and those were how did they have SATCOM available hundreds of years after the end of civilization (who is controlling the satellites? Was it meant to be standard line-of-sight communications?) The other is aside from an individual computer station, how would any of the suit battery packs have enough juice to power-up an entire computing server in order to access records likely stored elsewhere? This is really just the technician in me coming out and didn’t detract from the story. Just two items that stood out to me as a “wait a minute” moment 

R.C. Bray, as per the usual, did outstanding with his performance. In fact, as I’ve said in my other reviews, Bob is how I stumbled upon Hell Divers and Nick in the first place.

Great continuation of the series and now I have to wait, after this monstrous cliffhanger, for book five.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Claimed by the Vampire King - Complete Bundle: A Vampire Paranormal Romance - Tale of the Century Bride

  • By: Susan G. Charles
  • Narrated by: Smokey Green
  • Length: 2 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

In book one, Catherine Berg, the eldest daughter of the town’s blacksmith, is vehemently opposed to the towns ancient ritual of the Century Bride. What is this ritual and why does it happen only once every 100 years? In book two, Catherine has made the ultimate sacrifice. And she soon discovers that an old and obscure prophecy will change her life, and the lives of all those around her, forever. Will they be able to adapt to the cruel changes about to control them all? 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not a fan.

  • By Melissa and Josh on 11-29-18

Not a fan.

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

Reviewed: 11-29-18

I received a free copy of this story by the author for an honest review. What's with the book cover? Lol
Let me start by saying that if the story is short (about two hours in this case), having a really long review from me…is very bad.

So, a good majority of this story is just talking, no dialogue. I swear in the beginning, I felt like I was listening to a history-related audiobook. It was all just talk, talk, talk. Explaining this and that. And I’m left wondering when the characters will actually interact. Then when they finally start interacting with each other, there’s not much there. For example, August and Catherine have been in the castle for a while (at one point the author says it’s been weeks, then later that same day, it changes to months), either way, there was nothing said about how they’d been interacting, minus Catherine saying August had been a gentleman (I’ll say more on that below). There was just nothing! The author seemed more focused on the grounds, the people (besides the main characters), and what was going on outside of the castle. Wasn’t this supposed to be a romance? I wasn’t feeling it at all! I was also under the impression that the dialogue was an afterthought to this story, with how little there was.

Besides the issue with the writing style, was August just stupid or what? I mean he’s been married lots of times to different females throughout the centuries, yet when Catherine arrives there’s nothing in the castle. Did none of his other brides want furniture? A bed? Something to lay on? What about friends and family? Did none of them want to see their loved ones? I could understand them being hesitant in the beginning, but still. Who wouldn’t want to have others around to talk to? Interact with? What did August and his previous brides do? But with Catherine, it’s like he came out of some dark closet and is like, “Oh yeah, she needs stuff, she needs servants, she needs this and that…” I didn’t understand that.

The narrator was alright. I could see her doing better reading a different story though. As it was, there were many times throughout this short story in which you could feel her emotion (representative of the character), but it was just a no. I don’t know how else to explain this. It’s like she was trying to make the story better than what it was, and, again, I wasn’t feeling it. I know a narrator can make or break an audiobook, but this story itself wasn’t good. I feel like the book might have broken the narrator in this case. My only question for the narrator is this: why was the word “dungeon” pronounced as “don-gen?”

Questions/Comments:
August. Could he have been any vaguer? He was a vampire that had been living for centuries and married a female from the local village in return for his protection. Oh yeah, he can fly, too! That might be enough information for some readers/listeners, but not for me. What happened to his previous brides? Why hadn’t he had an heir by then? What made him want to stay in that same location for centuries? How did he fly? Where did he get the blood he drank?

There was a part when August thought (inner dialogue) how he would be so lucky to have her (Catherine) last until the next ceremony. Ah…considering the next ceremony was one hundred years in the future…yeah, it’s likely she’d have been dead for a good while at that point. That just seemed like a strange thing to say/think.

Was anyone else thinking of the Hunger Games when they first started with this story? It’s like a family of the village is first chosen, then a single member of said family. This person is chosen to represent their village as a Tribute/candidate by going off to another location. In this case, Catherine is chosen to marry the vampire. Plus, the beginning had her out in the woods hunting with her bow and arrow. When she looked for food, I was so waiting for her to come across a deer (like in the movie), but it was a boar instead. Either way, Hunger Games was on my mind.

Catherine thought about how her wedding to August had been unconventional, but that had been what she wanted. There wasn’t any mention of a wedding during the ceremony though.

Speaking of weddings, there was a part when Catherine mentioned how August was a gentleman because he didn’t force himself on her…something to do with sex outside of wedlock. What happened to them supposedly getting married during the ceremony? If they didn’t get married then, then what was taking so long? What had they been doing? Moving on, there was another part when after they finally had sex, and suddenly, they were married now. I didn’t get it?!

Speaking of sex, when August was about to release his goodies, he decided not to do it inside of Catherine because she was too young to get with child. Wasn’t she twenty-four? Wouldn’t that have been considered kinda old back in those days? I mean, other stories, she would have been referred to as an old maid or spinster at that age. Yet, the next day, they have sex and he cums inside her.

When Catherine woke up one morning, why was she scared that the curtains were open and that she wasn’t burning? That was strange considering there was no further mention of it. She just got dressed and went outside, where the sun was shining. Did she think she was going to suddenly change into a vampire…randomly, after being at the castle for several weeks/months?

When part two started, why in the world, given how short part one was, did the author provide such a long recap? Again, part one was really short, like less than an hour. The listener doesn’t need a recap when parts one and two are one after another.

August needed an heir yet was surprised that it had been possible for Catherine was able to get pregnant? Huh? How else would he have gotten an heir then?

Part two was...I don't even know. It was even vaguer than part one. It's like it does the recap of part one, adds a new couple of sentences - the pregnancy, adopted kids, son to be king/assassin, blood beasts, blah blah blah.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful