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DabOfDarkness

Ojo Caliente, NM, United States
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  • Murder in Keswick: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

  • By: William Todd
  • Narrated by: Ben Werling
  • Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite. As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Need Sherlock? Try this!

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

Need Sherlock? Try this!

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

This was a good, classic Holmes & Watson tale. I think it would fit well into the original Doyle canon. I can just imagine H&W on vacation, with Holmes bored stiff until a headless body turns up. The glint of glee in his eyes must have shown to anyone interacting with him as he worked at the mystery.

Mrs. Darcy is no shrinking violet, which I liked. The ladies are still few in number and have limited roles, just as in the original stories (alas). I also liked Morwenna, who was no nonsense as well but in a different way from the American Mrs. Darcy. I think it was Morwenna that had my favorite line about finding dirty laundry under the bed, where her husband kicked it. She said something to the effect of her husband training her for child rearing by being lazy with his dirty clothes. Ha! I laughed out loud because it made me think of my man and how he leaves socks, plates, and empty drink containers here and there.

Initially, there are many suspects who had motive to take out Mr. Darcy. However, since we all know this is a Holmes mystery, it was very hard to ignore any little detail that might lead Holmes (and me as the reader) to the real killer. Still, the take did have a great twist near the end and I was little surprised by the final answer to the mystery. Kudos to the author for making it a little more intricate than expected.

Over all, the story has the feel and quality of the original H&W stories. I was entertained the entire time even if I was left wanting a bit more from the ladies. The story kept true to the Victorian setting. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Ben Werling is great with Sherlock’s arrogant voice as well as being great with the indulgent, easy-going voice of Watson. His female voices need some work. While there were few ladies in this story, they sounded like men. I had to pay close attention to their scenes to keep track of who said what when. Werling does do a great job of capturing the subtle emotional changes of Sherlock as well the more explosive emotions of Watson. His pacing is perfect and there are no technical recording issues. 4/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by William Todd. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Lion on Fire

  • A Casino-Heist Thriller
  • By: Ted Galdi
  • Narrated by: Scott R. Pollak
  • Length: 4 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Brian, a clean-cut recent college grad, takes a side job in an underground casino in New York City to make extra cash to help his derelict brother out of a jam. Nothing goes as planned, and soon, Brian is forced to team up with a charismatic co-worker to rob the mobsters who run the casino. Main character Brian is shocked to learn that his younger brother not only has been dealing cocaine but foolishly lost a whole package of it, and now owes his boss $30,000. If Brian's brother doesn't come up with the money in a few weeks, he's dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun hard-luck story

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

Fun hard-luck story

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

This story has a slow burn to it. Brian Rolson starts off as a good, but naive, fellow who is helping his younger brother Kip out. Their State Trooper dad has strict high expectations of both his sons and Kip has already had a mark against him. Now he’s gotten involved with some drug gangs and owes them $18k, which he can’t possibly pay off in time without help. So Brian, who’s been a limo driver for a while now, agrees to take up driving for this illicit casino business. Manhattan has strict rules about casinos but the Russian Mob has ways around them.

As the story unfolds, we get a few more characters, like Dusty who becomes Brian’s good best buddy in this illicit casino business. Then there’s Brian’s girlfriend (Samantha? maybe?) who reluctantly gets dragged into this and then unceremoniously kicked out. That spurs our duo on to what becomes a big flustercluck.

Igor is the Mobster that Brian has the most dealings with. He is calm, concentrated, and scary! One of my favorite scenes is where Igor, Samantha, and Brian are all crammed into a car having a heated discussion. It was intense and I wasn’t sure everyone was going to make it out of that car alive.

Dusty is lovable because he’s almost a Puck – so care free and full of life. He’s got this philosophy that you should take chances, live that life to the fullest, because death comes in an instant and then you’re not around to deal with any messy clean up (physically or emotionally). Brian isn’t sure he buys into that but it does intrigue him.

As wrapped up as I was in this tale, I did miss the ladies. There’s a brief appearance of Brian’s mom, a woman who runs the little bank at the casino events, and Samantha (plus some bar ladies and gamblers). Samantha has the most lines but she’s mostly there to provide emotional fuel for Brian and Dusty to hatch their plan. She hasn’t got a full personality like Brian or Dusty. So I would have liked more ladies and more from them.

I liked the underlying role of Brian’s dad. His strong expectations from his kids motivate Brian just as much as that event with Samantha. Both sons feel that they can’t go to their dad for help or guidance because they will forever be labeled Mess-Ups, never to crawl out from that black cloud.

While the heist attempt itself was full of riveting scenes, I could see all sorts of issues with their plan leading up to the attempt. Why oh why! Boys! So many ways for things to go wrong and for it to end in tears. But the ending was full of suspense and action, kept me hooked, and on the edge of my seat. 4.5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book. My opinions are wholly my own.

The Narration: Scott R. Pollak did a great job with this narration. He had the perfect voice for Brian, who is naive and a little too helpful to everyone. He’s eager to please. Then he also had the perfect care-free voice for Dusty. I also liked his strong, unforgiving voice for Brian’s dad (the state trooper). His few female voices were feminine. The pacing was perfect. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.

  • Spring Thaw: A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery Novella and Other Mystery Short Stories

  • By: Lauren Carr
  • Narrated by: Mike Alger
  • Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

Get your mystery fiction fix with this collection of short stories featuring retired federal agent Chris Matheson; sleuths Mac Faraday, Joshua Thornton, and Cameron Gates; and a rambunctious crime-solving dog named Gnarly. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spring Thaw

  • By Amy C on 12-07-18

Great way to get introduced to Carr's works

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

This collection contains the novella Spring Thaw along with these short stories: Killing Bid, Beauty to Die For, Countdown to Murder, Lucky Dog, The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program, and A Gnarly Christmas. If you’re new to Lauren Carr’s works, this is a great collection to jump into, giving you a sampling of her various inter-related mystery series.

For me, the Gnarly stories were my favorites. Spring Thaw was fun and it’s always interesting to see how an investigator tackles a cold case but I don’t recall it as vividly as Gnarly tacking assassins, dognappers, and fake birds residing on someone’s hat. Still, there’s something endearing for a woman on her death bed still attempting to prove her son innocent. I liked the little twists and turns in this tale.

The entire collection is like picking up a group of old friends. Perhaps I’ve heard their stories many times and yet I still enjoy hearing them tell the tales again. In many ways, these mysteries make me think of the old Perry Mason stories – usually someone finally spills the beans in a mess of emotions and that’s how the mystery is finally solved. While that may be a little cliched, it’s still immensely satisfying.

The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program is hands down my favorite story in this collection. These dognappers (Bert and Ernie) had no idea what they were in for! Hahahahahaha! I love how Gnarly plays with his victims before getting the big guns out. A Gnarly Christmas had a similar theme with some ill-informed assassins going up against the clever dog.

Killing Bid had it’s fun moments as well. I liked that auction setting and the mysterious and glamorous estate of a now-deceased film star. Of course, Gnarly only wants the bird on a fancy hat. Mac Faraday unintentionally bids a small fortune on a silly outfit, much to his chagrin. Meanwhile, Countdown to Murder had it’s chilling moments. Single red roses now have a new meaning for me.

Over all, it’s a great little collection of Carr’s works showcasing many favorite characters, especially Gnarly. And that large skunk cat. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book. My opinions are wholly my own.

The Narration: Mike Alger does a great job as Mac Faraday. I like his voice for all the mysteries though I have to say that the number of his voices are limited. For instance, he uses the same voices from mystery series to mystery series for the most part so it’s a little hard to tell from the voices alone which crime-fighting duo is featured in each story. Perhaps that’s why I like the Gnarly stories so much as they stand out clearly. Alger’s pacing is perfect, his female voices are feminine, and there were no technical issues with this recording. 4.5/5 stars.

  • Max Random and the Zombie 500

  • By: Mark London Williams
  • Narrated by: Luna Cross
  • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Weeks after watching her principal try to chew up her school teacher, and minutes after she'd just lost her family, 12-year-old Aurora Bonsall begins her odyssey of escape with Max Random in his hand-built go-kart across a ruined map of abandoned studio back lots, wrecked shopping malls, encounters with the not-quite dead in hospitals and the not-quite tame when they meet a feral cat. All while realizing that surviving humans can be far more dangerous than the Nano-Z's taking over the world.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than the cover art

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

Better than the cover art

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

I almost passed up this book because of the cover, but then I would have missed out on a delightfully dark zombie tale. From the cover, I thought this book might be silly, even slapstick. Not so! Aurora and Max, two 12 year olds, are stuck in a horrible situation. Set in the near future, the world is coming to an end because of the Nano-Zs – zombies created by nanites.

Aurora has recently lost her parents and hasn’t been able to talk about it. he literally crashes into this story and Max speeds in on his enviro-friendly go-kart to rescue her. She becomes the story teller for this dark tale. While she’s an interesting character, it was Max that truly captivated me. His interface isn’t the usual. He answers questions straight forwardly, sometimes states the inappropriate truth, and tends to go off on tangents. Perhaps it’s autism, perhaps it’s something more.

The story has several interesting minor characters. Dr. Lulu and Tilda were my two favorites. Dr. Lulu has been hiding out at a hospital and perhaps she has figured out something about these nanites. I loved all the little science-y bits. However, the story does have one flaw and that has to do with Dr. Lulu. At one point, Dr. Lulu uses a needle and both kids think it’s for one reason. Later, the story completely changes that up and it doesn’t make sense. That’s not how that works. I felt that the author decided to change directions a little by the end of the story but didn’t take the time to go back and clean up that previous scene.

Anyhoo, then there’s Tilda and her husband Roger. I loved this part of the book because it shows that humans can be as dangerous or more so than the zombies. Along the way, Aurora and Max have adopted a cat. I felt that the cat would have fared better off leash but the kids manage to keep it alive throughout the book. Roger doesn’t like the cat but he’s not long for the story.

The Fungos were a great touch, being a dangerous gang that’s in love with chaos. Aurora and Max have to go toe to toe with this new enemy and things look pretty bleak there for a moment. The story ends with our heroes still marching forward, looking for something they may never find. I really look forward to the next book in the series. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Luna Cross did a great job as Aurora. I love her voice for this brave 12 year old. She also had a great voice for Max, whose voice is described in the story as often lacking emotion, being so straight forward and almost robotic. Cross also had distinct voices for all the side characters and her male voices were masculine. The pacing was good and the emotional scenes were done very well. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Outer Diverse

  • The Splintered Universe, Book 1
  • By: Nina Munteanu
  • Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Outer Diverse is the first book of the Splintered Universe Trilogy, set in and around the Milky Way Galaxy. The first book begins as Galactic Guardian Rhea Hawke intestigates the massacre of an entire religious sect, catapulting her into a treacherous storm of politics, conspiracy and self-discovery. Her quest for justice leads her into the heart of a universal struggle and toward an unbearable truth she’s hidden from herself since she murdered an innocent man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A feast for the senses; glorious worlds with complex inhabitants hurtle towards our unprepared ears!

  • By QuirkyMezzo23 on 02-13-19

I want to grow up to be Rhea Hawke!

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

I had the pleasure to listen to this book 5 or 6 years ago, and I really enjoyed it then. I’m very pleased to say that this book has stood up well over the years. Rhea Hawke is still the bad ass I want to be when I grow up. I love her dress sense (boots, weapons, sentient great coat), her sorta pet tappin (kinda a cat with 3 tails), and her best friend Beni, who is the AI on her little work-issued spaceship. Alas, she messed up big time at work (the Galactic Guardians, which is way more bureaucratic than it sounds), and she lost all but her boot and her sorta cat.

While wallowing in her self-pity, wondering what to do with her life now, she joins a gym where she meets Serge. He’s way more sexy than his name hints at. Pretty soon, she’s spending nearly all her time at his place. She’s held back from snooping into his past, as she would have done in a heart beat when she worked for the Guardians. That’s going to come back to bite her in the butt.

I especially enjoyed the tangled relationship she has with her mom. She loves her (maybe) but hates her too (and definitely hates that she sleeps around so much!). But her mom has kept some really big secrets from her and that had to sting, so I see her point most of the time.

So many aliens! I love this aspect to the story because humans aren’t the focus. In fact, they are basically an endangered species. Barely tolerated in most civilized places, Rhea has had to work twice as hard to prove herself worthy. She’d rather do that than take the path her mom did (free love).

Then there’s the evil Vos. Cue evil laughter. So many rumors about what they can do, what atrocities they have done. I know it’s quite silly, but I love this because that’s my last name, minus and S, pronounced the same way. Hahaha! If I lived in Rhea’s universe, I’d have to change my last name or risk being shot on sight.

My one little quibble with this tale is the little bit of mystic stuff tossed in, like about all the over diverses and how they can be connected with a dream portal and how soul mates will find each other across the divereses no matter what, etc. Yawn. Honestly, this story rocks without all that and a little technical-sounding stuff tossed in to explain bridging multiple universes would have worked better.

I’m very glad I revisited this exciting space opera. So looking forward to completing the trilogy. 4.75/5 stars.

The Narration: Dawn Harvey does a great job with all the different alien voices. She really went the extra mile, making them sound as described in the text of the story. I don’t know how she made some of those voices, but they really worked! I did notice a few mispronounced words this time around – like ‘Bedouin’ and ‘Hopi’ but that’s easily forgiven considering how much effort she put into the alien voices. The pacing is perfect. Her voice for Rhea is spot on – a hero that is sometimes vulnerable. There were no issues with this technical recording. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nina Munteanu. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Just Drive

  • Life in the Bus Lane
  • By: Deke N. Blue
  • Narrated by: Kevin Meyer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Just Drive: Life in the Bus Lane provides a rare look at life from the driver’s seat. Spanning five years, this audiobook is a collection of posts from a Portland, Oregon, bus operator’s blog about his job. From the unique perspective of a “contemplative bus driver”, this audiobook chronicles Deke’s career from trainee to seasoned operator. Sharing his adventures from the tragic to the wondrous or hilarious, he adds color to one of the world’s most stressful occupations.    

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Probably really entertaining for bus drivers

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

Probably really entertaining for bus drivers

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

There were some true nuggets in this memoir of an Oregon city bus driver. I live in an area that has very limited public transportation, so there were lots of things I wasn’t aware about the day-to-day operation of city bus. Blue shared this knowledge usually through little amusing anecdotes.

I was very surprised by how often bus drivers are accosted, physically or verbally. I was sad to hear how their management gave them so little support in these instances, and in some cases even dealt out punishments to the drivers. I was horrified and amused by how often people physically challenged a bus! Hello! That’s not a fight you can win!

The book does ramble a bit. Originally, it was a series of blog posts and that’s openly talked about in the book. However, I think this was the main drag about the book too. A good edit could have condensed this down in to half the book, allowing the more amusing or insightful moments to really shine. As it was, I had to slog through the boring bits for the good stuff.

Also, I wanted a bit more fire. I feel the author has some great things to say, but I also feel he held back because he doesn’t want to be reprimanded by his management for using strong language or being disparaging. As the reader, I find books that try to please everyone to usually be boring.

Over all, there’s some few moments that made me laugh out loud, or gasp in surprise. I want more of this and I think the author can deliver. I especially loved those flirtatious scenes with his wife. 3.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Kevin Meyer did a great job narrating this story. He sounded like a natural Pacific Northwesterner. He was upbeat, always sounding engaged with the story. I loved how he managed the unique voices for all the various characters. There were no issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Deke N. Blue. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • An American Weredeer in Michigan

  • The Bright Falls Mysteries Series, Book 2
  • By: C. T. Phipps, Michael Suttkus
  • Narrated by: Arielle DeLisle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44

Life is not easy for the world's first weredeer detective. A simple hike turns into a media circus when Jane Doe, her best friend Emma, and a pair of monster hunters find a mass grave. Determined to find the parties responsible, Jane soon discovers a sinister cult leader has decided to make Bright Falls, Michigan the home of his corrupt religion.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great second book!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 06-11-18

Great addition to Shifter Urban fantasy

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone story.

Can we say that a grave full of children’s bones is just the thing to get Jane’s blood up! She’s certainly not one to sit back and not investigate this. She’s working with her trusty sidekick, Emma the wolfshifter, and a new character, Robyn. She’s pretty hot about the bones as well and willing to take out a deity or two to prevent any further children being discarded.

What I loved most about this book was the quick back and forth pop culture references and even insults among friends. I also found it amusing how Jane and her friends tackle racism against shifters with two more new characters, Larry and Yolanda. They are Hunters and Michigan doesn’t allow hunting of shifter animals. So they are obviously outside their jurisdiction but they do have some useful skills. Besides, Alex is friends with them (which Jane finds hard to stomach sometimes).

The hunt for answers was my second favorite element of the story. It’s a murder mystery with fantasy elements and Robyn is ready to go off half cocked. She wants vengeance, not justice and Jane foolishly allowed herself to get maneuvered into promising to help her. This is a very big deal for the supernatural community because if you can’t keep your word, then you have very little coin in that community.

I did find the romance element a little silly. Jane is dating Alex, but in the past she kinda saw his brother Lucien, but apparently there’s been some miscommunication because Lucien sees things differently. Anyhoo, it’s made things all kinds of awkward for Jane, much to the amusement of her friends and frenemies. At first, it was cute, but then I felt it was brought up more than necessary. I was all into the action, the murder, the vengeance! That’s what I wanted. 4.5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book. My opinions are wholly my own.

The Narration: Arielle DeLisle was awesome in narrating this book. She’s perfect for our main character Jane and I love her wide variety of voices for all the other characters. She does Yolanda’s older, jaded voice quite well. I liked her doggy voice for Emma when she’s in wolf form. Her male voices sounded masculine. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Inner Diverse

  • The Splintered Universe, Book 2
  • By: Nina Munteanu
  • Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Detective Rhea Hawke continues her quest for truth and justice in a world that is not what it seems. Rhea's search takes her to the far reaches of the known universe from the Weeping Mountains of Horus to the blistering deserts of Upsilon 3. Amidst the turmoil of an imminent extra-galactic war, Rhea holds the key even as those she trusts betray her. No one is what they seem... This is Book 2 of the Splintered Universe series.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The delightful crazy continues!

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

The delightful crazy continues!

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

There were plenty of questions from Book 1 and Book 2 plops us right down into the action. The first few hours, I was confused. I think there’s some jumping around the time line, or perhaps it’s jumping back and forth between the outer and inner diverses (since most people have a twin in the opposite verse). But then there was Serge, who I was 100% sure was dead at the end of Book 1 (which I’ve read twice). So I wasn’t sure if it was flashbacks to Serge before he died via Rhea’s death stare…. but, no, Serge is alive and well throughout Book 2. So, obviously I missed something and with the number of shapeshifters and dopplegangers, I guess that could easily happen.

Anyway, after about 2 hours, things level out and we stick to 1 universe and 1 timeline for the majority of the rest of the story. In fact, Rhea gets to go to prison. That was a delicious mix of Thunderdome and gray coveralls are the new black. Plenty of prison fights and Rhea has to come to terms with her previous mindless loyalty to the Galactic Guardians, an enforcement organization that isn’t above slavery and mass murder.

From there, Rhea has to confront yet another relative and she faces betrayal by a good friend. Enemies & frenemies alike still want the specs on her fancy gun. This lands her shape shifting into a blenoid in order to flee across a desert. I really liked this part of the book since it delves into animal biology. The blenoids are hunted for food but they are also seen as one of the universe’s most vicious creatures.

The tale ends with Rhea pulling together some tattered ideas of how to fight the nihilistic evil Vos, who want to damage Rhea’s universe. Along the way, she’s met several Vos and she now understands that not all are evil, but many are fine with standing aside and letting the evil Vos do their thing.

There’s so much I have enjoyed about this series so far. Rhea is a fascinating character from the start and she continues to grow throughout the tale. There’s her AI ship, Benny, her sentient great coat, her special made gun, and her own hidden shapeshifting abilities. Then there’s a cast of interesting characters, good guys and bad guys. I love that I don’t know how things will turn out; the plot keeps me guessing.

And then there’s the mystical portal to the alternate universe which is accessed via anal sex. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s just flat out odd. It came up in Book 1 (and I mentioned it in my 2013 review) and Book 2 starts off with Rhea confronting the mother of the mystical anal sea snakes which gave her some telepathic connection to the big mother snake… and that all ties in with a Vos trying to convince Rhea that she can be transported to this alternate universe once her body is prepared via superduper secretions during anal sex.

Yeah, I know. I say it out loud, try to explain it to my husband, and it just sounds too fantastical for this space opera. While I have taken some deranged glee in trying to explain this aspect of the story to others, the entire mystical aspect still bores me. Yawn.

Other than that, it’s a very entertaining space opera. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Dawn Harvey does another great job. She was most excellent with Book 1 and she continues the same superb quality with Book 2. I love how she makes all the different alien voices, and I can’t even guess how she makes some of them. She’s got the perfect voice for Rhea and she tackles some tough emotional situations in this book too. Her male voices are masculine. There were no technical issues in this recording. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nina Munteanu. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Cornered Magic

  • The Void Series, Book 1
  • By: Charissa Dufour
  • Narrated by: Janelle Tedesco
  • Length: 2 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

Sam, a half-fae Void, is ostracized by her own people, much less the humans who control her home - the Illinois Mystical Reservation. Packed into the Reservation with vampires, werewolves, faes, and mages alike, Sam does her best to travel below the radar, but when her only friend asks for her help, she can’t say no. Her work to solve a fae’s murder brings her to the forefront of vampire politics, and changes her life forever. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I want MORE!

  • By Listening is Reading on 11-30-18

Interesting take on Urban Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

I really like Samantha’s character. She’s fae, but not quite fae enough. On top of that, she’s a rare and usually shunned type of fae, a Void. Her special power allows her to steal energy from others (though she tries hard not to). With few friends and a parent who belittles her every day, Sam treasures her friendship with Amber. Sam also has a boyfriend, Chad, who she doesn’t really click with but so few people hang out with her, that she feels obligated to give Chad a chance.

Then in steps Roman, who makes her tingle in places she didn’t know could tingle. Roman works for some corporation that makes plastic housing (since iron is such a hazard to the fae). He’s got a secret and Sam immediately keys into it. Roman shows definite interest in Sam but she’s not used to such attentions. So there’s potential there for a meaningful romantic involvement in the next book.

Now all this is taking place on the Mystical Reservation in Illinois. Basically, all magical creatures in the US have been rounded up and forced onto reservations. I think this idea has the potential to be a significant part of the plot. However, I worry that there is some cultural insensitivity too. We’ll just have to see how that develops with the series.

There’s a variety of other characters, like Heywood the vampire and Carl who has a gift with technology (even though almost all tech is forbidden on the reservation). There’s mages and empaths (like Amber) too. The murder mystery was solved a little too quick and the initial build up was a little silly. Why wouldn’t Amber and Sam check their friend’s apartment first, before going to the unconcerned authorities? So that could have been a little more tightly written. On the whole, it’s an intriguing start to something that could be really good, or could be mediocre. 3.5/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book. My opinions on it are wholly my own.

The Narration: Janelle Tedesco gave an excellent performance. She had the perfect voice for Sam and distinct voices for each of the characters. Her male voices sounded masculine. I thought her voices for the bullying authorities were especially good. There were no technical issues with the recording of this audiobook. 5/5 stars.

  • Metaverse: Book Three of the Splintered Universe Trilogy

  • By: Nina Munteanu
  • Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

Hear the scintillating conclusion of the Splintered Universe trilogy. In Metaverse, Rhea Hawke travels back to Earth, hoping to convince an eccentric mystic to help her defend humanity from an impending Vos attack - only to find herself trapped in a deception that promises to change her and her two worlds forever.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Had to know how things ended

  • By DabOfDarkness on 01-29-19

Had to know how things ended

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

Reviewed: 01-29-19

I had a hard time getting into this third installment of this series. I fell in love with the characters in Book 1, continued to enjoy them in Book 2, but here in Book 3 they don’t get much done. The first 4-5 hours is spent on romantic entanglements, miscommunication, and hurt feelings. For me, that was pretty darn boring. The book does pick up a little in the last 3 hours. There was a point where our hero Rhea has a big important climatic moment, and I could have lived with the story ending there. However, it continues on after for perhaps another 2 hours.

The things I enjoyed about Books 1 & 2 (the hunt for bad guys, fancy weapons, action, mistakes made, alliances broken, etc.) were largely missing in this book. The things that I found a bit boring in the previous books (the big spiritual ideas, romantic angst, mystical portal opening sex, etc.) make up the bulk of this story. I really wonder why Serge is still alive. Why hasn’t Rhea killed him (again)? He seems to be very split on his allegiances.

I did find it a little predictable in a few ways. In Book 1, we learn early on that Rhea absolutely hates Eosians. Then, boom! She finds out she’s part Eosian. So in Book 2, she absolutely hates the vile, evil Vos. Then, boom! She finds out that she is part Vos. Haha! So, you can guess what happens in Book 3. I won’t tell you which species it is this time.

I did enjoy the return to the Sekhmet prison to assist the Rill even further. I felt that was a good way to bring the story home. Rhea has grown as a character and is striving to make amends for her past wrongs. Overall, this tale lacked the awesome of the previous two books but I’m still glad I closed out the trilogy. 3/5 stars.

The Narration: Dawn Harvey continues to bring a great performance to this series. Her narration is so well done. She’s got the perfect voice for Rhea Hawke. I love how she manages all the different alien voices. Truly, I don’t know how she pulled some of them off, and with such consistency across all three books. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Nina Munteanu. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.