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JBronder Book Reviews

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  • reviews
  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 19
  • ratings
  • Blast from the Past

  • A Mac Faraday Mystery, Book 4
  • By: Lauren Carr
  • Narrated by: Dan Lawson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

In this fourth mystery on Deep Creek Lake, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents. Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Who done it? ...and why?

  • By Michael Valentine on 09-08-14

Another Great Mystery with Mac Faraday

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

Reviewed: 07-12-17

Any additional comments?

Archie is on the way to take Gnarly for his grooming appointment when a Deep Creek Lake police are and two officers stop her. Thankfully she knows everyone on the force and manages to kill the men. They were a hit team from mobster Tommy Cruz. Archie has a bit of a past and it seems Tommy is out to put her in a grave. But then Tommy and a group of his men end up dead at a local café. A short distance away at a local bed and breakfast the owner’s wife initially looks like she fell down the stairs but in reality has been killed.

Mac has his hands full when he learns about Archie’s past. Then when Tommy ends up dead he thinks things are taken care of, the truth of the matter is that there are so much more happening in this story. There is a mobster’s ex-wife and her little girl that are been in the witness protection program. Then there is the death of the Mary Catherine Skeltner. Her husband seems to be the killer yet Mac is his alibi.

This is a great mystery and kept me on my toes keeping all the facts in order. But I managed to stay step for step with Mac. I will admit that there was one thing that did get to be a touch annoying in this story. I was really sick and tired of hearing about Gnarly getting in to see Missy. There was such a fit thrown about this that I had to stop the book for a while because I was irritated.

Having said that this is another great Mac Faraday mystery. I really enjoyed learning more about Archie and love how everything wrapped up. I have already ready Murder at Astaire Castle (which got my started on this series) so I can’t wait to get my hands on The Lady Who Cried Myurder.

I received Blast from the Past from iRead Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

  • Shades of Murder

  • A Mac Faraday Mystery
  • By: Lauren Carr
  • Narrated by: Mike Alger
  • Length: 5 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

In Shades of Murder, Mac Faraday is once again the heir to an unbelievable fortune. This time the benefactor is a collector of stolen art. But this isn't just any stolen work of art - it's a masterpiece with a murder attached to it. Ilysa Ramsay was in the midst of taking the art world by storm with her artistic genius. Hours after unveiling her latest masterpiece, she is found dead in her Deep Creek Lake studio, and her painting is nowhere to be found.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story!

  • By Jan M on 07-31-18

Another Killer Mystery from Lauren Carr

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

Reviewed: 07-06-17

Any additional comments?

Ilysa Ramsay was taking the art world by storm when she is suddenly killed and her last painting disappears. Ten years later, Mac Faraday receives a package from a questionable collector that had a soft spot for his mother Robin Chase. The package is the missing Ilysa Ramsay painting and before he knows what’s happening people are trying to buy it from him and breaking into his house.

At the same time Joshua Thornton is a military lawyer and detective. He is on vacation with no kids in the house and gets a call from Cameron Gates, a serial killer. He was blamed for one victim that was never identified and it has bothered him since he didn’t kill her. He asks Joshua to look into Jane Doe. Joshua meets up with the detective that worked the case and together they find themselves in Deep Creek Lake.

Mac has his hands full when a missing painting shows up on this door steps. Mac has a bunch of rich people that act that way and are more worried about money than family values. I loved Gnarly and the toll bridge, too funny.

But then you get introduced to Joshua Thornton. I read the first two Thorny Rose mysteries and really enjoyed his son and Mac’s daughter. He did a great job in Shades of Murder and I can’t wait to read his mystery series.

This was another great Mac Faraday mystery. I loved the twists and the real reason the painting disappeared. Once again I didn’t really know who the killer was and was caught off guard by the reveal. I love these mysteries and recommend them to everyone.

I received Shades of Murder from iRead Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

  • Hair Suite

  • Hair Power, Book 2
  • By: Piers Anthony
  • Narrated by: Kristin James
  • Length: 3 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Quiti and the rest of the Hair Suits have just set up the Hair Suite, the embassy of the alien Hair Balls, when they learn they have competition. Alien cyborgs called Chip Monks want to win Earth for themselves. The two species must duel for control. These rivals discover a third alien species that threatens to destroy Earth, and have to join up quickly in order to protect the planet they are both seeking to win. Along the way, they get swept up in a world of intergalactic politics, wormholes, and role-playing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story.

  • By Louise J Evins on 02-22-18

It's the Hairballs vs. Chip Monks

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

Any additional comments?

Quiti and the gang are back. They have started a Hair Suite temporarily until a building is built. But then Quiti learns that there are endless other aliens out in the galaxy’s. She is approached by Levi and Burn who have Chip Monks that have modified them with alien cyborgs. It seems Earth is in a battle zone between the Chip Monks and Hairballs. Thankfully a friendly competition could determine who controls Earth. But then they get notice of another alien pod that is going to crash on Earth. This one has a plant based alien life but they plan on destroying the Earth. It is going to be up to the group to create more alien hosts and stop the alien plant pod.

I have to say after my nitpicky review of Hair Power that I enjoyed Hair Suite more. All of the alien hosts still had a rough dialog but either I got used to it or it did not both me as much. I liked the idea of a friendly conflict to see who controls Earth but I have to say that all the sex discussed in the book got old.

I liked how the group had to “purchase” their answers and their payment. It expanded this world out with a bit of a chuckle. It seems that the galaxies took more from Earth than I expected. I really liked the behind the scenes and the different support cast. That really worked well. But the ending didn’t really wrap up the story. I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book.

I am reviewing the audiobook. Kristin James narrates Hair Suite and I think she did a beautiful job. I am curious to listen to other books that she has narrated.

I received Hair Suite from Dream Big Publications for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

  • Hair Power

  • By: Piers Anthony
  • Narrated by: Kristin James
  • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

Terminal cancer patient Quiti walks into an abandoned building, planning on taking her life. Instead, she encounters a telepathic ball of hair that insists it is an alien seeking to facilitate diplomatic communication on Earth. Quiti assumes it is all a hallucination conjured up by her brain tumor. Because of this assumption, when she saves the alien's life and it insists on doing Quiti a favor in return, she only asks for her hair back. She soon discovers, however, that the creature's gift extends much further than her new locks that can change color with a thought.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I thought it was going to be

  • By JBronder Book Reviews on 06-04-17

Not what I thought it was going to be

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

Any additional comments?

Quiti is a 20 year old, plain girl with a brain tumor. She has seen the strain that it has put on her parents and she decides that she is going to kill herself. When she gets to the site, she meets a giant hairball that needs her help. Because she sets it in the sun in return it gives her a head of hair. But this is special hair that gives her special abilities. This puts her on the government’s radar and goes on the run. She meets some wonderful people along the way and learns that she is not the only hairball around. But this knowledge is not going to keep her the others safe. She is going to have to make a stand.

I absolutely love the Incarnations of Immortality and the Zanth series so I was over the moon to review Hair Power. Hair Power started out well, you feel for Quiti and can understand why she wants to commit suicide. But once the hairball gives her hair I started getting kind of irritated with it. She has to consume large amounts of food for the hair. But instantly she becomes a knock down, gorgeous girl that is clearly highly intellectual and is over the top with anything relating to sex.

I think the part that just grated on my nerves was how she is now super smart but she talks like she was a robot. Her dialogs were just rough and choppy. Then there was Roque and Desiree. I’m not a prude but that whole section just got to me. Plus I was screaming about the ending and not in a good way. Really?!?! Mind you I have to remind myself that Piers Anthony did come up with cat-ass-trophies in Xanth.

Over all that book was not as bad as I am making it out to be. Yes, it is supposed to be ridiculous and it is an over the top fantasy. It is very imaginative and I did not expect the powers of the hair. I listened to the audiobook and I feel Kristin James did a fantastic job narrating the book. She was clear on the different characters and has a beautiful voice. It is the start of a series and there was a lot of ground to lay. I can’t wait to see what happens in Hair Suite.

I received Hair Power from Dream Big Publications for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

  • The Bacchanal and Other Horrific Tales

  • By: Kristi King-Morgan, Teel James Glenn, Joe DiCicco, and others
  • Narrated by: Keith McCarthy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

This chilling collection of modern horror stories is sure to have you peeking warily around corners and walking just a bit faster down dark streets. Full of both creepy events and morbid humor, The Bacchanal stands as a testament to humanity's love of being afraid and of frightening others. Humanity's fear of the unknown and fascination with the supernatural are masterfully depicted in these 11 stories.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good but predictable stories

  • By Dawn H on 08-27-17

Great Collection of Horror Stories

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

Reviewed: 05-22-17

Any additional comments?

I admit that I don’t usually read short stories, usually because you might get one or two good stories but the rest don’t really catch my attention. But since I love horror and thrillers I was excited to review The Bacchanal: And Other Horrific Tales. There are twelve tales that will thrill you with supernatural creatures and the depravity of human nature.

All of the stories were really good but I will agree with other reviewers, my favorite was TS Hall’s The Encouragement Specialists. This is definitely a story about an offer too good to be true. Keith McCarthy does an amazing job reading this story.

If you like good horror stories look no further. This collection will be one that you keep.

I originally reviewed this book on July 21, 2016. I feel the same way about the audiobook as I do the ebook. This is a great collection of stories that any horror fan will love.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Dragonward

  • The Godsfall Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Michael Meyerhofer
  • Narrated by: Craig Beck
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

Three years after the War of the Lotus, alliances have already begun to unravel. As Rowen Locke struggles to maintain peace, troubling news reaches him from every corner. Persecution of the Shel'ai has reignited in the south, spurred on by a fanatical priest. To the north, the Isle Knights are withering under the leadership of mad Crovis Ammerhel. Old friends fight each other when not drowning their sorrows in taverns.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A New Branch to the Rowne Locke Story

  • By JBronder Book Reviews on 12-27-16

A New Branch to the Rowne Locke Story

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

Reviewed: 12-27-16

Any additional comments?

Rowen Locke has struggled to keep the peace between all races since the end of the War of the Lotus 3 years earlier. But people are quick to forget how magic, the Shel’ai, and others brought peace, it is easier to remember the old hatreds. Then there is a new Shel’ai called Algol that has plans to bring down this world. Algol has partnered with Crovis Ammerhel and is planning on bringing down the Dragonward and return the dragonkin to this world. But Rowen Locke, Maddoc, Igrid, and others are going to do whatever they can to keep that from happening.

Rowen is doing his best to protect those that he loves, even though everyone else seems to be against him. But he is loyal and determined, even if he is arrested, falsely imprisoned, beaten, and threatened to be executed. I loved Igrid, she is strong and determined and won’t quit no matter what. You can tell that she loves Rowen deeply although I think she was going to kill him. Algol is a powerful She’ai and has his own history but he is willing to do whatever it takes to bring back Nekiel.

If you like epic fantasy stories you have a read this one. This is an amazing story with lots of action, death, and a serious bad guy that has plans to destroy everything. What more could you want? If you like audiobooks, make sure to check out the Audible copy. The narration was amazing and helped draw me into the story.

I received The Dragonward from Sage’s Reading Room for free and I also purchased a copy of The Dragonward from Audible. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Relentless

  • Elisabeth Reinhardt, Book 1
  • By: Nancy J. Alexander
  • Narrated by: Nancy J. Alexander
  • Length: 16 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

Nearly a lifetime after a childhood filled with misery and abuse, Gina, now a successful doctor, finds herself thrown back into a terrifying world where her nightmares become far more than just a dream. With the help of an unconventional therapist with secrets of her own, the hunt is on and Gina fights for her life in this harrowing tale of cat and mouse.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well Written and Well Voiced

  • By SefinaHawke on 12-29-16

The Start to a New Thriller Series

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

Reviewed: 12-23-16

Any additional comments?

Gina is a successful doctor in Chicago but she is haunted by dreams of someone hunting her down. Gina great up on a family farm that was very secluded from modern day and had a troubled cousin that came to live with her family, Jake. She changes her name to try to stay away from him but he is obsessed with her. Jake and his two partners in crime are on the run from the police as they look for another victim that looks like Reggie Lee to have some fun with while they still look for Reggie Lee. Although Gina is trying to stay hidden, her high profile surgery is going to throw her right into the limelight and into the killer’s hands.

This story goes a roundabout way to learn about Gina’s past as she is remembering in her dreams. Thankfully Elisabeth Reinhardt is her therapist and can help her work through the memories and help her prepare for the potential attack from Jake. I really liked Elisabeth. She has her own history that makes are a tough gal to mess with along with a great connection for a network of people that can help.

I liked the story and how Gina was always on the run until she started doing things to get her ready like self-defense classes, shooting classes, security systems and such. I love when a character prepares to fight back instead of just cowering and hoping for help. Gina is a great strong character and I really enjoyed watching her with her surgeries and found it hard to learn of her past abuse.

The one thing that did get to me was the story seemed to drag and drag. I think that a good chunk of the story could have been taken out and made everything flow better. Nancy did a good job of narrating the story. It was easy to understand the different characters.

Overall I liked the story. It was a little slow in the beginning and I kind of forced myself to keep reading. I am interesting in reading the next book to see what happens with Elisabeth next.

I received Relentless from iRead Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this story.

  • The Murders at Astaire Castle

  • Mac Faraday Mystery, Book 5
  • By: Lauren Carr
  • Narrated by: Dan Lawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

Spencer's police chief, David O'Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer's mountaintop - even though he owns the property. It doesn't take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic!

  • By Carla on 10-03-16

Amazing Mystery with a Great Cast

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

Reviewed: 10-13-16

Any additional comments?

We start the story from the view point of a housekeeper at Astaire Castle. Famous author Damian Wagner is staying at the castle to write the last book in his series. But there are some strange happenings that revolve around the myth of a wolf man.

In present day, Mac Faraday is helping look for a missing lady and stumbles upon the information that he has inherited a castle along with his property. But the castle is cursed and his mother had it locked down to keep others from dying too. Too bad that when he plans on exploring the castle, the corpse of Damian Wagner is discovered, a wolf man attacks Mac and billionaire that refuses to take no for an answer are going to make this an interesting story.

This is my first Mac Faraday story and I am absolutely in love. Mac is a former detective that has inherited the fortune of his late mother, famous mystery author Robin Spencer. Those detective skills are going to be needed to figure out who killed Damian Wagner, who the wolf man really is, and what happened to the missing Damian Wagner manuscript.

This story is fast paced, engrossing and give a great ending that I didn’t expect. Of course I loved Gnarly and one of my favorite scenes is him dumpster diving for chicken bones. I was lucky enough to have been given the audiobook for review. The story was narrated by Dan Lawson and he did an amazing job. It was easy to tell which character was which and the pacing was amazing.

My only complaint would be that the rest of the series on not on audiobook yet, just some of them. But this has not stopped me from purchasing the remaining books in the series on kindle. I have a new favorite author. Definitely check out this book and series. You will not be disappointed.

I received The Murders at Astaire Caste from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

  • Born of Water: Elemental Magic & Epic Fantasy Adventure

  • The Rise of the Fifth Order, Book 1
  • By: Autumn M. Birt
  • Narrated by: Thom Bowers
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

In the buried archives of the Temple of Dust may lie the secret to defeating the Curse, a creature which seeks to destroy 16-year old Ria for the forbidden gifts she possesses. But it is from among the ranks of those who control the Curse where Ria will find her best chance of success. Only the Priestess Niri can save Ria from the forces that hunt her, if Niri doesn't betray the girl first. Along with Ria comes Ty and his sister, Lavinia, both bound to defend Ria from the Church of Four Orders.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Born of Water

  • By Kim on 07-26-18

A Great Start to an Amazing Series

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

Reviewed: 08-22-16

Any additional comments?

Niri is a Priestess of water that failed to identify an elemental during the festival. She wants to make amends to her order and goes on the hunt for this girl. But when she finds Ria she realizes there is more to this girl than what she originally thought. So she goes on a quest to find out the truth about Ria’s powers and her own. Lavinia and Ty are brother and sister and friends to Ria, they go along to keep Ria safe but end up learning more about themselves. But this is a race against time since the Curse has been released to hunt down Ria. But secrets about the church are going to be exposed and Niri is going to learn that although she is the weakest of the elementals she has more power in her than she knows.

When elementals are discovered, they are taken away from their families and indoctrinated into the church. This is the only life Niri has known for years and at first those teachings is all that she sees. But as the story progresses she learns that there is more to the story of the church and it is not as wonderful as she has been told. Ria has this amazing power but she is scared to use it because of the Curse hunting them down. I loved watching her grow throughout the story.

Ty has his own secrets and at first hates Niri. But when you learn about his apprenticeship you can understand his feelings. And then there is Lavinia. She is a young girl ready to go into her apprenticeship and along for adventure but finds her own, unconventional place in the world.

This book is full of action, adventure and wonderful locations. It is very descriptive and draws the reader in. I listened to the audio book and couldn’t wait to get back to it as soon as I had to stop. Thom Bowers did a wonderful job of narrating. It was easy to follow along with each character.

If you are looking for a new young adult fantasy series, this is the series for you. I strongly recommend checking out Born of Water. As for me I can’t wait to read Rule of Fire or even better listen to it on audiobook.

I received Born of Water for free from the author in a giveaway.

  • A Matter of Time

  • By: Michael Bowler
  • Narrated by: Aaron Landon
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

What is your destiny? This question haunts 20-year-old Jamie Collins. A junior at Santa Clara University in 1986, Jamie has friends, a professor who mentors him, and a promising future as a writer. Then the dreams begin - nightmarish visions that transport him to a time and place fifty years before he was born: Titanic's maiden voyage in 1912! With less than a week to go before the 74th anniversary of its sinking, Jamie discovers that his fate is inexplicably linked to that of the famous vessel. Somehow, the two timelines are overlapping, and when Titanic dies this time, Jamie will die along with it.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I needed more vampire time

  • By DabOfDarkness on 06-12-18

Wonderful Story of Love Across Time

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

Reviewed: 06-23-16

Would you consider the audio edition of A Matter of Time to be better than the print version?

.

Any additional comments?

It is 1986 and Jamie is a junior at Santa Clara University. He wakes up from a dream where in it he is attacked. Shortly thereafter he starts being lethargic during the day, the sunlight burns him, and then feels super strong at night. Jamie becomes obsessed with the young man is in the dream and trying to figure out what is happening. At the same time his friend Jay and Maggie visit Jay’s great grandma about a diary she kept her whole life. Maggie is writing a paper on the Titanic and things this can supplement her paper.

Jamie keeps getting sicker and sicker until he realizes that Jack, the man from the dreams is on the Titanic. Jamie decides to go to the coordinates of Titanic to catch a ride. His plan is to stop the attacker but ends up meeting widowed Kate and her 10 year old son David and falling in love with Kate. But it’s clearly not meant to be since the Titanic will be sinking in a couple hours. Jamie is torn between saving the passengers and how this would affect history.

Jamie is a fan of science fiction and horror. So when he starts having the dreams everyone thinks he is just writing a story. But it is clear something is very wrong and then he becomes obsessed with the Titanic. He even manages to make it aboard Titanic.

This is a great story. I admit that at first I had a hard time getting into the story. It seemed to drag but I think that was just me. I loved the paranormal twist and the wrong information that it leaked. It’s hard to go into this without giving it away. Trust me you will like it.

I received A Matter of Time as an audiobook through Audible. Aaron Landon narrates the book and he did a wonderful job. It was easy to listen to the story and understand the different characters.

I especially loved how the story ended. It was a great, warm, fuzzie moment. This is a wonderful story and I recommend that everyone check it out. You will not be disappointed.

I received A Matter of Time for free from Sage’s Blog Tours and the author in exchange for an honest review.