Review: Rain Oxford – Book of Names (Audio)

Rain Oxford: Book of Names, J.Scott Bennett (Narrator), 10:36h, audible, $24.95

Synopsis:

The brothers Nathan and Luca are mysteriously transported to a foreign world which is very different to Earth. The new (to them) world is called Syndrial, and it is ruled by priests and gods and goddesses.

Nathan finds that he has magic, and that he is considered to be the saviour of this world if he can learn to control his magic and find a powerful book: the book of names.

He and Luca face great danger in trying to achieve that goal.

What I think:

Although the idea that the real, secret names hold power, and that whoever knows them can wield power over the person holding them is not a novel idea, the way it is presented in this book is novel and intriguing.

Syndrial is a colourful world, and it is a world of inequality. The ruling priests pretty much do what they want, and they don’t shy away from being very cruel in order to get even more powerful. The gods don’t usually interfere, and it is up to a couple of semi-gods to stop the priests.

I was drawn into the book right from the start, and there wasn’t a dull moment.

There are very many twists and turns, and nothing is as it appears. Poor Nathan has to learn the hard way, and in the end he has to make a very difficult decision about a loved one.

Scott Bennett did a marvellous job at narrating the story, his characters were convincing, his pace exactly right, just the way I like it.

Going by the subtitle (Casters of Syndrial, Book 1) it seems to be the start of a series; however, it can well be read as a standalone — there’s no mean cliffhanger, which is great.

This was my first book by both the author and the narrator, and I’ll certainly check out more of their works.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this audio book and I chose to willingly post an honest review.

Advertisements

Rezension: Michael Kibler – Treueschwur

Michael Kibler: Treueschwur, Piper; Taschenbuch; 384 S.; €13,00

Klappentext:

Während eines Kongresses der Gerichtsmediziner in Darmstadt wird bei Renovierungsarbeiten im Kongresszentrum ein Schädel gefunden. Steffen Horndeich und Leah Gabriely von der Mordkommission finden heraus, dass der Besitzer des Schädels vor sehr langer Zeit verstorben sein muss. Ganz anders sieht es bei den Skelettresten aus, die wenig später in einem Waldgebiet auftauchen: Das Mordopfer kann noch nicht so lange tot sein. Schon die Feststellung der Identität wird zu einem komplexen Puzzlespiel. Und dann mehren sich die Hinweise, dass ausgerechnet der Schädel bei der Lösung des Falls eine wichtige Rolle spielen könnte.

Meine Meinung:

Treueschwur ist der erste Krimi von Michael Kibler den ich gelesen habe.
Anfangs habe ich ein bisschen gebraucht, um die verschiedenen Personen einordnen zu können, aber dafür, dass dies schon der 10. Band einer Reihe von Krimis ist die ich alle nicht kenne, ging es dann doch erstaunlich schnell, und das Buch zog mich schnell in seinen Bann.
Ich würde es mal als ‘sauberen’ Krimi bezeichnen, es gibt keine ‘ekligen’ Details, und obwohl es natürlich Gewalt gibt — schließlich geht es unter Anderem um einen Mord — ist es nicht so haarsträubend und erschreckend wie in manch anderem Krimi den ich kenne, und von daher sehr glaubwürdig. Die Geschichte um den Schädel ist von der Idee her grandios, und das Ermittlerteam ist großartig und hat mir gut gefallen.
Die Art und Weise wie die Ermittlungen durchgeführt werden hören sich für mich als Laien durchaus glaubwürdig an, und alles ist in sich schlüssig.
Der Schreibstil ist gut und flüssig, verliert sich jedoch gelegentlich in zu detaillierten Beschreibungen irgendwelcher Automarken, was mich dann veranlasste, diese Stellen quer zu lesen.
Jemand der sich für Autos interessiert kommt hier sicher voll auf seine Kosten; für mich persönlich hat es nichts zur Geschichte beigetragen.

Wer gerne solide, glaubwürdige Krimis liest ist mit Treueschwur sehr gut beraten.

Rezension: Isabell May – The Chosen One – Die Ausersehene

Isabell May: The Chosen One: Die Ausersehene; Bastei Lübbe; Okt. 2017; ebook; 244 S., €3,99

Klappentext:

 

Die 17-jährige Skadi ist eine Ausersehene – dazu bestimmt, dem Königreich Kinder zu schenken. Eine Seuche löschte vor Jahrhunderten einen Großteil der Bevölkerung aus und machte fast alle überlebenden Frauen unfruchtbar. Maella, die Regentin, ließ die wenigen fruchtbaren Frauen in eine Burg bringen, wo sie seitdem im Luxus leben und für den Fortbestand des Reichs sorgen. Skadi aber will sich nicht einsperren lassen und flieht.
Verzweifelt irrt sie umher, bis sie zufällig auf den freundlichen Finn trifft. Ihm und seinen Gefährten, darunter der rätselhafte Jaro, schließt sie sich an und erkennt, dass mehr in ihr steckt, als sie bisher überhaupt ahnte …

Continue reading

Audio Blogtour/Review: Colorless – Rita Stradling

Author: Rita Stradling

Narrators: Lauri Jo Daniels

Length: 9 hours 22 minutes

Publisher: Rita Stradling, Lauri Jo Daniels

Released: Oct. 2, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy


In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colourless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

Their only target: Annabelle.

Rita Stradling is the author of Ensnared, Making Bad Choices, The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Narrator Bio

Lauri Jo Daniels has had her nose in a book since before she started kindergarten and has been reading stories out loud to anyone who would listen ever since. Her mom has always said that from the moment she was born she has never shut her mouth, so it just makes sense that she would make a living with her voice.

It was this love of reading that inspired her to major in English Lit and later to become a Young Adult Librarian
and it was this career that introduced her to the wonder of audiobooks. She began dreaming of narrating them one day herself. Today that dream has become reality.

​Lauri Jo has a very versatile sound and a knack for character voices, both skills that truly bring a story to life. Those skills and her passion for storytelling have made her dream a reality.

When she’s not busy trying to organize the chaos of 2 teenagers and 6 animals at home, Lauri is producing material from The Huffington Post, Slate, and Playboy for SpokenLayer’s news podcast, SpokenEdition, voicing Alexa flash briefings for Biden’s Briefing, and narrating news and short stories for Medium Members while working on her next audiobook masterpiece.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterSoundCloudGoodreads

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

The beauty of the fantasy genre is, that no matter which book you listen to (or read for that matter), you can always discover something completely novel. Colorless is no exception. Here, we have a strange world, with magicians, priests, nobles, and dangerous beasts, and iconoclasts. I really love that word, it was a new one to me, but I didn’t have to look it up because the meaning was very clear.

We’re thrown into Annabelle’s transformation straight away. At first, nothing makes sense, information about why it happened, or how, is as inaccessible to the listener as it is to Annabelle herself.

Little by little we get more and more information as Annabelle sets out to discover what is behind it all.

She has a few companions who help her in her quest, most notably Dillon, the stable boy. He is one of the very few people who can actually interact with Annabelle and isn’t intent on delivering her to the monks. His siblings aren’t too pleased, but think they can use Annabelle for their own purposes.

The monks are very creepy, a bit like the Borg from Star Trek. They seem to have a collective mind, they’re threatening and powerful. The whole society has been brainwashed and subdued, and those who try to resist just vanish at some point.

Annabelle’s cousin Tony is one of them: he has to choose between giving Annabelle away, or suffering from what the the monks threaten him with, and it is interesting to see his choice.

At first, he isn’t very likable: snobbish, and paranoid, but by and by we get to know a bit of his past, and we learn that he is just another victim of the circumstances.

It will be very interesting to see the story unfold further in the next book, because I think that something more is going to happen. It was a fulminant finale, but I don’t think this can be all.

Lauri Jo Daniels did a very good job with the various characters. At times, I had to listen very closely to understand certain words, but that is due to my not being a native speaker, and the narrator’s strong American accent sometimes getting in the way.

I would rate the story and the narration at four stars (out of five) each.

Q&A with Author Rita Stradling
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I’ve worked with a couple different narrators over the years, and each time it’s a little different. This time around, I had very little work to do. Lauri asked me some questions in the beginning, and we stayed in contact throughout. She sent me a publish ready product, I reviewed it and pressed publish.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • I was so impressed with Lauri, I basically told her to have at it. She’s such a talented actress, and I didn’t want to squash her talent.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Lately, I only ‘read’ in the audiobook format. Between writing and life, I just don’t have time to read physical books lately.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say that it’s not a competition. Do you read books to feel accomplished or just because books make you feel and think (and escape to new lives and worlds)? If it’s solely the first, then, sure, read the books. But, don’t snub the people who read or listen for other reasons. We can all be book lovers together.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • I’d say the same answer for both: writing or reading in a different genre or sub-genre. I often hop between genres. Some of my favorites are: Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, Epic Fantasy.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • From a marketing perspective, there’s no advantage to writing a standalone (in my opinion). But, I do it because I like to move onto my next crazy idea.
  • What’s your favorite:
    1. Food – Tie – Kraft mac’n’cheese and steak & lobster
    2. Song – Anything by Imagine Dragons
    3. Book – how much time do you have? Oh my goodness . . . I’ll just give you my favorite author: Ilona Andrews.
    4. Television show – Veronica Mars
    5. Movie – V for Vendetta
    6. Band – Imagine Dragons
    7. Sports team – Sorry
    8. City – Victoria, BC
  • What’s next for you?
    • One of my books is part of the Sigils and Spells boxed set. Sigils and Spells is a collection of over twenty Urban Fantasy novels that we’re selling for $0.99 for a limited time. It comes out January 2nd. There are parties and lots of giveaways planned.

      Here’s the blurb:A dangerously beautiful vision of unique worlds that’s sure to leave its mark.
      Cross through the looking glass into Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian realms where you’ll meet valiant heroes, kick-ass heroines, and dangerous creatures waiting to unveil the hidden corners of the universe.
      SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars.
      From the deserts of Africa to the streets of San Antonio, mythological adventurers strike out to discover brand new worlds and unravel the mysteries of Earth in a limited edition boxed set offering the diversity and originality you haven’t been able to find before now.
      Dare to enter forbidden realms of unexpected beauty and peril? Secure your copy of SIGILS & SPELLS today – before it disappears forever!
      You can learn more on the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sigilsandspells/

Ruelle – Where Do We Go From Here

Aurora – Runaway

Skott – Porcelain

Jetta – I’d Love to Change the World

Katy Perry – Rise

Imagine Dragons – Rise Up

Sia – To Be human

NF – Can You Hold Me

Colorless Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card or Colorless Swag

Nov. 30th:

The Audiobookworm

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Dec. 1st:

Jorie Loves A Story

What Is That Book About

YA/NA Book Divas
Dec. 2nd:

Working Mommy Journal

Loves Great Reads

Dec. 3rd:

The Paperback Pilgrim

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Dec. 4th:

Lomeraniel

Jazzy Book Reviews

Dec. 5th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Blätterflüstern

Dec. 6th:

Smada’s Book Smack

➜Sign up as a host here

Review and Giveaway: Ghost Owl by Nancy Schoellkopf

Details:

Book Title: Ghost Owl by Nancy Schoellkopf
Category: Adult Fiction, 181 pages
Genre: Literary / Women’s Fiction with magical realism
Publisher: Butterfly Tree Publishing
Release date: October 2017
Tour dates: Nov 20 to Dec 8, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (There are a few non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

Ghost Owl is a magical story of discovery, as a young woman seeks to understand her potential and confront her own shadow. Mariah Easter wakes up in the middle of the night to discover the world is as bright as noon—but for her eyes only. Urged by her godfather, she embarks on a mission to peer into the dark spaces normally hidden from view, leading her to confront the sinister nature of power, the vulnerability of the ill, and the hidden life of a homeless man: a journey that will bring healing to herself and the man she loves.

This compelling and inspirational tale, the third installment of the Avian Series, invites the reader to ponder the extraordinary treasures hidden in the ordinary events of daily life.

To read more reviews, please visit Nancy Schoellkopf’s page on iRead Book Tours.

 Review

This was the third book in Nancy Schoellkopf’s  Avian series, so not only was I familiar with most of the characters, but with the subject too: a spiritual journey to the main character’s inner self.

Now, I’m not a spiritual person, but I like the idea that there are things in this world which appear mystic and strange to your average human being. I quite enjoyed the first two sequels, so when asked if interested, I readily agreed to read the Ghost Owl.

Where the first two volumes didn’t stretch my imagination too much, this volume was a lot more taxing. I simply cannot imagine anybody actually having an experience like Mariah has, other than maybe suffering from an undiscovered brain tumor. Then again, I’m sure this isn’t to be taken literally, and although I failed to explain the experiences in any way I can understand, I guess those who live spiritual lives won’t have that problem.

Be that as it may, I decided to read this book as the quest of a young woman, recently bereft of her beloved dad, to find out who she is, and what her goal in life is.

As such, the story reads very well, it is interesting, colourful, and even has suspense in it.

Mariah goes missing, and her best friend Rafa and her half brother Dale try to retrace her steps with the help of Mariah’s journals, which Rafa studies meticulously in search of clues to Mariah’s whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Mariah is blissfully unaware of the frantic search for her, and experiences a lot of ‘Oh’-moments. When it is getting too much for her to cope with, she returns to her home and the people she loves, and she does know a few things she hadn’t be aware of before.

At first, we’re always a step or two behind Mariah, following her journals, but at some point we catch up with her. It is here that things get quite fantastic, but they’re still interesting. This book will certainly stay with me for a time while I try to figure out what exactly it is it wants to tell me. I know there is a message in there for all of us somewhere, and this message is wrapped in an interesting story, fluently written and very readable.

Disclosure: Thanks to iread book tours for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

 

Buy the Book:

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author: 

 

Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of the Avian Series of novels including Yellow-Billed Magpie and Red-Tailed Hawk, as well as the short story collection Rover and Other Magical Tales. She has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she’s needed a second income, so this time around she happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

 
Enter the Giveaway
Ends Dec 16

 

 

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: The Painter’s Apprentice by Laura Morelli

Book Details:

Book Title: The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice
Author: Laura Morelli
Category: Adult Fiction, 482 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Scriptorium
Release date: November 15, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Nov 17, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (some adult situations but no sex or explicit violence)

Book Description:

Would you rather sacrifice your livelihood, your lover, or your life? When the Black Death comes knocking on your door, you’d better decide quickly.Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep before she is able to get back home.

From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.

 

 

Buy the Book:

 

 

 


 

 

Meet the Author:

 

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

 
Win a signed paperback of The Painter’s Apprentice and a $20 Amazon gift card (open to USA only)
Ends Nov 25

 

 

Akram El-Bahay: Bücherstadt

Akram El-Bahay: Bücherstadt – Die Bibliothek der Flüsternden Schatten; Bastei Lübbe, 384 S., €14,00

Mit dem Auftakt zu der Bücherreihe um die “Bibliothek der flüsternden Schatten” ist Akram El-Bahay ein sehr schöner Einstieg gelungen. Wie der Titel verspricht, dreht es sich tatsächlich um eine Bücherstadt — und die gefährlichen Geheimnisse die diese in sich birgt.
Das orientalische Flair kommt sehr gut herüber, man fühlt sich ein bisschen wie in 1001 Nacht. Wir lernen diverse Fabelwesen kennen, manche sind gefährlich, andere sind eher hilflos, und gefährdet sind sie alle.

Was mir nicht so gut gefallen hat, sind die Charaktere, bzw deren Entwicklung. Einige sind nicht wiklich glaubwürdig, andere haben viel Potential, werden dann aber mehr oder minder ‘fallengelassen’ — möglicherweise, um in einer der geplanten Fortsetzungen eine wichtigere Rolle zu spielen.
Einige Fragen werden geklärt, aber die Art und Weise wie das gemacht wird hat mir persönlich nicht so zugesagt. Irgendwie überschlägt sich am Schluss des Buches alles. Das hält zwar die Spannung hoch, ist aber unbefriedigend gelöst und auch etwas verwirrend. Außerdem bleiben sehr viele Fragen offen, und der zweite Band ist noch nicht einmal geschrieben. Dafür ziehe ich generell einen Stern ab, denn als Solo wäre mir das Ende zu schwach.
Ich habe mich aber trotzdem sehr gut unterhalten, bin abgetaucht in eine orientalische Fabelwelt mit tollen Ideen, und würde das Buch trotz kleiner Schwächen weiterempfehlen, aber vermutlich wartet man besser auf die Fortsetzung bevor man sonst am Ende eine sehr lange Wartezeit hat.

 

Ich möchte mich ganz herzlich bei Bastei Lübbe für das Rezensionsexemplar sowie für die Leserunde bedanken.