Spotlight: Alec Birri – The Condition Trilogy Book 2

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 39 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 2

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

The second in a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.

Discovering an infamous Nazi doctor conducted abortions in Argentina after the Second World War may not come as a surprise, but why was the twisted eugenicist not only allowed to continue his evil experiments but encouraged to do so? And what has that got to do with a respected neurologist in 2027? Surely, the invention of a cure for nearly all the world’s ailments can’t possibly have its roots buried in the horrors of Auschwitz?
The unacceptable is about to become the disturbingly bizarre. What has the treatment’s “correction” of pedophiles got to do with the president of the United States, the pope, and even the UK’s Green Party?

As if the Condition trilogy wasn’t unsettling enough….

Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

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Narrator Bio

If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.

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Book One

Mar. 6th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 7th:

Hall Ways Blog

Mar. 8th:

AudioSpy

Mar. 9th:
The Writing Train

eBook Addicts

Mar. 10th:

Lomeraniel

Blätterflüstern

Mar. 11th:

Bound 4 Escape

Buried Under Books

Mar. 12th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

Carolyn M. Walker, Fiction Author

Book Two

Mar. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 14th:

AudioSpy

Mar. 15th:
The Writing Train

Blätterflüstern

Mar. 16th:

Lomeraniel

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Hall Ways Blog

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Bound 4 Escape

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The Book Addict’s Reviews

Buried Under Books

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Carolyn M. Walker, Fiction Author

Book Three

Mar. 20th:
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 21st:

Blätterflüstern

Mar. 22nd:

Hall Ways Blog

Mar. 23rd:

Lomeraniel

Mar. 24th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Carolyn M. Walker, Fiction Author

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Bound 4 Escape

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Review: The Condition Trilogy Book One by Alec Birri (Audio)

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 32 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Medical Thriller

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 1

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

The first in a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.
What if all brain disorders were treatable? Few would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be “corrected”?
It’s 1966, and RAF pilot Dan Stewart awakes from a coma following an aircraft accident into a world where nothing seems to make sense anymore. Not being able to recall the crash might be expected, but what about the rest of his life? And what’s stopping him from taking his medication? Is it brain damage that’s causing paranoia about the red pill, or is Dan right to think something sinister is going on?
His horrific injuries don’t make any sense either – a post-crash fire caused him to suffer almost 100% burns. How is it even possible to survive that? Are the hallucinations and strange dreams trying to tell him something? They are, and he’ll soon find out what, but not before his doctor’s sure the shock won’t kill him.



Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Narrator Bio


If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.

LinkedInIMDB

I’m a huge fan of Dystopias, so when I read the synopsis of the Condition series, I  asked for a copy to listen to. I wasn’t disappointed. The story of book one, along with the author’s background, makes you chill to the bone. Are such things even possible?

We’ve all profited from medical research and progress at some point in our lives, and I, at least, tend to not think about where a certain medication came from overly much.

We’re aware that new medicine is tested on animals, and on human volunteers before it is declared ‘safe’ from whichever board is in charge. There are numerous films about viruses developed (and accidentally set free) by the military — and if we are to believe the press, there are secret military laboratories researching very dangerous viruses.

It never seemed as close to home as in the UK, though, and after listening to this book, I really don’t want to know what the Germans are up to in that regard.

This book is not about viruses, however, but it begs the question:

Are we all doomed, not from Mssrs Trump or Kim Jong Un firing nuclear weapons, but from secret medical experiments?

The book makes you ponder these questions and more. It is a topic I’d rather put firmly in the science fiction corner, but alas, it is only too real.

In this regard, the author managed to make me think, and, let’s face it, to frighten me. However, the way the book is written takes some patience to keep listening. For a long while, the reader, as well as the protagonist, doesn’t have a clue what the heck is going on. It takes ages before some light is shed on the whole affair and you get an idea what this could be about.

There isn’t a lot in way of character development, as all the characters remain quite distant. I couldn’t build a relation to the main character, because he was so confused most of the time, and it was all so weird. Even though much of it is revealed later on, there isn’t any character who really got me rooting for him or her.

Still, the idea and the topic are well worth being known by a wider public, and there are two more sequels which might well change my mind about some of the characters.

Jonathan Keeble is a very gifted narrator. His character interpretations, his pace and narration were perfect. He is certainly a new voice in my library of audio books. I have to listen to more of his narrations.

 

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

Book One

Mar. 6th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 7th:

Hall Ways Blog

Mar. 8th:

AudioSpy

Mar. 9th:

The Writing Train

eBook Addicts
Mar. 10th:

Lomeraniel

Blätterflüstern

Mar. 11th:

Bound 4 Escape

Buried Under Books

Mar. 12th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Bookworms Corner Blog Spot

Carolyn M. Walker, Fiction Author

Book Two

Mar. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 14th:

AudioSpy

Mar. 15th:

The Writing Train

Blätterflüstern

Mar. 16th:

Lomeraniel

Mar. 17th:

Hall Ways Blog

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Bound 4 Escape

Jazzy Book Reviews

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The Book Addict’s Reviews

Buried Under Books

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Book Three

Mar. 20th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Mar. 21st:
Blätterflüstern

Mar. 22nd:

Hall Ways Blog

Mar. 23rd:

Lomeraniel

Mar. 24th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

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Mar. 25th:

Bound 4 Escape

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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.

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

 
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Kay Dew Shostak: Next Stop, Chancey – Review and Narrator Interview

Author: Kay Dew Shostak

Narrator: Suzanne Barbetta

Series: Chancey, Book One

Length: 10h 8m

Publisher: Kay Dew Shostak

Released: Dec. 22, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


Looking in your teenage daughter’s purse is never a good idea.

After all, it ended up with Carolina Jessup opening a bed & breakfast for railroad fanatics in a tiny Georgia mountain town. Carolina knows all about, and hates, small towns. How did she end up leaving her wonderful Atlanta suburbs behind while making her husband’s dreams come true?

The town bully (who wears a lavender skirt and white gloves), an endless parade of teenagers through her house, and everybody’s talk about a ghost have Carolina looking for an escape, or at least a way to move back home. Instead, she’s front and center for all of Chancey’s small town gossip.

Unlike back home in the suburbs with privacy fences and automatic garage doors, everybody in Chancey thinks your business is their business and they all love the newest Chancey business. The B&B hosts a Senate candidate, a tea for the county fair beauty contestants, and railroad nuts who sit out by the tracks and record the sound of a train going by. Yet, nobody believes Carolina prefers the ‘burbs.

Oh, yeah, and if you just ignore a ghost, will it go away?

 

 

“A new voice in Southern Fiction” is how a recent reviewer labeled Kay Dew Shostak’s debut novel, Next Stop, Chancey. Kay grew up in the South, then moved around the country raising a family. Always a reader, being a writer was a dream she cultivated as a journalist and editor at a small town newspaper in northern Illinois.

“Next Stop, Chancey”, published in 2015, was the first in the series set in the small, imaginary town of Chancey, Georgia. The fifth book in the series, “Kids are Chancey” will be released August 2017.

Seeing the familiar and loved from new perspectives led Kay to write about the absurd, the beautiful, and the funny in her South in both her fiction and non-fiction.

Visit Kay’s website at kaydewshostak.com to sign up for her newsletter and to read more about her journey. Kay is also on Facebook and twitter. All four Chancey books (along with the first in a new series set in Florida) are available on Amazon in print and eBook.

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Narrator Bio

Suzanne Barbetta is a Jersey girl, a blue collar kid from Jersey City who binged on B-Movie Musicals and Godzilla flicks as a kid. She became a voracious reader when she realized the magic of books allowed her to become anyone, anywhere, and in any world. A storyteller and performer since the age of 5, she later apprenticed at 2 regional theaters earned her union card and became a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. She’s worked in theater, indie films and commercial voiceover. Audiobooks are a way to satisfy her pathological addiction to reading. Now based in NYC, she is also the voice of the Fierce, Funny, Fab Fangirls of the new Serial Box Publishing audio series, Geek Actually.

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It is far too seldom that I foray into genres that don’t belong to my main fare, and I’m glad I did for this book. The synopsis intrigued me, as I grew up in a small town — more or less unaware of the gossip — then lived in a big city for more than 30 years, and now I’ve returned to my home town. I wondered: is there a huge difference between people in rural North America and people in rural Germany?

Well, yes and no. But maybe that’s because my town seems comparatively large in comparison with Chancey. Or maybe I just don’t go out enough, or I don’t go the correct places. I know from a friend that there is a lot of gossip going on here, but the only gossip I ever hear is from my friend, and that isn’t a lot.

So far, I haven’t been cajoled into anything. I do believe that’s because nobody is interested in me, although my mum does her best to tell all and sundry that I’m back in town.

But to the novel: I absolutely LOVED it. The characters are so life-like, it felt as if I was there, listening in to the conversations. There’s even a ghost, but he is not of the scary kind, and somehow quite believable.

There are certainly characters that weren’t my favourites, but I can’t say that I completely disliked even one of them — well, maybe for one exception.

As I’ve come to expect from audio books promoted by The Audiobookworm, the sound quality was impeccable. Narrator Suzanne Barbetta did an absolutely marvellous job at bringing all the characters to life! She gives them depth and variety; I never had any difficulties to know who was talking, and her male and female voices are great. If I had a written list of favourite narrators, this list would now be longer by one. I’ve seen that there are four more books in this series, alas, no further sequel is available in audio. I hope there will be, because my reading time is so sparse, but I’d love to know more about this particular family and community! So, Kay, if you read this, please consider making the sequels available in audio (and do hire Suzanne)!

For all who love to read/listen to a good tale that contains everything you can ask of a good yarn, I recommend you listen to Next Stop, Chancey. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

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

Q&A with Narrator Suzanne Barbetta
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
  • When I was a kid, I was sickly and I LOVED reading. It was my great escape, a way to go anywhere. My younger sister didn’t enjoy reading and I thought that was a shame so I picked out a Nancy Drew book one day and read it to her to try to entice her to read. And it worked! Once I became a narrator, she reminded me of this. So – I kind of feel like this is something I wanted to do since I was a teenager, before I know this could be a career.
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
  • Already a theater and indie film actress, I decided to try commercial VO. I created a demo and booked some spots, but decided that the form or VO that really intrigued me was audiobooks. As a voracious reader, it seemed like a natural step. So I went to the E.I.F. VO Lab at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and brought in an excerpt from a book. The engineer asked me if I was auditioning for audiobooks and I told her I wasn’t. She told me I SHOULD be. She asked if I worked through ACX and I told her no because I had no equipment or training to self-record. She told me not to let that stop me and she walked me through setting up an account. She told me to bring all my auditions to the lab and we’d practice and record there.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
  • I DO know successful narrators without that background, but I think that it is extremely helpful to have it. HOWEVER, it’s a different way of telling a story – there’s mic technique and a hundred other things to learn that are SO different from stage acting and it takes time and patience to learn that.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
  • I worked with the engineers/directors at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s EIF VO Lab, coached privately with Jayme Mattler, Paul Alan Ruben and Carol Monda and I’ve just started coaching with Andi Arndt. .I also study dialects using various resources and plan to work with a coach who specializes in dialects because I think it’s so important AND one of the most fun aspects of the work.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out?
  • What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating? I am a voracious reader and love narrating so I cannot imagine getting burned out. Talk to me in 10 years. But, seriously, I plan on doing this work for as long as I’m able to read and speak.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
  • Yes, I’m an avid listener and I have my own favorites. I binge-listen to narrators I like so I can hear how they perform across genres.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
  • The prep work and the prep work! It can be really fun because you learn about new topics/subjects you might not have had any interest in. But sometimes it’s maddening because you’re looking at multiple sources and the sources conflict, and you want to get it right so that can be a bit frustrating. My real favorite part is when you reach that ZONE where everything is just flowing. I. LOVE. THAT.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
  • Infusing humor and warmth into stories. I’m also great with 1st person reads.
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? 
  • Highly technical medical texts.
  • Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
  • No, I’ve turned projects down for lack of pay rate but I try to audition for things I think are a great fit for me.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
  • I strongly connected with the viewpoint of the main character Carolina Jessup. She’s a bit snarky and an odd duck, and she has this funny monologue going on in her head no matter what is happening.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
  • Oh, if they want to participate in the process, that’s great, they can be a great resource if the text brings up additional questions. I consider the author a partner. I ask for pronunciation guides and input on how THEY see certain characters if it’s not clearly stated in the text.
  • Who are your “accent inspirations”?
  • Davina Porter is British of course, so she’s great for multiple English accents and also does GREAT scottish accents (and male voices). I also listen to Caroline Lee (Australian) so if I need an Australian accent, that’s who I’d model it after.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
  • Clues in the text whenever possible: descriptions of voice, tone, accent. Physical descriptions, meaning age, physical build etc, as well as speech pattern indicators in the text.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
  • Cold beverages – I cannot drink cold water in the booth. It makes my stomach AND my throat gurgle like CRAZY. If I’m at a Giants game I no longer cheer by screaming like a loon – which is a little frustrating but I wave my hands around like a lunatic instead. (Compromises….)
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
  • In the series I’m recording now, Geek Actually, (a serialized fiction podcast released in weekly episodes), there are 5 main female characters. They’re smart, geeky, funny, irreverent, feminists. Besties who met each other playing World of Warcraft or at Cons. I. LOVE. THEM. There is part of each one of those women inside me.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
  • Ooooohhhh, it would be fun to go to Sicily or Ireland, my ancestors’ home turf. But I’m SUCH a trouble-maker, I’d either be burned as a witch or expelled from wherever. Oh yeah. Think Claire in the Outlander series. Yup, that’d be me, stirring the you-know-what, refusing to stay in “my place”.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
  • Many other types of voiceover are sprints, not marathons. It requires much more technical research and prep than other forms of VO.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
  • Yes.
  • If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
  • I’ve not gotten any harsh reviews so I have to say mostly the positive stand out.
  • What type of the review comments do you find most constructive? What about the narration really worked or affected them and why?
  • Specific comments are best. General comments are not all helpful. I did a fun comic-romance and several listeners said it was Laugh-Out-Loud funny and talked about how much they loved some of the characters. That’s really helpful knowing exactly I nailed for you, what really worked for you as a listener.
  • If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
  • Can I pick two? The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. For years I dreamed about running away and sleeping over in the Museum of Natural History just like the kids in that story. (Because I’m a dinosaur freak, and briefly wanted to be a paleontologist, I reveled in the idea of crashing in the museum with all those fossils.) The other is 101 Dalmations. I am a dog-nut and read this book TEN times when I was young. It would be awesome to voice all those dogs and Cruella DeVil!
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
  • I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is cheating. You get the value of the story and vocabulary as if you were ‘reading’ the book, it’s just enhanced with audio. You get the author’s full story. I would also say that telling stories out loud is one of the oldest art forms out there. Now it just happens to be available digitally instead of around a campfire. (But you can LISTEN around a campfire if you like, LOL.)
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
  • Listen to audiobooks by experienced narrators. Be humble. Coach and get advice from knowledgeable people in the business. Do your homework! There is a long learning curve for audiobook narration, so be patient with yourself.
  • What’s next for you? Finishing up the last episodes of the 1st season of Geek Actually, available at Serial Box Publishing (download the ebook AND audio this through their app at https://www.serialbox.com/serials/geekactually); contributing 2 stories (fantasy/sci-fi) to a short story collection, beginning a public domain series written by Edna Ferber, the Edna McChesney serie, www.Listen2aBook.com.

With Narrator Suzanne Barbetta

Waffle fries or curly fries?

Cajun spiced sweet potato fries. TOTALLY addicted.

GIF with a hard g or soft g?

Hard G.
Fantasy or science-fiction?

SUCH A GEEK-GIRL. I’ve watched all the Star Wars/Star Trek movies and all the Star Trek series but at the end of the day my favorite fiction genre to read is Epic Fantasy.

Superman or Batman?

Batman. Because…Batgirl.

Text message or call?

Depends: Mom = Call. Friends = Text/IM

Pancakes or waffles?

Pumpkin pancakes!

Doctor Who or the Walking Dead?

Dr. Who

TV Shows or movies?

Movies.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook.

Alice in Wonderland or Robinson Crusoe?

Always Alice.

Being too warm or too cold?

Too Cold = hot chocolate + marshmallows.

Netflix or Hulu?

Netflix.

Work Hard or Play Hard?

Both. I am a certified Scuba Diver (I prefer clear blue water, gorgeous reef, colorful fish, but SOMETIMES it means hauling heavy gear and rough water).

Passenger or Driver?

Passenger so I get to watch the scenery.

Amusement Park or Day at the Beach?

Beach.

Honesty or Other’s Feelings?

Yeesh, Who’ve you been talking to? So…I am direct but like to think I’ve mellowed a bit so that I’m not TOTALLY tactless. But…if I had a ringtone, it would be Sledgehammer. ;-p
Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater?

Movie Theater if it’s a blockbuster movie.’Cuz who wants to watch Wonder Woman at HOME??

 

“Reasons I Chose to Narrate Next Stop, Chancey”- Suzanne Barbetta

I loved Carolina Jessup, the main character, and her wry wit.

I grew up a city kid, so I got to experience life in a small town.

A fun supporting cast of town gossips, sullen teens, cranky old men, train nuts, and a bully swathed in lavender and white gloves – a true Steel Magnolia.

Because it’s the story of an imperfect mother learning to stand her ground, stand up for herself and overcome long-time fears and hang-ups.

Portrayal of a strong, but not perfect marriage: I love a romance and HEA as much as the next girl, but Carolina and her husband share an affection and intimacy that seemed strong and REAL without us needing to see them in the bedroom.

 

 

Aug. 23rd:
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Tara’s Book Addiction

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Seitenwinde

Aug. 28th:
Jorie Loves A Story
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The Book Addict’s Reviews
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Review: The Malaise Falchion by Paul Barrett

The Malaise Falchion by Paul Barrett, narrated by Jack Wayne, 8:33h

 

Synopsis:

Dwarf Spade is a private investigator in Mage City. He is not ambitious, all he needs are a few easy jobs to buy booze and pay for his living.

A beautiful elven woman offers him a job that sounds easy enough, and although her brother tries to scare Spade, he accepts the job.

Soon he finds himself in one dire and dangerous situation after the other, and without his partner Crizz, and his friend Liz, he’d be helpless.

Suddenly, they have to save the world from total annihilation.

 

 

My thoughts:

 

This book is very difficult to rate. I’d give it 3.5 stars, but since that isn’t possible, I mark it four.

When I volunteered to listen to the book for review, I didn’t know what to expect, but the synopsis made me curious. However, the book failed to draw me in from the start.

I can’t say why, though. To me, all the references to The Maltese Falcon felt just a tad too forced.
I don’t mind a genre mix, and the idea of a detective story set in a fantasy world appealed to me, but it didn’t work for me.
I found it entertaining in parts, but in other parts my mind drifted, the story couldn’t really keep my attention, and often enough, I had to wind back to listen again, only to find that I hadn’t actually missed anything.
I didn’t root for any of the characters, though I liked Liz and Crizz, Spade’s sidekicks.

What I liked, was the idea of the various races overcoming their animosities and prejudices and working together, even starting to like each other.

Jack Wayne did a fine job with the narration, which is no mean feat, because there’s quite a range of characters. The sound quality was excellent.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. As always, this did not affect my review.

Anomalies – Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman

Anomalies, Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman, narrated by Lucinda Clare; Punch Audio, 8:04h

 

Synopsis:

Keeva lives in a peaceful world. After the great technology war which eradicated large parts of the earth, Sobeck rescued what was left, cleaned the earth and oceans from pollution, and built a peaceful society where everybody has his/her place and is happy. Or did he? …

Keeva is looking forward to being imprinted with her intended life partner — however, she’s sorted out as an anomaly, because said partner is no more. She and six other anomalies undergo a variety of tests, and all seems to turn out well after all. But then she suddenly finds that her life as it was has ended. She is in danger, and now she must find out why, and she must find help. But who to trust?

 

This is certainly a series to watch out for. I don’t think there’s a sequel yet, but I hope there’ll be.
This drew me in right from the start, and it kept me glued to my earphones until the end. Yes, it is a YA dystopie, so I’m not among the target group, but then I love YA novels, and this book is no exception.

The idea itself isn’t novel, I was reminded of other well-known novels with the same topic, but that doesn’t mean the story is old. On the contrary, it is a very refreshing tale of what happens if you don’t fit the norm. Keeva needs to find out who she is, what she is supposed to do, what is truth and what are lies, who is friend and who is foe. It’s a coming of age story, and so much more.
There are very many twists and turns, and some of the truths Keeva discovers are completely unexpected.
Lucinda Clare did a fabulous job at narrating the story, bringing all the characters to life, as well as the world. It was like watching a film (I can absolutely imagine this on the screen).
The authors as well as the narrator were new to me, but I’ll watch out for other books by them, and I really hope I won’t have to wait for the sequel very long.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. As always, this did not affect my review.