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.

Review: Medicine for the Dead by Ambrose Ibsen (audio)

Medicine for the Dead by Ambrose Ibsen, narrated by Jake Urry, Ambrose Ibsen; audible: 5:32h

Synopsis:

Harlan Ulrich seems out of luck, but then he meets a former high school pal who offers him free lodging for a week in Exeter House. All Harlan is supposed to do, is doing a couple of rounds through the still empty house, which is being renovated, to make sure that no squatters ruin the place.

Harlan moves into the model apartment which is fully furbished, and he thinks himself in heaven — until strange things happen. Harlan soon feels threatened, and although he tries hard, there is no logical explanation for the goings-on in the house come night.

With nowhere else to go at such short notice, Harlan decides to figure out what is happening, and faces the evil spirits.

 

My thoughts:

I already thought The Sick House (The Ulrich Files #1) was creepy, but I was glad that I listened to about half of Medicine for the Dead in plain daylight!*

And then I made a mistake: I did what is my habit: I went to bed, listening to the book. And naturally, I couldn’t fall asleep. The story is super creepy, and I’m not just referring to the ghosts, or apparition, spirits or just visions — the things happening in real are what took my breath away and kept me from falling asleep. Oh, my, Harlan! There was absolutely no chance to fall asleep, or even stop listening until I knew the outcome! Let me give you one advice: don’t listen (or read) this book in bed! Jake Urry’s narration adds greatly to the effect, the creepy atmosphere, the terror Ulrich feels. It’s once again an excellent narration, transferring all the horror directly into your head. Well,maybe I’m especially susceptible, I don’t know. However, I think there’s an inherit fear of all things unknown and/or inexplicable in each of us, and Ambrose Ibsen’s story appeals to that fear — while Jake Urry does his best to make it seem real.

This is another great occult thriller, and I look forward to listening to book #3 (Darkside Blues) in that series. Watch this space, it will be part of a blog tour, and I’ll post my review on 2nd June.

Disclosure: I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

*Although this is part of a series, each book can be read as stand-alone, no knowledge of other books in that series is required to understand and enjoy them.

 

About the Author: Ambrose Ibsen

Once upon a time, a young Ambrose Ibsen discovered a collection of ghost stories on his father’s bookshelf. He was never the same again.

Apart from horror fiction, he enjoys good coffee, brewed strong.

Ambrose Ibsen has penned numerous horror and thriller titles, including The Ulrich Files, Transmission, The Demon-Hearted Series and the Winthrop House Series.

About the Narrator: Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 17 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, and the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen. His narration work is often dark and suspenseful, and he developing a reputation for Mysteries, Thrillers and Horrors. In 2017 Jake will be working on more work by John Nicholl and Richard Storry, along with a sprinkling of Fantasy adventures.

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Review: Daughter of the Sun by Barbara Wood

Barbara Wood: Daughter of the Sun, narrated by Rebecca Roberts, 15:24h

Publisher’s Summary

Seventeen-year-old Hoshi’tiwa had a simple life. The daughter of a humble corn grower, she planned to marry a storyteller’s apprentice. But her world is turned upside down when she is captured by the powerful and violent ruler of an infamous city with legends of untold wealth and unspeakable acts of violence to its name. Hoshi’tiwa is suddenly thrown into the court of the Dark Lord, and as she struggles for power, she begins an illicit affair with the one man who has the ability to destroy her.

Best-selling author Barbara Wood has crafted a sweeping saga of one woman’s struggle to survive within the dangerous and exotic world of the Toltec court. Set against the backdrop of Chaco Canyon and the mysterious Anasazi people, Daughter of the Sun is an unforgettable novel of power, seduction, murder, and betrayal.

My Thoughts:

When I discovered this book on the ‚Up for Adoption‘ page of Audiobookworm Promotion, I absolutely had to listen to it. I remembered having devoured another novel (Virgins of Paradise) by Barbara Wood many years ago, and I remembered how fascinated I had been, even though my memory of the plot is hazy. So, I didn’t even read the summary, hence I didn’t know what to expect.

Let me tell you, this is a great story that made me think. I wondered about the old religions and beliefs, asking myself whether they weren’t preferable to today’s religions. But my first impression of a peaceful religion was soon shattered, because, as is so often the case, those believing in cruel deeds to please their gods oppress all the others.

What puzzled me, was the focus on female virginity before marriage, and the idea that they were makai-yó (outcasts) if they were found out. Somehow, I had always connected this anti-female behaviour with Christendom. However, the book seems extremely well researched, and whether or not this virginity thing is due to poetic licence or actually took place, it doesn’t really matter to me — although it does matter to our main protagonist, Hoshi’tiwa, whose life takes a turn for the worse when she is claimed by the Dark Lord — from then on, she is makai-yó.

This book contains everything you could wish for, especially a lot of information about the religious beliefs, rites, traditions, clothing, food, drink, and daily life of the Toltecs shortly before they perished. All this information isn’t easily found on the www, so much about these people is still shrouded in myth, with few facts known.

Barbara Wood masterfully crafts an engaging story that you won’t want to put down. It is great that this novel is now available as audio book, and the narrator, Rebecca Roberts, does a fantastic job at narrating it. Her voice in my head was never obtrusive, she simply drew me in, and I was there, on center green, seeing it all before me, suffering with the slaves, connecting with Jakál even.

There is only one character who is truly ugly inside and out, all the others have many facets, and though you may not like them, you can understand them.

The combination of a great story and a wonderful narration makes for a very enjoyable 15.5 hours of listening time.

As mentioned above, I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Check out the author: Barbara Wood

 

Check out the narrator: Rebecca Roberts

 

Review: The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen

The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen, narrated by Jake Urry, 06:48h

   Synopsis:

Harlan Ulrich is an unsuccessful, lazy private investigator. He doesn’t like his clients, he is bored to tears with the cases that come his way –mainly observations of cheating spouses.
Enter Jerome, the nephew of Dr. Klein who has gone missing in the Sick House near a small place called Moonville.
Ulrich doesn’t want this job, but he needs money, not least to be able to buy special coffee, which is his passion.
Payment arranged, he sets out to search for the missing doctor.
The inhabitants of Moonville are very hostile, and the Sick House has a very bad reputation.
Soon, Ulrich feels watched and haunted, and he doubts what he experienced, but is inclined to go back home. However, he is too curious and too proud to drop the case, and so he returns to the Sick House to find all his nightmares come true. Weiterlesen

Interview: James C. Lewis (Narrator) & Review: Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr (Author)

Welcome to Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr’s mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!

 


To follow the tour and to read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.Today we stop at
The Mac Faraday Mystery Series:
Buy the Audiobook ~ Book
Book Description:

Old loves die hard…and in the worst places.

In Old Loves Die Hard, Lauren Carr continues the rags-to-riches story of Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits 270 million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final.

Mac is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up-and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars – and more bodies – start dropping!

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

My thoughts:

This was my first MacFaraday novel, as well as the first novel by Lauren Carr. It is not the first book in the series, but I had absolutely no trouble following the plot, because all the characters are properly introduced, and their background is sufficiently explained, so I never felt that I missed something because I didn’t know the previous books, yet.

The story is a mystery until the very end; there are many twists and turns, and I never saw it coming. It was convincing, too. We have a great character-building here, the characters aren’t just black or white, but everything in between, most of them have something to hide, so we have lots of suspects.

I wasn’t too sure about the dog, it has a special ability which seemed odd, if not impossible, but then who knows what a well-trained, intelligent dog is capable of. I have since done a bit of research, and apparently it’s not all that abstract after all.  I absolutely loved the dog’s antics, in those moments,  he seemed to be one clever dog-like dog.

I’m now curious about the area, and I’d really love to see it for real one day. The story drew me in from the start, and kept me listening; and I look forward to listening to others in that series.

I only really just noticed the cover (I’m not a cover person), and I wonder if it could give a wrong impression. Let me assure you, that the author doesn’t dwell on all the gory details of the bloody murders here committed, and although there is some romance, it’s not at all taking place between linen sheets.

The narration was good and easy to listen to. Although there isn’t much in the way of different timbres, dialects, or accents, and all the characters sounded more or less alike to me, I didn’t really have problems following who said what, so there must have been variations after all, but they certainly weren’t overdone.

I already told you how the interview came about in a previous blog post, and here it is now:

Interview with narrator James C. Lewis (see more below):

How do you prepare for accents and different characters?

 

Once I was narrating a book of 19th century preachers in Wales. One of them was from Cynghordy, a village in the rural community of Llanfair-ar-y-bryn in Carmarhenshire. Oh my! I went to my usual sources: You Tube and several web sites. Finally I called Spire Hospital in Cardiff, the capital. (I have a phone plan that costs only one cent per minute for international calls.) But they were too busy saving lives and hung up on me. Then I phoned up the newspaper, the South Wales Argus in Cardiff. The young reporter thought I was joking. But I convinced him I was on the level. And he helped me right away! I think that my decidedly American accent may have helped.

 

Are there any genres you prefer narrating?

 

I have a fondness for crime fiction and spy dramas. I come from a journalism background. At one time, I was a police reporter in Seattle and I came to deeply respect cops and their emotionally taxing jobs. And I enjoy being the voice of the tall tough-talking private detective with the snazzy girlfriend. (I’m not very tall. But please keep that information just between us.)

 

Will you narrate any book if the conditions are right?

 

I have narrated a wide range of books but not erotica. But I’ve narrated some horror fiction with really creepy monsters. (They’re actually the best!)

What is the hardest part of narrating a book?

 

The hardest part is finding the voice of the character. Is the character old, young, angry, happy, educated, ignorant? And of course where are they from. I find that evil characters from Eastern Europe are the easiest to do. And it’s hard being confined to a small studio by myself (other than the character’s voices).

 

How is the work with the author?

 

I really like Lauren Carr’s work. Being the voice of Mac Faraday is great fun. Lauren writes for the ear as well as the eye. She would be a great screen writer. (And she’s wonderful to work with!)

I’d like to thank Mr Lewis for answering my questions, and Laura Fabiani from iread book tours for managing it all.

Meet the Author:

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Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Meet the Narrator:

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Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor  James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.

Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.

James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, „The Last Outlaws“. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

 

Coming up: Review of Old Loves Die Hard / Interview with James Lewis

 

As part of Lauren Carr’s  Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour, I volunteered to listen to two of her mysteries: an early one (Old Loves Die Hard), and a more recent one (The Murders at Astaire Castle). Plus, I applied for an interview with one of the narrators. Now, I’ve never done an interview before, so I wasn’t sure what questions to ask. After all, the goal is, to ask interesting questions. In the application form, I typed a few in off the top of my head, intending to deliberate in an email — which I never wrote, because I was just so consumed in all to do with my moving house and all that entails.

So, Laura from iread booktours and James C. lewis had only the original questions to work with, and they did a great job — much better than what I did. My review of Old Loves Die Hard and the interview will be part of the above mentioned Blog tour on May 11.

For information and the schedule of the whole tour look here.  There’ll be reviews,  interviews with other narrators, give-aways, and more.

So,mark the date and place: May 11, here on this blog.