All posts by bookworm

Hanover Haunting: The DeAnna Simpson Story by Joni Mayhan

They say, “Careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”  DeAnna Simpson wanted the home on Maple Street and she wanted to marry Tom.  She knew the house was perfect for her and Tom and a place for her children and grandkids to visit.  Her joy was short-lived as the past residents of the house made themselves known in violent and deadly ways.

Seeking relief, DeAnna contacts paranormal groups, the local Catholic Church, and the Dead Files TV program.  Well-known paranormal experts including John Zaffis, Shaman Michael Robishaw, Chris Nicoletti, and others investigate the home. All advise DeAnna to leave immediately. Unfortunately, the ancient spirit refuses to allow DeAnna the opportunity to leave.  The ancient spirit that controls the house and keeps the other spirits prisoner feeds off her and Tom.  Every effort DeAnna makes to leave is thwarted by the ancient spirit.  Now she and Tom are gravely ill and continue to suffer for years before the climactic conclusion.

Joni Mayhan, the author and publisher, masterfully tells the story of DeAnna and her home.

Characters are carefully developed, her research into paranormal investigations is thorough and clearly relayed.  The plot and storyline flow smoothly, a few twists, and a satisfying conclusion.

The narrator, Kerr Lordygan, narrated the book in a soothing tone with just the right amount of. Inflection to keep the listener engaged.  I found Lordygan’s voice soothing and smooth.  His narration was flawless.

There were no issues with the production or quality of this audiobook.

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias, honest review.

Within A Name by R.A. Fisher

This is a short story set in Fom. A well-known man is found dead and robbed and Ranat Totz is faced with execution for his death. Rather belatedly he realizes he has nothing to show for his life except his name. Wanting his legacy to be more than a grave robber, drunk, and murderer, he sets out to prove his innocence and give his name meaning. A mystery set within a mystery Fisher describes Totz’s journey to redeem his name.

Fisher is detailed and vividly tells his story. Each character is developed fully and with realism. It’s not action-packed, but rather it is light, interesting, and entertaining. For a short story, Fisher does a solid job of telling the story.

The narrator, Ray Atkinson, performs the audiobook in a rich tone that adds to the character Ranat Totz. I found Atkinson to be flawless in his performance.

There were no issues with the production or quality of this book.

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias, honest review.

Fireside Tales of A Knight by David Kaemmerer

David Kaemmerer is a unique man –  he has played paintball, been a medieval knight, a samurai, a sniper, a friend, a supporter, and so very much more!  This book details his passion for adventure which has left him lying on the ground, lost in the darkest, coldest, and most isolated woods, to facing enemies that outnumber him 100 to 1!

He takes everything in stride with a sense of humor that will leave you laughing until the tears roll down your cheeks.  Some might cringe at the injuries he has suffered but overall, this is one of those books that once you start you cannot stop listening to … I can guarantee you will miss something!

Kaemmerer tells his life story in this biographical fictional tale broken down into short stories that will leave you wanting more.  His need to be in the middle of everything strategizing and helping is fun and endearing.  He always stands ready to fight the good fight, support his friends, and those that might become his friends.

Although, I would not want to get on his bad side … he is downright evil (in a fun way).   I cannot imagine what his wife goes through each time she gets a phone call or answers the door!  Seems Kaemmerer has a knack for getting into trouble i.e. falling off horses/mules, getting thrown, nearly breaking bones, fighting with bottle rockets, and … the list goes on.

As a child, Kaemmerer did all the things the kids of today would never consider … fighting with bottle rockets, riding bikes without a helmet, going off in the woods without equipment, or a map.   I can only imagine what he would have done on a skateboard!

Kaemmerer is vividly rich with details and communicates his passions clearly.  He takes the time to develop each character fully and clearly.   Given this is not my usual genre of book, I have to confess … Kaemmerer had me snagged from the beginning – I wish I knew this guy personally; he made the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and paintball sound fun!

Nate Marble, the narrator, was perfect for this book.  He became Kaemmerer; the words rolled off his tongue as if he himself were Kaemmerer.  His tone and ease of narration were satisfying and smooth.

This is one of those rare finds!  I have considered pointing out my favorite short story but they all are!

5-Star Rating

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias, honest review.

Extinction Darkness (The Extinction Cycle: Dark Age Book 4) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony Melchiorri

Extinction Darkness (The Extinction Cycle: Dark Age Book 4) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony Melchiorri is AMAZING! Beckham, Horn, Kate, and Team Ghost have fought for freedom from the monsters – both human and non-human and everything in between! The Prophet and his Scions are just one step away from annihilating the entire race of humans. That step seems to be mighty large … he must first beat Beckham, Horn, and Team Ghost. Bent on revenge, the Prophet wreaks havoc. Death comes to several characters in this last book, but they die with honor and dignity fighting for what they believe in. Will it be enough? I won’t spoil the story, but I will tell you, that I just finished the book not 15 minutes ago and I felt compelled to write this review while tears stream down my face!

As co-writers of this story, it is impossible for me to tell differences in the writing styles, they are blended so completely that the story is seamless. The characters (beloved ones and hated ones alike) are so well developed that the mention of their names will create a reaction.

The story is solidly written with nothing left to question except what comes next after all the carnage and death and … plot twists are excellently executed. The deaths are dealt with well and the new characters added to the story are impressive and the same care and attention to detail are present.

I will say that there were several times I sat in shock, not believing what I had just heard … and disliking both authors to a small degree. Their skill in storytelling is vivid and engaging. Listeners cannot help but be sucked into the story and react to the words and images they create. While I am sorry to see the series end, it finishes with a solid ending, no questions.

To Nicholas and Anthony … well done!

R.C. Bray, narrator, as always does a fantastic job narrating/performing the story. His performance just added to the emotional reactions that each listener will feel as they hear the book. He brings the book to life! Well done R.C.!

There were no issues with the production or quality of this audiobook.

5 Star Rating!

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

The Unexpected Tales Collection by Brad Ashmore

A 2020 indieBRAG Medallion Honoree

The author, Brad Ashmore has taken tidbits of ideas and written short stories around them creating short tales that entertain and invoke “what if” questions.  From finding ice to creating succulent recipes (one involving small red spiders!) through math problems to devices that influence our choices.  This collection of stories resembles the sci-fi 60’s hit The Twilight Zone series … where things may appear normal but really, they are not.

I enjoyed the story about the young man who had been so traumatized that he had no clue how to have friends or even how to love – his murderous rampage and some mysterious chemicals did not mix well – at least for him.  The budding romance between Carl and Amanda was not only entertaining but unexpected – two socially inept people finding one another and trying to be adept in their interactions but failing in ways that most would never experience.

This collection of stories was well written.  Characters were fine-tuned and clearly developed to tell the stories in an entertainingly smooth manner with unexpected twists.

These tales were narrated by two people, Alexander Masters and Natalie Gray.  Each performed their assigned stories well and with the right tone and enthusiasm.  I enjoyed listening to bother performers.

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook published by Unexpected Books.

4.5 Star Rating

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

Olivia Stone and The Trouble with Trixies by Jeffery E. Doherty

Review by Rox Burkey

Fun Way Out of Trouble!

Author Jeffery E Doherty adores storytelling with a vivid imagination perfect for children’s fantasy. Olivia Stone is an engaging character with all the determination of a 12-year-old on a mission. Helping Yip the grotesque that Olivia thought was a gargoyle is her mission against the trixies who are deceitful and evil. The trixies are deliciously evil with specific characteristics that make them plausible.

Olivia Stone learns she not only has magical powers, which she learns to control with the help of Yip. Olivia later overcomes her disability as she becomes stronger than she believed possible.

The story, designed for children is similar to fairytales where the scary parts are vivid. Twists and turns keep it interesting, even with the possibility of injury or death. Olivia is driven to succeed and beat the trixies.

Mayah Clarke has an interesting accent that suits this story.  The pace throughout is a little fast for a children’s book. The narration came across as monotone for the first half of the book, but the second half Mayah provided additional emphasis on the dramatic effects of the story.  Oddly, the music that separates the chapters didn’t work for me, but it might for others.

I can recommend this for children that love imaginative stories, but I do suggest parents listen in advance if their children are under 12-years-old.

No issues with the production or quality of this audiobook.

Four-Star Rating ****

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

Whiskers, Feathers & Fur: Veterinary Tales by Austin Donnelly

From the beginning to the end of this audiobook, Austin Donnelly (author) regales his listeners with stories of his experiences as a child and a veterinarian.  Most moms expect to find surprises in their children’s laundry but Austin Donnelly, gives a whole new perspective!  For Mrs. Donnelly, her greatest fear was of what creature might crawl from her son’s pockets.  Not one to disappoint, Austin Donnelly hilariously describes one expedition to the ocean where he brings his mother some shells only to have an octopus crawl forth and land in his mom’s lap.

A world-traveled veterinarian, Donnelly details his experiences with domestic to wild animals around the world.   Beautifully told, Donnelly reveals deep compassion for all animals and their owners with deep heartfelt love.  There is nothing ordinary about Donnelly or his work.  If you need a light listen with some quirky, yet moving short stories peppered with humor, sadness, and joy … this is the book for you!

Well written and realistic.  Donnelly builds a connection between his book and his listeners that is engaging.

Derek Carney, the narrator, performs this book with ease and delivers each story with just the right amount of emotion.  His voice flows smoothly with each story, his accent proves to be just as endearing as his ability to perform this candid and charming collection of stories.

There were no issues with the production or quality of this audiobook.

4 Star Rating – ****

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

Brightblade: The Morgan Detective Agency, Book 1 by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus

Brightblade: The Morgan Detective Agency, Book 1 is a fun, exciting read.  It has everything in it that a person could want – detective, magic, witches, vampires, ghouls, superhero turned bounty hunter, monster hunter, psychic, men in black … just to name a few!

Ashley Morgan, an up and coming Bright with psychic empath abilities as well as telekinesis powers, has failed at every career she has chosen.  Settling on being a bounty hunter for the supernatural element who bail jumps, Ashley may not be walking away from this career anytime soon, if ever!  Faced with the deadliest of supernatural beings, a villainous god-like creature, Ashley meets everything and every one head-on.  Having almost died, her brother gives her vampire blood adding dhampir to her growing list of supernatural abilities and identities.

Aided with her motley crew of bounty hunters, an ex, and a magical sword, Ashley jumps in to save the day with some interesting results!

Both C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus, authors, do a magnificent job of building the story and characters.  This first book is more focused on the development of all the characters – you are given a good solid backstory to each character enabling the listener to connect more easily.  The villain is definitely a fearsome character but is not the sole focus of the story.  Yes, he gets his own backstory told but it is not as in-depth as the other characters. Phipps and Suttkus are not just writing a story – no, they are creating another piece to the New Detroit world that makes it more realistic and attention-holding.  They are not authors who do anything halfway – they totally enmesh the listener into their world with a thorough backstory and character development as well as down-to-earth dialog.

The dialog is realistic and engaging.  One cannot help but smile, laugh out loud, or even facepalm at something a character is saying; it is that lifelike.

The narrator, Heather Costa, provides an excellent performance.  Her ease at delivering the dialog is done very well.  It was clear that she enjoyed the story greatly and was able to specifically give the story and dialog the type of performance they deserved.  Her voice was even and soothing.  There was no question as to how the character was feeling as Costa captured and projected the emotion very well.

If you are looking for something fresh, fun, and has a magical supernatural story to it … run, don’t walk to get your copy of this book!  I cannot wait to see what trouble Ashley Morgan and her friends get into next!

5 Star Rating!!!!

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

Eight Pointed Cross: A Novel of the Knights of Malta by Marthese Fenech

Reviewed by Rox Burkey

A Deliciously Ambitious History Saga!

Author Marthese Fenech presents the violent history of 16th century Malta with living breathing storytelling vignettes from one end to the other. The details of life for the Maltese people as they succumb to slave traders, bow to Christian Knights, and sometimes serve as common soldiers clearly conveyed the difficulty, harshness, and violence present in that era. The history is more digestible because of the character relationships within these interwoven tales; good and bad.

The myriad of stories within the book as a writing technique is awesome. It helped fill in the murky background and additional depth to the violence of the Ottoman Empire’s Muslim Turks. Many parts of this historical saga filled my eyes with tears, with the suffering of the Gozotain families particularly horrific. Wars and conquest are filled with terror and fear, but the heroes and heroines are often found in Eight Pointed Cross.

The siblings Domenicus and Katrina Montesa are so real and relatable as a family unit who grow up over the course of the book. I loved Katrina with her determination and independent thoughts, not common among females of the period. Yet her character is very relatable and sadly naive.  Frankly, all the characters are well developed regardless of their role from the Montesa siblings to their father; Angelic overcoming her initial suffering, and Demir who knows right from wrong in his heart and mind. Ms. Fenech laces her extensive research into a compelling history brought to life because of her amazing characters and their interactions. The story has twists and turns that are more enjoyable with the concise bite-sized chapters.

I was concerned initially with the length of this novel, but I was immediately captivated by the clear expression-filled voice of Simon Hester, as he embraced the superb prose. Simon’s voice adds a realistic richness to a historical fiction masterpiece. The overwhelming sincerity to his narration made me think he watched the scenes as they were occurring and related it just for me. Simon Hester is the ideal narrator for Eight Pointed Cross This audible book had no production issues and the quality was consistent from beginning to end.

I enjoyed listening to the comprehensive descriptions, richness of history, extensive character development, and personalization of this historical saga. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy listening to a story with unfiltered realism. Not for the squeamish, but then war and conquest never is.

5 Star Rating!

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

SAS: Body Count: The Wicked Will Perish (Book 1) by Anthony Vincent Bruno

Jim Brannigan, a former military policeman and whose wife is found brutally murdered by the hands of a Jamaican drug dealer, is facing a mystery that even he may not be able to solve without more loss and heartache.  Stymied by a corrupt system, Brannigan muddles through.

Enter an elite group of vigilantes – formerly SAS Special Forces soldiers.  Disillusioned and finding the judicial and law enforcement system corrupt, they take exception.  They seek justice for the innocent, the paedophiles, drug dealers, and corrupt members of the system who find themselves at the short end of the stick.

A life and death struggle to right the wrongs; albeit unconventional and illegal, means the book will capture its listener’s imagination. Strong characters that could be developed a bit more, a plot that is not only well developed but takes exciting turns and twists until the end.

Definitely violent and not for the faint of heart; the descriptions of the children’s deaths can be a trigger for some.  Vastly dark, this book will give you nightmares, wondering how close to the truth it is.  The author, Anthony Vincent Bruno knows how to bring you to the edge and then leave you in a precarious situation.    In fact, I found him far scarier than any Stephen King book when it comes to real-life situations involving children. This is not a book that one can walk away from and forget;  it is a book that lingers in the back of your mind . . . haunting you.

Colm Farrell, the narrator did a solid job of performing this book.  He kept true to the British language and accent.  He captured the essence of each character and projected it clearly. His performance underscored the darkness of the book vividly.

There were no issues with the production or quality of the audiobook.

Star Rating:  5 Stars

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.