Tag Archives: Fantasy

One if By Land, Two if By Submarine by Eileen Schnabel

History is about to change.  Paul Revere is missing, presumed kidnapped and Samuel Adams and John Hancock are in a precarious situation as well.  Kep, TJ, Max, and Tela are charged with traveling back and taking the infamous ride to warn the colonists of the British invasion as well as rescuing a trunk of documents for John Hancock that could put a deadlier spin on the outcome of the war.  Several twists keep this listen exciting and riveting!  Kep, TJ, Max and Tela are all kids and in 24 hours or less they must right the wrongs.

Action-packed, Eileen Schnabel captures our imagination and runs with it.  Well written, the plot is executed beautifully with finesse and charm.  One cannot help but fall in love with the kids and smile with the fresh take on Hancock and Adams.  It is a fresh way to look at time travel and the intrigue was fascinating.  The characters were very well developed, each character was realistic and her attention to detail made the story unforgettable.  Well written with realistic dialog and interactions, it is an easy listen.

Narrated by Kevin Clay, the story is wonderfully performed.  Clay moved the story along with his skilled voices and added just the right mix of emotions.  Clay brought the characters to life, including the nasty Fox and Rat Face!

The production quality of this book was well done and clear.

Regardless of your age, this is a book that will drag you in.

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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2036: The Year Trump Stepped Down! by Michael Sandels

Review by Rox Burkey

Michael Sandels delivers a politically incorrect fiction that will make you laugh, chuckle, and think. He creates an imagined 2036 life in a place filled with injustice. The conversations and interactions are positioned as relating to the distortion of the world’s future, due to social and political choices. You can enjoy this book regardless of your political preferences but only if you have a sense of humor.

2036 is laid out with a focus on people and communities that remain.  One of the chapters, Above Myrtle Beach, June 4, 2036 introduces listeners (readers) to Ted and Bob.  Their conversation takes you on a serious, yet whimsical tour of life at that time with creative license.

Ted and Bob were both smiling and feeling like they were floating in the sky. “This is the life.”

            “Oh, yeah,” responded Ted, “You kidding?”

            “Just checking.”

            (They relaxed and drank from cups with paper umbrellas.) “So no more saying anything?” Ted asked Bob.

            “Nope.”

            “About it?”

            “Nope.”

            “Abut Him too? Can I even say ‘Him’?”

            “just probably don’t,”

            “And this is not the law?”

            “That’s what I hear.”

            “From the Administration?”

            “Well, yes. And Facebook.”

            “Can I even say that now? ‘The Administration? Without getting’ a look-see from above? From ‘Space Force!’?”

And on these guys go while applying their 147 sunblock. Each area of the remaining world highlighted in each chapter provides those characters’ viewpoint and highlights the errors made that resulted in this new world, while Facebook watches everyone and everything.

Michal Sandels provides a fabulous rendition of the story using distinct voices and specific accents in a non-stop manner that kept me fully engaged. Michael is closest to the story he created and effectively uses his voice to make this an enjoyable experience. I can say with confidence that no one would subscribe to this as the outcome of our world, so it will give you pause.

Star Rating: * * * * *

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The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus by Peggy Wheeler

Peggy Wheeler identifies herself as an author of fantastical fiction and she most definitely is!  I listened to The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus and was captivated right away.  It is a story about a 300-year-old hippo who lives on the planet Rendaz and moves through life teaching earth history and interacting with others such as her good friend Sam, the praying mantis, her mentor and high priestess who is a blue crane, a gorilla named Rufus who tells bad fart jokes and a host of other fantastical creatures who live and interact as humans.  In one history class, she shares how the Egyptians and other cultures came to worship animal gods – yes, coincidentally, animals who visited earth from Rendaz!

Beautimus is lacking in the self-confidence area but when she finds love – watch out!  In her gaining confidence, she manages to unintentionally set off a revenge-fueled hatred that will leave the listener on the edge of their chair.

Wheeler creates a world, much like earth where her characters mirror humans in actions and beliefs.  I found the audiobook interesting and couldn’t stop listening.  Between the wordplay, satire, social situations that are political and religious peppered with puns and other jests and the excellently developed plot and characters, this book is awesome.  When I first started listening to the book I thought, “OMG really?  A hippo as the main character???” But then Wheeler sucked me in and I fell in love with Beautimus, Sam, Lucas, and all the other delightful characters.

Kelley Hazen deserves an A+++ for her narration.  She did a fantastic job of keeping up with the voices and tempo of the book.  She was just amazing!  I would love to hear more of her.  I cannot imagine anyone else doing as magnificent a job as she did.

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

 

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Timberwolf by Tom Julian

Timberwolf is an action-packed, edge of your seat audiobook. Timberwolf is an ex-top black ops agent who has faced many adversaries but nothing like the alien spider who “left a bit of himself behind” in Timberwolf’s mind. He volunteers for every dangerous and potentially suicidal mission available. So not only does he have to protect the universe from impending war, from a religious madman but he has to figure out how to rid himself of the spider.

Picture Tom Cruise or Matt Damon on superhuman steroids! Tom Julian, the author, captivates his audience through detailed and complex plot twists, fully developed character development and attention to detail. This is a military styled sci-fi action-adventure that one cannot put it down. Julian allows us to see just how damaged Timberwolf is but also how human he remains. One cannot help but become engaged in this book!

C.J. McAllister, the narrator, performs the audiobook superbly. He captures and projects the characters realistically. His narration is smooth and flawless. His deep resonating voice for Timberwolf is just how one pictures it would sound.
There were no issues with the audio quality or production of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and narration!

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Conquest (The Chronicles of the Invaders Book 1) by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

Earth has been conquered with little bloodshed and is now ruled by a race of beautiful humanoids. Their control is seemingly schizophrenic, trying desperately to avoid loss of life, then being brutally cruel and even wiping out entire cities in retribution. The humans have not given up their planet and continue an unceasing campaign of resistance and rebellion.

The Illyri invaders have also conquered many different alien races and use them as servants and soldiers. But they have never met aliens so similar to themselves, nor as intellectually advanced as the human race. The Illyri are clearly far ahead of the humans technologically, but that is not much of a long term advantage. They are both fascinated and wary of humans.

Syl is the daughter of the Alien governor of Earth. Born in transit to Earth, she is Illyri, but raised on Earth and has a great affinity for humans. Her curiosity catches her in a vast web of conflict and lies, both from her people and the aliens; and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Conquest is a fast-paced story of action balanced with teenage romance and otherworldly technology. The teenage heroes are willing to do the right thing when their adult counterparts are not. The gentle Illyri is a contradiction, not wanting to harm the humans, but needing to put down the endless insurgencies, sometimes violently. The reason becomes clear at the end and would spoil the plot to reveal it here.

This is a well-crafted story with rich characters and believable technology. There is a hint of Dune in the novel, but more of a nod than any kind of derivative story. Perhaps because there are teenagers as the main characters, you could call it a young adult novel. But those are often arbitrary labels and Conquest should appeal to any SciFi lover, especially those who enjoy space opera.

The book is performed by Nicola Barber. There are many very good narrators working today, but Nicola stands above even this excellent crowd. She is magnificent, changing accents and voices with ease, male and female easily discernible. Her tone and pacing are spot on, moving the action forward, slowing when necessary and speeding up during the action, emotion oozing from her voice.  You will want to follow this talented performer and listen to other books by her. Just great.

Conquest is an enjoyable listen with a terrific performance. It doesn’t exactly break new ground plot-wise but has well-developed characters that are easy to like (and hate) with an exciting backdrop of war and intrigue. The novel wraps up the immediate action nicely but also starts the transition to the next volume.

Star Rating:  * * * * 1/2

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A Crucible of Order: Sentinels of Creation Book 5 by Robert W. Ross

Thankfully Robert Ross finally told us where Kellan Thorne ended up once he assumed the role as Sentinel of Chaos!  I know it’s not been all that long in the grand scheme of things, but the wait was well worth it!  Kellan Thorne, Sentinel of Chaos formerly of Order is in Rome, specifically 50 A.D. where he is a fashionable gladiator!

In true Kellan form, his sardonic wit and inner dialog that sometimes leaks out into the world, his life is entertaining and engaging.  We meet two new mantles and poor James loses his job – not nearly as momentous as other moments in the book but I didn’t want to give out any other spoilers.

Ross is an exceptional writer.  He takes his fans to varying degrees of intensity and plot twists.  This is an edge of your chair type of book.  Ross creates a dialog that is realistic and is his character – for instance, Kellan can ramble and argue with himself, Shannon never loses her brogue accent or Lucifer’s charmingly deceptive twist of words.  Ross has the knowledge and experience to create the characters in a manner that is solid and realistic.

I truly enjoy the places that Ross has taken each of his characters and the insight he has given us into each one’s personality.  He is deliberate in his writing; nothing is truly a waste of reading/listening – each word takes the story somewhere.

Nick Podehl does a magnificent job of narrating the story.  To me, he has become Kellan, Shannon, Megan, Sera (aka Ares), etc.  I love how he can roll out the Scottish brogue and then fall immediately back into the American slang that Kellan uses then to the formal speech of Ares.  Podehl moves the story along as he performs engaging the listener to stick around.

“Ah teel ye thes fur nathin’” Ross and Podehl is a winning combination!

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

Star Rating:  5

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Sam Green and the WhipEye Great Ones by Geoffrey Saign

Sam Green is a young girl hurting from the recent passing of her mother and isolation due to her father’s grief.  Seeking sympathy, she confides her feelings to a pet store parrot, Charlie.  Then the unthinkable happens and Sam finds herself thrust into a mystery and adventure that’s outcome rests on her shoulders. Then, Jake, her cute neighbor, becomes entwined in the adventure and together they help the Great Ones face off with the evil shopkeeper guardian who wants to kill Charlie for his magical powers.

Given a magical staff, Whipeye, Sam and Jake together must discover its secret powers, so they can defeat the evil creatures released by Magnar, the shopkeeper guardian, and defeat his plans as well.

Geoffrey Saign has created an adventure that is mesmerizing!  Vividly described, Saign has created a world that lures listeners of all ages in.  The story flows naturally and with ease; this is one of those rare books where the listener can sit back and enjoy it.  The characters have realistic qualities and personalities and depth that allows the listener to relate to them.

The audiobook allows one to hear Sam’s pain, Jake’s confusion, and angst and the evilness of the shopkeeper guardian.  While it’s not an emotional rollercoaster, one cannot help but feel the emotions.  There are multiple layers to the story.  There are no dull moments, it’s action and forward-moving from beginning to end.  The only thing difficult about this audiobook … is shutting it off before the end.

I highly recommend this book – it is the first in a series.  It is fascinating, entertaining as well as engaging!

The narrator, Lauren Holladay performed the story perfectly making each character unique.  She kept the story moving smoothly adding the appropriate amount of enthusiasm and doubt and anger and fear.  Holladay’s voice was calming and pleasurable to hear.

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

Star Rating:  * * * * 1/2

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You’re Going To Mars by Rob Dircks

Triplets named Paper, Rock and Scissors live in Fill City One with their father and grandmother.  Paper’s dream is to go to Mars someday.   Good news for Paper!  Zach Larson, a private entrepreneur is funding a private trip to Mars.  For one lucky person who competes on his TV game show and wins!  Much like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Paper has to find the much sought-after prize, a red scarab.  If she’s lucky enough to find a winning scarab, she has to escape Fill City One; ride over 2,000 miles with her absentee mother, then she has to compete in Larson’s live TV show for three months and beat out 25 other contestants. Can she do it?  Thing is Paper is smart and strong but she’s not without feelings.  She has to decide to what depths she will sink to get to Mars …

Rob Dircks, the author, gives his audience an action-packed adventure full of twists and emotional highs and lows. Dircks creates characters that he gives depth to and cultivates them into likable (and hate-able) beings.

The plot is well structured and solid.  Each character is realistic as is the dialog.  The reactions of his characters are spot on as well.  Dircks has carefully and delightfully constructed a memorable story.  I would love to see it filmed!

I got this audiobook two days ago and I finished it within the 48 hours I had it.  It is captivating, interesting and creative.  I could not put it down!

Khristine Hvam performed the audiobook excellently!  She was comfortable with the story and characters, she made the audiobook pleasant and memorable as well.  This is the first time I have heard her; she is perfect!

I loved it this book.  I enjoyed the different messes Paper found herself; I found the emotional discoveries she made were insightful and at times painful.  This is an audiobook I will listen to again and again!

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

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry

Review by Nathan Tullis

Ghostwalkers is book one in a planned three-book tie-in to the Deadlands RPG games. And did they pick a great author to start it off. Jonathan Maberry is an exceptional storyteller, multiple Bram Stoker award winner, and a perfect fit for this world. Best known for his award-winning Pine Deep Trilogy, as well as his Joe Ledger series and his YA zombie series, Rot & Ruin. I’ve listened to all of them and they’re all great. It wasn’t a question of if I would read this, but when. Especially when you consider Ray Porter is narrating.

Welcome to the Wild Weird West, “a country made for dying.” After The Great Quake in 1868; California has been shattered and released veins of a new, mysterious metal called Ghost Rock. Which is used in various steampunk weapons and gadgets, as well as some more devious uses that I will leave the reader to discover on their own.

Grey Torrance is running from ghosts as he sees a man being chased by six others. Torrance doesn’t like the odds and goes to help. He quickly discovers there’s more to the chase than meets the eye. As he’s – let’s say talking – with a couple from the group doing the chasing, he sees a blinding flash of blue light and quickly loses consciousness. When he comes to, he sees a man standing over him. This man, Thomas Looks Away, explains why he was being chased and what he’s trying to accomplish. After some entertaining dialogue, which Maberry is always good at writing, Looks Away hires Grey to help him save the people of a little town called Paradise Falls. After helping them reclaim their very own town well, Grey discovers what Ghost Rock can really do and it terrifies him. Looks Away and Torrance set out to stop the man responsible for this new hell, each obstacle more terrible and horrific than the last.

This was performed by Ray Porter, “‘Nuff said” as far as I’m concerned. However, the man deserves more than that. He is an exceptional narrator and is at the top of his field. He has read everything from horror and thriller to fantasy and non-fiction, always delivering a great performance. This was no exception. Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter’s chemistry is astounding as if Porter can crawl into Jonathan’s mind and understand exactly how Maberry is hearing the words as he writes them. Listen to anything read by Ray Porter, the man is a force.

This has everything I wanted from it. It’s a Western, Fantasy-Horror weaved in such a way that it would be enjoyable for anyone who isn’t interested in any of those genres. It’s a story about a man who is haunted by guilt and grief trying to right past wrongs and a group of people who just want their lives back. It’s filled with horror, heartache, determination, and love. Written by a man who understands the art of storytelling better than most, and performed by a man who’s voice talent is one of the top reasons I fell in love with audiobooks.

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Struck by Rachel Langley

Imagine being in love with your soul mate and everyone in your world knows it.  Then waking up the next morning only to discover your world is no more; everything has changed; everyone is … just gone.  Laney and her twin, Leela, travel to a distant place to try to set things right and rescue their friends/family but to do so means traveling in the light, a powerful and dangerous journey with a most uncertain outcome!  The girls are faced with serious consequences as they move forward with their plan, it becomes clear that not everyone will be coming home.

Rachel Langley, the author, weaves a delicate story of love and compassion, intrigue and betrayal, and morality.  The dialog, action, emotions are all genuinely young adult and realistic.   Langley builds each character slowly with detail both physically and emotionally.  There were a few twists that made the story more moving and exciting.  The story, the characters all flowed smoothly.  I liked the way in which we heard from both of the twins – seeing their perspective was satisfying.

The narrator, Jelyne Helms performed the audiobook wonderfully.  Her voices were realistic and comforting – just the perfect pitch and tone for each character.  She read the book comfortably and seemed very familiar with it.  Her tone and inflection gave weight to her characters sounding appropriate ages.  Plus she captured the personality of Leela and Laney perfectly.

There was only one small minor glitch in the publication.  Otherwise, the production quality of this audiobook was top-notch.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Struck.  I hope to hear the second part of this series.  I want to see how things play out.  The cliffhanger was perfectly timed and presented.

 

Star Rating:  * * * * ½

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