Tag Archives: Fantasy

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.

Click here to purchase via Audible.

Click here to purchase via Amazon.

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

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon

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 ****

Purchase via Audible

Purchase via Amazon

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!!!!

Click here to purchase via Audible.

Click here to purchase via Amazon.

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

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:  * * * * *

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon

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: * * * * *

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon

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:  * * * * *

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon

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:  * * * *

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon

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

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon

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

Click here to purchase via Audible

Click here to purchase via Amazon