Tag Archives: Science Fiction

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.

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.

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.

The Long Lost War by Jeff Walker

The Long Lost War by Jeff Walker is one of those unique stories that would only improve with length.  Attention to detail, Walker tells the story of John 999801.  John is a clone but a clone with questions and dreams.  Relegated to the front line of the war, John discovers answers to his questions … questions better left alone.  An action-packed adventure with unique and developed characters that bring the story to life.

This is one of those rare stories that would only benefit from being longer, as a novella it is too short.  While it works ok, the story could have gone in many different places.  And yes, Walker is a bit into the “big” words but that comes with the territory, I think.

Jack de Golia performs the audiobook very well.  Like most male narrators his female voices sound less feminine but overall his performance was very good.  De Golia is well versed in moving a story along with tone and appropriate emotions.

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

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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The Enigma Beyond, The Enigma Series Book 11 by Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey

The R-Group much like the rest of the world has been making new strides with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and technology.  Now, the tables have turned, and the R-Group is up against their most deadliest and advanced adversaries and they are NOT human!

This story takes place fifteen years after Wolfgang passes.  The youngest generation of the R-Group is becoming involved in the business and are now young adults.  ICABOD plays an integral role in the schooling and training of the newest generation as well as helping to define who the MAG group is and their ultimate goal.

Realistic dialog is one of Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey’s amazing gifts.  The storyline draws the listener in and keeps them riveted; history is full of charismatic figures known for their deadly manipulation skills and it is this that makes the story even more realistic and scarier.

This is one of those books that everyone should hear.  It is an edge of your seat, mind-blowing, realistic and far-reaching thriller that will leave you with nightmares.  These are the monsters one cannot see, but they are there, nonetheless.

Derek Shoales, the narrator, performs the book expertly.  He has become each and every character; I cannot imagine anyone else being Jacob, Juan, or Julie or ICABOD … well anyone else.  He has the right momentum to move the story ahead and has a connection to each character that shines through with each word he delivers.  He is a truly skilled and talented narrator.

This is a series that I love.  I am a huge fan of being frightened but this book is just a peep into what can and may happen and is terrifying!

5 Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Watcher (Book One) by AJ Eversley

Sawyer is a strong, street smart young woman who has sworn her life to protecting humans and their humanity from the evilness of a power-hungry scientist.  Everything Sawyer knew is false, everything she believed is false and everything she feels is false.  With her head spinning, she pursues her hunt of carbons and bots without mercy trying to save the innocent.

AJ Eversley built a strong world with equally strong characters and a storyline that captures the attention of her listeners.  The character development is well done, the dialog matches each character and the way they move throughout the story is realistic.  Some parts are predictable, most are not.  Eversley has a talent for throwing curveballs into her plot twists.  Although a bit dark, there are humanizing pieces that make the listener smile – Chevy (dog not the car or actor), teenage love angst and discovering oneself.  Rich in detail and vivid descriptions Eversley paints the story with words.  Although it is a story of robots taking over the world that has been done in several different ways, Eversley brings a fresh take to it.

The narrators, Chelsea Stephens and Steve Campbell, performances were well done.  I enjoyed having Campbell narrating the male thoughts and Stephens narrating the female thoughts.  It helped give more perspective to the situations, you were seeing it from two points of view.  Stephens and Campbell’s performances were excellent.  They provided a connection between the characters and listeners helping to move the story along at a good pace.

I cannot wait to see what Sawyer does, as she continues to uncover half-truths and discovers just how deep the evilness goes.

There were no issues with the production or quality of the audiobook, it was clear and crisp.

 

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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