FLASHBACK by Dan Simmons – BOOK REVIEW

Flashback by Dan Simmons

FLASHBACK

Author: Dan Simmons

Type of Book: Paperback

Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller

Length: 708 pages

Publisher: http://www.reaganarthurbooks.com

Re-Release Date: July 2014

Original Release Date: 2011

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My response to reading this book is “Holy Moly”. Dan Simmons has quite the imagination and this fictional version of America’s future is truly frightening. What makes it so terrifying is it’s realism and potential for becoming fact rather than fiction. He has taken current events and foreseen a potential future. With the current focus on ISIS in the middle east this book becomes even more scarily plausible. Wow!

Not only is this book s commentary on where America could be headed, it is also an amazingly wonderfully written work of science fiction and a terrific mystery.

The character of Nick Bottom is so well realized that it is easy to picture him as a real person rather than just a character in a book. His grief over his wife’s death will draw readers in. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one can relate to his pain and to his wanting to retreat into the world of Flashback.

Flashback is a drug that allows the user to re-experience a moment (or moments) in their lives that they wish to revisit and relive. Who could resist the allure of being able to go back and live the happiest day (or days) of their lives over again?

FROM THE BACK COVER:

“Twenty years from now, the United States is in the midst of total collapse: economic, social and political. But most of the population doesn’t care – they’re addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to reexperience the best moments of their lives. After former detective Nick Bottom’s wife died in a car accident, he started going under the flash to be with her; now he’s an unemployed addict, estranged from his teenage son.”

“Nick may be a tortured soul, but he’s still a good cop, and when he’s hired to investigate the murder of a government advisor’s son, Nick becomes the one man who can change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past.”

This book is the very definition of the word: THRILLER. Despite it’s length, this story never lags. There is non-stop action from start to finish.

Also, FLASHBACK will make you think! You will not be able to stop yourself from pondering the plausibility of this fictional future.

I absolutely LOVED this book. It is intelligently written, thoroughly engrossing and completely mind-boggling.

There are many facets to this story. There is the fictional drug “Flashback” along with the addiction aspect of the drug. There is an absorbing murder mystery. There is family drama. There is the drama and grief of a husband who has lost his wife and a son who has lost his mother. There is teen angst and the phenomenon of peer pressure. There are politics. There is warfare, both abroad and at home. There is prejudice and hatred, and much, much more.

Readers will not want to put this book down. Dan Simmons is a force to be reckoned with and even though this is the first novel of his that I have read, it will certainly not be the last.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photos obtained from www.dansimmons.com

Photos obtained from http://www.dansimmons.com

Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, and their sequels, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin’s Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works, including Summer of Night and its sequel A Winter Haunting, Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. He lives in Colorado.

For more information visit http://www.dansimmons.com

To read more of my reviews visit https://amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com

VANISHED FROM DUST by Shea Norwood – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.amazon.com

Image obtained from http://www.amazon.com


VANISHED FROM DUST – Book One

Author: Shea Norwood

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: David Dietz

Length: 6 hours, 59 minutes

Production Date: November 25, 2014

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Shea Norwood

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Its the 1980s. Nintendo is the newest thing and small towns are still considered safe places for kids to roam free. Eric and Kyle are in the eighth grade and are best friends.

Kyle had only moved to Dust, Texas the previous year. Eric had received the nickname “Crazy Train” several years earlier and was bullied and friendless until Kyle moved to town. On Kyle’s first day of school he had stood up for Eric when the school bully was taunting him. The two boys have been inseparable ever since.

Eric hasn’t seen them in a while, but for years he has seen phantoms with red eyes. No one else can see them. He had made the mistake of telling people about them when he was in third grade and that is when he earned the horrible nickname.

After not seeing the phantoms for years, Eric is suddenly seeing them with alarming regularity.

What are they? Why doesn’t anyone else see them? What do they want? What can Eric do about them?

This audiobook is targeted at a Young Adult/Middle School audience and I think the author has done a terrific job. Not only is it a much better story than I had expected, but since I am a child of the 1980s (born in the 70s) I enjoyed the references to the fads and styles of my youth. Remember leg warmers and banana clips? I do.

This book ends on a cliffhanger and listeners will want to know what happens to Eric and Kyle next. I know I will be adding the second book to my “To Listen” list.

Narrator David Dietz is a whiz with separate voices. The listener is able to easily distinguish not only between characters, but also between the characters and the narrator’s portions of this audiobook. Lately I have listened to a few books by this narrator and I have been pleased with the performance every single time. I rate the narration as 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The book itself deserves a 4 star rating when taking into account the intended audience. I truly believe that Young Adult and Middle Grade listeners will LOVE this series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shea Norwood is an emerging talent in the world of writing books. He lives in West Texas and you can find out more about him at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7302191.Shea_Norwood

Readers can learn more at his Facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/sheanorwoodauthor, or by
following Shea on Twitter @Sheanorwood

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

David W. Dietz is a writer, actor, director and producer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For more information about this narrator or his production company visit: http://dietzthethird.com

WITCHES by Kathryn Meyer Griffith – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.audible.com

Image obtained from http://www.audible.com

WITCHES

Author: Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Erica L. Risberg

Length: 10 hours, 50 minutes

Genre: Paranormal Fiction

Release Date: May 31, 2013

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Two witches living in the same town several centuries apart.

It is the 1700s and Rachel Cox is the talk of the town. They say she is a witch and they whisper whenever she walks by. It is a terrifying time to be accused of witchcraft. Witch hunts and burning at the stake are common.

Amanda is a modern day white witch. She is grieving the loss of her husband Jake and is just starting to try to figure out how to live without him.

There has been talk locally about a satanic cult practicing in the area. When murders begin happening the residents of the small town are scared. And, as always, scared people act irrationally. They start looking for someone to blame and despite living there for ten years, they chose her as their target.

Amanda must decide whether to permanently leave the house she loves and abandon the townspeople to the evil in their midst or whether to stay and fight to protect the town despite their hatred towards her.

This is a story of good vs. evil, but is also a tale of prejudice and the fact that people tend to fear anything or anyone they do not understand.

The author does a terrific job of incorporating the supernatural into the modern world. She also weaves history with present day.

The narration of this book was not as good as I had hoped. Much of the delivery is in monotone and the different characters do not have distinct voices. The voice used for Rebecca’s familiar (a mouse) was horrible and it was weirdly similar to the voice used for the character of Sebastian. However, there are stretches of time where the narration is very good. This is just a personal observation. I recommend listening to this book yourself and making up your own mind about the narration.

I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 stars.⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathryn Meyer Griffith is the author of twenty-two published novels as well as novellas and short stories.

To learn more about her visit http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/889499.Kathryn_Meyer_Griffith

To read more of my reviews visit https://amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com

THE MERMAID’S CHILD by Jo Baker – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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THE MERMAID’S CHILD

Author: Jo Baker

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged – MP3 CD

Narrator: Nicola Barber

Length: 8 hours, 46 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Historical

Release Date: March 25, 2015

Publisher: Dreamscape Media

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free MP3-CD copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review through AudiobookJukebox

From the very first few minutes of this audiobook I was enthralled. Narrator Nicola Barber has an amazing voice. She conveys a sense of wonder in every sentence and draws the listener into the story with such ease that you are instantly hooked. Whether the character is a young girl, an imperious teacher, an ill-tempered barkeep or a professional sailor the voice is nothing short of perfection.

The story itself flows seamlessly from day to day, year to year and minute to minute. Malin is a character that you cannot help but empathize with. This book is a re-release. It was originally published in 2004. The fact that this book was author Jo Baker’s debut novel is AMAZING. She is a talented author and I also immensely enjoyed her book LONGBOURN which was published in 2013.

Malin has always been different. Her father was a ferryman and he tells her that her mother is a mermaid who left to return to her own people.

When Malin’s father dies she is left in the care of her grandmother. The grandmother sends her off to work and live in the local pub. Malin is treated like an unloved and unwanted slave.

But everything changes when a mysterious stranger arrives at the pub and Malin makes a decision that will change her life forever.

This tale is strange but wonderful. It is full of interesting characters and Malin’s adventures are richly imagined.

Though much of this book is “dark” there is something inside Malin that does not allow her to give up. This book is a tribute to the inner spirit of a determined young woman. It is so vividly described that readers will not be able to stop listening to the story.

I highly recommend this book to all adults. It definitely contains many adult themes and scenes and is not appropriate for younger readers/listeners.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo obtained from www.jobakerwriter.com

Photo obtained from http://www.jobakerwriter.com

Jo Baker was educated at Oxford and now lives in Belfast. She runs the Belfast Literary Festival. For more information visit http://www.jobakerwriter.com

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

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Nicola Barber has appeared on stage in New York and across the country. She can be seen in the movie “The Nanny Diaries” with Scarlet Johansson. She has been performing voiceovers since 2001. For more information visit http://www.nicolabarber.com

WANDERINGS ON DARKER SHORES by Cora Pop – BOOK REVIEW

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WANDERINGS ON DARKER SHORES

Author: Cora Pop

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

This is a collection of short stories and poems with “dark” themes.

This collection had me hooked from the very first story. The author has done a truly stupendous job and is able to evoke an emotional response from the reader in a very short amount of words.

Most short stories I’ve read seem to be lacking that essential quality that is required for the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story. In “Wanderings on Darker Shores” the reader becomes not only immersed in the story, but also invested in it.

The small details are included that are necessary to fully flesh out her characters and the stories are wonderfully written.

Her gift for description is just that … a gift. “She was even more beautiful now than she’d been younger, her skin taut over high cheekbones, her narrow eyes the color of dark chocolate, the streaks of grey in her hair making me think of silver jewelries rather than time.” This description is exquisite. It is easy to form a picture in your mind’s eye of the woman she is referring to.

If you enjoy reading paranormal fiction, horror and “dark” themed fiction you cannot go wrong by purchasing “WANDERINGS ON DARKER SHORES” by Cora Pop.

I rate this collection as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cora Pop is a Canadian author. To learn more about her, visit her blog at Http://chickwithaquill.blogspot.ca

To find out more about this book visit: https://m.facebook.com/WanderingsOnDarkerShores?_rdr

Purchase a paperback copy of this book at Chapters online at http://m.indigo.ca/product/books/wanderings-on-darker-shores-a/9780993939303

THE VIKING’S APPRENTICE by Kevin McLeod – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.audible.com

Image obtained from http://www.audible.com

THE VIKING’S APPRENTICE

Author: Kevin McLeod

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Danielle Cohen

Length: 3 hours, 38 minutes

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: March 19, 2015

Publisher: Kevin McLeod

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

First off I have to say that there is something about a narrator with an English accent that lends itself very well to the fantasy genre. It adds a sense of the different (and therefore exotic) to those of us in North America.

Peter and George have just completed public school. Next stop is high school, but first they are looking forward to a summer of freedom and adventure.

As with every other summer, Peter will be spending it visiting his grandfather, but this time he gets to bring his friend George with him.

The two boy’s arrive in Campbell’s Cove which is not your average village.

Viking longships, knights, immortal vikings, dragons, goblins, trolls, witches, ogres and more exist in secret deep within the caves.

“This little village hides many secrets and has many fine tales to tell.” – Grandad

This is an exciting fantasy/adventure tale that readers of all ages will enjoy. As far as I am aware, there are three books in this series so far and I will be adding all of them to my “To Read” shelf.

I rate both the story and the narration as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Kevin McLeod lives in Scotland with his wife and their two daughters. He has always been a keen writer, and has written many short stories.

The Viking’s Apprentice was Kevin’s first novel and is the first book in the greatly anticipated Viking’s Apprentice series.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Danielle Cohen is a voice-over actress who has worked in both the U.S. and the UK. She has a professional studio at her home in Vermont. To learn more about her visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniellercohen

FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Michael McBride – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from author's website

Cover image obtained from author’s website

FEARFUL SYMMETRY: A Thriller

Author: Michael McBride

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Scott Thomas

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased review.

As World War II was ramping up, five Nazi scientists embarked on an expedition into the Himalayas in search of the origins of the Aryan Master race.

What they found instead was something they could not have imagined, even in their wildest dreams.

Now nearly a hundred years old, Johann Brandt, the only survivor of that expedition has decided to share his discovery with Jordan Brooks.

Jordan is an evolutionary anthropologist and if what Brandt has shown him is real, he knows it could be the discovery of a lifetime.

Jordan launches his own expedition following in Brandt’s historic footprints. With the benefit of modern scientific knowledge and superior tools, he hopes to discover an entirely new species.

What Jordan and his colleagues find will challenge their view of the world as they know it. They have some decisions to make. That is, if they survive.

I don’t think my synopsis does this book justice. I enjoyed every minute of this audiobook. It is a non-stop roller coaster ride that will have listeners on the edge of their seats.

Narrator Scott Thomas does a truly spectacular job. He is able to voice not only American characters (both male and female) but the voice he uses for Brandt (the elderly German) sounds authentic and believable.

Because of the science in this book it could have become overwhelming to the listener, however once again, Scott Thomas does a superb job of making even scientific information sound compelling and interesting. His pacing and tone of voice allow the listener to immerse himself in the story.

This book was the first novel of Michael McBride’s that I have read and I will definitely be looking forward to reading more of his books.

The fact that this story comes across as scientifically possible is part of what makes it so terrifying. Are we as humans the final evolution of our species? Is it not the very pinnacle of arrogance to think that our species is the best it will ever be? History has shown us that all species continue to evolve and adapt. Therefore it would be ridiculous to assume that future generations of people will not change at all. We just have to hope that future changes are for the better and not for the worse.

This book will stay with you long after the final chapter. The ideas this book is based on are food for thought. For this reason, I think this would make a good book to choose for a Book Club. It would definitely generate quite a bit of discussion.

I rate this book as 4out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo obtained from author's website

Photo obtained from author’s website

Michael McBride is the author of more than twenty novels and novellas. His short fiction has been featured in Cemetery Dance, Dark Wisdom, Dark Discoveries, and various anthologies. He lives in Westminster, Colorado with his wife and children.

http://author.michaelmcbride.net

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Scott Thomas has been doing voiceovers for twenty-five years. To learn more about him visit: https://www.voices.com/people/ScottAtAMC

USE SOMEBODY by Riley Jean – BOOK REVIEW

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USE SOMEBODY

Author: Riley Jean

Genre: New Adult Fiction, Drama, Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2015

Length: 700 pages

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free electronic version of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I find it very interesting that in the introduction the author tells readers that she had never intended to release this book. “It began as a creative outlet and turned into a hobby.” This fact appeals to me. When an author writes for the sake of writing and not for the sake of trying to cater to what they think potential readers want, I believe they produce a superior story. Too often the books I see on library or bookstore shelves are written with the goal of sales in mind rather than for the pure enjoyment of a good book. Riley Jean’s introduction concludes with her saying, “So to each and every reader, I just want to say that I feel incredibly humbled that you have allowed me to share my story with you.” Reading this made me even more eager to read her book.

Page one made me burst out laughing. Why? Because I have actually experienced exactly what she writes about. I have very long, naturally curly hair and I cannot count the number of drunken “OMG, girlie! I loooove your hair!” comments that I have received over the years. She states: “Fact: Drunk girls are fascinated by curly hair.”

This book started out one way and then changed. If you were only to read the first few chapters you would assume you know exactly how the story will proceed. You would be wrong.

Scarlett (or Scar as she prefers to be called) has had some bad breakups. Throughout high school she had always been the quiet good girl. The one who believed in happily ever after. But, that was before she learned the truth.

Now she has cut and dyed her long blond hair and styled it into a shorter, black more emo-type style. Gone are the days of cute outfits and manicured nails. Now her nails are neglected and black and grey are her standard color choices for clothing. She has built a brick wall around her heart and vowed to never let anyone in again.

The thing is, that Scar has a valid reason for wanting to protect herself and she isn’t about to share that reason with anyone.

When she meets Vance and learns that he is in a loving, long-term relationship she tries to keep him at a distance. Despite her best efforts, they end up becoming friends.

But, can this emotionally damaged girl ever really open up to anyone again? And what was it that happened to her to cause her to lose all faith in love and happily-ever-after?

This is a terrific story targeted at “New Adult” readers. This is not a young adult novel. It takes place after high school graduation when teenagers are on the cusp of adulthood and are struggling to find their place in the world.

Riley Jean has shown that she has an uncanny talent for getting into the hearts and minds of her characters and translating that understanding onto the page.

Readers will find themselves drawn into Scar’s world and they will find themselves invested in her life. The characters feel so real that you will find yourself wondering if this is truth rather than fiction. That is the mark of a talented writer and I believe that this debut novel is destined to launch her on a career path where writing stops being a hobby and becomes her full-time vocation.

Despite some minor editing errors I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Lexi always said never to trust girls at parties like these, that everything was a competition for attention, and if it meant having an advantage, no one would hesitate to stab you with a stiletto.”

“It’s a confusing age, that time between adolescence and adulthood.”

“Everyone is struggling to dream big when we have little.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Riley Jean works as an Executive Assistant to the CFO of a Fortune 100 company. At night she transform into an aspiring author. USE SOMEBODY is her first novel.

To learn more about her visit https://www.goodreads.com/rileyjeanreads or visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/rileyjeanreads

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UNMEMORABLE by A.P. Jensen – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.audible.com

UNMEMORABLE: Unmemorable Series Book One

Author: A.P. Jensen

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Roni Gallimore

Length: 6 hours, 35 minutes

Genre: Romance, Fantasy

Release Date: January 21, 2015

Publisher: A.P. Jensen

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Raven has no friends, no family and lives in a rough neighborhood. She is a loner and works as a housekeeper where everyone ignores her. Raven is also cautious. She has been attacked in almost every city she has ever lived in. She never thought much of it since she has always lived in ghetto areas.

Cain Henson is rich and gorgeous. He is also a bodyguard. He has been sent to protect Raven from The Battalion. Cain’s grandfather is a Seer and he believes that Raven has a very special gift. That is why Cain must protect her… whether she likes it or not.

The Battalion is a group who wants nothing less than world dominance. They kidnap or kill people who have powers. That is why Raven cannot understand why they are interested in a nobody like her. She doesn’t believe she has any powers and she doesn’t believe she is important at all.

What follows is a tale of magic, powers, good and evil, romance and suspense. This book is memorable.

A.P. Jensen has created an entirely new subset of people on the planet with very unique powers. It will be fascinating to discover what happens next in The Unmemorable series.

The narrator has the perfect voice for this story. She uses inflection and tone very well.
I rate the narration as 4 out of 5 stars.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author photo obtained from apjensen.com

Author photo obtained from apjensen.com

A. P. Jensen was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii. She spent several years on the mainland (Las Vegas and Austin) before coming home in November 2012 to pursue her writing career.

After A. P. returned home, she self-published her first book, Emma’s Secret on May 5, 2013.

A. P. Jensen loves to read, write, travel, watch movies, listen to old timer’s talk about the good old days and daydream. She writes in three different genres: YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. To learn more visit: http://apjensen.com/

THINK LIKE A SKINNY PERSON by James Livingood – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audiobook.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.audiobook.com

THINK LIKE A SKINNY PERSON: Building Better Health Through Unconventional Knowledge

Author: James Livingood

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Rebecca Roberts

Length: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Genre: Non-Fiction, Health, Self-Help

Release Date: March 12, 2015

Publisher: Long Tail Writing

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

I was drawn to this audiobook for a couple reasons. The first reason was it’s length. At just over an hour I was willing to listen. It’s only an hour. I decided that even if the book was terrible I would only have wasted an hour. (Fortunately I actually really enjoyed this book, so length did not end up being a factor after all.) The second reason I wanted to listen to this audiobook was that it was written by a normal person and not a so-called “expert”. The author lets the reader know immediately that he has no formal education in nutrition or weight loss. This book is just his way of sharing what has worked for him.

James Livingood decided to ask his “skinny” friends for advice and this book is the culmination of the tips and tricks and ideas that he received from them.

Normally I am not a fan of self-help books, I find that they come across as preachy and most often the advice is just plain ridiculous. THINK LIKE A SKINNY PERSON is NOT like that. Nowhere in the book does the author come across as if he is preaching and he does not claim to be the Dali-Lama of weight loss.

“The first part of this book is not about giving you a bunch of advice. Instead we will take a moment to look into the mirror.”

This approach actually makes sense. Yes! I said it. A weight loss book that makes sense! Wow!

Most of the advice and tips provided in this book are common sense. However, common sense is not very common anymore. Even people who are already aware of ideas in this book can use a reminder.

There is mention in the introduction of the inclusion of cartoons and pictures in the book. Obviously this is missing in the audiobook version, but that did not make this book any less enjoyable.

The narrator does a great job and provides a clear delivery of the concepts in this book.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn more about James Livingood or to read additional tips visit his website at: http://www.thinklikeaskinnyperson.com

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

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To learn more about Rebecca Roberts visit http://www.rebeccarobertsvoice.com

FUGITIVES FROM NORTHWOODS by Chris Bostick – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.audible.com


FUGITIVES FROM NORTHWOODS – Book One

Author: Chris Bostick

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Eddie Frierson

Length: 8 hours, 4 minutes

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Release Date: February 13, 2015

Publisher: Chris Bostick

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

The worldwide economy has collapsed and the United States no longer exists. Governments regulate every aspect of people’s lives including assigning jobs and telling people what and how much food they can consume. In the guise of the “greater good” people’s homes and property have been seized and now live in run down tenements.

At the age of 14 teenagers are forced onto buses and taken to labor camps. At these camps they work to help provide for the rest of society. These camps are more like prison camps than summer camps and the teens remain there for years under guard. Beatings are common and considered educational. Escape is considered a “High Crime” and is punishable by death.

Despite the severity of the penalty they will receive if they are caught, a group of eight teens decide to take their chances escaping the Northwoods fishing camp. They decide to attempt to cross the Canadian border to freedom.

This book details their flight and their survival in the wilderness while being hunted by men and dogs.

The problem I had with listening to this book was the detail it contains. There is just too much detail about the terrain and the species of fish as well as their preferred bait. The story itself suffers because there is so much focus placed on the minutiae of survival. However, if you are interested in what type of fish are available in Northern Minnesota and how to catch them, or how many lakes and the details of the landscape, you will really enjoy this book.

One faux-pas that I noticed was when Cerrswi was talking to Penn and referred to herself as a “back seat driver”. I did not get the impression that these teenagers would know what a “back seat driver” is. Isn’t their world one in which no one owns vehicles and that everything is confiscated for the greater good? How would she have learned that phrase?

I would have liked to hear more detail about what went wrong with society. There is some detail, just not enough.

I also would have liked to hear a more thorough backstory for each of the characters. I did not feel that I really knew any of the characters by the end of the audiobook. Penn is the only character whose motivations and feelings are delved into with any depth. There is a small amount of detail given regarding Cerrswi’s background, but not enough for the listener to really “know” her. This is unfortunate because I think these characters and this story definitely have potential.

During the last hour and a half of the audiobook the story picks up and gets much more suspenseful and interesting. The ending is actually the best part of the book and has my interest piqued for the next book in the series.

In fact, the audiobook contains a short excerpt from book two in the Northwoods trilogy which sounds like it will be a great book.

The narrator was good and was able to easily differentiate between the characters. He does his best to generate the feeling of suspense, but it is difficult to make multiple fishing and hiking scenes come across as suspenseful. However, once there was action he was able to convincingly convey a sense of urgency and danger. I rate the narration as 4 out of 5 stars.

I rate the story as 3 out if 5 stars however I do firmly believe that this series has promise. I look forward to learning more about the characters and the world they have found themselves in.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To find out more about the author visit http://chrisbostic.weebly.com/

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Eddie Frierson has been a professional voice actor for over thirty years. To learn more about him and to hear samples of his work visit http://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A16HO4RYGC9XLJ

KIDNAPPED BY NUNS by Bob Fuss – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.kidnappedbynuns.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.kidnappedbynuns.com

KIDNAPPED BY NUNS

Author: Bob Fuss

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Bob Fuss

Length: 6 hours, 46 minutes

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Travelogues, Short Stories

Release Date: March 13, 2015

Publisher: Robert Fuss

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

This book details the forty year radio journalism career of the author. These are his memoirs.

Bob Fuss is handicapped and walks with crutches, but he does not use this as an excuse and he legitimately could have especially in the years before America’s Disability Act was put in place. If anything, he goes out of his way to prove that his “disability” is not a factor in his job performance or even in his lust for life’s adventures.

The kidnapping of Patty Hearst and her subsequent conversion to the beliefs and radicalism of her captors was Bob’s first major story.

He goes on to tell stories about his career and intersperses them with travelogues and other personal anecdotes.

While he does mention names of some of the famous people he either worked with or interviewed, he does not fall into the trap of gratuitous name-dropping. I like the fact that he does not resort to such cheap tactics.

The only issue I had with the narration was the speed with which the narrator reads. It is so fast that often inflection suffers. The speed is actually dizzying at times and I would have enjoyed it more if he had slowed down and let the listener catch up. I tried to change the speed of my iPod from “regular” to “slower” but that just made it sound ridiculous. He does mention the fact that he had to learn how to describe an event and record the details of it in a 30 second soundbite so I assume this is why he reads so fast. He slows the pace for a few chapters and then for some reason he speeds back up.

I found that the book’s description does not do it justice. When it mentions Bob’s long time coverage of politics it conveys an assumption that there will be an excessive amount of political detail. This is not the case. Yes, there is mention of politics and political figures but this book contains just the right amount.

Bob Fuss has lived an extraordinary life. He has been a witness to natural disasters, military coups, cults, assassinations, sports events, political conventions and elections and has travelled to over seventy countries. Not too shabby for a man whose parents were told that he would probably not live past childhood.

He is astute and compassionate. I didn’t think I would ever write the word “compassionate” when referencing a journalist, but Bob Fuss is obviously not a typical journalist. This is probably due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is that he was a radio journalist and not a television journalist. He was unable to rely on visual theatrics since you can’t see a radio broadcast and instead used his wit and knowledge to engage his listeners.

His extensive travels and by extension his exposure to many cultures also contributed to the formation of the engaging personality that resulted in a very successful and long career in radio.

This audiobook is worth buying. It engaged me from the beginning and maintained my interest throughout. It is obvious that during his years of reporting he held opinions on what he was reporting about, but professionalism stopped him from giving opinions and instead reported only facts. Now that he is retired he is free to voice those opinions and we are the lucky recipients who get to hear what he really thinks.

I rate this memoir as 5 out of 5 stars both for the story and for narration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (Information and photo obtained from his website)

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Bob Fuss has been a national radio reporter since 1974 when he graduated from Stanford at the age of 19. He’s covered hollywood celebrities, space exploration, crime, coups, natural disasters and national politics. Before retiring as a CBS News Correspondent in 2014 he covered Congress for 23 years and traveled on Presidential Campaigns beginning in 1980. An award winning journalist he previously worked as a correspondent for UPI Radio Network and NBC Radio. His travels have taken him to all 50 states and more than 70 countries.
Fuss was honored in 2015 with the Career Achievement Award by the Radio and Television Correspondents Association.

PORT STARBIRD: A Storm Ketchum Adventure by Garrett Dennis – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image from www.audible.com

Cover image from http://www.audible.com

PORT STARBIRD: Storm Ketchum Adventures: Book One

Author: Garrett Dennis

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: DJ Holte

Length: 8 hours, 26 minutes

Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Release Date: March 18, 2015

Publisher: TBD Press

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

The narrator has an amazing voice for this story. There is even a scene where Ketch sings an original song and plays guitar and the song and music sounded great. In fact, the tune is quite catchy. The narrator also does a terrific job of differing male voices and his voice of the older sea captain is exactly what I thought an ‘ol sea dog’ would sound like. Great job!

In the town of Avon on the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks region people live a small town existence. There really isn’t much for tourists to do except take in the local scenery and fish in the ocean. And that is exactly how the locals prefer it.

Storm Ketchum may not be from Avon originally, but he has adopted the town as his home and has lived there for the past three years. Ketch owns a house in an area that a local developer has big plans for. He has offered to buy Ketch’s house and land but
Ketch does not want to sell his house which he has nicknamed “Port Starbird.”

Most of the other homeowners have sold and the developer is not happy about Ketch being a holdout. He has threatened to use the law of “imminent domain” to take the house away from him if Ketch will not agree to sell.

Ketch dislikes the shady developer and has suspicions that he may have murdered both of his wives. But, suspicions are not facts.

Ketch has a plan. If he cannot save his home from being ripped out from under him, then he will make sure that he draws attention to the corruption of the law and the misuse of “Imminent Domain” by greedy politicians and developers.

Ketch’s plan seemed fairly easy in the beginning, but when he stumbles upon some illegal activity he has a decision to make.

To complicate his life even further, throw in a love interest, some illegal toxic waste dumping, blackmail attempts, murder, missing wives and a girlfriend who may have something to hide.

This book is full of colorful and lovable characters. Jack the dog comes across as the perfect pet and anyone who has ever had a loyal pet will fall in love with him.

This book is a great Spring or Summer read. You cannot help but imagine yourself sitting out on Ketch’s deck enjoying the quiet summer night with a glass of wine. I found the conclusion a bit far-fetched, but it is fiction, so anything is possible.

I was entertained and I look forward to finding out whats next for our hero; Storm Ketchum.

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars for the story and 5 out of 5 stars for the narration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Garrett Dennis started out as a biologist and a computer scientist but has retired to dedicate himself to writing. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and two dogs. To learn more about him visit https://sites.google.com/site/authorgarrettdennis/home

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Narrator photo obtained from djholte.com

Narrator photo obtained from djholte.com

DJ Holte is a veteran stage actor, writer, musician, voiceover talent and one-time radio personality. Holte rhymes with Nolte. To learn more about him visit http://djholte.com

WINGING IT by K C Carlton – BOOK REVIEW

Cover Photo obtained from www.amazon.com

Cover Photo obtained from http://www.amazon.com

WINGING IT

Author: K C Carlton

Type of Book: Paperback

Length: 205 pages

Genre: Fiction, Adult, Drama, LGBT Fiction

Publisher: Mandrill Press http://www.mandrillpress.com

Publication Date: 11-26-2013

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a paperback copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

* This book is not suitable for readers under the age of 18 due to graphic sexual content and adult situations.

I am not sure whether to classify this book as fiction or non-fiction. In fact, the author wasn’t really sure either. However, since James Carlton is not the real name of the person this book is about I guess that is why this book must be classified as fiction.

In 2011 the author’s brother died at the age of 68, leaving behind a laptop with his memoirs on it. A private investigator was hired to discover if the memoirs were real and his response was that the memoirs were true as far as Jimmy remembered them. He states that the details may not be 100% accurate, but they are accurate as far as Jimmy remembered them.

This is the story about James (Jimmy) Carlton. The story begins when he is 18 in the 1950s in England and details his struggles with his sexuality. It also contains graphic descriptions of his introduction to the act of sexual intercourse and more.

In today’s society Jimmy would be labelled a bisexual, but that word did not even exist in the 1950s.

He wrote with great detail (a bit too much detail in my opinion) about his sexual experiences which is why I say that this book is not suitable for children. In fact, it is probably too graphic for many adults. * Note* These sex scenes are sometimes homosexual encounters and sometimes heterosexual encounters, but they all take place between consenting adults.

However, this book is not just about sex. It is an interesting look at the changing views of society over time and it is a frank look into the life of an actor during a very turbulent era.

– I’m not sure if I should add a spoiler alert heading to this review because nothing I write gives away any more of the story than what is written on the back cover of the book. But if you are a purest and do not want any information given away I suggest first that you do not read the book description on the back cover, and second that you do not read any further into this review.

James moved to California in the 1960s and began a successful (and very lucrative) career as an actor. After a few trysts with men his sexual preference changed to solely women and he had more than his fair share of sexual exploits. James had finally come into his own, or so he thought. He avoided the stereotype of the actor who finds himself hooked on drugs and/or alcohol. In fact, Jimmy was in exceptional shape, ate a healthy diet and was the very definition of “physically fit”.

But Jimmy’s life was not predictable. He could have remained in California and lived comfortably for the rest of his life. In fact, he had enough money that he could easily have settled into comfortable retirement in his Venice Beach home. Instead he decided he wanted to travel throughout the United States.

One October day while driving in Arizona, Jimmy experienced chest pains and shortness of breath.

Those chest pains set off a chain of events that should have resulted in his death. (Read the book, you’ll see that the heart attack was minor compared to what happened in the next few minutes).

This near-death experience changed his life. “So there I was, early forties, a millionaire a few times over, starting on a new life with not a care in the world if you discount the knowledge that never quite left me that a man whose had one heart attack that no-one can explain can have another.”

Jimmy ends up a lay brother in a California monastery. Who could have predicted the path his life would take? Certainly not Jimmy.

I found this book absolutely fascinating. The fact that it is labelled as fiction does not matter. Is it fact or fiction? I’m still not completely sure, but it is definitely an interesting (an eye-opening) read.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

More information about this author can be found on the Mandrill Press website or at http://kccarlton.com

THE WITCH OF DUVA by Leigh Bardugo – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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THE WITCH OF DUVA

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Lauren Fortgang

Length: 52 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: August 19, 2014

Publisher: Audible Studios

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I purchased this short audiobook from http://www.audible.com

It is rare that I find an author that I enjoy enough to seek out all of their other published works. Leigh Bardugo is just such an author.

Her debut novel, entitled “SHADOW AND BONE” was the first book in the Grisha Trilogy.

This is a short folk tale that is the companion to SHADOW AND BONE. Despite it’s short length it is an entertaining tale.

They say that girls should avoid the woods around Duva. They say that the woods eat girls who wander there. Is there a monster or a witch in the woods? You’ll be surprised and delighted to find out who is the culprit.

The narrator is the same one used in the Grisha trilogy which offers the listener a sense of continuity and she does a wonderful job.

I rate both the narration and the story as 5 out of 5 stars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photographer: Kevin Rolly Image obtained from www.leighbardugo.com

Photographer: Kevin Rolly
Image obtained from http://www.leighbardugo.com

“Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising.”

“She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects.”

“These days, she’s lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. Her new book, Six of Crows, arrives fall 2015.”

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Photo obtained from www.laurenfortgang.com

Photo obtained from http://www.laurenfortgang.com

Lauren Fortgang currently resides in New York City where she works as an actor and voiceover artist. She grew up in variety of rural towns in northern California. She is a graduate of Fordham University: College at Lincoln Center, where she majored in theater. To learn more about her visit http://www.laurenfortgang.com

REVENGE OF THE SIMIANS by Thomas Weston – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.audible.com

REVENGE OF THE SIMIANS

Author: Thomas Weston

Type of Book: Audiobook

Narrator: David Dietz

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 5 hours and 55 minutes

Release Date: June 8, 2015

Publisher: Thomas Weston

Rating. 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

At a research facility called “Benevolent Pharmaceuticals” testing is done using chimpanzees. The experiments are often cruel and painful, but they are justified because they will supposedly help mankind.

The government sees the benefit of using simians as soldiers and/or suicide bombers.

To that end, Benevolent Pharmaceuticals is injecting human DNA into chimpanzees, who are getting smarter and smarter as a result. In fact, some of them can even speak a few words.

But as these chimpanzees become more intelligent and aware of their circumstances, they become angry and discontent. Eventually two disgruntled employees decide to unlock the chimp’s cages setting off a chain of events that may lead to the downfall of the human race.

This book started off promising. I was afraid that it would be just another “Planet of the Apes” book and there are similarities, but it is not the same.

I don’t want to give any spoilers in my review, but there were quite a few plot points that are just too far-fetched for any reader to believe. Horrible and cruel animal testing in a lab? Yes, I believe that. Disgruntled and underpaid workers in the same lab? Yes, I believe that.

Things I don’t believe are the relationship plot points. It is just too ridiculous that the Wayne stays with the Francine. Francine’s actions and behavior? I don’t think so! Not in a million years.

The ending was what completely ruined the book for me. The way Francine obtained the lightbulb is just ridiculous and it seemed like the author needed a way to wrap the story up and chose to take an easy storyline to achieve the desired conclusion. Read this book and see if you agree. * I hope I have been suitably vague so that no spoilers exist in this review.* However, I may have been too vague and potential readers will have no idea what I an talking about.

The narration of this story was good. The narrator had a good tone and kept the story moving at a good pace.

The author gives off the impression that he doesn’t think much of people. He makes fun of “hillbillies” and “rednecks” and obviously he does not like President Obama since he makes some unflattering comparisons.

All in all I feel that this book had potential but that it was lacking in believability. I rate this as 3 out of 5 stars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author photo obtained from http://tomweston.champ.tripod.com/

Author photo obtained from http://tomweston.champ.tripod.com/

To learn more about Thomas Weston and to find more books by this author visit http://tomweston.champ.tripod.com/

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

David W. Dietz is a writer, actor, director and producer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For more information about this narrator or his production company visit: http://dietzthethird.com