EVOLUTION (E #2) by Kate Wrath – BOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.katewrath.com

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

EVOLUTION

Author: Kate Wrath

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 314 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Release Date: November 12, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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First off I have to mention the cover art for this book. The stylized “E” is absolutely stunning. It is perfect. It has just the right amount of flair and draws the eye. The gorgeous cover art was created by Patricia A. Doherty.

Outpost 3 has survived the attack by Grey and his men. Eden with Miranda’s help reprogrammed the Sentries to follow Matt’s commands. With these robots under his control, Matt now has ultimate power over the residents of Outpost 3.

Matt has forced Eden and Miranda to both move into his residence. He wants Eden as a romantic partner, but she does not love him. She is in love with Jonas, but Jonas is angry with her for siding with Matt during the battle.

All her personal problems pale in comparison to the fact that by taking over the sentries, they have broken a major world law.

Eden knows that the powers-that-be will not let their takeover of the sentries go unpunished. She knows that all the sentries everywhere are linked and that the only way to ensure their total safety is to go to the white tower and somehow disable all the sentries in existence. To do that she would have to find the city, enter the white tower and somehow shut down every sentry in existence. She also knows that Matt will never allow her to leave Outpost Three to test her theory.

When a sentry arrives from outside the Outpost and arrives in the marketplace, it begins speaking and says: “Residents of Outpost Three, you have violated the Founding Principle of the New World Covenant. As such, this Outpost has been marked for cleansing. All residents are to be processed for erasure. Form a single file line at the Outpost gate. You have two minutes to comply. Any resistance will extend the punishment for all residents to immediate death.”

Now what? How is Eden going to escape being erased again? What about her friends? How will she save them? Does Matt have a plan? Will she find a way to get to the tower? Or is this the end for all of them?

Dystopian fiction is a genre that is cluttered with a multitude of titles. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are just ok. But, there are a few that are GREAT. This book as well as the first book in the E Series both fall solidly into the great category.

What is so great about these books? Well, there are several things that make me love the writing of Kate Wrath. Firstly, although this is a young adult novel and the main character is female, she is not a simpering idiot. She does not have romance as the driving force in her life. Eden is much more focused on survival and on how to escape the Outpost. Also, she is loyal. Too often in novels we see the characters shifting their allegiances constantly. Though it may not look like it at times, Eden is steadfast in her loyalty to her friends. Thirdly, Kate Wrath’s world building is terrific and readers are constantly discovering more and more about what the world is like and why. I like the fact that not all the information was doled out immediately. It is much more realistic for the reader to discover the world at the same time that Eden does.

I know I mentioned above that romance is not Eden’s driving force and that is true, but that does not mean that there is no romance. It just isn’t the main focus. It is much more believable for someone who is struggling daily just to stay alive to focus on that survival first and foremost. By portraying the romance as slow to develop it draws the reader in and makes them more invested in the ultimate outcome.

Youth is often a time of confusion and conflicted feelings. Kate Wrath expertly navigates through these emotions. As Eden spends more time with Matt, the reader can clearly see that her feelings for him evolve. The juxtaposition of head and heart telling her opposite things is very realistic. And what about her feelings for Jonas and their shared past? Eden is as confused as any teenager; it’s just that her feelings have to take a back seat to her survival.

Probably my favorite thing about Kate Wrath’s books is their unpredictability. Just when the reader thinks they have the plot all figured out, a new twist or obstacle arises and the story takes yet another unexpected turn. I LOVE THIS! I love not being sure what will happen next. Predictability is annoying and greatly reduces the enjoyment of reading a great book. I cannot praise this series highly enough. I want to be surprised, and Kate Wrath continually delivers.

Besides the great plot, the amazingly realistic characters and the fact that this book is simply unputdownable, it also contains some amazing technologies. While I have spent most of this reviewing writing about various things I love about EVOLUTION, I have neglected to mention Kate Wrath’s genius when it comes to both world-building and the science-fiction aspects of the book.

Not only are there robots that were supposedly programmed generations ago that are still working perfectly, but there is also the entire future world to explore and discover. Her “aether lamps” and “aether traps” are another awesome creation from the mind of Kate Wrath.

*** POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT*** (no major plot points are revealed here, just a minor scene)

One of my favorite parts of this book is Matt trying to recreate Christmas at Outpost Three. He doesn’t have any memories of what Christmas should be like, and even the oldest outpost residents have never experienced Christmas. Because books, magazines and newspapers are few and far between, Matt only has a few torn articles and minor book mentions of the holiday to use to recreate Christmas. The result is mixed, which I thought was portrayed perfectly. Imagine seeing pictures of decorated Christmas trees while living in a world where trees only exist outside the outpost and as far as people know, the only uses for trees is either building material or firewood. People would think you had lost your mind if you decorated a tree, and exactly what could you use to decorTe it with? Resources are extremely scarce and most homes are little more than hovels. No one has decorative items. Who could afford them? And why would anyone want to own things whose only use is to look pretty? I think readers will agree that this portion of the book is a great addition to the story.

Kate Wrath is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. I cannot praise this series highly enough.

If you haven’t read “E” yet I suggest you buy it right away. If you have read “E” but haven’t purchased “Evolution” yet, what are you waiting for? Go to Amazon right away or visit the author’s website and buy your copy right away. You will not be disappointed and you’ll be happy you did.

I rate EVOLUTION by Kate Wrath as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS BOOK:

1. “I used to read because the world wasn’t big enough. But now I know that there could never be enough books to hold all this world.” – Apollon

2. “After everything we’ve seen – everything that we never expected to see – I am only just beginning to have the idea that maybe this is only a glimpse. Maybe this is only the start of our adventure.” – Eden

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Kate Wrath is the author of the E Series. EDEN which is the third book in the series is set to be released on June 13, 2015 and JASON AND LILY – a prequel to E is due to be released on July 23, 2015.
For more information or to sign up for her newsletter visit http://www.katewrath.com

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

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GRECO by Andrea Domanski – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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GRECO
Crossfire Series – Book 1.5

Author: Andrea Domanski

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: David Dietz

Length: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction, Science Fiction, Thriller

Release Date: April 3, 2015

Publisher: Andrea Domanski

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Listeners were introduced to Greco in CROSSFIRE – Book One of the series. Greco is Mirissa’s protector and her trainer.

Not much is revealed about his background in the first book, but there are hints given that his childhood was anything but idyllic.

In fact, his mother treated him like an unwanted stray dog that she was stuck with. Her drinking only escalated the abuse and Greco has not seen or spoken to her in a very long time.

He is very private. He does not often tell people about the abuse he suffered at the hands if his mother. So, when word comes that Greco’s mother has been abducted, he is given the job of tracking her down.

“Ruthless mercenaries, inept crooks, and deeply buried secrets abound while Greco and Mirissa push their relationship to the brink in their search for answers.”

“In this novella sequel to Crossfire, the mysteries of Greco’s past are revealed, and his biggest mistake threatens to destroy his future.”

This audiobook is very well written and performed. I am glad that the author chose to use a male narrator to tell Greco’s story. I do not think it would have had the same impact if it was narrated by a woman.

David Dietz has the ability to pull his listeners into the story and to ensure that they keep listening. His pacing is perfect and his suspense building skills are second to none. I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 stars.

While the first book focused mostly on Mirissa and on building the plot, this book was much more personal. It does have a terrific mystery that must be solved, but it is the character development and the emotional aspects that make this audiobook a five star listening experience.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Andrea Domanski moved south to get away from the snow and cold when she was 24 years old. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Mark, their two children, and their Golden Doodle.

After selling her business in 2012, Andrea focused her energies on raising her two children and finding a new career path that excited her. It wasn’t long before she decided that writing a novel – something she’d always wanted to do – would be her next big adventure.

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

CROSSFIRE by Andrea Domanski – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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CROSSFIRE – Omega Group Book One

Author: Andrea Domanski

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Melissa Chatwood

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction

Length: 5 hours, 29 minutes

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

I was not sure what to expect from this audiobook. The descriptive blurb intrigued me and I decided to give it a chance. I am glad I did. I enjoyed the mixture of genres that are included in this book.

This book combines paranormal fiction with science fiction and mystery all in a Young Adult friendly novel.

Mirissa Colson’s mother left for work one morning, twelve years ago, and never returned.

Now, on Mirissa’s eighteenth birthday, a package arrives from her mother. Mirissa is of course both intrigued and repelled. Does she really want anything from the woman who so callously left her husband and six year old daughter?

What Mirissa discovers is that she is not just an average teenager, in fact she is descended from an ancient line of Amazon women and it is her destiny to fight and defeat evil.

Mirissa’s gift was an Amazon ring. Her mother sent it to her and now must learn what her powers are and exactly what the ring can do.

Of course, no story would be complete without the requisite bad guy. In CROSSFIRE the bad guy is an evil genius.

There are battles, teen angst, Amazon warriors, good versus evil elements and of course a budding romance. What more can readers want?

CROSSFIRE is a young adult novel. There are many elements to the story that listeners will enjoy. There is a bad guy who is set to take over the world and it is Mirissa’s destiny to stop him.

Melissa Chatwood narrates this book with evident skill. There are a lot of characters in this book and it would have been easy for listeners to become confused, but Melissa navigates through the characters with ease. The listener is able to immerse herself in the story. I give the narration 5 out of 5 stars.

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Andrea Domanski moved south to get away from the snow and cold when she was 24 years old. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Mark, their two children, and their Golden Doodle.

After selling her business in 2012, Andrea focused her energies on raising her two children and finding a new career path that excited her. It wasn’t long before she decided that writing a novel – something she’d always wanted to do – would be her next big adventure.

MISS PENELOPE’S LETTERS by Miss Mae – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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MISS PENELOPE’S LETTERS

Author: Miss Mae

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Marcus Hyde

Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Release Date: December 23, 2014

Publisher: Miss Mae

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Penelope has been hired on as a housekeeper in a wealthy household. She has not been there long when letters begin arriving addressed to her, but unsigned.

The letters ask her to meet the sender, but it is always at night and definitely not in the most reputable part of town.

Penelope is intrigued (what girl wouldn’t be?) but she is also cautious and skeptical.

One brief but amazing kiss has her wondering just what she has gotten herself into.

This audiobook is short, but the author manages to pack a lot of story into a brief time.

There is mystery, there is romance, there is history and politics and there is lots of intrigue.

I enjoyed the fact that the story focused mainly on the mystery aspect and kept the romance aspect to a minimum. Sometimes, less is more as it is with this audiobook.

The narrator does a pretty good job of most of the voices in this book, but one voice (the voice of Charlotte) does not seem to match the character. She is supposed to be a fairly young, unmarried woman, but the voice he uses makes her sound the same age as the voice he uses for Charlotte’s mother. But… that is just my opinion. Other than that, I think Marcus Hyde has done a good job with pacing and he speaks clearly which is much appreciated by the listener.

All in all, I rate this short novella audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DEAD NEW WORLD by Ryan Hill – BOOK REVIEW

DEAD NEW WORLD IS ZOMBIE FICTION AT IT'S FINEST!

DEAD NEW WORLD IS ZOMBIE FICTION AT IT’S FINEST!

DEAD NEW WORLD

Author: Ryan Hill

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Zombie Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Length: 242 pages

Release Date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Ambrose and Stanley are best friends. They also happen to be seventeen years old and have been drafted into the army. The army’s goal is to rid the world of zombies. Teenagers are drafted into the army when they come of age and must spend nine years in the army before being released. The catch is that not many people actually survive for their entire nine year tour.

While on their first mission Stanley and Ambrose end up as the only survivors of a coordinated attack by The Reverend, his forces and his zombies. But, neither one of them escape unharmed. Stanley loses his leg and Ambrose was bitten by a zombie.

Taken to the only functioning hospital still in operation, Stanley recuperates and receives a prosthetic leg. Ambrose is put in quarantine to await his death once he turns into a zombie. But something unusual happens. Ambrose does not turn into a full zombie. He becomes a sort-of half man, half zombie hybrid.

As if a world full of zombies weren’t enough, there is a man who calls himself “The Reverend” who plans to take over the country. The Reverend is pure evil. He plans to infect every living person with the zombie virus. Those who survive the bite are deemed worthy of survival and those who become zombies are said to be blessed to be free of suffering and pain. Basically, this guy is NUTS.

I absolutely loved this book. It is the first book in a trilogy by Ryan Hill. What I liked most about this book is that it is different.

Yes, there is the typical guy trying to save his girl storyline, but that is only part of the plot.

I loved the fact that Ryan Hill has decided to include characters who somehow survive being bitten by zombies. You have to think that if zombies ever actually existed, then at least some people would survive a bite. It stretches reality to think that any virus would have a 100% infection rate.

I loved Ambrose’s character. He starts off as the perfect guy. He is young. He is brave. He is loyal and attractive. What more could anyone ask for in either a friend or a lover? I think I had a little bit of a “book boyfriend crush” on him right from the beginning of the book. When he is bitten by the zombie and becomes a hybrid, he is shunned by his fellow soldiers despite the fact that he is still the same guy they had all loved previously. Ambrose handles their rejection with poise and class. He does not allow himself to be drawn into their juvenile behavior which makes readers like and respect him even more.

Ryan Hill has perfected the art of character building and also does an incredible job of world building.

I have read A LOT of zombie books and for that reason it is rare that I rate any of them higher than 4 out of 5 stars. However, DEAD NEW WORLD deserves it’s 5 star rating and I am now a fan of Ryan Hill.

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

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

TURIN AND ME by Elaine Bertolotti – BOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.amazon.com

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

TURIN AND ME

Author: Elaine Bertolotti

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Non-Fiction, Travel Memoir

Length: 60 pages

Release Date: October 1, 2014

Publisher: Matteo Victor Parnigiani

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the second book in Elaine Bertolotti’s … And Me series. It is the story of an American girl from Brooklyn living in the province of Turin, Italy.

The first book in the series was the story of Elaine’s time living in Florence. In this book she is married and living in the town of Almese in the region of Piedmont in the province of Turin.

After leaving Florence to return to the United States, she spent two years back in the States before the irresistible urge to return to Italy overcame her.

Piedmont is the second largest region in Italy, with Sicily being the largest. It is surrounded on three sides by the Alps and Monte Rosa and borders France and Switzerland. The capitol city is Turin.

Even though Elaine had learned to speak Italian while living in Florence, she discovered that different regions of Italy had their own dialects and once again she had to learn a new way of speaking. Her husband is a native if Italy, but he comes from a different region, so the local dialect was new to him as well.

Since the couple decided to settle in a small town, it was inevitable that she would become well known. In fact, all the town residents simply referred to her as The Americana.

Once Elaine enrolled her daughter in the local nursery school and the local residents learned that her grandparents were born in Italy they started to accept her.

She goes on to describe many aspects of her life which are sure to make readers wish they could move there themselves.

Elaine should receive kickbacks from the Italian Tourism Board since her writing is sure to bring tourists to their country.

The book includes many humorous anecdotes which are destined to elicit chuckles from readers.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Elaine Bertolotti was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her grandparents had been born in Italy and it was this connection that drew her to want to live in Italy.

To learn more visit http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Bertolotti/e/B00K8U75WI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

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

SCANDALOUS ENDEAVORS by Amanda Marie – BOOK REVIEW

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SCANDALOUS ENDEAVORS
(Ladies and Scoundrels – Book One)

Author: Amanda Marie

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 136 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: December 12, 2014

Publisher: Three Worlds Press http://www.threeworldsproductionsllc.com

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

London 1842

Amelia’s mother died a few years prior to 1842 in a riding accident when she was thrown from her horse when it was spooked by a snake.

Recently her father fell ill and after a valiant fight, he succumbed to his illness, leaving Amelia an orphan at the age of 19.

“Amelia wondered if everyone watched and waited for her to shatter into a million pieces like delicate china. Maybe that is what people in her position did; perhaps something was amiss with her. If so, she could not help it. She simply felt numb, like she had disappeared into a hellish oblivion. Her world spun out of control, with nary a semblance of what it used to be. She had become completely lost and abandoned. The only thing she knew with certainty was that her life had changed forever.”

Uncle Lewis is Amelia’s Mama’s youngest brother and her only surviving relative. The problem is that Uncle Lewis is a successful plantation owner in America. “If only she were one-and-twenty. Then Amelia would have control over her own inheritance and be able to make her own decisions. As things stood now, Uncle Lewis had been appointed her guardian. Papa placed the estate and family fortune in trust until she either married or reached majority.”

Amelia’s Uncle Lewis insists on taking Amelia to America to live. This devastates her. She has no desire to leave her beloved London townhouse or her country estate. But the law states that she has no say in the matter.

Amelia decides that they only way to avoid being forced to spend the next two years in America is to find an English husband. She convinces her Uncle to give her four weeks to accomplish her goal and sets out to find a suitable marriage partner.

But, as they say, the best laid plans never come to fruition in the way a person expects. This certainly holds true for Amelia.

Amanda Marie has a descriptive writing style that makes this book a joy to read. For example: “She woke to bright sunshine pouring through her open drapes like lemonade from a pitcher.” This talent is also evident when she is describing people. Instead of saying that the maid had blue eyes, she refers to them as “…cornflower eyes.”

The author has obviously meticulously researched this book as it is full of historical tidbits such as the desire for young women to accentuate their tiny waists by wearing tight corsets. She mentions Amelia’s pride in her 19 inch waist. She also refers to a mirror as a “looking glass” and mentions the custom of covering mirrors with black cloth while in mourning and the custom of mourners to wear a “weeping veil.”

This book also highlights how much society has changed in the past 150 years. In 1842 women had very few rights. This is highlighted by the fact that Amelia has to do whatever her guardian says unless she marries or turns twenty-one. If Amelia were to marry, she would then be at the mercy of her husband’s whims.

I enjoyed this book and I came to like and respect the character of Amelia. She is not the typical whiny, helpless woman that most books set in this time period portray. Amelia is strong-willed, intelligent and determined.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Amanda Marie lives along the Lake Huron shore line in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long standing love affair with sugary junk food.

Visit her on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMariel

Visit her blog at https://musingsbymandy.wordpress.com/

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

HYBRID by Lawrence W Gold, MD – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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HYBRID: Brier Hospital #7

Author: Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Joe Hempel

Length: 7 hours, 33 minutes

Genre: Thriller, Contemporary Science Fiction

Release Date: January 23, 2015

Publisher: Grass Valley Publishing

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Firstly, I want to mention that although this is Book Seven of the Brier Hospital series, I have not read any of the previous six books in the series. In fact, this is a stand-alone novel and it is not necessary to read the previous books to either enjoy or to understand this book. Now, with that being said, I enjoyed this book immensely and I do plan to read the author’s other books.

Denise Berg, a professor of psychology, and her husband Gabe, a molecular biologist wanted badly to have a child. Unable to conceive on their own, they turned to fertility treatments.

After many failed attempts, they were thrilled when Denise finally became pregnant. Because of the intelligence of both parents, they expected their child to be smart. They just didn’t expect him to be extraordinary.

They name their child Zack and this book chronicles his life into his teenage years. He is gifted both physically and mentally. In fact, he has a genius IQ.

Denise has Basque heritage and Zack becomes curious about that part of his lineage.

Because of Zack’s abilities he attracts the interest of many people. Some of them have less than noble plans for Zack.

Professor Jorge Moneo grew up in Basque Country, a place of violent confrontation between Spain and the Basque people’s struggle for independence.

Spanish security forces murdered his parents, his grandmother, his wife and his only son. Jorge had been a happy and reasonably content man until the day his family was brutally murdered. The motive for the murders was the simple fact that they were Basque.

As of that day Jorge swears that he will get revenge. He attacks one of the murderers in the street but is unable to kill him. The Spanish authorities suspect that he is the attacker, but without proof they are unable to prosecute him. Instead, they deport him to the United States and warn him to never return. Jorge may not be able to do anything about the murders at the time, but he begins plotting his revenge.

Once he settles in the United States he opens a school for gifted children with Basque bloodlines. It is at this school where he meets Zack.

The teenager and the Basque revolutionary become inextricably linked and the lives of both of them will never be the same.

This book is absolutely fascinating. I have to admit that before reading this book I had never heard of the Basque people or of the ETA which is “the hard-line “military” wing of the Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna (ETA; Basque for “Basque Homeland and Liberty”), a terrorist liberation organization seeking Basque self-determination and secession from Spain.” – Information obtained from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/55335/Basque

The author has woven an intricate and interesting tale of a family struggling to raise a gifted child with a political thriller and a medical thriller that is reminiscent of Robin Cook’s writing. This book is a truly unique experience.

Even if the Basque element was removed from this story, it would still be an interesting book.

Zack’s parents want what is best for him. How do you balance a supreme intellect with regular childhood? They want to challenge him, both physically and mentally, but they also want him to just “be a regular kid.” They want him to enjoy his childhood and not to ignore the value of regular experiences such as playing with kids his own age.

Add in the political issues of Basque independence and the medical issues around superior DNA and you have an excellent story.

Because this book is so complex and contains so many different threads, I am sure that my review is not doing it justice. However, I highly recommend this audiobook.

The narrator, Joe Hempel, has a great voice. His pacing was perfect and the way he narrates allows the listener to be pulled into the story. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks and there are a lot of different narrators. I find that if I don’t like the narrator’s voice then I end up not liking the book. Joe Hempel does a wonderful job of narrating HYBRID.

A good narrator can make all the difference to the listener. Joe Hempel’s narration enhanced my enjoyment of this book and basically that is all a listener can desire from a narrator. I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I rate the audiobook version of HYBRID as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Lawrence W. Gold was born in Brooklyn and attended medical school in Chicago.

The war in Vietnam interrupted his medical training, but he returned to the United States in 1968 to complete his training in internal medicine and nephrology. He spent twenty-three years in Berkeley, California in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses often in ICU, and served as Chief of Internal Medicine and Family Practice.

Lawrence and his wife, Dorkis retired in 1995. After years spent sailing he has written many novels and one non-fiction book. More information can be obtained on his website: http://www.lawrencewgoldmd.com

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Joe Hempel is a book reviewer who has broken into the publishing scene with audiobook narration, voice acting, and eBook editing and formatting.

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

FANTASY OF FLIGHT by Kelly St. Clare – BOOK REVIEW – RELEASED TODAY

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FANTASY OF FLIGHT: Book Two of The Tainted Accords

Author: Kelly St. Clare

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 257 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: May 24, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

FANTASY OF FLIGHT picks up where FANTASY OF FROST left off.

In the first book readers are introduced to the two distinct countries that make up Olina’s world. There is the country of Solati which is hot and the country of Glacium which is cold. That is an oversimplified explanation, but readers will know the differences from the first book and I do not want to repeat them in this review.

Throughout book one Olina wore a veil. She had never taken it off and had never even seen her own face. At the end of Book One she musters the courage to remove the veil and discovers the reason her mother kept Olina’s face covered throughout her entire life. Olina has blue eyes.

Why is this a big deal? Well, only people from Glacium have blue eyes and Olina is destined to rule Solati as the Tatum. Solati citizens would never follow a leader with blue eyes.

Olina was being held in the palace of Glacium but escaped by removing her veil. Since no one knows about her blue eyes, exposing her face is the best way to blend in with Glacium’s populace.

While escaping she meets Alzona, the owner of a fighting compound, and follows her to her fortress. Olina plans to earn money by fighting for Alzona.

Olina is searching for the source of the Seedyr wood arrows that killed Prince Kedrick; the man she loved.

She needs to discover who killed him and why and she knew that she would never be able to achieve that goal while living at Glacium’s palace.

The descriptions of the other fighters and the friendships that develop are perfect. Olina as Frost is written with superb skill.

I do not want to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that Kelly St. Clare has once again created a book that appeals to a wide range of readers. This is only her second novel, but the skill she demonstrates in storytelling will have readers believing she has been writing books for decades.

Her characters are vivid and believable and readers cannot help but be drawn into the story.

The setting is unique and the details of the two worlds bring them to life with a detail that is unlikely to be rivaled by any but the very best authors. The juxtaposition of the two world being almost exact opposites while being codependent on each other is an intriguing twist. There are just enough details to make these worlds come to life without being so detailed that the writing becomes mired down in descriptions.

Olina is a strong female lead and she shows a maturity beyond her years, while at the same time still occasionally displaying the immaturity expected of a sheltered eighteen year old. The author has done a magnificent job of maintaining that delicate balance.

Kelly St. Clare has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I am now a fan for life. I am looking forward to her next book.

If you want to read a story that you will be unable to put down, FANTASY OF FLIGHT is that story.

FANTASY OF FIRE – The third book in The Tainted Accords series is set to be released in January 2016 and I will be eagerly awaiting it’s release.

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

My advice: BUY THIS BOOK! You will not regret it!

About The Author:

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Kelly is originally from New Zealand and now lives in Australia with her soon-to-be husband.
Kelly’s goal is to write books that she would want to read.
To learn more about her, visit her website at http://www.kellystclare.com

Fantasy of Frost is Book One of The Tainted Accords series.

Fantasy of Frost is Book One of The Tainted Accords series.

A picture of the author on a beautiful sunny day in Glacium. For more information visit her website at www.kellystclare.com

A picture of the author on a beautiful sunny day in Glacium.
For more information visit her website at http://www.kellystclare.com

13,760 Feet by Mark L. Berry – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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13,760 Feet: My Personal Hole in the Sky

Author: Mark L. Berry

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Mark L. Berry

Length: 15 hours, 2 minutes

Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction

Release Date: April 3, 2015

Publisher: Trans World Author Inc.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars⭐⭐⭐

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

This audiobook is written and narrated by Mark L. Berry. Mark is a former TWA pilot.

This is a memoir of how the plane crash of TWA Flight 800 affected his entire life.

He was not the pilot of that fateful flight, but one of the passengers was his fiancé Susanne.

The flight exploded in the air at 13,760 feet off Long Island’s south shore. There were 230 passengers and crew onboard and every single one of them died.

This memoir not only chronicles the crash itself, but also his courtship of Susanne and how her death affected his life and the lives of many others.

Mark has also written, or co-written forty one songs that are included in this audiobook.

I am not a music critic but I found the songs redundant. Each one basically tells the same part of Mark’s story that the narrator had just spoken, except with music as a background. Also, I do not want to offend the author, but the songs are not very good. That does not mean they won’t appeal to someone else, they just did not appeal to me.

The story itself is interesting and my heart definitely goes out to the author and to all the families and friends of all those who perished in this horrible incident.

I imagine that writing this story was heart wrenching for Mark Berry but I hope it helped him to heal and to move on from losing his fiancé.

I rate the book and the narration as 3.5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

To learn more about the author visit http://marklberry.com

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LIVERPOOL CONNECTION by Elisabeth Marrion – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.audible.com

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

LIVERPOOL CONNECTION

Author: Elisabeth Marrion

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Nancy Peterson

Length: 6 hours, 35 minutes

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama

Release Date: March 30, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

This is the story of an Irish family in the years leading up to, and including World War Two.

Annie is just a young woman when she and her best friend, Flo decide to leave Ireland and move to Liverpool in England. They have high hopes for a better life.

What they find is definitely not what they had imagined. Both women meet men, fall in love and get married, but the two women end up living vastly different lives.

The audiobook takes the listener through a fascinating period of history. We learn about what life was like under the constant threat of bombs being dropped by the Germans and families having to flee to air raid shelters. We learn about children being sent out if the British cities into the countryside for safety. We learn about war’s effect on family and friends of those fighting it. We also learn much, much more.

This book is brilliantly written and listeners cannot help but be drawn into the story.

The narrator does a wonderful job and despite her accent, she is easily understood. She also conveys emotion very well and has distinctive voices for the various characters. It was nice to listen to an audiobook where the women sounded like real women and not cartoon parodies of women.

This book is a stand-alone novel. Even though there is a previous book in the series, I have not read it and that did not hinder the story or my enjoyment of it in any way.

I rate both the book and the narration as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Elisabeth Marrion was born in 1948 in Germany. Her mother was German and her father was British and a Corporal in the Royal Air Force. To learn more about this author visit http://elisabethmarrion.yolasite.com

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

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Nancy Peterson is a seasoned actor of both stage and voice. To find out more about her visit http://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A26LTKXUBGXL05#elementId=aboutTabItem&tabDivId=aboutTabContent

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

THE PITS by Greg Smith – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

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


THE PITS

Author: Greg Smith

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Kevin M. Connolly

Length: 9 hours, 2 minutes

Genre: Action, Thriller, Mystery

Release Date: January 16, 2015

Publisher: Greg Smith Images

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Kramer is a US Marine. Deployed to Afghanistan he comes across a stray dog that follows him around. Naming him Shadow and training him to go on missions, the two become close companions.

Both man and dog are injured by shrapnel in a Taliban attack and are sent home to the United States to recover from their wounds.

Due to the dog’s (and Kramer’s) extensive scarring from their shared shrapnel wounds, they are mistaken for participants in a local dog fighting ring.

Unaware how popular this despicable “sport” has become, Kramer and Shadow feel compelled to try to do something about it.

Kramer does not realize it at first, but his decision to help will thrust him into danger.

The police and FBI also get involved and Kramer learns just how big the dog fighting business is. He also learns that some people will do just about anything to keep the fights going.

Anyone who has ever had a dog will recognize the genuine emotion and the bond that Kramer and Shadow share. Dog lovers will also understand Kramer’s outrage and horror upon learning about dog fighting.

I wish I could say that this story is pure fiction and that no one in either the US or Canada would be vile enough to participate in, or even watch, such a disgusting event as a dog fight. However, dog fighting actually does happen.

I hope that after reading or listening to this book people become aware of this “sport.” I also hope that if anyone ever hears about something like this happening in their area that they report it immediately to the police and to their local SPCA. Dog fighting is animal abuse – plain and simple, and participants should be thrown in jail. Ok, I will get off my soapbox now, but this issue really bothers me.

The narrator for this book has a wonderfully expressive voice. He speaks mostly in an American accent, but also has a gorgeous Irish accent when needed. The speed at which he narrates is just right and he is skilled at changing the tone of his voice to reflect different emotions and to convey urgency when necessary. The only thing I didn’t like was the voice he sometimes uses for female characters, the high pitched whiny voice was annoying. Fortunately this voice was only used a few times. I rate the narration as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Greg Smith had a successful career as a graphic designer for more than 30 years before trying his hand at writing books.

He is originally from Sydney, Australia, but moved to America in 1999 and now lives with his wife, Trish, two border collies – Shadow and Sydney, and one cat, The General (Bugsy). They live in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. For more information visit him online at: http://gregsmith-writer.weebly.com/

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Kevin M. Connolly is an audiobook narrator as well as a voiceover actor. He is originally from Tucson, Arizona, but now resides in Los Angeles, California where he has a professional in-home recording studio. To learn more about Kevin Connolly visit http://www.315studio.net/

INSPIRATIONAL PICTURE QUOTES ABOUT FRIENDSHIP by Gabi Rupp – BOOK REVIEW

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INSPIRATIONAL PICTURE QUOTES ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

Author: Gabi Rupp

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Inspirational Quotes, Non-Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a gorgeous book both in pictures and in words. It is divided into two page spreads. Each spread has a title and the quotes on those pages relate to that title.

The quotes were obviously carefully chosen and most of them were new to me, which is a nice bonus.

The pictures are vivid and absolutely stunning.

“Friendship improves happiness and reduces misery, by doubling our joys and dividing our grief.”
– Joseph Addison

This book is a treat both for the eyes and the spirit.

I rate it as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

To learn more about this author and to view her other titles visit her website at http://www.Leanjumpstart.com

About Gabi Rupp (from her website)

I’m a certified coach, author and entrepreneur, happily settled in a little German town near the beautiful Black Forest region. My greatest joys in life are spending quality time with my family and friends, as well as helping others overcome limitations and live life to its fullest potential.

As a Business Management graduate from the University of Applied Sciences in Pforzheim, I draw from over twenty years of work experience in international marketing, planning and project management.

Prior to my work online, I spent more than a decade as a marketing executive, mostly in the food and nutrition field. After my daughter was born, I found my true calling: writing, teaching, and coaching. Having the perfect life/work balance gave me the freedom to be a fulltime mother.

I never lost my thirst for knowledge. I’d become interested in nutrition in the late ‘80s and, since then, have personally tested most food fads and diets. My experiences convinced me that optimal nutrition is achieved through a combination of eating the correct balance of healthy foods and developing smart, sustainable habits.

After building several thriving English and German websites in various niches, I focused on two things I love most: living well and staying healthy. In 2013 I founded leanjumpstart.com, where I use a blend of proven science and practical experience to help people get in shape and stick with their new healthy habits.

I transformed my nutrition by using a few simple principles and it resulted in a healthy weight. I’ve learned how to make changes and have fun in the process. I do one or two clean-eating experiments a month and then gauge the results. I stick with ones that produce positive changes and discard the others.

RESTRAIN BY TREATY by Kayla Stonor – BOOK REVIEW

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Author: Kayla Stonor

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Science Fiction, Erotica, Romance

Length: 94 pages

Release Date: April 21, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

** Due to the inclusion of several scenes of sex and violence, this book is not suitable for readers under the age of 18 **

This is the second book in the Qui Treaty Collection by Kayla Stonor. Although all the books are related, they are all stand-alone novels. It is not necessary to read these books in any particular order.

The cover art on all of the Qui Collection books is stunning. The mixture of science fiction with romance is reflected in each cover. The cover reads: ” He hides his true form to spare her sanity. Will the truth destroy them, or is love truly blind?”

The Qui Empress has signed a peace treaty with Earth, putting an end to their decades long war. As part of her plan to ease tensions with Earth, the Empress has ordered that all human Prisoners of War are to be released and returned home.

Captain Bea Soloman was rescued from the imprisonment of a sadistic flesh merchant by one if the Qui. The Qui are genetically similar to the K’lahn, but have the ability to shake shift. Ardant is Qui and was assigned to rescue Bea. She saw his true form on the night of her rescue, but due to the physical, sexual and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands if her captors, she reacted badly to him.

When she awakes after her rescue, Ardant has taken on human form and informs her that what she had seen was a disguise. Ardant has vowed to keep Bea safe and to return her to her team. If that means that he has to keep his Quite hidden, then so be it.

But, as both Bea and Ardant begin to develop feelings for each other and their physical attraction becomes undeniable, it becomes increasingly difficult for Ardant to keep himself in human form.

Can he ever reveal his true identity to her? If he does, will she ever accept him?

Can Bea learn to trust again after her brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy? Does she even want to?

This erotic science-fiction romance story will keep readers enthralled right from the first page.

Kayla Stonor proves once again that she has the gift of story telling.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about the author visit http://kaylastonor.WordPress.com

FALLING FOR Q46F by Jason Werbeloff – BOOK REVIEW

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FALLING FOR Q46F

Author: Jason Werbeloff

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Zombie Fiction, Comedy

Length: 17 pages

Release Date: April 13, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I downloaded this short story for free on http://www.amazon.com

FALLING FOR Q46F is a short novella.

Description from Goodreads:

In a world ravaged by undead humans, Q46F lives out its days trapped alone in a bunker. Each day since Master died is the same: feed the bunker wall, sing to the dining table in F major, and put the fridge to sleep.

But after waiting 27.03 years, obsessive compulsive Q46F hears a signal. A signal from another. Another Q46F.

Falling for Q46F is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi comedy short that will melt even a zombie-proof titanium heart.

My Review:

I was hesitant to list “Zombie Fiction” as one of the categories for this novella. The reason for this is that yes, there are zombies in this story, but they are definitely not the focus of the plot. In fact, there are almost background rather than a major plot point.

Q46F is an android. This should mean that the reader will feel little to no empathy for it. Somehow though, this is not the case. Even though the entire story only lasts 17 pages, it reads like a novella rather than a short story.

Jason Werbeloff has a gift for providing a wealth of information with few words. He also skillfully manipulates the reader’s emotions. Who could possibly feel sorry for an android? They are not alive therefore we shouldn’t really care what happens to them, yet in this story, we do.

I also loved the details that were included regarding the construction and maintenance of the bunker, it was exceptionally clever.

I also must comment on the gorgeous cover art. It is that art that first drew my attention to this story.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Image obtained from www.jasonwerbeloff.com

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

Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and has a PhD in philosophy.

Visit Jason Werbeloff’s website at http://www.jasonwerbeloff.com to learn more about this author or to sign up for his newsletter.

E by Kate Wrath – BOOK REVIEW

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E

Author: Kate Wrath

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction

Length: 343 pages

Release Date: May 3, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

BOOK ONE IN THE E SERIES

Books Two and Three are available now.

Eden wakes up alone and disoriented. She is not sure where she is. In fact, she is not sure WHO she is.

Her memories have been erased. But even though she remembers no personal details, she knows that life is not easy.

She knows about the robot sentries that patrol the streets and that the robots are there to enforce the Ten Laws.

Eden is in Outpost Three. It isn’t a city, it really isn’t even much of a town. The Outpost is full of crumbling buildings and surrounded by a concrete wall.

Even without her memories, Eden is smart. She is a survivor. She needs to find food and shelter and she must keep away from those who may wish her harm. She also knows she cannot allow the Slavers to find her.

Starving to death on the streets or the threat of being captured by the Slavers pales in comparison to the conflict that is coming.

Eden is a terrific protagonist. She comes across as a regular person who finds herself in a horrible and horrifying situation. But she somehow summons up the will to live. She is willing to fight to survive.

When she meets a small group of like-minded survivors they join together and become a family. There are only six of them, but somehow they scramble enough to keep each other alive.

As with any society, Outpost Three has distinct groups of people. There are bad guys and there are less bad guys. There are very few people who could be classified as “good guys.” This is one of the reasons that this story is so riveting.

Matthew is the overlord who basically runs the outpost. Nothing happens without him knowing about it. Everyone gives him a share of any money they earn. They have no choice. If they want to live they must follow Matt’s unspoken laws.

I don’t want to give away too much more of the story, but I will say that it is packed with action.

Kate Wrath has done a terrific job of character building and Eden is such a realistic character that you cannot help but root for her.

I liked the fact that there was not a lot of “poor me” whining in this book. I am sick of reading about heroines who feel sorry for themselves. Sure, Eden’s life sucks, but she takes whatever hit fate deals to her, dusts herself off and gets up to trudge on with her life.

The author reveals just enough details of the history and current state of the world to intrigue readers. As the story progresses more and more small details are revealed. She has also left enough unanswered questions to make the reader want to immediately start reading the second book in the series. This is a brilliant marketing strategy. I, for one, very much want to read the second book to find out what happens next.

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

However, I have to note that I do not like the cover. If you visit Kate Wrath’s website you will see the reworked cover which is a vast improvement to the original. Normally I would have docked a star from my review based on the poor cover art, but since it has been reworked and I absolutely love the new cover I have chosen not to take away a star because of it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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For more information about her, visit http://www.katewrath.com