CLARKSTON’S CURSE – One Child’s Quest to Make Sense of the Tragedies in Her Hometown by Ann Margaret Johns is now available. You will be shocked by how many tragedies happened in this small town. This true story will shock and amaze

Title: CLARKSTON’S CURSE

Subtitle: ONE CHILD’S QUEST TO EXPLAIN THE SERIES OF TRAGEDIES IN HER HOMETOWN

Author: ANN MARGARET JOHNS

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS

Length: 236 PAGES

Publisher: BOOKS GO SOCIAL

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: 2017

ISBN: 9780999345702

Price: $14.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Based on actual events, Clarkston’s Curse is the compelling true story of a child growing up in a small town plagued by tragedy.

Fleeing the violence and uncertainty of Detroit and big city living, Ann Margaret’s family moved to Clarkston, Michigan, population 1,024. But this sleepy town has a dark side.

Between 1969 and 1982, more than forty unexplained accidents and incomprehensible murders struck residents of this rural community.

A true story of mystery, murder, family, and friendship, Clarkston’s Curse is a first-hand account of what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 70s in a small town where tragedy struck with unsettling frequency. More than forty families are forever changed, and thirty people – young and old – didn’t survive to tell their tale. Ann did.

MY REVIEW:

Memoir author Ann Margaret Johns grew up in the small community of Clarkston, Michigan. This quaint town, had just over one-thousand residents at the time.  

This idyllic setting should have been the epitome of the perfect place to experience an all-American country childhood. However, although her childhood was filled with such activities as tobogganing and skating on the local pond, it was also the setting in which she began to believe that her town was cursed due to the almost unbelievable number of tragedies and deaths that took place.

The town of Clarkston certainly had a dark side…

People kept dying in strange ways and in large numbers.  What do I mean by this? Well, here is one example:

The Standring’s were hosting a party in their home that spring. Eric Standring, a sophomore at Clarkston High School, accompanied family friend Paul Lammonds from the party to Paul’s home to fetch a guitar. Two hours later, Eric returned covered in blood and incoherent. Deputies found Paul Lammonds’ body in his home. He’d been beaten to death. Eric had never been in trouble before that night, at least that’s what I heard. No one knew what came over the boy to make him do what he did. Paul’s early, tragic, and unexplained death was the first of many to come in our idyllic small town.”

Other deaths were determined to be accidental, but even these were strange and unusual. There were a couple separate deaths of men working on their cars and ending up crushed beneath them. There were even instances of children being dropped off on doorsteps and raised by the family inside, despite not knowing where the child had come from. There were multiple drownings and an incredible number of car accidents – many of which were almost too weird to be believable.

The author does list all her sources in the back of the book. I also looked up some of the cases online and was able to find newspaper reports that validated her claims.

“Over a 12-year period from 1970 to 1982, this village of 1,300 witnessed 11 different murders – NOT including the notorious serial killer who visited their small town as well.”

“In addition to the murders, Clarkston experienced another 30 unexplained and accidental deaths, from car wrecks to drownings, from freak accidents to plane crashes.”

Fascinating, unusual, unlikely, improbable, yet all true. If you enjoy real life mysteries and true crime, you will not want to miss this book.

As for the rating of this book, I have to admit that I am conflicted. The subject matter is compelling and my interest was piqued early and the level never waned, but, it is exceedingly obvious that this was written by an amateur author and is in need of a professional editor. I found several typos throughout the book. It is for this reason that I am rating CLARKSTON’S CURSE as 3 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐ 

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ann Margaret Johns is a fourth generation Irish immigrant, passionate writer, and CPA by trade who, in spite of the tragedies she witnessed, still lives in Clarkston, Michigan. These days, you can often find Ann and other characters from Clarkston’s Curse sharing stories and a bottle of wine in one of Clarkston’s quaint restaurants.

Ann is currently working on a series of children’s books and memory care books for seniors.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.annmargaretjohns.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON  

NON-FICTION WRITERS ASSOC. 

5 Enthusiastic Stars for MERITORIUM by JOEL OHMAN – BOOK REVIEW & BLOG TOUR

Welcome to the Meritorium Tour

Author Joel Ohman

Meritorium

<MY REVIEW>

Title: MERITORIUM

Author: Joel Ohman

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction

Length: 262 pages

Release Date: September 27,2015

Publisher: Whitefox Publishing Services

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

“More often than not, change comes because of little choices we make daily. It comes because of a patient and faithful commitment to a different future, and the willingness to do all of the little things, the unglamorous, the dirty, the mundane. It doesn’t usually come about because of one dramatic sacrifice, which is easier in many ways.”

This is the second book in a wonderful new Young Adult Dystopian Fiction series written by the extremely talented Joel Ohman. *** See the post before this one to read my previous 5 Star review of Book One: MERITROPOLIS.

MERITORIUM begins one week after the end of MERITROPOLIS. Charley, Sandy, Orson, Grigor and a group of approximately one hundred other Meritropolis residents have left the city. “Those not still with them had either succumbed to injuries inflicted in the battle of Meritropolis or had simply found the long trek through the wilderness too difficult and turned back, intent on begging their way back to the leeks and cucumbers of Meritropolis.”

The ruler of Meritropolis is traditionally the person with the highest score. At present, that person is Charley. Meritropolis’s citizens all had their scores encoded into their DNA and their score number appears on their arm. The higher the score, the higher the person’s wealth and social status.

Charley wants to put an end to the scoring system, once and for all. However, he is learning that it is easier said than done. “It was one thing to complain about the System in Meritropolis while in a classroom, but he was fast learning the truth of all political dissidents: it’s easy to point out the problems of the other side; it’s much harder to find the solution.”

Orson is part of Charley’s group. He used to be the leader of Meritropolis and his father was the person who created ‘The System.’ The group is travelling to find and take him down. They believe that Orson’s father is located in the next nearest city: called Meritorium, so that is their destination.

Author Joel Ohman has created a believable and maybe even inevitable future for mankind. The Event that decimated their world came about because “…someone – or more likely, a group of someone’s – unaffiliated with any sort of pre-Event government that we know of, caused it. Because of that we still don’t know what exactly their intentions were, or even if it was planned. But we do know that they released these chemical reactions into the wild and – the wild went wild…”

The consequences of these chemicals being released include erratic weather, and strange animal combinations, such as the Bion that Charley fought in the first book.

What the heck is a Bion, you ask? Well that is a new creature with DNA from two different animals that has combined to create an entirely new species. In the case of the Bion, it is a combination of a bison and a lion. There are no animals left that are pure, but there are thousands (perhaps millions) of newly combined animals. For example, the group had been eating Durkey, which is a combination of turkey and deer and Charlie had been hunting a llamabill which is a combination of a llama and a spoonbill bird. While these combinations must sound ridiculous, they come across in the story as perfectly plausible.

The group’s chosen path to MERITORIUM is fraught with danger and they face many unique and terrifying situations along the way.

The author has included some very interesting observations about human nature in this book. These observations can apply not only to the world the story is written in, but also apply to our world today. For example: “Sometimes it’s easier to wish you were in charge than to actually be in charge…”

Will Charley and his group survive the the trek and the man-eating plants on the way to Meritorium? Will they find Orson’s father? And what are they going to do about the gladiator style games that use Meritorium’s low scores as bait and to fight the animal-combinations for the entertainment of others?

I love the fact that Joel Ohman employed an artist for this book and that he has included small sketches of these bizarre animals along with the story.

This book is packed chock-full of adventure, strange creatures, battles between good and evil and even a bit of romance all set in the most unique post-apocalyptic world that I have ever had the pleasure to read about.

I absolutely recommend this book. It is categorized as a Young Adult novel, but it would be a complete shame if adult readers did not also have a chance to read this series. This series has the potential to be as widely read and universally loved as “The Hunger Games.”

Joel Ohman has not only created an incredibly unique and vivacious world, but he also has a talent for creating both memorable and believable characters that readers will fall in love with. This book is a skillfully written thrill-ride that will keep readers engrossed right to the final page.

I rate MERITORIUM as an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

In addition to the pure entertainment value of this book, it can also be seen as a warning. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
“I think that when we reduce life to its physical components, mechanize it, act like we’re nothing more than the sum total of what we can see – a wing, a leg, an eye, or whatever – and we bring it under human control and design it, then the result is that life is engineered in man’s image and not God’s.”

With the way that the science of genetic engineering is heading, it is not inconceivable that creatures and mutated plants such as those in this book will exist in the near future. This book can be seen as a warning that sometimes science can go too far. Whether the current generation of humans will heed the warning is still to be seen.

Something else that I loved about this book was the author’s use of uncommon words. For example, he uses the word “venator” which is the Latin word for hunter. Building a reader’s vocabulary is always beneficial.

If you do not get sucked into this book then I suggest you ‘give your head a shake’. It is an amazing read and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

“But remember this: dying for something is easy, because you get glory, and then it’s over. But living for something – that’s the hard thing.”

Meritorium3dhard

About the Book

Under the System everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die.

Charley has escaped from Meritropolis…

but in his quest to take down the System that has taken his brother from him, he must go through Meritorium, a city where gladiatorial games of life or death combat are waged between High Scores and Low Scores, man and beast.

Charley and Sandy must face man-eating plants, religious zealots, slave traders, and the ever present mutant animal combinations that roam a dystopian Coliseum presided over by Emperor Titus, the one man standing between Charley and the answers he seeks. Man is not an animal, but if they are to make it through Meritorium, will they even be able to tell the difference?

The lines between man and beast, friend and foe, will blur in Meritorium, the riveting sequel to the best selling Meritropolis.

About the Author

Joel Ohman

Joel Ohman is the author of Meritropolis–“The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”. He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.

Learn more about Joel here:
JoelOhman.com

Get notified of new books here:
Meritropolis.com

Follow Joel on Twitter here:
Twitter.com/JoelOhman

Connect with Joel on Facebook here:
Facebook.com/joeljonathan

About the Prizes

Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter for this tour here! The tour prize is a $75.00 gift card to Amazon! Think of all the books you can buy with that!

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QUOTES I LIKED:

“It was an unsettling sensation to be transported so quickly from predator to prey.”

“Charley couldn’t help but think how absurd he must look. If only Grigor or Sandy could see him now – or much worse, Hank or even Commander Orson – they would be in hysterics. Here he was, the highest High Score of Meritropolis, the famous bull-lion-bion slayer, out to provide food for the camp, and he was cowering in counterclockwise circles, from a bird…”

“Add in mankind’s tendency to weaponize anything and everything, and go to war at the slightest provocation, and you have the recipe for what is now known as the Event.”

“Our past is forever intertwining with our present, affecting our future, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can’t change the past, but we can change the way it affects our future.”

“The past changes us, but the present can change us too. What we decide to do in the present will change who we become in the future. The present becomes the past, the future becomes the present. Life continues.”

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3 Stars for SURVIVORS: THE COMING COLLAPSE by John Wesley Rawles – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

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

SURVIVORS: The Coming Collapse

Author: James Wesley Rawles

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Length: 13 hours and 41 minutes

Narrator: Dick Hill

Genre: Fiction- Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Prepper Fiction

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Series: Founders – Book Two

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

This book was written as a fictional tale of what the author envisions as the inevitable collapse of the world’s economy.

I believe that the author set out to achieve two goals by writing this book. He attempted to write a compelling fiction story while also communicating to his readers tips and tricks to help them prepare for the “coming collapse.”

The problem with having two such lofty goals for a single book is that the storyline was often placed on the back-burner to go into minute detail about survival strategies. Nowhere in the story is this more readily apparent than when the author starts to go ‘on-and-on’ about guns and the individual features of each one. I understand the need for a weapon (or possibly even two) if the country were to fall into lawless chaos, however, most readers will probably not care about the make and model of their weapon. All they will care about is whether or not it is reliable and whether or not they will be able to obtain ammunition for it.

I have read quite a few different reviews for “SURVIVORS” and those reviews have been varied. It seems like readers either love this book, or they hate it. There does not seem to be a middle-ground. The major difference between my experience and the experience of the other reviewers whose comments I have read seems to be in what format they “read.” I listened to “SURVIVORS” on unabridged audiobook and I am very glad I did. I believe that I would have wanted to stop reading a few times if I was reading a paper or e-copy of this book.

The overly detailed descriptions of guns and their components struck me as tedious and boring. This is also true in the sections about religion. At times I felt like I was being told that if I was not a Christian then I would not survive. This seems simplistic to me.

I enjoyed the part of the story where Anders Lane was trying to return home from his tour of duty overseas to America and the hardships he faced on his journey.

There was another storyline that I enjoyed and that was the woman and her mother who had stockpiled seeds. (I can’t remember their names.) However, this storyline gets dropped and readers never find out if they survived or not.

The narration by Dick Hill is very well done. He has a terrific tone and his cadence and pacing are excellent.

Overall I rate this audiobook as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
<img src="https://amiesbookreviews.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/image11.jpg" alt="image" width="220" height="176"

James Wesley Rawles was born in California in 1960.

Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer. He is the founder and Senior Editor of SurvivalBlog.com which covers survival and preparedness topics, and has published collected material from this in two books. He also works as a survival retreat consultant and is a Constitutionalist Christian libertarian.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

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Dick Hill is an American audiobook narrator who has narrated over four hundred audiobooks.

When I first started listening to this audiobook I instantly knew I had heard Dick Hill’s voice before. He is perhaps best known as the narrator of author Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” series. He has been narrating audiobooks for almost twenty years.

To learn more about this narrator visit http://www.dickhill.com

DEAD CELLS by Kevin Millard – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

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


DEAD CELLS

Author: Adam Millard

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Luke Smith

Length: 5 hours and 52 minutes

Genre: Zombie Fiction

Release Date: March 13, 2015

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

THE STORY:

The premise of this novel is a zombie outbreak in a high security prison. Not a bad idea, but limited in scope. Despite that, I decided to give this audiobook a chance.

The main character is a regular guy named Shane. Shane has a wife and young daughter, both of whom he adores. In fact, it is his devotion to his family that eventually lands him in jail.

With the threat of being evicted and despite his diligent job-searching, Shane has been unable to provide financially for his family. In desperation and a misguided attempt to avoid receiving charity, Shane’s pride overrides his common-sense and he does something supremely stupid and very illegal.

Shane receives a three year prison sentence for his actions and the book begins when he only has three months left on his sentence.

Shane is incarcerated in one of the nation’s most notorious prisons and is constantly surrounded by murderers, rapists, gangsters
and pedophiles.

When a new inmate is brought in, carrying with him a deadly virus, Shane realises that his plans, his release, and even his life are at risk.

The sick prisoner is carrying a horrible virus which quickly spreads throughout the prison, infecting both the prisoners and the guards.

“With the virus spreading, turning guards and inmates into flesh-eating zombies, it’s up to a few survivors to figure out how to escape the facility, how to get along.”

I expected more from this audiobook than I received. The author has taken some very large liberties with the story’s logistics. For example: The warden’s office does not have a lock. I find this simply ridiculous. Of course his office door would have a lock. I highly doubt that a high security facility would be lacking in such basic security measures. Not even a simple lock on the warden’s office, and yet other areas require fingerprint scanning to enter. This makes no sense.

I did enjoy listening to the narrator’s voice, however there were some editing errors that distracted me from being able to be fully drawn into the story.

There are at least three instances where the narrator repeats himself. This is both irritating and unpredictable.

Another thing that bothered me about this audiobook was the inconsistency of the time it took for people to turn into zombies. Some inmates took hours or even overnight to change and yet others seemed to change instantly. If the author had offered some explanation for these variations it might have been more believable.

Due to the issues listed above, I rate this audiobook as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

THE NARCISSIST BORDERLINE RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC by J.B. Snow – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

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


THE NARCISSIST BORDERLINE RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC

Author: J.B. Snow

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: D. Gaunt

Length: 19 minutes

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Psychology

Release Date: July 2, 2015

Publisher: J.B. Snow Publishing

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

Definitions:

BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder

NPD – Narcissist Personality Disorder

This audiobook delves into the phenomenon of “Borderline Personality Disordered women and the Narcissistic Personality Disordered men who date or marry them.”

What causes BPD?

“The female likely lived in an emotionally invalidating environment. She was born with a sensitive temperament and subsequently grew up in an environment where her parent was largely self-absorbed.”

If a child grows up feeling that their needs are not important, it can result in the child having BPD.

What causes NPD?

If a child grows up feeling that he is the center of his/her parent’s world and can do no wrong, and is put on a pedestal by his/her parents, this type of childhood trauma may result in NPD.

According to the author, she “…has first hand life experience in all of the topics that [she writes] about.” She says that “… unlike a mental health professional, [she has] lived and breathed many of the difficulties that [sufferers of these disorders] are going through now. [She has] largely overcome childhood traumas. Persevered and found the peaceful place that [she] is in today.” She has researched these topics for thirty years.

This audiobook is similar to another audiobook I listened to in the same genre. According to author J.B. Snow, every problem men and women have can be traced back to their childhood and how they were treated by their parents.

While I do believe that a traumatic childhood will obviously adversely affect a person’s life, I also believe that some people use their upbringing as an excuse for their own poor behavior when they did not have especially difficult childhoods. I guess I am a bit of a cynic. I think people need to “man up” and take responsibility for their own behavior.

However audiobooks like this one do offer some great advice on relationships. I just don’t think that advice is limited specifically to people with NPD and/or BPD. For example, the author states that when couples are dealing with their in-laws, they need to be on the same page and present a united front. This applies to every marriage.

The narrator, D. Gaunt does a terrific job with difficult subject matter.

This audiobook is extremely short (only nineteen minutes long) which I believe limits the amount of knowledge that is gained. Listeners do not get enough detailed information or enough tips on coping mechanisms for this audiobook to be truly effective. It is for that reason that I rate this audiobook as 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

THE EMOTIONALLY ABSENT MOTHER by Michele Gilbert – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover Image obtained from www.audible.com

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

THE EMOTIONALLY ABSENT MOTHER

Author: Michele Gilbert

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Dora Gaunt

Length: 41 minutes

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self Help, Mental Health

Release Date: June 15, 2015

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

DESCRIPTION FROM GOODREADS:

“Life for you hasn’t been easy.

You are currently in a relationship that is doing more harm than good,, and are working a job that you never seem to be able to execute perfectly. While others are enjoying life in all of its fullness, you feel like you are in a rat race that gets more competitive by the minute. “What is my problem,” you ask. “Why can’t I just sit back and enjoy life?” Blame it on your mother.

That’s right!
Your mom and her emotional absence has a lot to do with your current state in life.
Emotionally Absent Mothers will delve into your mother’s apathy, and why such lack of compassion may not be her fault. This book will also help you find ways to cope with the pain that you suffered as a child, as well as look past the scars to see a better future.”

My Opinions and Audiobook Review:

I am probably not the perfect person to review this audiobook since I do not believe in blaming your parents for all your problems as an adult.

** However, I do believe that there really are people out there who were severely emotionally neglected as a child. I agree that neglect in any form is a horrible thing for any child to have to endure and I do believe that it can lead to permanent psychological damage.

The author does a good job of describing actual scenarios and offering examples of what an emotionally absent mother is like.

My innate skepticism comes into play when people use this as an excuse for poor or destructive behavior.

I do not believe that everyone who claims to have had an emotionally absent parent actually had one. I think that there needs to be a pattern of neglect. One instance of your mother not praising you does not mean that your mother was emotionally absent.

To come up with a (for lack of a better description) diagnosis of “Emotionally Absent” I believe that the parent in question must have consistently shown a lack of empathy and emotion towards their child throughout their formative years. If this is what happened in that child’s life, I agree 100% that it would cause emotional and mental scarring that could easily affect that child long into adulthood.

The author does write some terrific ideas on how to help someone overcome any mental health issues that have arisen due to their childhood. She firmly places the onus on the previously neglected child to heal themselves. She is quite correct in stating that you cannot change someone else’s behavior, you can only change how you respond to that behavior.

I think the author should have included a chapter containing information on how to determine if your mother was really emotionally absent. It is easy to blame someone else for all your problems and it seems to be very popular to “just blame your parents” for everything. As I wrote above, I DO believe this is a serious and “real” issue, I just do not believe that everyone who claims to have had an emotionally absent parent actually had one.

There are some terrific strategies offered on this audiobook that have the potential to aid a great many people.

Because of the heaviness of the subject matter I was very glad to have the audiobook version. It made it seem less dry and narrator D. Gaunt does a wonderful job with difficult subject matter. She has a great sense of timing and her voice draws the listener into the subject matter. I rate the narration of this audiobook as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The audiobook itself I rate as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

I found this topic interesting and I am glad I listened to this audiobook. If it had contained more statistical information as well as more quotes and opinions from experts I might have rated it a bit higher. However, I do believe that this book will be helpful for those who legitimately suffer from this condition.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(Information obtained from the author’s page on Goodreads)

Michele Gilbert was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Drawn to literature and writing at a young age, she enrolled at Brooklyn College after graduation and majored in English. Michele did not begin writing immediately

PHANTOM LOVE by Rachel Pierre – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.audible.com

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

PHANTOM LOVE

Author: Rachel Pierre

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: D. Gaunt

Length: 3 hours, 8 minutes

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 25, 2015

Publisher: Rachel Pierre

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

Abigail leads a quiet, predictable life. She spends most of her time either at church or on duty as a nurse at an inner city emergency room as a nurse.

Her boyfriend of two years recently broke up with her and she should be devastated, but instead she is relieved.

At her church she notices a new member. He is older than her and he is absolutely gorgeous. No one seems to know his name and Abby and her friends refer to him as “The Phantom”.

Abby is the shy one in her group of friends, but on a dare she introduces herself to Phantom.

Sparks fly and soon the two of them are dating. In fact, Phantom is good for Abby. He helps her start to realize that she is beautiful and that she deserves to be happy.

Phantom, however, remains an enigma to Abby. He seems happy but every once in a while Abby catches him with a devastatingly sad expression on his face. There is something in his past that still hurts him, but he won’t talk about it.

After many weeks of dating Abby starts to wonder where he goes and what he does. He disappears for days at a time and she has no idea what he is doing when he’s gone. In fact, she still doesn’t even know his real name.

Is there any chance for a long term future for Abby and Phantom?

This audiobook is only just over three hours in length which makes it a quick and easy listen. Despite it’s short length there is a lot going on.

Abby is a character that listeners will want to hug and slap in equal measures. Her lack of self esteem is frustrating but it is the fact that after being together for many weeks, Abby still does not know Phantom’s real name that makes the listener want to shake her and ask her what the heck she is thinking.

The scene that troubled me the most occurred when Phantom took Abby and a friend clothes shopping. At this point she still doesn’t know his real name or what he does for a living. However, Phantom hands a credit card to Abby and tells her to buy whatever she wants. After the shopping spree she still doesn’t know his name. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but don’t all credit cards have the name of the cardholder printed on the card? I have a hard time believing that she had his credit card in her hand and did not look at it to find out his name. And, I highly doubt the card said “The Phantom” on it.

I also found it frankly unbelievable that any woman would continue to date a guy for weeks and months without finding out his name. No one is that patient. Also, I find it extremely difficult to believe that any woman would put up with his constant disappearing acts and not knowing what he does for a living.

I know people will probably respond to my reasoning by saying that PHANTOM LOVE is a work of fiction. I know it is fiction, and that, by definition, it isn’t real. But I like books better when they come across as realistic (unless it is specifically from the fantasy or science fiction genre).

Narrator D. Gaunt does a good job of portraying emotion throughout the book. She also has a talent for pacing and inflection. I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 stars.

Overall I rate this audiobook as 3 out of 5 stars. This audiobook would be a good one to listen to o n the beach or on a plane ride.

SHIRLEY’S BOOK OF HORROR by Shirley McLain – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

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

SHIRLEY’S BOOK OF HORROR

Author: Shirley McLain

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: D. Gaunt

Length: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Genre: Short Stories, Horror

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Publisher: Shirley’s Books

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

This audiobook consists of five short psychological horror stories. The entire audiobook only takes an hour and a half to listen to, but even though it is short, I still enjoyed the stories.

Story #1 – WEBS – Mary and Dan rent a secluded cabin in the woods as their perfect honeymoon getaway. What happens on their honeymoon could never have been anticipated.

Story #2 – HOLESOME HOUSE – Mary Vance and her husband decide to move to a tiny town to start saving money. Her husband is a long-haul trucker but wants to open his own business to be able to spend more time with his wife and to start a family. The neighbors are very welcoming, but their idyllic new life becomes anything but.

Story #3 – THE FOG – Mandy and her friend go on vacation in London, England and run into someone they never thought they would meet.

Story #4 – CATS – This is supposedly a true story. Reminiscing on a childhood spent in carefree wilderness adventures in a time of horse drawn wagons. A neighbor named Mr. Hodge is sick and dying.

Story #5 – ECK, BILL and LACK-LACK – Bill is the King’s chief poison taster. Eck works in the refuse/offal pit. The pit is home to Lack-Lack whose appetite and knowledge are both legendary.

Narrator D. Gaunt does a terrific job of infusing each story with just the right amount of suspense. I rate the narration as 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The only disappointing thing about this audiobook was that I heard many errors that an experienced and/or thorough editor should have caught before the book went to press. These were not errors by the narrator, but were instead errors in the writing itself.

The most glaring errors were in the switching from past to present tense. This happened so many times in HOLESOME HOUSE that it started to irritate me and actually hampered my enjoyment of that story. I am reducing the number of stars for this audiobook by 1 star due to these editing errors. Therefore instead of a 4 star rating, I am rating this audiobook as 3 out of 5 stars.⭐⭐⭐

PSYCHIC PERCEPTION by Candy O’Donnell – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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PSYCHIC PERCEPTIONS

Author: Candy O’Donnell

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Lori Fairlla

Length: 4 hours, 54 minutes

Genre: Paranormal Fiction, Thriller

Release Date: May 11, 2015

Publisher: O’Donnell Publishing

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

Carrie Dowd is a psychic. She can look at a picture of a missing person and know if that person is alive or dead. Sounds great right?

Not so much! Carrie also experiences and feels everything that the person felt while being murdered.

As if that was not enough strain, she is also going through a nasty divorce.

When the mother of a missing teenage girl pleads for her help, Carrie is determined to try. But, will she be able to determine who killed her? Or will her messy personal life cause her psychic gift to go astray?

The storyline of this audiobook is excellent, however the dialogue was horrendous. Almost every time the characters spoke they didn’t sound real. They did not speak the way real people do. For example, when talking to her best friend she is extraordinarily formal. No one speaks that formally unless they are addressing the Queen of England. There was never use of “it’s” instead “it is” was always used. No one talks like that!

Despite the stilted dialogue the story was good. I was genuinely interested in the plot and there were a few surprises which I like.

The narrator did a terrific job on this audiobook. It must have been difficult to try to make the characters seem real when they talked so strangely.

If it were not for the dialogue, this book would have received a 4 star review from me. As it is now I rate it as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

INSANITY TALES – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.audible.com

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

INSANITY TALES

Authors: Stacey Longo, David Daniel, Vlad V., Ursula Wong and Dale T. Phillips

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Fred Wolinsky

Genre: Horror

Length: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Release Date: November 5, 2014

Publisher: Dale T. Phillips

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

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

This is a collection of nine tales that deal with the depravities of the human mind.

People have been fascinated throughout history by other people’s aberrant behavior. This collection of stories caters to that fascination.

These are stories of murder, mayhem and madness.

From an old lady looking back on her life through a fog of Alzheimer’s to a young girl who is forced to move to an entirely new state and her grim discovery, these stories will grab and hold the listener’s attention.

The narrator does a good job for some of the stories, but I found the voice he used for the little girl in the third story to be very annoying. It was too high pitched and just did not seem realistic. He narrates male voices well, but his female voices leave a lot to be desired. I have never met a woman or a girl who sounded the way they are voiced in this collection. His voice is perfect for some stories and for others it is completely unsuitable. For these stories it would have been better to have separate narrators.

I rate the narration as 2 out of 5 stars and the book as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

I do not like giving low rated reviews, but when I received this audiobook free, I promised to post an honest review.

In my opinion this book would have been much more enjoyable if I had read the print version rather than listening to the audiobook version. However, you be the judge. Give this book a try.