Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Audio Book Review: Wizard's Nocturne

Wizard's Nocturne

By:  Gary Jonas

Publish Date:  July 30, 2015, Audiobook Release December 12, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 5 hrs 15 mins
Narrated By:  Joe Hempel

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  6th in Jonathan Shade series; Book 1 ~ Modern Sorcery, Book 2 ~ Acheron Highway, Book 3 ~ Dragon Gate, Book 4 ~ Anubis Nights, Book 5 ~ Sunset Specters

Impression:  Did NOT let me down! I got the twist with Jonathan's ending as I look forward to!

Synopsis:
A MURDER IN LAYERED TIME
In the conclusion of the three-volume time travel sequence, Jonathan Shade is sent back to 1926 to kill an upstart wizard named Henry Winslow. Henry wants to die because in order to achieve his goal of immortality, he must first achieve resurrection.

PAWNS IN A LARGER GAME
Jonathan Shade and Kelly Chan are part of a larger plan playing out across time, and while Henry Winslow is a major player, there's someone else acting as the mastermind, and his name is Jonathan Shade.

Shade's plan relies on changing the way things happened in the twenties...but if things change too much, there won't be a future to which any of them can return.

First Sentence:
Getting old sucks, and not in a good way.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review at my request.

Jonathan has raised Henry to be a good man, but things will go on as they should. Henry will die. This version of Henry also has a great interest in Egyptian magic, and in immortality. Our Jonathan is old, but there is more in the works here as a younger Jonathan arrives to do what he's to do. Jonathan fights the powerful Henry Winslow, but doesn't know if he can defeat him. Jonathan has learned many things over the years and is wiser with age.

So glad to be listening to Joe again! He IS Jonathan Shade. Joe voices the attitude and personality of the characters just as I would hear them with the cues given in words by the author. We get two versions of Jonathan at the same time and Joe's voicing of both fits each Jonathan. One's older and wiser in what he says, the other is younger and hotter with his words and actions. Joe slips into the characters with ease and I believe his voice to be them. By this point in the series, Joe has perfected the seamless narration and he's part of the book. There are NO distractions from the story, only adding a new dimension to the story through voice.


There is a moment with Henry and Jonathan that was so touching that my eyes welled up. It was perfectly places with the build up of their relationship and gave me the feel that the big moment was coming for Henry. Well done.

Jonathan found a friend and more in Henry as he raised him to be a good man. He's told Henry much of what's to come. Sure there are a few details that Jonathan held back, but the major outcome of what's to happen this day and change Henry's life was always known to Henry. They have planned for this. We don't know all the plans, but we get to know them as Jonathan goes through the actions of bringing things together this day. We even see the interaction with Rayna.

It's neat seeing how time and events overlap. We see some events from Jonathan's side that connect with Rayna's events in previous books. Very cool! We didn't get as much from Rayna's POV in previous books, but what we did get was powerful and memorable because I wanted to know what came of her in this time, it resurfaces here and we learn.

I know Gary always has a sly way of changing everything in a story. It all fits and smoothly moves along yet still surprises me.

Wow. What a twisted time line. lol. Hats off to the author for keeping it all straight and in line, keeping the events and time streams clear as they are different with each character living their own time line. And he kept me up on what was happening with each character in a way that I didn't feel it was repeated or adding unnecessary information, it all works in with the story.

This book ends the three book arch with Jonathan and Winslow, so you really need to read the previous two books, but not necessarily the first three books.

What changes made affect the future? Jonathan is doing a few things different, so will it change the world and time Jonathan was from?

I really enjoy Gary's twists at the end, he lived up to my expectations. I'm ready to see what is next in Jonathan's life.


****If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mythical Monday #66

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.


Blame it on a misspent youth.

My parents are librarians, and they started reading to me at a very young age—first picture books, then as I got older, we would read stuff aloud together, and eventually I read on my own. Among the first things I read for myself were The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin. The lush, beautiful, magickal worlds created by Tolkien and Le Guin captivated me and led me to other fantasy works, and also when I became a teenager to playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends.

It was also with my parents that I watched television, and two of our favorite series to watch were two seminal police shows, Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues. Still the gold standard for cop shows, these two series captivated me just as much and instilled a fascination with police procedure and the dramatic portrayal of it.

Writing was a passion that was always there—whether it came about due to consuming all those stories when I was too young to know better or if it's just an innate part of me is a question left to geneticists and philosophers. The point is, I have always loved to make stories. (My first book was created on construction paper at the age of six. It's called Reflections in My Mirror, and I still have it.)

Those three passions finally collided in 2004 when Dragon Precinct was published. Set in a high-fantasy setting greatly inspired by Le Guin and Tolkien, the stories were police procedurals, as Lieutenants Torin ban Wyvald and Danthres Tresyllione solve crimes in the city-state of Cliff's End. (Both Torin and Danthres are based on D&D characters I played in my younger days, also.)

I have continued to write stories of Torin, Danthres, and the Cliff's End Castle Guard, both in novel and short story form (the fifth novel in the series, Mermaid Precinct, is on my 2017 writing schedule), and when I was invited to submit something to the new Bad-Ass Faeries anthology back in 2006, there was no question in my mind that the world of fantasy based crime fiction that I'd been slinging words in was ideally suited to giving us a bad-ass fae.

Another cop show I adore is Homicide: Life on the Street, and it was that show—and the book on which it is based, David Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets—that led to my love for that most fascinating part of police procedure, both in fiction and real life: the interrogation. The verbal dance between detective and suspect. Those quickly became my favorite parts of the various "Precinct" tales to write, and when Danielle Ackley-McPhail and her cohorts invited me to submit to Bad-Ass Faeries, my first thought was to do an all-interrogation story, one that was exclusively detective and suspect, doing that very verbal dance.

The result is "House Arrest," which I'm honored to have reprinted in The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, which will be out from eSpec Books this year. We've got family intrigue, we've got murder, we've got a house fae with a bit of an attitude problem (and a bit of a milk addiction), and it ends with a terrible pun. What more could you want?


Back the campaign:  Make 100: The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries


Author Bio:
Keith R.A. DeCandido has been writing fiction professionally for twenty-three years now, which makes him feel very old. Well, that, and his arthritic knees. He has written more than fifty novels, almost a hundred short stories, a mess of comic books, and a bunch of nonfiction, both in various licensed universes ranging from TV shows (Star Trek, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, Doctor Who, and tons more) to games (World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, StarCraft, Command & Conquer) to movies (Cars, Resident Evil, Kung Fu Panda, Aliens, Night of the Living Dead, Serenity) to comic books (prose featuring Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, the X-Men, etc.), as well as in his own original universes. The latter includes fantastical police procedurals in the fictional city of Cliff's End, starting with the novel Dragon Precinct, and including several more novels and a mess of short stories, one of which, "House Arrest," will be reprinted in The Best of Bad-Ass Faeries, having appeared in the inaugural anthology in that series ten years ago. Keith also writes the Super City Cops series of cop stories set in a city filled with superheroes, urban fantasy tales set in Key West featuring Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet, and 2017 will see the debut novel featuring Bram Gold, a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who hunts monsters, A Furnace Sealed. Find out less at Keith's web site at DeCandido.net.


Click to purchase these books:



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Post #159

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share new about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We are back up to warmer weather for the weekend. It's not as crazy warm as it was last week, but warmer. But we are readying to come into March, which is always a rough ride weather wise.

I've been trying to stay home and get things done. That's working.... okay. lol. I have so much to do it seems I'm getting nowhere around the house. It's still a mess! Oh well, eventually it'll all be done.

I'll be going to a book discussion on Tuesday at a local college, so I'm excited about that. Can't wait to go! That's what I read Dirty Magic for. I've been wanting to read the book for far to long and it's been waiting on my shelf for me, so I picked it up and finished it. Looking forward to discussing it.

I picked up a few free photography books for the heck of it. I haven't ever read anything about taking pictures, I just do it. So thought maybe I could pick up a thing or two from a few books. Why not check it out? Might learn something, right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Fit Booker:

Goal:  Workout in any form of exercise (or on Wii Fit) 2x's a week. (to feel better and hope to drop a few pants sizes)

How did I do last week... This week was a week of life things. I didn't get as much exercise as I wanted. Tuesday I did the elliptical and Thursday I worked out with weights and elliptical.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What's Happening in Books:

Current Read:
Tales of the Blood Kissed by Seleste DeLaney
Content Editing Work

Current Audiobook:
Hathor Legacy: Revelations by Deborah A. Bailey

Current Podcast Book Listen:
Stonebriar Casefiles: Bad Alchemy by Laura Nicole Spencer (You can listen for free too!)


Finished Last Week: 
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

Audiobooks from Audible:
I should finish today.


Finished Podcast Book Listen:
Nothing yet.


DNFed:

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Week on the Blog:


Cover Reveals: (click titles to go to post & learn more)



Guest Posts:



Posts:


Around the Internet...


Reviews:
Blue Blooded by Amanda Carlson

"Amanda did a wonderful job of tying all the books, events, people, and more together here to end the series. Amanda has once again created a high octane read that I didn't want to stop reading. I wanted to see/hear about everyone and learn all I could with why Jessica and how it would fit together for the new Coalition. And I got that!"


The Beast of the North by Alaric Longward

"When we think we have all the twisted plans figured out, they all completely flip inside out. I enjoyed the twists at the end."



Podcast Review:




Mama Bitchstress Reviews:



GIVEAWAYS:

~~~~~~~~~~

This Week to Come on the Blog:


Two reviews. And a Mythical Monday!


~~~~~~~~~~

Received Last Weeks:
(Note: Links to Amazon are buy links where I could earn commission, in case you are interested.)


For Review Consideration:



Audio Books Requested for Review:
Treasure of the Dead by David Wood & Rich Chesler
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Maddock and Bones set off on their first treasure hunting adventure! 

1715- Blown far off course, their treasure-laden ship sinking, a crew of Spanish sailors struggles ashore, only to encounter a horror out of their worst nightmares.

Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
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Goodreads Synopsis:
War hurtles in, a typhoon over the sea.

After Bree’s life was torn apart, Nereidium had represented a haven to her. A place that—if she could save it—was beyond the King’s reach.

And, at last, she’s arrived upon its shores. But things in Nereidium are not what they should be.

The land is plagued by a rash of mysterious earthquakes, the likes of which it’s never known. The governors are distracted by old traditions, while Bree and her friends grapple with changing identities and the sense that the longer they wait to take action… the greater the danger from Egria grows.

Bree is tired of living under the shadow of King Langdon’s power. And she’s tired of waiting for him to be the first to act.

In this final chapter of the Threats of Sky and Sea series, it all comes down to Nereidium or Egria. To Bree or the King. It’s kill… or be killed.

And not everyone will escape the battle unscathed.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Two o’clock was missing. 

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.



Purchased/Winnings/Gifts:
Book:



Audio:
The White Aura by Felicia Tatum
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Goodreads Synopsis:
If he meets her, she will die. Twenty year old sorcerer and college student Scott Tabors knew he’d found his heart mate the moment he saw seventeen year old Olivia Whitehead outside of a coffee shop. He longs for her, he wants her, and he knows she will be his. But due to a curse on his family, he can’t meet her. Not yet. So for now, he visits her in her dreams, where he can tell her everything but his name. 

Olivia Whitehead and her best friend Juniper are enjoying their junior year and are as close as sisters. But Olivia can’t tell anyone about the strange changes she’s experiencing, beginning with steamy dreams featuring a mysterious dark haired young man. But what will happen when the school heartthrob starts showing interest? Will she wait around for her dream man, or will she move on? 

Then, when Olivia’s life is put in danger by a new threat, Scott must find a way to save her – without condemning her to an early death.



Free Ebooks:
(On my Kindle and Nook App) Links to books under title. They may or may not be free at this time.
Photoshop: Absolute Beginners Guide by Edward Bailey
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Goodreads Synopsis:
This course will teach you everything you need to become comfortable and proficient in the use of all the key tools available in Photoshop 

Why You Must Have This Book Today! 

As a top-of-the-line photo editing software, Photoshop has gained popularity, and quite a number of following among professionals in every industry you can imagine, even among the young and technologically capable generation who can easily grasp abstract concepts from an early age. 

In This Short Book You will learn how to work with all of the most important panes. 

We will take you step by step and guide you through all the basics you will need to know in order to master photoshop quickly and easily. 

Photography: The Complete Photography for Beginners Guide by Nancy Ross
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Here Is A Preview Of What You'll Learn... 
PICKING OUT THE RIGHT CAMERA THE RULES OF COMPOSITION COLOUR AND LIGHTING EDITING YOUR PHOTOS LEVELING AND LAYERS THE ORTON EFFECT FIXING COMMON PROBLEMS WITH YOUR PHOTOS MUCH, MUCH, MORE! 

Digital Landscape Photography by Kim Rormark
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Landscape photography is a popular genre in photography. As a landscape photographer you will find great subjects everywhere. Despite this, taking great landscape photos is more of a challenge. In fact landscape photography is one of the most difficult genres in photography to get right. 

This book discuss the basics and what you can do to improve as a landscape photographer. This is a beginners guide but intermediate landscape photographers will also find useful information in the book. 

Correct exposure and sharp images are the two biggest struggles for landscape photographers. The book covers both topics. 

Topics covered in the book: 
What to look for when buying a camera for landscape photography 
Learn basic camera settings and understand exposure 
Different lenses and how focal length impact on your landscape images 
The importance of light and time in landscape photography 
How to compose striking landscape photos 
How to choose you image editing software 

Implement the tactics discussed in the book and you will immediately improve your landscape photography. 

Get started now!

Jump-Start Your Photography in 30 Minutes by Raymond Salisbury
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Back to basics guide to improve your knowledge of and practice of photography. 
Topics include camera and lens types, lighting, exposure, composition and image editing.

Wreckers Gate by Eric T. Knight
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Goodreads Synopsis:
It’s a suicide mission with only one purpose. The king wants Wulf Rome dead.

When General Wulf Rome gets his orders to chase the marauders into the fiery hell of the Gur al Krin desert, he knows the king has finally decided to eliminate his too-popular general. What he doesn’t count on is causing the apocalypse.

Somehow Wulf Rome survives both the marauders and the desert, but he ends up in a lost catacomb deep beneath the desert sands, where he finds a strange axe embedded in a massive, unnatural wall. When he pulls it free, he unleashes a nightmare of epic proportions.

Now it looks like the apocalypse has come. Monsters and diseases plague the land. There is no defense, no enemy even to strike against.

Out of the chaos a mysterious stranger calling himself Lowellin appears. Lowellin claims to be immortal. He claims to be the world’s only hope. But the weapons he offers the land’s beleaguered defenders are dangerous and chaotic and Wulf Rome soon begins to doubt his true motives.

Thus does immortality sow the seeds of chaos…

Academia of the Beast by K.N. Lee
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Goodreads Synopsis:
NY Times bestselling author, K.N. Lee presents a dark twist on a classic fairy-tale that asks the question: what if the beauty was the mortal enemy of the beast?
Raised in fear of her power.
Sold and betrayed by her lover.
Allyn escaped the hunters once before. As a witch, she risks capture every day.
Now, she lives in the slums of the opulent kingdom of Elastria, where the Winter Winds are brutal,and force everyone into their homes for the entire season. When one of her best friends receives an invitation to the end of season Winter Ball, Allyn would rather sulk about her boyfriend leaving her instead of partying at the most exclusive club in the kingdom.
A chance encounter with the crown prince of Elastria sparks hope for a brighter future, one where she might find true love. All hopes are dashed when she's tricked by her ex-boyfriend and turned in for the bounty on her head.
Now, a prisoner in an eerie castle where the servants are...peculiar, the walls whisper, and the prince's mysterious twin brother struggles with the decision to keep or kill the witch he's hunted and once lost, Allyn struggles with the desire to tame the beast within the prince, or escape to freedom.
The curse of the castle is strong. But, the magic hiding inside Allyn might be more powerful than she or the prince realized.
Discover an enchanted world of witches and a cursed prince in this steamy modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast
Dreamthief by Tamara Grantham
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Visiting Faythander is a nasty business. Forget the fairies and unicorns, most people come back with lost memories and mental problems. Olive Kennedy knows. She's the therapist who treats patients suffering from Faythander's side effects. Despite her empty bank account, she takes pride in her job as Houston’s only Fairy World medical doctor. She's never failed to cure a client—until now.

Traveling back to Faythander wasn't on Olive's to-do list. But she has no choice. The fate of both Earth and Fairy depends on her ability to stop an ancient being called the Dreamthief. To complicate matters, she may be losing her heart to someone who can’t love her in return. Saving the world, she can handle. Falling in love—not so much.

As if battling the forces of evil wasn't difficult enough…

The Night Bridge by S.A. Huchton
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Shari 

For twelve years, she tried to convince herself he wasn’t real. The beautiful man by the lake was simply the product of a child’s overactive imagination. 

Eran 

For his entire life, all he has wanted is to be one of the elite protectors of humanity, but the only charge he’s ever known is a little girl who didn’t need him. Now, she is his last hope. 

Together, the foundations of their realities will be stripped away. 

Together, they must find a way to save two worlds. 

To survive, they must fight. 

But to live, they need each other.

Elyograr by Lorraine Beaumont
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Briarcliff Township: a picturesque town snuggled into the lush forests of the New England coastline where tourists had once flocked to restore their youthful vigor in the steaming bottomless pools, but as with all things that seem too good to be true, there are hidden dark secrets swirling just below the surface

Seventeen-year-old Evie Harrington has high expectations for the annual “epic” party thrown by the town’s wealthiest family’s son. Not only is the party falling on her eighteenth birthday but is also being held at Briarcliff Manor: a Gothic Mansion that is rumored to be haunted. Cool bands are playing and all the beautiful people will be attending and of course, her biggest crush ever will be there and he is finally acting like she exists. However, when the night finally arrives whatever expectations she had suddenly takes a dramatic turn and instead she finds herself in a world that can’t be possible with an admirer that can’t possibly be real.

Gargoyles and Degare’: Other worldly creatures are awakening,… are they friend or foe… protectors or enemies…

Briarcliff Manor: a rumored haunted Gothic mansion. Is it merely the backdrop for the party or does it play a larger role in the town’s mysterious restorative qualities.

Gargoyle by Lorraine Beaumont
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Briarcliff: A Reawakening: Gargoyle is the second book in the Briarcliff series.A NEW ADULT Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance with a dark side. #GARGOYLE
Briarcliff Township may look like any other picturesque town snuggled into the lush forests of the New England coastline but it harbors a dark secret. Seventeen-year-old Evie Harrington has high expectations for the annual  party held at Briarcliff Manor: a Gothic Mansion rumored to be haunted. Cool bands are playing and all the beautiful people will be attending and of course, her biggest crush ever will be there and he is finally giving her the time of day. However, when the night finally arrives whatever expectations she has suddenly takes a dramatic turn and instead she finds herself in an unlikely world with an admirer that can't possibly be real.

Forgotten Time by Lorraine Beaumont
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Goodreads Synopsis:
#1 AMAZON BESTSELLING SERIES IN TIME TRAVEL & #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING TIME TRAVEL SERIES 
Begin your adventure through time in a captivating world filled with debauchery, steamy sex, lies, betrayal and murder. Document the contents of a vast estate, discover riches beyond your wildest dreams, figure out a centuries old legend and fall into the arms of a handsome egotistical Earl, a dashing Duke, an irresistible Wastrel, a mouthwatering Millionaire and ultimately land in the bed of A Knight in Shining Armor. 

RAVENHURST: A ONCE FORGOTTEN LEGEND... 
Trapped within the confines of this Ancient Edifice is the key to unlock the door of time itself. 

Shadows of Yesterday by Lorraine Beaumont
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Revised Edited Edition 2013
This is the second installment in The Ravenhurst series - a spellbinding time-travel romance with unexpected twists and turns. Funny characters, dysfunctional hotties, and modern day heroine trying to cope in a time that is not her own.

Ravenhurst ~ a once forgotten legend, locked somewhere within the gloomy confines of this ancient edifice is the key that will unlock the door of time itself.

Katherine and Sebastian are thrown together by forces unknown, and are unwitting participants in a legend as old as King Arthur’s Realm. As these two very different, but very real people succumb to their hidden desires, they find in each other what no one else can give them, an everlasting love which time cannot forget.

Marguerite is sent to King Arthur's Realm...

This book contains adult situations and some mild language.

A Lady Out of Time by Caroline Hanson
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Sent back in time to Victorian England to stop the invention of a deadly weapon, Helen Foster knows the job looks too easy: All she has to do is go to an auction, buy the weapon plans, destroy them, and she’ll save millions of people back in her own time. And even if she spends the rest of her life as a spinster stuck in the English countryside with a plethora of cats, changing the future is worth it.

Then she meets Edward Clifton, Duke of Somervale, the man she’s supposed to blackmail. He is one of the most powerful men in the land, so handsome and cold that debutantes have been known to faint in his presence. After one meeting, Helen will be thrilled to never see his royal (and quite spectacular) backside, ever again.

But as her mission falls apart and danger closes in, Helen has no choice but to turn to the one man powerful enough to help her not just change the future, but survive the night.

Scornful Sadie by Filicia Tatum
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Goodreads Synopsis:
A war is brewing...


Heartbroken and lost, Sadie left her family when she was only sixteen to fight evil. Years of searching out and destroying the vermin of the supernatural world have left her ruthless and jaded, and powerful.


Sadie’s success has made her a target, and a series of cryptic warnings leaves her questioning what is being asked of her. But nothing in her past has prepared her for the obstacles she now faces in trying to rid the world of a resurrected evil that no one saw coming.


She finally comes home for the chance to re-discover her first love, Aiden. Does she have the power to restore Aiden’s memories and hold on to her love for him, while battling for humanity—and her life?

Scrapplings Children of the Dragons by Amelia Smith
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Darna shouldn't have been born – priestesses aren't supposed to have babies – and she most certainly shouldn't see dragons. After all, no one else does, except in Anamat, or so the minstrels say. 

She sets out for the city of Anamat. Along the way, she meets Myril, an older girl with frequent premonitions and an eerie sense of hearing. 

Then there's Iola, who is so dragon-struck that she actually wants to be a priestess. She's blind to the corruption in the temples. 

Thorat is Iola's champion. He sees dragons as much as the girls do, but unlike them he blends easily in to a crowd. 

Apart from these four, the city seems to be nearly as dragon-blind as the provinces. Darna scavenges for scraps, but apprenticeships cost more than she’s likely to earn. When she's offered a sack of gold beads for a small bit of thieving, she takes her chances... and ends up angering the dragon herself. 

Immortal Bones by Trinidad Giachino
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Amazon Synopsis:
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU FOUND OUT YOU COULDN’T DIE?

(Previously published as "Undead")


Private Detective Richard Saussure is a murderer. 

He is also a retired policeman turned private investigator with a reputation for never walking away from an unsolved case. And now that a new case has landed on his lap, he has to acquire the ability to solve paranormal mysteries.

It is 1952. Lord Hugh Hurlingthon, a wealthy man living in the outskirts of town, calls Detective Richard Saussure and hires him to solve a mystery. This is no murder mystery situation. Oh, no…In fact, Lord Hurlingthon can’t die. Even if someone tries to kill him. This is a supernatural mystery situation.

What Richard Saussure encounters in Lord Hugh Hurlingthon is an ageing man who claims he is 213 years old and can’t die. With such situation at hand, Saussure has to decide whether or not to believe Lord Hurlingthon and if he does, how could he solve a mystery that defies all laws of nature? Where can he find answers to this (supposedly) supernatural situation?

In this gripping supernatural thriller, Richard Saussure will have to dig deep into his own past and ask for the help of his favorite enemy: Dr. Annette Kensington, a forensic doctor whose thirst for justice equals her despise for Saussure. 

Unknown: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology
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Synopsis:
A collection of twenty science fiction & fantasy short stories and novellas about experiencing the Unknown.

Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent by Kristy Tate
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Goodreads Synopsis:
When Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred spirit in Emory Ravenswood. 

Emory must thwart the plans of religious zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always play fair. 

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent?

The Rhyme's Library by Kristy Tate
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Goodreads Synopsis:
Crazy Aunt Charlotte is missing again. Blair Rhyme, Rose Arbor’s young librarian, doesn’t bother to check Charlotte’s regular haunts -- the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars lodge, the Four H-Club, or the bins behind Milton’s Fish shop – because Charlotte is dead. Blair discovered her body amongst the boxes of what-nots and whatevers in the library’s basement. Unfortunately, when she returns to the library with the police Charlotte is missing. Again. 


Desperate to prove that she doesn’t share her aunt’s mental illness and that Charlotte really has been murdered, Blair tangles with a former lover, a disturbingly handsome stranger and a wacky cast of Rose Arbor characters.


At first Blair tries to dismiss the skin-pricking sensation of being watched, but as small disturbances grow increasingly threatening, she must confront the enemies, real or imagined, that drove her aunt to madness and death in the Rhyme’s Library.



Free Audio Books/Stories:


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Reviews to Come:

Soulless by Skyla Dawn Cameron
The Sentinel by Chris Lester
The Muse by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Making the Cut by Chris Lester
Metamor City: Whispers in the Wood by Chris Lester
Lex Talionis by Starla Huchton
Spark by Starla Huchton
Heir to Kale by K.L. Bone
Tales from the Archives Vol 4 #5 - Old Sinner's Bones
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Wizard's Nocturne by Gary Jonas
Infinite Magic by Linsey Hall
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Beast of the North

The Beast of the North

By:  Alaric Longward

Publish Date:  October 14, 2015, Audiobook Release ?

Format:  Audiobook - 19 hrs 28 mins
Narrated By:  Jay Markwart

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in Thief of Midgard - Stories of the Nine Worlds series

Impression:  Games played by nobles and gods twist life's of others.

Synopsis:
In this medieval dark fantasy action novel we follow thieves Maskan and Sand in their quest to survive the wrath of a king. The Nine Worlds have been sundered from each other and the gods during the goddess Hel’s War thousands of years ago, but in the land of Midgard the years have passed relatively peacefully.

For Red Midgard, times are changing, however. The harsh, freedom-loving northern land faces the animosity of the mighty High King, but also a threat of war with its few allies, as King Morag is rumored to look for any reason to go to war with his allies. Maskan and Sand, thieves of Dagnar, discover a web of conspiracies to topple the king before it is too late, and soon, they have a good reason to tie their fates with those who would fight the king.

But not all is as it seems, and layers of truths and lies make the road dark and dangerous. Our heroes must navigate very murky waters of betrayal, elemental magic, love, and loyalty to save their land and to find revenge.

First Sentence:
A war was waged in the elven world of Aldheim.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

Audible (*Not available now)

My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review at my request.


Jay is a new narrator for me. How does he compare to those I've enjoyed? Well... Off the bat, in the prologue he was very flat toned. I liked the prologue story wise, as it's what changed the world, but Jay didn't feel to have the emotion to make it hit hard. The title for Book 1 was repeated at the end of the prologue and at the beginning of Chapter one. He almost put me to sleep. His cadence is very slow, so clicking a faster speed helped with this. There are a few spots where it sounds like the sound warps or changes then back to normal. It's brief and made me wonder if I really heard it, but enough to steal my attention from the story being told. I'm sorry. This narrator misses so many opportunities to liven up the story. And by the way he speaks, it feels to bring the book down to basic simple terms.

A narrator can make or break a book. I feel this is a perfect example. I don't know if the book was better than what I heard, but Jay breaks this book. Was he bored while narrating? I don't know, but he wasn't into the characters at all. So much so that I almost DNF-ed this book. In the end of the book, last 5 hours or so, Jay had a little more life to his voice. Shame he didn't try to do that at the beginning, and more.

I go back and forth on my feelings of the story...
Fantasy has a slow grow to it with great details given. The novel fits that persona. However, there is a meeting at a tavern that Maskan and Sand overhear. The meeting that seems as though it's rather important is done on the steps of the tavern in an alley. Um, if this man is as ruthless as he's said to be and in charge of one of the roughest gangs in the city, why would he do such a huge deal on the steps outside where anyone could overhear? This is then brought up at the end of the book, explaining this, but it still felt out of place when happened.

The little things in Maskan's life lead to much more, hinting at darker things happening in the world with the kings. There is more going on behind the scenes that involves Blacktower family and Maskan stumbles along and gets involved, his family too. Then we learn more and things switch around for Maskan.

We get the plan for what's to happen when Maskan goes in to the King's mint. Then we get the plan a repeated to us a few times. It feels like some of this could have been cut from the story to keep it moving along. Then again with a plan of Maskan with another, we get it a few times which is Maskan repeating it to Sand, I know Sand needs to learn but it bored me hearing it all out again.

It feels as the characters speak in short simple sentences and they don't flow smoothly from what's being spoken, thought, or told. I'm not sure if this is the narrator or the writing, but either way it plays the characters down to being far to simple to come up with such plans and ideas.

Maskan's instant "love" for Shaduril was annoying at first. He falls in love with her from the first moment he saw her, her beauty draws his eyes. Then, finally when Maskan makes mention of feelings for Shaduril, she doesn't shot him down but makes it seem as there could be something there. It feels sudden in the story. Is she playing him to get done what needs done? Probably, but Maskan is dumb in love. Then things seem to iron out between them and easier to accept.

Once the story got going, I enjoyed the movement and twists that happen. There is more going on that Maskan isn't aware of, as he is too trusting. When I think that Maskan has started to grow and learn that many can not be trusted, he shows how naive he is once again. I almost feel disappointed in him from time to time. Even the love for Shaduril grew on me as they had a few more interactions that helped.

I do like the connection to legends and lores of Norse Mythology. Something that makes the world full and creative with magic and history. We see some of this in the beginning, but not as much as the High King is working hard to make all forget the Gods. However, in the end this impacts Maskan's life and we learn a great deal about the Gods and why they are here. This, along with the twist to the story, that saved the book in star rating.

When we think we have all the twisted plans figured out, they all completely flip inside out. I enjoyed the twists at the end.