Thursday, December 5, 2019

Optional Retirement Plan by Chris Pourteau and narrated by R. C. Bray

Optional Retirement Plan by Chris Pourteau and narrated by R. C. Bray is one hell of a listen! A def must listen if you’re into this genre. The action starts pretty much from the get-go and never lets up. I can’t recall the last time a book wowed me with so much non-stop action.


Where to purchase:

What’s it about? Stacks has been the top hit man for the SynCorp for years. Now his Oldtimer’s (dementia) has kicked in, resulting in him spilling company secrets and making him the target. Instead of enjoying his last couple days the higher ups have given him, someone has put a hit out on him and everyone is trying to cash in the bounty. But Stacks is going out on his terms and it’s a wild and crazy ride to the end. The story is nicely done- you get a sense of what it’s like to slowly lose your mind. The snarky humor mixed with the somber reality works and works well.

The narrator, R. C. Bray, was the perfect fit. He really brought Stacks and his story to life.

“A man in my condition shouldn’t have to wade through that many dictionary words at one time.”
“I’ve learned Lady Luck is like any other female- short of patience for male baboonery and easy to piss off.”
“I guess you really do earn your fate.”
“I edged an eye around the corner and saw True Believer acquainting himself with his newfound state of being dead.”
“And the more spoiled the kids, the more likely they are to lose what those who came before them built.”

Overall I highly recommend, especially if violence, action, and noir style stories are your thing.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: If you’ve ever known or taken care of someone with dementia/Alzheimer's, it may hit close to home (especially the sundowning). Swearing, death (the story revolves around assassins), violence, and similar elements. Chin@m@n used once.


*I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you for allowing me to listen and review the book!

Christmas at Pine Cottage by Renee Riva and narrated by Susan J. Iannucci

Christmas at Pine Cottage by Renee Riva and narrated by Susan J. Iannucci is a delightful Christmastime listen (really any time of the year). I recommend if you’re looking for something upbeat, light, with a hint of holidays and love.


Where to purchase: 


What’s it about? Ana’s family is unable to afford her a visit home during the holiday, so she stays at the boarding house where she meets a fellow musician and learns more than she ever thought possible. Learning to live and love with music being at the center.

The narrator, Susan J. Iannucci, did a wonderful job. Easy-to-listen-to and smooth.

Overall I highly recommend. This is not my typical listen and I absolutely enjoyed it, ended up listening straight through.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: there is a mild religious undertone but it’s not preachy (I’m not religious and it didn’t rub me the wrong way). I hesitate to say anything more due to spoilers so will say a couple deaths due to fire accident but not told in detail. No swearing.

*I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you for allowing me to listen and review the book!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sailors and Sirens: Vigilante Justice in Florida and the Caribbean (The J.R. Finn Sailing Mystery Series, Book 4) by Charles Dougherty and narrated by David Bosco

Sailors and Sirens: Vigilante Justice in Florida and the Caribbean (The J.R. Finn Sailing Mystery Series, Book 4) by Charles Dougherty and narrated by David Bosco is another fantastic addition to the series! Highly recommend if you’re looking for a new mystery or just a great series. The story and narration flow in all the right ways. When you start any book in this series, you’re going to want to listen straight through- you’ve been warned.


Where to purchase: 

What’s it about? The story picks up with Finn and Mary working for Forces, only this time, Mary has an agenda of her own. The first half focuses on Finn and his jobs with the pair reuniting about half way through. There’s some action (though not as much as some of the other books), return of previous characters, a little romance, Mary’s history, logistics, new enemies, sailing elements, Mary learns the ins and outs, and more. This is one that keeps you guessing as you never quite know if Mary is on Finn’s side or on her own and I’m still not sure (that’s a good thing). The beginning gives a brief recap that wasn’t too long or too short. Make sure to start from the beginning if you are new to the series or you will miss key elements and a great story/narration.

David Bosco did an outstanding job once again. He nails the characters and helps to make the story a great one. He’s on my list of narrators I’m following- do yourself a favor and check out his other narrations.

“Put it behind you. It’s all in the past. We can’t change the past and you mustn’t let it ruin our future.”

Overall I highly recommend, this series is one that I will be listening to again.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: I will be keeping it minimal due to spoilers. Death (the MC’s are assassins so think about what comes with that profession), talk about prostitution and being sexually abused, sex indicated but not in detail. Language used: Sx13, some damns and hells.

*I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you for allowing me to listen and review the book!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Tribe of Daughters by Kate L. Mary and narrated by Nikki Zakocs

Dark and powerful...this one is difficult to put into words as I fear I won't be giving it justice. Tribe of Daughters by Kate L. Mary and narrated by Nikki Zakocs is a powerful story not for the faint of heart. Highly recommend if you are new to Kate’s books or looking for a darker dystopian story. 



Where to purchase:
Amazon

What’s it about? Jameson is on a business trip when he is abducted by a group of women. They are unlike any women he has met before- they live in the forest, have no contact with outsiders, hunt their own food, build their own shelters, the men’s only purpose is to serve the women and provide variations into their offspring (the background is given not too far in as to why things are the way they are). If the men fail to do as asked or fail to follow the rules, they are beaten or killed depending on the crime. As Jameson acclimates to a new way of life, he is picked by the tribal leaders daughter Wilderness, to be hers. They grow fond of each other resulting in challenges to long held traditions and when the group is threatened, the men and women must come together or face death. Yes, there is a lot more but keeping spoilers to a minimum.

Some parts were difficult to listen to, while some were heartwarming, and some heartbreaking. There are lessons to be learned if you chose to take that route, otherwise just sit back and appreciate the story as it is well-written and absorbing. The story changes viewpoints between Jameson and Wilderness and you will have no problem knowing whose turn it is. I finished this story five days ago and I’m still thinking about it and trying to figure out how to review it in a way that will give it justice. With that being said, I highly recommend and you should definitely give this book a listen. This would also be a good choice for a book club as many discussions can be had.

The narrator, Nikki Zakocs, was good overall. It took me a couple chapters to adjust to Jameson’s voice, but when I did, it was fine in the long run (could just be me and my preference). 4 ½ stars for narration.

“She is everything I am destined to be but so much stronger than I am in every way and I have no idea how I will ever be able to walk in her footsteps without falling.”~ Wilderness thinking about her mother.

A couple of the thoughts I had while listening: power corrupts regardless of gender, if women did the things men do (relax folks, I’m not saying all men or all women), and how our actions and choices set events in motion and how they shape our society.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings:
This is not a story for the faint of heart. It contains violence, death, drugging of males for sex, sex trafficking, hunting animals for food, whippings, a dog fight, kidnapping, rape, casting aside children due to gender, and similar elements.

Where to find the author: Kate L. Mary
Where to find the narrator: Nikki Zakocs

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Wicked Warlock of Oz (Genderbent Fairytales Collection, Book 6) by KuroKoneko Kamen and narrated by L. A. Johnson

Wicked Warlock of Oz (Genderbent Fairytales Collection, Book 6) by KuroKoneko Kamen and narrated by L. A. Johnson is another fantastic adult retelling for the Genderbent world! I highly recommend if you are like me and are not a fan of old school fairytales and enjoy an adult, modern twist to them. Love the covers for her books, don't you?


Where to purchase:
Barnes & Noble


What to expect: The summary always does a wonderful job and without giving too many spoilers away I’ll leave it at magic, friendships, love, teleportation, emerald mines, sex, humor, elves, trolls, princess, demon, Black Swamp village, and plenty more. Good character development and world building.

I love that her stories connect the characters over the course of the series. If you are new to her, you can start with any of the books, although I recommend beginning with the first as the characters will make more sense.

The narrator, L. A. Johnson, was pleasant. As the series continues, the narrations become more polished. 4 ½ stars for this one.

Overall I recommend, it’s an entertaining story sure to keep your interest.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: This is an adult retelling that contains mature themes. Occasional swearing, violence, death, sex, and like elements.

*I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you for allowing me to listen and review the book!

Where to find the author: KuroKoneko Kamen

Where to find the narrator: L. A. Johnson

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Baddest Bitch in the Room by Sophia Chang

The Baddest Bitch in the Room by Sophia Chang is by far the best memoir I’ve listened to. I unconditionally recommend it, especially if you enjoy memoirs, want to learn a little more about the music industry, or just looking for something new. Go on, listen to it, you won’t be disappointed.


Where to purchase:
Audible

What to expect (a small amount of what’s covered in the book): life with her parents and brother (growing up to current time), her parents history, humor, losses, meeting Joey Ramone, working with Paul Simon, what lead her to the path of managing Wu-Tang and other artists, moving from Vancouver to New York, various jobs in the industry, mentors, the rise of hip-hop, martial arts training, pregnancy/child birth, relationships, trip to China, losing oneself and finding oneself again (and the continued search), change of the music industry to digital, relying on parents even in adulthood, family illness, why asking where are you from is a loaded question, the friendships between Sophia and members of Wu Tang and other artists, and the general ups and downs of life. There’s cameos from other well-known artists and family members. There is bonus content at the end, which includes audio from the recording process. Occasional slang is used (listeners may not know the meaning but should have no problem understanding). There are emotional moments in the book and they will make you feel something.

Sophia narrating her own book was fantastic- she is easy to listen to and the emotional parts of it add to the overall greatness. There are added sound effects throughout and at first I wasn’t sure about them being in a memoir, but as it progressed it made sense/fit, so if you are like meh, stick with it.

Why should you listen if you don’t know who Sophia Chang is? Because it’s a phenomenal book! The cover is fierce and that’s what drew me in. I didn’t know who Sophia was and it kept me interested from start to finish- who needs to sleep? I listened in one sitting, so be warned before you start, you won’t want to put it down. Glad I took a chance on this one, you should do the same. By the end, you won’t be asking who is Sophia Chang, you’ll be saying she’s the woman behind the scenes, a role model, strong, gorgeous, able to do anything...

A couple quotes from the book:
“Listening to that song was like taking the red pill in the matrix, once I’d heard it, I could never unhear it.”
“That after all is what we’re here for, to be in service of others.”
“F*ck your model minority!”

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: swearing (in the explicit version), Korean War talk and the atrocities, abuse from a school teacher, racism (some slurs used), mention of the LA riots, suicide (Chris Lighty), death (ODB and her father’s cancer), infidelity, R. Kelly and Michael Jackson mentioned, sex talk, Hurricane Sandy. Probably more I’m forgetting (I just wanted to listen and not write down but hopefully this gives you a general idea).

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Pickle Pie (A Cyberpink Story) by George Saoulidis and narrated by Luke Rounda

An enthralling Cyberpunk GameLit fantasy! Pickle Pie (A Cyberpink Story) by George Saoulidis and narrated by Luke Rounda is an entertaining and crazy good cyberpunk tale sure to keep you interested from start to finish. Strongly recommend if you enjoy Cyberpunk/GameLit or just looking for something new in the genre. 

Where to purchase:
IndieBound

What’s it about? Hector unintentionally becomes owner of a part cyborg athlete named Patty, who plays for the Pinup Girls in Cyberpink. Cyberpink is a brutal, almost anything goes, popular sport (Google Jugger if you’re not familiar with the sport). From there Hector learns to navigate the sleazy, violent world he is now a part of, despite being reluctant do to so (the extent of his bad boy self is making armor for the local organized crime). Not long in, you will find yourself rooting for Hector and the girls.

Some of the other elements of the story: game stats, debt bondage, Greek mythology (nicely reimagined), humor, cryptocurrency/blockchain, tech, violence, death, repairing cyborgs, friendships, villains, ARO (augmented reality object), hackers, the responsibilities/moral dilemmas of owning an athlete, blood (pink blood- wait, what? Read/listen to the book), robotic mule, and swearing.

The added sound effects are perfect- not too much, not too little. Instead of chapters, it’s told as drops. The first couple drops set up the story, so stick with it if you’re a bit muddled- it will all make sense shortly (not saying more due to spoilers). I listened in one session.

The narrator, Luke Rounda, was a perfect fit for this one. He nailed the voices and effects.

Overall I strongly recommend. It’s nicely written and it’s clear there was a lot of thought put into fleshing out this world.

Parental advisory/trigger warnings:
read the warning for the ebook. If you read it and are still wondering if you should read/listen to it, the answer is yes.

“I was given this book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.”