Sunday, December 30, 2018

Salvage Title (The Salvage Title Trilogy Book 1) by Kevin Steverson, narrator KC Johnston

Good start to a new series- lots of potential…Salvage Title (The Salvage Title Trilogy Book 1) by Kevin Steverson, narrated by KC Johnston, was a fun, light listen. 5 stars for narration (I would give it more if it was allowed- for reals) and 4 stars for the story. (Full review below)

First I’d like to say how fantastic the narrator, KC Johnston, is! He truly has a gift. He is in my top three narrators (Bahni Tuprin and Adam Verner are the other two, in no particular order). 

What’s the book about? The description sums it up fairly well. A group of people are on their ship Salvage Title, from there, the adventures begin. There is a good amount of strategy talk. AI (would love to see this expanded in the next book) and some humor. Planets and different life forms. If you like space operas, give this one a listen. 

What I didn’t care for: some parts were a little too slow for me (took a long time to get the ship, but then the action picked up). There is lack of character development, which I hope is remedied in the next book. I will definitely be checking out the second book to see how it progresses (once on audible). 

Overall I would recommend- it’s a light, fun listen. There is certainly potential for this series to flourish. 

Parental warnings/trigger advisory: I do not recall any swearing. A kiss between a man and woman. There is death and fighting, but not in graphic detail. Weapons, such as missiles or like items. It would be a good read/listen for young adults. *Note I may have missed some items due to being sick with a nasty head cold, so I do apologize if I did. 

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

Where to purchase the book:

Where to find the author:

Where to find the narrator: KC Johnston

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Woodcastle: The Courts Divided Book One by Kell Inkston

Woodcastle: The Courts Divided Book One by Kell Inkston is a brilliant fantasy series. A must read/listen!

Every once in a while you come across an author who has that special flair and you know is going to make it big some day. Today, that author is Kell Inkston. I highly recommend this book.
Full review below...

Woodcastle: The Courts Divided Book One by Kell Inkston was a refreshing take on the fantasy genre. Initially I wasn’t sure if I was going to get into it, but it didn’t take long to realize this is a fantastic book. The story flows nicely in all the right ways.

What to expect: a unique blend of humor, swords and other weapons, kingdoms, magic, spells, realmancy, war, and a nice variety of characters that range from dragon-kin, necromancer, minions, fairies, humans, overlords, dwarves, elves, and more. There is enough action intertwined with the humor that you won’t get bored. The ending contained a nice twist. You may want to consider listening/reading the appendix first as it explains a bit about the omniverse (Chapter 41). 

I loved how some of the characters names are cleverly used in the story (“rid the world of Order”, “Chaos holds the absolute advantage, not only does he decide when to appear, he is also free to not appear at all”). There are also life lessons if you choose to notice: “We must give freely without expecting anything in return.” 

The narrator, A. W. Dickson, was awesome! Used a variety of voices and all were wonderful. Would listen A. W.’s other narrations. 

This book will be a repeat listen/read book for me. I also purchased this book for a friend. 

Overall, I recommend, especially if you are into fantasy with a blend of humor. 

A little note about the books progress: The author states this book has had two previous titles, has been in development the past four years, and was almost shelved at one point. Extremely happy this was not shelved! 

Parental warnings/trigger advisory: some occasional swear words and then there are the times when they are beeped out, death, and war. It’s possible I am forgetting some things. 

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

Where to purchase:

Where to find the author: Kell Inkston
My personal thoughts:
I am so happy this book was not shelved. It would have been a waste of clear talent. I enjoyed the word play, probably more than I should have. Still trying to figure out why Kell's work hasn't exploded...any publishers reading this?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mishegas: A Concrete Tale of Family Quicksand by Harley Dresner

I recently listened to Mishegas: A Concrete Tale of Family Quicksand by Harley Dresner. This is great book to listen to if you're having a bad day or need a laugh. Regardless of your background, upbringing, religious views, etc. there is sure to be a story in the book that will have you laughing out loud. Full review below...

Stories everyone can relate & laugh out loud to!

Mishegas: A Concrete Tale of Family Quicksand by Harley Dresner is a fun, laugh out loud, don’t eat or drink when listening kind of book. 4 ½ solid stars. The book contains stories everyone can relate to or at least can say “I know someone like that” (and if you find yourself saying I don’t have someone like that in my family, it just might be you).

The book is filled with various stories told from Harley’s point of view on outings or dealings with his parents, Gerry and Sydelle, and his uncle Bern. There is a good variety, ranging from his younger days to adult days. By the end, you’re left wanting a little more (in a good way) and it’s bittersweet.
The narrator has potential and was easy to listen to with only a couple hiccups throughout the book. I would listen to another one of his narrations no problem.

Some of quotes I enjoyed:
(In reference to Bern) "I never tired of hearing them. His stories were repeated often but they never got old. I miss those stories terribly. I would give anything to hear them one more time." Bern is someone everyone should have in their lives. His stories helped to make the book as great as it is, especially “The Gouche” incidents. If the author decides to write another book, I hope it is on Bern.
"Mishegas may change, but it never goes away."

The things I didn’t care for: At times, a couple of the stories were long-winded. The narrator use a few voices I could’ve went without (two very small parts). These things did not ruin the book by any means, but were enough for me to deduct a half a star. 

Overall, I recommend the book. Do yourself a favor and listen to this book, especially if you’re having a bad day. 

Parental warnings/trigger advisory: a couple words such as bastard or slurs due to religion or ethnicity (dirty Jew, no good drunk Irishman, etc.- told during two of the Bern stories), two fights resulting from the slurs, cancer, death, brief mention of Korean War (Bern served), the author siding with doctors, and upper nudity of male at doctor’s office. 

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

Where to purchase:
Barnes & Noble

More personal thoughts on the book not included in review:
The author says "Mishegas may change, but it never goes away." I couldn't help but think how it changes with each generation, yet the stories will be told to the new generations and live on (especially if you are into genealogy). We all need mishegas in our lives and don't realize how much until it's gone.

I feel for Sydelle (I hope I'm spelling her name correctly- I apologize if I didn't) and her Raynaud’s- it’s a horrible disease. I may have to try her trick of heating up apples.

A little note for the author: it’s easy to side with other medical providers until you have experienced what it’s like to be a patient on the other end, then it’s a life-changing experience and not in a good way generally (speaking from experience). I recall hearing patients horror stories, but you never fully understand until it happens to you. For those wondering why I put author siding with doctors as a trigger warning, this is why. I will not say more other than having a bad doctor or multiple bad visits can be a traumatic experience.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Strain of Resistance (Bixby Series Book #1) by Michelle Bryan

I recently listened to Strain of Resistance (Bixby Series Book #1) by Michelle Bryan. I really wanted to like this one, but had a difficult time doing so. The cover and description is what drew me in. Full review below...

Still trying to figure out how Strain of Resistance (Bixby Series Book 1) by Michelle Bryan received such great reviews. There are things I liked, but more so things I didn’t…just as the book was starting to pick up, the epilogue begins...seriously?! I purchased this book as it came up in a search for dark fantasy- there is a darkness to it, but not as dark as I had hoped. The beginning started great and I thought yes, this is going to be a good book, but it failed to materialize.

Minimal spoilers below...

Reviews stated the main character, Bixby, was strong, kick-a**, etc.- and she was fairly strong, unfortunately there’s an annoyance to her that over powers any kick-a** traits, combined with too many insecurities, the character fails. You can be damaged and strong without the annoying parts and it’s a bummer the author didn’t go that route. As for character development- you get a brief scene of Bixby admitting she’s scared and staying with her lover for the night, but that’s all. You will find yourself asking “who were the characters again?”. Then there’s the dialogue- if you enjoy childish jokes you would have heard in elementary/junior high school, this book might be for you. If you are looking for a dark, adult series, look elsewhere.

The good? There’s an underlying story that has potential if the author rids the book of the flaws listed above. Honestly it’s a bummer because this book could be fantastic. The narrator was wonderful.

Overall, I can’t recommend in it’s current form. I really wanted to like this one but felt I wasted my money.

Need a little more info? Aliens (called leeches) have taken over. A group of people are trying to survive while the aliens are showing signs of increased intelligence, ravagers (cannibals) complicate matters, throw in Bixby’s relationship with Luke, and that about sums it up.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: swearing (lots of it), words such as ‘tards, cripples, oldies, bimbos, or like-words are used fairly frequently, father is abusive to child and mother, killing, guns, a scene where a ravager grabs the main characters breast, multiple sex scenes, knives, death of loved ones, and probably more I’m missing. This is not for those who are easily offended or kids.

Where to purchase (Why post this if I didn't recommend the book? As I've stated before, just because I don't care for a book, doesn't mean someone else will feel the same):

Where to find the author:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Unique stories tied together that will have you thinking and not wanting to put the book down...
Stronger, Fast, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton is an intriguing read. It will leave you wondering how far we can and will take genetic engineering/human modification. Just because we can, does it mean we should?

Remainder of review and my personal thoughts below...

The book consists of six parts containing different stories that are related to the main idea (genetic engineering/modification). The beginning started a little slow for my taste but as the stories continued, I found I could not put the book down. Each story was unique. If you enjoy Sci-Fi stories that are focused on genetics or thought-provoking books, you will enjoy this one.

You will find yourself asking questions throughout the book such as: Do our genetic defects makes us who we are? Without modern medicine, how many of us would be here? Should we be prolonging life? Modification/genetic engineering is already happening, but at what point will it stop? Who says what is ethical in medicine and where the line is drawn? How will humans ruin this?

I hope there is a follow up book. This would make a wonderful TV mini-series/movie (if done right- meaning The Wachowski’s)

Trigger warnings/parental advisory: swearing, some sexual situations (making out, touching, pairing up to mate), religion (a reverend is tied in with the stories), death, some violent situations (accidents, slaves, killing).

Overall, I give the book 4 ½ stars and recommend it.

* I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this.

#StrongerFasterAndMoreBeautiful #NetGalley #SciFi #Ethics #YoungAdult

Where to purchase:

Where to find the author: Arwen Elys Dayton

This book hit me a little more deeply than most books I've read. As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder how long until my autoimmune disease, or the health problems my family members have, will be cured. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime, but maybe, just maybe, my niece's epilepsy will be cured in her lifetime. Or the rare blood disease my dad's cousin died from this year can be fixed and won't keep being handed down to each generation. But am I selfish or a horrible person for wanting these things to end for people? What if we finally cure cancer? Should we be fixing/curing these things? Will the genetic engineering/modification ever stop once we've begun curing diseases? Cue the vaccines and eradication of smallpox talk. This book will definitely have you thinking...