Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Half-Assed Wizard (Book 1) by Gary Jonas and narrated by Joe Hempel

The Half-Assed Wizard (Book 1) by Gary Jonas and narrated by Joe Hempel turned out to be way more entertaining than I expected. Recommend if you like smart-ass characters and magic. 4 ½ stars for story, 5 stars for narration. I hope this series continues on audiobooks as I will jump on the next one.


Where to purchase:


What’s it about? Brett lives at his parents house and lacks any kind of ambition other than to play with his band and even that’s questionable. His father is one of the top magicians in the world, while Brett wants nothing to do with magic or his father. His cousin, Sabrina, is also skilled at magic, in the family business, and helps to ground Brett. One of his band mates is a vampire. Brett ends up getting himself into a life and death situation with a deck of Tarot cards. The magical objects (Hendrix guitar) and bad guys (the shark men) add a certain amusement to the story. My favorite was the carpet, Mangani, that eats people. The only problem I had is it’s difficult to connect to Brett because he’s so much of a spoiled turd at times, but his situation changes towards the end and the potential for him to redeem himself in current and future installments is a possibility. We also learn a little of why he is the way he is as the book progresses and this could serve as a lesson as to not judge because we never know what’s going on behind the scenes.

The narrator, Joe Hempel, was amazing. He nailed the MC perfectly- he had me laughing several times. Definitely a great fit for this story.

“After give or six whiskeys, I was spiraling downward, but thought I was profound and had the secret of the universe ready to spill from my lips.”
~~
“You’re not going to hook up with anyone, Brett. You have an appointment, and your father and cousin are counting on you.” (Michael)
I started laughing. “They’re f*cked.” (Brett) This scene, Joe had me laughing with the way he said this, if you listen to any part of the book, make sure it’s this scene.
~~
“I had two choices. I could be perfect, which was never going to happen. Or I could stop trying.”


Overall, I highly recommend, especially if you prefer a little magic with your snark. I will listen to the second book asap if it becomes available as an audiobook.


Parental guidance/trigger warnings: drinking alcohol, smoking a joint, sex talk, father is abusive (mention of past physical abuse and the father and MC get in a fight in the book where the father physically hurts the MC, verbally abusive), death (via multiple ways, usually magical). Language used: fx20, sx50, hellx30, and possibly more I’m missing.

Where to find the author: Gary Jonas
Where to find the narrator: Joe Hempel


*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!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Brightblade (The Morgan Detective Agency, Book 1) by C. T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus and narrated by Heather Costa

Brightblade (The Morgan Detective Agency, Book 1) by C. T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus and narrated by Heather Costa is an entertaining start to a new series. Recommend if you are looking for something new in the genre or looking for an additional book to the authors’ worlds. If you enjoy pop-culture snark/books that will bring out your inner nerd, these authors are a must-listen/read. For reals...


Where to purchase: 


What’s it about? After many endeavors, Ashley is currently a bounty hunter for supes. She is also a bright (psychic).While bringing an ancient magical sword to a bank for safe keeping, the bank is attacked by a trio of supes. While attempting to hunt down the magical item the supes stold, Ashley’s life becomes more complicated when her long lost brother and ex show up. She also has Zadkiel, the Angel of Mercy, talking to her telepathically. From there, the book picks up the pace and is go-go-go. There’s pop-culture references mixed with unique humor, along with characters from the other books in the universe (Charles and Michael, we must come up with a name for your universe if there isn’t one- now accepting submissions?). The book also delves into prejudices, which are cleverly written in.


The couple issues I had:
1) It took me a little longer than normal to get into this book, but may be due to the other issue listed below. If you find yourself saying meh at first, stick with it and you won’t be disappointed.
2) There’s a lot of information/new characters, if you’re not familiar with some of the other series tied to this universe, you might be a little lost, so pay close attention (I’ve only ventured into the Bright Falls Mysteries). I’d like to see a character index/world history as an accompanying PDF for this audible book- the ebook has a foreword which helps a little. Here’s what the ebook says:
“For those picking up Brightblade as the first novel of the shared universe, a short summary of the world: It is the year 2018 and the supernatural has been out for roughly ten years. Vampires, shifters, fairies, and more are known to the public with the state of Michigan being where the majority have congregated.
Detroit has been rebuilt with vampire money in to the Las Vegas-esque tourist trap New Detroit (original, I know). It isn’t a paradise, though, because the supernatural factions behind the scenes are always scheming against one another while the government debates revoking the citizenship of its inhuman citizenry. You can read about the adventures of characters during this time period in Straight Out of Fangton as well as the Bright Falls Mysteries.
Prior to the Reveal in 2008, the supernatural was kept hidden from the public by an alliance of wizards and secret agents called the House. Their activities were ruthless, duplicitous, and ultimately doomed. A prequel trilogy of books detailed the slow revelation of the supernatural, despite the House’s efforts in Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, and The Fall of the House. These are collectively known as the Red Room series.”

The narrator, Heather Costa, did a lovely job with each character. She is easy to listen to, steady pace, and absolutely adds to the book.

Where to find the authors: C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus
Where to find the narrator: Heather Costa


*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!

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!