Review: After The End

After The End
After The End by Melissa Gibbo

Originally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic stories, especially those featuring Zombies, and was excited to discover there would also be vampires. Though I had never read any of Melissa Gibbo’s work, nor listened to Piper Lewis’ narration, I was anxious to jump in.
One night while sitting around a fire with some new friends, a stranger approaches Squirrel and her companions with a free meal and an offer. In exchange for food he would help hunt Zombies and protect the group. The catch? The stranger, known as Cal, is a Vampire and blood is the sustenance he requires. Seeing no better option for survival the Nova Nocte is born. Over the course of the following months; the group sets up a base with walls and cabins, meets a new vampire, welcomes in new survivors, and even rid themselves of some.

This was an enjoyable Post-Apocalyptic tale. Though the story doesn’t bring a lot of new ideas, the book was well written, nicely executed, and never felt too tired. The main character was pretty good, though perhaps a little too trusting. However, you can see a change in that character trait over the course of the book, which was a relief to me. I’m also a big fan of Cal, a former member of the Roman Legion turned Vampire. I really hope Melissa Gibbo adds more character to an already intriguing persona.

The audio quality of the book was very good. The narrator, Piper Lewis, who is also new to me, did a pretty good job at telling the story. She was easy to understand, read clearly, and did a decent job of giving the characters individual voices. My only complaint with the narration is the tone of the reader. Her voice was monotonous and she did not display much emotion in her reading. That being said, I would not hesitate to spend a credit on her works.

Overall, a pretty interesting audiobook for anyone who may be a fan of Post-Apocalyptic stories. Good storytelling with an intriguing ending and, from my limited research, a fairly new narrator with plenty of potential to be great.

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Review: The End Has Come and Gone

The End Has Come and Gone
The End Has Come and Gone by Mark Tufo

Orignally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I love what Mark Tufo has created with this series. During the fallout of the Zombie Apocalypse, caused by tainted H1N1 vaccinations, Mike Talbot and his family battle against humans, Vampires, and of course Zombies. Despite having made a mortal enemy of an ever powerful vampire named Eliza, Mike fights his way to his family. He makes it but his adopted son Tommy is abducted by Eliza, it turns out they are siblings. His best friend, Paul, and a few others split off to find their own families.

Mike, Justin, Travis, Tracy, and Gary decide to set out and find Tommy. Two days before they leave Mike’s older brother, Ron, shows him a shoe box with some thing his grandparents left them. Included in that shoe box is a mysterious locket with a picture of Eliza. Even though nothing happens when Ron holds, every time Mike touches the locket it feels ice cold and pricks his finger, drawing blood. Where did this locket come from and why did his grandparents have it?

Shortly after heading out from the Talbot household, the group come across a small group of children. After a debate and a heartfelt goodbye, Tracy decides to take the children back to Ron’s house. Along the way, Tracy runs into a some familiar faces and a couple close calls. Meanwhile, Paul and a group of survivors get trapped on the roof of a furniture store surrounded by zombies. Their only hope of rescue was Mike Talbot, who somehow got an odd message to Marta, one of Paul’s group.

Along the way, Team Talbot comes across three more survivors that join their ranks, later regrouping with some people close them. Now back to a full roster, save Tommy, Mike and the others make it the furniture store to learn that Tommy and Eliza are both there. Upon making it to the roof with his friends, Mike Talbot discovers there’s only one way to save everyone’s life. Can he make the sacrifice and save everyone, or was the price too high for even him?

This is by far my favorite ZF story so far. It’s full of twists and surprises, dark humor only friends can share, and a lot of heart. There was plenty of feeling in this story and the narrator made it even more engrossing. Sean Runnette IS Mike Talbot, period. He brings the dialogue to life in such a way that becomes the characters. His reading, mixed with Tufo’s dark yet hilarious interactions and inner monologues, makes you feel like your there with them, part of the family. I often found myself having to pause the book just so I can pay attention to work, or more accurately, stopping work until a climactic scene passes. (Please don’t tell my boss). Completely addictive and engrossing. I’m going back for more.

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Review: The Strain

The Strain
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

This book has been on my short list for quite some time. It kept getting moved back for no reason in particular. Other things I was more excited about took precedence. Beyond the fact there are vampires and it is now a TV series, I didn’t know much about this book. I enjoy a well imagined vampire, so I jumped in with hopes high.

An international flight landed at JFK and, before pulling up to the gate, goes completely dark and stops moving. After repeated attempts the contact the pilot, they finally manage to make their way onto the dark, ominous plane. Upon entering, they discover it to be full of bodies. There was no sign of a struggle and all the victims seemed completely drained of blood. Officials quickly contact the Center for Disease Control in hopes to discover and, if need be, contain whatever caused the deaths. Dr. Eph Goodweather of the CDC Canary Team, soon discovers the terrifying truth of what they face. Vampires are real, and they are ruthless.

This story is a slow burn. It starts off with some excitement then quickly slows to a snail’s pace. I understand that there is almost always a lull at the beginning of a story, events and characters needs explained and introduced. However, this was hard to stick with in the beginning and it’s not until a little over halfway through that it really started to get exciting. Once events really start to unravel, it more than makes up for the slow start. The liberties the authors take on their view of vampires is pretty cool and a little different. I will say, these are vampires I wouldn’t want to meet.

I really like Ron Perlman, he is Hellboy after all. That being said, I did not care for his narration as a whole. He has a great voice that fits the narrative perfectly, and he reads smoothly and is easy to understand. His dialogue however is a different story entirely. While he did a great job with the Romanian vampire hunter and Eph, most of the characters sounded the same. I often found it hard to distinguish between his readings of male and female characters. There were numerous occasions I found myself thinking one character was talking, when in reality it was a completely different character.

All said, I enjoyed this book and plan to read the next one. If you like vampires, read this story. There is plenty of blood-draining deliciousness to sate your appetite.

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Review: The Godling Chronicle : The Sword of Truth

The Godling Chronicle : The Sword of Truth
The Godling Chronicle : The Sword of Truth

by Brian D. Anderson

Read by Derek Perkins

Gewey has always been a God, only he didn’t know it. Found by Lee Starfinder, who is a half-god, when Gewey was only infant; He was raised as a man by a simple farmer. An ominous Enemy known as the Dark Knight has stolen the Sword of Truth, thus putting the world in danger and the young God is the key to victory. Though it’s a fairly unoriginal story, it’s engaging and the storytelling is very good. I really enjoyed the story and where it was going. It’s sort of a blend between Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth, and the Hercules mythos.

I’m a fan of Derek Perkins, the performer for this novel. I’ve enjoyed all the works I heard by him, his voice fits the genre very well. There’s never any echoes or background noise, and he very well spoken and easy to understand. Look very much forward to hearing more from the man.

It’s a shame book 2 isn’t included in Amazon Unlimited or their Whispersync service, if it were, I would go on to book 2. However, the ubrupt ending, or lack thereof, ruined what was a great book. I am an avid believer that every book should have a complete story and conclusion. This book left a brutal cliffhanger, leaving me with no satisfaction or closure whatsoever.

I will note, they now have an Omnibus edition on Audible that includes books 1-3 that may be of better value, and with less open ended frustration. If you are a fan of Fantasy, I say grab it if only for Perkins’ performance.

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Review: Safe Havens: Shadow Masters

Safe Havens: Shadow MastersSafe Havens: Shadow Masters by J.T. Patten

 

Originally posted to Audio Book Reviewer

Wow, did this book surprise me! I had no prior knowledge of the author or narrator and chose to review it on a whim, I just liked the title, it intrigued me. I didn’t even read the summary, just jumped down the slide head first, exhilarated by every twist, turn, and drop the ride had to offer.
Sean Havens was on an assignment in the Republic of Yemen when he got word from his wife, Christina, that their daughter had been raped and the rapist was threatening to kill her for going to the police. Sean was furious, and told wife he’d be home in a few days. After getting a shady passport from his employers, he ran into some trouble heading to the States, forcing him to make a detour through Dubai. Meanwhile, as Havens tries to figure how he is getting home, Christina and Maggie are attacked at their house killing Christina and putting Maggie in a coma. Upon arriving home, Sean is told by police the attacks on his family were gang related. Sean Havens wasn’t sure about that. Is it that simple, or is there something bigger there? He didn’t know, but what he did know what whoever was responsible will pay. The Havens are not a family to be targeted or toyed with.

When it first got started I was a little put off by the narration. It read much faster than I expected. I don’t know if it was Charles Kahlenberg reading quickly or if it was an editing issue, but it was there. It got much better after the first few chapters, though there were points the performance felt a little rushed. That being said, Mr. Kahlenberg’s voice and presence were great. His resonance in the book was ear catching and held my attention. Great narration, with sub par production quality due to the speed. It won’t keep me from trying Kahlenberg’s work again though, hopefully on the next Sean Havens thriller.

Let me tell you, it does not disappoint! This was a bit darker than I expected it would be and it was all the better for it. Charles’s voice lent perfectly to the almost brooding Sean Havens character. I tried to think of a comparison or reference a couple other characters out there that might come close to Sean Havens. The fact is, he’s his own entity, unique from other protagonists in the genre and very well done. A story full of deceit, conspiracy, revenge, and surprises around every corner, this is a story for all thriller fans, do not pass on Sean Havens. J.T. Patten is new on the seen and if the adrenaline pumping Shadow Masters is any indication, he’s going to be force in the genre.

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Review: The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure

The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure
The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure by Jaq D. Hawkins

Originally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I have very limited experience with Steampunk books. I’ve only read 2 or 3, one of which I loved, while the others I barely finished. That being said, I really love the concept of steampunk in novels and enjoy it in other mediums, so I keep trying. This book seemed more in the fantasy Genre than the others I had read, which is why I decided to give it a try.
The story opens on an airship with Captain Horatio Bonny behind the wheel. The Pirates had just stolen crate upon crate of opium. Having taken on too much weight, the airship loses altitude and is forced to land on a farm. Promising coin and to take the farmer’s daughter, Anne Bardwell, away from the family, the Pirates leave half their cargo stored in the Mr. Bardwell’s barn.

Meanwhile, Zachary Wyatt arrives at his warehouse to find all of his Opium missing and his night guard unaccounted for. Furious, he sends his Clerk, James Dudley, to investigate the crime in hopes of finding some clues. Along the way he comes across and vagabond named Thomas, with whom he ends up jumping onto an airship and volunteering.

This is pretty fun book with multiple points of view. It starts off a little slow but it picks up pretty quick. The story is a little hard to follow, via audio at least, as there are times when it jumps from one character to another, without pause or warning, and it takes a minute to get acclimated. That being said, Ms. Hawkins puts together a entertaining tale of piracy, deceit, greed, and even a little self discovery.

The audio in this book had a little echo too it however, it wasn’t bad enough to take away from the performance of Kevin Marchant. Mr. Marchant has quite the talent for voices and did a great job narrating this novel. I look forward to hearing more from him.

Though it wasn’t my favorite audiobook, it was a fun listen. I would suggest it to anyone interested I steampunk or sailing/pirate novels. I plan to keep my eyes on more of Hawkins’ work in the future.

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The Fold – Another enthralling tale by Peter Clines

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Meet Lelan “Mike” Erikson, a brilliant man with an eidetic memory who has dedicated his life to teaching high school literature. This may seem odd for a man with Mike’s gifts, but he just wants a normal life. His normal life was going pretty well, too, despite his best friend continuously trying to recruit him to DARPA. Until the day came that Reggie Magnus, the aforementioned best friend and big wig at DARPA, offered him a job on a secret project to which he could not say no.

Enter the Albuquerque Door, the secret project that is up for a renewal of funds from DARPA. It is Mike’s job to ensure Reggie the door works and is worthy of all the financing. The Albuquerque Door project uses a homemade supercomputer to run equations that opens a “fold” in dimensions, which they are using to travel instantly from one point to another. Mike was awestruck by the things he saw in his short time with the project, and everything seemed to be working as advertised, though he did suspect the group did not actually understand how it worked. Then the day came when one of the members of the team took his 85th trip through the gate. Upon stepping through the “exit”, something went terribly wrong; he was deformed and in pain, had a recent stab wound in his side, and had injuries a year old that he did not have when he entered the door. They feared the worst. They suspected that instead of you stepping through the door, you actually step into a separate reality and that reality’s you steps out. Rest assured, Mr. Clines explains that in a much more elegant way than me. Things go from bad to worse, and in a hurry. Objects are doubling, the gateway is staying open by itself, green cockroaches with an extra appendage are appearing, and a surprise visit from an old friend the group had thought “lost” forever.

This enthralling tale was made all the more engrossing with Ray Porter’s narration. The man commands attention when he reads, I willingly and gladly give it. He speaks with passion and voice that is second to none. If you haven’t experienced Mr. Porter’s exceptional skills, do yourself a favor… Listen to anything he has done, I promise you won’t be sorry you spent the time.

Between the thrilling storytelling by Peter Clines and exceptional performance by Ray Porter, I couldn’t take the earbuds out! A great audiobook that will be revisited again, at least once. An exciting story with surprising twists and quantum donuts, I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading or listening.

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