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Review: Zombie Fallout 6: ‘Til Death Do Us Part

Zombie Fallout 6: 'Til Death Do Us PartZombie Fallout 6: ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

4 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audiobookreviwer.com

Zombie Fallout book 5 left us hanging on a brutal cliffhanger; Michael Talbot lying dead in the middle of the street. I assumed he wasn’t going to die, but I did not know what Mark Tufo had in store for the half-vamp. Anxious to finish what was an incomplete story in book 5, I put in my headphones and listened to Sean Runnette tell the next chapter of the Talbot Mythos.
Mike Talbot jumps to his feet and yells, “I’m back!” Then he quickly, or as quickly as a man who was just dead could, runs for cover. He was told a secret while he was dead—I’ll spare the details as it’s much more enjoyable to experience the beginning, rather than be told what happens— and now that he’s back, he will stop Eliza and show her followers the error of their ways. They should never have come after his loved ones. While BT, Gary, and Deneaux are making their way back to Maine in hopes of making a difference in the upcoming battle; Mike comes across a young woman held captive in the back of a Big Rig. Her name is Azile and she has goals very similar to Mike’s, she wants to kill Eliza. With a truck to drive, and his new friend in tow, he makes his way to his family.

Sean Runnette did a very good job, as usual. He just works for this author, his voice clicks with Mike & Co. The production quality was good and there was no background noise or echoing. This narrator always gives a good performance.

Overall a pretty good book, however, this series is on a downswing. Though I liked this one better than five, which didn’t have an ending, it was very slow. In my opinion, the plot was stale until about ¾ of the way through. Yes, that is when all the really good action starts, but it’s also when the whole group gets back together, and that is when Tufo is at his best. The banter and love between Mike and all his friends are what carries this series, when they are separated from one another I feel myself being pulled from the story. I’m hoping the whole gang stays together for the next installment.

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Review: Alive In A Dead World

Alive In A Dead WorldAlive In A Dead World by Mark Tufo

Read by Sean Runnette

4 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this audio book for review from Audiobookreview.com*

Having listened to the previous Zombie Fallout books, I’ve grown to really enjoy this series. There is dark humor, witty dialogue, zombie action, mind controlling vampires, and a fair share of heart. This was pretty much the same.

Zombie Fallout 5 opens with Talbot & Co. looking for revenge. They plan to attack a caravan towing Eliza, Tommy, and a lot of zombies in hopes of crippling them enough to keep her off their backs. 3 survivors soon find themselves being taken in by a mother and her child, while another batch of the Talbot clan has difficulties of their own. It’s a race against time, and zombies, as Mike tries to find a lost friend and uncover a secret hanging over his head. Can Mike Talbot trust everyone in his group? Can he hold on to his sliver of sanity when he see the truth? I couldn’t tell you, the book ends with a brutal cliffhanger that is infuriating. Not only because the story doesn’t end, also because I want the rest of the story. Luckily, I already have the next installment available to me, otherwise it would have moved down on my list. I don’t typically mind cliffhangers in series, when they’re done well and the book tells a complete story. That’s not the case here. It’s just completely open ended, intriguing and exciting, but annoyingly unfinished.

Sean Runnette yet again takes the role of Mike Talbot. I haven’t listened to anything else Runnette has done, but his voice fits in perfectly with Tufo’s writing. There was no background noise, static, or mumbling. He’s a solid narrator and I couldn’t think of anyone else who could play these characters.

Mostly, I really enjoyed this story. There were a couple of long flashback scenes that kind of took you out of the story, but they were entertaining. If you like a zombie drama, you will probably like this book.

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Audio Book Review: Sick by Brett Battles

Sick
Sick by Brett Battles, Read by MacLeod Andrews

4 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this audio book for review from Audiobookreview.com*

This was my first Brett Battles book and I must admit, I’m a bit upset I haven’t tried his work before. I had no idea what to expect outside of the description. I am a sucker for a good techno thriller or post-apocalyptic story so I assumed I would enjoy it and plugged in my earbuds.
Captain Daniel Ash and his family had only lived here for just a few months when he woke from a nightmare to find his daughter burning hot, and though his son seemed fine, his wife was dead in bed. They were separated, put into containment trucks, and hauled off to a secure facility. After hours of being held Ash is informed by Dr. Littlefield that his daughter and son had fallen to the illness, but that he was immune to the virus.

The Virus being KV27A, an airborne virus that can seep into the eyes, nose, mouth, or any other open wound or orifice. Its fatality rate nearly 100%. Due to the fact that Captain Ash seems to show immunity, Dr. Littlefield plans to kill Ash and examine his body in hopes to make a vaccine. After eight weeks in the cell, Daniel Ash finds himself escaping, with the help of some new friends, from an exploding building. Though they saved his life, the strangers had Daniel drugged and tied down.

Upon waking he offered food and no longer restrained. He was introduced to a man named Matt Hamilton who runs an underground militia known as The Ranch. Matt informed him that his bloodline carried the immunity and that his children were, in fact, alive. He was also told the Virus was man-made and the name of the person responsible for the virus, and his wife’s fate, Nathaniel Karp. Doctor Karp is part of a secret government agency who has a extreme, and insane idea to “save” the human race.

Meanwhile, the virus spread farther than expected due to an oversight by the cleanup team causing the quarantine zone to expand and infect a group of students on their way home. Battles goes on to introduce you to a few characters: Paul, a teenager who tries to escape and witness something horrible instead. Tamara, a reporter trying to make her career but makes enemies instead, as well as Martina and Ben, who are among the group of stranded students. All interesting characters who seemingly have a larger role in the following books, which are already added to my “to-read” list.

This intriguing thriller is brought to life my MacLeod Andrews, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators. He is actually what drew me to this book in the first place. After hearing him do STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson, I was hooked. This was no different than his other performances. If anything, he’s gotten even better and I will continue to follow him.

All in all this was a very engrossing story. Battles makes you care about the characters and unravels the tale at a great pace. There wasn’t constant action, nor was there a lot of dull dialogue. I’m extremely anxious to try more of his work, in and outside of the Project Eden series. I would suggest this techno-thriller to anyone who likes the Wayward Pines or Joe Ledger series.

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War Games meets Ender’s Game

Armada
Armada by Ernest Cline; Performed bye Wil Wheaton

ARMADA is Cline’s second novel, the first being READY PLAYER ONE, which I read about a year ago and loved. His follow up is extracted from the same vein, pop culture; emphasizing on video games and SciFi movies. I had so much fun listening to RPO, I wanted another one. I was pining for a new Ernie Cline novel. I picked it up on day one, listening before it even completed downloading.

Zack Lightman is sitting in his high school class, when he looks out the window and sees a UFO. What makes it worse, it is the same spaceship from Armada, the game he and millions of others play. –Armada is an online flight simulator in which you work for the Earth Defense Alliance (EDA) controlling combat drones remotely while battling evil aliens hellbent on destroying humankind. Prior to that, the same company released a game called Terra Firma; in that game, you control remote mechs and defend the planet from the ground. Zack thinks he may be suffering from schizophrenia, until the next day when an EDA transport ship lands on his school lawn. A familiar face steps out and calls for Zack. Apparently, the EDA is real, and due to his top 10 ranking in Armada, he’s being recruited! Zack goes on to meet some new friends, fight alongside some old ones, and discover a part if his past he thought long buried.

This has received some criticism for being a rip off of THE LAST STARSHIP. I haven’t seen the movie, so those criticisms fell on deaf ears. I’m a gamer, I’m a sci-fi and fantasy geek, and I love comic books; I think it’s safe to say this book is aimed at people like me. The pop culture references, I feel, are a big part of what makes this book so much fun. They tug at little strings of nostalgia, or they remind you of a movie you love but haven’t seen in awhile. However, it is a double edged sword; the same one liner Zack spits out that makes you think of your favorite scene from Lord of the Rings, also takes you out of the story you’re reading, it can be distracting. The pace of the novel was really good, there wasn’t a huge chapter filled with an info dump (well, maybe there was and I missed it because I was enjoying the story). and the dialogue was a lot of fun. The plot was slightly predictable with respect to how the journey would unfold. It follows a very typical coming of age layout — Young man has power thrust upon him, he struggles with new responsibilities, he charms the girl, he endures loss and overcomes, and ultimately, he becomes the hero. — however, I can honestly say the ending surprised me, I did not see it coming. That coupled with some really great writing, leaves me wanting more. Ernie has major writing chops, that’s obvious. I was completely engrossed in both this and RPO, from beginning to end.

This is a fun, light read brought to life by Wil Wheaton. As usual, he delivered a great performance. He is easy to understand, most of his voices are distinguishable, there’s never any background noise, and he has a way with Mr. Cline’s dialogue that just meshes well. I haven’t heard a Wheaton book I considered poorly read; he is always good.

Overall I loved it, I recommend it, and I will be listening to it again. I suggest you do the same, sir or madam who is reading this review, because if you were not interested in these themes mentioned above, you probably would not have made it this far. Go, enjoy some interstellar dogfights and a shared love of geekery goodness!

 

There is another really good review of Armada at Audiobookreviewer.com

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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: 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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