Audiobook Recommendations

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Assuming I kept an accurate record, I listened to 40 audiobooks in 2017.  Most of them were pretty good.  A few, not so good.  I rarely review audiobooks, so today, I will let you know which ones I would recommend.  Without reservation!  That means the story is really good and the narration is just as good.

I’ll start with Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s.  In a previous post, I ranted and raved about this series and it is one of those that holds up very well beyond book 3.  In 2017, I listened to narrator Zara Ramm bring these 5 books to life:
A Symphony of Echoes, #2
When a Child is Born, #2.5
A Second Chance, #3
Roman Holiday, #3.5
A Trail Through Time, #4
In addition, the author narrated #0.5, The Very First Damned Thing.  #0.5. 2.5 and 3.5 were all free on Audible, so if they still are, now is as good a time to check them out! I have already purchased a couple more and they are in the queue.

Beneath the Waning Moon is a 2-book anthology by authors Elizabeth Hunter and one of my favorites – Grace Draven. Included are A Very Proper Monster by Elizabeth Hunter and Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven. Both were beautiful gothic romances! I also listened to the marvelous Eidolon, Wraith Kings #2 by Grace Draven. Both of these books were charmingly narrated by Gabrielle Baker.

For SciFi books, Tanya Huff’s Confederation series is one of my favorites. Maguerite Gavin is a skilled narrator. I listened to 4 in this series and have another one in the queue.
The Heart of Valor, #3
Valor’s Trial, #4
The Truth of Valor, #5
An Ancient Peace, #6 (also Peacekeeper #1)

I got a great deal by downloading the 3-in-1 book Forgotten Ages by Lindsay Buroker. From there it was a simple matter to get the Whispersync audiobook 3-in-1. I discovered this author this year and I am quite sure there will be more Lindsay Buroker in my future. Forgotten Ages was narrated by a favorite narrator, Tavia Gilbert. This compendium included:
Encrypted (novel)
Enigma (short story)
Decrypted (novel)

Viola Carr knows her way around some steampunk/horror/fantasy and her stories are well narrated by Beverly A. Crick. The Electric Empire is 3 books long. I listened to the first 2 on audiobook this year:
The Diabolical Miss Hyde, #1 
The Devious Dr. Jekyll, #2
After listening to these two books, I finished by the series off by reading The Dastardly Miss Lizzie.

For SciFi fans, I highly recommend Jennifer Foehner Wells’ Confluence series. This first contact and beyond series is insightful and hopeful with that streak of realism that makes us realize space is not a friendly place. Susanna Burney is the narrator of book 1 and she is joined by Mark Linden in book 2. I am currently reading book 3, Inheritance, so I am definitely committed to the series.
Fluency, #1
Remanance, #2

One of my favorite finds of the year is Juliet Marillier’s Blackthorn & Grimm series. Like the 2-names-separated-by-an-ampersand series title suggests, there are mysteries to be solved. They are solved with logic, determination and so much heart. These are amazing characters. The use of three different narrators to represent different points of view was very much appreciated.
Dreamer’s Pool, #1
Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan Narrators, Scott Aiello
Tower of Thorns, #2
Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan Narrators, Susannah Jones
Book 3, Den of Wolves, is in my queue. I love this series so much!

For a good laugh, Sandra Hill is a great author. She writes a Viking/Vampire/Angel series called Deadly Angels that makes me laugh out loud. This year, I listened to Kiss of Temptation, #3 narrated by Erin Bennett.

And finally, Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series. I am almost caught up, so I only have one to add to this list. Luke Daniels is one of the best narrators out there so I was please to listen to him read Staked, #8.

That is it for my favorite audiobook listens for 2017. In most cases, I bought the Kindle book and then added the Whispersync audiobook. It seems to be the most economic for me. For that reason, all the book cover and title links will link to the Kindle version. Whether you read these books, or listen to them, the are all great stories!

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Flotsam by R. J. Theodore – Review

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Review by Riley

About Flotsam

A fantastical steampunk first contact novel that ties together high magic, high technology, and bold characters to craft a story you won’t soon forget.

Captain Talis just wants to keep her airship crew from starving, and maybe scrape up enough cash for some badly needed repairs. When an anonymous client offers a small fortune to root through a pile of atmospheric wreckage, it seems like an easy payday. The job yields an ancient ring, a forbidden secret, and a host of deadly enemies.

Now on the run from cultists with powerful allies, Talis needs to unload the ring as quickly as possible. Her desperate search for a buyer and the fallout from her discovery leads to a planetary battle between a secret society, alien forces, and even the gods themselves.

Talis and her crew have just one desperate chance to make things right before their potential big score destroys them all.

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Review of Flotsam

Flotsam has one of the strangest non-dream settings I’ve experienced in books. The  planet Peridot underwent a catastrophic event, known as the Cataclysm, that resulted in the world being split into pieces that are loosely held together by the power of the Nexus. Each piece is an island, floating in space. One assumes that the Nexus maintains the loose configuration, atmosphere and gravity that allows the islands to support thriving populations.  Oh, and the gods live within the Nexus and seem to have some responsibility for creating life, maintaining the balance of the Nexus and controlling all magic (alchemy).

Most of the action takes place in the skies on board the Wind Sabre, an airship, lending the steampunkish feeling. Though the presence of gods and magic/alchemy also give it a fantasy feeling. The non-earth space-like setting gives it a scifi feel. Plus there are aliens.  So it is hard to define the genre of Flotsam.  But, since I enjoy steampunk, fantasy and scifi, I really savored the combination.

There are many vividly described locations throughout Peridot that are part of the story.  I appreciated the author’s descriptions of all these fascinating places.

I loved that the adventure never, NEVER slowed down. Will Captain Talis next decision be a good one, or will she get her crew into even more trouble?  Spoiler – there was a lot of leaping from the frying pan into the fire.  Followed by more leaping…..

There are plenty of colorful characters in this book.  The least well known major character is the lead, Talis, as only parts of her story come out.  But this is a series.  There will be opportunities for Talis’ secrets to come out in a future story.  Throughout Flotsam, you get to know about the crew of Wind Saber as you learn how Dug, Sophie, and Tisker came to be part of the crew.  An there Talis’ ex-boyfriend, Hankirk, who is stupid and dangerous.  And, I suspect, he will not go away easily.

There was a cliffhanger ending, which I am not fond of.  I really liked this book, so Flotsam gets 4 stars – minus one star for the cliffhanger.

Through NetGalley, I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Orion’s Gate: Team Galaxy Riders (The Great Space Race) by Sabine Priestley – Review

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Review by Riley

About Orion’s Gate: Team Galaxy Riders

Trapped in another galaxy and forced into a deadly contest, Armond Nolde wants one thing: Win so he can return home and continue his life’s work as an Earth Protector creating portals.

His assigned partner, Vin, is large, passionate and overly talkative. She’s everything Armond is not. An Empath, Vin is fascinated by the emotionless albino. He’s easy on the eyes and cold as space—or so it seems.

Armond soon learns that Vin possesses an intelligence that rivals his own. When he is forced to connect with his psi to save Vin’s life, she discovers his deadly secret. More powerful than any psi before him, his control is slipping. Threatening to unleash a deadly force.

If they bond it could destroy them both.

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Review of Orion’s Gate: Team Galaxy Riders

Orion’s Gate: Team Galaxy Riders is part of a series of books by different authors about The Great Space RaceParagon Galaxy’s most popular reality show!

I don’t watch reality TV.  It is just not my thing.  However, while I am not all that interested in the overall series, this book is by a favorite author, Sabine Priestley. And it has a character familiar to me because of other Priestly books I have read. The familiar character, Armond, is from the Alien Attachments series. Plus, there is even a scene that overlaps with Sensate, a story from the Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 Anthology.  I love reading these kind of stories. They stand alone with that loose connection that gives you a feeling of familiarity.

In Orion’s Gate: Team Galaxy Riders, Vin starts out as an overly vivacious woman, but behind that facade lies the heart of an intelligent woman with psi talent. She is not the only one hiding her true self. Armond appears cold and calculating. But there is a reason for that. So both are hiding their true aspects. The more they learn about each other the more they may be able to be themselves. But there are many obstacles to overcome, not just from the race.  These are two very interesting characters that I loved reading about.

This book is a quick read with plenty of action and just the right amount of romance.  Even if reality TV is not your thing, you can enjoy The Great Space Race in Orion’s Gate: Team Galaxy Riders.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

 

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