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Today I share part three of my audiobook highlights of 2019.  There are several audiobooks that I listened to in 2019 that I am featuring over a few posts.  Each has that one-two (sometimes one-two-three) combination of author and narrator(s) that makes them such great stories.  I’ve got a series of three (short) review posts planned:

  1. Freebie’s – Audiobooks that I won from an author, or were given away for the asking. For some reason (a reason that I will not question), authors are happy to give away Audible codes for their books. I tend to snatch them up.  Click on “Freebies” to see those reviews from November 21.
  2. Gotta Listen (I Love These Authors and Narrators) – Audiobooks from series I read in 2019 that must be experienced to be appreciated.
  3. Everything Else – Other recommended audiobooks, whether they are parts of series or standalones.

You will note that I use the word “short” to describe these reviews. With audiobooks, I do not take notes, highlight text or underline passages that I want to be sure to include in a review. I just listen. So, these reviews will be short and to the point. The book blurb will be longer!

In “short”, I liked all of these audiobooks and would recommend every one of them!

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Today’s Reviews – Everything Else.  Don’t let that title fool you into thinking they are all in the same category.  (Except for the category of “Recommended”.)  There will be a variety of genres and narrators, so hopefully, you will find something that “sounds” good.  All of these audiobooks were either purchased by me, or checked out from my library’s audiobook consortium.

If any of these sound good, click on the cover to find the book or audiobook on Amazon.

Listed below are the Everything Else recommended audiobooks that I listened to in 2019.

 

The Kings Favorite ( Daughters of Avalon, #1)
by Tanya Anne Crosby
read by Joel Froomkin

Bartering a deal with their “witchy” mother, Stephen the Usurper intends to wed all five sisters to his “new men.” Fearing her “gifts” will be used to defeat her sister Matilda, Elspeth escapes the Black Mountain priory that has sheltered them since their father’s death, only to find herself indebted to, of all men, a Scotsman, whose loyalties are in question….

Left to face the wrath of a new sovereign, Malcom Scott is forced to swear fealty to Stephen of Blois in order to keep the demesne he won by slaying his own grandsire. But having done so, he’s pitted himself against Scotia, and even his own sire. Yet even as he realizes there is no turning back, the late King’s favorite illegitimate daughter may offer him more than he ever anticipated.

Review
Story 5 stars
Narration 4 stars

I discovered this series when I discovered Chirp – an audiobook e-tailer that has some super good deals, with some as low as $.99. The mixture of historical and mythical figures is fascinating and I can’t wait to see where this series goes. Part historical, with lots of good history, and part paranormal, the series has much potential, since there are 4 more sisters with stories to tell. The narration was okay, but I will likely go to the e-book for the next book in the series. In fact, I have next two installments on my Kindle: The Holly and the Ivy and A Winter’s Rose.  It occurs to me, these two are perfect for December reading.

 

A Murder in Time (Kendra Donovan, #1)
by Julie McElwain
read by Lucy Raynor

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered, and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her 21st century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.

Review
Story 5 stars
Narration 5 stars

Since I started reading the Kendra Donovan series with book 2, I decided to go back and see how it all began. Overall, the series is historical mystery with a bit of romance. And the theme of time travel is ever present. Historical mystery readers will need to be patient reading through the first few chapters, but patience is rewarded. This is a story of a 21st century FBI profiler trying to solve mysteries in 1815 using the advanced methods and concepts she knows. All the while trying to fit in 200 years in her past. This interesting concept makes Kendra a great character to follow through this series which is now 4 books strong.

 

Holly Danger series
by Amanda Carlson
read by Emma Wilder

Danger’s Race (#3)

Danger’s Cure (#4)

153 years in the future, Earth doesn’t look much like it use. The norm in this city is a scrape-by existence in a post-apocalyptic world, where the rain never stops, food is always scarce, and the elite have deserted the ranks in search of something better. Holly Danger and her friends do all they can to make the world as they know it a better place. Championing the underdogs while going after the power-hungry and the corrupt leaders, Holly and friends have their work cut out for them

Review
Stories 5 stars
Narration 5 stars

In this post-apocalyptic world, everyone is appreciated for the skills they have acquired. It is a world of great need, so all contributions are appreciated, man or woman. Holly sometimes seems a bit super-heroish, but that does not detract from her. Physically and mentally strong, Holly survives with her friends in a manner that they – and nobody else – have defined. The cast of supporting characters is strong and the continuing story line has me coming back for more.  I recommend starting the series at the beginning.

 

An Oath of Dogs
by Wendy N. Wagner
read by Amy Finegan

Kate Standish has been on the forest-world of Huginn less than a week, and she’s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss. But the little town of mill workers and farmers is more worried about ecoterrorism and a series of attacks by the bizarre, sentient dogs of this planet than a death most people would like to believe is an accident. That is, until Kate’s investigation uncovers a conspiracy which threatens them all.

Review
Story 5 stars
Narration 5 stars

One of the most unusual scifi plots I read this year. I’d call it eco-scifi (is that a genre?)  It even takes on a bit of a horror aspect as both the planet and the sentient dogs are no friends of the human settlers. This one kept me awake a night or two. Considering I hardly ever pick up horror, I am surprised I am recommending it. But I am. The ending justifies my feelings, so read through the creep…..

 

Blood Ties (Agents of the Crown, #2)
by Lindsey Buroker
read by Vivienne Leheny

Recently appointed Crown Agents Jev and Zenia must prove they’re worthy of their new jobs and young King Targyon’s trust.

Their mission? To research the strange “disease of the blood” that killed Targyon’s three cousins and left him unexpectedly ruling an entire kingdom at barely 20 years of age.

There are just a few problems. If someone was responsible for creating that disease, that person could still be in the city, forcing Zenia and Jev to deal with someone very smart and very dangerous. Meanwhile, since Targyon has the same blood flowing through his veins that his cousins had, he’s at risk of becoming the next victim. And as it so happens, Jev shares some of that blood, too. Might he become a target before Targyon?

When Jev and Zenia signed on for this job, they didn’t realize how deadly it might become.

Review
Story 5 stars
Narration 5 stars

Both Jev and Zenia are interesting, complex characters who complement each other as they take on missions for the Crown. Use of magic spices things up and the anti-elf bigotry gives the reader something to ponder. I have the entire series on my Kindle, just haven’t gotten to 3-5 yet. I wish I had time to read more of this fantasy series!

 

Cold War series
by Ken Bebelle and Julia Vee
read by Luke Daniels and Khristine Hvam

The Needle: An Alien Invasion (Cold War, Prequel)

Cold War: Alien Storm

The Needle is an action-packed first contact story that shares the battle for Earth through two soldiers’ eyes.

The Ringhead aliens have arrived, and they are xenoforming the Earth, sending mankind towards a new Ice Age.

Cold War: Alien Storm takes place after the war is truly under way.  When Lieutenant Cam Alvarez is called to investigate a desert massacre in the US Green Zone, she prepares for the worst.  Alien invaders already dominate Earth’s expanding polar regions, but Cam had never seen Ringheads survive exposure to heat… until they storm her troops and abduct her.

On board the alien mothership, Cam knows she alone can warn the human resistance about the catastrophic new threat. Subjected to cruel experiments, she fights for control as the Ringheads slowly strip away her humanity. Against impossible odds, Cam must escape her captors and make an unthinkable sacrifice to give humanity one last shot at survival.

Review
Stories 5 stars
Narration 5 stars

Both The Needle and Alien Storm are intensely dramatic, constantly moving, and ever-evolving. The adventure never ends even when the characters are practically dead. Part sci-fi, part alien horror, this it the kind of story I would not go to the theatre to see (too much gore), but comes across just fine in audiobook form. Great heroic characters give the listener plenty to sympathize with and aliens, whose purpose seems to be to wipe out humanity, give us a reason to cheer for the good guys. Be warned, this is not a happily ever after story. The series continues with Alien Exile, which just released. Here’s hoping things start looking up for humanity.

High marks to both narrators. Luke Daniels is favorite narrator for me and many other listeners. The equally talented Khristine Hvam was new to me, but she has quite a repertoire, so is probably familiar to many listeners.