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review 2017-02-15 15:19
An 11-year-old's insight into his life, the universe and many other things
See You in the Cosmos - Jack Cheng



This is the story of Alex going to launch his rocket in New Mexico at a rocket festival. With a dead father, uncaring mother and absent brother, he has learnt to deal with life on his own. The book is a journey in which Alex makes new friends and makes discoveries about how people behave.


Reasonably entertaining, this fits into this new genre of young adults telling their stories in a “charming” or “heart-warming” manner. It works well and is relatively engaging and well-written.


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review 2016-10-05 09:00
Audio Review: Merrick's Maiden by S.E. Smith (@sesmithfl)


Series: Cosmos' Gateway, #5
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Published: April 14, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins

I'm going to be honest here and admit that I never read the descriptive blurb. I just saw the next book in the Cosmos' Gateway series and put in my request. An earlier book in the series is when Merrick gets captured, and we even find out that he gets away, but his story wasn't even hinted out. Since he has been a secondary character since the first book, I was eager to get his story. 

It was after I started listening to this book that I realized that our heroine was deaf. And it hit me that I don't think I have ever read about where one of our lead characters was deaf. The author did a great job making sure that the character stayed true to the limitation the disability would cause. 

The narrator did a good job with the emotions of the characters. The men still sound a bit stiff, but overall it was a decent listen.

If you like some sci fi mixed with your romance, this series just might be for you.

Audiobook Jukebox provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Merrick Ta'Duran is the powerful leader of the Eastern Mountain Clan on the Prime world of Baade. His people, known as the Ghosts of the Forests, live high in the Eastern Mountains. Merrick feels the weight of responsibility as the males within his clan become desperate to find mates among the few remaining females. When word comes that a new species has been discovered, he knows he must do what is right for his people, even if it means traveling to a strange, alien realm to do it.

Merrick's world changes when he is injured and captured by a ruthless group of humans. Drugged and held against his will, he is the subject of experiments and testing as the humans try to discover where he came from and to duplicate his strength and ability to heal quickly. After months of captivity, he fears his life will end on the strange world--until one chance encounter gives him hope.

Addie Banks' life has been one of silence since a devastating illness when she was sixteen. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she goes to school during the day and works at night to put herself through college. Her life unexpectedly changes when she stumbles across something she wasn't supposed to see while at work. Now, she hears a voice in her head, and it is driving her crazy. Her only hope for peace is to help the creature talking to her to escape from the men holding him.

Merrick knows the female who helps him is his bond mate. She may deny it. She may fight it. She may even try to run from it, but it won't matter. She is his, and he will do everything he can to convince her: hold her or even kidnap her if that is what it takes to make her realize that they belong together.

Will Addie hear the love and longing in Merrick's voice? Can she trust and accept the new life he has to offer? Or will a ruthless killer silence him before she gets a chance?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28390043-merrick-s-maiden  http://amzn.to/2bEDLvq http://goo.gl/wNNKWr http://goo.gl/2yglfp http://goo.gl/V4G6qU
Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/10/audio-review-merricks-maiden-se-smith.html
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text 2016-07-21 21:01
Author's coming to Fandomfest (Louisville, KY)
The Banished Craft (Shkode, #1) - E.D.E. Bell
The Thunderbolt Affair - Geoffrey Mandragora
Heroes or Thieves (Steps of Power: The Kings) (Book 2) - J J Sherwood
The Exodus Gate - Stephen Zimmer
Gemini's War (Gemini Rising) - Amy McCorkle
Cosmos the Stellar Stalker - Ronald R. Van Stockum Jr,Steven Eilers
Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber

Well, in addition to celebrity ones like Stan Lee these authors are coming to Fandomfest (Louisville, KY) this weekend so sampling. See http://fandomfest.com/authors/  for details.


E.D.E. Bell's page on booklikes is http://booklikes.com/e-d-e-bell/author,4074224 .  "… a genre-bending fantasy saga that follows the adventures of Cor, a woman caught in a dying world that does not accept her, and Atesh, a dragon scientist who's been asked to violate his own ethics or put the lives of his family at risk. Follow their trials as they deal with a shattered world, mired in political upheaval, while they try to rediscover a lost magic. The Banished Craft begins the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected. "


Geoffrey Mandagora at http://booklikes.com/geoffrey-mandragora/author,3139523.  ""What you will be working on is underhanded, unfair, and damned un-English." 1887 The British Empire is in danger of collapse and teeters on the brink of war with the Kaiser Reich. Spies and saboteurs play at deadly games in the British shipyards as each side seeks naval superiority. Ian Rollins is collateral damage in their shadow war. The "accident" and his grievous injuries are about to bring his naval career to an ignominious end. But with the aid of a former Pinkerton detective, a clandestine agent for the Admiralty, a brace of Serbian savants, and one, mostly sober valet, he might survive. If he can master the skills necessary to command the world's first fully operational combat submarine, the HMS Holland Ram, and protect the secrets of the Thunderbolt. Historical Note. The Fenian Ram, fictionalized for this novel, does exist and is currently on display at the Paterson Museum in Paterson, NJ. "


J. Sherwood Weber at http://booklikes.com/j-sherwood-weber/author,635445.  "...a political intrigue that spirals into an action and adventure series as the final events unfold.  8,994 P.E. — The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.  As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war."


Stephen Zimmer at http://booklikes.com/stephen-zimmer/author,662886.  "The Exodus Gate, by Stephen Zimmer, is a modern fantasy novel that is the first release in the Rising Dawn Saga. The story unfolds around Benedict Darwin, host of a popular late night radio show that deals with the paranormal. Benedict comes into possession of a virtual reality simulator that turns out to be something far greater and more powerful than he ever expected. Meanwhile, supernatural powers from the depths of the Abyss and their human allies are working tirelessly to bring about a One World Government. They are also laboring to bridge the boundaries between time and space to bring back the Nephilim, the monstrous offspring of Fallen Avatars and humans that were destroyed in a Great Flood that occurred long ages ago. An epic tale of courage, hope, and adventure, with fantastical realms and exotic creatures."


Amy McCorkle at http://booklikes.com/amy-mccorkle/author,2382993 .  "Gemini Michaels doesn't believe in fairytales. Not the Disney kind anyway. More like Grimm's fairytales. Her father Jacob Michaels is a powerful man whose reach goes as high in government as his ambition allows. He got there by peddling in darkest of vices. Sexual slavery and prostitution…"


Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr. at http://booklikes.com/ronald-r-van-stockum-jr/author,4993260 .  "…Set in Louisville, Kentucky in 1976, the writer recounts what-ifs with spectacular scenes in a rail yard, through hidden tunnels, and in old abandoned buildings. From the beginning when a visitor from another world pops up in a downtown Louisville ad agency, until the spectacular finale, Van Stockum gives us another unique and interesting journey in to the world of "What if?" …"

Source: Author is coming to Fandomfest (Louisville, KY) this weekend so sampling. See fandomfest.com/authors
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review 2016-07-02 09:00
Audio Reviews: Tansy's Titan & Cosmos' Promise by S.E. Smith (@sesmithfl)

Series: Cosmos' Gateway, #3
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Published: February 23, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman

From the first two books, Tansy was the Bell sister I was most interested in reading about. Her sisters, Tink and Hannah, had made her out to be this female James Bondian style character, out doing super secret, save the world type things. It's a toss up whether this is her book or Mak's. By the time we are at the beginning of this book, we have actually gotten to know Mak a little bit, but only know Tansy through her sister's descriptions.

I liked that Mak respected her strength and skill very quickly. He was much less the Alpha-hole his brother was in book 1. For all his super scary tough macho guy facade, he was much more in touch with the female mind.  I think it had to do with his relationships with his mother and sister to be honest. There was a lot of action and suspense going on as Mak and Tansy are playing cat and mouse with some really evil bad guys. There was still some over the top, ultra convenient moments that happened occasionally, but the story also has some strong fantasy elements, and I decided to suspend believe and just go with it. Overall, the action was well plotted and flowed really well.  You can definitely see the progression of the author's writing skills from book 1.

I am glad that I have stuck with this series; it just keeps getting better and better. I gave this book 4 stars.

Audiobook Jukebox and Blackstone Audio provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

From a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of science fiction and paranormal romance comes another story full of action, adventure, and suspense to transport listeners out of this world. Tansy, the middle daughter of the three Bell sisters, has always been a little different, even for a Bell. Like a chameleon, she can change her appearance and personality to blend in almost anywhere, and she uses this talent to bring to justice some of the worst criminals in the world.

Mak 'Tag Krell Manok is the wild one of his four brothers. He is known for his huge size, hot temper, fierce strength, and skills as a warrior. Few men in any galaxy dare to challenge him and live. Frustrated by his failure to find females compatible with a Prime male, he returns to his home world only to discover his oldest brother has found his bond mate in an unusual species known as a human. What is even more astonishing is Mak's reaction to an image of the sister of his brother's bond mate.

Mak has set a new course for Earth and for Tansy, the female who stirs his blood to fire. But first he has to find her. Next he has to convince her she belongs to him. And if all else fails, he will just take her. After all, she is delicate and fragile - no match for a Prime warrior. What Mak doesn't expect is to find her in trouble and fighting for her life. Now he must save her before it is too late. But even then there is no guarantee that she will come with him, for this small, fragile female has the strength and determination of 20 Prime males and values her independence.

Mak is about to learn that big trouble can come in very small packages and that there is one person in the universe not afraid to stand up to him - even if she is afraid to love him. Can he keep her alive long enough to realize she is the perfect mate for an untamed warrior, or will the men determined to kill her take not only her life but his as well?



Series: Cosmos' Gateway, #4
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Published: February 23, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman

After my enjoyment of the last book, Tansy's Titan, I was really looking forward to see what would happen with Cosmos.  The last book had strongly hinted at Cosmos and Terra being bond mates, so I was eager to see what/how it would happen.

As Terra is a female from Baade, I was a little bit surprised at how fiesty she was. After all, she is from a male dominated society that has so few females, they are looking outside their own species for mates. Of course, she also had an older brother who taught her to defend herself, so that helped to strengthen her spine.

Cosmos on the other hand, was a bit of a shock. We had only really seen him through the eyes of the Bell females. They saw him as a tech geek who had some dough due to his inventions. But once we get into the story we actually find out he is more a cross between Batman and Iron Man, with his money, his gadgets and his fighting abilities...  What's the male version of the Mary Sue?  Okay, so he wasn't, but there were moments I as just like, "of course he did. *sigh*"

Overall this was a pretty good book.  It gave us more insight into the world of Baade, and moved the story arc ahead. I just wish Cosmos hadn't been so damn perfect. He really needed a few more flaws to make him a more rounded character. I gave this book 3 stars.

Audiobook Jukebox and Blackstone Audio provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


New York Times and USA Today best-selling author S. E. Smith brings another action-, adventure-, and suspense-filled story to transport listeners out of this world.

Cosmos Raines is considered one of the most brilliant inventors in the world. A prodigy, he is a self-made billionaire who would rather be in his lab than jet-setting around the world. Things change when his latest experiment literally opens a gateway into a whole new world. Now not only has his best friend and her family moved to a new star system through the gateway he has opened but he finds himself with a warehouse full of alien guests, including one very aggravating female who has turned him inside out.

Terra 'Tag Krell Manok has spent her life in the shadows of her three older brothers. Her home world of Baade is a male-dominated world where females are few in number and protected to the point of captivity. Terra's father is the high chancellor of the Prime and considered the fiercest warrior of their world, next to her brothers. No one defies him and lives. Terra is surprised when her father suddenly sends her through the gateway into hiding to protect her from a clan insisting that she be mated for political purposes. The last thing she expects to find there is her bond mate - in the form of a human male.

Cosmos may not have been expecting to find the woman of his dreams on the other side of the gateway he built, but he knows one thing for sure: No one is going to take her away from him - not the clan who wants to use her nor her father, who thinks all human males are worthless. When she is taken from him, he will use every bit of his intelligence and ingenuity to not only track her down but steal her back. He will prove that a human male can be just as much a warrior as a Prime one, especially when it involves the woman he loves.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/07/audio-reviews-tansys-titan-cosmos-promise-se-smith.html
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review 2016-02-21 09:00
Audio Reviews: Tink's Neverland & Hannah's Warrior by S.E. Smith (@sesmithfl)


Tink's Neverland


Cosmos' Gateway, #1


S.E. Smith

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Date of Publication: December 15, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 7 hrs and 41 mins

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN    Audible    Downpour
Jasmine “Tinker” Bell has always had a love for life, looking forward to any new adventure that happens to come along. When a friend’s experiment creates a portal to another world she finds herself swept into a faraway galaxy she thought only existed in the movies.

J’kar ‘Tag Krell Manok had given up hope of ever finding his bond mate. He is surprised when a pint-size female unlike anything he has ever seen suddenly appears on his spaceship to save the life of his brother during an attack. When she is suddenly taken from him he will do anything to get her back and claim her.

Two different worlds collide when Tink, a mechanic in a small college town, meets J’kar, a Prime warrior from a far off galaxy. When Tink’s life is in danger, only J’kar can save her. Now Tink has to decide if she is willing to give up everything she has ever known and loved to stay with the alien she has fallen in love with.

Will their worlds survive the collision or will they be torn apart?

I am always on the look out for new authors and interesting story lines. This one caught my eye with the reference to Peter Pan. I have always had a bit of a fascination with the idea of a cross galaxy love affair. Blame my young expose to the wonders of Star Trek/Next Generation/Voyager and books like Johanna Lindsey's Warrior Trilogy and Lori Foster's My Man, Michael. When I saw that it was a series, I knew I wanted to check it out.

To start with, the narration was pretty good. There were times, especially when reading as males, that the narrator had a more stilted tone, really over emphasizing the words. It worked when it was the aliens, showing how different they were. But she also tended to do this for the earth men, so it defeated the earlier purpose of making them stand out and appear strange. Overall she did a good job, and to be honest, I'm glad that she had to stumble over some of the alien names and titles instead of me.

Tink was a fiesty character, and though J'Kar had some serious Alpha-hole tendencies, he proved redeemable. However, the characters weren't very three dimensional; Tink was very nearly a Mary Sue. I also had some issues with the smexy times. The wordage was awkward and I kept ending up torn between laughing and cringing at the language used during Tink and J'Kar's love making sessions. It just didn't flow and felt very forced.

On the plus side, I quite enjoyed the concept of the book. The bones of the story are not just good, they are great: the set up for further books was clearly marked, there was plenty of angles left to explore in future novels and their was enough science to be able to suspend belief. For a first novel in a series by a self-published author, it wasn't horrible; I've read worse. I know that sounds like damning with faint praise, but it's also truthful. I gave this book 2 stars, for being just okay.

Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and the author for the opportunity to listen and review the book.


Hannah's Warrior


Cosmos' Gateway, #2
S.E. Smith

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Date of Publication: December 14, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 7 hrs and 3 mins

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN    Audible    Downpour
Hannah Bell, the oldest of the three Bell sisters, spends most of her time in the remotest parts of the world photographing endangered animals. She is also gifted with an extraordinary sixth sense which has saved her life on more than one occasion. When she senses something has happen to her littlest sister, Tink, she will do whatever it takes to protect her. What she doesn’t know is her sister’s best friend Cosmos' new science experiment has opened a portal to another world. A world she is about to be taken to whether she wants to go or not.

Borj ‘Tag Krell Manok is the calmest of his four brothers, or so he always thought. The second oldest, he has been assigned the task by his father and the counsel to bring the sister of his brother's bond mate to their world. Borj knows deep down that Hannah is destined to be his bond mate, something he has hoped for since his first mating rite ceremony. What he doesn't expect when he meets her is her resistance or her independence.

When she is kidnapped by a rival clan, Borj will do anything to get her back. Hannah and Borj's escape into the vast forests of Prime draw them together in a fight not only for their lives but for a deeper understanding and trust between two vastly different worlds. Borj discovers Hannah is a fierce and cunning mate while Hannah discovers Borj is the perfect warrior to protect and love her.

If I hadn't already requested this book along side the first one, I probably wouldn't have listened to this book. As it was, I debated on whether to DNF the series at book 1. Thankfully I gave book 2 a chance.

One of the problems that I had with the narrator during the first book continued in this one. The narrator tended to over enunciate for the male characters. It gave them a very stiff, stilted feel. While I could understand some of the older politic males speaking thus, it was done for all of them. Even the younger males. Additionally, there was mention of an IA having a voice modeled after the Bell sister's mother. At first the narrator used a slightly different accent and tonal spacing to differentiate between the two, but she couldn't keep it consistent throughout and it sounded sloppy.

I was pleased to see that some of the problems that I had with the first book's writing had been corrected in this book. The smexy times flowed better, and seemed much less forced. Also, Hannah was a more well rounded character than Tink, as was her mate.

Future books continued to be foreshadowed, if a bit too heavy handed for a second book. We had an initial set up, now let each play out on it's own. There was more detailed action scenes and a bit more suspense to be found in this book, and it was nicely done. I did enjoy that there was some exploration of this new world the Bell sister's find themselves on. Even if the wrap up felt a bit rushed.

It was very clear, that this was a more put together book than the first one. The story line was tighter, the editing was more on point and it just had a better overall flow. I'm glad that I gave this one a chance and am interested to see where book 3 will take me. I gave this book 3 stars.

Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and the author for the opportunity to listen and review the book.



Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2016/02/audio-reviews-tinks-neverland-hannahs-warrior-se-smith.html
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