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review 2017-06-18 15:22
Audio Book Review: Gilded Cage
Gilded Cage (A Canary Club Story Book 1)... Gilded Cage (A Canary Club Story Book 1) - Sherry D. Ficklin

*I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

Masie is the daughter of a powerful boot-legger, Dutch, and returns home from the private boarding school when she receives a call her father wanting her home for a family emergency. She finds there are a few major problems and differences since she left. Her mother's not doing well, mentally unstable. Father's business is on the rocks, standing a chance of falling apart. And the boy she had come to love before she left is now her father's hired hit man. Masie is determined to make a difference in the dangerous, dark illegal work those she loves lives in.

It was great to hear different voices created for each character along with getting the feel of the era they live in. The personality and attitude comes through clear with Meghan's narration. By the end, Meghan was Masie's voice for me, along with other characters. I was stunned at the beginning of the story as Meghan seemed to start off with a faster pace than I expected. But I took a breath, rewound, and started over again. This time I slipped into the story easily with Meghan voicing the characters.

Speakeasies, flapper dresses, alcohol, gangsters, danger, love, and more all in one place.

Masie is mixed up in the dangerous world of her fathers. She didn't realize how explosive her home was until she was sent away, something her mother wanted so she didn't see the life style they were living. Masie has been gone for three years and returning seems as though everything is natural, but it gives her pauses as well.

Masie lives the inside life of being a daughter of a boot-legger. It's not all the fun and glamour people think it is. Masie has to give things up, even people she loves, to carry on. This life is one that's not easy and she always has to be aware of what she's saying and who's around her. Masie is reminded that she's a bit of light and hope in the lives of the men around her - her father, brother, and the boy that she's loved. Masie will not let this life beat her or those she loves. She's determined to save someone, even if it's just herself. But she'll help the family all she can along the way.

There is a romance here. Masie and Vinny. They grew up together as her father took Vinny in when he was abandoned by his mother at a young age. Their relationship started to grow into more before she left, but neither acted on it, and now she sees it is more. Vinny's the hired hand that is dangerous when sent after people, but he's also the bad boy I can't help but love. He feels as he needs Masie in his life, to keep from falling down a very slippery, dark slope.

Masie finds herself on a new path she never expected to take. I'm worried though. There has to be some serious trouble in Masie's future, and with the warning Vinny gave her... will someone get hurt or die in the future books? This is not a cake walk in this business.

The beginning of what seems like a very good new series. Oh how things are going to change for Masie... I can't wait to see all the trouble and excitement she lives through!

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review 2017-01-09 19:38
Audio Book Review: Riven
Riven: The Lost Imperials - Sherry D. Ficklin,Tyler H. Jolley

*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review at my request.

After hearing what the Hollows did, creating a paradox that almost destroyed time and Flynn being lost to it, Tesla decides they must escalate plans to deal with the Hollows. Above all else, to get the Imperial children back.

Ethan starts to remember his past and it affects him in a way he'd not expected, or any other. He learns to travel through time and finds he's got more to offer than he expected.

James Darcy is a new narrator for me. In the beginning I could hear him taking the breath before speaking a stretch, though this became less obvious within the first chapters. Tesla's rendition here is not a twangy sound like in the previous stories, but more scratchy and deep. James uses his voice to make the differences where it sounded like others had used electronics to help with that twangy sound. I felt like the emotions of Ethan shifted as he talked in sudden ways instead of a smooth transition. Could it have been where new recordings ended and started? I'm not sure as the flow of recording is seamless, no audible clues to the recording sessions. I look through the ebook/print book before I start listening. One thing James doesn't add, and I wish he would have, was the heading of who we are living through. Ethan. There was one stumble, or I think, in one word as he reads through the story, in chapter 7. Overall, James was a nice voice to listen to.

Each book has a new focus character. This book is on Ethan. We overlap a little bit with some of the events from Prodigal, but Ethan's story is different in the events he lives through and learns of himself. We get to learn the connection of Ethan to the series title. Interesting what we've learned of these special children. With each book I realize how special these children really are.

We had seen Ethan fracture in the previous book. What we didn't see then is Ethan facing his past that's causing this fracture. Ethan must get his emotions under control, learning what happened in his past and facing his fear.

Oh how the lives of these children are intertwined. With the time travel, we see how the current selves interact with past lives of others. And it's so easy to keep track of who's when! I like the way the authors tell this story of time travel, making it easy to know who, where, and when we are.

We learn more of the Time Stream, and Stills and his connection to it. This is interesting. And the reason we learn it, oh very interesting. I can't tell you the reason because it ties in with the story. You just have to read (or listen) to learn about it too. Then we have a mission when Sisson returns from her travel to the future, things have changed and not for the good. We get to travel to the future with Ethan, Lex, and Sisson. There are some very interesting little, dangerous gadgets they get to use. The reason we travel to the future with Sisson is interesting and I like the way it's described before we go. It makes sense!

The path the authors take to tell the story is not always the way I would expect to travel. Sometimes it feels like we are going the wrong way, but it's far from that. The path takes us right where the characters need to be. I really enjoyed the journey of Ethan's here and what he learns of himself and around him. Ethan's venture takes place in the same time frame as Prodigal and ends in the same place, but where he goes and what he learns is completely different. And mind-blowing. I'm wondering where the children all go from here, with what they've all learned of themselves and the time. I hope they share it all and we go forward to see what they do.

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review 2016-10-21 19:21
My Review of Twists in Time
Twists In Time - Jon Messenger,Sherry D. Ficklin,Julie Wetzel,Kelly Risser,Kathy-Lynn Cross,Amanda Strong,Sandy Goldsworthy,Holly Kelly,Kasi Blake

Twists in Time is an anthology of time travel stories. I usually don't read anthologies or time travel for that matter, but I found these stories interesting and engaging. These authors are very creative in their story telling. The writing is superb and the stories are powerful. I was pleasantly surprised with this anthology. I won Twists in Time in a blog giveaway, and all opinions are my own.

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review 2016-09-04 14:35
Audio Book Review: Extracted
Extracted (The Lost Imperials Series) - Tyler H. Jolley,Sherry D. Ficklin

The synopsis here is one that tells what the story is about and without spoilers. I'll let that stand for the book.

This is the first time I've listened to Grace narrate. I really like how she puts extra thought into Tesla's voice. His voice has a mechanical sound to it, as though it's over a computer and emotionless. We get two main POV's, yet Grace helps put emotions and character into other characters in the story when they speak. We get the main feel of Ember and Lex through their views as we hear their emotions and how events affect them, Grace voices those feelings deeply as well.

We get the story from 2 POV's, Lex and Ember. Each a member of a different group of kids who fight each other - The Hollows and Tesla's Institute. If we get mention of one thing in one group, it's usually explained in more detail in the other. It feels like a show and explain process. Rather interesting as we get to see how things affect the story, characters or time, and why.

Lex and Ember seem strong in the time stream abilities and fighting. Lex feels he's comfortable in the Hollows group, with friends that are dear to him. Ember has her dear friends in the Tesla Institute and follows what is taught to her, but she has a feel as she does question a few tactics and way of things. Ember feels as she's not as comfortable at the Tesla Institute, but that's her home as well. It's not a bad place, she's not in danger there, but their way of things and her unknown past seem to clash in her heart. Ember does realize why through the book, and finds her way to somewhere else.

The story is fast moving from the start. There are fights between Tesla Institute kids and Hollows kids, even training between Lex and Stein. We get our fill of fights here, and that's okay with me!

The beginning of this book shows us the characters but it feels as there isn't a defined conflict yet. Sure, There are small missions and we see that The Hollows and Tesla Institute kids don't get along, but nothing big to give us the feel of where the story is going. We do get introduced and get to know the characters in this time getting us to like the feel of this world and idea of Rifters, even what can happen in the time stream to them. As we get to know our main characters we see how they love deeply for another, holding on to that love with the lose of their memories before Rifting. They will do anything for that other person, and Lex does. This brings the two worlds crashing together more than they have fought in the past.

There is an attraction between characters. There are relationships and we see love between Lex and Stein, both Hollows and strongest Rifters. Stein is a strong girl. She fights and knows how to handle herself. She's fearless.

In time the series title and direction of the book becomes clear. The Lost Imperials and Ember and Lex's POV's are all connected. This story is about them, how they lost each other and found each other again. But, it's not the connection you would think. ;) It's something deeper and longer lasting. We also come to learn why these children are picked to be rifters. Interesting.

The one thing that could be a problem with time travel is a paradox, and these kids face what could create it and what could happen if they try to change things. Should they chance it? And face the consequences?

This world of time traveling and Tesla is riveting for me. I'm drawn to the creation here. The story is strongly character driven from the kids that rift through time.

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review 2016-03-13 14:23
Audio Book Review: Prodigal
Prodigal (The Lost Imperials Series Book 2) - Sherry Ficklin,Tyler Jolley

*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Stein found one of Tesla's old journals, the deadly enemy of the Hollows, and has found the emblem sketched inside that matches her birthmark. She has questions for Tesla, but one big question to answer first. Having her DNA tested she finds that she tests positive for Aetas Mutation. Looking deeper into her DNA Nobel finds she's suffering from something far worse than expected. Tesla is working to stop all the Hollows from accessing the Time Stream, but Stein starts to see she has to face the threat to her and her friends lives to save her own.

Gwendolyn did a splendid performance. Gwendolyn does a voice of Tesla through the speaker, and it sounds like it's coming through an old speaker! I really enjoyed Gwendolyn's interpretation of feelings through pauses when speaking. These really help hit home a spectrum of emotions depending on what's happening. She has the dreamy, tender feel to her voice as her rhythm smooths with longer pauses at moments of kisses to give use the feel they are sweet and lasting memories. Even when voices were to sound flat, she did it in the same vocal for the character.

I've not read or listened to the first book. I was told I could start with this book and be okay. I was able to read/listen to this book without the first. This story does not linger on the retelling of the previous book, which I love. There is enough through the book to understand and make you curious as to what happened in the first book or why, leaving you wanting to read that book as well. I also think hurt feelings with some of the Hollows starts in the first book.

Wow. The prologue has a lot of information that had me pausing and noting questions I'm hoping to get answers to. The Hollows? Imperial children? Rifters? I'm curious of all these things but by the end I figured out Rifters are time travelers, and that's what the group of Hollows does. Then we see Catherine and her device that she's working on with Tesla's brain. Wow. That's one dangerous machine, and she doesn't come across as the kindest person either.

The story fascinated me from the beginning, feeling as it's well thought out world of gadgets and time travel along with the motives of the people. The world is full of nifty research and gadgets that could be and is used by the Rifters. There are people who live with enhancements with good reason. We also get time travel, but not as much of that is done. I also get the feel that there are rules and restrictions on using and when going in the time spectrum, but we don't see that side here.

We get to see Tesla! In the current time Tesla is only a brain that's wired into the Institutes speakers and cameras. He's a brilliant man and still working! But ooooh, he's a devilish man as well.

I think this is classified as steampunk. And in some ways it is. It has the elements present to be. But it also has other elements mixed in that makes the story deeper in the world of inventions. Is there a Teslapunk? Or New Electropunk? Whatever the classification, I loved all I found here!

I wanted to keep listening as I wanted to know what was happening to Stein, and the others but mostly Stein as this story is about her. And what was everyone at Tesla's Institute up to, as it couldn't be good. In the end I kept watching the time left of the story as I feared we wouldn't get a complete ending, that we would end on a cliffhanger. There are a few speculations I have of Ember and Stein and I got some hints and answers. There is an ending, but there is also a revelation that has me scrambling to see where the next book is!

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