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review 2020-03-20 19:06
Ominous Roads
Companions on the Road - Tanith Lee

A collection of two short novels by Tanith Lee. These stories are among her earliest published work and reflect the ominous dark tone of most of her Fantasy. The stories are unrelated, but linked by the fact that most of the story of both novels consists of a long journey.


Companions on the Road, the title story, follows three men who loot a valuable treasure from a burning city, but the object is cursed and brings doom that stalks them in their dreams. The Winter Players follows the young priestess of a fishing village who pursues a man who has stolen a relic from her shrine, but nothing about her quest is what it appears. If you enjoy light fantasy entertainment with a dark edge to it you will enjoy these stories. I would also recommend Lee's Flat Earth series, which has a similar tone on a bigger scale.

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text 2020-03-01 19:48
The Companions
The Companions - Katie M. Flynn

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A fascinating theme, that ties with certain questions I see raised when it comes to consciousness, AI, and “the cloud”: what if, someday, we found a way to upload human consciousness at or shortly before the moment of death, so that our minds could keep existing on a server, or, in the case here, in artificial bodies? With an added theme in “The Companions”: all these “reborn” humans are actually no more than slaves, being the property of the Metis corporation, leased to people wealthy enough to afford them, and hindered by safeguards so that they remain the, well, obedient little slaves they’re meant to be.

Interesting, right? There are so many things wrong here, starting with the property part, and going on with what happens when the artificial body is damaged, or how memories fare after years spent like that. This is one of the conundrums of Lilac’s existence: now the companion to a teenager named Dahlia, she was murdered as a teenager herself, and keeps her memories alive at first by telling Dahlia her “story”. Up until the day she gets information that the person who killed her is still alive, and realises that, for some reason, her “failsafes” aren’t exactly working.


The narrative itself turned out to be increasingly… random. At first, having Lilac’s perspective to rely on was fairly intriguing, and the additional, other characters’ points of view seemed seamless at first (after Lilac, we get Cam, who works at the place where Lilac goes to find her killer, so that does make sense). However, it quickly became quite muddled, with the characters themselves not leaving much of an impression. In a way, this read at times like a collection of short stories that were trying to form into a novel, and in the end, that made for neither strong short stories nor a strong novel. The overall story, all in all, kept meandering, and never gave the sense of an actual plot/red thread tying everything together.

Conclusion: Good theme, but not particularly well-handled.

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review 2020-02-12 15:33
The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell

Gothic horror, with the usual cast - creepy house which is dilapidated, new mistress who receives a cold welcome from the few remaining staff, unfriendly villagers and the scene is set for weird goings on! It was ok but didn’t leave me scared of my own shadow which is a must for horror books. It might have worked better as a short story or novella, made it more sinister, something like less is more, sort of thing. Loved the cover, for me, the best part of the book.

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url 2019-10-31 06:02
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review 2019-06-14 23:33
It's Murder My Son by Lauren Carr (new audiobook version)
It's Murder, My Son - Lauren Carr

I had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing this book some years ago. And now it’s back with a new audiobook addition, this time narrated by Mike Alger (instead of Janean Jorgenson). It was so good to pick this book up again. The Mac Faraday mysteries are my favorites by Lauren Carr and I love this opening tale that introduces us to Mac, Gnarly, and Archie.

Mac Faraday receives the best news of his life on the toughest day he’s had yet. Just finalizing his messy divorce, he learns that his deceased birth mother who put him up for adoption has left him a fortune. Now Faraday has moved to Spencer Manor in an effort to connect with the mother he never knew. But murder lurks just around the corner and Mac puts his DC detective skills to use.

I’ve been listening to several Lauren Carr books recently and I love that they can be explored as stand alones. It was great to go back to Book 1 and see how things got started for Mac, how he met Archie, learned about his mom, and adopted Gnarly dog. While this isn’t my favorite book of the series, it’s a solid start to an entertaining murder mystery series.

Set in Spencer, Maryland, the Spencer Manor sits next to the lake in a gated community that harbors many secrets. Mac is new to wealth and he finds it takes some skills to navigate this new economic reality he’s landed in. It’s good that Archie is there to help him fit in. She was Robin Spencer’s assistant and lives in the guest cottage.

A few months before Mac moved in, a neighbor in the area was strangled to death. Katrina was a very charming woman who had a stalker. Of course, the husband Chad has to be cleared first but after 3 months, there are few clues to David (the local police officer) to continue on with the investigation.

I really enjoyed learning about David in this book. He’s Mac’s younger half-brother. The two have never met and it’s a bit awkward. Toss in David’s current problems with his boss, Chief of Police Roy Phillips, and David’s got a few reasons to be angry. Things get even more aggravating for the two experienced investigators when Phillips brings in his ‘expert’, a crime fiction author. Awkward, indeed!

Gnarly was the star of the show once again. He has his own insecurities and is something of a klepto. Mac has to learn about this the hard way and Archie does her best to keep Gnarly out of trouble. Of course, that all goes out the window when Gnarly turns up with a human skull. Good boy! Er… maybe not. Where did you get that? No! You can’t eat it! Here! Have my breakfast instead.

There are lots of characters in this novel and I sometimes had trouble keeping up with all of them. I think it could have been slimmed down a bit and the plot would have been less tangled. I also would have liked a bit more Archie. I feel she’s underutilized even though I know she comes into her own later in the series. Still, it’s an entertaining read and I’m glad I skipped back to this book to see how things got started for Mac. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Mike Alger is at his best as Mac Faraday. I don’t think I could picture  any other voice for Mac. Over all, this is one of his better performances. I like his voice for David as he does a great job of making him sound related to Mac but also younger. His voice for Archie is also well done. The pacing is perfect & there’s no issues with the technical recording. If anything, Alger could have a little more variation in voices. 4.5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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