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text 2016-09-13 16:07
Mary Sue & Her Magical Menagerie: Baehrly Breathing | Review
Baehrly Breathing: Goldie Locke and the Were Bears, Book 1 - Elizabeth A Reeves,Elizabeth A Reeves,L.E. Scott

A fluffy Cozy Contemporary Fantasy Mystery with some dark undertones.

 

It's difficult to be taken seriously when you are a member of the Magical community and saddled with the unfortunate name 'Goldie Locke'. It certainly doesn't help if you are also about five feet tall, blond, and most commonly described as 'cute.'. What was a girl to do?

 

Become one of the most dreaded Magical environmental lawyers of all time?

 

Goldie isn't there yet, but she's well on her way when a case drags her into uncharted territory-- working with Ordinary officials to figure out why 'unusual' remains are being discovered all around New England.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $4.98 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Baehrly Breathing by Elizabeth A Reeves, read by LE Scott, published 2013 / Length: 5 hrs 8 min / Available exclusively from Audible (& Amazon)

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 5.5 so far in the "Goldie Locke and the Were Bears" series. The first 3.5 books are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

Simple & fluffy, with a heroine who is more than a bit of a Mary Sue, this is nevertheless a fun book that I enjoyed and occasionally listen to again.

 

I won't be reading any further in this series, however, since I am not a fan of love triangles; plus I have read that the books get darker after this. But I don't regret reading this one.

 

Note: Shifter are a minor part of this first book (just in case that is what you are looking for.)

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review 2016-06-01 17:03
Come Take a Trip: Streetlights Like Fireworks | Review + Author Interview
Streetlights Like Fireworks - David Pandolfe,David Pandolfe,Adam Verner

The first Jack & Lauren road trip is a fun YA Psychic Mystery that I liked better after listening to the second one.

 

Jack has been getting on his parents' nerves for some time. Bad enough he's a rock musician, has crappy grades, and hangs out with his "loser" friends. But Jack's ability to predict the future - well, that just annoys the hell out of them.

 

Jack's classmate, Lauren, is said to have unique abilities too. The town still talks about when she kept badgering her mother about the money in their wall. For the longest time, Lauren's mother didn't listen. Finally, she did and Lauren's mother hasn't had to work since.

 

Jack would really like to connect with Lauren but can't figure out how. She's never looked at him twice. But when he experiences a mystifying event involving visions, voices, and spectral visits, Jack figures there's only one person to help him understand who's calling out to him and why. Before long, Jack and Lauren are off on a road trip of discovery that could provide answers to a mystery left unsolved for 20 years. More importantly, they might even unravel the greatest mystery of all - how every so often someone will accept you for who you are.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $1.99.

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Streetlights Like Fireworks by David Pandolfe, read by Adam Verner, published Independently (2015) / Length: 6 hrs 46 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is #1 of 4 (so far) in the Streetlights series. The first 3 are available on audio. According to the author, the narrator "expects Gem [#4] to be ready by the end of June." When asked if there would be a #5, he said "Yes, regarding another book in the series. They're fun to write!"

 

SUMMARY:

In November of 2014, I got the Kindle version of this book for free. (It is permafree, so you can pick up too if you'd like.) I read and liked it, but it wasn't an instant favorite. When the sequel, The Dragonfly Season, came out I read it and liked it enough that I was willing to accept the audiobook for review. I found that I really liked it in that format. (You can read my review here.)

 

So, I put the audiobook version of this one on my TBR (TBL?). And I found that I liked this one better in audio format as well. This isn't any great surprise, since this is usually the case for me, if the narrator is good. (Note: This book has a different narrator than the others.)

 

This is a leisurely tale that won't be for those who need constant action, but may be appreciated by those who like spending time getting to know great characters.

 

 

CHARACTERS:

Jack: The unsatisfactory son of a stuffy straight-laced family. He isn't a social outcast, due to his family's status, but he doesn't have a lot of friends either. He struggles with the fact that nothing he ever does or wants to do is acceptable to his family, and everything they want him to do is something he hates. I like that, despite the fact that this is a paranormal story, Jack is just so normal.

 

Lauren: A social outcast who has found her circle of friends among other "gifted" people online. She takes charge and makes things happen, pushing Jack to do what needs to be done to resolve the mystery. She also serves as his guru, encouraging him to learn what he can do with his gift.

 

Jack & Lauren: No InstaLove (& no Love Triangle)! Jack has had a bit of a crush on Lauren for a while now, but never had the courage to approach her. The relationship develops bit by bit (although it is over a relatively short period of time).

 

PLOT:

I think we started at the perfect point, when Jack "meets" the guitar that will change his life.  In the end, the mystery of the guitar is solved and Jack & Lauren have bonded. In between, we get to visit a lot of interesting people and places as they make their way across the country.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Jack's description of Lauren
I’ve always had this thing about moths. How they fly at night, beautiful spots and patterns not meant for our eyes. Everything about them intended for some other realm we might glimpse but never fully experience. Hidden. Magical. Secret. That’s Lauren to me. Jet black hair streaked with blue, green and sometimes red. Black eyeliner. Purple hoodie, gray jeans, black combat boots. A midnight rainbow.
  • Jack's comments on judging people based on their appearence:
"...adults peg you for being a total loser if you don’t look like you just strolled out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. If you dress in black or do anything suggesting “goth” everyone assumes you’re mainlining heroin while bent on suicide. It doesn’t ever occur to them that maybe it’s the football team and cheerleaders sucking back beers, smoking weed and hooking up while the “freaky” kids are home on Friday night reading a book or checking out stuff on Tumblr."

 

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Swearing (including 2 F words, used by one character during a single conversation) / Underage drinking (although he regretted it the next day) / Illegal driving


OTHER CAUTIONSCaution: Jack has to control his thoughts about Lauren to avoid embarrassing himself. / A briefly met character is said to have done "something" to his sister / They visit & stay with a lesbian couple who are friends of Lauren.

 

NARRATION:

Good differentiation of voices, emoting & pacing / Speed is really good. I was able to listen on regular speed (rather than my usual 1.25 speed) / Some might find his voice a bit deep for a high schooler. / His female voices aren't feminine, but he doesn't try to fake it so they are acceptable.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Streetlights Like Fireworks (#1) by David Pandolfe, read by Adam Verner, published Independently (2015) / Length: 6 hrs 46 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Can you recommend any other (non-murder) YA Psychic Mysteries?
  • If you could do the road trip of your dreams, where would you go? [I would do New Zealand, since friends of mine went before LOTR ever came out and I was blown away by their pictures.]
  • Has your life ever taken a turn because you realized that you liked something else more than what you were currently doing? (Check out the author's answer in his interview below.)

--

  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
  • I recently debuted my redesigned blog. What do you think?

Got My Book Signature


RELATED POSTS:

The Sequel

The Dragonfly Season

The Dragonfly Season

[Review + Narr Ivu]

★★★★★

The Dragons of Dorcastle

The Dragons of Dorcastle

[Review + Author Ivu]

★★★★½

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

[Review + Author Ivu]

 

Bonus Author Interview

 

Tell us something about your lead character(s) that we don't already know. [Exclusive

"When Lauren was a child, she used to tell her parents about Sarah, the other girl living in their house. Her parents assumed Sarah was Lauren’s imaginary friend (no one likes to think they have a ghost in their house)."

If you were to spend a day with your lead characters, what would the three of you do?

"Road trip! Knowing Jack and Lauren, we’d probably be gone much more than a day and could end up anywhere."

Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know.

"I used to front an alternative rock band. I later realized I liked writing songs more than performing them. Then it occurred to me that I might be able write something longer (maybe even a  book)."

What is the hardest thing about writing?  The easiest?

Stopping is the hardest thing about writing (ironically so is starting). The easiest part is drafting since you can just go with your imagination and leave straightening out the mess for later when you edit.

Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks?  Which is your favorite and why?

I enjoy all three formats for different reasons. ebooks are fantastic since you can access them so easily and walk around with a library in your pocket. I enjoy audiobooks as interpretations, almost like when a book is produced as a movie (love them for driving, in particular). Print books are things of beauty and always will be. 

To learn more about me and my books, here’s a great place to start (and you also come away with a free book). http://davidpandolfe.com/

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review 2016-05-14 20:31
BFF of the Year in Henchgirl | Review + Author Interview
Henchgirl: Dakota Kekoa, Book 1 - Rita Stradling,Rita Stradling,Sorrel Brigman

A YA Contemporary Fantasy Mystery with an interesting take on the source of supernatural creatures

 

 

The children of dragons and humans, the dracons, control eighty percent of the world's governments. Humans worldwide are either subservient or prey. On the small vacation island of Mabi, humans call for war. Sixteen year old Dakota Kekoa lives a double life. By day, she pretends to be a human to infiltrate Mabi Academy, a 'humans only' high-school. At night, she works as a henchman for her draconic mafia family, utilizing her ability to steal and manipulate emotions.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert: Kindle + Audible = $4.98 (Must purchase eBook 1st / Prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Henchgirl by Rita Stradling, read by Sorrel Brigman, published independently (2016) / Length: 13:08

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 in the Dakota Kekoa series. According to the author Book #2, Rex “will be coming out January 3rd 2017. And, yes there is an audio version planned.”

 

SUMMARY:

Again, characters that I like lift this a bit above it’s YA PNR fellows. It should be noted that the majority of the characters in this are among the group that should be considered “the bad guys.” I was willing to overlook it in this one, since I would like to see where this going. I think many of the characters could be “good guys” if things were to change.

 

It has a love triangle, which I never like. I also had issues with both of the “relationships” that form this love triangle, since neither were open & honest.

 

There are also secrets kept (unnecessarily in my opinion) that make Dakota’s life much more difficult that should be, which is current one of my biggest pet peeves.

 

All this doesn't mean I didn't like it. I enjoyed reading it and I am waiting for the sequel to see if romance works out satisfactorily.

 

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review 2016-01-29 20:12
The Dragonfly Season by David Pandolfe (Audiobook Review + Bonus Narrator Interview)
The Dragonfly Season: Streetlights Like Fireworks, Book 2 - David Pandolfe,David Pandolfe,Kerrie Seymour
A quirky YA Psychic Mystery, and second great road trip with Jack, Lauren, and the bug. 

Psychic visions, visits from ghosts and telepathic connections. Must be time for date two.

 

For Lauren, there's nothing particularly scary about seeing ghosts or experiencing psychic flashes. After all, this is the world she knows. Still, none of that prepares her for suddenly connecting with the mind of Vicky Stearns, a girl she's never seen before. Her confusion soon turns to fear when she learns that the girl went missing earlier that day.


Disclosure: Hovering over the cover and purchasing may give me a small commission (yippee, book $).

 

SERIES INFO: This is Book #2 of 3 (so far) in the “Streetlights Like Fireworks” series. Book #3, Distance, is available now, with the audio version coming soon.

This is a book that can definitely stand alone; but you’ll miss out on the subtleties of the central relationship if you don’t read Streetlights Like Fireworks first. Plus that is an excellent book, which I am planning to go back and re-read (in audio this time) now that I have finished this one. I’ll post a review when I do. Note: Because Jack, rather than Lauren, is the protagonist of that story, the book has a different (male) narrator.

I have struggled with how to say this - in Book 1, the characters had certain problems, attitudes, and characteristics. In this book, the characters have changed realistically as a result of what came before. They are not just the same people dealing with the same problems in the same ways. I liked the level of growth (or lack thereof). It was not so little that Book 1 seemed irrelevant, nor so much that they weren’t the people I came to love on the first trip. That is an area where some less experienced authors struggle, they change the relationships without letting the characters mature.

Jack resolved his central problems in the first book and is beginning to make the transition from Young Adult to New Adult as he prepares for college. He is centered and stable. Lauren on the other hand, didn’t find what she was looking for, and is stuck unable to move either forward or back. She is lost and she knows it. When it comes to their abilities, however, Jack is still a bit ambivalent while Lauren thinks she’s got it figured out.

The story starts by jumping into the mystery, but then wanders off into character exploration for awhile. This is the place where people who haven’t read the first book might be tempted to quit (obviously I think you shouldn’t). Once they hit the road, however, the pace remains steady, with a good mix of actively pursuing the answers and quietly exploring their relationship. And the resolutions, both in the case and in their lives are satisfying.

I would have liked to see Jack participate more with the psychic stuff, rather than being mostly emotional support. What I am hoping to see in the next book - A bit more of Jack’s perspective/involvement. More romantic progress.

NARRATION: I liked it / She did a really good job on Jack’s voice / Good accents (which are reserved for the minor characters, rather than our Virginian protagonists) / Beyond the occasional accent, side characters didn’t all have their own “voice,” but I never lost track of who was talking / Smooth pacing & production / Listened on 1.25 speed (my usual) -- Just FYI: Pagliacci Pizza should be pronounced the Italian way (Polly atchi), it's very good.

FAVORITE PART(S): When Jack shares the fact that more sunglasses are sold in the rainy NW than elsewhere (having lived in WA myself, this is a fact that I have actually shared with people before) / “Linda Martian” (i.e. resident of Linda Mar) / The scene in the (plant) nursery, where they accidentally bean a customer with a penny tossed at a (non)wishing well.

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: swearing (it was very mild)

MY RATINGS:
--Enjoyment: HIGH
--Re-readability: HIGH - despite the fact that I know how the mystery works out, I will enjoy spending time with these characters
--Narrator Impact: HIGH - I read this book before I listened to it. I had initially felt there wasn’t enough romance, but the audio performance really helped me feel their connection.

I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Blast dot com.

The Dragonfly Season by David Pandolfe; read by Kerrie Seymour; produced independently in 2015 / Length: 6 hrs 51 min (Unabr) / Available through Audible & Amazon plus iTunes

 

BONUS NARRATOR INTERVIEW

 

Who was your favorite character in the book and why?

I really enjoy voicing Lauren, the psychic teenager at the center of the story. (And I'm really excited to be voicing her again in Distance, book 3 in David Pandolfe's Streetlights Like Fireworks series). She happens to be a psychic, but she is very relatable. She is both extraordinary and familiar. She has vulnerabilities and wants just like all of us, but she also has a connection to something that is foreign to most of us.

 

What was your favorite scene or quote?

This isn't necessarily a specific scene, but I love all of the scenes where the relationship between Lauren and Jack are explored. They are so tuned into each other, so smitten and yet so unsure of themselves. Their banter is really fun. When I read the book before narrating it and then again as I narrated it, I was really pulling for them.

 

What motivated you to become an audiobook narrator?

Well, a few things really. I love storytelling, always have. I have been a theatre actor for all of my professional career and an acting teacher at the university level for almost a decade. So, my adult life has been dedicated to the craft of storytelling and creating what are hopefully fully fleshed out, memorable and compelling characters. Add to that the fact that I can't remember the last time in my life when I wasn't actively reading something ... audiobooks seemed like a natural fit. As a theatre actor too, it is a tricky art form to consistently participate in when you have a family and a full-time teaching career. And while I actively pursue jobs and work onstage regularly, audiobooks are a means of creation and collaboration that can be done with a bit more flexibility than a theatrical rehearsal and performance schedule.

 

What's the best part about being a narrator? The worst?

There is so much flexibility and there is a thrill of communicating with your author (and I really hit the jackpot with David!) and then taking on a project solo. Making all of the character choices, acting as your own director, exploring multiple characters. I mean, as a theatre actor, I typically work in an ensemble of actors as we take on a 2 - 3 hour play. But with an audiobook, you are just one person tackling hours of text and action on your own. So, the responsibility, freedom and stamina are a thrill. It does get a little lonely though!

 

People can find out more about me at www.kerrieseymour.com

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review 2016-01-29 19:52
Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert (Audiobook Review + Bonus Author Interview)
Halfway Dead: Halfway Witchy Book 1 - Terry Maggert,Terry Maggert,Erin Spencer
A small town Contemporary Paranormal Adventure

Carlie McEwan loves many things. She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY - a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest - and only - real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it. When a blond stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone.

Disclosure: Hovering over the cover and purchasing may give me a small commission (yippee, book $).

 

SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 of the “Halfway Witchy Series.” Book #2 is scheduled to be released on Feb 9th. According to the author, “Erin is working on the preparations for Halfway Bitten, but it will be one month later for the audiobook, which is fine because when she records, she gets it just right.” He also said, “The Halfway Series will have a minimum of seven books, with likely prequels and side trips as well. We're going to meet some new villains, heroes, and get backstory on people who turned out to be far more interesting than I anticipated when I first began to shape their stories. Also, I need a herd of giraffes, and those aren't cheap. Maybe eight books, depending on the price of giraffes.”

Carlie is a witch and a cook, both are of equal importance to her. She is very strong but still learning (from her wonderful Gran). She is also a bit reckless and a lot compassionate.

Jim is a man of mystery. What little is revealed about him (in word and action) is intriguing. I hope to see more of him in the next book.

Wulfric was hard to get a handle on. We learned his story, but didn’t get a chance to really know him. We definitely need to learn more about him.

Note: I hope it isn’t a spoiler to say that this is NOT a love triangle, thank goodness.


I found the relationship in the story to be very unsatisfactory. There wasn’t really a relationship, just physical attraction and a shared adventure.  That would have been ok, it they hadn't taken it to the next level.

The worldbuilding was much better. I felt like I had a true sense of the place and community. It is nice that their magic, although not widely acknowledged, is accepted. In many stories people have to make terrible sacrifices to a witch who grants their evil desires. In this story, people push their heartfelt requests through her mail slot. As for payment, Carlie herself says, “I accept kind acts done for strangers, a promise kept, or a small thing of value from the person who is seeking my craft. These things require some thought, and a degree of existential justification; for that reason, I don’t get many casual requests.”

I have to admit, I thought the main character wasn’t very smart to off into the woods after monsters, in the opening scenes, without anyone to watch her back. That’s a good way to get yourself killed. But, it contrasted nicely with her having companions for the main part of the story.

NARRATION: Her male voices were acceptable / Wulfric’s voice was especially slow / a few odd pronunciations / Listened on 1.25 speed (my usual)

FAVORITE PART(S): Quote - “That much java would have me twitching like a tuning fork held by nervous weasel.” (don’t know why a weasel would hold a tuning fork, but it made me laugh)

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: mild swearing (& some crudity from Tammy) / Instalove with very little development / love scene between two unmarried characters who have only really spent a few hours together (no details were included, thankfully)

OTHER WARNINGS: One of the main characters previously had an out of wedlock child. / Reading may cause hunger, especially a craving for waffles.

MY RATINGS:
Enjoyment: AVERAGE
Re-readability: AVERAGE
Narrator Impact: AVERAGE

I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Blast.

Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert; read by Erin Spencer; produced independently in 2015 / Length: 7 hrs 12 min (Unabr) / Available through Audible & Amazon plus iTunes.

 

BONUS AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

Tell us something about your lead character(s) that we don't already know. [Exclusive]

Wulfric is going to come home, but Carlie is going to have to learn how to make time stand still to do it!

 

How did you choose/come up with your lead character(s) name(s)?

I love the name Carlie. It's one of those names that floats somewhere between cool/beautiful/quirky that really set the mood for what I wanted her to be. Wulfric is a classic Viking name, but of all the characters, my secret favorite is Tammy Cincotti. I think we've all met someone like her, but I laughed out loud writing her lines because after I read them, I said "That's a TAMMY."

 

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character(s)?

Regarding an actress to play Carlie, let me rant for a moment. I don't trust Hollywood. They regularly miscast people in roles that are so far out of their physical description it defies belief. With that in mind, Carlie is a petite, confident woman with gray eyes, black hair, and Doc Martens. There aren't many actresses matching that description, but I invite your readers to send their suggestions to me because I'd love to know who THEY see filling her boots.

 

Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know.

I'd also like to say that yes, I love the moon, and not simply because it's waffle-shaped for three days a month. I think that there's a special kind of light from the silver moon, and it's kept me looking up my entire life. I rather like knowing that no matter what, the moon will come back, even if I have to wait for her.

 

Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?

I love physical books, and I think that their demise has been prematurely reported. However! Since crashing into middle age, I've started running, and audiobooks are a perfect means of distracting myself with a rich story while ignoring the fact that with each passing mile, I sound like I'm closer to death.

 

What motivated you to sit down and write your first book?

For my first book, I wrote the story that met two criteria: I wanted to read it, and it was in my mind, simply waiting to be shaped. That's it. It's not a struggle to write a novel; rather the key is writing the best possible novel at any given moment. I have dozens of complete ideas, but I can't convince my body to give up sleep. Or eating. Or pie.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

Halfway Bitten [which is actually the next book] was, from first word to last, three and half months. But again, pie and sleep slowed me down.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?

The easiest part of writing a novel is being excited about seeing the entire arc in my mind. The hardest part is convincing my dogs not to drool on me while I type. They seem to regard my open laptop as an invitation to 1) Howl 2) Howl and chase each other and 3) Commence wrestling at my feet.

 

You can learn more at: http://www.terrymaggert.com/
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