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review 2016-11-05 17:12
What is Real?: Only You Can Save Mankind | Review
Only You Can Save Mankind - Terry Pratchett,Richard Mitchley,Random House AudioBooks

A fun little MG Paranormal SF that may require some explanation of history.

 

 

As the mighty alien fleet from the very latest computer game thunders across the computer screen, Johnny prepares to blow them into the usual million pieces. And they send him a message: We surrender. They're not supposed to do that! They're supposed to die. And computer joysticks don't have 'Don't Fire' buttons. But it's only a game... isn't it. Isn't it?

 

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Audible = $5.99 (must obtain Kindle copy first, prices may change)

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


BOOK DETAILS:

Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, read by Richard Mitchley, published by Random House Audio (2011) / Length: 4 hrs 11 min (this is the Unabridged version)

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of the "Johnny Maxwell" trilogy. All of them are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

Like most Pratchett book, this one is a pleasure to read for people who love interesting characters.

 

Note: It takes place during the first Gulf War; so you might need to explain who "Stormin' Norman" is, and other such things, to children who are going to read it. It isn't absolutely necessary though. The book has some interesting commentary on how the war is just another "show" to kids who have grown up with lots of different screens in their lives, and yet they can't help but be affected by it.

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review 2016-11-03 15:45
Time Travel in Texas: Prom Night in Purgatory | Review
Prom Night in Purgatory: Purgatory, Book 2 - Amy Harmon,Emily Woo Zeller,Tantor Audio

A slightly confusing but wonderful YA Paranormal Romance.

 

Where does before end and after begin? Johnny Kinross is a boy from the 1950s, a boy trapped in time, and Maggie is the girl who loves him. By some miracle and against all odds, Johnny and Maggie are given a second chance at life and love. But Johnny is freed from Purgatory only to find himself in a totally different time and place, in a world full of strangers. One unsolved mystery becomes another, and Johnny and Maggie must unravel the past to have any chance at a future.

 

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98 (must obtain Kindle copy first, prices may change)

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


BOOK DETAILS:

Prom Night in Purgatory by Amy Harmon, read by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 8 hrs 18 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 in the "Purgatory" duology.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book.**

 

SUMMARY:

I wasn't sure that I wanted to read this. Sometimes I worry that it might be better to leave things the way they ended previously. But in the end I couldn't resist. My first time through, I wasn’t able to keep it entirely straight. But I enjoyed it enough to listen a second time. The issue is flashbacks, paranormal “dreams,” and time twisting.

 

However, and despite their issues in this book, the central romance remains a favorite.

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review 2016-09-29 07:01
The Greaser & the Ghostwhisperer: Slow Dance in Purgatory | Review + Author Interview
Slow Dance in Purgatory: Purgatory, Book 1 - Amy Harmon,Emily Woo Zeller,Tantor Audio

A Sad, Sweet & Sassy YA Ghost Story

 

In 1958, a rumble goes down outside the brand-new high school in Honeyville, Texas. Chaos ensues, a life is lost, and Johnny Kinross disappears. But in 2010, someone finds him. Orphaned at the age of 10, 17-year-old Maggie O'Bannon finally finds a permanent home with her elderly aunt in a small Texas town. Working part-time as a school janitor, she becomes enmeshed in a 50-year-old tragedy where nothing is as it seems and the boy of her dreams might vanish when the bell rings

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98 (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. It is available in various formats from a wide range of retailers.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon, read by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 7 hrs 27 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 2 in the "Purgatory" duology. Both books are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

She isn't actually a Ghost Whisper, since the ghosts she sees are mostly just echoes that don't interact with her. But she has been able to see them since she was young.

 

I like most everything about this one, and only wish we had gotten more of the wonderful interactions between Johnny & Maggie.

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review 2016-08-17 16:30
6 Down 0 to Go: The Wrath of the Great Guilds | Review
The Wrath of the Great Guilds: The Pillars of Reality, Book 6 - Jack Campbell,MacLeod Andrews,Audible Studios

My favorite YA SF series has come to an excellent end.

 

The Great Guilds, fearing the loss of their control of the world of Dematr, have gathered their power and joined it with the relentless legions of the Empire. The full might of that host will fall upon the fortress city of Dorcastle. If Dorcastle falls, the revolt led by Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain will fail, and their world will soon descend into chaos.

 

Only Mari, believed to be the daughter of an ancient prophecy, can inspire the people and lead the defense of Dorcastle. The prophecy says she has a chance to win, but it doesn't say she will survive. Alain will stand by her, both willing to die for the other, but neither one knows if their sacrifices will mean victory.

 

As they battle the Imperial legions and see friends fall, Mari and Alain face their greatest challenges. And if they somehow win in the face of impossible odds, neither one can be certain what sort of world that victory will produce.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

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, courtesy of Audible Studios.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Wrath of the Great Guilds by Jack Campbell, read by MacLeod Andrews, published by Audible Studios (2016) / Length: 10 hrs 47 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is the 6th & final book in "The Pillars of Reality" series. Books 5 & 6 will remain available exclusively in audio until closer to the end of 2016, when the other formats will become available.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**

 

SUMMARY:

Pushing play to start this book was difficult. On the one hand, after 5 books, I felt certain that I would love it and was anxious to find out what happened. But, on the other hand, as it is the last book I was reluctant to finish and be done.

 

To get it out of the way, the 2 issues I had with the book were: I was disappointed by the continued absence of many of my favorite characters for the majority of the book. And the central battle lasted way too long for me considering the lack of diversity in weapons, tactics, and participating characters.

 

That said, I was very happy with where he took these characters whom I've come to love.

 

 

I want to throw in some quick comments on something I haven't mentioned previously. Not only does this book have some seriously "strong" female characters at the forefront, but there are females throughout all levels of Mage, Mechanic, and Common societies, including at the very top. Although the elitist dystopian nature of this world means that women aren't completely safe from abuse & assault, there doesn't appear to be any sexism. Yet, this doesn't happen at the expense of the male characters. They are allowed to shine as well.

 

CHARACTERS:

After 6 books, there's not much more that needs to be said about Alain & Mari. The book itself features a discussion about how far they've come in the past couple of years. While Mari has to put on her strong & hopeful face for everyone else, she is always able to share her true feelings & fears with Alain. And she has learned how to be what he needs as well. They are a couple who have pushed through all the problems that come from a union between two very different & damaged people and faced the worst the world can offer. I believe that there is nothing they can't handle together.

 

The supporting characters from the previous books were present only at the beginning and then in the final couple of hours. There were some really wonderful new ones added in this one, but we didn't get enough of most of them.

 

PLOT:

Another great beginning, with lots of emotion.  As I said above, I struggled through the great big giant battle in the middle. (When reading a text copy, I usually skim those parts.)  But, it was nice to have a train moment again.

 

All the major plot points are satisfactorily resolved. However, the ending is not the kind that ties everything up in a great big happy bow, but rather a more realistic one with compromises and an acknowledgement that there will always be smaller "storms" on the horizon. I really loved the last 2 chapters. They hit me straight in the feels.

 

The best part about the ending was the hints that there may be a related series some time in the future.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Alain gets a letter.
  • Someone unloads on Mari following a failed attack on her and she shoves his own guilt back in his face.
  • Mari discovers Betsy and discusses her with Alain.

 

CAUTIONSCaution: There is lots of violence & death, including a massacre of children (but this is not described in detail).

 

NARRATION:

Totally excellent, as always / Speed = slow; I listened on 1.5 speed instead of my usual 1.25

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Wrath of the Great Guilds (The Pillars of Reality #6) by Jack Campbell, read by MacLeod Andrews, published by Audible Studios (2016) / Length: 10 hrs 47 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • What is the best series you recently completed?
  • Do you tend to skip over the battle scenes?

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  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?

Got My Book Signature


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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


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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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