Tag Archives: audio book

Review of Treading Water (Forgotten Soldier #1), by Jessie G.

I received an Audible copy of Treading Water from the author, Jessie G.

Description from Goodreads:
After devoting eighteen years of his life to the US Navy, Petty Officer First Class Shane Parker is struggling with the very real possibility of becoming unnecessary. If he doesn’t make Chief Petty Officer before his twenty—and it doesn’t seem likely that he will—he’ll be retired from active service and placed on the Fleet Reserve list until his mooring lines are officially cut forever. While it would all be very honorable and ceremonial, he simply wasn’t civilian material.

Before even swearing-in, Julian Brand knew he wasn’t cut out to be a soldier, but refusing wasn’t an option. Generations of Brand man made careers in the military and the expectation of every Brand son was to follow in those prestigious footsteps. Though the prospect of being rolled back hindered his every step, he survived Battle Stations and did his time. Six years out of uniform and Julian still struggles to find familial acceptance as he fights to live life on his terms.

On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, but when Jared Ramos calls, neither are capable of refusing. If they can find a way to work together, they might be able to save a friend and each other in the process.

Review:
I read Micah’s Soldier at the tail end of 2015. About it I said, “Not particularly deep, but well developed for something so short. It’s also very sweet.” So when I saw an audio version of the sequel available I was happy to give it a go.

I had a mixed experience with Treading Water. I really thought Shane and Julian were a cute couple and I liked the way their relationship progressed. I thought the writing was pretty good and I liked that injured soldiers were shown to have lives even after injury. This was all good.

But I struggled with having five first person POVs and with Shawn as a character. (Well, I struggled keeping Shawn and Shane straight in general. Why are the names so similar?) But I had some difficulty because his injury is what holds the whole book together; it’s the reason Shane and Julian meet at all and why they spend time together. But Since Shane and Julian are the main characters, it left Shawn and his traumatic injury feeling a bit like a storytelling prop.

About the narrator, Casey Hunter…I hate to say it, but he didn’t do a very good job. (Though it did improve as the book went on.) His voice was easy to listen to, but the timing was off in so many ways. There were extra long pauses where you wouldn’t expect them, like in the middle of a sentence, and almost no pauses where you would, like between chapters. There were times I was honestly left confused about who was saying what or that we’d moved on to a new character or section. I don’t know how audiobooks are produced. Maybe this should be put on the shoulders of the producer, not the narrator. Because, as I said, his voice and intonations was fine. But the timing issues definitely effected my listening experience.

All in all, I’d be willing to read more by Jessie G. and that’s really what I judge an author by in the end.

Review of The Red Sword, by Michael Wallace

I received an Audible code for a copy of Michael Wallace‘s The Red Sword.

Description from Goodreads:
Markal, an apprentice wizard, is thrust unexpectedly to the head of his order when his master is decapitated by a gray-skinned assassin. The order’s walled gardens have the power to restore their dead master to life, but only if the apprentices can protect his body long enough for their sanctuary to work its magic.

When a barbarian warrior named Bronwyn invades the gardens wielding a soul-binding sword and accuses the order of harboring a powerful sorcerer, Markal thinks she is another assassin come to finish the job. But Bronwyn is a paladin, a holy warrior from across the mountains, and her presence is a harbinger of a greater threat than Markal had imagined, a necromancer with the power to command the dead.

Together, they must join forces before the necromancer destroys Markal’s order and overruns Bronwyn’s homeland.

Review:
Honestly not bad and the narrator, Rosemary Benson, did an excellent job, which really enhanced the story for me. There was quite a bit of humor in the way the apprentices interacted. Each had a distinct voice. I really appreciated that there was more than one male/female platonic friendships. And the writing is pretty good, though I would call this YA fiction despite the characters ages.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the story. I found a few aspects of it unbelievable and I would have like more explanation of the magic system. What’s up with all the bleeding, for example? But I only really had one major complaint. Or rather one, three pronged complaint. This is a bit of spoiler, be warned.

One of my favorite characters, and more to the point, an important character, the character on the cover died. This I could handle, except for three factors. One, it’s completely anticlimactic. She was basically just thrown away with no fanfare or importance. Her death was like three sentences in the background. This completely didn’t fit her importance in the story up to that point. Two, if you’re going to throw a character away as meaningless, I don’t think you can also put her on the cover of the book. Sorry. This annoyed me. Three, she was one of two female characters in the book (not counting the background servants). The book really did need her or at the very least another HER.

Review of Whispers From Another World (Whitney Powers #1), by Jason Paul Rice

I received a Audible code for a copy of Whispers From Another World (by Jason Paul Rice) from the narrator Tiffany Willams.

Description from Goodreads:
A strong-willed woman. A new cop on the local force. Two lonely souls find each other and embark on a paranormal mystery adventure.

Twelve-year-old Whitney Powers looks at the books on supernatural phenomena in a dark corner of the Granny Larson Library. As she stares, the bookshelf begins to shake and a prism-like flash of light blinds her momentarily.

Whitney goes missing for the next three days. Finally, a local patrolman finds her a few miles from the library. Her explanation of the incident causes her to be ridiculed for the next eighteen years. Despite countless opportunities to leave and end the abuse, she’s stayed in this small town.

Why has she always remained close to the Granny Larson Library, which is supposedly haunted?

What happened during those three days that’s forcing her to stay back and work at the library?

Review:
I really hate doing this. I always feel guilty when I offer to review a book and then have to say bad things about it. I know there are reviewers out there that request a book to do just that. I’m not that person. I go into a book hoping to love it and I’m disappointed when I don’t.

But honestly, this story just does not hang together. The ghosts are extraneous to the plot. Whitney is a random ‘chosen one,’ special for no apparent reason and far, far too perfect. But worst of all is the attempt an being a police procedural. Reasonably, if she didn’t end up dead she’d be in jail for impersonating a police officer and interfering in an active investigation, instead of being given some vague ‘clearance’ and invited to work with the special police. None of it works! At all.

I try not to generalize. But I honestly think some male authors shouldn’t try to write female characters. Whitney is so incredibly unlikable I almost can’t verbalize it. The things she’s supposed to think are important just make her horrible. Her whole life comes down to pettily rubbing ‘her man’ into the face of people who made fun of her. As if having a man makes her complete. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes, said “gross” out loud or made gagging motions. For real, if I hadn’t accepted this in exchange for a review I wouldn’t have finished it. It’s that bad.

The writing seems mechanically fine, though I had the audio so I can’t be certain. But its the sort that leans heavily on ‘very,’ ‘extremely,’ ‘really’ and far too many adjectives. Tiffany Williams did a fine job with the narration, but the story is an utter flop.