Tag Archives: audio book

Review of Once Upon a Haunted Moor, by Harper Fox

I bought an Audible copy of Harper Fox‘s Once Upon a Haunted Moor.

Description from Goodreads:
Gideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.

But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.

Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.

I finished this several days ago and forgot to write my review. I quite enjoyed it. Granted, it’s a novella, so not as developed as I might have liked. Gideon and Lee’s attraction isn’t instant, but it’s pretty close. But I’ll forgive the story the lack of relationship development because I like Fox’s writing style so much. I have a tad more trouble forgiving the cliched motive of the villain. I really  was disappointed in it because it’s been seen so often before. But all in all, the story was lovely and Tim Gilbert did a great job with the narration.

Review of Crossing in Time, by D. L. Orton

I won an Audible copy of Crossing in Time (by D.L. Orton) through AudaVoxx.

Description from Goodreads:
Race against the clock through a dystopian nightmare. Climb naked into an untested time machine (carrying only a seashell and a promise). Wake up twenty years younger on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded, with your heart in your throat.

This is a journey of love, loss, and redemption that will make your pulse gallop and your palms sweat, have you laughing out loud through your tears, and leave you flush with the sublime pleasure of falling in love.

Look, I simply did not like this book. I’ll admit that the editing seems fine. (I listened to the audio, so I wouldn’t know if there are a lot of copy edit mistakes, but it sounded structurally competent.) But the farther into it I got the more I hated it, until I simply had to force myself to finish it. I would literally dread pushing play, too afraid of what new shit way the book would find to piss me off. Yes, I’m serious with that attitude. I hated this book.

Before I get into why, let me pause and be positive about the narrators. They both did a marvelous job, Noah Michael Levine especially. Erin deWard did a good job too, but the choice to voice Isabel sounding so desperate all the time only exacerbated my problem with her. But that was a style choice, not a quality problem. The narration is good.

Now back to the negative. It’s all freakin’ negative from here and there will be SPOILERS. I’m going to start with the romance, or lack there of. Two people (ex lovers) accidentally run into each other after not seeing one other for 15 years. They go to dinner, have a fight (about their past), she walks out. There’s a bit of drama requiring him to rescue her from a burning building and he asks her to marry him before they get out. That’s the romance and we’re suppose to believe it’s the romance to end all romances. Meant to be and all that jazz.

Here’s my issue. First, it’s 100% unrealistic. Yes, this is fantasy/sci-fi, but people change a lot in 15 years and this isn’t addressed. Two, if it’s so perfect they wouldn’t have given it up so easily 15 years earlier and/or would have made contact before 15 years passed. And he apparently had her cell number the whole time. It didn’t change. (And don’t think I’m not seriously side-eyeing someone having the same cell phone number for 15 years. Anyone remember what cells were like in 2000?) Three, as a reader I felt cheated out of seeing them get to know each other and fall in love. I suspect Orton meant for the reader to feel this in the second time-line, but I 100% DID NOT. Because that was not romantic either. That was Isabel being incompetent and Diego being unbelievably sway-able.

Now let me move on to my big issue. Diego was lovely, too wonderful actually. But you can’t help but like him. Isabel however was cliched beyond belief. Let me tell you her role in this book (and this just off the top of my head). She almost dies saving a kitten (not even her kitten, just a random kitten) and has to be saved from being burned and crushed in a fire. She gets stabbed. She gets septic. She almost gets raped (and turns out to probably actually have a history of being raped). She essentially gets kidnapped by her ex-husband. She almost dies in a miscarriage and she gets sick and almost dies from traveling through dimensions. And I lost count of how many times she was either in debilitating pain or confused because she’s barely conscious. She was the perpetual victim. I hated her. Or rather I hated that Orton could come up with no better role for her than to be the victim that spurs Diego into action.

Their love is supposed to save the multi-verse. But Diego gets to go through to another world and retrieve a vaccine, bring it back and save millions. Isabel? She gets to travel through dimensions to teach Diego to be a better lover to her apparently unstable future self. How do I feel about that? Fuck you Orton. Isabel was supposed to be a smart scientist. She never does anything intelligent in the entire book. She’s too busy navel gazing and being cliche.

Speaking of science, it’s all hand waving. I actually think calling this science fiction is almost a stretch.

I find myself in a difficult position now. I think I won this audio book and I have the second book too. I feel obligated to listen to it. But considering how much I hated this one, I just don’t want to.

On an amusing side note, I had to call the fraud department of one of my charge cards this morning and the person I spoke to (Tomeo) had a lovely accent that sounded very much like how Noah voiced Diego. It was quite charming and made me smile.

Review of Dhata Mays, by Greg Dragon

I received an Audible credit from the author (Greg Dragon) for a copy of Dhata Mays. At the time posting, the Kindle version was also free.

Description of Goodreads:
In a war between man and machine, he must find a way to protect them all…

After a devastating war forced humans to rely on synths for survival, the two have learned to coexist peacefully.

Until now…

When detective Dhata Mays is called in to investigate a homicide, what he uncovers threatens the serenity of this futuristic society. The gruesome murder means only one thing: someone is ready to incite another war. Now, it’s up to Dhata to ensure that the truth stays hidden–to protect both sides of the battle. But can he be unbiased in a black and white world that forces him to take sides?

I quite enjoyed this. It was a little bit futuristic noir, a little bit Maze Runner. Hell, there might even have been a little Elijah Baley in Dhata. It was a good mix. Yes, Dhata was just a little too perfect—a little too tough, with too many connections in all the wrong places to somehow be one of the few clean cops left around. But I liked him and the book all the same. The writing was sharp (though occasionally oddly formal), the mystery progressed at a nice pace, and the persecution of Synths could easily be read as an allegory. I look forward to reading more about him. And Tucker McDougall did a marvelous job with the narration.

On a side note, it’s worth knowing that there is a glossary at the end of the Kindle edition that I think may be missing in the Audible version, which is a shame. I needed it for some of the slang.