Tag Archives: audiobook

Review of Timberwolf, by Tom Julian

I received an Audible code for a free copy of Tom Julian‘s Timberwolf.

Description from Goodreads:

Some want peace, some want war… he just wants the damned spider out of his head!

Humanity destroyed every alien species we encountered, until we met the Arnock – arachnids that drove us insane on contact. Timberwolf was captured by the Arnock and can now “hear” the Arnock in his head. Near madness, he’s gone on multiple suicide missions and come back unscathed – the alien forcing him to survive.

Emanuel Gray was Timberwolf’s commander and mentor. A former General, now religious fanatic – Gray sees our peace with the Arnock as a sin. He’s a wanted man and hell-bent on wiping the Arnock out.

Timberwolf chases Gray to the weapons factory world of Highland. When the Arnock arrive it becomes a battle for the deadliest weapons in the galaxy. Timberwolf will have to choose between getting the alien spider out his head or taking out Gray – all while millions of lives hang in the balance.

Review:

Not bad, but not a real winner for me either. Part of the reason is that it’s plot-driven instead of character-driven. So, I never connected with any of the characters. But part of it is also simply that I felt like the plot was just leading from one fight scene to the next. I swear a good 80% of the book is descriptions of battles. I got bored with them. I liked Timberwolf well enough, as well as the side characters. But I felt the duo Villians diluted the focus of the story. The narrator did a fabulous job, however.

Review of Vamp City, by C.D. Brown

I received an Audible code for a copy of Vamp City by C. D. Brown.

Description from Goodreads:

All Sophia Fontanelle wanted was to be left alone. On the run from New Orleans and its vampire council, she heads to Los Angeles to start a new life. But when The Caballero, the ancient peacekeeper rumored to be the great Zorro himself, is murdered, Sophia finds herself caught up in a fight to clear her name. Threatened by a 1950s-era gangster turned vamp by the Caballero himself, can she survive in Vamp City?

Review:

I have really conflicting feelings about this book. In one sense it was pretty good. Certainly, it’s mechanically well written and perfectly readable. Similarly, I’m thrilled to have an ex-prostitute as the main character, an adorkable cinnamon roll love interest, and plenty of varied representation. Ther are white characters, black characters, Latinas, Omni-sexuals, rich, poor, etc. And both black and brown characters get to be good guys.

However, I have two pretty big complaints, both of which hinge on this same varied cast. First, in a very real sense, a lot of the book balances on the author creating opportunities to present the reader with one more quirky vampire subset. We have the vegan, the lispy Catalonian, the punks, the classic Hollywood era vamps, the 1950s gangster vamps, the sassy Latina vamps, the 1990s style gangland vamps, the sharp-tongued lawyer vamp, the “Omni-sexual” glam vamps, the start-up millennial vamps, etc, etc. etc. I very quickly got tired of meeting the newest type of vamp. I understand that being a noir style some of this was expected, but it was a schtick Brown leaned far too heavily on.

Secondly, while I appreciated all the representation in the novel, it was seriously compromised by being INCREDIBLY (and problematically) stereotypical. The Latina was a sassy sexpot. The black characters were gang bangers that didn’t respect women and were questionably trustable. The gay (or omni-sexual) characters were campy. None of them were developed beyond the cliche. And the downside of many of them being on the heroine’s side and therefor having more page-time was that they were given more opportunity to show off their stereotypicalness. Plus, they tended to be louder and more unruly than the white vampire groups. (There was an unmissable in-crowd and out-crowd.) I don’t necessarily think the (white male) author meant it to be this way. But it was. The way the characters spoke, alone, was majorly problematic. So, taken all together it’s cringy to the extreme.

I do think the narrator did as good a job with it as she could. But with so many characters using dated terms like, “babe” and “doll,” it got hard to tell them apart.

Review of A Bride For The Alien King, by Roxie Ray

I received an audible code for a copy of Roxie Ray‘s A Bride for the Alien King.

Description from Goodreads:

A fated mate is a rare gem … one I never thought I’d find.

With fifteen males born to a single female, women are my people’s most precious resource, one we’re in dire need of replenishing. And Earth is just the place to do it. Arranged matings are the only way we can survive, and as king I must set an example.

But I never thought I’d meet her.

One look at Rosa and I know she’s meant to be my queen. She’s nothing like I imagined, and more than I could ever dare wish for. But humans have only just learned that aliens exist, and I would surrender my kingdom before I forced her into a relationship she doesn’t want.

Time grows short as ancient enemies close in on my home planet, and if we don’t transport our volunteer mates quickly we will run out of time.

Review:

This was tolerable. It felt pretty formulaic though. Even worse, it very much felt like the heroine’s thought process went like this:

“This is horrible. This is taking advantage of the poor. This is human trafficking”
“I’m a king. You’d be queen.”
“Oh, sign me up.”

There was legitimately exactly that much interaction between her meeting the alien and changing her tune and flouncing off to an alien world. Much of the rest of the book was like that too. Ray hit the expected plot points but didn’t seem to put any real effort into letting it develop naturally. There was very little consistency in the technological level of the alien species. There was a distinct lack of other (non-servant) woman in the book. Even if they are born only 1-15, they should exist. And apparently, despite ostensibly being warriors and running a kingdom, the aliens have no concept of security. They let themselves be outplayed, tricked, beaten, and invaded far too many times to be believable. (See the statement above about needing to kit the expected plot point.)

All in all, not a winner for me. But the writing itself seems fine and the narrator did a fine job.

On a side note, what the hell is that cover? Beyond just being horrible in general, if you’re going to put characters on a cover, at least make an effort to make them look right. He is described as olive-toned, with scales and no horns. She’s a brunette.