Tag Archives: audiobook

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Book Review: Blood Witch Rising, by Joe Ulric

I received a free Audible code for a copy of Blood Witch Rising, by Joe Ulric.

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A storm is brewing, and the world isn’t ready for it. Join Jack Ladd as he sheds light on the hidden world of magic and monsters. A world you already live in, but do your best to ignore.

Ages ago, the earth was cut off from other mythical realms in order to protect it from the depredations of the Asgardians. Now, a portal discovered in the Pacific Northwest is seen by a mysterious group as an opportunity to reverse that ancient act.

Aided by a sometimes helpful—but always irreverent—spirit familiar, Jack leaves the comfort of home to stop that from happening. His roommate Joshua, a Native American shaman, decides to come along. Big mistake. They are forced to navigate a world where refugees from the fabled Norse realms have been living in hiding since the bronze age. Old racial tensions and mistrust complicates this task as they take on nightmarish creatures intent on showing us how insignificant we are.

When Jack inadvertently uncovers secrets from his past, he must question his closest ally’s motives and decide if he is on the right path.

One thing is certain: should he fail, all manner of legendary beings could quickly overrun the earth. Beings still angry at being kept out of their playground for over five thousand years.

my review

I won’t go so far as to say that I disliked this. I didn’t. But I wasn’t particularly keen on it either. I finished it merely to have finished it.

I found the pacing inconsistent, the villains opaque, the characterizations shallow, and the world vague. The result was that I never felt deeply invested in the story or the characters. I also felt very much like there should be a previous book. There was just so much history merely hinted at—Jack’s brief military career, how he came to live and work with the dwarfs, the purpose of both all his combat and black smith training, how and why he chose to bond with a spirit familiar, him and his ‘aunt’s’ relationship, etc. I felt like a big chunk of the story was missing.

Having said all of that, I did like Jack. He was noble and tried doing the right thing in difficult situations. I thought the idea of dwarfs and elves in the modern world was interesting. And I appreciated the diversity in the cast. All in all, I think this book just needs to find it’s proper audience. Like I said, I didn’t think it was bad. I just didn’t think it worked particularly well for me.

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Book Review: Dangerous Magic, by Monica Fairview

I borrowed an audio copy of Monica Fairview‘s Dangerous Magic through Hoopla.
dangerous magic monica fairview

Elizabeth Bennet is stunned when the Royal Mages come to her peaceful country home of Longbourn to take her away. She is even more bewildered when she is commanded to marry a powerful mage by the name of Fitzwilliam Darcy. She has always dreamed of marrying for love, and an arranged marriage with an arrogant stranger was never part of her plans.

But Darcy and Elizabeth have no choice in the matter. Uniting their two forms of magic is essential if the Kingdom is to defeat Napoleon’s mages. They may dislike each other on sight, but Darcy and Elizabeth have to overcome their differences and find common ground before it is too late. Fortunately, it is not long before the sparks begin to fly between them.

Join the author of ‘Fortune and Felicity’ in this enchanting Jane Austen Variation, a story of determination, love, and hope against all odds.

my review

I’m not entirely certain why I downloaded this book. I’m not a particular fan of re-tellings, be they fairy-tales or Jane Austen. I think maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention to notice the subtitle at the time.

I am of two fairly disparate opinions about this book. On one hand I think it would have been a perfectly readable story without the gimmick of tying it into Pride & Prejudice. And on the other hand I feel that if it hadn’t been ham-stringed by following Pride & Prejudice‘s plot (even loosely) it could have grown into a deeper and more compelling story.

My main emotion while listening to this book was boredom. I felt like nothing happened for the vast majority of it. Then suddenly Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth changed out of nowhere and then hers did too. Then there was a fairly vague battle, some drama in the background, and ardent declarations of love. I didn’t feel engaged or engrossed in any of it.

Further, While I understand that as a re-telling Fairview was somewhat constrained in character portrayals, but I’d be thrilled if we could all stop writing stories where all the men are lovely and trustworthy and all the women (if there are any at all) are jealous and duplicitous.

The writing itself seems perfectly fine. It seemed to pass as Austen-like and was certainly easy to listen to. All in all, I think this will work for others more than it did for me.

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Other Reviews:

Dangerous Magic by Monica Fairview

“Dangerous Magic” by Monica Fairview, review + giveaway

Dangerous Magic: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (Mr. Darcy’s Magic Book 1), by Monica Fairview — A Review

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Book Review: The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

I picked up a freebie copy of the Audible dramatization of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

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When The Sandman, also known as Lord Morpheus—the immortal king of dreams, stories and the imagination—is pulled from his realm and imprisoned on Earth by a nefarious cult, he languishes for decades before finally escaping. Once free, he must retrieve the three “tools” that will restore his power and help him to rebuild his dominion, which has deteriorated in his absence. As the multi-threaded story unspools, The Sandman descends into Hell to confront Lucifer, chases rogue nightmares who have escaped his realm, and crosses paths with an array of characters from DC comic books, ancient myths, and real-world history, including: Inmates of Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, Doctor Destiny, the muse Calliope, the three Fates, William Shakespeare, and many more.

my review

I have a kind of middle of the road feeling about this. I fully admit I’m not a big reader of graphic novels (or surely I’d have read this before now). This means I didn’t have any preexisting connection to any of the DC characters that popped up or underlying love of the Gotham world. And, in listening to it, I found I much prefer a regular old audiobook to a dramatization. (Obviously this is what it is because there’s no novel to narrate and it’s very well done.) My point is that, unlike a lot of readers, I didn’t come to this predisposed to love it. I liked the idea of Morpheus a lot and I’ve read several Gaiman books I enjoyed (though not all of them), but I was a fairly blank slate.

When the story settled into a single narrative arc for a while I enjoyed it quite a lot. I like Morpheus and his crew. I chuckled frequently, even amongst the grimness. But most of the individual, single episodes bored me. And there were more rapes and women being menaced in alleys (and such) than I felt necessary. Though I acknowledge that this was first published in or about 1998, and that seems to have just been the norm of the time. (Still is, honestly, though I think we’re at least becoming more aware of it as problematic.)

All in all, I’d probably listen to volume II if I could get it from the library. But I don’t think I’d buy it. I do plan to watch the Netflix show though, and that’s why I listened to this in the first place.

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Other Reviews:

REVIEW: Audible’s “The Sandman”

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Audible Review: Simply Brilliant

Review: The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Dirk Maggs, full cast production