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Energize

Energize - Thomas R. Manning, James Foster ABR's original Energize audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

The first thing that struck me, well the first two things are. One – The gorgeous eye catching cover artwork. So many time I see horrible covers, and face it I am pretty sure most people actually judge books by their covers and I am no different. Two – In audible it was not listed in the science fiction genre at all, but in the mysteries and thrillers. Now I am no expert but if the story involves space travel and alien planets, I am pretty sure you could put it in sci-fi.

Energize is a story taken from the logs of Daniel Quinn a space mercenary. This “from the logs” made me initially think that the book was going to be in journal entry style, but it wasn’t at all. It was much more of a chronicle of one of his adventures. Who is Daniel Quinn anyway? He is a mercenary looking for jobs and scores to make as much money as possible in the easiest possible way. Except he has something holding him back. Daniel is not brave, nor bright, however, he has a determination like non other, has a heart larger than it should be given his line of work. All of this and he also has some emotional baggage that has been holding him back for some time, while also haunting his thoughts and dreams. Who finds information about the one and only ultimate power source that would make him enough money for, well, whatever. Ultimately bringing him and his smarter than it should be AI to an alien world on a mission. That is until a previously unknown alien society is discovered. Oh what is Daniel to do?

Alright, enough with the plot summary.

Thomas R. Manning has created a story that is very easy going as for as the science behind everything, maybe this is why not in the sci-fi genre. Full of complex characters that captured my mind and emotions. Daniel we have already talked about, Al the AI that is a non-sentient being that is entertaining in his own way, then there is Cessa (forgive me if this is spelled wrong) the ruthless female sword wielding assassin who I’m sure more can and will be written about. Manning also includes several unique personalities from the Dawnians, the alien race from the planet most of this story takes place. Lastly there are several Action scenes that got my heart pumping want more and transfixed, not getting anything done at work. It was fun to watch Daniel face some of his demons and grow and evolve. I am really looking forward to hearing about some of his other adventures.

I really enjoyed the simple yet brutal and endearing aspects of human nature that Manning explored. The fact that we will come into a land, knowing little about the natives and wildlife. Destroy anything and everything in our path as long as we can get what we came for, in this case the ultimate power source. While few if any have the guts to standup for those that cannot speak for themselves. Even though the odds are against them, they stay and fight. I was able to draw many parallels in my personal life to the latter.

If you are an audiobook lover you are going to know what I talk about when I say this next line. There are some narrators that from the second they start talking/performing a wave of ease and comfort radiates over my entire body. Like a giant fuzzy warm hug to the imagination. James Foster is one of these aforementioned voice actors. So maybe this alone is enough to bias my opinion of this performance?

Foster has a way of making the stars of the audiobook he works on in to real down to earth people. It does help that, at least the ones I have heard, they are just regular people having an adventure. One of my favorite things that he does are these subtle and sometimes not so subtle sighs while talking that express so much exasperation or frustration or boredom, brings a smile to my face every time. Along with that Foster varies the pacing quite dramatically for the action scenes, something that gets my blood flowing as if I were there. Paired with decent characterizations makes for a great listening experience.

Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

Netlink

Netlink - William H. Keith Jr. ABR's original Netlink audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Twenty years have passed since the rebellion victory, and a reluctant peace agreement between the Imperial government and independent planets. The Imperium has developed a device that may now end all that; eventually crushing the rebellion and its independent allies once and for all. Word of this new technology has leaked, and a small band of rebellion spies must risk causing a war and losing their own lives to keep hope of their independence alive.

Netlink is a departure in many respects from the previous four novels in the Warstrider series. The DalRiss and the Naga have joined peacefully with the independent planets, changing their very culture in the process. Douglas’s imagination shines through here, bringing fresh and interesting ideas about alien interaction with humans. Racism is a dominant theme in this novel, Japanese vs. occidental, human vs. alien, and even alien vs. alien. This is not new in the Warstrider series, just brought to the forefront and with deeper implications.

Two decades have passed in this novel, so you will see many new characters, but also older ones, though more as supporting rolls. The action moves along well and there is plenty of violence to entertain even the most blood thirsty space-war junky. The galaxy has just gotten a lot smaller as a new threat emerges from the core, something so alien, even the DalRiss and Naga cannot comprehend it. Humanity will have to put aside its own petty struggles with itself and its new alien friends to fight an even stranger and dangerous foe.

David Drummond reads Netlink as he did in the previous four, with his clear and enjoyable baritone. Simply put, Drummond is the voice of the Warstrider series.

Assuming you’ve read the first four books in the Warstrider series (if not, please start at book 1), and enjoyed them so far, you should definitely continue on. While Netlink is different, it is clearly part of the whole, and perhaps the most self-contained book of the series to date. You wouldn’t necessarily read it without first reading the others, but it might stand alone if you hadn’t. It, like the preceding books, it wraps up nicely.

Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.

Half Past Midnight

Half Past Midnight - Jeff Brackett ABR's original Half Past Midnight audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

For a survivalist it is all about what to do right before the and immediately after a crisis – the safe house, the supplies, the family and the survival! Leland Dawcett was prepared but not really – how many people can prepare for nuclear bombs? Hoarding and making a plan is easy, it’s the dealing with death of loved ones and the horrors of what lies “out there.” What Leland had to discover himself was what did they do after things settled down? Once the fallout passed and they could resume living?

It promised to be a beautiful morning for Leland who worked closely with his dad in their family factory. No one else was at work but when the lights went out and Leland moved to the front where his dad was – he saw the cloud and discovered his father dead. Racing home on foot, his wife and children are already packing and ready to hit the road. Thus begins their adventure into the world of the unknown.

Leland, a martial arts expert and survival enthusiast meets up with his arch nemesis, Larry. Over the course of two years, we see Leland and his family surviving the fallout; begin anew establishing themselves in a new community and his stepping into a leadership role when Larry rears his ugly head again – along with thousands of military personnel he has conned.

This book is less about who did the bombing and why – it is focused on the aftermath – surviving, coming together with others and making a society that works. We are never told they why or who, instead we are guided to focus our attention on Larry, Leland and the growth of the community and its people.

Strongly written towards surviving as a society in a world where luxuries are limited and treasured. Technologically moving backwards where bartering is valuable and money means nothing. Friends and family are valued beyond all else.

Jeff Brackett does an excellent job of setting up the storyline and building his characters. No one is a military expert or has all the answers. Brackett demonstrates the necessity of a small society where respect gains friendships and protects your family.

Brackett develops this apocalyptic tale in a thorough and detailed fashion. His research appears to be flawless. While most would want to know “the who and why” of what happened to drive Leland and the world into survival mode, Brackett kept us focused on the truly important aspect of surviving an apocalypse. Knowing the details would have taken from the story he so carefully built and would not have brought anything to the story.

Brackett’s writing style is clear and concise with believable twists and turns. I hope he continues on his path to becoming an author because he has a hit here.

Corey Snow did an excellent job of narrating and keeping the interest flowing through his skillful rendering of Brackett’s story.

There were no production issues, it flowed flawlessly.

Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

Symbionts

Symbionts - William H. Keith Jr. ABR's original Symbionts audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Dev Cameron, the reluctant hero, has saved the day on Herekles, but not won the war. The Imperium has overwhelming firepower and is determined to eliminate the rebellion. Douglas continues to dig deeper into the mind and heart of the Imperium led by an advanced Japanese culture. They are rigid and dictatorial, but they have maintained peace for hundreds of years. The listener gets a sense of why certain groups would rather keep the status quo than fight. It may not be the fairest system, but it is safe.

Symbionts is book 4 in the Warstrider series. Perhaps you are reading this because you’ve read the first three and are not sure if you want to continue on, or perhaps you just want reassurance the author has continued to stick to the story. By all means, keep with it. Symbionts is as good as the first three, perhaps a little more political with deeper levels of culture and backstory. But how many pulse cannon attacks can you write about, before that gets dull too. There is certainly plenty of action to keep the military SciFi going, but that is not the real power of this novel.

Dev is deeply damaged by his connection with the Naga. His mind has been altered in an irreparable way and he is fighting to keep his humanity. Katya is there for him, but being stretched thin. It is an interesting love story, more about sticking with someone you love when they are in deep conflict, not just when it is easy.

David Drummond reads this book as he did in the previous three, with his clear and enjoyable baritone. Certainly at this point, it would be unimaginable to change narrators. He has his quirks as this reviewer and others have mentioned in previous reviews. That is irrelevant now; Drummond is the voice of the Warstrider stories, period.

Douglas to his credit, wraps this book up at the end, giving a sense of closure to this particular book. Warstrider feels like a series of novels with familiar characters, not one long story, with breaks between books. Symbionts is as good as the first three, better in some ways, as a love story, and by giving us greater depth of understanding about the characters and future culture. It is not quite as action packed as the previous books, but you will not be disappointed.

Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.

The Moon Dwellers

The Moon Dwellers - David Estes ABR's original Moon Dwellers audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Moon Dwellers by David Estes is a young adult novel set centuries in the future after the human race has been driven below the surface of the ground. It is the first of a series of the novels called The Dweller’s Saga. Below earth, there is a physical separation of the classes with the sun dwellers being closest to the surface and having the most artificial light and the star dwellers being the furthest from the surface and having the least artificial light. The two protagonists are Adele, a moon dweller, which is the centermost realm, and Tristan who is from the sun dweller and actually the son of the President of all three realms. The novel begins with Adele and Tristan, who lock eyes and suddenly feel pain and the story that follows is both about their connection and the challenges that each of them face on their individual quests. Adele sets out to save herself and her family while Tristan tries to break the bonds that his father has around him.

I really enjoyed the plot of this novel. I thought it was a nice new take on the post-apocalyptic genre. I really like the underground world idea, but when imagining the scene, I did often forget that it was all set in the relative dark. The class structure, while not a new idea in this genre, was well done in my opinion. I thought Adele and Tristan as well as all of the supporting characters were interesting and had depth as were their evolving relationships. I really liked that even some of the minor characters were interesting and had a voice – they weren’t forgettable. The biggest challenge for me was feeling like the main characters were on the verge of understanding globally what is going on, but it was just out of reach. The driving force behind the budding romance was also a little challenging for me throughout the novel. However, all of this is likely to evolve as the series progresses.

The narration by Julia Whelan and Will Damron were really great. Both of them captured the main characters who they spoke for as well as their individual characters and companions as well. The production quality of the novel was good. I would recommend this novel to anyone who’s interested in young adult post-apocalyptic stories, especially ones that involve strong young women.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

Skin Deep

Skin Deep - Brandon Sanderson ABR's original Skin Deep audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

You’ve read Legion, enjoyed it and want to listen to more of the escapades of Stephen Leeds, brilliant psychiatric patient. Skin Deep is about twice as long as Legion, but still not long enough to be called a book, maybe a novella at this length. There is no reason the two books (stories) couldn’t have been combined into one book with different adventures. Too much of this book is spent re-explaining Stephen Leeds’ condition and why he doesn’t need medical help, etc. If you listen to the two books within a short time of one another, this will sound tedious.

Sanderson introduces a few new characters from Leeds’ many personalities. Basically it is more of the same, the super brilliant mental patient who can learn anything quickly to solve any puzzle given by using his many personalities. Unfortunately, the freshness of the idea has worn somewhat thin this go around. The plot is completely unbelievable and ridiculous. Though charming in the first volume, it is somewhat insulting to the listener in the second. Sanderson has this great idea about such an interesting character and his legion, yet falls so flat with a plot that fails to move them through the story. Disappointing.

Oliver Wyman is the same narrator as in Legion and does a generally good job. His character voice of one of the new female personalities is difficult to differentiate at times and is occasionally confusing, but not to the point of ruining the story. You just have to wait until the dialogue tells you who was speaking. Overall, fine job.

If you loved Legion, you will like Skin Deep. The franchise is growing thin, however. A compelling story to guide the characters would help immensely to keeping this series fresh. Overall an OK listen.

Audiobook purchased for review by the ABR.

Smile Now, Cry Later (Chuck Restic Private Investigator Series Book 1)

Smile Now, Cry Later (Chuck Restic Private Investigator Series Book 1) - Paul MacDonald ABR's original Smile Now, Cry Later audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Smile now, cry later is the first book in the series “Chuck Restic Mystery” by Paul MacDonald, which is Published in January 2015, narrated by Paul Dake. The genre of this book is modern detective.

Chuck Restic is a normal office worker in Human Resources for a large corporation, when a man in his corporation disappears suddenly. Only Chuck’s bad emotional state (his very near divorce) and his free time, made him start looking in this case, where he discovers that this disappearance is just the surface for something much bigger than he could have imagined.

The settings are very real, it screams bureaucracy of corporate America. However, what was really realistic was the characters, they were very, logical, understandable, and cool (and I’m talking about a bunch of NORMAL BORING peoples) ….. Let me take a moment to explain how much I liked the style of the characters in this story (sorry about that, but I have to rant or I won’t be able to sleep tonight.)

So here we have the protagonist “Chuck” who is unlike most heores in detective stories. He isn’t a macho man with all the charm that makes each female sown to the ground. He isn’t a hero with skills in Karate or an expert marksman the likes of a Matrix character. He is a BORING OFFICE WORKER, and you know what that’s okay, he gets beaten up, and threatened, but doesn’t go back to avenge his manly pride, he feels vulnerable, sad, and motivated to help another human being, his only weapon is his knowledge of psychology and HR skills (which is awesome by the way).

okay I’m done….

The events here are told form Chuck’s narrative point, they are fast paced, but not so predictable as part of the plot, we can see the plot is logical, fun, and surprising.

The narration of Paul Dake was very good at moving along with the events, he showed the suitable voice for each scene, he really could deliver the emotional states and the thoughts of Chuck with ease. However, there were some moments I just laughed out loud, he really did a great job with the story.

Audiobook provided for review by the author.

Any Witch Way You Can

Any Witch Way You Can - Amanda M. Lee ABR's original Any Witch Way You Can audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

This book is the first in the series Wicked Witches of the Midwest, by Amanda M. Lee, Published December 12th 2012 by Winchester Shaw Publications. Narrated by Aris.

The genre of this book is paranormal, modern detective, fantasy and magic. Which are all my favorites.

This is a story of the Winchester family, a family of witches that consists of an old aunt (don’t let that fool you, she is quit handful), three middle aged sisters, each one has a daughter (three cousins). Bay Winchester is working as the local editor of Hemlock Cove’s only newspaper, while her two cousins Clove and Thistle work in a shop. A murder happens in the town, and Bay feels she can be in benefit in more than one way, with the help of her family, the town’s sheriff, and a biker, she will solve this case.

This was a fun, quick, and enjoyable story, once I started it was hard to leave it (I ended up listening to it in one day). I do, however, have to admit the setting had some big holes in it that left me wondering. The whole town knows that there is a family of witches, and all they do is gaze uncomfortably at them?? Or what kind of sheriff asks the local witch to accompany him to the crime scene?? Yet I felt that the characters were real and believable enough, they were likable. I mean it’s a family of seven women, their bickering and fighting made sense to me (as I’m living in four women family so I know). Although they weren’t as deep as I would have liked. The events were told by the narrative rather than shown, and while the story was fast paced and fun, the characters were kind of predictable and (there wasn’t a lot of events there to start with), interesting, but somehow kind of dull.

The narrator Aris did an excellent job with the story, I mostly enjoyed the bickering of the girls, she made it very fun and realistic at the same time, each character had its own accent and tone. Her voice gave the action parts more realism and made them far more interesting than reading. Needless to say I will be looking forward to listen to the second book, and I think I will be finishing this series.

Audiobook provided for review by the author.

H2O

H2O - Irving Belateche, Paul Heitsch ABR's original H2O audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Several generations after a massive pandemic, the human population is reduced to a mere fraction of its former billions. Society has reorganized around small towns along the cost of northern California and Oregon, each with specific resources: food, fuel, fishing and most important to the story, water. Outside of the group of towns, known as the territory, are giant wastelands, where no one is allowed to go without risk of attack from outlaws, called the marauders. Intellectualism is shamed and met with ostracism, imprisonment or death, meted out from a police force with nearly unlimited power.

The story starts out interestingly enough. Roy, a child born from an intellectual father who disappears in his youth, is forced to battle his way through childhood, alone and nearly killed several times by his thuggish peers. We are given many literary references during his growth, seemingly more revealing about the author’s favorite stories, than anything else, however. Roy, now as a young adult, is sent off to fix a problem with the town’s main water pump. He is sent alone into dangerous marauder territory where his own father died, even though he will probably be killed, even though water is critical to their lives and livelihood, even though they could send guards with him. Sure, everyone seems to want Roy dead, but don’t they like having water too?

The plot continues down this disappointing spiral as Roy meets two-dimensional characters in his insatiable quest to…drum roll please…find where the town’s excess water is disappearing to. Roy finds friends and battles enemies, gets out of contrived and ridiculous predicaments all to find out where the extra water is going.

Paul Heitsch is the narrator of this tepid story, not quite bringing it the energy it so desperately needs. He is proficient and the production quality is adequate.

Post-apocalyptic novels have a large audience (this listener among them) and H20 has some intriguing ideas, such as society’s development generations after a plague. Unfortunately, the author quickly abandons this idea and follows one that is wholly unbelievable, propping it up with science that is flawed and unsupportive of his premise. If you enjoy young adult fiction, you may like this story that focuses on young characters with a light, nonthreatening mood. For those looking for meaty, post-apocalyptic fare that you can sink your teeth into, should probably look elsewhere.

Audiobook provided for review by the narrator.

Homeland

Homeland - Cory Doctorow, Wil Wheaton ABR's original Homeland audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

“Just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.”

Homeland is the sequel to Little Brother, though the novel gives enough of the backstory for it to easily stand alone. If you would like a synopsis, please refer to the publisher’s review, it does an excellent job and would be redundant here. The title refers to The Homeland Security Agency (and the NSA) and their seemingly insatiable need to watch and capture every bit of information traveling the airwaves. Our beloved cell phones, smart pads and computers are as transparent to them as any window.

Doctorow writes with authority and confidence about all things high tech, that which currently exists and that which is just around the corner. The listener is easily and comfortably guided by the author’s expert grasp of the technological nature of the material, neither overwhelming us with it, nor pandering to us. You don’t have to be a high-tech geek to enjoy this novel, because it affects all of us. And that’s where it gets truly frightening; because it’s real, not SciFi, not distant future tech, not aliens, but here and now government surveillance, using our very own gadgets to watch us, catch us and maybe even control us.

After listening to this exciting and thoroughly enjoyable novel, this reviewer was shaken to his paranoid core. It’s real, only the characters and the storyline are fictionalized. There is no question that they are watching us, Edward Snowden convinced us of that. Now that we know, do we go back to sleep, or do we follow the advice in the several appendices of the book. Doctorow clearly practices what he preaches, even going so far as to keep this audiobook off of Audible.com because of its onerous digital rights policy, very likely harming his own audiobook’s sales.

Wil Wheaton (yes Wesley Crusher on Star Trek TNG) does an amazing job reading the novel. There is even a part of the story where the main character meets Wheaton. This self-referential bon mot cracks the forth wall for a moment, something Doctorow seems to enjoy in this and his other books. Unfortunately, this excellent performance by Wheaten is slightly marred by the occasional lip smack or dry mouth noises that should have been removed in post-production. Fortunately, it is faint and should go unnoticed with ordinary ear phones or in a car. Don’t let this minor flaw keep you from enjoying an excellent performance.

If you enjoy high-tech novels, with all-too-human characters, this is a must read. Authentic, informative, exciting, and way too real. Homeland is paranoia developed to an art form.

Audiobook purchased for for review by ABR.

The Fold: A Novel

The Fold: A Novel - Peter Clines ABR's original The Fold audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Don’t worry if you have seen all of the review of The Fold being a sort of sequel to 14. Sure it might be nice to have some idea of what these characters are going through. However, it is not necessary. Peter Clines has been able to do one of my favorite author tricks, by making a sequel a stand alone story that requires no additional knowledge what so ever.

Can you imagine having a photographic memory? With perfect recall of every experience, taste, smell, everything that you have seen or heard. This is what our protagonist Mike has and for some reason his is only a high school teacher. One would thank that DARPA or the like would have scooped him up years ago. Well, now they have him for a special kind of reconnaissance mission. Go and observe this secret project and learn all you can about it. Who better for this sort of mission, right?

Of course he and DARPA get way more than they planned for or could ever imagine.

Even though that most of the reviews that I have read have already given most of everything way, I refuse.

Let me say this. Peter Clines is one of the best contemporary science fiction writers around. Building great characters that actually have substance to them. Story lines that are way out of the range that everyone else is writing about. Clines makes me drool every time I hear about a new story of his coming out, as I have devoured everything else. While listening to The Fold I could do little else as I was transfixed on the story.

What can I say about Ray Porter’s performance that I haven’t said elsewhere? No much it turns out. Porter is one of those narrators that puts his heart and soul into every one of his projects. Making the listener feel as if nothing other than this story, the one you are listening to right now, is the only thing that requires any attention form either of you.

If you need a science fiction story that is out of the norm, that has great characters, fairly straight forward plot line (hind sight anyway), superb action and technological scenes. That is performed by one of the best voice actors in the business. Buy. This. Book. You can thank me later.

Audiobook purchased for for review by ABR.

The Hardest Ride

The Hardest Ride - Gordon L. Rottman ABR's original The Hardest Ride audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

The Hardest Ride I felt was going to be interesting based on the book blurb. I did not know about the winter of 1886-The Great Die Up. So that I found since I enjoy listening to and reading stories from the 19th century and back. Also, enjoy listening to Jame Simenc as a narrator.

Now the hardest ride for me was the hardest listen I ever did. So before I get into saying it is a book to stay away from. Far from the contrary. The story is good, it is solid and it has a great cast of characters. What I did not like was the way everything was stretched out in the detail department for a lot of the scenes. Something, I felt was not necessary. That is what made it difficult for me to listen to this book. I guess I like things in detail and get to the point. So let me back track to the stories main characters. No spoiler alerts below.

A young cowpoke, Bud Eugen was on his way back from his first job in a round-up looking for new work. When he came upon a family that was murdered by Indians. There still alive was a young girl of 16 who did not speak, so he named her Marta. You will find out later in the story that she was indeed deaf from an unfortunate accident as a child. The story mainly revolves around shoot outs, round ups, bar browsing, women of the night and a bit of a love story in sorts. Where Bud throughout the story keeps telling all that he meets that Marta was not his “Woman”, as he put it. She was Mexican and needed to be with her kind. He never took care of no one but, himself and that seemed to be changing. It was what he kept telling himself that it was only going to be him on the trail. Until, on a ranch that he and Marta find work. One day it was attacked by banditos and all the women and young daughters of the ranch owner were kidnapped and ransom. Along, with the prize bull. Then, the story picks up speed. The Rescue!!! All the men on the ranch organize a rescue and plan of attacking the banditos.

However, it takes about 3.5 to 4 hours into the book to get to this point. Before, that I felt the story needed something. Not even sure what. Maybe some western music between chapters. More change up in voices. There were a few funny, chuckling parts but, not as many as I thought there could have been. Not that being a women is not making this review any less. No, on the contrary I love a great western. However, this was not a great western in my opinion. Cattle rustling being the norm. However, this revolves around how the American women were kidnapped and sold into slavery to the ones that would pay for them. Bud’s resolved to rescue Marta was romantic in a way. It just takes a ways to get there or does it? That is something you will find out.

For those that love the gun battles they are intense. This is a book that needs to be listen to in a maybe 2-3 settings since so long. Especially, if you want the full effect of the story. You be the judge and listen to the book to see what happens to Bud and Marta? Were the other women rescued? What happens to the kidnappers! You won’t be disappointed. You just will be thinking the same I feel as me get to the good stuff!

The performance by James Simenc was dead on with his main character Bud and few of the others. However, most of the story just left him storytelling. Details of the surrounding areas they were invading. What was going on in the scene. That is why this made The Hardest Ride was the Longest Listen.

The cover had me a bit confused until I read the book blurb. Looks like a scene in the mountains of Wyoming or Montana. Not, the Texas-Mexican border. I love the scene. Everything evokes hard cowboy life of the times.

Audiobook provided for for review by the narrator.

The Colony: Renegades (The Colony, #2)

The Colony: Renegades (The Colony, #2) - Michaelbrent Collings ABR's original The Colony: Renegades audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Michaelbrent Collings books before. I am amazed at how his mind works! Collings is definitely creative with a dark twisted side that only a true writer of horror can manage. This is clearly evident in The Colony: Renegades: The Colony, Volume 2.

I would imagine that waking up one morning and find oneself smack in the middle of a zombie apocalypse would be mind boggling. However, to discover that the zombies are not only changing but are practically undefeatable would be enough to make most throw up their hands and give up. Not so for Ken or his pack of survivors who travel into the city to find his wife and children. Every parent’s nightmare – to be separated from family when they need you the most and the overwhelming fear of failing them.

The building where his wife works is overrun with zombies but ones that ignore them until they attempt to back out. Herded further down the hallway, Ken and his pack discover that the acid vomiting zombies are the not the only ones to fear – now there are newer, stronger, and more deadly ones!

Collings combines fears like a master playing on untapped fears, drumming up nightmares that are best left forgotten in the early morning light. Instead he drags them out for all to experience setting them loose to roam through our minds and dreams.

In this short volume, Collings added new fully developed characters and even though I had not heard the first volume it is clear that the main characters are solid in their development. The plot flowed smoothly as did the fear!

I have not had the pleasure of hearing the first volume, yet volume two’s start was not confusing – it was clear that this rag tag group of survivors had suffered and managed to survive a harrowing journey and defined their mission in this volume clearly. The ending was abrupt but it was at a good place – makes me want to hear the rest.

Kent Clark did an excellent job of narration. He spoke clearly and concisely. His characters were clearly identifiable. While he could have overplayed the horror and excitement, he did not. He drew the listeners in with his skill and let the story over take me.

The audio production was good with the exception of some light static like background noise whenever there was a “chapter” pause. The audio flowed smoothly and there were no issues.

Audiobook provided for for review by the author.

The Martian Race

The Martian Race - Gregory Benford ABR's original The Martian Race audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith continues his exciting series with this second book, Extinction Edge. At the close of Extinction Horizon, we are told there is a cure or rather that Dr. Lovato has created a “larger monster.” We expect things to go much better on Plum Island and the rebuilding of civilization can begin. Uh, no!

Lovato sets the “larger monster” loose in the U.S. killing off most of the variants – all but about 10% … of over 300 million people – that leaves close to 30 million variants NOT dead. Beckham, Horn and others are charged with going into New York and laying claim to the city by eradicating the remaining variants … 2000 or 3000 supposedly.

As is usually the case, the military has underestimated the number of variants and the bigwigs are broadcasting and strategizing with the wrong intel. Lovato knows better – she tries to correct the military’s error but is ignored. Not only are the numbers wrong but the variants are smarter! They communicate, they fight united and they strategize!

Beckham, Horn and now Lovato are fighting for their lives. The human race is quickly moving towards true extinction. It seems no one can win against the new and improved variants.

And if this is not scary enough for you – imagine the dark murky depths of the sewers and large coccoons of spider-like webbing holding what few survivors there are in New York … The description of this was horrifying!

Smith does an excellent job of continuing the story plot and keeping the actors growing. Lovato and Beckham are dancing around a romance but it is far from the true focus of this story – no, its the flesh ripping, terrifying variants!

I keep wondering what more can Smith dish out in the way of horror but it seems he knows no bounds! Read his series if you are a true lover of horror, apocalyptic worlds far scarier than zombies and gore!

Smith remains true to horror fans and delivers! Smith is definitely an author to keep an eye on … he only gets better with each book. I recommend this book as a must read.

The narrator, Bronson Pinchot, performs excellently! His voices are consistent and his pronunciation is clear. His transition from one character to another is clear and smooth.

Blackstone productions did an excellent job of producing this audiobook!

Audiobook provided for for review by the publisher.

Extinction Edge (The Extinction Cycle Book 2)

Extinction Edge (The Extinction Cycle Book 2) - Aaron Sikes, Nicholas Sansbury Smith ABR's original Extinction Edge audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith continues his exciting series with this second book, Extinction Edge. At the close of Extinction Horizon, we are told there is a cure or rather that Dr. Lovato has created a “larger monster.” We expect things to go much better on Plum Island and the rebuilding of civilization can begin. Uh, no!

Lovato sets the “larger monster” loose in the U.S. killing off most of the variants – all but about 10% … of over 300 million people – that leaves close to 30 million variants NOT dead. Beckham, Horn and others are charged with going into New York and laying claim to the city by eradicating the remaining variants … 2000 or 3000 supposedly.

As is usually the case, the military has underestimated the number of variants and the bigwigs are broadcasting and strategizing with the wrong intel. Lovato knows better – she tries to correct the military’s error but is ignored. Not only are the numbers wrong but the variants are smarter! They communicate, they fight united and they strategize!

Beckham, Horn and now Lovato are fighting for their lives. The human race is quickly moving towards true extinction. It seems no one can win against the new and improved variants.

And if this is not scary enough for you – imagine the dark murky depths of the sewers and large coccoons of spider-like webbing holding what few survivors there are in New York … The description of this was horrifying!

Smith does an excellent job of continuing the story plot and keeping the actors growing. Lovato and Beckham are dancing around a romance but it is far from the true focus of this story – no, its the flesh ripping, terrifying variants!

I keep wondering what more can Smith dish out in the way of horror but it seems he knows no bounds! Read his series if you are a true lover of horror, apocalyptic worlds far scarier than zombies and gore!

Smith remains true to horror fans and delivers! Smith is definitely an author to keep an eye on … he only gets better with each book. I recommend this book as a must read.

The narrator, Bronson Pinchot, performs excellently! His voices are consistent and his pronunciation is clear. His transition from one character to another is clear and smooth.

Blackstone productions did an excellent job of producing this audiobook!

Audiobook provided for for review by the publisher.

The Hunt Chronicles Volume 1: Awakening

The Hunt Chronicles Volume 1: Awakening - J.D. Demers ABR's original The Hunt Chronicles: Awakening audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

The story starts with a beaten down Christian Hunt starting to write down his apocalypse adventures up to this point. Right now he fears the worst, very little food and ammo, surrounded by zombies, it is not looking good. Hunt is a military veteran of Iraq suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) who wound up having a roommate that was a novice prepper / survivalist.

The zombie virus spread through the population as a severe flu. I find in very amusing that Hunt was able to steer clear of the initial outbreak because he was home sick for days. Eventually meeting up with several survivors, all colorful characters, especially Fish.

My favorite part of this story is the unique take on the zombies. A mere bullet to the head might not kill the undead, we find out that you have to completely destroy the brain for them to be down for the count. Along with that they are not your typical completely stupid variety of zombies. Given enough time they will be able to climb stairs and ladders and even turn door knobs. If that wasn’t enough there is a second type of ghoul. The are referred to as Scabs, and are very fast and smart. They are able to stalk humans for days, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take them down. Then they like to get up close and personal for the kill, with their own home made melee weapons. Did I mention these scabs are even harder to kill.

Second favorite part was Boomer, the German Shepherd, I love when animals take a role in survival situations. They can add so much humanity to a story with so little effort.

I will admit it took me several hours to get into the story. Mostly because of the authors somewhat repetitive writing style. Lots of statements followed by “but” and then something obvious. That being said I am into it now and I will be looking forward to the next installment of this series and other work by J.D. Demers.

There were several spots where there was an obvious recording session change, going from the “normal” sound to a horribly tinny along with an increase or decrease in the volume. That being said Joshua Story did a pretty good job with the characterizations and he keeps a steady pace no matter what is happening. Some would find that not changing pace for action versus drama would hinder a story, usually I feel that way, because Story’s delivery was so constant it did not bother me at all.

Looking for something in the zombie genre with a unique twist? Take a chance on this one. If you can get past the minor issues that I found and stick with it. You will be able to enjoy a story you may have overlooked.

Audiobook provided for for review by the author.