#ThrowbackThursday ~ Innocence by Dean Koontz #Audiobook #Fantasy #SciFi

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

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Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart #YA #Audiobook # Review @DanGemeinhart

Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys–an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.

When twelve year old Jonathan Grisby arrives at Slabhenge, hungry, cold and tormented, he faces at least ten weeks in the forbidding and Dickensian-like reform school. Run by The Admiral and his staff, who take pleasure from making life as difficult and uncomfortable as possible for the unfortunates who have been sent there. Slabhenge has had several incarnations, including a facility for the mentally ill, but to the boys it seems more like a prison with it’s many corridors, staircases and stone-walled, dank rooms. Continue reading

Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson ~ #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews #YA

A new fantasy-adventure trilogy about a misfit twelve-year-old with a dangerous destiny to fulfill, a mystical time walker who is sent to protect him, and a maniacal villain with a deadly vendetta that began two hundred years ago in the heart of the Old West.

Outlaws of Time is a mix of adventure, legend and fantasy, set in the Arizona desert where twelve year old Sam Miracle is in foster care at the St Anthony of the Desert Destitute Youth Ranch (SADDYR) run by the Spaldings, who agreed ‘to guardian absolutely any boy the state of Arizona might be willing to send them (along with a check.)’ According to the Spaldings, Sam was the worst boy they’d ever fostered. Firstly because Sam got totally lost in powerful and detailed waking dreams. Dreams that seem so real they’re like recollections from his past, which confuses Sam no end. Added to that, the bones in Sam’s arms have been so damaged that they are incapable of movement, fused at the elbow, and sometimes very painful. Continue reading

Morrighan (The Remnant Chronicles 0.5) by Mary E Pearson #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #PostApocalyptic

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive. 

Although this is a prequel it can be read as a standalone novella. I haven’t yet read any of the Remnant Chronicles so I’m not sure of the connection to the series. From what I can gather the characters in this don’t feature in the main storyline and are, perhaps, ancestors.  Continue reading

That Bright Land by Terry Roberts ~ #Historical Fiction post War of the States #TuesdayBookBlog @robertsterrylee

Based on true events, That Bright Land is the story of a violent and fragile nation in the wake of the Civil War and a man who must exorcise his own savage demons while tracking down another.

Jacob Ballard arrives at Alexander’s Station, North Carolina on his way to Warm Springs. He was to meet with one of a few contacts whose names he’d been given in Washington City by his uncle, Governor Zeb Vance. Under the pretence of investigating and assessing veterans’ disability claims, Jacob was charged with finding out who was targeting and murdering  veterans who fought for the Union. Returning to his birthplace held no appeal for Jacob, nor did the task he’d been set. Continue reading

#FridayBookShare ~ The Perdition Score (Sandman Slim #8) by Richard Kadrey #UrbanFantasy @ShelleyWilson72

#FridayBookShare ~ an excellent idea created by Shelley Wilson

With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, so Shelley created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.

FridayBookShare

Anyone can join in. Just answer the following F.R.I.D.A.Y. questions based on the book you’re either currently reading (or listening to, in my case) or have just finished reading. Use the hashtag #FridayBookShare and remember to tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72)  Continue reading

Fair Coin/Quantum Coin ~ the #audiobooks #SundayBlogShare #YA SciFi #BookReview

 

  • Fair CoinFair Coin ~ Book 1
  • Author: E C Myers
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • November 2013 by Audible Inc
  • Category: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • four-stars

After Ephraim’s mother believes she has identified his body after an accident, she’s grief stricken and attempts suicide. Ephraim finds her unconscious and slumped over the kitchen table when he gets home from school.  

While in the hospital with his mother, the boy’s belongings are inadvertently given to Ephraim and among them he finds a strange coin that can grant wishes….except it doesn’t grant them in quite the way Ephraim expects and before long Ephraim realises the coin is much more than a ‘genie’ type object, it’s something a lot more sinister and convoluted. And he’s unable to control what happens after he’s made a wish. He’s the only one who knows he’s wished for something to change and the only one who remembers what it was like before.  Continue reading

The Promise ~ Elvis Cole

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes Scott James and his K-9 partner, Maggie, in the new masterpiece of suspense from the number one New York Times bestselling author. 

Loyalty, commitment, the fight against injustice – these are the things that have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

Meryl Lawrence hires PI Elvis Cole to find missing chemical engineer Amy Breslyn, who has supposedly embezzled a large amount of money from Woodson Energy Solutions, the company she works for. They manufacture fuels for the Department of Defense, which gives their work a classified status. Continue reading

The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy

AudiobookReview

  • NextAlwaysThe Next Always~ Book 1
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Published: November 2011 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal
  • five-stars

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, the changing of hands, and even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major face-lift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect in the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.

Nora Roberts’ books are, generally speaking, a given for a feel good and comforting read. I love her characters, their interactions, chemistry and the sense of family and community. This trilogy is one of my favourites, I’ve listened to it a couple of times. The Inn and Boonsboro are real places, as are Turn The Page bookstore and Vesta, the family pizza restaurant (all owned by the Roberts family). The beautifully detailed descriptions of the Inn, the remodelling, decor and fittings, just make me want to spend time there (in Jane and Rochester, I think) and explore the area. A bucket list item, perhaps. I love the paranormal layer to the story and how it’s resolved in the following books. And yes, there are similarities between this trilogy and the four Mackade Brothers books but in this instance it doesn’t worry me or spoil the enjoyment of either set of books. There must come a time, especially for such prolific writers, when storylines are replicated to a certain degree. The Montgomery brothers, Beckett, Owen and Ryder are restoring a dilapidated old inn to it’s former glory. The idea is their mother, Justine’s vision.  The inn has stood on the corner of The Square, Boonsboro, Maryland for over two centuries, surviving whatever the years had thrown at it, and is crying out for renovation. 

It knew war, heard the echo of gunfire, the cries of the wounded, the prayers of the fearful. It knew blood and tears, joy and fury. Birth and death. It thrived in good times, endured the hard times. It changed hands and purpose, yet the stone walls stood.

Clare Brewster moved back to Boonsboro, with her two boys and expecting a third, after her husband was killed by a sniper in Iraq. She and the Montgomery brothers have known each other since high school and Beckett has had a crush on Clare since he was a teenager. Clare is a great character, juggling her book store business and family life, and under the circumstances, happy to be back in her home town with her best friends, Avery and Hope, and near her parents. A stalker adds some tension and suspense. The characters are all well-developed and the brothers have distinct and different personalities. The amusing banter between them re-enforces their closeness and the dialogue, as always, is easy and genuine. The blossoming relationship between Beckett and Clare is well portrayed and Beckett’s interactions with the children is in turns hilarious and touching.

  • LastBoyfriendThe Last Boyfriend ~ Book 2
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Published: May 2012 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal
  • four-stars

Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist – and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers give him grief for his compulsive list making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery MacTavish….  Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation – and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.

Avery McTavish owns and runs Vesta, the Pizzeria across from Inn BoonsBoro. She and Owen Montgomery have been friends forever and he was her first ‘boyfriend’ when she was about five. They have contrasting personalities but fit well together, Avery is spontaneous, sometimes stubborn and dealing, or trying to, with the issues her mother’s abandonment left her with, while Owen is thoughtful, likes order, to be organised and plan everything out. After Avery’s mother walked out on her and her father, Willy B, they were absorbed into, and made a part of, the Montgomery family. Avery and her father have a lovely and incredibly close bond and the family dynamics are at the forefront of all the books which serves to enhance each of the characters. Owen and Avery’s dawning realisation of the shift in their feelings for each other, the friends to lovers thing developing slowly, is charming. They both worry that taking their relationship further will spoil the friendship they share and hold dear. There aren’t any major upheavals but Avery has to deal with her conflicted feelings, wondering if she takes after her mother, and learn to let down her guard. Willy B and Justine Montgomery are having a thing and the three brothers’ reaction to finding out their mother actually has a sex life is so funny. Especially the scene when Owen stops off at his mother’s house for breakfast and walks in on a steamy kiss in the kitchen.

‘You – But – What? Mom.’ ‘Try to make a complete sentence, Owen. Have some coffee.’ She reached for a mug.  ‘Ah…I should…’ Still bright red, Willy B shuffled his enormous feet.  ‘Put some pants on.’ ‘Yes!’ Owen felt his hands flapping in the air, but just couldn’t stop them. ‘That. Pants. You. Please God.’ Rumbling in his throat, Willy B scooted off like a bear towards his cave. Mom.’ ‘That’s my name.’ All cheer, Justine beamed smiles. ‘Sit down, honey. Drink your coffee.’ ‘What-‘ Justine picked up the tongs to take the bacon out to drain. ‘Finish it this time. I’ll get you started. What…?’

Storylines from the previous book are wrapped up, Beckett and Claire’s wedding, the grand opening of the Inn, both of which were detailed and fun, and Hope moves into the Innkeeper’s apartment. There are interesting developments between Ryder and Hope which promise controversy and fireworks in the final instalment. And we get to know more about Lizzie, the resident ghost. Hope and Owen are researching, trying to find out more about Lizzie and why she seems to be connected to the inn.

  • ThePerfectHopeThe Perfect Hope ~ Book 3
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Performed by MacLeod Andrews
  • Published: November 2012 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal
  • five-stars

Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out – with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro….  As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be – except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.

Hope Beaumont, smart, practical and sophisticated, is loving her job as innkeeper at the inn renovated by the Montgomery family. She loves the quaint and historic small town, the sense of community and having her friends close by, being able to share their joys and triumphs. Boonsboro is her home now and she is very happy with her life. Choosing to leave Georgetown and her job at The Wickham after being treated abominably by Jonathan Wickham, the heir apparent, was the best decision she’d made in a long while. And she has Avery and Clare to thank for suggesting, or rather urging, her to apply for the innkeeper’s position. Ryder Montgomery, gruff, sexy and a man of very few words, although when he does have something to say he’s totally honest and up front, has a great relationship with his brothers and loves and admires his mother. He’s seemingly indifferent to Hope although there’s a definite attraction there, just under the surface, and it’s beginning to win out over the irritability and sparring between them. Ryder can’t understand why Hope appeals to him, but since their very first meeting there’s been something he can’t quite pin down. It takes Hope’s upfront approach to set things in motion, with a little help from Lizzy.  Between the sparks flying every which way, the brothers are rehabbing Avery’s new restaurant, a bakery and a fitness centre. When Hope’s past makes an unpleasant appearance in the person of Jonathan Wickham, followed by his jealous wife, Ryder takes matters into his own hands. No-one is going to upset Hope and get away with it.

He wasn’t going to screw with her. And he sure as hell wasn’t responsible for her history with assholes..…..He’d kept his distance, until recently. He’d kept it because there’d been something right from the jump…….She wasn’t his type, and he sure as hell wasn’t hers……She’d started it, and if they finished it, he’d make sure they both laid their cards on the table first. He played fair…..And if the time came when they both gave the nod, he’d play extra fair. No problem.

There’s a fairly high steam factor in this book but Nora Roberts is an author who can write sexy scenes very tastefully. A lot of dialogue also, compared to the others, and that’s not a bad thing, it serves to give a real insight into the characters. I loved the conclusion of Lizzie’s story and the reason she was at the Inn, even though that aspect was tragic and very poignant, and told extremely well.  Elegant book covers lend themselves to a peaceful and luxurious  atmosphere. I love the characters, the books are written beautifully and put me right there, in the story. This was my first ever introduction to a MacLeod Andrews narration and it’s wonderful, each character distinct and lots of emotion. No one can quite nail the sexy, gravelly male voices like Mr Andrews. Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

Duplicity

AudiobookReview

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Seventeen year old hacker, Brandon Eriks, a bad boy with multiple tattoos, piercings, dyed black, messy hair and an attitude to match, thinks he’s covered up his money-making hacking activities pretty well. Until one day he finds warning and personal messages on his computer. Things get even more bizarre when Brandon’s reflection takes on a life of its own, writing messages on mirrors and altering Brandon’s appearance by removing the metal from his piercings, ripping off his tattoos and washing the dye out of his hair. Then the unthinkable happens and Brandon is watching his life unfold from behind the mirror.

Because who found me? Who cares enough to find me? Can’t be a cop, because he’d cut to the chase and knock on my door with a warrant, not play cat and mouse on my laptop. Can’t be a bot because he knows personal details about me. Like what happened with Emma. But I can’t think of anyone, even super hackers who get their thrills hunting other hackers, who would even care what I say or do offline.

Brandon, quite different from a lot of young adult protagonists, has built up his image as a shield and perfected it over the years. His ‘don’t care’ attitude stems from the hurt of his parents’ thoughtlessness, the tattoos and piercings a reaction against his flawed family life as well as a bid for some sort of attention. He pushes people away before he can become attached or emotionally involved. The one person he can’t step away from is Emma, who believes in him and sees past the face Brandon shows to the world.

Brandon’s character evolves genuinely and substantially during the story, mostly due to his feelings for Emma. The romance itself doesn’t figure hugely in the plot which centres more on the multi layered science fiction aspect and the complex digital world in which Brandon finds himself confined. This allows him to consider and acknowledge his convoluted relationships with others, as well as his own situation, from a different perspective. N.K. Traver does a really good job of showing the reasons Brandon chooses to use his computer skills unwisely, eliciting some sympathy for an emotionally starved teen, while at the same time exploring the issue of privacy in the digital age.

N.K. Traver has created a unique concept, a great storyline, with well-developed and engaging characters, and even though it’s full of technology speak it’s not too overwhelming. The supporting characters are realistically portrayed, my favourite by far is Seb, also hurting and distrustful. For such an extraordinary storyline it’s really well done, so suspend your belief, leave it by the door and enjoy a tense and very imaginative cyber thriller that didn’t go in any of the directions I expected. An extremely good debut novel.

As with all his narrations, MacLeod Andrews’ performance is excellent, really getting inside the characters and bringing them to life individually and vividly.

Book links ~ Amazon US Amazon UK

About the author

As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. Traver decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living” with an English degree. It wasn’t too many years later Traver realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Programmer by day, writer by night, it was only a matter of time before the two overlapped.

Traver’s debut, DUPLICITY, a cyberthriller pitched as BREAKING BAD meets THE MATRIX for teens, is now available.

Author links ~ Website, Twitter, Goodreads