The Best & Worst of 2016

2016 is finally over! It was a tough year for me, even right up to the end where I caught a nasty holiday bug. I did read a lot of great books last year. According to my Goodreads profile, I read 208 books, nearly 100 less than the year before. I blame my new found love of Netflix bingewatching for that. Here are my favorite 11 books of the year, in no particular order (no counting rereads).

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

BrownRedRising

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ClineReadyPlayerOne

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

ButcherSkinGame

Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave

Tofu will help me hide the bodies.
Tofu will help me hide the bodies.

Anne Manx on Amazonia by Larry Weiner

WeinerAnneManxOnAmazonia

Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

PriestChapelwood

The Green Children by Domino Finn

FinnTheGreenChildren

Dragon Gate by Gary Jonas (Jonathan Shade #3)

JonasDragonGate

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Kiera Gillett

GillettZariaFierceAndTheEnchantedDrakelandSword

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Chupa being weird.
Chupa being weird.

Cthulhu Armageddon by C. T. Phipps

PhippsCthulhuArmageddon

I did some rereads this past year – The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (yep, from the beginning), Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (I’ve been reading with a great group of on-line friends and we’re up to Book 7 now), Dune by Frank Herbert (just because it’s awesome), Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney (I read this in paperback some years ago but now it’s available as an audiobook and it is incredibly well done).

Here are the top 3 books that didn’t do it for me:

Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

WardLoverEternal

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

ColeAHungerLikeNoOther

Hair Power by Piers Anthony

AnthonyHairPower

I also joined a romance book club. I’ve never really enjoyed romance novels. I don’t mind if a book has romance in it but the main plot has to be something more than finding true love or getting laid for me to really enjoy it. So, I thought perhaps I was wrong in binning romance books all together and pretty much ignoring them. With that in mind, I joined this lovely group of people and gave the romance genre a real shot at winning my heart. We read several paranormal and urban fantasy romances, a few contemporary romances (some with suspense and one with BDSM), and 1 historical fiction romance. In general, I was underwhelmed. Some of the books did exceed my expectations and for romance novels they were good, but none of them made it into my top 50. Let me slightly amend that. I had the opportunity to host twice, which means I picked the book we read. Both times I picked books I had not previously read and one of them was Darkness Haunts by Susan Ilene. There is no romance in this novel. There’s a spattering of flirting, but that is all. While several people enjoyed it (including me), it does not count as a romance novel. Obviously, I’m not a good host for a romance book club but the group was great about it.

Also here are some of my notable firsts for 2016:

My first Stephen King novel – 11-22-63

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My first Star Wars novel – Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Guess which side of the Force Chupacabr is on?
Guess which side of the Force Chupacabra is on?

My first Podiobooks audiobook – Marker Stone by Paul J. Joseph

JosephMarkerStone

My first Kurt Vonnegut novel – Cat’s Cradle

VonnegutCatsCradleTofu

As 2016 ends, I am looking forward to a better year in 2017. I spent all of 2016 sick and most of it on bed rest. It took quite some time and many doctors to get diagnosed. I now know that I have CTEPH and in February I will be in San Diego having PTE surgery to hopefully correct the issue. It’s a major surgery and I could be in the hospital recovering for up to 20 days. So if Dab of Darkness goes dark between Ground Hog’s Day and Valentine’s Day, it’s just me laid up in a hospital recovering. Life should get better after that surgery and I’m just really looking forward to being on the other side of it. 24/7 supplemental oxygen makes life rather boring, as I can now attest to.

Bloggity Award and Other Stuff

Lynn over at Books & Travelling with Lynn blog recently nominated me for the Real Neat Blog award. I tend to enjoy blog awards because it forces me to be a little more personable and chatty. Plus, we all get to talk about books.

The Rules:

    • Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.
    • Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.
    • Create 7 questions for your nominees.
    • Nominate 7 other bloggers.
    • Bend said rules

1. If you could meet any author, from any time (past and present), who would that be and what would be your most pressing question?

That’s a tough one. Andre Norton (Forerunner Foray, Timetraders, etc.), Alan Dean Foster (for his Pip & Flynx series), Isaac Asimov (for his Lucky Starr series), and Anne McCaffrey (for her Dragonriders of Pern series) all an impact on me as a kid and it would be cool to get a drink with them and find out what books, authors, or artists had an impact on them.

2. Who is your absolute favorite character, ever. I know you’re probably groaning and rolling your eyes but there must be one character that springs to mind immediately – probably followed by a host of others – but, I want that first knee jerk reaction please and why!

I find that if you ask me this today, you’ll get one answer and if you ask 6 months from now, you’ll get another. I’m easily swayed by whatever I’m reading and thoroughly enjoying at the moment. Let’s go with Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing wizard PI. I like how he can think out side of the box and come up with crazy polka powered T-rex zombie type solutions to messed up situations.

3. What is your favorite series out of all the books you’ve read?  The series you would recommend without hesitation.

I will always adore Jacqueline Carey’s Terre D’Ange Cycle. The epic fantasy, the alternate history, breaking so many standard tropes! However, I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone because of the sex. I love the sex, and that’s part of what breaks so many dated, sexist standards in fantasy fiction, but is everyone ready for it? Personally, 9/10 people I recommend this series to, has enjoyed it.

4. What’s your preferred reading format, book or e-reader?

These days I do a lot of audiobooks. I dabble in other formats, but find that my deep fatigue from illness makes concentration an issue. Audiobooks are great for me because I don’t get hung up on typos, grammatical errors, large words that I once knew but now find difficult to connect meanings to, etc. The story continues with an audiobook no matter what issues the book may or may not have.

5. The book you were most looking forward to but ended up being really disappointed with?

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. Wow! This book was a bit of a snoozer for me. The main character that ties it all together, that everyone knows or is tied to in some manner, is pretty darn boring. I kept on with it to the end hoping it would get better. There’s plenty of interesting side characters and I liked the slower pacing than usual for the fall of modern society story. But instead the book really is about this one guy who is pretty bland.

6. Blogging – what do you love/not love – any embarrassing moments?

I love that I don’t have a schedule. I blog when I feel like it (or when I feel up to it) and can take a break from it when I don’t. I like that I have kept it small and just blog what I want to blog about and don’t try to force myself into being glitzy, trendy, or the first to post a review on the latest hot ARC. There’s plenty of blogs that do focus on those things, and I’m glad they’re out there because I read them.

So far, I haven’t done anything too embarrassing. I know my typos and such have gone up this past year while I have been sick. But in the big scheme of things, that’s rather small.

7. Most anticipated book for the remainder of 2016?

Kevin Hearne is coming out with his first epic fantasy, I think. Hooray! I really enjoy his Iron Druid Chronicles (urban fantasy). Scott Lynch may be releasing his next Gentleman Bastards book (hooray!). As far as I know, there’s no release date yet for Peace Talks by Jim Butcher. Henry Hertz & his two sons have at least 2 more kids books coming out this year – they’re always so well illustrated! Of course, the next A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. I always look forward to something new from Jim Bernheimer. I’m hoping Domino Finn does another Sycamore Moon book. I’ve really enjoyed the first 3 Jonathan Shade urban fantasy books by Gary Jonas and I’m hoping he puts more of the series out as audiobooks. Joe Hempel does a great job narrating them.

Here’s my 7 questions:

If you could be an extra on a period piece (Outlander, Spartacus, etc.) what would it be and what would you be doing?

What makes you cringe?

What’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Bonus Question: If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class about your favorite genre, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

While I will mention some favorite blogs below, I’m going to leave this open mic. If you find the questions (or my answers) amusing, feel free to chime in down in the comments or create your own blog post answering them – if you let me know you did so, I’ll swing by and check it out.

I like to visit author David Lee Summers blog for the steampunk – most definitely for the steampunk. Viviana, Enchanstress of Books is doing a lot of cool audiobook stuff this month. Broken Teepee has a fun mix of home gardening, book reviews, and info on home brewing kits and such. I’ve found Home Cooked Books by narrator Karen White to be a fun place with lots of interesting bits on what it’s like to make an audiobook. Violin in a Void is constantly expanding my world of books, and I like her focus on African authors and book blogs. Mike Powell is a photographer and he focuses on nature. I especially love his photos of herons. Evelyn Aster, who writes mostly contemporary romance (which, admittedly, is a bit outside my favorite genres), regularly posts pics of her fancy nails and her fancy drinks.

On a personal note, I haven’t been as involved as I normally am due to chronic illness. 2015 was one of the toughest years of my life and 2016 is shaping up to be as well. However, just last month I finally got a diagnosis! Hooray! Turns out I have many, many tiny blood clots throughout my lungs. Because the blood clots have been tiny, the condition didn’t present with the normal sharp pains to the chest, etc. Various scans and doctors missed it, and I was often misdiagnosed as having an asthma exacerbation. Now my doctors suspect the blood clots could have been going on as long as 2 years, with my lungs absorbing at least some of them. Because it went on so long, I have a moderately high case of pulmonary hypertension, which in turn has enlarged my heart. So, I have lots of work to do to get better and it will take many months. I’ve been on 24/7 oxygen since January and will be for at least a few more months, perhaps longer.

So, if you pinged me about something and I haven’t responded, feel free to ping me again. I’ve been hypoxic for probably about 12 months now and when your brain doesn’t have it’s regular stream of healthy oxygen, you get stupid, tired, and forgetful.

Dead Man by Domino Finn

FinnDeadManWhere I Got It: A gift

Publisher: Blood & Treasure (2015)

Length: 296 pages

Series: Book 1 Black Magic Outlaw

Author’s Page

Cisco Suarez, necromancer and a wee bit of a dumb ass, wakes up in  a dumpster. Wait. Can the dead wake? Cisco is full on dead and he’s none too happy to learn about it, especially since a variety of folks are set on seeing him dead. Again.

The Miami heat can be harsh, especially if you’re already prone to giving off body odor. Cisco needs info and the first person he runs into that he knows is Milena, who was his sister Seleste’s BFF. Cisco soon learns what tragedy befell his family and he’s heart broken and ticked off all at the same time.

The Haitian gang, The Bone Saints, are after him and he’s not too sure why.  They have a new leader, Baptiste, who is dead set on ending Cisco’ second life. Cisco has few options so he calls upon his friends for info and aide. There’s the Norwegian biker tattoo artist Kasper, his boyhood school friend Evan Cross (who’s as straight laced as you can get), and his buddy in studying the dark arts Martine. Unfortunately, Cisco will get less aide tham he hoped for and more info than he can easily handle.

This is a wonderful nitty gritty urban fantasy detective story. Miami provides the author with the opportunity to mix in several cultures and languages. Of course, I loved all the food references. Cisco has that interesting mix of boyish charm, machismo, underdog, do-gooder, and more power than he can easily handle. It made for a fascinating character set in a place that ties together several cultures, and hence, several mythologies.

I often found myself cheering on this necromancer, which is not something I have done often. I mean, it’s just wrong to mess with the dead, right? But Cisco made me see the right of it. After all, there’s utilizing the dead for a higher purpose and then there’s abusing your necromancer privileges. Cisco sometimes walks a fine line, but that only added to the tension and enjoyment of the story.

My one quibble is the ladies. They are few and far between and mostly are comforters and sex objects. Now part of that is how Cisco sees the world, so I can see that adding to the character’s personality, but the ladies as a whole aren’t well represented. Martine has some skills in necromancy, but she has a pretty small role. Max, a body guard, I think has like 5 lines for the entire book and is one-dimensional. Seleste gets a nod and Milena has the largest role mostly because Cisco spends plenty of time admiring her figure. There’s an od girlfriend who also gets a nod but must be protected from the truth as she’s too fragile to handle it. It’s modern-day Miami, which is known for a lot of things, including their bad ass women (for example the numerous ladies from the series Dexter). Alas, this book was lacking in this regard.

With that said, it was still a very engaging story and an excellent addition to the urban fantasy genre. Apparently, the dead can be used more creatively than I expected. The balance of humor and serious points kept me on Cisco’s side throughout the book.

I received this book as a gift from the author with no strings attached.

What I Liked: Almost a noir detective feel to it; the cover art; Cisco is a very interesting character; great mix of cultures and mythologies; food references; the humor; the serious points; ready for Book 2.

What I Disliked: The ladies are little sidenotes in this adventure.

What Others Think:

James A. Hunter

The Green Children by Domino Finn

FinnTheGreenChildrenWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Jason Jewett

Publisher: Blood & Treasure (2016)

Length: 8 hours 22 minutes

Series: Book 3 Sycamore Moon

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 3 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.

The Sycamore forest is known for strangeness. Anyone who has spent quality time in the area knows this. Diego de la Torre, former CDC hunter of werewolves, gets pulled into a new mystery when he stops on the highway to help a panicked mother (Julia) find her lost daughter Hazel. While it’s not technically Detective Maxim Dwyer’s area, his friend Diego calls him in anyway. Unexpectedly, another girl (Annabelle) is found, one who had been lost for three days. Now, authorities and Diego are all concerned there is something more going on in the Sycamore woods.

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series (The Seventh Sons & The Blood of Brothers) and this installment to the series is pretty darn good. While the first two books dealt with the local werewolves, there’s barely a mention of them in this book. But don’t worry! This book has the unknown, the noir detective feel, and very interesting characters.  Maxim and Diego continue to be my two favorite characters in the series and both feature heavily in this book.

So let me get my one criticism out of the way so I can get back to telling you how much I enjoyed this book. The lady characters are sparse and lacking in depth. Julia is a beautiful woman, a possible love interest, and a mother who can do little more than cry over her lost daughter. We also meet Annabelle’s mom, who has more personality, but again is mostly just a sex object and a ball of anger. While Annabelle has a little more going on than Hazel, they are both one-dimensional characters. Kaeda Burnett, a Yavapai woman from Book 2, makes a brief appearance and gives some sage advice. I know the author can write great female characters because he’s done it in other books. Too bad this book didn’t have any. All the plot decisions are made by male characters and the guys get to have all the fun and outdoor activities.

OK, so setting that aside, we’ve got this great mystery. Annabelle can’t recall much of her time spent in the woods. It’s all  fuzzy and dream like. Or so she says. She’s pretty despondent, not answering questions, and being withdrawn. Maxim suspects she knows more but isn’t sure how to reach her. Then there is her mother that just wants her to snap out of it and get back to school and her normal life. As they dig into Annabelle’s whereabouts prior to her going missing, a drifter who has frequented Sycamore Moon for many years pops up on their radar.

And then things get strange. In previous books, we knew up front that we were dealing with werewolves. Here, the supernatural quality is slow to come and then it took me some time to figure out what we were dealing with. That was part of the mystery and it was a slow delicious burn.

Diego is still trying to figure out where he fits in the world. He loves the area but he’s not an outlaw biker like the Seventh Sons motorcycle club he once belonged to. Nor is he law enforcement, as he once was working for the CDC. Yet he’s not good at driving trucks on a schedule working for a boss either. I really enjoyed watching him figure all this out and I have a guess as to where his path will lead him.

Maxim is another mystery, to some extent. He lost his wife and has difficulty trusting people in general. Living and working in the Sycamore Moon area hasn’t helped that as nearly everyone he encounters has a secret. Still, it takes a person with a flexible mind to accept the things he has come across, and he needs all that quick thinking to unravel this mystery!

Despite the lack of female characters with depth, I was thoroughly caught up in this tale. I had trouble putting it down so I could get a bit of sleep, and I finished it in 2 days. I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series!

 

I received this book free of charge (via Audiobook Blast) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Jason Jewett did yet another fine job. His Spanish accent for Diego de la Torre is spot on. Now I’m not trying to make Jewett blush, but his voice for Diego with that Spanish accent is quite something! Very sexy. His female voices and little kid voices are believable. All his characters are distinct. I love his somewhat gravelly voice for Maxim. 

What I Liked: Southwest setting; the mystery is a delicious slow burn to unravel; Diego and Maxim remain my favorite characters, with all their inner turmoil; the supernatural element was a mystery to our main characters; the ethnic diversity is greatly appreciated.

What I Disliked: There were no female characters with depth.

 

2015: The Worthy

So this year, according to my GoodReads account, I read or listened to just over 300 books, ranging from 10 pages in length to over 1100 pages in length. Obviously, I had to put a lot of thought into what books I found worthy this year, there being so many to sort through. So, I got it down to my top 15 (sort of) most entertaining reads of the year. None of these books were re-reads. In no particular order:

Squatch and a good book
Squatch and a good book

Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different – and rigidly enforced – level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains . . .

Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon’s world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint’s Celestial Levels – and with the dying body comes bad news.

If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint’s base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon’s own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality – and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability . . .

TERMINAL WORLD is a snarling, drooling, crazy-eyed mongrel of a book: equal parts steampunk, western, planetary romance and far-future SF.

FinnTheSeventhSonsDomino Finn’s Sycamore Moon series

The Seventh Sons

Two years after his wife went missing, Detective Maxim Dwyer is still running down leads. The isolated woods of Sycamore are home to many lawless men, and no one’s talking, but that hasn’t stopped Maxim from gathering suspects. Topping his list is the local motorcycle club, the Seventh Sons. His biggest obstacle? Everyone swears the bikers are werewolves. The small-town residents are wary of provoking the MC, and the marshal’s office is no exception.

Everything changes when a routine biker brawl turns fatal. Going against procedure, Maxim presses an enigmatic stranger for answers. But Diego de la Torre is running his own con. The outlaw deals in lies and legends, and no adversary can back him down. Not even the police.

It’s too bad that nobody’s above the law for Maxim. He’s willing to risk his badge, and his life, to prove it.

FinnTheBloodOfBrothersThe Blood of Brothers

Diego de la Torre is officially an outlaw now, a full-fledged member of The Seventh Sons Motorcycle Club. The werewolf MC runs the wild lands of Sycamore with ease. At least until a dead body shows up and points to them as the culprits.

Detective Maxim Dwyer presses the Seventh Sons hard, but there are other guns in play. California bikers look to expand their drug trade. A mercenary outfit seeks revenge. Top that with an overbearing FBI agent who undermines local police, and both detective and outlaw have their hands full.

Brothers or not, Sycamore’s about to get a whole lot bloodier.

Claudie snoring
Claudie snoring

The Martian by Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.

MooreRapunzelStayAtHomeMomRapunzel: Stay At Home Mom by Melinda Moore

Shut away from the world as a child, Rapunzel is now obsessed with the safety of her own children. When she locks her kids in a castle tower, her husband decides it’s time Rapunzel had a day off at Sleeping Beauty’s Spa. But the path to the spa is perilous, culminating in a confrontation with her fairy witch mother. Should Rapunzel have stayed safe in the tower after all?

Pico was rudely awakened from his nap for this pic.
Pico was rudely awakened from his nap for this pic.

Among Others by Jo Walton

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled–and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

 

FranklinMistressOfTheArtOfDeathThe Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

A chilling, mesmerizing novel that combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the detail and drama of historical fiction. In medieval Cambridge, England, four children have been murdered. The crimes are immediately blamed on the town’s Jewish community, taken as evidence that Jews sacrifice Christian children in blasphemous ceremonies. To save them from the rioting mob, the king places the Cambridge Jews under his protection and hides them in a castle fortress. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he is invested in their fate. Without the taxes received from Jewish merchants, his treasuries would go bankrupt. Hoping scientific investigation will exonerate the Jews, Henry calls on his cousin the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest “master of the art of death,” an early version of the medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno. But her name is Adelia-the king has been sent a “mistress” of the art of death. Adelia and her companions-Simon, a Jew, and Mansur, a Moor-travel to England to unravel the mystery of the Cambridge murders, which turn out to be the work of a serial killer, most likely one who has been on Crusade with the king. In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia must conceal her true identity as a doctor in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she is assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, one of the king’s tax collectors, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. Rowley may be a needed friend, or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia’s investigation takes her into Cambridge’s shadowy river paths and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again . .

 

The Anne Manx series by Larry Weiner and Radio Repertory Co. of America

WeinerAnneManxInLivesOfTheCatAnne Manx and the Lives of the Cat

This new science fiction series charges into action at a head-long pace, deadly serious and wickedly satirical. Great performances from Claudia Christian (Babylon 5’s ‘Susan Ivanova’), as Detective Annie Manx, an honest cop in a system under siege, and Patricia Tallman (B5’s ‘Lyta Alexander’) as the vicious Lieutenant Richmond. Annie and her boss are marked for death, as they stand between Richmond and a police take-over of the entire sector. But somehow, astoundingly – when Annie gets killed, she doesn’t die. Just how many lives does this cat have? Mystery, action, suspense, sex, and razor-sharp humour, all wrapped up in a splendid digital production!

WeinerAnneManxAndTheRingOfMinotourAnne Manx and the Ring of Minotour

The eagerly-awaited sequel to Lives Of The Cat hurls us into a web of intrigue swirling around an ancient temple, a mysteriousring – and a legend that offers the chance for someone to actually become a god. Jean Richmond’s murderous lunge for ultimate power forces Anne Manx to risk her own soul for revenge. Claudia Christian returns in this gripping SF thriller as the hard-driving future detective, Patricia Tallman returns as the evil Richmond, along with Alexandra Tydings (“Aphrodite” on Xena) as Charlotte Miller, with co-star Richard Fish as both Jack and Rory. Magnificent performances, escalating suspense, and slam-bang action will hold you riveted Larry Weiner’s brilliant new script, the intense reality of the sound production, and a superb original score by Angelo Panetta, combine to bring you whole new worlds of adventure on the biggest screen of all — your imagination.

WeinerAnneManxAndTheTroubleOnChromiusAnne Manx and the Trouble on Chromius

Claudia Christian is back as Anne Manx, the Galaxy’s smartest, toughest, most durable private investigator!
Chromius is a backwater world whose President Josephson has replaced democracy with tyranny. Patriots are planning a revolt to restore liberty, and Anne is caught in the crossfire and then thrown right into the midst of the struggle. Trying to help Archie (Andy Hallett) and Wendy (Paris Jefferson), a couple of citizens caught up in the fight for freedom, the story becomes a nightmare maze of danger, betrayal, and ulterior motives. It takes all the courage, fighting skill and detective genius Manx can muster just to stay alive as things heat up – and to figure out the shocking truth.
Action, mystery, action, danger, action, humor, action, and suspense all pile in on each other as the story grows. (Did we mention it’s got plenty of action?) Great writing, superb performances, and excellent sound design are all tied together with a complete original musical score.
The Trouble on Chromius keeps your mind on the very edge of its seat!

 

Tofu kitty as a book stand.
Tofu kitty as a book stand.

The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton

Reviewers exhaust superlatives when it comes to the science fiction of Peter F. Hamilton. His complex and engaging novels, which span thousands of years–and light-years–are as intellectually stimulating as they are emotionally fulfilling. Now, with The Dreaming Void, the eagerly awaited first volume in a new trilogy set in the same far-future as his acclaimed Commonwealth saga, Hamilton has created his most ambitious and gripping space epic yet.

The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself.
At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds.

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward. . .

GladstoneThreePartsDeadMax Gladstone’s Craft Sequence

Three Parts Dead

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

GladstoneTwoSerpentsRisingTwo Serpents Rise

Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc — casual gambler and professional risk manager — to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father — the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists — has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire… and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

 

Slinky was chewing on my shoes so I gave her a book to look at.
Slinky was chewing on my shoes so I gave her a book to look at.

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

BernheimerSecretsOfADListSupervillainSecrets of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer

Cal Stringel may be dead to the world at large, but a select few know that he’s still alive and in control of the most powerful suit of battle armor ever created. He’s part of a rogue super team taking the world by storm and changing the dynamic for both heroes and villains alike. With change comes resistance and those holding control and power are not ready to just hand it over without a fight.

For the former D-List Supervillain, it’s time to break out the spare synthmuscle, charge the massive railgun pistol, and bring the pain. With his new team, he thinks he can take on the world, but is Cal biting off more than he can chew? He must deal with sanctioned hero teams and power mad bureaucrats on one side and the major supervillains of his world on the other.

As Cal and his allies ready themselves to face friend and foe, he will also have to deal with his relationship with Stacy Mitchell, also known as the Olympian, Aphrodite. Separated for over a year, they’ve only just reunited and are faced with the prospect of being on opposite sides of the coming conflict. Can they find enough common ground between the secrets and half-truths to sustain their fledgling relationship, or are they doomed like the last time to crash and burn?

SivecBuryMeBury Me by Tara Sivec

I hear screams in my head.
I see blood on my hands.
When I look in the mirror I see a stranger.

How is it that I can remember bits and pieces of my life, but nothing of any importance and nothing that makes any sense? Everything is twisted and nothing is right. I’m choking with every breath I take, suffocating on the unknown.

Two days ago, everything changed. Two days ago, the people I should trust the most became strangers in my convoluted head. The dreams I have can’t be real. The fleeting memories that whisper through my mind are scary and wrong…they have to be. If they aren’t, I have something much worse to fear than my fractured mind. I need to find out the truth, even if it destroys me.

I’ve been told my name is Ravenna Duskin. I’m eighteen years old and I live in a prison…

 

ForbesDeadLuckyGhosts & Magic series by M. R. Forbes

Dead Lucky

When a strange message arrives through an even stranger channel, necromancer Conor Night is driven to discover its meaning, even if it takes a road trip that he might not be healthy enough to survive. Joined by his sexy partner and an undead wise-ass, he’s about to rush headlong into a magic and mayhem filled night in New Orleans that will leave his future riding on a roll of the dice.
Luck, be a lady…

* Dead Lucky is a standalone novella (20,000 words) set in the contemporary, urban fantasy world of Ghosts & Magic. It precedes Dead of Night in the timeline, and is a great place to sample the series, get a deeper look into Conor’s backstory, or simply enjoy the ride. *

ForbesDeadOfNightDead of Night

Small-time thief and hitman Conor Night thinks having terminal cancer is his worst problem. The illegal treatments keeping him alive are expensive, and the side effects a mixed bag:

Conor can raise the dead.

When a low-end hit points to a high-end job, Conor is suspicious, but it’s an opportunity he can’t afford to ignore. Armed with a set of soul-sucking ancient dice, a collection of corpses, and the estranged daughter of one of the most powerful wizards on Earth, it will take all of his wit, charm, and magic to navigate the treacherous world of the dominant Houses and either finish the job, or be finished himself.

He’s got ninety-nine problems, and dying is only one.

ForbesDeadRedDead Red

Conor Night, the world’s only surviving necromancer, is used to having bad days. After all, he’s spent the last few years as a minor pawn in the Game of Houses while keeping one foot planted firmly in the grave. But between the job offer he can’t refuse from a wizard he doesn’t trust, and the appearance of a cult bent on sending him to the afterlife, his days are about to get a whole lot worse.

He’s used to the threat of death. Death making threats? That’s new.

JonasModernSorceryModern Sorcery by Gary Jonas

A SAVAGE MURDER

A husband armed with a sword hacks apart his wife in a Denver grocery store. There are dozens of witnesses, and the crime is captured on the security cameras. To the police, it’s an open-and-shut case.

To Naomi, the daughter of the couple, it’s evidence of dark magic. She hires her ex-lover, a private investigator named Jonathan Shade to prove her father is innocent.

Shade specializes in paranormal cases, but he isn’t buying it. Still, he takes the case, hoping to rekindle their relationship. Instead, Shade finds himself mixed up in supernatural intrigue with wizards, magically engineered assassins, and an ancient sorcerer returned to life who’s willing to kill anyone who stands in his way.

Too bad Shade doesn’t have any magic.

MoscaHighMidnightHigh Midnight by Rob Mosca

Ghouls, cryptids, homicidal clowns, knife wielding chimps and the best damn phantom bordello north of the border… welcome to Unity, Texas!

Sheriff Laredo Beaumont, former truck driver, hobo savant and ex-luchadore, along with his bonobo deputy Cicero are the sole law in Unity – a literal ghost town perched on the mysterious crater known as the Devil’s Outhouse – whose main economy derives from the spectral pleasures found within the Heskiaoff House bordello along with the Gallows Daughter Saloon (the last watering hole before exiting the American Dream). Whether corralling a pack of feral Chihuahua Yetis, giving chase to monstrous Thunderbirds or stemming the endless tides of sleep-walking dead – there’s no problem Sheriff Beaumont couldn’t handle either behind the business end of his trusted Colt or at the bottom of a bottle of Wild Turkey. But every man’s got his limits and Laredo has long reached his, retiring from the badge that bought him little respect and less gratitude. Ready to settle down with his beloved Sally Mae, a ghostly soiled dove working in the town’s infamous ghost bordello, Laredo has no idea that a gang of murderous clowns are closing in… each looking to settle a long forgotten score with the infamous ‘Sheriff of Unity’.

A gonzo pulp western for the 21st century, High Midnight is a timeless tale of blood and redemption set against a preternatural and pre-apocalyptic Texas.

The Blood of Brothers by Domino Finn

FinnTheBloodOfBrothersWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Jason Jewett

Publisher: Blood & Treasure (2015)

Length: 12 hours 4 minutes

Series: Book 2 Sycamore Moon

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.

Maxim Dwyer, the lead detective assigned to Sycamore, has his hands full. The Seventh Sons, the local motorcycle club, is made up mostly of werewolves. He and they have an understanding, but things are about to happen that will challenge that agreement.

This book was excellent. I really enjoyed Book 1 (The Seventh Sons) but I have to say this book is even better. Perhaps that is because it is much longer and the characters and plot have that much more time to engage with me. Maxim and his friend Diege de la Torre are at the center of this plot. It’s part mystery, part shifter tale, part thriller, and all satisfyingly good. I really had a hard time setting this book aside as sleep was over taking me.

Diego, a former CDC assassin, joined up with the Seventh Sons for the camaraderie and the freedom of the road. While the other members obviously know he is not a werewolf, and is immune to the virus that causes lycanthropy, they don’t know he use to hunt and kill errant wolves for the CDC. He has so far resisted engaging in any illegal activity, such as drug or gun running, but that is beginning to rub some of the MC members the wrong way. Diego is sitting on a fence and sooner or later he’s going to be pushed one way or another. And West Wind, an Apache member of the MC, may be the one to push him.

Kaeda Burnett has recently returned home to her Yavapai family from college. She’s never felt truly welcomed there, except by her grandfather, because she is not fully Yavapai. But she felt obligated to visit before she heads out into the world again with her degree. Her two older half-brothers, the Dokas, play pivotal roles in the plot. The Yavapai have historically had a few mercenary werewolves out for hire. This isn’t a secret to Kaeda, but she has never engaged with any of that business. However, with her brothers in a mess, she may have to.

Meanwhile, the FBI have sent in Marshal Boyd to manage the latest case – a person was found skinned on Yavapai land and there are some concerns it was a hate crime. Boyd and Dwyer butt heads from the beginning. Now toss in Los Pistoles, a MC from California, that wants part of the Seventh Sons territory for gun and drug running, and you have several forces in play. When a member of the Seventh Sons ends up dead, there are several people to point the finger at.

My only quibble with this book is that there are only three female characters and really on Kaeda gets to spend time front and center. The other two are Melody (who we met in Book 1) and the female lawyer for the Seventh Sons. These two ladies have perhaps 10 lines between the two of them. Kaeda on the other hand is an excellent character and is central the plot. She’s book smart and patient with herself. She can quickly assess what she is capable of or not, though she usually figures out a work around. Her grandfather gives her good advice, but it is hard for Kaeda to follow through on. It’s obvious the author knows how to write quality characters or either gender, but I do wish we had more ladies in this book.

Despite that, I just loved this book. The plot was intricate with so many motives in play. I absolutely love the Southwest setting because this author does it right showing the great diversity present in this part of the world. While I guessed one or two things concerning the deaths, chunks of the ending were a surprise and this made the wrap up rewarding. I greatly look forward to the next installment.

I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Jason Jewett did another fine job. His Spanish accent for Diego de la Torre is spot on. His female voices are believable. All his characters are distinct. I love his somewhat gravelly voice for Maxim. 

What I Liked: The ethnic diversity in characters; Kaeda’s character; Maxim and his conflict with Boyd; Diego and his hard choice concerning the Seventh Sons; multiple mysteries with multiple motives; werewolves; the Southwest setting; the cover art; excellent narration.

What I Disliked: Could have used a few more female characters.

What Others Think:

Phillip Tomasso

Audio Book Reviewer

Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: Domino Finn, Author of The Seventh Sons

FinnTheSeventhSonsEveryone, please welcome Domino Finn! He’s the author of the Sycamore Moon series. I greatly enjoyed The Seventh Sons, book 1 in the series. Today we chat about Miami, Sherlock Holmes, a few movies, plus so much more! Also, we have a lovely AUDIOBOOK GIVEAWAY (open to US & UK) so don’t miss that at the end of the post.

What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

This might be a cop out, but I’d have to go with Conan Doyle. (I considered Poe and Dumas, and while I might have more fun at a bar with them, I think I could learn the most from Doyle). As a huge mystery fan, his Sherlock Holmes adventures really inspired me to write. I would pick his brain about story ideas, research methods, and iconic character development.

Are minions/sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more?

I wouldn’t say they need to become more. It’s okay for Chewbacca and Boba Fett to be one-dimensional. They can still be cool. But relationships are two-sided, and a well-fleshed out sidekick can really challenge and deepen the hero. Dr. Watson is an interesting example. The original Sherlock canon didn’t delve too deeply into his character, but if you watch modern cinematic interpretations, a living, breathing, opinionated Watson does both characters some good.

Which would rest easier on your shoulders: to never be able to leave your home city, or to never be able to go back to it?

Which is my preferred hell, huh? I left my home city of Miami eleven years ago and I used to visit often. Not as much nowadays, but I couldn’t dream of never going back. That said, I love to travel. The Americas, Europe, Asia. It’s a tough question. But because you drive a hard bargain, I suppose I’d admit there’s no place like home.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I HAVE SO MANY ANSWERS. The Matrix for the ground-breaking special effects (and the twist). The Sixth Sense for the emotion (and the twist). But I think I’d have to go with Seven. For some reason, I was so invested in the detectives catching the killer. Kevin Spacey played such an arrogant serial killer and I couldn’t wait for the climax of that film.

How does modern pop culture influence your work? Do modern cultural references date a piece or add touchstones for the reader?

I like to fall somewhere in the middle with references. I definitely stay away from the latest meme or twitter hashtag – that stuff won’t be funny a month from now – but a lot of modern pop culture will stand the test of time. References help fill the gaps of our fictional societies, so I go big and don’t worry about dating. Besides, time and place is what gives a novel character. I love all the pay phone stops in the first Harry Bosch book!

FinnTheBloodOfBrothersWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Writing is easy compared to other professions. Let’s get that out of the way. It takes hard work, dedication, practice – but it’s not manual labor. I love my job most days. You want a difficult job? Program video games. With cutting edge technology, you need constant improvement to stay ahead of the curve. The hours alone violate the Geneva Convention.

Do you have any superstitions?

Most days I’d say no, but when I’m watching college football, I swear the players can hear me through the TV.

Would you choose to live permanently in a fictional world, or visit as many as you liked but you couldn’t stay more than a few hours?

So I’m allowed to leave Miami?

I’d definitely go with the temporary option. After a while, Wonderland gets a bit overwhelming.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

I never declared that I’d be a writer, but I constantly came up with stories and games. Novels, Choose You Own Adventures, flip books, board games, computer rpgs. I’m not really sure I finished all that many but I was full of ideas. It wasn’t until my twenties that I realized I could pursue a creative field, however.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

I’ll go with a guy’s night out at a bar.

Batman, for his war stories.
Homer Simpson, for years of laughs.
R2D2, for his loyal sidekick/ beer-fetching qualities.
James Bond, to class up the joint.
And Tyrion Lannister, because who would be more fun to drink with?

FinnTheSeventhSonsThe Seventh Sons book blurb:

Two years after his wife went missing, Detective Maxim Dwyer is still running down leads. The isolated woods of Sycamore are home to many lawless men, and no one’s talking, but that hasn’t stopped Maxim from gathering suspects. Topping his list is the local motorcycle club, the Seventh Sons. His biggest obstacle? Everyone swears the bikers are werewolves. The small-town residents are wary of provoking the MC, and the marshal’s office is no exception.

Everything changes when a routine biker brawl turns fatal. Going against procedure, Maxim presses an enigmatic stranger for answers. But Diego de la Torre is running his own con. The outlaw deals in lies and legends, and no adversary can back him down. Not even the police.

It’s too bad that nobody’s above the law for Maxim. He’s willing to risk his badge, and his life, to prove it.

The Seventh Sons is whispersynced (with the ebook purchase, the audiobook only costs $1.99). The first 5 chapters are up on Domino’s site.

FinnTheBloodOfBrothersThe Blood of Brothers book blurb:

Diego de la Torre is officially an outlaw now, a full-fledged member of The Seventh Sons Motorcycle Club. The werewolf MC runs the wild lands of Sycamore with ease. At least until a dead body shows up and points to them as the culprits.

Detective Maxim Dwyer presses the Seventh Sons hard, but there are other guns in play. California bikers look to expand their drug trade. A mercenary outfit seeks revenge. Top that with an overbearing FBI agent who undermines local police, and both detective and outlaw have their hands full.

Brothers or not, Sycamore’s about to get a whole lot bloodier.

Places to Stalk Domino Finn

Website
Twitter
Facebook
GoodReads

GIVEAWAY!

Domino Finn is giving away two Audible copies of Book 1 (The Seventh Sons) and two of Book 2 (The Blood of Brothers). Each book stands on it’s own. Winners will need to redeem the audiobook gift through Audible.com or Audible.co.uk. You don’t need an Audible account to redeem the gifted audiobook, just an Amazon account. Enter the Rafflecopter below, or answer the following in the comments: 1) How do I contact you if you win? 2) Do you have a preference of book if you do win? 3) Which 5 fictional characters would you invite out for a night of beers? Giveaway ends Midnight Aug. 31, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Seventh Sons by Domino Finn

FinnTheSeventhSonsWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Jason Jewett

Publisher: Blood & Treasure (2014)

Length: 6 hours 47 minutes

Series: Book 1 Sycamore Moon

Author’s Page

Small town Sycamore has its secrets. Some of those secrets Detective Maxim Dwyer won’t let be. A biker brawl involving an out of towner and a few members of the local motorcycle club (The Seventh Sons) lets Dwyer pry into the MC’s business.  But what he uncovers is not what he was expecting.

I saw this audiobook kicking around the blogosphere and I passed it on by. The description starts off comparing the book to the TV shows Supernatural and Sons of Anarchy. While I did watch the latter, I was a bit burned out of misogynistic MC stories, no matter how intriguing the individual characters. I have only watched a handful of Supernatural episodes, but they were not my cup of tea. But then the author contacted me directly looking for a review and I decided to give it a chance.

Let me tell you I am ever so glad that I did! I so very much enjoyed this book. The characters have meat on their bones, the plot is a full 7 courses, and the setting adds an intense spice to the book. Let me assure you this is no gender-weighted MC tale. This is a detective noir story that happens to have practical werewolves at the center of the mystery. There are female characters in position of power who have real personalities and don’t always need a man to rescue them.

There’s quite a bit of ethnic diversity in this book too, which is another thing I really appreciated. Set in Arizona, the ethnic diversity is an accurate reflection of what you will find in the desert Southwest. Also, the mixing of cultures and backgrounds added to the intensity of the story.

Maxim Dwyer and Diego de la Torre at first start off on opposite sides. Indeed, Diego is in handcuffs and a cell while Maxim gives him the 3rd degree interrogation. Pretty quickly the werewolf aspect of the story comes into play and Maxim is not pleased. One of his men is hurt and his suspects are missing. The trail keeps leading back to the head of the MC, Miss Debbie. Diego also has questions for Miss Debbie about his missing sister. It’s an excellent set up and the plot just gets better from there.

Now I want to mention the practicality of the werewolves. First, there are no sexy wolfy sex scenes. There’s no big moonlight werewolf hunts with terrified and fainting women. Rather, these individuals are ill and carriers of the illness. The Center for Disease Control is well aware of the werewolves throughout the country. There are rules the werewolves must abide by if they don’t want to be hunted down by the CDC.  One of these rules is to keep your head down & to stay out the limelight. The MC is skirting the edge of that rule. This was an unexpected and very awesome aspect to the story. In some ways, this practical treatment of the werewolves removed the supernatural element, but it also made the story so much more accessible as a biologist.

All the characters are interesting to some extent and most of them are tortured by something. Maxim’s wife went missing two years ago and no matter how hard he hunted, he never turned up any leads. Diego has this driving force to find his sister. Miss Debbie and the CDC representative have their demons too, ones that will come close to destroying Maxim and Diego. All these little secrets meant that we had little plot twists throughout the story that definitely added to the suspense.

I listened to this book in less that 2 days. Honestly, I didn’t want to put it away but I had to sleep and eat. The noir detective feel to the story caught my attention up right away. The characters held my attention throughout the entire story. The ending, which was indeed satisfying, left me ready to fire up the next in the series.

I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: I was impressed with Jason Jewett’s narration. There are several Hispanic characters in the book and he did the perfect soft Hispanic accent in distinct character voices. I live in a part of the country where I hear spoken Spanish almost every day so it was very nice to hear the Spanish/Hispanic accent done right for this book. He also had a strong and sometimes harsh voice for the tortured Maxim Dwyer. His female voices were believable. 

What I Liked: The cover art; good gender balance; noir detective feel to it all; tortured characters; practical take on the werewolves; CDC involvement; so many secrets!; the ending was satisfying; very good narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I was thoroughly entertained by this book.

What Others Think:

AudioBook Reviewer

Phillip Tomasso

Sinea’s Book Reviews