Audio Obsession – Catching up: Part One

I have been reading and listening and listening some more.  I have found that I have more time to listen to books than I do to sit down and read.  I can listen while I work in the yard, around the house or when I am out running errands.

Here are a few of the ones I have listened to in the last few months (I said I was catching up!)

SPECTR The Complete First SeriesSPECTR: The Complete First Series (SPECTR #1-6)
 Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Narrated by : Brad Langer
Length: 24 hours and 27 minutes
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date: 04-17-2015
Publisher: Widdershin Press, LLC
LYLBTB 50 staraudible an Amazon company

Allow me to share some background on this world from a review I wrote for the Live Your Life, Buy The Book review blog:

The setting for this series is in a world where people with paranormal abilities must register with the government and are expected to share this information as well as their registration number when asked for it. There is a fair amount of discrimination and fear of people with paranormal abilities by the non paranormal population. There are also supernatural creatures living among the humans that have the ability to inhabit the body of a human and wreak havoc. A special agency has been formed called the Strategic Paranormal Entity ConTRol or SPECTR which is comprised of individuals with varying paranormal abilities who work together to protect people and dispose of malicious non-human entities or NHE’s. In the beginning of the series we meet Caleb, an unregistered paranormal. Caleb has been living under the radar, so to speak, hoping to live a normal life. While attempting to avenge his brother’s death, Caleb ends up possessed by a drakul or more commonly known as a vampire. Normally these spirits only inhabit dead bodies but through a series of events, Gray ends up trapped in Caleb’s very much alive body. According to current belief if he is not exorcised in forty days, Gray, the drakul, will be a permanent part of Caleb, possibly even taking over Caleb completely. As a result of this possession, Caleb meets Special Agent John Starkweather, an exorcist from SPECTR. When John fails to exorcise the NHE from Caleb, he ends up taking Caleb home to stay with him until they can figure out how to remove the spirit. While working and living together they develop a friendship, their attraction for one another deepens and they fall in love. With Gray trapped in Caleb’s body, this presents an unusual situation. Not a ménage per se but think of having two spirits in one body, with Gray experiencing everything Caleb experiences. This is something Gray has never experienced before, having only had glimpses of lives from the memories of the dead he has inhabited. I love this concept. The author gives us a story where the characters trying to cope with these problems as well as their day-to-day lives in a world that is not always kind to people who are different, in a thought-provoking manner. All the while providing us with an action packed tale filled with mystery, suspense, and romance.
Note: For those that have cliffhanger issues, and I admit I am normally one of those people. This is a serialized series. Each book has a complete mystery solved but the longer arc continues to the next book. This is an awesome series and the wait is not long between books.

To read my full review please click here: Live Your Life Buy the Book – Destroyer of Worlds review. (If you have not read any of the books in the series – stop reading after this introduction – Spoilers – and you do not want that!)

Audiobook :

I was reluctant to listen to the series as I had definite voices in my mind for the characters. I decided to go ahead and give it a go. I admit that it took me a bit to get used to the narrators voices for MY characters but I easily fell into the series and it was a fun experience. Listening really does give a different nuance to the stories.

I highly recommend this series. If you are one who prefers audio or just wants a re-listen rather than a re-read this is a good way to experience the SPECTR series.

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Next up is a series that two friends highly recommended.  I was reluctant to read because Shifters are not usually my favorite genre.  I have way too many “Never say never” moments (You may remember I said the same thing about Historical at one time. Sigh)

This brings me to the Thirds series by Charlie Cochet.  Oh. My. Goodness!  This is an incredible series.  It is fun, fast paced, action packed, humorous, has a few moments sad and  some of the best set your kindle smoking, hot & sexy scenes.  I listened to the first book Hell & High Water.  It is filled with world building, meeting characters, setting up the story as one would expect.  I immediately went and bought all the ebooks and then the audiobooks.  I devoured them.

Below is the blurb from Goodreads.  Be sure to click on the Thirds HQ.com link for the official Thirds page on Charlie Cochet’s website.

Thirds ThirdsHQ.com – With the panic and growing number of casualties both Human and Therian during the riots of the 1980s, it was clear something had to be done to ensure public safety, and offer an unbiased justice system for Therian citizens. After a new Therian legislation branch of the government was established, along with the implementation of Therian laws, officials answered the cries of its citizens for a new law enforcement agency equipped to handle Therian threats.

In 1990, the Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense, Squadron -or- the THIRDS, opened its doors, pairing every Human element within the organization with a Therian one, in the pursuit of justice for all species.

I reviewed Book one, Hell & High Water as a 4.5/5.0.  It is very good.  I am not going to individually review the rest of the series.  They were all Five star books and built on one another.  It would just lead to spoilers.  The characters are engaging.  I love the way the author takes such a large cast of characters and makes them feel like family.   After the second book I knew that I had become a Thirds Nerd. THIRDSNerd

The narration for all of the Thirds series is done by Mark Westfield.  He does a  fantastic job.

 

Hell & High WaterHell & High Water: Thirds, Book 1
Author: Charlie Cochet
Narrated by Mark Westfield
Length: 10 hours and 6 mins
Unabridged audiobook
Release date: 10-03-2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press, LLC

4,5 starsaudible an Amazon company

Blurb: When homicide detective Dexter J. Daley’s testimony helps send his partner away for murder, the consequences – and the media frenzy – aren’t far behind. He soon finds himself sans boyfriend, sans friends, and, after an unpleasant encounter in a parking garage after the trial, he’s lucky he doesn’t find himself sans teeth. Dex fears he’ll get transferred from the Human Police Force’s Sixth Precinct, or worse, get dismissed. Instead, his adoptive father – a sergeant at the Therian-Human Intelligence Recon Defense Squadron otherwise known as the THIRDS – pulls a few strings, and Dex gets recruited as a Defense Agent.

Dex is determined to get his life back on track and eager to get started in his new job. But his first meeting with Team Leader Sloane Brodie, who also happens to be his new jaguar Therian partner, turns disastrous. When the team is called to investigate the murders of three HumaniTherian activists, it soon becomes clear to Dex that getting his partner and the rest of the tightknit team to accept him will be a lot harder than catching the killer – and every bit as dangerous.

Review:

Highly recommended by two great friends. I am surrounded by enablers. (No – I am not complaining)

Shifters are not my usual choice when looking for a book, but this one sounded interesting and I decided to go the audiobook route.

This book is heavy on the world building and back-story of the creation of the Therian species. There is also a lot of detail about the police or para-military organizations set up to protect the human and Therian populations. I expect that with the first book in a series and this is very detailed.

The characters in the story more than made up for any doubts I had about a shifter book. Dex – a human and Sloane a Jaguar Shifter are awesome as the main characters. Although these are the main romance characters, the author gives us a large group of supporting characters that are well-defined and had me invested in the entire team.

Given the police aspect and some of the serious societal issues, there are laugh out loud moments. (cheesy doodles) Dex is entertaining. Sloane is serious and brooding. Together they are awesome.

The ending was open but did not feel like a cliff hanger. By the end of the audiobook I was hooked and ready to move to book two.

The narration was very enjoyable and I had no problems distinguishing between characters.

Thank for the recommendation friends!

Below are the next three books in order from left to right and they are linked to their pages on Audible.com.

BloodThunderAudiobook200  RackRuin-Audiobook200   RiseFallAudio200

Book Five: Against The Grain was released August 3,2015 and is not yet on Audiobook.  Click the cover to go to the Amazon page.  From what I saw on the Goodreads, Thirds page, it looks like there are also two more books planned in the series. 🙂
AgainstTheGrain200

Dracones

When I first started reviewing books, I was with Live Your Life Buy The Book.  I was so excited to be a part of the blogging community and be with a great group of people.  One of the first books I reviewed was Dracones, an anthology from Storm Moon Press.  I have mentioned that I love anthologies and a well written short story is a joy to read.  When I saw there was an anthology available about Dragons, I immediately wanted to review it.   I was not disappointed.  I enjoyed some stories more than others but over all I really liked the book. (Review originally posted on Live your Life Buy the Book)

perf6.000x9.000.inddDracones
A Storm Moon Press Anthology
Publisher : Storm Moon Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Fantasy
Length : 100,000 words (e-book)
Published : May 17, 2013
Overall rating:
4 stars
Blurb: 

Almost every ancient civilization has stories of some form of dragon, from the winged serpents of Asian lore to the traditional Western image of the fire-breathing behemoth. Literature is filled with stories of valiant heroes riding into the jaws of danger to slay the beast and rescue the princess. But sometimes, the knight in shining armor is less interested in the maiden in distress than in the dragon he’s supposed to slay. Dracones brings together seven stories detailing the power and majesty of a dragon’s love.

Most of the humans in Fugue in Gold and Fire are unknowingly animals in human form, and when the Vesti Moon rises, the animal forms break free, with no memory of their human lives. Lovers Adri and Dru search for a way to recognize each other during the change, but when Dru’s true form turns out to be a dragon, he considers never changing back.

Peter Harington aspires to be a Teller of Tales when he submits his fictional dragon manuscript for publication. Tom, the editor assigned to work with Peter, though, finds the worldbuilding a little too real and is determined to learn the truth.

When the dragon Daire is wounded, only the Weird Magics of alchemist Cyras can heal him. But when one of the fae is found killed and her blood drained, Daire suspects his savior of illegal experimentation and murder.

Then, in Chanson Commencante de Guerre, the ancient dragon Rayvak finds himself strangely drawn to the young dragon shifter Stormy, despite the years of war between the dragons and the dragon shifters. The two must overcome centuries of animosity if they are to find any happiness together.

Psychic David and his dragon lover Ferdie are literally Two in the Bush when their camping trip is interrupted by the magical guardians of their forest. They can sense the power of the dragon, but believe that David and Ferdie have it bound and demand that they release it or die!

Finding the Rain is the task charged to Buwei, sent with offerings to the Dragon Lord Shenlong in hopes of ending his province’ drought, a journey none have ever returned from. But the dragon’s temple keeper, Tian, wants Buwei for himself and is willing to defy even the great dragon to keep him.

Finally, in Lukos Heat, a mission of revenge sends the dragon Najlah into the mountains and into an unlikely partnership with the wolf shifter Barkus. And the closer they get to their quarry, the more they realize that nothing is as it appears.

Review:

When I was given the opportunity to review an anthology with Dragons as the main focus I was thrilled.  As one who loves all things dragon and my favorite genre to read is m/m romance, this seemed like the perfect combination.

circledragonsFugue in Gold and Fire by Avery Vanderlyle is a beautifully written story about a land where once every thousand years the Vesti moon appears casting her purple glow upon the world and humans will find their true shape.  Adri and Dru are lovers who meet when Adri comes to the university to help research the phenomenon of the Vesti moon.  Legend has it that during this phase humans will shift into their true form, which maybe any type of creature.  The fear is not being able to remember who you are and not being able to shift back to a human form, thus losing your family and loved ones in the process.  The author weaves a lyrical tale of how Dru and Adri work to find a way to not forget one another.  I loved the emotion between the characters and I was enraptured by these two lovers struggles during the change and the events that come afterwards.  As a lover of all things dragon I thought this was a delightful story ~ rated 5 stars.

Teller of Tales by D.K. Jernigan This story is written from the perspective of the dragon. One who has been around centuries and while reading a book decides that he could tell a tale about dragons, knights and princesses with a different perspective.  Peter Harrington submits a sample of his manuscript to Editor Thomas Doherty of Midas books.  Thomas is fascinated with the story and wants to meet with Peter to discuss a possible contract.  There is an immediate attraction between the two men.  The story uses some of the better known dragon mythology with a variance specific to Peter.  This is an erotic short story that moves quickly but appropriate for such a short story ~ rated 3.5 stars.

Weird Magic by E.E. Ottoman
We are introduced to Daire as he is racing back to shore after being attacked by a creature while swimming in the sea.  Daire is a Wyrm whose magic has been stripped by an alchemist, so that he is unable to heal as he should.   He trust one man to treat him, Doctor Cyras Faulkner, also an alchemist but a healer of non human creatures.  The revolves around a group of university professors who are alchemist and Daire’s quest to reacquire his magic and find those responsible for taking his away.  The story has a definite steam punk feel to it, carriages, gritty dark settings, alchemy and machinery. Daires character is mysterious and he has an antagonistic relationship with Cyras until he finds something he needs from him.  I enjoyed the gradual build in the relationship between Cyras and Daire.  The mystery with the steam punk setting was a nice backdrop for the story. The ending felt a bit abrupt but satisfying. ~ rated 3.5 stars.

images-2Chanson Commencante de Guerre by Lor Rose
Rayvak is a dragon in living a solitary life after being exiled by his Emperor many, many years ago.  The Dragons and the dragon shifters are at war.  The reason for this war is never clearly defined in the story.  Rayvek finds a young dragon shifter, Stormy, that has been brutalized by other dragons being pursued by his cousin Tal onto his land.  He instinct to protect takes over and he chooses to protect the young shifter instead of killing him.  The differences between dragons and dragon shifters play an important role in the story.  It is apparent they have a lot of misconceptions about one another and they are capable of cross mating even though it is forbidden by the ruling party of both groups.  The feelings between Rayvek and Stormy are passionate as they struggle in this uncharted territory and what they will be faced with. Unfortunately the story ends with many questions left unanswered and felt unfinished.  ~ rated 3 stars.

Two in the Bush by E.R. Karr
I felt like I was dropped into the middle of a book with this story.  David Sleight is a psychic investigator whose boyfriend Ferdie Griffon happens to be a dragon. We start with David having a dream and waking up to find he and Ferdie lost in a camp ground.  There is a lot of flashing back to fill in information about how they got to this point but it is all pretty confusing.  There are so many questions about Ferdie as a dragon in human form, his heart stone, his loss of magic (which is referred to many times as having been lost and or sealed away due to some occurrence that happened off page before this story).  I came away thinking that if this was actually part of a longer book where I had some background and world building it might be a rather fun comical romance, as it was, I finished it feeling a bit as lost as the characters had been in the story.  ~ rated 2 stars.

c3291021668182fe539e5bf2f22ba3d3Finding the Rain by Tam Ames.
This is a jewel of a story.  Buwei is a poor farmer living with his mother and grandmother in a small village.  The village has been under a drought for three years and the people are starving.  He is summoned one night by the governor to bring an offering to the Dragon Lord Shenlong, that he may bless the village and bring the rains.  Before leaving, Buwei ensures a promise from the governor that he will take care of Buwei’s family as his own until Buwei returns.  From this point we journey with Buwei in his quest to the palace of The Dragon Lord.  The beautiful descriptions of the journey, his arrival at the temple and the events that follow are vivid and lyrical.  This has the feel of a classic fable.  I look forward to reading more from this author.  ~ rated 5 stars.

Lukos Heat by Megan Derr
Najlah, is a hornless dragon (do not mistake this for weak – he is fierce) and a group of shifters are hunting a traitor into the Shide Mountains.  They are having little success and are approached by a group of Lukos, wolf shifters.  The leader of this group of Lukos is named Barkus and he and his pack agree to help in the quest , if for no other reason than to get Najlah and his group off their mountain.   This story has a great fantasy adventure setting.  There are shifters, dragons, political intrigue, battles, magic, mountains, blizzards and a golem. It was fun and rough and adventurous.  No soft sweet romance either.  The take on the dragons was different than I have read before and I was not sure I liked it at first but Najlah quickly grew on me.  I enjoyed this one and would definitely read more books set in this world.  ~ rated 4.5 stars.

Over all I enjoyed most of the stories, some more than others.  I would definitely recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys stories about dragons and their men.

Happy Reading,

Melyna

Albert Phineas Drache