Book Review: Parallax by D.T. Dyllin

 

Author: D.T. Dyllin
Narrator: Ashley Holt
Length: 6 hours 52 minutes
Series: Starblind, Book 2
Publisher: Tik Tok Press
Released: Jul. 10, 2017
Genre: Romantic Science Fiction

 

Tamzea, a Mazatimz healer, found a home as part of the crew on the starship The Pittsburgh. But when a part of her past crashes into her present, she’s forced to face the uncertainty of her future. Dragged back to a place Tamzea had hoped to leave in her worst nightmares, she discovers Eron, a man she thought dead. Determined to save each other, Tamzea and Eron must find a way to work together, despite their torrid past. With partial truths, and political games, will Tamzea be able to fix Eron, or is he too broken for even her to heal?

 

 

D.T. Dyllin is a bestselling author who writes paranormal, sci-fi, and contemporary romance. Basically, anything with a love story is her kryptonite. Her obsession with affairs-of-the-heart is what first drove her to begin twisting her own tales of scorching romance.

D.T. was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Black & Gold for life, baby!) She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, and two spoiled German Shepherds.

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Narrator Bio

Former NPR PBS FM radio host/announcer in a major media market, with a warm mezzo female voice. I have a background in opera and can present in English, Italian, German, French, Latin. With a background in the performing arts and opera, I can sing as well as do some accents.

Home includes a husband shaped person, 2 cats, volunteerism and an active online gaming presence.
No audiobook genre is taboo, which makes for very interesting dinner table discussion.

Member, Audio Producers Association

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The second in the Starblind series is, strictly speaking, not a sequel because it focuses on a different protagonist. Jane, the captain of the Pittsburgh, is here but largely on a peripheral basis and our heroine this time is one of the crew, Tamzea. I have to say I think I like Tamzea more than Jane, or maybe it’s just that she seems a little more appealing, someone I might want to spend time with (and I confess to thinking lavender hair and eyes is pretty cool). Also, Tamzea is a healer rather than the bounty hunter Jane is and that’s naturally more comfortable.

Tamzea has a past, pretty well hidden, but it comes back to haunt her in the person of Eron, someone she thought had been lost in that past. The connection between these two is anything but placid as they try to build a “new” relationship and I found this book to have more interesting aspects than the first in some ways.

As before, the sex scenes are more than I care for but they’re acceptable. As for the narration, I’m no closer to really liking Ms. Holt’s tones and cadence and it actually jarred on me a little more this time because I would expect a different sound for Tamzea. Still, that’s not enough to make me not want to listen to the next book so stay tuned!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. This tour is being sponsored by Spectrum Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Q&A with Narrator Ashley Holt
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • The lead character. I geeked out bigtime over this title. I went online and downloaded art to represent the main characters, and printed them out and put them up on the walls. I really got into it!
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • That is a difficult question to answer. Every author is different, and each experience is different. Having said that, DT stands out as being VERY different from most authors, to the point where we chat in email and talk about hockey more than books!
  • Who are your “accent inspirations”?
    • Another difficult question. I don’t know if I have any. Coming from the opera world makes this a very different experience than a traditional American actor, because we are steeped in the language immediately. When opera singers have to sing in English, its often a very difficult transition! Did I answer the question???
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Practice, a TON of practice and sounding them out in dialogue scenes. Although I now wish I hadn’t chosen such a gruff voice for Dar, because he figures prominently in Book 4, and damn, that gets painful after a while, even with a ton of vocal warmup. I work with my coach on this a LOT, and she encourages me to put more variety in. It is a learned skill, so with every book I do, I hopefully get better!
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • 4 hours of continually voicing a gruff character! Ha, no not really. The big no no? Alcohol the night before. Again, back to the opera training. Over 30 years of training (I started when I was 14) and I can feel changes in my vocal cords like THAT. My voice is my instrument, and even one drink the night before changes the COLOR and TIMBRE. Have 2 or 3, and I might not be able to record the next day at all, depending on what book I’m doing or what character.
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
    • HA, yes! I mentioned I travel for the day job, and sometimes we drive. So one day we were gassing up at a station somewhere, and the clerk recognized my voice. It was great.
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
    • I now tend to pick titles that have the bit of snark that I resonate with. Having said that, I did a time-travel alt history with a very saccharine sweet heroine that garned some very good reviews, so what do I know?
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • SIGN ME UP. I would go to the year 1800, and become a student of Beethoven. I am obsessed with learning the piano – I always wanted to, and never studied. I can plunk out a few things, but I mean really immerse myself the way I did in voice lessons. Also, I am a dork for 19th century literature, especially Russian and Dickens, my favorite author.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
      • I did classical music radio for afew years, and even there, where the style is not as much “in your face” as it would be for a rock station or talk radio, the radio style is still very INTENSE. When I work with my coaches, it is to get the “radio sound” out of my voice.

Giveaway

Starblind Series Giveaway: Amazon Echo Dot
https://js.gleam.io/e.js

 

Starblind, Book 1

Feb. 6th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

T’s Stuff

Feb. 7th:

Audiobook Romance

Jazzy Book Reviews

Feb. 8th:

Buried Under Books

Feb. 9th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

La libreria di Beppe

Feb. 10th:

Lilly’s Book World

Haddie’s Haven

Feb. 11th:

Smada’s Book Smack

Loves Great Reads

Feb. 12th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Parallax, Book 2

Feb. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Feb. 14th:

Audiobook Romance

T’s Stuff

Feb. 15th:

Lilly’s Book World

Jazzy Book Reviews

Feb. 16th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

La libreria di Beppe

Feb. 17th:

Buried Under Books

Loves Great Reads

Feb. 18th:

Smada’s Book Smack

Haddie’s Haven

Feb. 19th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Flux, Book 3

Feb. 20th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Feb. 21st:

Audiobook Romance

Feb. 22nd:

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

T’s Stuff

Feb. 23rd:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

Feb. 24th:

Lilly’s Book World

Haddie’s Haven

Jazzy Book Reviews

Loves Great Reads

Feb. 25th:

Buried Under Books

Feb. 26th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Book Review: Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz

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Book Review: The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

The View from Rainshadow Bay
A Lavender Tides Novel #1
Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson, January 2018
ISBN 978-0-7180-8578-0
Hardcover

From the publisher—

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

I’m kind of betwixt and between on my feelings about this book. As romantic suspense, it pretty much delivers what you might expect but, with its Christian influence, it’s gentler and that’s fine with me. Where it fails, at least somewhat, is in the mystery. The pace is inconsistent and there are elements of the criminal activity that either don’t make much sense or don’t work at all. Just as a “for instance”, Shauna goes to deliver something to the guy who has kidnapped two people for ransom but, unknown to her, the two people who knew what she was doing have gone off on another mission and are unreachable PLUS they didn’t tell her they were going to leave her on her own AND one of them is the sheriff.

This doesn’t mean that I would never read another book by this author by any means. Ms. Coble has a very good reputation and a ton of books. I saw for myself in this book that she has a way with words when it comes to character and setting descriptions (although I did like her, Shauna comes across as a bit of a “Weak Willy” which I didn’t expect based on her background but I appreciate Ms. Coble‘s willingness to portray her this way). Anyway, I’d be willing to read more by this author…but maybe not a mystery.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.

Book Review: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

About The Keeper of Lost Things

• Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 28, 2017)

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer—

Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Ruth Hogan

Ruth Hogan describes herself as a “rapacious reader, writer, and incorrigible magpie” whose own love of small treasures and curiosities and the people around her inspired her first novel. She lives north of London.

Find out more about Ruth at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

My Review

Because of a handful of life events, I’ve spent the last few years slowly divesting myself of stuff and, in all this time, it hasn’t gotten any easier. Sure, some of it hits the trashcan and some goes to Goodwill but there are all those other things that may not look all that important but they mean something to me and it’s always an emotional connection to my past, my family, my friends, my long-gone pets…

The idea that someone would make it his life’s purpose to rescue such things that have been lost struck me as just wonderful and I was not disappointed in reading The Keeper of Lost Things. Isn’t it comforting to think the treasure you lost might one day find its way into the hands of someone who cares? Then, take it a step further. When Laura inherits Anthony’s home, she discovers that his last wish was that she try to get these precious belongings back to their owners. Thus begins Laura’s quest.

This is not an exciting story—it doesn’t leave you breathless with suspense or unable to sleep without reading the next page and the next—but it tugs at those old heartstrings in a way that might bring an occasional tear and also makes you feel hopeful about the characters’ futures as well as life itself.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.

Follow the tour here.

Book Review: Starblind by D.T. Dyllin

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Book Review: Grand Lac by Carl Brookins—and a Giveaway!

Grand Lac
Carl Brookins
Brookins Books LLC, July 2017
ISBN 978-0-9969991-0-6
Trade Paperback

From the author—

A small group of investors has purchased lots on a mountain on the outskirts of Grand Lac in northern Idaho. One dark night one of the investors, Jack Ketchum, gets drunk, climbs aboard a large bulldozer and carves a raw track of destruction down the mountainside though the property of each of the other owners. Days later Ketchum is found dead in a ravine, a large-caliber bullet hole in his chest.

When a local day trader, young Sam Black, is jailed for the murder, his mother, Edie Black, calls her cousin for help. Marjorie Kane, ex-exotic dancer, enlists the aid of her partner, Alan Lockem. The pair are independent special investigators who specialize in solving unusual and sometimes strange cases.

The duo flies to Grand Lac to try to prove Sam innocent and catch the real killer. They quickly find themselves enmeshed in civic chicanery, corruption and other evils, which must be sorted out to save Sam from prison or worse.

Alan Lockem and Marjorie Kane are not your everyday couple (of a certain age) nor are they your everyday private consultants. Marjorie, in particular, has a less than boring past that has given her a rather different way of looking at things and that complements her partner’s more straightforward approach to life and the cases they take on. When Marjorie’s cousin, Edie, asks for their help, they don’t hesitate for long, mainly because it’s family.

Grand Lac is a vacation spot in the mountains of Idaho situated on a glacier lake, a beautiful area that has drawn the wealthy and the not so wealthy. Some of those on the more affluent side bought lots on Carson’s Mountain and built stunning homes but one of those homesteaders, Jack Ketchum, insisted on flouting the wishes and rights of his neighbors. Is that what got him killed? Certainly, the local law thinks so, but Marjorie and Alan begin to discover other possibilities that lead them to think the arrest of young Sam Black might have been a rush to judgement. Before all is said and done, the rough terrain and unsatisfied greed may just prove dangerous to a lot more people including our investigators.

I felt an immediate connection with this couple, not because I have anything in common with them but because they’re so charming and likeable and so very clever. The mystery itself is a good “thinker” with threads going in all different directions and, while I was not completely surprised by the denouement, the journey to get there was quite entertaining. I do think another round of edits should have been done as there were some noticeable construction flaws, such as occasional misnamed characters or misplaced words, but none of that kept me from enjoying Mr. Brookins‘ new sleuths and I hope to see more of this dynamic duo.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’d love to send somebody my
very gently used paperback copy
of Grand Lac. Leave a comment
below and I’ll draw the winning
name on Wednesday evening,
February 7th. This drawing is open
to residents of the US & Canada.

A Passel of Teeny Reviews, Part 4

Once again, big surprise, I find myself with
an overload of books read but not yet reviewed
so I think it’s time for a roundup or two…

Unsub
Unsub #1
Meg Gardiner
Dutton, June 2017
ISBN 978-1-101-98552-6
Hardcover

If you’re ever in the mood for a nail-biting, gut-wrenching tale of police work, this is it. Detective Caitlin Hendrix comes very close to her own kind of obsession that plays like a counterpoint to the unsub’s sick and deadly obsession and, at times, it’s a little difficult to tell them apart. I don’t mean that literally—on the page, of course you know who is who—but the emotional turmoil that each feels has a sort of certain similarity and you can’t help wondering just how much the killer is affecting her, perhaps even twisting her mind, not to mention the agitation stemming from her own baggage. This unsub is pretty well terrifying and Ms. Gardiner had me flying through the pages.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2018.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poor Things
Daniel Barnett
CreateSpace, June 2016
ISBN 978-1533613080
Trade Paperback

Are you ready for some creepy vibes of the horror variety? From the opening scene of a deer dying on the road, I had a sense of what the title might refer to in a vague sort of way but I wasn’t prepared for how much I would like these characters, especially Joel and a new friend, Ash, a tomboy with an inner strength and a no-nonsense attitude. A high school superjock, Joel is typically obnoxious and a bit of a bully towards his kid brother but his life changes in an instant. He’s naturally full of anger and resentment but a kernel of compassion is there. All he can really hope for is to find acceptance for his new circumstances and, just maybe, a little happiness.

Too bad there’s something evil beginning to stir, maybe the end of the world…

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2018.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Renting Silence
A Roaring Twenties Mystery #3
Mary Miley
Severn House, December 2016
ISBN 978-0-7278-8653-8
Hardcover

Jessie Beckett isn’t really a private investigator but she seems to have a knack for it so, when Mary Pickford asks her to look into a starlet’s death, she agrees, having no idea where her search for the truth will take her. Vaudeville’s colorful past, blackmail, an impending death sentence…all come into play but will these varying pieces lead Jessie to Lila Walker’s real murderer before Ruby Glynn hangs?

The mystery here is topnotch but it’s Ms. Miley‘s evocation of Hollywood in its early days that’s really the star of the show, pun intended. Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Myrna Loy, Zeppo Marx,  even Rin Tin Tin fill the pages with so much history and fun it’s easy to become mesmerized. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode in Jessie’s life and will be staring the next book, Murder in Disguise, as soon as I can.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2018.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Resurrection Mall
A Penns River Crime Novel #3
Dana King
Down & Out Books,
ISBN 978-1-943402-65-6
Trade Paperback

A town that’s down on its luck, economically speaking, is ripe for drug trade and mob activity along with a rise in petty crime and that’s what’s happened to Penns River, leading to corruption on multiple fronts and a police department that’s sorely tested. The “Resurrection Mall” of the book’s title actually is a shopping mall, one that’s being refurbished by a minister trying to help the community or so he says.

Doc Dougherty, the quintessential cop we all want on our side in a crunch, still goes home for Sunday dinner because that’s the kind of guy he is, rooted in family and the truly important things in life. Police work in Penns River is generally not exactly unusual but this time it most certainly is, beginning with the mass murders of five top level members of the drug trade.

Resurrection Mall is a little more dismal than I usually like but Mr. King‘s elegant writing, his plot development and his characters (who are refreshingly normal) all kept me going because I became invested in this Rust Belt community and in Doc. There are two earlier books and I think I’m going to have to check them out.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2018.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Crimson Earth
Modi Series #2
Anna Soliveres
Anna Soliveres, December 2015
ISBN 978-0-9960149-3-9
Trade Paperback

Aeva is a most unusual girl, even in her world that’s so different from our own, and is currently passing as the missing Queen Violet. Aeva is also right in the midst of the fight against a man who is obsessed with power, no matter what he has to do to obtain it and Aeva’s people look to her intelligence and strength to protect and lead them in this time of crisis. To do that, this remarkable young woman has become the strong, self-reliant heroine she was destined to be.

Crimson Earth is the sequel to Violet Storm which I read and enjoyed more than three years ago (https://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/book-review-violet-storm-by-anna-soliveres/). I didn’t feel quite the same connection to this second installment but I blame myself for not re-reading the first book before getting into this one and I really do recommend reading them in order to get the full effect of a really well-conceived dystopian tale.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2018.