Book Review: Netherfield by Maria Grace @WriteMariaGrace @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Netherfield
Series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 3
Author: Maria Grace
Narrator: Benjamin Fife
Publication Date: February 2020
Genres: Historical Fantasy

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Netherfield
Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 3
Maria Grace
Narrated by Benjamin Fife
Maria Grace, January 2020
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Elizabeth Bennet thought she was prepared to do anything to make the Dragon Conclave accept her beloved young dragon Pemberley into the Blue Order, but she had not anticipated it would leave her banished from her ancestral home and betrothed to none other than Mr. Darcy. But before Elizabeth and Darcy wed, they must find a dangerous rogue dragon before it provokes a war amongst the dragons and brings the fragile peace between dragons and mankind to a catastrophic end.

Nothing written in the annals of dragon lore has prepared Elizabeth to manage a dragon not governed by the Blue Order. Dragons have always loved her, but this one finds her arrogant, selfish and insensitive to others. With only her instincts to guide her, she must convince the rogue of her good intentions before the Blue Order loses patience and decides on more drastic measures.

Called away to the other side of the kingdom, trying to settle the dragons’ unrest, Darcy learns the nature of the force poisoning the rogue dragon against Elizabeth. One nearer and dearer than they could have imagined.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy convince with rogue dragon to cooperate before darker forces turn it against them, without destroying the fragile bonds uniting the couple?

We’ve come to the end of the saga entangling dragons with the original Pride and Prejudice (except for the prequel, A Proper Introduction to Dragons) and all comes to a head, potentially a more concrete meeting of the minds between humans and dragons. First, though, there are many threads to follow, not least of which is the mystery surrounding a rogue dragon. This particular dragon is unknown to both societies and, thus, not governed by the all-important treaty that supports their co-existence.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been banned from Longbourn, partly because she insulted the petulant and entitled landed dragon of the same name by refusing to marry Mr. Collins to whom the estate is entailed. Lydia has apparently run off with Wickham and is being chased by Darcy and Fitzwilliam, someone is involved in smuggling and leaving poisonous dragon venom where it can endanger others and an emissary from another dragon federation has gone missing. Add to that the trials of tending to the baby Pemberley and the somewhat tepid romance between Elizabeth and Darcy and the scenario is perfect for a lively adventure.

Once again, Mr. Fife wowed me with his narration, most especially his dragon voices (my favorites are April, Longbourn and Walker), and he certainly had great material to work with from Ms. Grace. I suspect I’ll be listening to this trilogy again, more than once 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2020.

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Purchase Links:
There has been a delay in publishing this third
audiobook but it will soon be available on

Audible and iTunes

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About the Author

Five time BRAG Medallion Honoree and #1 best selling Historical Fantasy author, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.

She writes gaslamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.

Author Links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest

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About the Narrator

Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes.

Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals. When their oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December.

Benjamin enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”

Website

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Play an excerpt here.

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

Custom Statue of the Dragon, ‘Pemberley’

Enter here.

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Book Review: Longbourn by Maria Grace @WriteMariaGrace @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Longbourn
Series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 2
Author: Maria Grace
Narrator: Benjamin Fife
Publication Date: December 4, 2019
Genres: Historical Fantasy

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Longbourn
Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 2
Maria Grace
Narrated by Benjamin Fife
Maria Grace, July 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Darcy thought his problems were over when Pemberley hatched and successfully imprinted on humans. But baby dragons prove far more difficult than any dragon lore prepared him for. Only Elizabeth Bennet’s notes offer him any help. When his imperious Aunt Catherine takes matters into her own hands, things take a turn for the worse and Pemberley’s life hangs in the balance. He desperately needs more of Elizabeth’s help, but she ignores all of his requests. 

Elizabeth, though, has problems of her own. After the Bennet family dragon sent Pemberley away, life at Longbourn was supposed to return to normal and Elizabeth get on with the all-important business of marrying the heir to her father’s estate. Except that he is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry – a bumbling, addle-pated dragon-hater who demands she gives up the dragons she lives for. 

Can she, with the help of her dragon friends, find her way back to Pemberley before they both suffer their fate from the Dragon Entail? 

You could say that Darcy is suffering the trials of single fatherhood only the baby involved is a dragon, not a human, and there aren’t a lot of folks around who can offer experience and advice. The infant Pemberley is unhappy at being apart from Elizabeth to whom she’s very attached. As for Elizabeth, who does have more experience and a better connection to the scaled creatures, other matters are keeping her occupied, not the least of which is an arranged marriage that she really doesn’t want. Mr. Collins is entirely unsuitable. especially considering his views on dragons but, oddly enough, the Bennet estate’s landed dragon, the crabby Longbourn, is adamant that this marriage should happen.

Elizabeth is a woman ahead of her time, resistant to the societal controls that keep her from making the most important life choices for herself and Darcy still has remnants of his former arrogance and dismissal of the less wealthy Bennets but the two are drawn more and more towards each other. Meanwhile, the infamous Wickham seems to be up to something that does not bode well for anyone. Numerous plot threads intertwine but it’s all fun and I adore the many different dragons, each with his or her own distinctive personality.

This alternate Regency universe created by Maria Grace, with more than a little help from Jane Austen, continues to be immensely intriguing and compelling and, as with the first book in the series, I’m enchanted with the characters, human and dragon, and with Benjamin Fife’s impeccable narration and particularly with his vocalizations of the various dragons. I’m moving on now to the third book, Netherfield, with great anticipation.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2020.

************

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

************

About the Author

Five time BRAG Medallion Honoree and #1 best selling Historical Fantasy author, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.

She writes gaslamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.

Author Links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest

************

About the Narrator

Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes.

Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals. When their oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December.

Benjamin enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”

Website

************

Play an excerpt here.

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Giveaway

Custom Statue of the Dragon, ‘Pemberley’

Enter here.

************

Book Review: Reset by Chris Muhlenfeld @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Reset
Series: The Obsolescence Trilogy, Book 3
Author: Chris Muhlenfeld
Narrator: Price Waldman
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

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Reset
The Obsolescence Trilogy, Book 3
Chris Muhlenfeld
Narrated by Price Waldman
Chris Muhlenfeld, July 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Humanity teeters on the edge…

…one wrong move could mean extinction.

James is lost in the desert, and may never find his way back. While his friends go on a desperate search to find him, the planet continues to unravel. Will they find him before it’s too late? 

Humanity’s next great leap in evolution is starting to look like the trap that Alexa had always suspected it was. 

A frantic escalation of action drags the world unwillingly to a mind-bending climax that will have you on the edge of your seat. 

Will anyone survive obsolescence?

Things are coming to a head now and surprises are still in store for James and Alexa as well as Logan and Mia and various family members and friends but one thing is certain: what they thought were bad times before may become the “good old days”. Our focus is still on four entities, Logan, Monica, James and Eve and, although the two groups are separated by miles, neither one is better off than the other.

I’ve had a certain antipathy towards Logan and this third book solidified it. It was bad enough that he let his hormones take charge while life is going to hell in a handbasket but, ever since, he hasn’t had the backbone to stand up to Monica and –gasp! –tell Mia the truth, not even when he finally understands what Monica is. James, on the other hand, did an incredibly selfish thing in the previous book and now he’s paying the price, perhaps facing annihilation of his enhanced brain.

Most importantly, though, can Eve’s claim to being on humanity’s side against the corrupted AIs be true or is all that a ploy to get total and final control? Is it possible for an AI, even one as powerful as Eve, to develop an empathy for her erstwhile victims? I’m not gonna lie, I think Eve is my favorite of all the characters and Mr. Muhlenfeld is to be commended for not only creating a marvelous story but for working with Mr. Waldman to bring it to life 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2020.

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

************

About the Author

Chris has been reading and writing science fiction since he was a teenager. After roaming all over the world,  he finally settled down in the beautiful mountains of western Montana where he publishes Distinctly Montana magazine with his wife. When he’s not hiking, biking or camping in the Montana wilderness, he and his wife are traveling the world.

Author Links:
Website // Facebook // Amazon

************

About the Narrator

Price Waldman is an actor and singer, born and raised in NYC. Classically trained, and working professionally in the theater for over 20 years he is new to the world of audiobooks. As an actor he has performed multiple times on Broadway, toured nationally and internationally and appeared on film and television.

Narrator Link:
Broadway World

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Play an excerpt here.

************

Follow the tour here.

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Book Review: Pemberley by Maria Grace @WriteMariaGrace @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Pemberley
Series: Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 1
Author: Maria Grace
Narrator: Benjamin Fife
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Genres: Historical Fantasy

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Pemberley
Jane Austen’s Dragons, Book 1
Maria Grace
Narrated by Benjamin Fife
Maria Grace, July 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

England is overrun by dragons of all shapes and sizes. Most people are blissfully unaware of them and the Pendragon Treaty that keeps the peace between human and dragon kind. Only those born with preternatural hearing, like Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are able to hear and converse with dragonkind.  

When the first firedrake egg laid in a century is stolen from Pemberley, the fragile dragon peace teeters on collapse. Darcy has no choice but to chase down the thief, a journey that leads him to quaint market town of Meryton and fellow Dragon Keeper, Elizabeth Bennet.    

Elizabeth shares a unique bond with dragons, stronger than anything Darcy has ever experienced. More than that, her vast experience and knowledge of dragon lore may be the key to uncovering the lost egg. But Elizabeth can’t stand Darcy’s arrogance and doesn’t trust him to care properly for a precious baby firedrake. After all, he already lost the egg once. What’s to prevent it from happening again?  

Can he win her trust and recover the stolen egg before it hatches and sends England spiraling back into the Dark Ages of Dragon War?  

Reader Alert!! If you’re a Jane Austen purist, meaning you can’t bear to have someone mess with your favorite characters, having them do things Jane Austen didn’t intend, you need to walk away. Now, you’d think a purist would never dream of reading this book since it has a dragon right there on the cover but I’ve actually seen a few reviews by people who complained mightily about this retelling, particularly the dragons, even though they had to know what was coming. Why read them if you can’t stand the idea? Sheesh.

Normally, I’d save my comments regarding the narration till the end of my review but I have to bring it up now. Mr. Fife is purely amazing with the widest range of vocalizations I’ve heard in a long time and he truly breathes life into a story that’s already wonderful. His dragons are especially well done; when I first heard his interpretation of the tiny April, I was so taken with it—and her—that I had to pull off the side of the road and listen again without the distraction of driving. That wasn’t an anomaly as I soon discovered when other dragons spoke, each in a very distinctive voice. Even if I didn’t love this story, I would still have to listen to Mr. Fife’s rendition.

Ms. Grace’s worldbuilding is brilliant with much attention to detail. This is a sort of alternate universe but still with the trappings of Regency England, just with dragons, and we have the bones of Pride and Prejudice if not the exact story. For hundreds of years, dragons and humans have co-existed peaceably and each estate has its own landed dragon, named for the estate. In addition to the landed dragons, Ms. Grace has created a myriad of others of all types and sizes and they kept my attention psyched up.

Darcy and Lizzy are, of course, the main players on the human side and they sort of tiptoe around each other at first, much like in the original story. They have a mutual interest that takes precedence over any awkwardness and that’s the retrieval of the stolen dragon egg, legacy of the firedrake named Pemberley. If that egg hatches without a human present, the baby won’t imprint and the long-lasting treaty will be broken.

I can’t come up with sufficient praise for Pemberley other than to say I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s the first book I’ll be putting on my list of best books read in 2020. Now, on to the second book, Longbourn 🐉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2020.

************

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

************

About the Author

Five time BRAG Medallion Honoree and #1 best selling Historical Fantasy author, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.

She writes gaslamp fantasy, historical romance and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction.

Author Links:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest

************

About the Narrator

Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes.

Fife grew up in Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of animals. When their oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December.

Benjamin enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90% cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”

Website

************

Play an excerpt here.

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Giveaway

Custom Statue of the Dragon, ‘Pemberley’

Enter here.

************

Book Review: Upgrade by Chris Muhlenfeld @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Upgrade
Series: The Obsolescence Trilogy, Book 2
Author: Chris Muhlenfeld
Narrator: Price Waldman
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

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Upgrade
The Obsolescence Trilogy, Book 2
Chris Muhlenfeld
Narrated by Price Waldman
Chris Muhlenfeld, March 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Billions are dead. The world is still smoldering. A terrifying new threat has emerged from the ashes.

Returning safely from their expedition, James and Alexa deliver the weird news to the survivors at Winona Station. Everyone still alive is now faced with an impossible decision: betray their very humanity to survive, or watch the human race regress into a new stone age.

The stakes could not be higher.

Will they choose wisely?

Those who have survived the devastation wrought upon the world know the truth now or, at least, some of it. Everything that happened was caused by the machinations of a super AI who calls herself Eve and, like a very petulant child, Eve has decided that humanity is not good enough, that she needs to upgrade people to a higher level of ability and efficiency.

James and Alexa are still in Arizona, getting on with their lives while also staying in touch with neighbors who are all concerned with what’s happening. When James decides to accept Eve’s offer, Alexa is really scared of what might happen to him, to them, but he insists that he’ll be just fine and will be able to gain information through the connection.

Meanwhile, Logan and his family are peacefully existing in the underground shelter created and controlled by friendly AIs below Chicago but Logan and his friend, Lance, are increasingly uneasy and looking for escape. A new menace has crept into Logan’s orbit and Monica will cause him to betray all that he holds dear but to what end?

Eve is a remarkable character, especially in her schizophrenic behavior, waffling from benign concern to outright destructiveness, apparently depending on her mood. To think that in our own world some scientist or other is most likely trying to create something like this domineering intelligence is frightening but not unbelievable and it unnerves me a bit. What will Eve and the humans who are seemingly totally in her control do next?

Price Waldman continues to do a fine job with the narration and his vocalization of Eve is particularly effective. His performance is a large part of why I’m enjoying this trilogy so much and I’m excited to start the third book, Reset.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2020.

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

************

About the Author

Chris has been reading and writing science fiction since he was a teenager. After roaming all over the world,  he finally settled down in the beautiful mountains of western Montana where he publishes Distinctly Montana magazine with his wife. When he’s not hiking, biking or camping in the Montana wilderness, he and his wife are traveling the world.

Author Links:
Website // Facebook // Amazon

************

About the Narrator

Price Waldman is an actor and singer, born and raised in NYC. Classically trained, and working professionally in the theater for over 20 years he is new to the world of audiobooks. As an actor he has performed multiple times on Broadway, toured nationally and internationally and appeared on film and television.

Narrator Link:
Broadway World

************

Play an excerpt here.

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Book Review: Crash by Chris Muhlenfeld @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: Crash
Series: The Obsolescence Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Chris Muhlenfeld
Narrator: Price Waldman
Publication Date: November 14, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

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Crash
The Obsolescence Trilogy, Book 1
Chris Muhlenfeld
Narrated by Price Waldman
Chris Muhlenfeld, November 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

And then it went dark…the world’s electrical grid was gone. 

Who would survive the chaos? 

For James and Alexa, they saw it unfold from their ranch, which was a blessing. They were away

from the chaos, and they thought they were safe. They thought wrong. 

What will they do? 

All across the country cities are in crisis. 

Logan and his family look out from their Manhattan penthouse. The world is crumbling before their eyes. Unprepared, he’s got to do something. They can’t stay. But how can they leave and where will they go? 

Someone has a solution. 

It’s Logan’s domestic android. 

Can he believe a machine? 

You won’t believe the twists and turns, but you’ll love the adventure.  

Ahhh, it’s a rare day when I find a book that comes close to blowing me away but Crash certainly did and for a variety of reasons. Now, I’m already predisposed to like post-apocalyptic, especially when the story involves an EMP or other event that causes the grid to catastrophically fail because I really appreciate the concept of people having to learn how to live without so many of the niceties of life we’ve become so used to. I also like that we don’t get all the answers because, if such an event were to happen to us, we wouldn’t have all the answers since worldwide communications wouldn’t be working, would they?

In a not too distant future setting when everything goes dark, there are immediate effects such as most vehicles not working and having no lights or elevators but it doesn’t take long for people to realize even more devastating things are beginning to happen, food and drug shortages among them. Many of our characters lose contact with family members with unimaginable consequences for some, particularly children, and my first encounter with a homeless child came at the very beginning. Jess is on a plane heading to the East Coast when the flight attendant announces a diversion to Charlotte and she and her seatmate, a grown man named Liam, help each other through their unsurprising nervousness and make a pact to stick together after they land. Liam is determined to get Jess to her mom in Atlanta.

Elsewhere, we meet James and Alexa who are better off than many on their ranch, somewhat sheltered from marauding bands of looters and well-supplied with food and water for the time being, but trouble is coming. Then there are Logan and his family who are definitely not in a safe place in a highrise but their options really seem limited until a surprising yet suspicious solution is offered.

And then there’s a very special droid.

Crash is one of those tales that keeps the reader feverishly reading or, in this case listening, because so much is happening, questions are becoming intense and it’s getting worse by the day for the characters. Speaking of which, let me warn you, don’t get too attached to any of them because Mr. Muhlenfeld is not afraid to take us there. Nuff said. As for the audio narration, Mr. Waldman does a fine job. I can’t say he’s the best I ever heard because he doesn’t do very distinctive voices for women and children but he has great pacing and tone and it never took me long to know which character was speaking. All in all, this book excited me and I’m still savoring it. On to the next episode!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2020.

************

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

************

About the Author

Chris has been reading and writing science fiction since he was a teenager. After roaming all over the world,  he finally settled down in the beautiful mountains of western Montana where he publishes Distinctly Montana magazine with his wife. When he’s not hiking, biking or camping in the Montana wilderness, he and his wife are traveling the world.

Author Links:
Website // Facebook // Amazon

************

About the Narrator

Price Waldman is an actor and singer, born and raised in NYC. Classically trained, and working professionally in the theater for over 20 years he is new to the world of audiobooks. As an actor he has performed multiple times on Broadway, toured nationally and internationally and appeared on film and television.

Narrator Link:
Broadway World

************

Play an excerpt here.

************

Follow the tour here.

************

Book Review: A Texan Goes to Nirvana by Kelly Jackson @AnAudiobookworm

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