Book Review: Hero by Belinda Crawford

Audiobook Blog Tour: Hero by Belinda Crawford

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Author: Belinda Crawford

Narrator: Jean Mahoney

Length: 7 hours 16 minutes

Series: The Hero Rebellion, Book 1

Publisher: Hendrix & Faust Publishers

Released: July 16, 2019

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction

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Harry Potter meets The Golden Compass in an action-packed sci-fi
about a ballsy teen and a centuries-old plan to change the world.

Centuries ago, humans colonised Jørn, a lonely planet on the far side
of the galaxy. Arriving in five great colony ships, they quickly settled
the surface only to discover, after a few short years, that the planet
was killing them. The culprit, a native spore, carried on
every wind to every corner of the globe.

Genetic engineering, blending DNA from Earth and Jørn species,
saved their crops and livestock, but for humans there was no cure.
Instead they took to the skies, turning their colony ships into
cities that floated above the spore’s reach.

Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices,
voices in her head that other people can’t. Surrounded by butlers,
bodyguards and tutors, insulated from the outside world, her only
solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered
ruc-pard. They share lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate
marshmallow ice-cream and the burning desire for freedom.

Their chance comes when Hero is allowed to attend school in Cumulus City.
Here, along with making unexpected friends, Hero discovers she is an
unwitting part of a master plan set into motion by the first colonists, a plan
she must either help or foil if she’s ever to attain the freedom she craves.

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Physics makes Belinda’s brain hurt, while quadratics cause her eyes to cross and any mention of probability equations will have her running for the door. Nonetheless, she loves watching documentaries about the natural world, biology, space, history and technology.

She’s also a sucker for a fast horse, a faster computer and superhero movies. When she’s not doing the horse, computer or superhero thing, Belinda writes science fiction (emphasis on the fiction), where she loves to write about butt-kicking girls who blow stuff up.

The Hero Rebellion was her first sci-fi series, and she’s currently hard at work on next, with occasional detours back to Hero which she shares with her mailing list as free short stories.

You can keep in touch with Belinda, or just pick her brains about sci-fi via her newsletter, Facebook or by sending her an email (she loves email).

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Narrator Bio

Jean is an Australian audio book narrator and published author. She likes nothing better than being secluded in her cabin in the woods, as far from the city as she can get, writing and recording. In her spare time, she loves exploring the Victorian high country on her horse.

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Hero is one of those books that I can’t quite make up my mind about. Granted, it has a lot of the elements I want in science fiction—intriguing setting, interesting characters, imaginative extras, a bit of mystery, et al—but, as much as I enjoyed the idea, I never quite connected with Hero or the other human players. On the other hand, I’m madly in love with Fink, a sort of kitty (officially a ruc-pard) who’s a genetic modification and the best friend a girl could have.

One thing I thought was interesting was the treatment of Hero’s particular power as a mental illness, especially when she resists taking her meds. We all know someone or have heard of someone who has to cope with such a condition in real life and Hero’s label prompted me to think of those true sufferers but also those eccentrics/geniuses/savants that people often think are mentally flawed.

As for the narration, Ms. Mahoney is good and she performs in distinctive voices. I did have to rewind more than a time or two because her tone would drop off but that could just as easily have been my own hearing being faulty. Regardless of that and any other story-related quibbles I may have, this is an entertaining read.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

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

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Top 10 List

Belinda Crawford’s 10 favourite books with butt-kicking heroines

Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, and kicking butt doesn’t
always mean throwing a punch. Here are 10 of my favourite
books with girls who kick butt in different ways.

  • Dragonsong (Anne McCaffery)

Disfigured girl runs away, befriends mini dragons and attains her
dream against the odds. I like Menolly because she doesn’t give
up on being who she is, even when it seems like
everything she ever wanted is out of reach.

  • Queen & Commander (Janine Southard)

Girl cheats on test and sneakily acquires a spaceship to help out
her friends. The title alone is enough to get
Queen & Commander
on the list, but the main character, Rihannon, tops it off by being
a crazy smart girl willing to do anything to help her friends.

  • Earth Girl (Janet Edwards)

In a future where portals can take you anywhere in the galaxy, Jarra
is stuck on Earth.
Earth Girl kinda sticks its tongue out at the classic
sci-fi adventure by not actually going to space, which I really like.
I also really like Jarra, who sets out to completely obliterate the myth
that her inability to leave Earth (because of an immune
deficiency) makes her disabled and stupid.

  • Diving into the Wreck (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

A space archeologist finds an ancient spaceship. I love the creepiness
of this book and the sense of wonder and danger as Boss (the heroine)
explores the ship. It’s just really cool. And Boss rocks.

  • Touch of Frost (Jennifer Estep)

I love the Mythos Academy series. Imagine Harry Potter with a dash of
Percy Jackson and add a geeky, not-very-athletic girl with a talking sword
and you get
Touch of Frost. It’s a bit like candy for the brain, lots of fun
to read and it keeps you coming back for more. I actually advise getting
the entire series out at once, so you can consume one book after the other.

  • Heist Society (Ally Carter)

Oceans Eleven with teens. I mean, I shouldn’t really need to say any more
than that, right? But just in case I do, Kat’s a teenage con artist trying to
go straight, until she gets dragged back in to save her dad from a mobster.
It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, it’s got a cute boy and I wish I were as cool as Kat.

  • Akarnae (Lynette Noni)

This is another brain candy series. It’s heaps of fun, and you’ll stay up
a
way too late trying to read just. One. More. Chapter. You’ll be happy
you did though. It’s got elves, cute boys (whose butts Alex, the main
character, eventually kicks), magic that’s not really magic,
and magic doors. Lots and lots of magic doors.

  • Bloodlines (Rachelle Mead)

Bloodlines is the first in a Vampire Academy spin-off series and OMG,
I love Sydney (the main character). She’s smart, capable and
sensible,
which makes her sound really boring but she’s not, mostly because
everyone around her is kinda crazy. What I really love about Sydney
though, is how she responds when what she’s been brought up to
believe is challenged, and how she changes because of that.

  • By the Sword (Mercedes Lackey)

There’s a lot of blood, battles and sneaking around behind enemy lines in this
book, and the heroine kicks her fair share of butt, but there’s nothing
special about Kero, at least not a first. What I love about this book is how
hard Kero works at making a life for herself, and how she faces adversity, and
there is lots of adversity. Also, there are magic horses. Magic. Horses. ’Nuff said.

  • Alanna: The First Adventure (Tamora Pierce)

No list of butt-kicking girls can be complete without Alanna the Lioness.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re missing out.
Alanna is a fantasy
novel about a girl who pretends to be a boy so that she can become a
knight (because girls aren’t allowed to be knights). It’s awesome. If you
pick it up and think it’s a little young for you (it is a middle grade book), try
the Beka Cooper series. It’s just as good but aimed at an older readers.

And that’s my list! What would you put on yours?

 

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Jul. 7th:

Viviana MacKade

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

Jul. 8th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

My Creatively Random Life

Jul. 9th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Jul. 10th:

Buried Under Books

Jul. 11th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Jul. 12th:

Locks, Hooks and Books

Jul. 13th:

The Bookslayer

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Book Review: Crimes Past by Lauren Carr

Crimes Past
A Mac Faraday Mystery #13
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, December 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

It’s a bittersweet reunion for Mac Faraday when members of his former homicide squad arrive at the Spencer Inn. While it is sweet to attend the wedding of the daughter of a former colleague, it is a bitter reminder that the mother of the bride had been the victim of a double homicide on her own wedding night.

The brutal slaying weighing heavy on his mind, Mac is anxious to explore every possibility for a break in the cold case – even a suggestion from disgraced former detective Louis Gannon that one of their former colleagues was the killer. 

When the investigator is brutally slain, Mac Faraday rips open the cold case with a ruthless determination to reveal which of his friends was a cold-blooded murderer.

When Mac Faraday hosts a former colleague’s daughter’s wedding at the Spencer Inn, it’s not just because he’s being nice to Gina. For sixteen years, he’s been frustrated with his inability to solve the murder of Gina’s mother and her new husband on their wedding day, back when Mac was a homicide detective. Now, many of the same cops are gathered again and Mac hopes to ferret out the killer, most certainly one of his former colleagues.

Meanwhile, Mac’s German shepherd, Gnarly (who happens to be the mayor of Spencer) has apparently murdered one of the feral cats who lives next door and Mac has asked his brother, police chief David O’Callaghan, to get rid of the body before the crazy cat lady carries out her threats against Gnarly. It seems the woman hates Gnarly with a passion but David’s desk sergeant, Tonya, is on the case and soon sees what she believes is a murder…and the cat’s body is missing.

David’s long lost love, Hope, who happens to be in the military, has shown up with her fifteen-year-old son, the irrepressible Gabriel, in tow. Gabriel is quite sure not having a license shouldn’t stand in the way of driving a flashy Porsche and he’s surprisingly comfortable around all these former and current detectives, not so comfortable getting dressed up for a wedding.

So, there’s a lot going on in this story and, with her usual panache, Lauren Carr blends the grittiness of murder(s) with a good deal of humor, the latter revolving largely around Gnarly and David’s Belgian shepherd, Storm, who would much rather be couch potato-ing than anything involving exertion. Tonya also brings a certain levity to her determination to out a murdering fiend and Gabriel is a hoot. Still, the murders from the past are serious business and there may very well be more during this special occasion; every time I thought I had pegged the killer, Ms. Carr threw me off track and I would head off in another direction.

I’ve skipped around quite a bit in this series but that’s never kept me from loving each book I’ve read. I think it’s time I catch up on a few of the previous books and I’ll be doing audiobooks again because Mike Alger is absolutely perfect in his narration with a plethora of voices and great pacing.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2019.

Here’s the real life Gnarly!

The real-life Gnarly on his throne.

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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About the Narrator

Channel 2 Meteorologist Mike Alger joined KTVN-TV in May, 1989. Prior to that Mike had worked at KNDU-TV in Washington. Mike has provided northern Nevada “Weather Coverage You Can Count On” during the 1990 President’s Day Blizzard, the drought in the mid- 1990s, the New Year’s Flood of 1997 and the historic Snowstorms of 2005.

Mike has been married for more than 30 years and has two grown children. His hobbies include golf, music, biking, tennis, scuba diving, writing. He has written and published one novel and is working on a second. He is also a narrator of several audio books, and his work can be found on Audible.com.

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

Prizes: Win a $50 Amazon.com gift card
(open to wherever Amazon.com delivers)
(ends July 6, 2019)

Enter here.

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Book Review: Winter Frost by Lauren Carr

Winter Frost
A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery Book 2
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, January 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

It all started with a chance encounter in the city with Blair, his late wife.

Chris Matheson and the Geezer Squad, working under the guise of a book club, dig into the events surrounding his late wife’s supposed death halfway around the globe. A state department employee shoots himself in the back three times. A CIA operative goes missing. A woman is targeted by an international assassin three years after being declared dead in a terrorist attack overseas.

Nothing is as it seems.

In his most personal cold case, Chris fights to uncover why the state department told him that Blair, the mother of his children, had been killed when she was alive. What had she uncovered that has made her a target? Who terrified her so much that she had gone into hiding and why are they now after him?

When Chris spots his supposedly deceased wife and, moments later, kills the assassin who’s after her, the retired FBI agent is thrust into the center of his own mystery, one that will take a large cast of retired and current members of all sorts of law enforcement agencies to figure out. Along the way to solving what turns out to be a complex, intriguing puzzle, all these people sift through a plethora of clues but it’s not all just a lot of mental work for the reader; some of these folks, and a number of pets, bring an air of lighthearted humor to the proceedings.

Chris is part of the Geezer Squad, a group of retirees who ostensibly belong to a book club that meets at odd times but, in fact, keep their minds sharp and entertained by looking into cold cases and, since Blair “died” several years ago, this certainly qualifies as a cold case. I am in love with the Geezer Squad, all of whom care deeply about their cases and especially this one and the way they work together like a think tank is impressive. With the help of others in their wider orbit—CIA operatives, the state department, Chris’s mom, Doris, etc.—a nebulous truth begins to take shape, one that may just endanger the world.

There are so many characters here that I like, for a variety of reasons, and even the bad guys are vividly drawn and entertaining. Doris is a hoot and, like most librarians, is not to be trifled with but the crowning glory is a bunch of pets that add extra life to the story. Chris’s German Shepherd, Sterling, is a supersmart retired police dog whose talents include playing and cheating at cards and he’s the love object of the smitten Spencer, an exuberant Sheltie. Doris’s Doberman, Sadie, retired from the law and golden lab, Mocha, used to do search and rescue but it’s Thor who absolutely stole my heart. Thor isn’t a retiree from law enforcement but he’s probably the most loveable and scene-stealing large rabbit dressed in pink frills I’ve ever come across.

Lauren Carr’s Winter Frost is a terrific mystery lightened by a good deal of humor but, for an audiobook listener, one more thing is really important for full enjoyment and that’s the narration. At first, I thought Mike Alger was going to be a bit irritating but he soon changed my mind with his wonderful array of voices and his perfect pacing and sensing of the proper mood to fit the story. I do believe he may be one of my favorite narrators.

P.S.: See that dog in Lauren Carr’s picture beside her bio? That’s the real-life Sterling but I don’t know if he actually changes car radio stations or plays poker 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2019.

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

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About the Narrator

Channel 2 Meteorologist Mike Alger joined KTVN-TV in May, 1989. Prior to that Mike had worked at KNDU-TV in Washington. Mike has provided northern Nevada “Weather Coverage You Can Count On” during the 1990 President’s Day Blizzard, the drought in the mid- 1990s, the New Year’s Flood of 1997 and the historic Snowstorms of 2005.

Mike has been married for more than 30 years and has two grown children. His hobbies include golf, music, biking, tennis, scuba diving, writing. He has written and published one novel and is working on a second. He is also a narrator of several audio books, and his work can be found on Audible.com.

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

Prizes: Win a $50 Amazon.com gift card
(open to wherever Amazon.com delivers)
(ends July 6, 2019)

Enter here.

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Book Review: The Walker on the Cape by Mike Martin

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Title: The Walker on the Cape
Series: Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, Book 1
Author: Mike Martin
Narrator: Francis G. Kearney
Publication Date: March 18, 2019

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The Walker on the Cape
Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, Book 1
Mike Martin
Narrated by Francis G. Kearney
Mike Martin, March 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

A man’s body is found on the Cape in a small fishing community on the East Coast. At first, everyone thinks it’s a heart attack or stroke. But then it is discovered that he was poisoned. Who would do this and why?

Finding that out falls to Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP along with his trusted sidekick, Eddie Tizzard. Along the way, they discover that there are many more secrets hidden in this small community and powerful people who want to keep it that way.

Windflower also discovers two more things: a love of living in a small community that is completely different from his upbringing in a remote Indian reserve and maybe the love of his life. He gets a taste of East Coast food and hospitality as well as a sense of how crime and corruption can linger beneath the surface or hide in the thick blanket of fog that sometimes creeps in from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

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A full-blooded Cree, Winston Windflower is not your everyday Mountie and he’s been posted in a small fishing village, Grand Bank, on the coast of Newfoundland, far from his reservation home in Northern Alberta. The fog and the unique personalities of the people here take some getting used to but Winston has begun to fit in quite nicely and has made some good friends including his sidekick, Constable Eddie Tizzard. Windflower believes Tizzard has earned a promotion to corporal and intends to recommend him to the higher echelons but, first, the duo has to cope with the suspicious death of Elias Martin, a man who was not well-liked.

The sergeant’s supervising inspector doesn’t believe this is anything but a natural death but Winston and Eddie think otherwise so Winston makes a few endruns around his boss, with Tizzard watching out for him, to get to the truth. They do, in fact, find clues to follow in town and elsewhere and a plethora of suspects along with hints of corruption. Sgt. Windflower soon shows why certain higher-ups hold him in high regard as he doggedly works toward a resolution.

Along the way, Windflower and a local lady, Sheila, are stepping out and enjoying the early joys of a relationship. We also are treated to some of his cultural background with customs he’s brought with him, such as smudging, and I hope to see more about that in the following books.

I mentioned in my review of the seventh book — https://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/a-trio-of-teeny-reviews-2/ — that this series has a sort of feel-good vibe to it, a wholesomeness that makes everything about it very likeable, from the setting to the characters to the actual mystery and I still feel that way. Adding to the pleasure is Mr. Kearney’s narration with his authentic-seeming (to me, at least) Canadian intonations enhanced by the local fishing village accents although he didn’t really have a wide variety of voices, especially for women. I do hope Mr. Martin will continue—quickly!—to produce audio versions of the succeeding books; I’ll be standing in line for them 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2019.

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

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About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn.

Website // Twitter // Facebook

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About the Narrator

Following college and many years as a local entertainer and actor I eventually entered the business world and a career of building and selling multiple successful enterprises.

In 1985 I purchased an aviation business and while building a very successful business also earned multiple movie credits as a helicopter camera ship pilot – https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0443932/?ref_=nv_sr_1 – among other services, and flew the camera helicopter for London Weekend Television’s mini series “Piece of Cake” in 1988. I have an extensive aviation background from helicopters through turboprop and jet aircraft, and a deep knowledge of all things aviation.

I have always been an insatiable reader with a love of history – the ultimate story, and anything military – especially if it flies. My evolution into narration and the joy of storytelling is the culmination of many years of a life fully lived, and is reflected in a voice of experience.

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Play an excerpt here.

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Book Review: Jaguar by C. A. Gray

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Author: C.A. Gray

Narrator: Melissa Williams

Series: Uncanny Valley Series, Book 3

Publisher: Wanderlust Publishing

Released: Sep. 14, 2018

Length: 9 hours 48 minutes

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

The Silver Six have blown the Renegades’ underground compound to bits, killing several of Rebecca’s best friends in the process – and to her horror, the boy Rebecca had convinced herself she loved for all these years was the one to betray them all. At the same time, General Specs, the company Liam was once slated to inherit, has developed a super intelligent robot called Jaguar which is quickly becoming godlike in her omniscience. As the remaining Renegades flee to their last bastion of safety in the Caribbean, Liam makes his way back to London, in a last ditch effort to convince his father to destroy Jaguar before it’s too late.

Rebecca, meanwhile, finally understands her own heart: she never loved Andy. He was merely a “safe” choice who would never require anything of her. Liam, on the other hand, exasperating as he was, had seen past her defenses. All of his teasing and provoking had been his attempt to get her to be real with him – but the more he made her feel, the further she had retreated. She had even substituted her companion bot Madeline for real, deep human friendships, and for the same reason: she’d been avoiding love to protect herself from another loss like the one she had experienced when her father was killed for the Renegades’ cause. Ironically, she only realizes this once Liam is on his way to a similar fate. But she’ll be damned if she lets him go without a fight.

This high stakes conclusion to the Uncanny Valley Trilogy envisions a world not too far off from our own, in which super intelligence is a reality, humanoid bots have supplanted human power and influence, and there are eyes watching and reporting our every move. If humanity is to survive, the Renegades will have to galvanize support across the globe, under the radar – and it will require every last bit of ingenuity they possess. But is attempting to outwit a super intelligent being really the answer? Or will it require something much more fundamentally human?

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By day, C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) with a primary care practice in Tucson, AZ, and she writes medical books under her real name (Dr. Lauren Deville). She lives with her husband, with whom she maintains a facetiously contentious movie review blog, and travels as often as they can get away. When not writing or seeing patients, she does yoga, drinks red wine while eating dark chocolate, and consumes audiobooks like there’s no tomorrow!

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Narrator Bio

Melissa lives with her family, including two dogs and a cat, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado.

After having a corporate job for most of her life, and as a self-proclaimed introvert, she decided to leave corporate America to work from home. Voice overs had always tugged at her heart as something she would like to explore, so she attended some classes and landed with a company that taught her how to break in to the industry.

Loving to read, she explored the fast growing world of audiobooks and fell in love with it. She has ten audiobooks under her belt and is currently working on the 11th. Understanding that she should always be learning how to improve her skills, she is currently working with Sean Pratt.

When not talking to herself in a padded room, she can be found walking her dog, singing or fishing the Arkansas River.

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Those of us who have been reading science fiction and watching the old classic movies for longer than we may care to admit have harbored a not-so-secret concern that someday we would be confronted with robots who are not only sentient but super-intelligent and in a position to take over the world. In the Uncanny Valley Trilogy and especially Jaguar, Ms. Gray has brought a fresh approach to this concept.

Rebecca and the rest of the Renegades are living on the edge of such a doomed future and are really the last bastion against the Silver Six and Jaguar but they now need to spread their fight to other parts of the world. The AIs have been very successful at convincing people that having them in charge is best for all but there’s another, perhaps more dangerous, threat in Jaguar, the most self-aware and powerful AI ever.

This conclusion to the trilogy is thought-provoking, especially regarding our very real proclivity for believing the lies of those in power when they speak to our desires and fears but this is not the entertaining part of the story. Rebecca and her colleagues have to face up to personal issues, betrayals and life-threatening danger and Ms. Gray never lets the tension ease.

Once again, Melissa Williams brings life to an already exciting tale and I have to say she’s been an important element in my enjoyment of the Uncanny Valley Trilogy. I hope to hear more from her in the future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2019.

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

Giveaway

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Lone Tree Reviews

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Book Addict

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Jazzy Book Reviews

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Book Review: The Silver Six by C. A. Gray

The Silver Six
Uncanny Valley #2
C. A. Gray
Narrated by Melissa Williams
Wanderlust Publishing, September 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

What is it that makes us truly human?

Rebecca Cordeaux’s entire world has been turned upside down. In a single day, she’s learned that Senate Leader Halpert and his Board of Advisors are actually illegal humanoid robots created underground twenty years ago—and they tried to have her killed. Her mother Karen, whom she always believed to be passionately against the cause of the Renegades, turns out to be their leader. And Liam, a man she never thought she cared for, is now fighting for his life—and she finds that she cares desperately.

Fortunately Karen, known to the Renegades as M, has planned for exactly this sort of eventuality. Using Rebecca’s father’s blueprints, Karen patiently built an underground compound in an abandoned part of the Americas where they can regroup and plan for the coming war. The compound becomes an unlikely oasis as their number grows, both on accident and on purpose. In attempting to recover her best friend and companion bot Madeline, Rebecca gets what she thought she’d always wanted: Andy arrives at the compound too, along with her friends Jake and Julie. But with the sudden addition of an old flame from Liam’s past, Rebecca discovers just how little acquainted she has been with her own heart.

Meanwhile, the Silver Six are running a worldwide campaign of indoctrination to ensure that the people are on their side. In the name of peace, they want nothing more than to wipe out every shred of resistance, while pursuing their ultimate goal of robotic superintelligence. With the assistance of a neuroscientist who helped to build the Silver Six decades ago, Rebecca attempts to understand how synthetic minds work, hoping this information can be used against them. She’s sure that the mysterious, brilliant, and beautiful Alessandra Russo is the key somehow, but Alex’s hatred for the Silver Six is only matched by her hatred for the Renegades. Can the Renegades find and exploit the weakness of the Silver Six before synthetic intelligence passes the point of no return?

When I read or, rather, listened to Uncanny Valley, the first book in the trilogy, I was pulled into a vortex of misdirections and revelations, especially towards the end, and that alone made me  anxious to read the next book. The Silver Six is every bit as intriguing as the first book.

Now that Rebecca and the rest of the Renegades know that the Silver Six, lead by Halpert, are actually robots, all the earlier conspiracy theories have been proven correct. War is inevitably coming and the Renegades must plan for it while they work to subvert Halpert’s propagandizing. That in itself is perhaps the most critical part of their fight because humans are so gullible, easy prey for the lies that are so much more comfortable than truth.

And because life goes on, no matter the circumstances, Rebecca can’t help being distracted by the two young men vying for her attention. As so often happens, one of them will be found wanting but is it possible that the Resistance will be affected by this?

Melissa Williams is a better than average narrator, easy to understand and with good pacing. I couldn’t always distinguish one character from another but that didn’t impede my enjoyment of a strong tale with lively action. I appreciate this second book as much as the first; come back tomorrow to see what I think about the trilogy’s conclusion .

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2019.

Book Review: Deadly Aim by Paty Jager

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Title: Deadly Aim
Series: Shandra Higheagle Mysteries, Book 3
Author: Paty Jager
Narrator: Ann M. Thompson
Publication Date: July 21, 2017

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Deadly Aim
Shandra Higheagle Mysteries, Book 3
Paty Jager
Narrated by Ann M. Thompson
Patricia Jager, July 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

The dead body of an illicit neighbor and an old necklace send potter Shandra Higheagle on a chase to find a murderer. Visions from her dead grandmother reveal Shandra is on the right path, but the woods are full of obstacles; deadly ones.

Detective Ryan Greer believes Shandra’s dreams will help solve the mystery, but he also knows the curious potter could get herself killed. He’s determined not to let that happen.

Until he’s blind-sided. Are Shandra’s powers strong enough to save them both, or will the murderer strike again?

Big game hunters are not the most popular figures in the real world or in fiction so it isn’t easy to have much sympathy when Shandra finds J.W. Randal’s animal-ravaged body on her property. Perhaps it would be better to say my sympathy was with Shandra, first for finding another body on her Huckleberry Mountain and second for her finding out she had such a reprehensible neighbor. I guess this just goes to show that large properties can make it hard to know your neighbors. At any rate, finding a body on her own land at least provides some justification for Shandra sticking her nose in where it doesn’t really belong.

It’s fortunate for Shandra that the deputy sheriff, Ryan, is not averse to her sleuthing and, in fact, he respects her spiritual connection to her Nez Perce ancestry and the dreams that seem to lead them to important hints. What occasionally gets in the way is the growing romance between the two and their “mating dance”, if you will. I appreciate the way Ms. Jager is allowing a natural growth of their mutual attraction rather than the instalove we see too often. I was happy to learn that they still haven’t told each other their deepest secrets but that seems to be coming soon.

Meanwhile, back to the investigation…clues begin to mount that point in different directions including potential bad blood in the game hunting business and a possible illicit liaison. Most intriguing is a particular necklace whose provenance is difficult to track down .and this part of the hunt brings Shandra’s particular creative expertise to the forefront. When things come to a head, though, there’s more than one surprise

In this entry, a bit more editing could have been useful as occasional flaws are more obvious than in previous books in grammar and word choices as well as in shifting points of view. Also, while Ann M. Thompson is a better than average narrator, she did pull me out of the story every now and then with mispronunciations and odd pacing. Still, an interesting mystery and Ms. Thompson’s reading made this an appealing tale.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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About the Author

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 35 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle mystery series has been a runner-up in the RONE Award Mystery category, and a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Pinterest

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About the Narrator

Audiobook narrator and voice over artist Ann Thompson continues to work in radio and TV news broadcasting as she has done for the past 25 years. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. A-P has named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology. Once she even rode the “Vomit Comet” to simulate zero gravity in a KC-135. Thompson has reported from India, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Belgium as part of fellowships from the East-West Center and RIAS. She values author partnerships like the one with Paty Jager for the Shandra Higheagle series.

Website

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Play an excerpt here.

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Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

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