Modern Sorcery by Gary Jonas

A Null private investigator in a magic kind of world.  That is a great defense even though he doesn’t advertise it.  It’s kind of funny to watch the magic users after they cast and Jonathan is still just standing there with nary a hair ruffled.

Title Modern Sorcery: The First Jonathan Shade Novel
Author: Gary Jonas 
Series: Jonathan Shade #1
Released Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Narrator: Joe Hempel
Source: purchased through Audible.com

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

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

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

Too bad Shade doesn’t have any magic.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This story has no sex.  It has very interesting characters and more than a little violence.  There is no cliffhanger and it’s a fantasy/urban fantasy/murder mystery kind of story.  This is #1 in the series of 10 novels and 1 novella.

I picked this audio book up on a whim.  The cover wasn’t all that interesting, but the title and the description made me stop and look again.

Jonathan Shade is a private investigator of paranormal things.  Yes, I know, I always fall for this type of story, but I like them.  Jonathan is an ok guy.  He’s not especially standout which makes him a good investigator.  He has a partner that is especially good at fighting and she’s pretty cool too. (When you get to the toothpick scene, give me a holler – I really liked that scene).  Esther is a ghost that died in the ‘20’s and she’s pretty cool too.  She helps Jonathan with what things a ghost can do.

I liked this book.  The narrator – was fine.  It was the book’s story that kept me listening.  The narrator made a couple pronunciation mistakes (he must not follow urban fantasy, mythology or anything paranormal).  There were no hideous accents that were not understandable.   The narrator did do well on Jonathan’s voice but he slipped once or twice. The story was great, and I could do other things while listening. It wasn’t complicated with a half million characters or plots. I like multitask while listening to audio books and this book was right on target.

The writing was average with excellent being Jim Butcher-esque style.  The action wasn’t non-stop but it was enough to keep me interested.  This is only the first in the series and we all know the characters grow and improve the further into the series, so I’ll be getting the rest of the series to see where Mr. Shade’s life leads and what trouble he gets into.

Yes, I liked the book.  No, I wasn’t keen on the narrator.  Yes, I’ll go for more books by this author.  Yes, I’ll listen to more audio books from this author even though the narrator wasn’t quite up to par.  As a matter of fact, the story went fast.  I started out one minute and it seemed like the next minute it was done.  That’s a sign of a good book to me.

Other recommendations…

…you might try

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 12/10/17

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

 

It occurs to me that I have quite a few of books on my TBR list.  With the holidays, I have extra curricular activities to get done, so I’ve been listening to audio books.  I’m sure that’s quite noticeable by the posts I’ve been doing.  With that being said, I’m going to focus on super audio books that I want to listen to.

I found a free audiobook that audible.com that might be kind of fun.  Normally, these kinds of stories aren’t my bag, but this is a short listen of a little over 1 hour.  This might be a good time to try out audio books with no expense.

Title:  Gather ‘Round the Sound
Authors: Paulo Coelho, Yvonne Morrison, Charles Dickens
Narrators:  Angele Masters, Daniel Frances Berenson, Magda Szubanski, Simon Callow, Dan Starkey, John Banks, Vern
Released: December 8, 2017
Publisher’s description: 2017 has been a monumental year for Audible, having just celebrated our 20th anniversary, a milestone that would have never been possible without our wonderful and loyal listeners. One of our major commitments is bringing new and diverse audio experiences to our members, so this year, as our gift to you, we pulled together a collection that reflects a little bit of everything we’ve been up to recently: a surprising and heartwarming documentary, a selection of stories from our partners around the world, and even some improvised comedic carols we hope will make you laugh as much as they did us.

The lineup includes:

Zip Code 12345

This mini-documentary centers around a peculiar holiday tradition at General Electric’s headquarters in Schenectady, NY. For two decades, GE has been receiving thousands of letters from kids – children who think they’re reaching Santa Claus. And every year, a handful of GE employees give up their December lunchbreaks to respond to each and every letter.

An Aussie Night Before Christmas, by Yvonne Morrison, performed by Magda Szubanksi

This rollicking rewrite of the famous old poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas gives the original version a hilarious Aussie twist. Magda Szubanski, Australia’s most trusted personality, caries this incredibly fun romp. Kangaroos pulling the sleigh, a beer for Santa, and all the over-the-top Australian lingo, it’s everything you’d expect.

The Music Coming from the House, by Paulo Coehlo, performed by Daniel Frances-Berenson

In this magical story from the author of The Alchemist – the master of the modern parable – a disguised king visits a poor village, and what he sees through the window of a house changes his life, and those of the occupants.

The Signal-man, by Charles Dickens, performed by Simon Callow, Dan Starkey, and John Banks

For literature lovers, the holiday season needs a little Dickens. We dug up a story of his that you may not be familiar with, originally published in the Christmas edition of a Victorian short story periodical. Of course, ghosts are involved in this 19th century work told by Simon Callow (Outlander) and Dan Starkey (Dr. Who).

A Very Improvised Holiday Musical

What would the holidays be without some carols? Vern, a New York City-based improv troupe, performs a few improvised holiday songs.

You think that anthologies only exist in print?  Nope.  One of my favorite authors got together a bunch of friends and put together the Monster Hunter Files.  I really love the Monster Hunters.  I’m behind in the Monster Hunter series, but I could totally get caught up with audio books.

Title: Monster Hunter Files
Authors: Oliver Wyman, Khristine Hvam, Bailey Carr
Narrators:  Jane Yellowrock, Monster Hunter
Released: October 3, 2017
Publisher’s description: For well over a century, Monster Hunter International has kept the world safe from supernatural threats small and large – and, in some cases, very, very large. Now, join us as MHI opens their archives for the first time. From experienced hunters on their toughest cases to total newbies’ initial encounters with the supernatural, The Monster Hunter Files reveals the secret history of the world’s most elite monster fighting force.

Discover what happened when Agent Franks took on the Nazis in World War II. Uncover how the Vatican’s Combat Exorcists deal with Old Ones in Mexico. And find out exactly what takes place in a turf war between trailer park elves and gnomes. From the most powerful of mystical beings to MHI’s humble janitor, see the world of professional monster hunting like never before.

Featuring 17 all new tales based on Larry Correia’s best-selling series, from New York Times best-selling authors Jim Butcher, John Ringo, Jessica Day George, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, and many more.

Also includes stories by Larry Correia, John C. Wright, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Kupari, and Brad R. Torgersen.

Nora Roberts – oh, sorry, J.D. Robb – will be releasing the next In Death book in January.  Audible.com has pre-orders just like Amazon does.  It’s simple to do and, granted, audio books cost more than print books, but when the narrator is good and the author is a favorite, I’m in a zone.  Anyway, here’s the next In Death book – #46 – that I pre-ordered today.

Title:  Dark in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #46
Release: January 30, 2018
Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Publisher’s description:  Lieutenant Eve Dallas returns in the new novel by the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense, and takes on a case of death imitating art…

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime – from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama – and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

Often the audiobooks are released days after the print version.  I’m not sure the reason for this other than expense and popularity.  Making an audiobook is probably quite an undertaking.  I don’t know the ins and outs, but hiring a good narrator is absolutely imperative.  Anyway, Faith Hunter released her print and audio of Flame in the Dark on the same days as print.  Thank you Ms. Hunter.

Publisher’s Description:

Set in the same world as Faith Hunter’s New York Times best-selling Jane Yellowrock novels, the third, thrilling Soulwood novel stars Nell Ingram, who draws her powers from deep within the earth.

Nell Ingram has always known she was different. Since she was a child, she’s been able to feel and channel ancient powers from deep within the earth. When she met Jane Yellowrock, her entire life changed, and she was recruited into PsyLED – the Homeland Security division that polices paranormals. But now her newly formed unit is about to take on its toughest case yet.

A powerful senator barely survives an assassination attempt that leaves many others dead – and the house he was visiting burns to the ground. Invisible to security cameras, the assassin literally disappears, and Nell’s team is called in. As they track a killer they know is more – or less – than human, they unravel a web of dark intrigue and malevolent motives that tests them to their limits and beyond.

You may not know that Audible has samples of the story just like print books.  That’s really a sweet gig when it’s a new author or new narrator.  I found this book that looked particularly interesting.

 

Title:  Born in Fire

  • Series: Fire and Ice Trilogy, Book 1
  • Author: K.F. Breene
  • Narrated by: Nicole Poole
  • Series: Fire and Ice (Breene), Book 1
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 05-01-17
  • Publisher’s description   Supernatural Bounty Hunter isn’t the sort of thing you see on LinkedIn. But with a rare type of magic like mine, I don’t have many options. Dangerous or not, the job is mine. And it was going fine, until an old-as-sin vampire stole my mark, and with it, my pay day. Knowing I’m poor and desperate, he has offered me a job. I’ll have to work by his side to help solve a top secret case. Everyone knows not to trust vampires. Especially a hot elder vampire. But without any other jobs coming up, I’m stuck. As I uncover a web of lies and treachery, revealing an enemy I didn’t know existed, the truth of my identity is threatened. I might make it out alive, only to end up in a gilded cage.

 

 

 

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Strip Me Bare by M. Never

What’s stripping got to do with redemption and second chances?  Listen to the audiobook or read this book and find out.

Title: Strip Me Bare
Author: M. Never
Release Date:  October 5, 2017
Genre: Romance
Narrator: Brooke Bloomingdale
Source: purchased via Audible.com

Publisher’s Description:

Only I would put a fully clothed man on the cover of a male stripper novel. Why? ‘Cause I’m a rebel. And because this book is about so much more than a guy shedding his clothes. It’s a love story. A HOT love story that includes redemption, second chances, finding your voice, and fighting for what you believe in. Fighting for WHO you believe in. Oh, and male strippers. Did I mention that? 😉

“I may have had more lovers than you, and I may take my clothes off for countless women, but you are the only one who can strip me bare.”

Do you ever stop loving someone just because they’re gone?

Five years ago, Ryan Pierce disappeared from Alana Remington’s life without a trace. He was the one she gave her heart to, her soul to — and her virginity to. So, imagine her surprise when she finds him dancing at one of NYC’s hottest male revues as ‘Jack the Stripper.’

Ryan never stopped loving Alana, and now that she has serendipitously dropped back into his life, he’s vowed never to lose her again. But being together has its costs, and challenges Alana isn’t sure she can handle. She finally has Ryan back. But how in the world is she supposed to share the love of her life with half of the women in New York City?

Strip Me Bare is a second chance, standalone romance. It contains angst, heat, humor, heartbreak, and one seductive male stripper who will not only have you handing over your panties, but also your heart.
You’ve been warned.

 

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

This is not my typical book.  As a matter of fact, this was an entirely out of my box experience.  The cover and description explains the story.  This story has sex, angst, a lot of swearing, nicotine addiction, mention of drugs and a ton of drama.

Suffice it to say, the writing was on target for a 23 year old spoiled little privileged girl.  The narrator caught her attitude perfectly.  I am not 23 years old.  23 is in my rear view mirror and I had forgotten the drama and the fuss of that age.  I had forgotten the naivete and the lack of experience that a 23 year old could have in life.  I wanted to smack Alana up side the head more than once.  I mean, seriously, open your eyes, girl! The beginning of the story, when Ryan first came back into the picture, he told Alana why.  Why he left.  Why he never contacted her (seriously? He had her phone number, for *&^%’s sake!).  Why this? Why’d you do that? Why did that happen?  His story of why he left Alana and why he made the choices he did and why Alana should take him back had me very skeptical. So much so that I more than once rolled my eyes.  You’d have to give me a million dollars before I’d ever buy his story in real life. Now, the eye rolling is not a reflection on the quality of the writing of the book.  The writing totally fit the characters.  The actions and reactions of a badge3v4
23 year old Ryan were right on target.  The excuses he made were exactly like decisions a 23 year old would make.

Okay, so, the writing really fit with the characters. Check.  Did I like the story?  <shuffle uncomfortably> Well, I’m not going to lie to you.  I really didn’t find the story all that engaging.  I felt like this was a bunch of drama scenes thrown together around the sex.  Would I listen to it again? No.  Was the narrator good? Yeah, she was good. I’d give her a chance again if the story was different. She appears to be a seasoned narrator with a lot of books under her belt. Would I recommend this story? Not on your life…unless you really just want to listen to drama, angst and a lot of sex terms, sexual innuendos and sex.

With that being said, I don’t want to deter anyone from listening to this audio book.  In fact, there were several glowing reviews so if it’s your game, then more power to you.  It’s not mine.  I have to have some meat to the story-pardon the pun.  I love audio books and I like trying new authors and new books.  This was a new author and although the writing was put together, the scene descriptions were good, the story was weak – in my opinion.

 

 

 

Rescuing Rayne by Susan Stoker

Like you some hot military men?  A little romance? A little adventure?  Come along with Ghost and enjoy a little vacation without even leaving home.


Title
: Rescuing Rayne
Author:  Susan Stoker
Series:  Delta Force Heroes #1
Release Date:  February 9, 2016
Genre: Romance Military
Narrator: Stella Bloom
Source: purchased via Audible.com
also free on Kindle

Publisher’s Description:

As a flight attendant, Rayne Jackson is used to cancellations, but she never dreamed her latest would lead to a whirlwind tour of London with a handsome stranger…or a life-altering night in his bed. One evening is all the enigmatic man can give her, and Rayne greedily takes it, despite suspecting it will never be enough.

Heading home after another extreme mission, Keane “Ghost” Bryson hadn’t planned to seduce someone during his layover, but Rayne is too sweet to resist. Being a Delta Force member means lying to protect his identity, which is unfortunate, considering Rayne seems made for Ghost, right down to the tattoo on her back. For the first time in his life, regret fills him as he slips away the following morning.

Both are shocked when, months later, they meet again—under the worst possible circumstances. Seems fate has given them a second chance…if they can survive the terrorist situation they’re in. If Rayne can forgive Ghost his lies. And if Ghost can trust Rayne to be strong enough to endure the secrets and uncertainty that come with loving a Delta Force soldier.

 

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says… 

 

This is a military romance of contemporary time.  It has alpha military men that are over the top protective, uber loyal and more vocal about how they feel about their women than any man I’ve ever met.  There are some pretty steamy scenes, some scenes to make a girl swoon and some scenes that are just plain sigh worthy.  Oh, and then there is the adventure.  Can’t forget about the adventure!

Here’s a bit of a warning.  The beginning of the story is kind of lame. Once I read past the airport scene where Ghost and Rayne meet, then things got better. I guess the whole “one night stand” thing needs to be experienced to be believed. The day Ghost and Rayne spent in London was very romantic and the hero and heroine clicked right away.  Once or twice the discussion between the hero and heroine felt odd.  In some scenes the words and phrases that Ghost used felt weird.  It was like the personality of the man didn’t match the words he spoke.  I have no idea why I feel that way, I just do.  Part of the feeling may come from the fact that I listened to this book as an audiobook instead of reading it. The experience of reading and listening can change the whole outlook of the book.

I really get into these romances because the heroines are strong and they do what needs to be done without hysteria or the whole fainting on the couch thing. These series are especially great because they are easy to follow and I don’t have to work too hard to keep track of the characters and the story. I can do other things while the story unfolds with the screen and projector in my mind.  Some may argue that these series are the same story with different characters.  I guess that’s their opinion.  I can see that side, but I like these series featuring the special ops forces.  They are fun and relaxing. They are feel good books and in this day in age, we all need feel good books with happy endings.  Oh, and they are stand alone novels so they don’t have to be read in order, though it does complete the experience if they are.

 

 

Holiday Spice: The Shaugnessy Brothers by Samantha Chase

‘Tis the season for romance.  Christmas romances don’t only happen on the Hallmark Channel.  They also happen in audiobook form.

Title: Holiday Spice: The Shaugnessy Brothers
Author: Samantha Chase
Series:  The Shaugnessy Brothers #6
Release Date:  November 21, 2017
Genre: Romance (Christmas)
Narrator: Julia Motyka and Christopher Kipiniak
Source: purchased via Audible.com

Publisher’s Description:

Darcy Shaughnessy has gotten used to her overbearing brothers chasing away any man she wants to date. But a chance meeting with a brooding – and deliciously handsome – artist is about to make this holiday season one to remember.

There’s only one thing Benjamin Tanner loves more than his woodcarving: solitude. Then he gets snowed in with Darcy in his cozy cabin in the woods, and their heated feelings begin to melt the icy barrier between them.

With Ben’s need for privacy and Darcy’s love of family and social life, will opposites still attract once the snow clears and the holiday festivities come to an end?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says… 

It’s Christmas and I always tend to swing toward the Christmas romances during this season.  I love the happy endings and the feel good that the Christmas season is supposed to bring.

The story was good but the thing that blew me away was the narration.  The tag team narration between Julia and Christopher was fabulous.  The effort made the book come alive.

This was the unabridged version, but the story felt like it flew along.  This was not a heavy story arc, just a simple Christmas season romance.  The hero was a grinch and somewhat of a jerk.  The heroine was a little on the spoiled rotten side, but yet she was pretty smart.  The setting was a place that sounds right up my alley.  A cabin in the woods during a snow storm.  I know, I know – been there, read that.  Even though that may be the case, it was really a pretty good book.  There was some sex but nothing horribly graphic.  Even though this is book #6, I listened to it without the benefit of the first 5 books and I got along just fine.  Totally a standalone if you want it to be.

These narrators will pave the way for me to listen to the first 5.  They did a great job.