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Series Spotlight: Esther Diamond (audio) by Laura Resnick

Laura Resnick (author) and GraphicAudio have teamed up to create the Esther Diamond series audios, and it’s a fantastic pairing! If you like full-production audiobooks, you don’t want to miss this series!

I am so excited about the Esther Diamond series’ audiobooks being produced by GraphicAudio! They are fantastic. Try it out for yourself with this sample.

I’m gonna break this Series Spotlight down into two sections: one to talk about the series and one to talk about the audio production because they both deserve their own spotlight.

Series

Esther Diamond is a struggling New York actress. While working on an off-broadway play as a chorus nymph and understudy to the female lead, the lead actress disappears.

Enter Maximillian Zadok, a 350-year-old wizard, stationed in New York by the Magnum Collegium to fight mystical evil. Max implores Esther not to take up her understudy duties for fear she will go missing, too. Once Max convinces Esther that there is mystical evil afoot, Esther rushes to help Max find and stop the culprit before she becomes the next victim.

Meanwhile, the lead actress’s disappearance is also being investigated by Detective Connor Lopez, a sexy Latino with blue Irish eyes. Lopez finds Esther intriguing and would like to get to know her better. Unfortunately, Lopez doesn’t believe in mystical evil, even though Esther’s tried to tell him that it exists. While he is strongly drawn to Esther, he fears she’s unstable, dangerous, and possibly felonious. Their involvement complicates his life and jeopardizes his job, but he has trouble staying away.

During their adventures, Esther, Max, and a number of their friends encounter evil sorcerers, demons, voodoo loa, zombies, vampires, spirits, cursed objects, missing corpses, mob hit men, death omens, drag queens, entitled young adults, harried production assistants, and narcissistic actors. The mysteries are intriguing and well written, but I think it’s the main characters that really shine in the series. They are complex and layered, unique and intriguing, each with their own secrets that are slowly revealed over time.

This series has magic, mystery, and adventure, but it also has humor, friendship, and relationship tension (not everything is rosy in this romance) that builds with each book. It’s more glossy than gritty, on the lighter side of urban fantasy, but the protagonists have depth, and it’s easy to care about them. I highly recommend the series for a fun urban fantasy read.

If you’re not an audiobook fan, you can find the Esther Diamond series in digital and print formats at your favorite online retailer.

Audio Production

I’ve mentioned on this blog before how awesome I think GraphicAudio is. They make audiobooks into full-production masterpieces. They’re essentially radio-plays, for those of us who are old enough to have heard of those. There is a full cast of characters, so the voices are all different and the “he said” and “she said” of regular audiobooks aren’t needed. There’s music and sound effects in all the right places, which enhance the story greatly. As a big fan of audiobooks, I absolutely adore these productions. They are just so much fun!

Graphic Audio did a FANTASTIC job with the Esther Diamond series. I cannot imagine a better casting of voices, especially Colleen Delany as Esther Diamond, Thomas Keegan as Detective Connor Lopez, Bob Payne as Maximillian Zadok, and Tim Carlin as Lucky Battistuzzi. The voice  acting is fantastic and really conveys the character personalities and emotional content of the story. The GraphicAudio actors bring each character completely to life in a way that only the very best voice actors can in regular audiobooks.

The background music and sound effects add such depth and dimension to the story that you really do feel as if you are listening to a movie. It’s that much easier to feel the tension of being stalked when you can hear the footsteps behind you, or to visualize a street fight when you can hear the impact of fists, the grunts of the combatants, and the splash of blood on pavement.

I don’t think I’m capable of expressing just how emotionally involved I feel when listening to GraphicAudio productions. It is an amazing medium for some genres, and I really encourage authors, particularly indie sci-fi and fantasy authors, to consider GraphicAudio for their books before any other audiobook company. Your listeners will experience a much richer version of your creation than I think you’ll find elsewhere.

A rich creation is exactly how I’d describe the Esther Diamond series on GraphicAudio. Five stars for this superb production.

You might also like:

GraphicAudio boasts a number of sci-fi and fantasy series by well-known authors such as Piers Anthony, Stephen Blackmoore, Peter David, Alan Dean Foster, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, Jim C. Hines, Cherie Priest, Stephen Lawhead, Kelly McCullough, Ari Marmell, Elizabeth Moon, Michael Moorcock, Lilith Saintcrow, R.A. Salvatore, Brandon Sanderson, Michael J. Sullivan, Brent Weeks, and Eileen Wilks. They also have a number of audio adaptations of both Marvel and DC comics.

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A Fistful of Frost by Rebecca Chastain

In the few weeks, she’s been on the job, Madison Fox has faced imps, vervet, possessed hounds, cito, demons, and other dark creatures of Primordium. Now she must face her biggest challenge yet: a job performance review.

See below for information on a time-sensitive special deal and a giveaway from the author!

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: A Fistful of Frost
Author: Rebecca Chastain
Series: Madison Fox, Book #3
Publish Date: May 8, 2018
Genre: Urban fantasy
Cover: Yocla Designs
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: Madison’s job—and soul—are on thin ice.

Madison Fox is determined to reform Jamie, her half-evil pooka, but the bond linking her to Jamie works both ways. Already, it has manipulated her into bending the rules. If she continues down this path, she could doom her soul. Since her judgment can’t be trusted, a high-ranking inspector now dictates Madison’s every interaction with Jamie, and each directive drives them further apart.

Unfortunately, Madison has bigger issues than the potential degradation of her soul. Winter has struck with a vengeance. Frost moths plague the entire state, reinforcing the artificially frigid temperature. Worse, cold-blooded, soul-stealing enemies are flocking into her region from the north—creatures Madison has little defense against.

With the inspector scrutinizing her every misstep, Madison is in for the battle of her life. If she hopes to survive, she must make an impossible choice: save herself and her region or save Jamie.

An imaginative urban fantasy filled with heart, humor, and plenty of butt-kicking action—A Fistful of Frost is a book you won’t want to miss!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested Ivana says…

Madison Fox had only been on the job for a couple of weeks before she bonded with a pooka and caused an upheaval in her region. Now, the Collaborative Illumination Alliance (CIA) wants to test her, fearing that her association with the pooka may have corrupted her soul. So Madison has to face an intense job evaluation while dealing with a close-lipped boss, inadequate on-the-job training, a self-aware and temperamental manual, a misbehaving pooka, resentful co-workers, and supernatural creatures she’s never encountered before. It’s enough to make anyone lose their mind!

Since she’s been thrust into the supernatural world—years later than any of her counterparts and lacking all the information she needs—Madison has been floundering through odd situations and uncovering plots and schemes just by being the outsider. She’s also been used as a pawn because of her ignorance and inexperience, and she’s gained the reputation of being unpredictable, hard to handle, and probably dangerous.

So In A Fistful of Frost, she’s trying very hard to follow the rules, take direction from people who have more experience, and do exactly as she’s told. But doing so drives a wedge between her and her pooka, Jamie, and makes the CIA and her co-workers even more suspicious of her motives.

Because of my own past job experiences, I identified almost too much with Madison’s frustrations about her job—poorly trained and with few resources, she’s trying to do her job while following all the rules and meeting all the expectations of people who may or may not even know what they’re talking about. It’s something everyone who’s ever had a job has experienced at one time and makes Madison’s situation very easy to relate to.

When Madison finally tells everyone to go to hell and does what she thinks is right, she goes from being a vulnerable novice to an empowered enforcer, which is what every frustrated employee wants. As a reader, I felt victorious along with Madison when she declared her independence from everyone else’s agendas. I think we’ll see a different Madison in future adventures; not a perfect one, but one operating under her own agency who casts a more skeptical eye toward other people’s rules.

I enjoy this series immensely, which is why the first two books earned a Standout Award from me in 2015. I’m thrilled we get to see a new chapter in Madison’s life and hope there will be another on the way soon. 5 stars.

Our reviews in this series…

Special Deal

In honor of the release of A Fistful of Frost on May 8, you can get the first book in the series, A Fistful of Evil, FREE in ebook form from May 1 to May 5. Look for A Fistful of Evil and all of Rebecca Chastain’s books on Amazon.

Giveaways

Pre-order Giveaway: Order your copy of A Fistful of Frost between now and the release date on May 8, and you can receive a copy of the Madison Fox novelette, A Fistful of Flirtation.

Madison finally gets her date with Dr. Love—and if they had picked any other restaurant, she might have had a chance to enjoy it, too . . . 

Receive your free gift with purchase here: https://www.rebeccachastain.com/current-giveaways/

Series Giveaway: From May 8 to May 30, enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card or the complete Madison Fox trilogy! https://www.rebeccachastain.com/current-giveaways/

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 4/29/18

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

Big news, people!! Here’s an author that One Book Two has supported with reading and reviews of her books.  Who is that? Kristi Charish!!  We haven’t heard from her in awhile, but that’s because she’s holed up in her writing cave creating new and exciting adventures for us all.

Releasing on May 7, 2018 is the next in Owl’s adventure.

Title:  Owl and the Tiger Thieves
Author: Kristi Charish
Series: Adventures of Owl #4
Release: May 7, 2018
Publisher’s Description:  In this fourth Owl novel, Kristi Charish (The Voodoo Killings) melds sparkling fantasy with the grit of urban underbelly—with a detour through the world’s most spectacular cities. This is perfect for fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and fantasy lovers everywhere.

Through no fault of her own, Alix has found herself essential to the fate of the world as we know it. She didn’t mean for this to happen—she was quite happy being merely the notorious antiquities thief, and ex-archeologist, known as Owl.

However, years ago, Owl reluctantly entered the secret world of the supernatural. Her goals: complete one job, escape one bounty on her head, continue her thieving in peace.

Fast forward to today. Now, she has become a key player in a brutal paranormal civil war that is rapidly getting out of hand. The leader of one of these factions—a lethal opponent called the Electric Samurai—grows more powerful by the second. To stop him, Owl sets out to find the long-lost, legendary group known as the Tiger Thieves.

But will it be too little too late? One thing Owl misses about “normal” archaeology: there are few emergencies with thousand-year-old relics.

 

This next book may need me to go back and re-read the first in the series to remember where it left off.  The VooDoo Killings was released in 2016 here in USA featuring star Kincaid Strange. Kincaid’s next adventure will be released in January of 2019, so I have a bit to prepare.  I am definitely looking forward to it!


Title:  The Lipstick VooDoo
Author: Kristi Charish
Series: Kincaid Strange #2
Release: January 9, 2019
Publisher’s Description: Kincaid Strange cannot catch a break. After dealing with a spate of paranormal murders, there’s barely time to recuperate–let alone sleep in–before there’s a new problem in Kincaid’s world of paranormal activity. When her roommate, Nathan Cade–the ghost of a grunge-rocker with a pathological lack of self-control–comes home bound to a dead body, it’s up to Kincaid to figure out how to free him. Ideally before her new mentor, Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s ghost, discovers that Nate is trapped in the body he’d coveted for himself.

 

I really don’t want to talk about this because I’m sure if I don’t talk about it the end of the series really won’t happen, right? Yeah, you heard me right.  It’s the end.  I thought that depression was imminent UNTIL I talked with Author Stark.  She told me she will be releasing a new series in September-ish 2018 called Wilde Justice.

Here’s what she had to say:

Sara will not be shutting up any time soon–in the fall I’ll be launching a new series with her and most of the gang. It’ll be a tiny bit different in that my goal with the new series is to have them be standalone adventures vs. so deeply tied together that there was no way you could start in the middle of the series, and her focus will be different as a result of what happens in Wilde Fire… but this isn’t so much the end as a new beginning! :D~Jenn Stark

Title:  Wilde Fire
Author: Jenn Stark
Series: Immortal Vegas #10
Released: April 18, 2018
Publisher’s Description: It’s the end of the world as we know it…

The war on magic is here, and Mistress of the House of Swords Sara Wilde has done everything she can to prepare. The Arcana Council has recalled its most powerful members to hold the line, and the Houses of Magic are frantically strengthening their defenses. Then the first volley hits: a plague of demons freed to ravage the earth. Scrambling, Sara discovers that the war will be fought not on one front, but three–while new threats emerge at a breakneck pace.

All the magic in the world may not be enough to save it.

From an ancient coven in Chicago to the sunbaked streets of Vegas to the frozen ice fields of Antarctica, Sara rallies her closest friends and fiercest enemies to protect the earth from the gods and monsters raining down from the dark side of the veil. To succeed, Sara must confront the truths she’s been avoiding her whole life, and take on forces that have kept the Connecteds powerless for far too long. But is she willing to make the ultimate sacrifice?

When it comes to Armageddon, where there’s smoke there’s always Wilde Fire.

 

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Raised in Fire by K.F. Breene

Got a steady job.  Got a housekeeper, a fallen angel for a dad, an understanding boss, and even a righteous sword.  Who needs more?  Reagen Sommerset, that’s who.  Less talk and a lot more action is what she’s all about.

Title:  Raised in Fire
Author: K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Triolgy #2
Publish Date: September 22, 2017
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Source: Purchased from Audible

Publisher’s DescriptionIt is a common truth in my life that when it rains, it pours.

The killings that once plagued New Orleans are cropping up again in Seattle. The local office is stumped. I’m called out to lend a fresh set of eyes, and my unique magical touch.

It’s only when I get there that I realize the Seattle office isn’t stumped at all.

They’re being silenced by the Mages’ Guild, a corrupt magical institution that doesn’t want word to get out of what is plaguing the city. Worse, news of my magic might’ve slipped down to the underworld, hitting the ears of some extremely powerful demons.

What I thought was a routine murder investigation turns into a fight for my life. With the help of Darius, my stalker elder vampire, and my dual-mage side kicks, I somehow have to dodge the Guild in order to stop one of the most powerful demons I’ve ever encountered. If I don’t? It’ll escape back down below with proof of what I really am.

My life hangs in the balance, and this time, I can’t see a way out.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This book rocked! This is #2 in the 3 book run of Fire and Ice series.  There is swearing.  There is death.  There are monsters.  There is tricks and conspiracies.  All those things, but mostly just the last 4 will give you a hint there are vampires as well.  There isn’t a cliffhanger, but a lead in to the next book.  There is some graphic stuff but not horror graphic.

 

 

I can’t say enough good about this series so far except I will be sad when I get through the last book.  Reagan is someone I’d like to hang with and see what trouble she land in next.  Her dad is Lucifer.  She’s supposed to reign in hell.  She doesn’t want to.  She’s great at the bounty hunter job she has in the brink and she doesn’t want to be noticed by the demons bent on bringing her into her daddy’s inner circle.  Well, they could also use her to their own ends too.  I mean, they are demons, you know.

And then there is the vampire stalker.  Oh, he doesn’t think he’s a stalker.  For some reason, even unknown to the elder vampire himself, he is pulled to Reagan like a magnet.  Darius doesn’t like the feelings she’s stirring up in him.  He’s a vampire for goodness sake.  He’s not supposed to have feelings, but Reagan is pulling him back to his humanity.  It’s really a fun journey.  Reagan and Darius work so well together, it would be a shame to split them.

This story is exactly as the description claims and it was an adventure full of discovery and death.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock, Brad Magnarella’s Prof Croft series, and Jenn Stark’s amazing Immortal Vegas series…

 

Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 4/22/2018

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

 

Such up to the moment news that there isn’t even a book cover yet…or a description.  Well, that’s how we roll here at One Book Two.

Anyway, you know I rave about Lisa Shearin (New York Times Best Selling Author) and her SPI Files series.  If you haven’t read them, you like monstrous bad guys and a little tiny, itty bitty romance – dig this series.  Each book is one that I have to clear an afternoon for because if I sit down, I ain’t getting back up til it’s done.

Back to the subject.  Lisa Shearin is going to release The Phoenix Illusion sometime this fall. I can’t think of a better thing to look forward to!  Author Shearin is gracious to let me post a snippet from The Phoenix Illusion.  Be careful…don’t let it suck you in because it’s only a snippet!

THE PHOENIX ILLUSION (SPI Files #6) BY LISA SHEARIN (A snippet from the author)

The mirror with its sturdy metal frame was nearly seven feet tall and three feet wide. It wasn’t a mirror to admire yourself in, though we all could see our reflections just fine. This mirror was for transport. Mirror mages could connect two specially constructed mirrors, enabling a person to step into the mirror on their end, and step out of the destination mirror, covering distances between worlds in one step.

That was the extent of my knowledge of how this thing worked, and I was pretty sure I didn’t want to receive enlightenment on what went on in between. Rake had mentioned that last year there’d been a bit of a giant spider infestation in the Void, which was what the space between mirrors was called.

Nope.

I didn’t need to know anything else, since Satan would be serving snow cones in Hell before I’d ever step through one.

Rake’s portal mage stood about five feet in front of the mirror, one arm extended, palm out, fingers spread wide, his stance one of casual readiness.

“My lord, Chancellor Nathrach’s mage has activated the mirror on their end and is ready when we are.”

Rake nodded once. “Bring him through.”

The mage straightened his stance, facing the mirror, now with both arms extended toward a surface that began to ripple, then swirl, picking up speed.

I quickly looked down at my feet. There wasn’t enough Dramamine in the world for me to be able to look at that mirror and not lose lunch. A pulsing light reflected on the polished floor, and then thankfully, the light show stopped.

I looked up at the new arrival.

Chancellor Tamnais Nathrach wore black, and he wore it well, from his leather-armored chest and arms, snug leather pants, down to the toes of his over-the-knee boots. He was also wearing blades everywhere there was room.

Yes, the view was nice; but I think what dropped my jaw was that Tam Nathrach could have been Rake’s nearly twin brother. The only big difference was that Rake’s hair was shoulder length, and Tam wore his to the middle of his back.

Rake gave his cousin a quick up-and-down glance and grinned. “Expecting trouble?”

Tam responded with a crooked grin of his own. “Forever and always.”

The two men hugged, Rake being careful to maneuver around his cousin’s portable arsenal.

No, this wasn’t gonna be awkward in any way, shape, or form.

 

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