We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Title: We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

Author: Dave Eggers

Narrator: Dion Graham

Genres: Contemporary | Short Story | Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 46m 36s

Source: Promotion on Amazon

Rating: 3.5/5


Mae is lucky enough to get a job in a major company.
Soon she will find out that the job comes with strings attached.


This was a thought-provoking story about the impact of the media in our daily lives and how far our employers may demand us to go.

However, the main character was extremely bland.

When the agenda becomes clear, she completely loses interest, providing one or two word replies and relinquishing any sense of personality.

Some things did not seem plausible and the ending felt rushed but this is definitely a frightening glimpse of the future because it feels like it could be real.

This is free on Audible and I enjoyed the narration so I do recommend it.

Listened to on Nov 28th, 2016
GR Review

Our Future Good

Title: Our Future Good

Author: T.J. Kirby

Narrator: Simon Vance

Genres: Adventure | Science Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 2 hrs and 47 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 2/5


Joe and Mary just turned 18 and they have to choose what their project will be.
Mary wants to work on NutriSuits but Joe wants to pursue a dangerous journalist career. Mary and Joe want to be together so whose drive will prevail? And what will that decision entail?


I have to admit right off the bat that I was not a fan of the narration at first, as there were some words I simply could not understand, no matter how many times I re-winded – starting with the first couple ones. Even one of the main characters’ name sometimes sounded as Joe, others Joel and others still Jay. So the enunciation was definitely not the best. I can only imagine the narrator’s age must be quite advanced, I don’t know.
However, Vance did the voices fairly well and the cadence he payed to the narrative maintained me interested, much more so than the story.

You see, I felt the entire thing was an excuse to dump a lot of interesting sci-fi concepts that the author had. They were interspersed with political agendas that for the longest time were muted, as well as a pretty immature romance. Not the relationship itself per se, but the way it was portrayed. Much as everything else, it was perfect. She is the perfect girlfriend, he is the perfect, motivated, passionate driven boyfriend. Also, even though they are only 18 they act as a married couple in many ways and I never heard an explanation for that.
Even the temperature was perfect during the entire time. And then they move to another place and everything is perfect and the people are perfectly happy and giggling and argh. It was just frustrating.
And then there is all this talk about how items and humans evolved but, again, it felt dumped without purpose.

So in a nutshell, even though there were thought-provoking issues being raised in the story, they were rushed and almost passed unnoticed and I felt they were definitely not the focal point. There really wasn’t really much to go on, certainly not enough tension to keep me interested. Even the only plot twist, I saw it coming miles away. And while the sci-fi was interesting it ended up becoming quite boring as it all felt pointless.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Listened to from Aug 22 to Aug 23, 2016
GR Review

Kyrathaba Rising: Kyrathaba Chronicles, Book 1

Title: Kyrathaba Rising: Kyrathaba Chronicles, Book 1

Author: William Bryan Miller

Narrator: Christine Padovan

Genres: Fantasy | Post-Apocalyptic | Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 3.5/5


Aliens attacked Earth, forcing the few survivors to take cover in subterranean compounds. Technology evolved greatly, but the pending alien threat never ceases. On the contrary, it will only get worse.
Sethra and his companions seem to have found a way to escape this nightmare and plunge themselves into a separate reality. They are not sure what will await them, nor if it will be possible to help everyone they left behind, but they will definitely try.


When I started listening to this file, my eyebrow went up and then my forehead creased as I frowned. You see, as lovely as Christine Padovan’s pitch and diction were, there were a couple of things that bothered me profoundly: one, she would prolong the last syllable of what felt like every single line, making her voice sound sleepy or tired, mixed with a sort of imitation of Fonzie from Happy Days, and it was just immensely distracting.
Also, I was not a fan of her voices. Not only did the male ones lack masculinity but they sounded forced, like when you are reading to a child and you make sort of a caricature of what they would sound like?
Finally, her narrator voice would sound like characters’ voice, or vice-versa, especially when transitioning between dialogue lines and ‘X said’.
Switching the speed to 1.5X helped me stay alert, but on the other hand I am well aware I did not retain all the knowledge transmitted to me.

The narrative takes place in A3, a compound built underground because aliens decimated the surface of the planet, managing to kill a large percentage of the human race. In this community, people have implants and a bunch of cool tech they use daily. However, they are immensely ill from radiation poisoning and, at that rate, would not be able to survive for long.

Our main character seems to have a way out of the situation, a chance of survival, but only for four people, so he chooses those closest to him. Not going to be easy, because of the implants and other cool but very Big Brothery gadgetry which constantly monitor everyone. But Sethra and his best friend are very smart and manage to have their clandestine conversations anyway and go through with their plan.

I remember that it took me a while to get into the story because there was a lot of technical mumbo jumbo I could not get a grip on. While the scientific talk was extremely hard to follow, it somehow made things more believable, but it did grow tiresome after a point. That first dialogue and Sethra’s inner monologues felt endless, and there were several sections of the book consisting of only numbers and statistics. *yawn*

But then things started to get interesting. I did not quite get what the plan was to get away, what they were going to be immersed in, as was said, what exactly was done to make it possible to access that other world, but man… Aliens! Amongst them! That never gets old. Very cool.
I was sad that a character who had started to grow on me had to die so soon. But alas, it would have caused the others to make an awkward decision so that the plot could progress and we can’t have that, now can we?

Kyrathaba Rising turned out to be a blend between fantasy and sci-fi. In the so-called real world, there is the alien threat, and the danger of everyone dying both from sickness and an alien attack – and in the world of Kyrathaba our four characters need to learn how to survive in this foreign fantasy environment, while struggling to assess who to trust.
The two worlds are actually quite distinct and I enjoyed following the events on one just as much as the other.
I wish I could have witnessed the 4 characters’ development in Kyrathaba, especially their skills, and that I had felt more connected to any character at all. I have to admit I liked Grant but that’s about it.

This is one of those books I know I would have enjoyed much more had I read it as opposed to listened to, so I am rounding the rating up instead of down. Grudgingly though, because that ending… Yes, I know it is the first book in a series, so a cliffhanger is to be expected, but this was the mother of cliffhangers; I honestly cannot recall a book ending this abruptly. And I am unsure if I would have like it as much as I hope so because the fact is there were a lot of subplots.

Regardless, there were interesting plot twists, great action scenes, plenty of suspense and even a bit of gore. I have to say there were bits of humour which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Mostly, there was so much richness in the plot and world building that it deserved my full attention and ability to retain the concepts.
Or take notes on my Kindle.

I recommend that you get this book, preferably a printed version. If you consider yourself a professional audiobook listener, this version will be fine as well, if you can get past the things I mentioned earlier.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.

Listened to from Jun 27 to Jun 28, 2015
GR Review

When a Child Is Born: A Chronicles of St. Mary’s Short Story

Title: When a Child Is Born: A Chronicles of St. Mary’s Short Story

Author: Jodi Taylor

Narrator: Zara Ramm

Genres: Historical Fiction | Science Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 32 mins

Source: Audible (free)

Rating: 2.5/5


A group of time traveller historians is sent to an unexpected place. They are not supposed to interfere, or history will be changed. But can they let a wounded man die? What repercussions will helping him and his family cause to the future?


Time travelling is fairly commonly addressed in science fiction, but not always in a successful manner, due to all its implications.
This is a short story I found for free on Audible, so I was not expecting much. The group of three historians lands in a place which is obviously not where they are supposed to be. There isn’t much information about the means of transportation, other than it is a pod. I cannot recall listening to any details of it, particularly about its visibility to other people. That has always been an issue to me: if the device is visible, won’t the time traveller risk it being gone by the time he or she returns from prancing about?

It was on ok story, though it got a bit repetitive with the few guilty of thinking as an historian lines, and I did not much care for the three mage reference as it seemed too farfetched.
I also didn’t really know what to think about ‘Nature’ being the one to blame for how the events turned out. That seems to imply that time travelling is a natural matter, no?

There were a few moments where I chuckled, so I will rate the story up. The bit about the stew was especially funny.

Overall, it is a good story to listen to if you are going to do a quick workout as I did, or something of the sort; nothing stupendous and it will leave plenty of questions unanswered, but it will get you thinking about the repercussions of an event in the far past being handled in a different way. The narration itself was ok. Zara Ramm’s voice is pleasant enough, but the voices could have been done a wee bit better.

Listened to on Jun 23rd, 2015
GR Review

Daimones (Daimones Trilogy #1)

Title: Daimones (Daimones Trilogy #1)

Author: Massimo Marino

Narrator: Jeff Hays

Genres: Dystopia | Mystery | Post-Apocalyptic | Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 3.75/5


When we first meet Dan, he is about to be fired. That, however, is going to be the least of his problems. As he and his wife Mary try to figure out how to tell their 12-year-old daughter Annah what happened, bigger problems arise. They wake up one day to find they seem to be the only survivors in their area and possibly the whole world. What happened? What, or rather who, caused this? In this first book of the trilogy, we accompany Dan and his family trying to figure that out.


Let me start by saying I really enjoyed Jeff Hays’ narration. Finally, someone who can read a book and keep me interested in the story without unnecessary flourishes to the voice. The only times I found the inflexion odd was when Hays would read a foreign name, like a Swiss street name, for instance.
His voices were impeccable, to the point where I often wondered if he was actually doing the female ones or whether it was all computer generated. They were all very clearly different from one another, even the ones in the third part, where there were many more characters. I could always tell who was talking which, to me, was a breath of fresh air.
There were a few glitches production-wise though, like words cut out or repeated.

Regarding the story, the premise was very interesting. The book is narrated by Dan, our main character, and in the end we find out just why.
There are no zombies here, or other overdone takes on post-apocalyptic literature. This is a regular man, who has a regular family, faced with the entire annihilation of the human race. He is from the USA but the action takes place in Switzerland and France, which was also very refreshing.
While at times I felt the protagonist handled the situation with too much ease, the fact that he kept thinking stuff like he is being driven by all the blockbusters depicting post-apocalyptic scenarios helped.

I did think a couple of things were a bit too rushed, like immediately after returning home from watching the car crash in the highway he assumed his neighbours would be dead. As far as I can tell, there wasn’t a solid basis for that, yet.
Using the internet, and more specifically facebook, as a message as a bottle as the character says, to try and reach out to people, especially the way it was done, was nothing short but a strike of genius.

For the most part, this is not a fast-paced book. It is a story which could feature any of us common folks, so it mostly deals with how you would handle such a situation. The main character and his family are proactive folks who do the best to ensure the survival of their family for a while, while trying to figure out if there are any other people out there. They basically become pack rats, and one other thing that distinguishes this book amongst its peers was that the technology did not immediately fail. They had internet access for months I think, and electricity never failed. Not sure how believable that is, although a lot in our world is automated, so it’s not completely implausible, I think.

I felt completely enthralled during some specific scenes, like the one with the dogs dominance conflict, or when nature is described as taking over the landscape. I especially treasured the normalcy of it all, as if it could happen to anyone.

Some descriptions were too thorough though, slowing down the pace, like when it came to guns – both at the armoury and then the training at home -, which did not even make much sense since we are told the main character does not know much about them.
And some passages were a bit repetitive.

I also have a problem with perfect characters. Dan and Mary’s relationship seemed flawless, which is especially odd since they are high school sweethearts and have been married for 22 years.
Mary is practically portrayed as the perfect woman and wife, and I did not much care for that. Other than that, there were a few things I wished would have been addressed differently:

I was not too happy at the turn events took at the end of Part 2. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel where there is one male and two females; anyone can see where this math leads. However, the way this was done did not impress me and actually confused me. Instead of everyone, or at least some of them, agreeing on it because they were mankind’s hope, it happened because of hormone-driven Laura, who we earlier found that absolutely loves sex, and would rather leave and be all alone than to break up the happy family by seducing Dan. Seriously? Way to put Mary in a crappy situation! I just thought there could have been a more decent and/or noble justification for it. Instead, I found Mary practically being forced to pimping out her husband very anti-climatic.
Also, I thought Dan succumbed to Laura’s seduction much too easily, especially after having exerted such self-control because he loves Mary so much. Even if Laura told him she knew, I would have liked him to directly ask her first. Well, men will be men, I suppose. But then I was even more confused because Laura threw a fit when she was with Dan yelling she was not a slut and had developed feelings for him. All that came out of the blue, I have no idea how either of them developed feelings for each other as it all seemed to boil down to lust, and I still don’t get why they preserved the polygamous dynamic after meeting new people.
When Laura got pregnant, I wondered why they were not looking for pregnancy books and how to deliver a child. After all, none of them were doctors.
And Annah. What did she think of her father basically getting a girlfriend? When she argues with Dan she tells him that he has mother and Laura and she has no one nor will ever have. And that was it. She was 12, wasn’t she supposed to be rebellious towards this new person taking her mother’s place? Confusing. So, in a nutshell, I felt that the change in the family dynamics, which was such an important part of the book, could have been better and more thoroughly approached.

In the third part, things took an abrupt change. A lot happened in a short amount of time and many characters were introduced at once. The information of what had happened was basically dumped. I did not find that very appealing but was ok with it for the most part. The biggest thing I wanted to have seen was a bit more connection to the events of previous years and more foreshadowing to the events later developed, other than the brief experience Dan had as a child.
For some reason, when I read the synopsis I thought the survivors had previously been marked. But their family did not receive such mark and yet they were spared. Which made me even more confused about how exactly the aliens managed to kill billions of people and yet keep those safe. It would have made more sense to me, even if just to simplify the genocide process, if everyone who survived was set aside by something the aliens did to them and everyone who did not have that ‘safeguard’ would succumb.
I wondered why Dan did not ask the Moirai why he was selected, what was so special about him amongst billions of lives. I wanted to hear more doubts about what was happening to them as a race, whether they really had any free will left. And I wanted to know more about the technology, particularly how they managed to move from Switzerland to Italy. Hopefully all that will be addressed in the second book.

Overall, I had a great time listening to Daimones. The author managed to take a theme which has been extremely explored and make it new because everyone can relate to bits and pieces of the world and characters. They may not be the most exciting ones but, hey, neither are most of the people I know, myself included.
Both the story and the narration were a great experience, and I thoroughly recommend it.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.

Listened to from Jun 19 to Jun 23, 2015
GR Review

Clay (Halfskin #2)

Title: Clay (Halfskin #2)

Author: Tony Bertauski

Narrator: David Dietz

Genres: Dystopia | Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 4/5


20 years after the events of Halfskin, people are getting illegal biomites (nixes), to escape M0ther’s radar.
However, the government is aware of this, so they created Bricks, fabricated beings entirely composed of biomites. They are capable of identifying the illegal biomites and shutting them down.
In the meantime, Nix is trying to give Raine a body, so that she can exist outside of his Dreamland.
Jamie might just be the answer to all of Nix’s problems.


First impression I got when I started listening to Clay was that the narrator had a very pleasant voice but spoke way too fast. Then he evened out to a more steady pace. Throughout the book, I still had to stop and rewind on several occasions to let the concepts sink in, but only at key moments.
I do have to say that I felt all his male and most of the female voices sounded the same (except for Mother’s); it was particularly difficult to distinguish some male voices from the narrator’s one, and for some reason all the women sounded annoying and whiny. This obviously caused me to lose interest in the characters. Or rather, I had to constantly remind myself they were not annoying and whiny, just sounded that way. I don’t even get why he did them that way. He obviously had the tone right, just the inflexion was not pleasant at all.

I did enjoy listening to the book most of the time. But I have come to the realization that I will simply never be able to pay as much attention and grasp the story as well while listening to a book as I do reading it. I was unable to set my own pace and imagine each voice the way I wanted, which was even weirder because I had read Book #1 and so had already formed most voices in my head. Needless to say they did not match at all with what I listened to.

Onto the story.

Clay continues to address several of the questions asked in Halfskin; one of the biggest ones is what makes us human? or at what point do we cease to be human?, amongst lots of fun/scary/emotional stuff.

Regarding the characters we met in the previous book: Cali and Nix falling apart over the years, as well as their struggles and rest of their character development, was all very believable.
I also enjoyed the development of Marcus Anderson. Amazing how religious zealots always feel their actions are justified, even if they are qualified as sins by their own definition.
And his end was so ironic.

I had not thought the technology in Clay could get much better than in Halfskin. I was wrong.
Glazed eyes when thought chatting, using facial recognition and browsing the internet in general.
Perception fields, which allow you to engage others in your feelings and thought projections.
Dreamland cafes, where you can transport yourself to a different reality.
Facial reconfiguration, the new plastic surgery.
M0ther having a physical representation and its sentience being developed in a total opposite way than usual – and her garden, oh, that garden…
Fabricating living beings from scratch.
And more.

The idea of a Brick is terrifying. They are not your ordinary robot from other sci-fi creations. They look and act like your perfectly normal human being, right down to showing empathy and other human emotions.

The addictive character of biomites was also something I enjoyed listening about. They don’t only enhance your skills; they also allow you to alter your feelings and emotions and, well, act pretty much like a drug. Can you imagine, never feeling sad or depressed ever again?

However, with all the good things, I just did not connect with this story as much as Halfskin. I don’t know if it’s only because I listened to the book as opposed to reading it. The voices thing really put me off, especially the female ones, but I don’t know if it’s just that. The characters just felt more vapid to me and I especially could not connect to Jamie and her emo attitude. The not dealing with emotions thing, wanting to shed her body and so on really put me off. I appreciated her character growth but most of what I listened about her wasn’t very engaging.

Also, the pace. In the previous book, whenever I was reading slower bits, I wouldn’t mind the reduced pace because the descriptions would be so beautiful and enthralling, and later I always seemed to come to the conclusion that it had all had a purpose the whole time.
In this one, I constantly felt not much was happening, without that sense of involvement and closure to even things out, especially in the first half of the book. It did get better after that.

Then there were things I just didn’t get, and I was left with a bunch of questions. Some were answered by the end, others weren’t. Examples:
How were Callie and others able to create this awesome strain of biomites but never solve the self-replicating issue of the old ones?
How exactly did Nix want Jamie to help him? For a long time I could not understand how the pill she swallowed related to finding fabricators, and I still think the explanation was too easy.
When and how did he even become a scientist, researching in the lab like his sister?
And how did he know how to transfer Raine to a body?
Why were the old biomites not implemented before 15 years of age and these didn’t have an age limit? The old ones had to wait because they would affect puberty but the new ones were seeded on newborns. I do not recall hearing an explanation for that.
Why exactly was the hospital shut down, or whatever happened that they could not help patients any longer?
How was the bank guy’s office safe from M0ther’s scrutinize?
I also did not get why Cali thought that by killing herself all bricks would die as well. As far as I remember all shut downs had been individual up to that point, so how could something like this happen, unless ordered by Mother? And I am pretty sure at that point she did not know it was Mother doing it?

There was some repetitiveness again, and then there were a couple of inconsistencies, like Nix saying Cali wanted to help Jamie because Avery would have been her age. Now I really suck at math, but I clearly remember Avery being breastfed when Nix was 8, so there is no chance she would be 19 when he was 39.
And we are told that before people needed to be 12 years old to be seeded, when it was 15.

I was not happy that the notion of being charred wasn’t explained until the second half of the book, and even then I am not quite sure I grasped the entire concept: is it derived to spending too much time in Dreamland, or working up biomites well past their limit, or not getting fed and sleeping, or all of the above?

I was pretty disappointed at the ending , and not just the thing with Cali. I had hoped Nix and Raine would exist in dreamland and have children there, but even if not, how the heck could a child be born without his supposed mother getting pregnant? Nix just imagined the boy? Doesn’t give me as much closure as I had hoped.

And one of the things I always wondered about was the matter of life expectancy. If the new breeds of biomites were no longer self-replicating, in theory this means people would be able to live much longer without the danger of being shut down by the government or dying from disease, right? Would that not lead to overpopulation? I would have liked to see that addressed.

So, with all these issues, why the 4 stars?
The fact is the book still engaged me. The plot twists, even if not as satisfying as the ones in the previous book, kept me on edge, and there were plenty of surprises.
Most of the development of previous ideas, tech, plot, characters – everything I mentioned previously – still held me strong.

In conclusion, despite having difficulty connecting to the characters because of the narration, I was still enthralled by most of the story and writing. I have no doubt I would have felt more engaged if I had read it, but I still enjoyed Clay very much.

And I am very curious to know what happens in the third book. I would especially like to see a more detailed explanation to Dreamland. Where did all that stuff come from, if Nix maintains it wasn’t all imagined by him?
Is there really an alternate reality?
Can one exist there?
As a human?
What does it mean to be human?

Tony Bertauski’s world is full of possibilities and I thoroughly recommend this series.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.

Listened to from Jun 07 to Jun 10, 2015
GR Review

Libertines: A Horror Story

Title: Libertines: A Horror Story

Author: Grant Palmquist

Narrator: David Winograd

Genres: Horror, Paranormal

Format: Audiobook

Length: 1 hr and 13 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 2.5/5


Samantha is bored with her sex life, so when she finds an ad in a magazine promising the key to spice things up, she proposes to her husband that they give it a try. The method consists on listening to a recording which contains subliminal messages. At first, everything seems great, until Samantha and her husbands’ desires spiral out of control.


This is the second book I listen to by this author and narrator. The premise is great: A couple in their early 40s try to spice up their sex life. Who wouldn’t want that? You love the person you’re married to, but the passion has been gone for a while now. That’s normal, right? Is it possible to have it any other way? An ad in a sex magazine says so. It guarantees so. It’s not much of a conundrum, is it? You’d give it a try, right? Samantha and her unnamed husband did.

The book is narrated by the husband and it starts off really well, with all the questions I mentioned above running through his mind. I thoroughly enjoyed that character because he was just darn average. He is settled in his routine, resigned that it is all he is ever going to get because that’s just what couples grow into after being married for a while, and when his wife suggests that they try this thing (sort of like Eve offering Adam the apple), he has serious doubts. He can’t be bothered. I thought that was very real.

The first few minutes after that, when they both start changing, were also quite enjoyable. I especially appreciated when the protagonist realizes that he is turning into something he is not very fond of but cannot seem to stop listening to that darn recording and following his urges because they are so new and exciting to him, even though he knows decent limits are being crossed.
I liked that Samantha wanted to go through those changes with her husband. When he does his own thing, he starts realizing that he doesn’t really know his wife anymore. Those bits were all very interesting.

But then the story started getting a tad too repetitive for my taste, especially whenever the main character enters a bar, and then all the blood and violence. But my interest in the story decreased most of all because it started turning eerily into something much too similar to Engel: A Novelette of Terror, the other novelette I listened to by the same author. That feeling of been there, done that persisted till the end, which didn’t give me much closure either.

The narrator was overall quite pleasant to listen to. Again, there were a few inflexions I wasn’t much of a fan of, but nowhere near as annoying as in Engel’s. I had the same problem with not being able to easily distinguish between especially the two main voices, and there were a couple of times when I wasn’t immediately sure if the story was being narrated or if I was listening to a dialogue. But some intonations were spot on, especially when one of the characters did something really bad and then acts all innocent. The repulsion felt by the other character was also very well achieved. Also, I can honestly say that I would most likely not have enjoyed the story as much if I had not listened to it; David Winograd did manage to get me engrossed in it, and turned something which could have been almost dull (to me at least) into a good paced and interesting narrative.

In conclusion: very good beginning but it starts going downhill after the middle or so. I will be rounding the 2,5 stars up because it is an intriguing concept and the narration kept me going. I sort of feel that I should have been more excited about all I listened to, but in a world where sex loses its meaning so easily, and it’s all been said and done, I really could not feel much. I should have been shocked but this sort of thing isn’t really new anymore. It’s the psychological effects of how the situation developed that kept me intrigued, and because of those I do recommend you listen to this story.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rofflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.

Listened to on May 28, 2015
GR Review

Engel: A Novelette of Terror

Title: Engel: A Novelette of Terror

Author: Grant Palmquist

Narrator: David Winograd

Genres: Horror, Paranormal

Format: Audiobook

Length: 1 hr and 42 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 2.75/5


Charlie is a pretty mellow guy who sometimes wishes people didn’t step all over him.
When he watches a commercial on tv encouraging him to kill his boss, horrors start to unravel.


I enjoyed Engel quite a lot in the first couple of chapters. Charlie seemed like an average guy with average struggles and I could actually relate to him. He wished his life was different but since he did not like conflict he never did anything about it.
Then we meet Adam, who in a way has a lot in common with Charlie but, unlike feeling tempted by evil, he has a very strong sense of faith.
And that is around the time I stopped enjoying the story as much. Charlie was no longer someone I had interest in see developing because there was no character development. His descent was way too sudden, as well as Adam’s ascent, and the ending felt extremely rushed.

David Winograd’s narration was overall pleasant, though I found some voice inflections a tad annoying at times, particularly in the first few chapters, when actions were enumerated. Others were spot on, especially when making evil thoughts seem so nonchalant. Who hasn’t wished the bad people in their life would go away?
I have to say I did not particularly like the narrator’s take on each voice, though. It was difficult to tell who was speaking at times – a character would sound like another, particularly when their emotion changed -, but what I disliked the most was that most characters sounded stupid, almost moronic. I get making ‘Seth’ sound like that but I don’t understand the others. Eddie was particularly bad.
So even though I enjoyed the narrative bits for the most part and felt engaged in the story, I did feel that the tone conveyed to it was almost one of mockery, and I wished it would have been more ‘sober’, at lack of better word.

Overall I had a good time listening to Engel; even if rushed, there were still some enjoyable concepts in the book, so I will leave the rating at 3 stars.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rofflecopter giveaway hosted by Audiobookreviewer.

Listened to from May 02 to May 08, 2015
GR Review

The Choice (The Returned 0.7)

Title: The Choice (The Returned 0.7)

Author: Jason Mott

Narrator: David Ledoux

Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Speculative Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 40 minutes

Source: Audible (free)

Rating: 1/5



A man finds out that his teenage sweetheart, who mysteriously vanished when she was 17 years old, has now returned. He is faced with choosing between her and his family – wife and daughter.


I would like to think that I am usually not this negative or spoilery in my reviews, but The Choice was a bit less than an ok tale to me, and I cannot really explain why without giving a bit of the story away.

First of all, I wasn’t much of a fan of the narrator because of the constant flairs he did with his voice – it all sounded very dramatic and over the top, like he was trying to make a really lame premise sound so exciting and agonizing – which he kind of did.
Also because I could not easily tell which character was talking. For instance, shortly after we start hearing about a couple anxiously waiting for their daughter to arrive, watching her car getting closer and closer, the story shifts to a different couple who has a six-year-old daughter and it took me a while to notice this wasn’t the same one as before.
Oddly enough, I only realized it because I remember the first woman calling her husband Nathaniel and the second one called him a different name.

But the main thing was that, comparing to the previous two prequels to The Returned, this was just not as enjoyable. I felt there was a whole lot of nothing. We could say the same about the others, especially the second one, since there wasn’t much action there either; we basically got to know a bit of the past and present versions of a couple of characters. But it had a depth that this story simply did not have.

Most of the time we are hearing about 35-year-old Peter going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, wondering how his life got to how it was, because his teenage sweetheart, his first love, who had disappeared without a trace while they were madly in love is now back from the dead, along with all the other Returned.
I suppose this premise had potential, but the way it was developed simply did not cut it for me. There was a whole lot of build-up for, well, not much of a conclusion. It was the only thing possible, really.

I mean, teenage love, especially first love, is not supposed to last forever, save very few and rare exceptions, right? Especially when you have actually built a life with someone who may be flawed (so very conveniently in this case) but who loves you and you love them. And who you have a kid with.

Sorry about giving the ending away but, really, there is not much to the story. It is the first time I actually do not recommend something, even though it is free. We don’t even get to know Tracy at all! Or why she disappeared in the first place or what was done to her – now that could have been a real moment of horror.
And no one even seems to notice that Peter is twice Tracy’s age, themselves included, let alone make any comments about it or have any weight on Peter’s decision.

Just no… This was a one-dimensional story that I could have done without.

Listened to from April 29 to May 01, 2015
GR Review

The Sparrow (The Returned 0.6)

The Sparrow (The Returned 0.6)
by Jason Mott

Rating: 4/5


In this second prequel to The Returned, we are told the story of Tatiana, a 10 year old girl from Sierra Leone, who is found near a highway by Heather and Matt Campbell. As Heather struggles to find Tatiana’s family, we can see that her husband has a very different idea about the girl and all the other Returned.


I enjoyed this prequel to The Returned more than the first one, The First. It is not action driven at all – you know this couple has found the girl and is trying to reunite her with her family, and that’s it. Instead, it focuses on the characters and their backstories, and it was just what I needed. I felt very moved and enthralled by it.

In this short story, we alternate between the present day, when Heather and Matt find Tatiana, and Tati’s life in Sierra Leone just before she and her mother were murdered. If there is one criticism I have to make about the book is that I could not clearly tell when the timeframe would switch. Maybe the narrator could have paused a bit more, I am not sure what exactly failed there.

I also wish I had known a bit more about the relationship Heather and Tatiana formed. It seemed like they grew fond of each other, at least that’s what we are told, but we never really got shown much instead of just told. While I really loved the Tatiana of the past, I could not really tell who she was in the present, even though I could tell she felt comfortable with Heather.

The story itself was lovely, in both time periods. We find that Tatiana loved her parents dearly and that she particularly revelled in creating stories with her father. The one they were creating before he left featured sparrows, hence the title of the story. In present day, we can see that Heather is a warm woman who has lost people very dear to her and therefore can understand what Tatiana and her parents must be going through, which is not the case with her husband. That guy sure brought conflict and tension to the story. He comes across as someone who is very selfish, just wants to make a profit with the situation if possible, and refuses to see the returned as people. So this short story succeeds very well as a prequel to the novel, bringing to light the different ways people reacted to the returned. We already see glimpses of how the world is dealing with situation, through the media reports. Some folks gather in churches and the government has started creating facilities to process the returned, but it all seems very voluntary, people are not forced to do anything.

The narrative had a sense of closure for Tatiana and an open future for Heather in a sort of a bittersweet way, while everyone is still struggling to come to terms with these people returning from the dead. While so short, the story sure can be thought provoking. What would you do in their place? If you found a child you knew came back from the dead, would you take them in? Are these really people? Could a loved one be amongst them? How would you deal with such a reality?

At the end of the day, it’s a short story. Considering its size, I had a very good time listening to it and recommend it. Also, it’s free! Get it from audible by clicking here.

Listened to on April 12th, 2015
GR Review

The First (The Returned 0.5)

The First (The Returned 0.5)
by Jason Mott

Rating: 3.5/5


The First is the first (pardon the redundancy) of several prequels to Mott’s novel The Returned.
It tells us about the first returned, Edmund, who had died 1 year prior, before he and his fiancée Emily got a chance to get married. It is a short account of how the two of them, as well as the rest of the world, react to such an impossibility.


For the most part, I enjoyed listening to The First. The narrator was pretty good; he set a very fast pace throughout the entire narrative, keeping me on edge, but I did find some bits overly dramatic and the voices a tad odd, particularly Emily’s mum.
However, this is only my second experience with an audible story, so maybe I just need time to adapt.

I found the story believable for the most part. If a loved one returned from the dead, how would you react? And it’s when asking this question that I find I did not much enjoy Emily’s mum. She seemed to just accept such a bizarre thing. She had a hey, he’s back, aren’t you happy? sort of attitude. That did not seem realistic to me at all.

The other thing I did not find believable was that the guard would open up to Edmund just like that. I mean, one can sympathize with someone who is locked up without having done anything, but I did not listen to anything that made me accept that the guy would basically throw away his job like that. I just don’t understand why he crossed that line, or why he would even begin to tell him about his daughter in the first place; telling Edmund not to worry about the car, about them being tracked, also seemed overly simplistic to me.

Alas, the focus of this short story is not whether Emily and Edmund will be together and live happily ever after; it’s about that initial shock and the first reactions. When Edmund returned, he went to work as if nothing had happened. You can imagine his co-workers were baffled.
Then we hear about Emily’s reaction and her mum’s and obviously the government also gets involved. I particularly appreciated hearing about how Emily and Edmund’s relationship started getting serious, it brought a more personal feeling to the story which made all the difference.

It is an enjoyable listen and you can find this 33 minute long story for free on Audible here.

Listened to on April 02, 2015
GR Review