Midnight Son by James Dommek Jr.

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

James Dommek, Jr., an Alaska Native writer and musician, sheds new light on a real-life mystery that pits Native American folklore against the US justice system. In the vast Alaskan Arctic, legend has it there once lived a mythic tribe—Iñukuns—that only existed in rumors and whispers. This changed forever when an actor-turned-fugitive, Teddy Kyle Smith, had an encounter that brought Iñukuns from myth to reality. Smith was an aspiring actor with a promising career until it all came quickly crashing down with a gunshot, a manhunt, bloodshed, and other frightful events.

The story of Smith’s tragic downfall has long haunted James Dommek, Jr., the great-grandson of the last of the Iñupiaq story-tellers. Midnight Son is his journey in discovering who Teddy Kyle Smith was, what he did, and what he really saw. Along the way, listeners will experience the soul of the real Alaska as narrator Dommek, Jr. brings this multilayered and sprawling tale to life.

Review –

Teddy Kyle Smith, a retired Marine, started appearing in movies as Alaska’s fledgling film industry was just taking off. But, right after his mother’s mysterious death in Kiana, Smith became the subject of a manhunt.

Smith fled into the wilderness, then shot two hunters at a remote cabin. What he said later brought to life local legends. It also initiated a legal dispute that, at its heart, questions the idea of a trial by one’s peers, if one’s peers do not understand or believe those stories, passed down through generations.

Midnight Son, which quickly become a best-seller for the audiobook service Audible, is narrated by Alaskan writer and musician James Dommek Jr.

Dommek, the great-grandson of Iñupiaq storytellers, says Teddy Smith’s story is really several stories woven together.

I thought this book would be a true crime thriller, but it is surprisingly more. I learned about Alaskan folklore, culture, and story telling in a non-traditional voice. The crime parts seemed secondary to the development of the narrator and that became of greater interest. I wouldn’t recommend to just anybody but it had my attention the whole time. It also gave a much better view of what it’s like to live in the bush than all the television  shows out there glamorizing living off the grid.

Interesting read.

 

 

A Boy Called Christmas(Christmas #1) by Matt Haig

Book Description:

Published: November 16, 2015

Format: Audio

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Review –

Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”, because he was born on Christmas Day,—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him.

But his mother has died, and his father, Joel is an impoverished woodcutter. Desperate for money, Joel joins a group of men on a quest to prove the existence of elves, leaving Nikolas with his ill-tempered aunt, Carlotta. Nikolas runs away to find his father, but trudging months through the woods, he faces starvation, freezing, and hopelessness. Then he comes across a reindeer with an arrow stuck in his leg. Nikolas helps him and names him Blitzen, and they continue their journey to the elf village together. Unfortunately, once located, the elves do not offer a warm welcome but instead lock Nikolas in the tower. It’s there that Nikolas discovers, with the help of a drimwick, or hope spell, that he’s become more than just the simple boy he used to be. 

In many ways it’s a coming of age story for Nikolas who has had a hard life and learns who he truly is and what the value of family and love really mean. It’s a story of unlikely friendships between a poor boy, a mouse, a reindeer named Blitzen and a village of downtrodden elves who are struggling to find their Christmas Spirit. But perhaps most importantly it’s a story about the unexpected and impossibility of life and the true meaning of Christmas and the Christmas Spirit. It’s heart warming and a fantastic read.

One feature I particularly loved about this book was the cameos made by well known Christmas figures (i.e. the reindeer etc) and the way we get little glimpses at how today’s much loved traditions came to be what they are. For example, How Father Christmas’ name came to be, where the idea for presents delivered by Santa came from and where the suit itself came from. This feature of the book actually made me take a step back and reevaluate everything I took for granted about Christmas and question it’s origins and it’s made this Christmas in turn all that much more special.

This book came into my possession over two years ago and I don’t know why I let it sit on the shelf for so long. I had the audio and narrator did a fantastic job, but I hear that the book has excellent illustrations and that it would make a great read-aloud.

 

 

 

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone – 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don’t know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.
Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher – a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death’s crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.
It’s a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it’s too late…before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

Review –

Five stars!

Wow, I didn’t know what to expect of this short listen (only two hours and eighteen minutes long) but it was fantastic. I loved the premise and more so the character of Tony, the Dispatcher. I wish the author would have made a series of this book, but alas, it is not.

If you enjoy sci-fi with a mystery story line thrown in, this is the book for you.

 

Unmasked, Volume Two (Unmasked #2) by Cassia Leo

Book Description:

Published: June 25, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

I left my former life – and my mask – behind.

Running from a past where I was born unloved. A past where I was betrayed by love.

Running from an organization with limitless power and stealth. Running for my life.

I never expected to find love on the run. Not in a tiny seaside town on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Not without my mask.

But it seems as if my sad story is being rewritten with someone else’s pen. But whose pen is it?

This question haunts me day and night. And I get my answer on a perfectly decadent evening. When I come home to find my bedroom perfumed with the scent of death.

He’s here.

Review –

Like the first book this one is all over the place and a little difficult to follow but hang in there, answers start to come when the book changes to Diamon’s point of view and  Alex’s world starts to turn upside down!

Alex is now going by the alias Alyssa, hiding out in the Canary Islands, trying to figure out her past. Diamon led her to believe she is the kidnapped daughter of the Princess of Monaco – so ridiculous, but could Diamon be telling the truth and she killed him anyway? Who exactly were her parents then? Now she has time to think and  isn’t one hundred percent sure she killed Diamon.

She is incredibly suspicious of everyone, especially Nicholas, the beautiful Spanish man who befriends Alex. I think since Alex was locked in her basement as a girl, then trapped in her apartment as a young woman, her senses are heightened. She can smell Diamon in her house and on her clothes and it turns her on completely! God knows Nicholas doesn’t do anything for her. Alex’s world will never be the same – her body is changing, she is out in the open without her thick mask of makeup, & her feelings about Diamon are torn – she called him “my protector & my enemy.”

I didn’t like this installment nearly as much as I did the first and wasn’t sure if I’d finish the series, but WTH, I might as well.

 

 

The Bone Farm (Jane Hawk #0.5) by Dean Koontz

Book Description:

Published: April 25, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

An audio original novella featuring bestselling author Dean Koontz’s compelling new heroine, Jane Hawk. From the case files of the former FBI agent before she became the nation’s most wanted fugitive – The Bone Farm details a desperate man-hunt for a serial killer before he murders again.

Katherine Haskell, a young college co-ed is on her way back to school, but she never makes it there. Instead, she becomes the latest prey of the rapist and murderer dubbed by the tabloids the “Mother Hater.” He is a twisted soul who kidnaps young girls for pleasure then discards them.

Katherine is missing, but she’s not yet dead. FBI agents Jane Hawk and her partner Gary Burkett must descend into the hell of this killer’s mind to solve the case before it is too late. The question is – will they both get out alive?

Review –

I have not read any of the Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz (one of my favorite authors), so this novella was the perfect choice to get to know the female protagonist.

This is a prequel to the Jane Hawk series. One does not need to read any of the Jane Hawk novels to understand the events in this short story. In this one, Jane and her partner are investigating a serial killer case where the killer is named the “Mother Hater”.

We get Jane in the present and we also get the past and see how the serial killer comes to be. I have always liked this kind of storytelling as it seems like it is two different stories. Plot held my interest even though it was a the predictable side and it is a quick listen.

The Bone Farm was a suspenseful and intriguing story filled with twists and turns and the narrator was quite good. Plot held my interest even though it was a the predictable side.

Cupcakes and Ink (Clipped Wings #0.5) by Helena Hunting

Book Description:

Published: February 3, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.

Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish façade.

But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.

Review –

Cupcakes and Ink is a very short (caught me off guard) introduction to the characters of the Clipped Wings series.

Here you’ll meet a smart and sensible heroine named Tenley who is looking for a fresh new start in Chicago. As she is waiting on starting her Masters degree and is in the process of settling down, she finds the tattoo artist across the street to be very attractive, yet she knows that she shouldn’t do anything to tempt him. He has danger written all over him.

Hayden is the kind of man who everybody wants a piece of. Sexy and smart, he possesses the lethal combination that will have reader’s swooning by the end of it. Though the author gives just a taste of his appeal, I’m sure in the full length book, readers will get an up close and personal sense of his steaminess.

Though this is listed as a prequel novella, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to read this before Clipped Wings,but it does give you a narrow look into their psyches and makeup.

I look forward to reading the others in the series.

 

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Book Description:

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Library Book

A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it’s too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As he talks about this plucky little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future.

Now, on a cold winter’s night, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer.

With humor and compassion, Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests in how we share that gift with others.

Review –

Indeed, at just sixty-five pages with illustrations, this book is short but every word counts and that’ll hit you square in the heart. Backman’s lady in grey is worthy of sympathy; his father-character is regretful and cynical, wearing his loss like a badge he never wanted, but he’s not as savvy as he thinks he is. When that becomes apparent to both reader and character, beware.

You may shed tears over this book. You may need to savor it a second time, to feel its words again. However you read it, The Deal of a Lifetime,is an experience you’ll never trade.

The only derogatory comment I have is that sometimes during the reading of this book I felt a disconnect and had to go back and re-read some passages.

Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck (Southern Eclectic #0.5) by Molly Harper

Book  Description:

Published: October 16, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Carl and Marianne were high school sweethearts, loving the way only teenagers can—with no thought to logic or pride, just a bone-headed, optimistic frenzy of unicorns and hormones. That was all they needed. Or so Carl thought.

Scared of being stuck in Lake Sackett, Georgia, like so many of her friends—without a real shot at a future or achieving her own dreams—Marianne panicked and bolted to college after stomping Carl’s heart into the high grass. But when she returns to Lake Sackett for the summer with her family after years away, she and Carl are drawn together like moths to a flame. As they rekindle their old romance and remember what it was like to be in love, they have to wonder: is this, finally, their real chance at happiness?

Perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert, this warmhearted and witty love story introduces Molly Harper’s new Southern Eclectic series set in the small town of Lake Sackett, Georgia.

Review –

I met these characters in Sweet Tea and Sympathy and this novella happens about ten years prior to that.

it is a short (a little over three hours on audio) and sweet Contemporary Romance about a woman returning home for the first time in a few years to spend the Summer with her family before heading off to Law School. t’s kind of perfect. It has Molly Harper’s trademark snark, it’s entertaining and it’s G Rated so you could give this book to your grandma without worrying too much.

Loved it and can’t wait to read more in this series.

Dirty Talk (Get Dirty #1) by Lauren Landish

Book Description:

Published: December 26, 2017

Format: E-Book

He makes dirty sound so good. So right.

The moment I heard his velvety voice growl that I’m his ‘Kitty Kat’, I knew I was in trouble.

Derrick ‘The Love Whisperer’ King gives out relationship and sex advice on the radio to everyone, but he’s giving me something a bit more personal. Nobody’s ever talked to me the way he does. Daring, Demanding, Sexy… and oh, so Dirty.

Maybe we started this whole thing a little backward, sex first and getting to know each other after. But I’m starting to let my guard down, my untrusting heart beginning to think that maybe fairy tales do come true. Even for me.

I feel beautiful and hopeful when he worships my body. I feel dirty and naughty when he whispers filthy things in my ear.

But is it real? Can something so naughty really be good for me?

And more importantly, against all odds, can it last… forever?

Dirty Talk is a full-length Romance with a happy ever after, no cheating, and no cliffhanger!

Review –

This was my first time to read anything by this author and I really loved the story and she writes sex scenes and sexy talk very well. The problem I had with that is the fact that there was way too much talking during sex scenes. Talk dirty. Hell, I love that. However, when you’re going on and on and on and using cheesy phrases that had me rolling my eyes when I should’ve been getting turned on, I have a problem. 

Now about the characters of  Katrina and Derrick. I loved Derrick from the first page until the last one. I loved the way he talked to his listeners during the radio program and I loved the care he gave to Katrina, knowing she was a bit fragile after her history with men. And if the way he treated Kat in bed is anything to go by, holy Hell!   If there’s ever a such thing as a perfect boyfriend/lover, it’s Derrick King. Katrina, I liked well enough, though I couldn’t quite reconcile the shy/nerdy girl who first called the radio program with the sexting/video sex chatting girl who came shortly after.

The entire story is about Katrina and her fear of love and Derrick trying to convince her that he’s the real deal. I loved the build up and Derrick was so amazing. What I didn’t like is not being forwarded that the e-book included added or bonus content. Dirty Talk ended at 40% on my Kindle and I though WTF! I didn’t read the bonus information because I was still in a fog from the book ending but I can always go back when I want.

Oh, and the cover – The cover is absolutely beautiful. While the author should’ve changed Kat’s description to match the cover model (Kat’s described as having honey blonde hair throughout the book), I wouldn’t change a thing about the stunning cover.

If you are a fan of a man talking DIRTY – then is one is for you. Derrick King can talk dirty to me any time!

 

 

 

Zoo 2 (Zoo #1.5) by James Patterson and Max DiLallo

Book Description:

Published: June 7, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Will the last humans on Earth please turn out the lights?

James Patterson’s ZOO was just the beginning. The planet is still under violent siege by ferocious animals. Humans are their desperate prey. Except some humans are evolving, mutating into a savage species that could save civilization-or end it.

Review –

Jackson Oz (the hero in Book One) starts in Arctic area (where he thought his family would be safer) with wife Chloe and son Eli then is called back into service to continue helping to find an end to murdering wild animals. 

Now this book is only 140 pages long but Oz travels to the following places and performs amazing feats in each one:

Paris drops off Chloe and Eli

London for a meeting

Bali to find why animal attacks are not happening

Johannesburg to find feral human.

Idaho to drop off feral human, Helen. Oz and gang are attacked by mustangs but one look at Helen and they flee.

Japan to find more feral humans.

Plane. Japanese scientist turns feral. Why? No clue. Does it happen due to their body shifting or can it be transmitted from human to human. No idea.

Middle of Pacific.

Back to Idaho where Chloe and Eli show up next. Oh plus Helen escapes. Of course Chloe and Eli have to be in trouble again.

Pearl Harbor for a phone call and trip to airport.

Salt Lake City Jackson Chloe, Eli together again.

Roadtrip to Vegas. Of course where else would you go to gamble on vaccine for feral humans.

Las Vegas of course where you find cure and city falls.

Deep underground with President.

Seriously a bad novel and highly unbearable . At one airport (I forget which one) Oz had to pay over $29,000 for a ticket.  Also an obssession to hit as many places as possible, maybe they threw darts at a global map to decided where to next send Oz and gang. I also have no clue what turns folks feral. It was never hinted at and I doubt there will be a Zoo 3 so we may never know.

Don’t waste your time with this one!