Audiobook Review – The 6th Extinction by James Rollins

The 6th Extinction
by James Rollins

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Sigma Force #10
Genre: Thriller
Audiobook read by Christian Baskous
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars for the story, 2.5 out of 5 stars for the narration!!)

I just finished this audiobook, and while I love James Rollins and the Sigma Force series, I did not care for this narrator. His voices and accents were strange, and he does not pronounce some words the way I would pronounce them. He also made some of the dialog seem stilted and unnatural. Having read all of the previous Sigma Force books in print, I’m sure it wasn’t written that way!

Narration aside, I still enjoyed the story and the exotic locations – the story takes place across the globe from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, to the remote tepuis of Brazil, and all the way to Antarctica. It was a very fast-paced thriller, with less investigation and more “diving-right-in-and-doing” than some of the other books in this series. The returning characters from previous novels were a nice surprise, but I won’t names in case you are a fan of the series and haven’t read this one yet. Jenna, Nikko, and Drake were nice additions to the team, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them pop up again in future volumes. I do wish that Seichan had a bigger part in this one though.

As always with James Rollins’s books, be sure to read / listen to the Notes to the Reader at the end of the novel. He always explains what out of the book is science, and what is fiction. In this novel particularly, that is the scariest part of all.

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What are you reading Wednesday – 5/13/15

What are you reading Wednesday – 5/13/15

whatareyoureadingwed

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Its A Reading Thing. Be sure to stop by and visit them! To participate, just answer these three questions about what you are reading this Wednesday. If you have a blog, feel free to leave a link to your post, or just leave your answers in the comments below.

The Questions are:
1. What’s the name of your current read?

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share one complete sentence.

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

My Answers this week:
1. Eden at the Edge of Midnight by John Kerry
Eden at the Edge of Midnight

2. She’d seen nothing to indicate that there was life on this jungle planet, so she took a break at an outcrop of rocks that loosley resembled the Sydney Opera House.

3. That would depend….the story goes back and forth between modern day England and another world. England, yes. The other world, I don’t think so! 🙂

Forsaken by J.D. Barker

Forsaken
by J. D. Barker

Forsaken (Shadow Cove Saga, #1)

Genre: Horror
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Book 1 of The Shadow Cove Saga

Forsaken is a book partially based on characters and events from the Salem witch trials. Some of these events find their way into the latest novel by best-selling novelist Thad McAlister.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the witch trials of centuries past, an evil awakens.

Inspired by Actual Events
Excerpt from the Journal of Clayton Stone – 1692
She was examined today without torture at Shadow Cove township on the charge of witchcraft. She said she was wholly innocent of the crime and has never in life renounced God. I watched as they brought her out. A poor, sickly thing, worn by her time behind the walls of her prison. Her bared feet and hands bound in leather, her clothing tattered to that of ruin. Despite such condition, her head was held high, her eyes meeting those of her accusers. She still refuses to provide her name so we remain unable to search baptismal records, nor has her family stepped forward to claim her as their own. We have no reason to believe she is anything but an orphaned child. I find myself unable to look at her directly in the moments preceding her trial. She is watching me though; with eyes of the deepest blue, she is watching me.

Thad McAlister, Rise of the Witch

When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft. (read more

Throughout the story, the author allows you glimpses into the past via excerpts from Clayton Stone’s journal, showing you important events that happened in 1692. These journal entries give you just enough information to keep you guessing and add to the suspense when you are reading about the present. There were some good twists and a nice salute to Stephen King (one of my favorites) that made this even more fun to read. This was a great stay-up-all-night-reading type of spooky story, and I recommend this book to any fans of horror novels, witches, or things that go bump in the night. I will also be on the lookout for book #2 of the Shadow Cove Saga, to find out what happens to Ashley and Rachael!

Visit J.D. Barker’s webpage

Purchase Forsaken at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Short Story – Second Chance

Thought I’d post of a few of the things I’ve been working on now and then, and I’d love any feedback you might like to share!

This first piece is a short-short story I wrote for an online competition. It feels a little rushed, but I was limited to 750 words (harder than it sounded!).

Here was the prompt: Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, that begins with the following line of dialogue: “If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

And here’s my story. Hope you enjoy it.

Second Chance by Erika Kehlet

“If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

The voice seemed to originate inside my head. I couldn’t even see a face underneath the hood of the figure before me.

“Who are you?”, I asked. “I don’t know that I want to guess what might be in your pocket.”

“Guess.”, came the voice again.

I looked around. The room we were in was round, and its gray walls were bare save for two doors, one white and one black, which stood opposite each other. I had already tried them both and knew that they were locked. The only light was what emanated from around each door. The floor was hidden beneath a carpet of fog, and there was a small round table in the center of the room. I couldn’t remember how I got here, and I didn’t know how to get out.

“Where are we?”, I asked the figure. “How did I get here? I don’t remember coming in. I remember leaving my office. I was going across the street to meet a friend for coffee. I don’t remember what happened next!” There was no answer. “Who are you? Why the cloak? Why don’t you want me to see your face?”

The figure remained silent and motionless. I wanted to shake him, to make him answer me, but I was afraid to move any closer. I sighed. There didn’t seem to be anything else I could do.

“Ok,” I said, “I’ll play along.”

“Guess what I have in my pocket.”, the voice in my head repeated.

“I don’t know what you have in your pocket,” I said. “Is it a coin?”

“Guess again.”, came the voice.

“Is it a phone?”, I tried hopefully. Mine had no reception here.

“Guess again.”

“How am I supposed to guess what you have in your pocket?” I shouted at the hooded figure. “I don’t know what you have in there, but I wish it was a key, so I could open a door and get out of here. Is it a key?”

The figure reached one hand inside the cloak and brought out a small rusty key. He laid it on the table in front of me. “Which door does it open?”, I whispered, wanting to reach for the key but afraid he would take it back and leave me trapped here.

I heard the voice speak one last word, and then my companion simply faded away. “Choose.”, it said, and I was alone.

I snatched up the key and hurried to the white door. It fit in the lock. I could open this door, but what would I find on the other side? Would it be better than where I was now? There was bright light coming into this room from the small gap around the door. I tried to see through but the space was too small, so I pressed my ear up to the door. It felt warm against my face. I could hear a faint humming coming from the other side. It was soothing, and familiar. My heartbeat slowed to its normal rate, and I felt calm for the first time since finding myself in this room. I felt fresh air coming in around the door along with the light. It smelled of lavender, roses, and fresh baked bread. I closed my eyes and inhaled, and then I was five again, running into the warm kitchen with a scraped knee, only to have my mother wrap her comforting arms around me and make everything alright. I felt safe, and started to turn the key. Then I hesitated. I had to choose, and might not get a second chance. I had to check the other door. I pulled myself away and crossed the room.

The key fit the lock of the black door as well. This door was cool to the touch. I smelled oil, rubber, and exhaust fumes coming in from the other side, and I didn’t need to press my ear against the door to hear the noise. I heard horns honking, whistles blowing, and a siren in the distance. I heard what sounded like people running. There was shouting, but I couldn’t make out the words. Then there came a woman’s sob, another shout, someone calling my name. I glanced across at the white door one last time, turned the key in the lock, and slipped through the door.

Review – The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

The Dead Lands
by Benjamin Percy
The Dead Lands

***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Genre: Horror / SciFi / Fantasy
My Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)

The Dead Lands is at its core a story of survival in the face of apparently insurmountable obstacles – survival not just of a few individuals, but of humanity itself.

Synopsis From Goodreads:
In Benjamin Percy’s new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.  (read more)

The story starts out in Sanctuary, and then hops back and forth between there and the group of escapees who have set off in the hopes of discovering something better. Each member of the scouting party has his or her own personal reason for fleeing Sanctuary. For some, the struggle with their decision to leave causes them almost as much grief as the monsters, inhospitable climates, and other people they meet along the way.

This book had both the horror-road-trip feel of The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and the find-other-survivors-and-keep-the-human-race-going vibe of The Passage, by Justin Cronin. (Both of which I highly recommend if you have not already read them!) It was a suspenseful, thought-provoking tale and I really enjoyed it.

I do think that the way the story wrapped up, there might be a possibility of a little more Lewis and Clark (not to mention Gawea) in the future. I’m not sure that’s what the author was getting at, but I can hope….

Visit Benjamin’s Percy’s website
Connect with Benjamin Percy on Facebook

Purchase from Amazon
Purchase from Barnes and Noble

What Are You Reading Wednesday 5/6/15

What are you reading Wednesday – 5/6/15

whatareyoureadingwed

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Its A Reading Thing. Just answer three little questions about what you are reading this Wednesday, then head on over to their blog to add a link to your own post, or leave your answers in the comments below.

The Questions are:
1. What’s the name of your current read?

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share one complete sentence.

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

My Answers this week:

1. I’m currently reading The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy
The Dead Lands

2. If Lewis was the type to share, the type who offloaded all his aches and worries and displeasures onto others, then he might complain about the dreams that bother him nightly.

3. I would most definitely not like to like in this fictional future. The world has been devastated by an outbreak of a deadly flu virus, and the survivors are few and far between, scattered into small communities across the USA. Technology is nearly non-existent, and the climate is extreme. Life here is hard, uncomfortable, and dangerous.

Can’t wait to hear what everyone else is reading today!