Review: Silent Symmetry (The Embodied Trilogy #1) by J.B. Dutton

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Title: Silent Symmetry
Author: J.B. Dutton
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 194
ISBN: 978-1484067468
Source: Author
Genre: YA Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Series: The Embodied Trilogy
Best Read in Order: yes
Stars: 4
Purchase Now:  Amazon § Barnes&Noble

About the Book:

The Embodied glide through the busy streets of New York, uttering barely a sound. Their eerie beauty comes from their perfect symmetry. Are they flawless humans, the epitome of evolution? Are they a genetically modified super-race? Are they extra-terrestrials? Once prep school student Kari Marriner becomes aware of their existence, she is driven to seek out the answer and finds herself ensnared in a web that reaches further than she could possibly have imagined.

Kari’s earliest memory is her father’s death in a car crash back in small-town Wisconsin. Now, 12 years later, her mother has been hired by a pseudo-religious organization in Manhattan called the Temple of Truth (a.k.a. the ToT). At Chelsea Prep, Kari develops a crush on classmate Cruz. But when she realizes that Noon, another attractive guy at school, is involved with the ToT, her curiosity gets the better of her.

Kari stumbles upon a secret tunnel leading from her apartment to another in the building, where an ancient book holds images she can scarcely believe, and a cavernous room contains… something inexplicable. As Kari pieces together the incredible evidence, she discovers that the ToT is run by other-worldly beings called The Embodied who influence human behavior and have established a global long-term human breeding program. But why? And what is her role in all this?

Just as she starts wondering whether the love she feels for Cruz is genuine or if her emotions are being controlled by The Embodied, her mother is kidnapped and Kari has to figure out who is human, who is Embodied, and who she can count on to help rescue her mother.

Book Review:

Kari and her mother move to New York City for a new prestigious position, after leaving her small Wisconsin town and memories of her father’s accident there behind. For a teenaged protagonist, Kari was easy to relate to and care for: her sad past and her eagerness to find the new life, opportunities and possible love interests for her mother were endearing. As with many things, nothing is ever quite what it seems, and that also relates to the wonderful opportunities: scholarship to a prestigious high school, the beautiful people and the ease with which they seem to incorporate a major metropolis into their lives without great distress.

As Kari starts to feel seeds of unease, the questions start to arrive in a fast and furious manner: although the answers are far less apparent. Just what is the ToT and just how much influence it has on this world, and on the live of the people who work for them is a slow-developing reveal, mixed in this smoothly paced story that demands you read on.

I will be the first to admit that Kari is often far more mature in her approach, speech, thinking and behavior than one would expect, or want to see in a high school teen. However, when you take into account her life experience and her only child status, it did fit her well, even as it may be problematic for some readers. Aside from that and my wishing that there was more of an explanation and solidity built to give more substance to the characters of the Embodied, I did enjoy this read. I think that many YA fans would appreciate this story, and be ready to read the second book in the trilogy when it comes available.

I received an eBook from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:

After graduating from film school in London, I emigrated to Montreal in 1987, where I still live with my two young children and their even younger goldfish. I spent over a decade as a music TV director before moving into the advertising industry as an award-winning copywriter and translator. In parallel to my corporate work, I’ve written novels, short stories, blogs, screenplays and a stage play. I also write Young Adult and Children’s fiction under the name J.B. Dutton.

Website § @johnbdutton

Review Unprotected Sax by Tony McFadden

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Title:  Unprotected Sax
Author:  Tony McFadden
Contributor: Charles McFadden
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher:  Self-Published
Pages: 372
ISBN: 978-1481073783
Source: Author
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
Stars: 4
Purchase Now:  Amazon  § Barnes&Noble § BooksAMillion

About the Book:
Playing sax in his friend’s jazz band was supposed to be relaxing.

Then his friend disappeared.

Johnny Delacourte, (aka JD, Johnny D, The Sax Machine and a few choice others) left the Army Rangers and the battlefields of Afghanistan six months ago. He reconnected with friends in Miami, dusted off his saxophone and started learning how to relax again. With his best friend on drums and a delightlful vocalist in front of him, life was settling into a comfortable pattern.

Then the friend disappears, the cops don’t seem to care and the Russian mob is all over his ass.

Miami was always hot in August. It just got hotter.

Book Review:

This book was a fun romp with a feel of a Where’s Waldo illustration; only we are trying to find Paul – before everyone else does, to his detriment. Add in the art-deco and slightly decadent feel of Miami, the steam of the Everglades, a jazz trio and a series of unfortunate events and you are starting to crack open the joys within.

What makes this so different is that we know who committed the murder: all of the story’s tension hang on the witness and drummer Paul, his disappearance and whether he will be found, alive, to testify. Diving right in with several point of view changes narrated by different characters does make for a tricky start, but then the pacing settled with some deliciously clever sidelines that allow for time to breathe and just enjoy the world that McFadden is building.

With so many characters, there were some gaps in their development: but the main players in the story (the band) and one slightly depraved and crooked cop are defined fairly clearly and solidly. Dialogue in this book is both fast paced and well written, with an eye to sarcasm and some humor it often served to help define a sense of the characters. While I found some issues, this story was unique and the climax was a slow build to a satisfying ending that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Author:

Tony McFadden is a transplanted Canadian living in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, Australia.Currently working on #8, an as yet to be titled sci-fi/pseudo paranormal thriller, he has just published “Unprotected Sax”, in the same universe as “Book ‘Em” and “Family Matters”, adding to his portfolio of “Daly Battles: The Fall of Pyongyang”, “Matt’s War”, “G’Day L.A.” and “G’Day USA”.

Website  § @tony_mcfadden

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AudioBook Review: Passion at Dawn: Bytes of Life # 4 by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

616vyF+LIUL._SS500_Title: Passion at Dawn
Series: Countermeasure: Bytes of Life # 4
Author: Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Publisher: Eire Publishing
ISBN:  978-0988111295
Formats:  eBook and AudioBook
Pages:  52
Length:  1 Hour; 34 minutes
Buy Audio Book:  Audible § iTunes § Amazon
Where to buy: Countermeasure All Links
Stars :  5 Overall  5 Narration  5 Story

WARNING: Contains scenes of mature subject matter, graphic situations and language. Reader discretion is advised.

In the fourth Countermeasure: Byte of Life, Trevor and Cassandra Bauer have settled into married life after facing the bumpy road to the altar. While Cassandra looks for ways to spice up their love life, Trevor questions his efficacy as a husband. His insecurities are compounded by the constant threat of Nathan Nelson, her old friend and past lover, who can’t accept their marriage as final. A brand new marriage, personal uncertainties, and a good dose of alpha geek jealousy make for a volatile mix. When a phone call spurs him to lay claim to what is his and give Cassandra the fantasies she craves, Trevor reacts like any hot blooded man would. The result is a steamy room, slippery bodies, and Passion at Dawn.

Countermeasure: Bytes of Life is a tie-in series to the Countermeasure Series novels. This new series of shorts gives the readers glimpses into the day-to-day life of the  characters.

The main novels in the Countermeasure Series are action-packed plot-driven stories, while the short stories in the Bytes of Life Series are character-driven and a way to develop the characters as the main series moves forward. Please be advised that ALL short stories in this series contain EROTIC material. They are NOT recommended for younger audience. Although some of the events that take place in the short stories might be referenced in the novels and vice-versa, the short stories are not compulsory for the understanding of the series. They enhance the experience.

AudioBook Review:

One of the fun things with reviewing is the occasional opportunity to revisit a title that I have read previously, and get a whole new perspective on the work. This is one of the short additional content novellas that provide further character insight to readers of the Countermeasure series: a series that is part action, part mystery and part romance and follows the former NSA computer geek Trevor and his new wife and ex CIA operative Cassandra.

In this short, a snapshot of their lives when they are not working a case is the focus, and we see just how fragile an ego can be. What is reinforced for the reader is their relatively short acquaintance, and the fact that they have much to learn about one another, like any other couple. Throughout this series, we don’t often see the insecurities and fears: and Trevor’s are on full display in jealous reactions, somber moments and an unusual snappiness with his father in law.

Narration in this short is provided by Tim Gerard Reynolds, and his smooth delivery with subtle changes in pitch and tone, a slight deepening of the Irish in his accent and his vivid and accurate inflections that depict emotional turmoil, tension and gasping need are nothing short of perfect for this story.

Again, for readers of the Countermeasure series, these shorts are nice interludes to give us more of what we want: Cassie and Trevor. And, even more than we would expect, and no one will walk away from this short story without a small shiver of excitement and anticipation when seeing a can of whipped cream on a refrigerator shelf. Yes, there are several scenes that increase the eroticism of these stories, but these are not simply voyeuristic entertainment: the connection and obvious love between them shines through.

I received an AudioBook version of the book for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

About the Authors

Writing had touched Chris Almeida’s and Cecilia Aubrey’s lives in different ways through the years but had never taken flight. It was in 2010, when Chris and Cecilia met and began role-playing online as a hobby, that writing placed itself front and center in their lives.

Chris and Cecilia have since chosen to release all their titles independently. They have several short stories and two novels published under their own label, Éire Publishing, and are vocal supporters of independent publishing done right. They are currently working on the third novel in their series. Through all the chaos and laughter, they still hold true to their roots, bringing their favorite role-play characters and stories to life.

You can find out more about them on their author and series websites:

Where to follow:

Website  Φ  Series Website  Φ  Series at Facebook  Φ  Facebook Group Φ Author Page

Individual Links to Facebook:   Chris  Φ  Cecilia 

Twitter: Chris  Φ  Cecilia  Φ  Combined 

Goodreads:  Cecilia  Φ  Chris

AudioBook Review: Cuffed at Midnight: Bytes of Life #3 by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey

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Title: Cuffed at Midnight
Series: Countermeasure: Bytes of Life # 3
Author: Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Publisher: Eire Publishing
ISBN:  978-0987921758
Formats:  eBook and AudioBook
Pages:  27
Length:  46 Minutes
Buy Audio Book:  Audible § iTunes § Amazon
Where to buy: Countermeasure All Links
Stars :  5 Overall  5 Narration  5 Story

WARNING: Contains scenes of mature subject matter, graphic situations and language. Reader discretion is advised.

In the third short story in the COUNTERMEASURE: Bytes of Life series, Trevor and Cassandra Bauer’s romance continues to burn even after a near death, their wedding, working cases for the NSA, and their own personal investigation into the disappearance of Trevor’s parents.

Trevor’s birthday is on the horizon and Cassandra is beating her head against the keyboard trying to find the right gift. Inspiration finally hits in the form of a house-warming gift from a friend. Little does Trevor know what surprise awaits him at the stroke of midnight….

Countermeasure: Bytes of Life is a tie-in series to the Countermeasure Series novels. This new series of shorts gives the readers glimpses into the day-to-day life of the  characters.

The main novels in the Countermeasure Series are action-packed plot-driven stories, while the short stories in the Bytes of Life Series are character-driven and a way to develop the characters as the main series moves forward. Please be advised that ALL short stories in this series contain EROTIC material. They are NOT recommended for younger audience. Although some of the events that take place in the short stories might be referenced in the novels and vice-versa, the short stories are not compulsory for the understanding of the series. They enhance the experience.

AudioBook Review:

I adore these vignettes that focus on the quiet moments of life for Cassie and Trevor, and Cuffed at Midnight is one that starts with a simple moment of panic in their lives together: Trevor’s birthday and just what to give him for a present.

Almeida and Aubrey have created the couple that you want to know, or want to be: their humor, their obvious affection for one another, and one of the most interesting gifting scenes that I have ever encountered. But being awakened, handcuffed to the bed just after midnight is the least of Trevor’s concerns, and fills fantasies that he never knew he had.

Narration is again provided by Tim Gerard Reynolds, and the pairing of his voice and the author’s text is perfectly harmonious. Reynolds has a voice that carries a whisper of Ireland in his speech that is more pronounced in Trevor’s speech, and reined back for Cassie’s voicing. Without great changes to tone or pitch, he manages to convey each character with a distinct patois and pacing that suits character and words.

Again this is another winner for fans of the Countermeasure series, these little bytes give both insight and enjoyment as we see more of the characters in their ‘off hours’. The affection that Cassie and Trevor share for one another is viscerally impacting, even more arresting and intriguing than the sex, as their emotional attachment and need for one another is displayed with raw imagery for the reader.

I was provided an audiobook copy from the authors for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Authors

Writing had touched Chris Almeida’s and Cecilia Aubrey’s lives in different ways through the years but had never taken flight. It was in 2010, when Chris and Cecilia met and began role-playing online as a hobby, that writing placed itself front and center in their lives.

Chris and Cecilia have since chosen to release all their titles independently. They have several short stories and two novels published under their own label, Éire Publishing, and are vocal supporters of independent publishing done right. They are currently working on the third novel in their series. Through all the chaos and laughter, they still hold true to their roots, bringing their favorite role-play characters and stories to life.

You can find out more about them on their author and series websites:

Where to follow:

Website  Φ  Series Website  Φ  Series at Facebook  Φ  Facebook Group Φ Author Page

Individual Links to Facebook:   Chris  Φ  Cecilia 

Twitter: Chris  Φ  Cecilia  Φ  Combined 

Goodreads:  Cecilia  Φ  Chris

AudioBookReview: Jason, The Single Daddy Club # 2 by Donna Fasano

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Title: Jason
Author: Donna Fasano
Narrator:  Laura Jennings
Format: eBook and AudioBook
Publisher: Hard Knock Books
Pages: 187
Length
ISBN: B00AN75O60
Source: Author
Genre: Romance – Contemporary
Series: The Single Daddy Club, Book 2
Best Read in Order: Not Required
Stars:  Overall 5  Narration 5  Story 5
Purchase Now: Amazon§ Barnes & Noble §  Kobo § iTunes § Audible

Get the Single Daddy Club 3 book Set:  Amazon §  Barnes & Noble § Kobo § iTunes

About the Book:

Desperate Daddy:
Widowed police officer Jason Devlin. Taking care of his baby girl was usually a piece of cake – until his housekeeper quit, leaving Jason desperate enough to hire the first qualified person who rang his doorbell.

Damsel in Destress:
Runaway heiress Katie Smythe. The pampered debutante was about to take on her greatest challenge—her first job…as a nanny.

Doorstep Deal:
Jason was thanking his lucky stars that Katie had shown up at his house. She was the perfect nanny for his little girl—and beautiful beyond belief, leading Jason to rethink his single status. But just wait until he discovered who this nick-of-time nanny really was!

Book Review:

I have read and reviewed this book in traditional form, and coming back to it a second time in AudioBook form was a real treat.  Jason is a widowed single father, juggling his guilt, his job and his daughter, Gina, fairly competently until his housekeeper quits without notice.

Jason is not perfect, but he is trying to appease his in-laws, perhaps allowing them more say in his decisions than would be normal if his wife were still alive.  When Katie appears at his door, instantly he is attracted but more importantly his daughter is interacting with her as well.  Katie instantly is able to manage the little girl, and she is willing to do housework as well.

The two slip easily into a schedule and routine, Jason finds himself looking forward to coming home to Katie and his daughter: and Katie has a much needed reprieve from her society life, commitments and unwanted push toward marrying a man she doesn’t love.  With her quiet and competent manner, all is well until Jason’s mother-in-law resorts to drastic measures to run Katie off.  His mother in law’s fears and anger over the loss of her daughter, and her continual interference in Jason’s life are easy to Katie to see, and she pities rather than is angry with the woman.

Laura Jennings narrating a Donna Fasano story is perfect casting. Her voice is clear and diction is precise, with small modulations in tone and tempo that delineate characters without undue distraction.  There is a softness in her delivery that lends itself to the presentation of the sweeter and gentle romances that Fasano writes, and there are moments when her enjoyment of the text is apparent in the smile you can hear in her voice.

And Fasano has written a story that will make you smile: her characters are honestly realistic with failures and foibles, their pain and hesitations are apparent, and their relationships grow comfortably.  Additionally Jason and his two cohorts, Derrick and Reece all meet for some “Dad bonding” time, often with hilarious results. Each relationship is portrayed and developed with care and the stories are certain to leave you with a smile.

I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

See My review of Derrick: Single Daddy Club # 1 Here
See my review of the ‘written’ version of Jason: Single Daddy Club # 2  Here

About the Author:
Donna Fasano is a three time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and photo(80)a Golden Heart finalist. Her books have sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly two dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #17.

What others are saying about Donna’s books:
“…complex, funny, and realistic…” ~Wilmington News Journal

“Excellent!” ~Bookreview.com

“Could not help myself from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them. Donna Fasano is a talented author.” ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon

“…a fast paced riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!”
~Donna Zapf, SingleTitles.com

Follow Donna Fasano at Website § Facebook § @DonnaFaz § GoodReads § Pinterest