Audiobook Review: The Culling by Ramona Finn

20 Jul



Author: Ramona Finn

Narrator: Stacey Glemboski

Length: 8 hours 39 minutes

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Released: Mar. 21, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction




In a solar system where The Authority decides who lives and who dies, only one of their own executioners can stop them.

Glade Io is a trained killer. Marked at a young age as an individual with violent tendencies, she was taken from her family and groomed to be a Datapoint—a biotech-enabled analyst who carries out the Culling. She is designed to identify and destroy any potential humans that threaten the colonies: those marked as lawbreakers, unproductive or sick. But when she’s kidnapped by rogue colonists known as the Ferrymen, everything Glade thinks she knows about the colonies, and The Authority that runs them, collapses into doubt.

Pulled between two opposing sides, and with her family’s lives hanging in the balance, Glade is unsure of who to trust—and time is running out.




Ramona Finn writes about courageous characters who fight to live in broken, dystopian worlds. She believes a person’s true characters is often revealed in times of crisis, and there is no greater crisis than the worlds that she drops her characters into!

She grew up sitting cross-legged on her town’s library floor–completely engrossed in science fiction books. It was always the futuristic world or the universe-on-the-brink-of-extinction plotlines that drew her in, but it was the brave characters who chose to fight back that kept her turning the pages.

Her books create deep, intricate worlds with bold characters determined to fight for their survival in their dystopian worlds–with a little help from their friends. And, of course, romance is never out of the question ;).




Narrator Bio

Stacey is an accomplished audiobook narrator and voice actor who has recorded books for many best-selling authors. Many of her favorite books have been for kids and teens, but all genres of narration appeal to her. For Stacey, narration is about having fun breathing life into characters and getting as lost as possible in the story she’s telling. Outside the studio, Stacey is an avid tennis player and fitness enthusiast. She enjoys dog walks, paddle boarding, and most any outdoor activities.





I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Ramona Finn. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

The Culling is about a terrible future not just for Earth but for the entire solar system. The Authority has taken over and it is their practice to rid the solar system of those who have violent tendencies through what they call culling. They have teenagers called Datapoints who have been synced to their database and they are trained to do the actual culling.

Glade Io is special and the Authority expects more out of her than anyone else. Unfortunately, she’s beginning to question some things. She doesn’t understand why she’s not allowed to get into the Database to see how things work. This and her independence tend to get her into trouble and she knows that she could die if she’s not careful.

Glade’s character is well-developed and I could feel the conflict within her especially when she was told her sisters would become Datapoints. The rest of the characters are interesting, some evil, some fun. 

The narrator does a good job at timing as well as differentiating between the different characters.

The Culling is definitely a book you don’t want to miss if you like young adult fiction. The way it ends though will make you want to read the second book right away!






Jul. 15th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

T’s Stuff

In Pattis Imagination

Jul. 16th:

Buried Under Books

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Jul. 17th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Jul. 18th:

Book Addict

Jul. 19th:

Adventures Thru Wonderland

Jul. 20th:


Bound 4 Escape

Jul. 21st:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Smada’s Book Smack

Sefina Hawke’s Books



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A Story is Like a House…

17 Jul


Book Review & Giveaway: Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux

16 Jul

Book Title: Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux
Category: Adult Fiction; 304 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Publisher: Ezekiel 12 Publications
Release date: March 11, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There are implied sex scenes but no graphic descriptions of lovemaking. There is one scene with some violence.)


Book Description

Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago.

To add to his frustrations, his hopes of a big breakthrough in the San Diego real estate market haven’t come to pass. He’s starting to wonder if his visions of success will ever come true when an investor offers to finance his dream project. Soon things start to fall into place for Andrew in business, life, and even love. He starts dating the beautiful and business-savvy Nicole but even with her at his side he can’t seem to shake the ghosts of his past. As the relationship with Nicole deepens, Andrew opens up to her about the many loves and adventures that have taken him from the crazy days of living in Big Sur and Joshua Tree to business success in San Diego. Her wise insights help him face the character flaws that have caused him to fail in his past relationships.

Rounding out his social life is his once-a-week task of assisting his sister with her nanny job watching a young boy named Chandler. They build sand castles on the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature together. But the now ominous weekly appearance of a strange car at the beach has awakened Andrew’s fears. Is the boy in danger? Or worse, has an enemy from Andrew’s past come seeking revenge and now Chandler’s caught in the middle?

A strange twist of events threatens to destroy Andrew’s dreams, but as he searches for answers, a sudden revelation offers hope of a future he never imagined.

To follow the tour and read reviews, please visit R.D. Maddux’s page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Andrew Foster is a complicated character. I wanted to like him and he has some good characteristics but when he was young he was self-centered and even cruel at times. Now that he’s older, he realizes that he made some mistakes but he doesn’t really seem to regret those mistakes. He believes he may finally have a chance to make enough money to be well off and not have to worry about paying the bills that he’s never been able to keep up with. He’s also met a woman and after all of his failed relationships, he may have learned enough to make this one work. He’s never had children, but his sister is a nanny for a young boy who comes to think of Andrew as a good friend. Everything seems to be coming together…

I knew that some twist had to be coming as I read but I had to keep reading to find out exactly what it was. I guessed a couple of the twists but not all of them. Boy on the Beach kept my attention most of the time. Sometimes Andrew’s thoughts and feelings were a bit repetitive. I think it would be much better with a good edit, not only because of the repetition but there were quite a few punctuation mistakes.






Meet the Author

R.D. Maddux has story telling in his blood. Since he was young he’s always loved a good tale. He’s been writing seriously since he was in high school and college. His novels range from Mystery and Intrigue to Sci-fi/fantasy. With Boy On The Beach he’s set the story in modern America, to be exact, on the West Coast of California. He’s a native of the golden state and has been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that he grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state.


Living in California for over 60 years he couldn’t help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world. So even though Boy On The Beach is fiction, like most serious novels, it is not without a context and comment on issues we all face in our changing world. It takes place in real locations that are very familiar to him and its characters, which are fictional, no doubt have their counterparts in the real world. Boy On The Beach is a story of intrigue, suspense, revenge, love and redemption with flashbacks to the era when sex, drugs and rock and roll set our culture on it’s inevitable journey to our present day. This idea has been rattling around in his heart and mind for a decade and it’s finally coming to the page.


Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!

Ends Aug 25, 2018

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15 Jul


There are no foreign lands

14 Jul


Forgotten Love

13 Jul


Book Review: The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

13 Jul

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.
For the sea was a fair master.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a mixture of stories that range from predictable to horrifying. I’d read one story and know how it was going to end. Then the next story I’d think, “I can’t believe that happened!” There are also love stories and tales of murder. My favorite story was about an android that has almost found a way to feel like humans do. Another one, Letting the Dead Grow, will stay with me for a while. It amazes me how Calvin Demmer can make the reader feel so much in so few words. I look forward to reading more of his work.

I read this book in one sitting but it would be a good one to have around when you just a few minutes to read here and there. I definitely recommend The Sea Was a Fair Master.  It’s a memorable book of short stories and if you like multiple genres, especially horror, you’ll enjoy it.



About the Author

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.





There is Nothing You Can Do

12 Jul


Audiobook Review: Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? by Celine Rose Mariotti

12 Jul

AUTHOR: Celine Rose Mariotti
NARRATOR: Victoria Phelps



Bobby MacAllister and Noel Simpson are cousins, who visit their Uncle Eb in Maine for the summer. There they embark on an adventure to discover the story of their ancestors and the secrets of the ghost, Olivia, who stays in the house. Together, with family friends and partners from the town, they uncover the truth of a long lost love story. 

Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? is a fun fiction chapter book for children aged 7 to 10. Will you be inspired to learn about your ancestors’ past like Bobby and Noel? 


Available on Amazon.




My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Bobby and Olivia are cousins who are visiting Uncle Eb for the summer. The house he lives in has been in the family for many years. When they meet the ghost Olivia, they’re intrigued rather than scared. They decide to learn more about her then decide that they want to help her. Will they succeed in helping Olivia to move on? What secrets will be revealed? How many more ghosts are in the old house?

Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? is a good ghost story for children to listen to or read. Even though ghosts are involved, they’re nice ghosts, so it’s not a story that will keep children up at night. There’s also part of the story that touches on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War era. 

The narrator did a good job with pace and timing. There were a few times when she didn’t change voices. For example, once when a grownup was talking, the voice didn’t change when Bobby started talking.

I recommend Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? for children who enjoy stories that are mysteries or are about ghosts.




Guest Post: The Spark by James Vella-Bardon, author of The Sheriff’s Catch

11 Jul



Inspiration, it’s a curious thing. I’m often asked what inspired me to lock myself away for nine years and complete a five-novel series set in Tudor (well, almost) Ireland, called The Sassana Stone Pentalogy. I can still remember the day I stepped into the now defunct Bridgepoint Books, a second-hand bookstore at the Bridgepoint Shopping Centre in the absolutely beautiful Sydney suburb of Mosman.

I was a recently landed immigrant back in ’08, having moved to Sydney from Malta, and becoming increasingly absorbed by the sixteenth century, which the French call ‘Le Grand Siècle’, the great century. These were the days when Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ had hit the literary world like a sledgehammer. I was trying to read everything about the period that I could lay my hands on, when in the corner of my eye I noticed a curious little book called ‘Ireland: The Graveyard Of The Spanish Armada’ by Irish journalist T.P. Kilfeather.

Ireland? Spanish Armada? This was news to me. What on earth did Ireland have to do with the Spanish Armada? I opened up the curious little book, and was taken aback to discover that in 1588, the ships of the Spanish Armada chose to round Scotland and Ireland to head back home, in order to avoid being cut to pieces by Dutch pirates who were allied to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Terrible storms plagued the Armada on what was in truth a familiar and well-worn homeward tack, so that many of its ships were wrecked upon the coasts of Scotland and Ireland.

The western Irish coast was increasingly falling under the sway of the English crown back then. Which is why the Spanish Commanders expressly prohibited Armada crew members from attempting landings upon the Irish coast, despite the fact that they were plagued by storms, heavily leaking ships, thirst, hunger and disease, amongst others. But you don’t have much of a choice when you’re shipwrecked upon the Irish coast by a squall, do you? Yet not in vain did the Spanish Commanders warn against any landings in Ireland, for no sooner did the first Armada castaways land upon the beaches, that a chilling order was instantly issued to all English garrisons by Queen Elizabeth I’s Viceroy in Dublin:

“Execute all Spaniards, of what quality soever. Torture may be used.”

Upon receiving the order, scores of troopers were immediately despatched towards the beaches, to slay or capture all of the shipwrecked Spaniards who came into their power. And yet, I found myself also reading the accounts of Spanish survivors in Kilfeather’s book. Survivors? How could anyone have survived such treacherous odds, when the very fact that you were an Armada castaway meant you were a dead man walking?

I was near breathless as I devoured the pages which I held in my hands, which were almost shaking as I read through the hair-raising and horrifying accounts of strangers in a strange land, hunted like chattel by a merciless enemy. This stuff was almost as good as Mel Gibson’s epic drama ‘Apocalypto’, not to mention Charriere’s ‘Papillon’! Hold on – this was even better! Why don’t more authors write thrillers like this? And how curious was it that the Spaniards, having long persecuted the length and breath of the known world, suddenly found themselves persecuted in turn? As I read on and on, I felt like I was on some crazy rollercoaster ride, except that the events recounted were based on real human history!

The questions instantly resounded through my head: how was it that this story had never been dramatized before? Why had I never heard of this incredible episode? And how amazing was it, that the Armada landings caused a dramatic and violent juncture between the Spanish counter-reformists, English reformists and the late medieval Irish? And that’s not even mentioning the many militias full of Scottish gallowglasses!

I knew then, that I had finally discovered my inspiration. What Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone called ‘the spark’, in his case the fight between Chuck Wepner and Muhammed Ali, which led him to pen Rocky. After reading Kilfeather’s book from cover to cover, I then bought it for five bucks and headed straight to my apartment in Mosman. I only left it to buy groceries, and a week later I had punched out the first manuscript which I called The Sassana Stone.

At the prompting of an established UK literary agent, I decided to further research the period of my novel, to ensure that it was based on fulsome and exhaustive historical research. I had already read scores of books on the period, and practically lived at the Fisher Library of The University of Sydney for the whole of 2011, during which I was increasingly hooked to the sources I found. Nothing had prepared me for the sheer complexity of the Gaelic civilsiation in Ireland, which the Tudor Sassenachs or ‘New English’ were seeking to subdue. A civilisation in which women still had most rights of men, and in which divorce was also permitted, despite the encroaching influence of Roman Catholicism. Which is not to mention the incredibly sophisticated bodies of law and the ancient bardic tradition. And that’s not even getting into practices like fostering, amongst others, which GRR Martin famously uses in his world of Westeros. How had no one built an epic literary arc around these incredible happenings and fantastic civilisation?

While typing away late at night I would bang the table countless times, and reprimand myself: ‘that’s enough research James!’ Yet the sixteenth century Gaelic world was both enchanting and mesmerising, and I knew that I had to plough on, no matter how exhausted I felt at the end of a day’s commitments, to extract as much information as I could to bring this story to life. I also made it to the western coast of Ireland in October of 2012, an unforgettable fieldwork trip (they have great weather there in October) in which I visited all of the breathtaking and incredible sights which feature in my story.

All of which meant nine years of rewriting and research (I also had a dayjob, got married and had two babies during this time), which grew my manuscript from 80,000 words to over 450,000 words. I absolutely loved every single minute of it, and I ended up with a five-novel series, the first of which is called ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’ and was published last month by award-winning publisher Unbound. The novel was an instant hit on Unbound’s platform, with presales worth 4000 GBP secured in its opening week! It was subsequently serialised on international digital book club The Pigeonhole, used by Ken Follett to promote ‘A Column Of Fire’. The reviews which followed have been quite simply sensational, and can be read on both Goodreads and Amazon.

I am proud to have dedicated nearly a decade of my life to telling this amazing story, and I hope to transport readers into the breathtaking events preceding and following the Spanish Armada landings. One literary critic has praised ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’ as ‘a fine debut’ and ‘a blockbuster with depth’. Another enthusiastically wrote to me to say that he hadn’t picked up such an ‘unputdownable’ novel since he’d read ‘The Da Vinci Code’.  Much as I am flattered by these descriptions I also believe that they’re apt, and that my debut is a curious and powerfully written yarn that will fling readers into an endless rollercoaster ride of incredible emotions, with unforgettable characters, cliff-hangers and narrow escapes aplenty. Strap on your seat belts before giving the first chapter a read, and get ready for a great deal of fun while you learn heaps without even realising it!






James Vella-Bardon

James was born and raised in Malta, an island nation steeped in the millennia of history. As a boy he often caught a rickety old bus to the capital of Valletta, where he would hover around the English bookshops to check out the latest titles in fiction.

Growing up he was an avid reader and a relentless day-dreamer, with his standout subject at school being English composition. He also won a couple of national essay competitions. Although he spent seven years studying and obtaining a doctor of laws degree, this did not cure him of his urge to write stories. So after emigrating to Sydney in 2007 he resolved to have a proper stab at writing his first novel.

The result of this decision is an epic, sprawling five-part historical fiction series called The Sassana Stone Pentalogy. It is the product of nine years of intense rewriting and research, and tells the story of a Spanish Armada survivor who is shipwrecked in Ireland.

The first instalment in the series is a rip-roaring, myth-busting page-turner called The Sheriff’s Catch. Its anti-hero protagonist Abel de Santiago is an Armada survivor who finds himself on the run across Connacht, whilst being pursued by English troopers who want him tortured and killed.

– READ AN EXCERPT                     
– NOVEL TRAILER                     






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