Audiobook Review: Some Can See by J.R. Erickson

Author: J.R. Erickson
Narrator: Allyson Voller
Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes
Series: Northern Michigan Asylum Series, Book 1
Publisher: J.R. Erickson
Released: May 20, 2020
Genre: Paranormal

The dead have stories to tell. Are you listening?

On a sunny August morning, in 1935, 13-year-old Sophia Gray finds her friend Rosemary wandering in the woods. Rosemary’s yellow dress is tattered and stained, she walks with a strange lurch, and her eyes are vacant and glassy. She beckons to Sophia, desperate to show her something, and Sophia follows.

In an abandoned cabin, beneath a tattered blanket, Sophia discovers Rosemary’s body. It was not Rosemary who led her there, but Rosemary’s ghost.

Step into the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane

Twenty years after Sophia discovers Rosemary’s body, she finds herself trapped in the sprawling, and eerily beautiful, Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, in the hands of a malevolent doctor who preys on patients who exhibit paranormal abilities.

Sometimes the dead don’t rest

In 1965, Hattie, much like her mother, 30 years before, is led by a ghost. A newspaper hidden in an attic reveals a secret that has shaped the lives of Hattie and her siblings. Hattie with her sister, Jude, embark on a crusade to remedy the wrongs of the past and discover the tale of deception that stole their mother a decade before.

Hattie and Jude are in a race against time to discover a murderer and save their mother from a horrific fate.

Get lost in a uniquely chilling story that spans the life of a family and the ghosts who haunt them.

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

It took me a little while to get into this book because it kept jumping around to different times. Once I got the characters and dates straight, I enjoyed it.

Sophia has a gift of seeing dead people that she passes on to her daughter, Hattie. They can see dead people. Unfortunately, Sophia dies in a car accident when Hattie is just eight years old, so Hattie doesn’t know that she inherited it from her mother.

When Hattie and her sister Jude are older, they discover that they’d been lied to all of their lives. When they find out the truth, it’s worse than they could have imagined.

The narrator did a good job with pacing and timing. She helped to make the story come alive.

There are several twists in Some Can See. Many of them I didn’t see coming, but a couple things I figured out. Overall, though, the story flowed well once I got into it, and I’m looking forward to listening to the next story in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series.

J.R. Erickson (aka Jacki) is an indie author who writes murder mysteries woven with elements of the paranormal. Since childhood, J.R. has been fascinated by otherworldly things. She started penning creepy stories in her adolescence, but didn’t pursue a career in writing until her mid-twenties. Like most paths, J.R.’s has been winding and filled with detours.
Today, she lives in the forests of northern Michigan with her excavator husband and her critter-loving son. In addition to writing, J.R. teaches yoga, hosts the true crime podcast Bitter Endings, and spends every spare minute hanging with her family and her kitties.
Her latest series, the Northern Michigan Asylum Series, is inspired by a real former asylum in Traverse City. J.R. regularly visits the former asylum that has been partially renovated into shops, restaurants and condominiums.

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Narrator Bio

Allyson is an accomplished actor with a fun, versatile style. She’s been working professionally for more than two decades in Chicago’s theatre and improv community. Her body of work appears in hundreds of projects in all mediums: film, television and commercials, both in front of the camera and behind the microphone. Allyson’s love of performing led her into narrating audiobooks and she has never looked back. She has a degree in theatre, as well as having studied improvisation at both The Second City Conservatory and iO Chicago. In addition to narrating audiobooks she lends her multifaceted voice to the country’s oldest running radio drama as a company member.

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On Souls

Cynical Wordsmith

I stopped writing
For a time.
Not because the thoughts,
The beautiful phrases
And failings,
Had stopped permeating my mind,
But because there was so little
Of my soul left to give
After the day in,
Day out drudgery.

It’s not that there was less,
But more that exhaustion
And emotional dilution
Built up barriers
And barred the baring
Of myself.

Certain people believe
Taking a photo of someone
Steals their soul,
But souls are much more often
Freely given,
In carefully chosen words
And subtle, engulfing gazes.

I can’t define a soul,
But I’m sure I have one,
Just as I have a consciousness
But I don’t know precisely
Where it comes from.

A bit of mine is here,
Myself, my soul.
You can’t control it,
You can’t change it.
You can only look on,
As if peering into an ocean,
And wonder silently
How profound,
How abysmal
Are…

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Book Review: Coronavirus Haiku by James Weir

The coronavirus pandemic. A time of social distancing. Isolation at home. Ever-climbing numbers of sick and dead. Economic collapse. Job losses. Protests. Incompetent government responses. Uncertainty. Toilet paper shortages. How can we possibly cope with all this bad news?

Why, make fun of it of course!

And what better way to make fun of a world-wide catastrophe than to do it using haiku. Remember haiku? The bane of your public-school English class – a three-line poem of five syllables, then seven syllables, then five syllables. It’s perfect for these times.

Take a break and read this collection of over one hundred verses designed to make you laugh, make you groan, and sometimes even say WTF?

Remember, this collection uses profanity, and revels in it’s use of immature themes. It may not be the best choice for the kids to read, but your dirty grandma will love it.

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My Review

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

I haven’t read a lot of haiku because it usually seems forced. James Weir’s Coronavirus Haiku doesn’t feel that way to me. It’s contemporary, often political, and frequently humorous.

A couple of examples:

Sickly coughing bat
Gets revenge at the market
Pandemic panic

Quarantine fifteen
“Did you put on some weight honey?”
Sleeping in the car

If you’re looking for something to lighten your mood in these crazy times, Coronavirus Haiku will do exactly that.

About the Author

When he’s not busy being a poet (and we use the term poet very loosely here), James Weir is a small animal veterinarian. In addition to clinical practice, he holds graduate degrees in pathology and in public health. He has also worked as a stand-up comedian. He has been published before, but mostly boring science crap. He has four works of funny haikus listed on Amazon, and is currently writing a book of funny stories from his 30 years in veterinary practice.

The Importance of Kindness by George Saunders

via

“I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded … sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

But kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.”

If you haven’t checked out Brainpickings.org, it has some amazing information.

Short Story Review: Tagged by Henry Bassett

There are many forgotten games we played as children, one of which was tag. You would call “Tag, you’re it!” just before making physical contact with another and something would pass from you to them, but what if that thing left something behind in you too?

An unknown entity has infiltrated an office, whilst the staff go about their daily routines unaware of its presence. As it systematically picks its victims, will those who remain suspect anything or will it succeed in consuming them all?

My Review

I chose to read this short story after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read Recently Deceased by the author a couple of days ago, and I found it thought-provoking, so I wanted to see what Tagged had to offer.

I have found that I like the author’s writing style, even when I come across a story like this that almost seems unfinished. It’s set in an office where something is happening to the workers, one by one as they touch each other. It affects each worker in a different way.

But what is it? Where did it come from? What happens when the day ends? There’s so much more I want to know. I felt a little robbed when the story ended.

About the Author

Henry Bassett is an ebook writer first published in early 2019 with The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer series; a supernatural urban dark fantasy which comprises of six instalments. He went on to write dark fantasy one-offs and, at this time, is working on a new dark fantasy series The Black Bear Brotherhood.

Audiobook Review: Alexandria Rising by Mark Wallace Maguire

Author: Mark Wallace Maguire

Narrator: Thomas Cassidy

Length: 8 hours 47 minutes

Series: The Alexandria Rising Chronicles, Book 1

Publisher: Speckled Leaf Press

Released: May 12, 2020

Genre: Action; Adventure

Rand O’Neal, an ambition-less reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries where he discovers humanity’s biggest secret. The book is labelled an action adventure, but contains elements of science fiction, suspense, and mystery.

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

The beginning of Alexandria Rising intrigued me. Rand’s grandfather died and left him with everything including the task of destroying a map. It’s not as easy as it sounds. There are others who want the map, and Rand finds himself on the run. He does pretty well running, especially since he’s new at it and he’s obviously running from professionals.

Once Rand is caught, my interest waned. It was difficult for me to keep my mind on listening to the story. When Rand finally acts, it’s pretty far-fetched. He seems to be a completely different person from the uninspired drunk at the beginning of the story.

The narrator did a great job with timing and pacing and I liked the added sound effects here and there.

Mark Wallace Maguire is a Kindle best-selling author of several books, including the highly-praised Alexandria Rising Chronicles. He is a 2017 Independent Author of the Year Finalist and a 2017 Georgia Author of The Year nominee. He is also an award-winning columnist and journalist whose work has appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers at home and abroad. He’s been honored by several organizations, including The Associated Press, Georgia Poetry Society and Society of Professional Journalists.

In 2005, he was named Berry College Outstanding Young Alumni of The Year.

When he’s not writing, he enjoys hiking, playing guitar, shooting short films and gardening.

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Narrator Bio

Thomas Cassidy: Voice actor from the UK. Narrator of over 80 audiobooks ranging from London based police thrillers (The Edmonton Police Series), a variety of financial and self-help books, to the globe hopping excitement of the Alexandria Trilogy. In his spare time he enjoys martial arts, fitness, old German cars and conspiracy theories.

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