Audiobook Review: The Code by Peter McAllister

Author: Peter McAllister
Narrator: Josiah Robinson
Length: 5 hours and 26 minutes
Publisher: Momosa Publishing LLC
Released: Jul. 31, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction

We unconsciously imprint our prejudices on Ais. Can they become mentally ill like their creators?

If one becomes psychotic, is shutting it down murder?

What if he fights back?

Liam, a gifted engineer, is trying to save the world, by finding a way to let industry mine for metals without the environmental disasters that make the news. Nanobots mining asteroids are the answer, and they are being tested on the dark side of the moon. But Gene, the AI tasked with helping him, spirals down the path of schizophrenia and is on track to mine the moon to dust – and without the influence of the moon, the ecosystems that mankind depends on for its survival as a species will be lost. This leaves Liam and his colleagues to battle the creation and his own demons to save humanity – who are oblivious to the potential destruction around the corner.

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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 Peter McAllister. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Gene, an AI programmed to use nanobots to mine ores on the moon is mistakenly using the incorrect software. It causes Gene to perform his task too well and by the time it’s discovered, Liam and his colleagues are hard-pressed to figure out how to stop Gene before the AI causes the end of the world.

The thing I like most about The Code is that it seems believable to me, and it isn’t super technical. I’ve read several books about out-of-control computers, and they were so technical with little character development that I had difficulty finishing them. The Code is not like that! Instead of being technical, the techs say this is possible or that is possible without going into detail.

Liam, the main character, is well developed. He’s very intelligent but has a mental illness as well which he takes medication for. I found it interesting that they think that Gene is schizophrenic. It seems crazy that an AI could have a mental illness, but their reasoning is sound.

The narrator did a good job relating the story. His timing and inflections were good, it was easy to follow, and he changed his voice just enough to know when someone else was speaking.

If you like science fiction without all of the technical talk, I definitely recommend The Code.

Peter McAllister an engineer, scientist, turned technology manager who wants to share the stories that keep him awake at night.

In his professional life he works in IT where tools such as AI are becoming prevalent. This behind the scenes knowledge, along with his previous work at the intersection of technology, business and people puts him in a great position to speculate on the future.

He lives outside of Melbourne with his wife, four cats and the kangaroos that visit them.

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Josiah Robinson is an actor, narrator, and producer based in the Chicago area. He has spent the last 10 years acting in regional theatres across the U.S., exploring the improv and musical theatre scenes in Chicago, and most recently, venturing into the fields of audiobook narration and voiceover. He is also a producer with a passion for creating high-quality audio projects, which serves him well when his career takes him off the stage and into the studio.

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Audiobook Review: Ashes Beneath Her by J.R. Erickson

Author: J.R. Erickson
Narrator: Margy Stein
Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Series: Northern Michigan Asylum Series, Book 3
Publisher: J.R. Erickson
Released: Oct. 15, 2019
Genre: Paranormal

Orla has a gift, an ability to sense things she touches: memories, traumas…murders.

On a sunny day in 1975, she sets off on a bike ride into the picturesque countryside and vanishes. She is not the first young woman to go missing and she will not be the last.

Ashes Beneath Her is the third novel in the stand-alone Northern Michigan Asylum Series.

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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.

This is the third in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series, but it’s a stand alone novel. There’s no relation between this and the first two books in the series except the part that the Northern Michigan Asylum and its horrible doctors play.

When Orla disappears, Hazel (her roommate) and her parents find out that other girls have gone missing over the past few years. The police are in different districts and aren’t investigating them together. Abe, a reporter, is on the case and working to find Orla and the others, or at least get enough evidence for the police to work together on the cases.

As Abe, Hazel, and the mother of one of the missing children try to find clues, Orla is being tortured at the Northern Michigan Asylum. Will they find her in time?

The narrator has a deep voice that seemed to fit this story. She didn’t change her voice much for the characters, but it was just enough.

This is my favorite of the three books in the series. I definitely recommend all three of them, especially this one.

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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Audiobook Review: Calling Back the Dead by J.R. Erickson

Author: J.R. Erickson
Narrator: Kelsey Navarro
Length: 7 hours and 57 minutes
Series: Northern Michigan Asylum Series, Book 2
Publisher: J.R. Erickson
Released: Aug. 15, 2019
Genre: Paranormal

The sprawling Kerry Manor has stood abandoned for nearly a century.

But that hasn’t kept the darkness at bay. Stories about the cursed house trickle out. Violent deaths, strange sightings, and always the chilling sound of a little girl’s song permeates the murky halls.

Today, Kerry Manor is restored to its original grandeur. Corrie and Sammy Flynn, and their daughter Isis, move into the house for a winter retreat. As they settle into the dim, gothic rooms, they cannot imagine the terror that awaits them.

Kerry Manor houses a malevolence that spans a century. A twisted tale that began when a little girl went into the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane and emerged as something dark – something evil.

Kerry Manor is the second novel in a series of stand-alone stories in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series. Start your chilling journey today.

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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.

This is the second in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series, but it’s a stand alone novel. There’s no relation between this and the first book in the series except the part that the Northern Michigan Asylum and the evil Brotherhood plays.

When Corrie and Sammy Flynn move into the scary Kerry Manor, Sammy is in heaven. He is obsessed with all things horror. In fact, Halloween is like their Christmas. They have the best Halloween party ever, decorating the entire manor, but Sammy ends up murdered.

Sammy’s twin Sara is sure that Corrie didn’t murder Sammy. While Corrie is spiraling, and the police are trying to find evidence against her, Sara decides to investigate the murder. The investigation takes her to places she never imagined she’d find herself in, and she meets some people who aren’t anywhere near “normal.”

The narrator did a great job with the voices, pace, and timing.

Calling Back the Dead is more horror than just paranormal, but it is still good. The ending was an absolute surprise!

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

Kelsey Navarro grew up in Las Vegas with a background in film, singing, and acting. She narrates anything from self-help to erotica. In her spare time, she reads voraciously and enjoys listening to a good podcast or audiobook. She worked in management for over nine years and nerds out over personal development, superheroes, and really great food.

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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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Audiobook Review: Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery by Arran Francis

Wombat and Jones are excited to attend the famous Boris Beaker’s banana bread baking class and like many other friends in town they can’t wait to get to work on making scrumptious banana bread. However, there’s just one problem — before class gets underway, Boris discovers that all of the bananas have gone missing!

Boris Beaker and his disappointed students know there is no chance they can make banana bread without this key ingredient, but Wombat isn’t willing to give up that easily. Putting her investigative skills to the test, she gets help from her trusty sidekick — Furlock Jones — and together they attempt to solve The Great Banana Mystery.

Written by author Arran Francis, creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio, Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery is a funny tale about friendship, problem-solving, and teamwork. Simple mistakes and jumping to conclusions can happen after all, but Wombat & Jones try their best to put it right and learn from them. 

Where to get it:

https://www.wombatandjones.org/thegreatbananamystery

It can be streamed or borrowed from libraries too.

My Review

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

What a cute story! It’s written for children, but adults will enjoy listening to it as well. It’s pretty short but lots of fun.

When bananas and a monkey go missing at the same time, Wombat and Jones know that they can hunt down the missing bananas…and maybe the missing monkey who is the prime suspect. Wombat and Jones go on an amusing adventure as they search for the missing bananas. The baking class can’t make banana bread without them!

As soon as I began listening to this story, I recognized the narrator as one of my favorites from another series. That made it even better.

Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery would be a fun activity for children during these long summer months.

About the Author

Arran Francis is the creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio and has worked as an audiobook producer on behalf of MacMillan Audio, Audible and Harper Collins. He launched Wombat and Jones Audio in 2019 with the aim of writing children’s novels to be released exclusively in audiobook format.

The audiobooks for the Daisy May’s Daydream Parade and Wombat & Jones series were released last summer with further books in the series and standalone titles being scheduled for publication in 2020.

Social Media Links

www.facebook.com/wombatandjones

www.twitter.com/wombatandjones

www.instagram.com/wombatandjones

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Audiobook Review & Giveaway: The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr

Book Title: The Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +), 388 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: January 30, 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:

 “13”

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible

BookBub ~ Add to Goodreads

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.

I read The Nutcracker Conspiracy in January and was happy to listen to it as well since it’s my favorite Lauren Carr book so far. I like her humor, and I usually smile or giggle several times when reading one of her books, but The Nutcracker Conspiracy made me actually laugh out loud several times (gotta love Mac’s dog, Gnarly). While there was humor, there was plenty of mystery and drama with several twists.

The book starts with an assassination attempt of the president gone wrong. According to the Nutcracker Conspiracy, several people wanted the president dead so the vice president could take over and the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies were in on it. But the vice president’s wife is the one who ends up dead. When 12 other people end up dead, several supposedly in accidents, it looks like maybe the Nutcracker Conspiracy is true…or is there more to it? Murphy ends up investigating the deaths and what a ride!

When I first start listening to one of Lauren Carr’s audiobooks, it’s like listening to an old friend. Mike Alger has narrated many of her books, he does a great job, and I know his voice the minute I hear it.

I definitely recommend The Nutcracker Conspiracy. It does stand alone but I got more out of it having read previous books in this series and other series in which the characters cross over.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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

Giveaway

Prize: ​ $50 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Lauren Carr, author of THE NUTCRACKER CONSPIRACY 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/518e728427/?

Audiobook Review: Twisted Mind by Kate L. Mary

Born at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse to the head of the CDC and the leader of the new world, Jackson Star has always known that he would one day rule. Only the Stars’ plans go much deeper than simply keeping humanity alive, and the evil that sleeps inside Jackson is darker than even his father knows. Everyone in the settlement is a puppet, and everyone has a purpose in the Stars’ master plan, starting with Megan James.

But as Jackson and his father creep closer to achieving their goals at the CDC, things slowly begin to unravel. Meg isn’t cooperating the way she should be, and the presence of a new person in her life is threatening to blow their plan apart. Jackson must now decide how to deal with the girl he has spent the last nine years trying to manipulate, as well as the family she has left and the man who has taken up residence in her life. To complicate matters even more, the darkness inside Jackson has gotten increasingly persistent, making it difficult for him to control it at times and leading him to wonder if he shouldn’t just give in to his urges once and for all.

Twisted Mind is a dark and disturbing look into Jackson’s brain, and the inner-workings of the CDC. It will give readers a glimpse of the future, as well as answer questions that have plagued us from the very beginning of the Broken World series.

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.

I chose to listen to this novella before listening to the first two novels, and I think I’m glad I did. I was able to understand what was going on even though I haven’t listened to the first book. It also has me anxious to start listening to book no. 1.

Jackson is the main character in Twisted Mind and that’s the perfect title for the novella. The man is twisted and evil. The fact that he and his father run the CDC makes things even worse.

Jackson hates Meg’s family. He’s caused so much pain for Meg although she doesn’t know it, and he plans on becoming even closer to her so that he can manipulate her and ultimately destroy her. But there’s a new man in Meg’s life…will Jackson’s plans have to be changed?

Although families have made it through the zombie apocalypse, they have to deal with Jackson Star and his father and their evil intentions. I can’t wait to read the first two novels in the series and get to know the other characters better. I know plenty about Jackson now! I also have a question or two that I’m sure will be answered in the first book.

About the Author

Kate L. Mary is an award-winning author of Adult, New Adult, and Young Adult fiction, ranging from Post-apocalyptic tales of the undead to Speculative Fiction and Contemporary Romance! Her YA book, When We Were Human, was a 2015 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards Silver Medal winner for Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal winner for Young Adult Science Fiction. Her book, Outliers, was a Top 10 Finalist in the 2018 Author Academy Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction, a Finalist in the 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards, and a First Place Winner in the 2018 Kindle Book Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction. Tribe of Daughters was recently named as an Honorable Mention in the 2018 SPR Book Awards.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateLMaryauthor

Website: https://KateLMary.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kmary0622

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zombieauthormom/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gNqeIT

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kate-l-mary

Audiobook Review: River of Light and Shadow by Allen Kent

After mob violence threatens their lives, they flee to the wilderness

During Missouri’s Mormon Wars of the mid-1800s, the Whitlock family seeks to escape mob violence on the state’s western frontier by hiding in the rugged north Missouri wilderness where the Hill Spring Trail crosses the Chariton River. Here, in constant fear of discovery, David Whitlock meets and falls in love with Suzanna Shattuck, the independent and spirited daughter of a nearby settler.

>>Drawn together by love, divided by different worlds

As David and Suzanna struggle with their growing passion for each other and with the differences that separate their families, two other figures move inescapably toward each other and the young couple. In Jefferson City, legislator Jacob Randall champions the cause of Missouri’s outcasts while Sheck Rogers, a self-appointed Mormon hunter, roams the state murdering and mutilating those he suspects of belonging to a church against which the Governor has issued an extermination order.

>>>In this entrancing historical novel of love, fear, courage and redemption, two young lovers seek to find themselves and each other in Missouri’s untamed wilderness.

Their families struggle to survive the politics and passions of one of the nation’s most tumultuous periods. River of Light and Shadow touches the deepest recesses of the heart while provoking, inspiring and teaching in ways that characterize the best historical fiction. 

My Review

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

I’ve enjoyed historical fiction since I was a young teen and my dad suggested I read Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold. I’ve read quite a bit about early America, but this is the first book I’ve read about the Mormons and what they had to endure before they found their home in Utah.

This is the love story of David and Suzanna and the many obstacles they have to overcome. Luckily, Suzanna’s father is a sensible man, and he gives them his blessing even though he knows that David being a Mormon may cause difficulties.

The characters of David and Suzanna portray innocence and goodness. They make a life for themselves and even though they’re mostly happy where they are, I figured eventually David will feel the need to find a Mormon settlement.

The narrator did a good job. I was able to keep the different characters separate and the timing and pace were good.

I’m looking forward to listening to the second book in the series soon.

About the Author

Allen Kent is the author of the popular “Unit 1” thriller series, the Whitlock Trilogy in historical fiction, and a number of other mysteries and action novels. His books are published in electronic form by Kindle Press and in paperback by AllenPearce Publishers. He lives and writes in rural southwest Missouri.

Kent is a former Air Force pilot and educator who spent four years of his early life living in Iran and England. He has traveled and worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia – experiences that are often reflected in his writing.
Writing as Kent Farnsworth, Kent has also published two works of non-fiction: “Grassroots School Reform” and “Leadership as Service.”

He and his wife Holly are avid travelers, gardeners, and conservationists, and live in an eco-friendly home near the community of Neosho.

Website: http://www.allenkentbooks.com

Audiobook Review: The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

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.

The Space Between Time is from Emma’s perspective and the narrator has the perfect voice for Emma. She also does a good job with timing.

Emma grew up wealthy with a movie star father and a gorgeous mother. What sounds like a storybook childhood was anything but. Her father was rarely around and her mother was unhappy and depressed. In fact, Emma felt protective of her mother and they were very close.

When Emma was older, she began using her middle name and didn’t want anyone to know who her father was. Not only did she not like the fame, but she didn’t like her father. She built a life but had some mental problems. She was eventually able to confront her demons with help.

I liked the story but could have done without the theories and the math. Rather than adding to the story, it distracted from it, and I tended to “tune out.”

This story is unique and if you don’t mind a slow-moving book (unless you like astrophysics), you should like it.

About the Author

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.

Website https://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com/
Twitter claidlawauthor

Audiobook Review: A Smidge of Crazy by Barbara Venkataraman

A collection of humorous insights into important topics ranging from being targeted by annoying ads (“Nowhere to Hide”), to resorting to symbols when you’ve forgotten your words (“At a Loss for Words”), to figuring out what door that extra key opens (“My Extra Key”). Other essays examine how sitting is the new smoking (whatever that means), and why it is just so hard to focus when you have the attention span of a gnat. 

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.

I’ve listened to several of Barbara Venkataraman’s books, and I always enjoy them. A Smidge of Crazy is one of my favorites. It contains 15 essays about things that are funny and that we can all relate to. Who doesn’t have that extra key that opens…something? Or how about getting sidetracked when you’re trying to accomplish a task and end up starting several tasks but finishing none of them?

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who’s just a little bit crazy and able to laugh at myself. I appreciate that the author has the talent to put it all on paper, and I hope she writes more essays of this type in the future.

About the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. Her works include: “The Fight for Magicallus”, a children’s fantasy; “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”, a humorous short story; and three books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” and “A Smidge of Crazy”, from her series, “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo”, “The Case of the Killer Divorce”, “Peril in the Park”, “Engaged in Danger” and, just released, “Jeopardy in July”. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.