Review first posted on Audiobook Reviewer.
Riders of the Purple Sage
Written by: Zane Grey
Narrated by: Ann M. Richardson
Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
Series: Riders of the Purple Sage, Book 1
Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
Riders of the Purple Sage is a classic western from author Zane Grey. It was published in 1912 and has remained in print and popular to this day. The story is set in 1871 in the Utah territory. There is no separation of church and state. The Mormon church and it’s patriarchal society hold all power.
The main character Jane is very non-traditional for the time period and for Mormon women. She is unmarried in her late twenties. She is also wealthy because of inheriting her father’s estate. She further defies convention by refusing to marry one of the Mormon elders in the area who demand she get in line with church teachings. Worst of all, in the eyes of her Mormon neighbors, is her belief in treating all men, whether Mormon or Gentile (non-Mormon) with equal dignity.
Her property is very valuable since it has a reliable water source. Her horses are also well known and sought after. Elder Tull wants to marry her, her wealth equal in his eyes to her beauty. The local Bishop, Dyer, supports Tull in his attempt to make Jane into a respectable Mormon wife. When Jane does not jump at the chance to become another of Tull’s wives, Tull and Dyer set about forcing her by attacking her Gentile ranch hands. Without her trusted hands, Jane cannot keep the ranch functioning.
As Jane continues to fight for what she feels is right and not what the Mormon men tell her is right, help comes from an unexpected and very dangerous source. Lassiter, a gunman known for his antipathy towards Mormons and accused of killing several Mormon men, arrives at Jane’s ranch. His reputation proceeds him and causes the to resort to even more violence in an attempt to force Jane into marriage.
Lassiter is an anti-hero. He is a man who has willingly killed other men. He has a very open hatred of all things Mormon. Yet he demonstrates more honor than the religious men trying to rob Jane of her independence and wealth. The pairing of a gunslinger and a Mormon woman drive the plot to an unexpected and thrilling conclusion.
I enjoyed the book, the first Zane Grey I have read or listened to. My only disappointment was it took Jane so long to realize that the Elder and Bishop were not motivated by religion but by greed. She was naive. Other than that, all the characters were well rounded.
I had previously listened to the version narrated by Mark Bramhall. I was interested to hear the book narrated by a woman, Ann M. Richardson. Different narrators can bring different tones or emphasis to the same book. I was very interested whether the gender of the narrator would affect the story itself. I found the gender of the narrator in this particular instance did not make a difference. Ms. Richardson did a very fine job of narrating the book. After listening to the same passages read by the two different narrators, I found I enjoyed them both. If this is an edge at all, it goes to Ms. Richardson. Her voice is very pleasant and she handles the range of voices, male/female, very well.
Rating: Story (Plot) 4
Rating: Performance 5
Rating: Production Quality 5
Rating: Attention Holding 4
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Publisher, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.
The Devil's Evidence
by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Pub Date 05 Jul 2016
I recently reviewed The Devil's Detective (Thomas Fool #1) by Simon Kurt Unsworth. I found the book was stunning in it's originality and descriptions. The Devil's Evidence, the second book is the series maintains the high level of originality while introducing new characters and concepts. As with the first book, the characters are a wide range in creation. There are new individuals and new species. There was also new information that contributes to the world building. And Mr. Unsworth has built an amazing world.
It is hard to discuss the plot of either book without spoilers. The basic premise is that heaven and hell do exist. They are not your grandparent's concept of heaven or hell. The humans (yes humans because there are so very nasty non-humans lurking in these pages) do not know why they have been sent to hell. They cannot remember their lives. They only know that they committed sin(s) so heinous to sentence them to an eternity in hell.
So we have hell and we have Thomas Fool whose job is to investigate crimes in hell. Let that one sink in for a moment. Investigating crimes in a major city would be quite a job but in hell, where every human there because he deserves to be and demons just add to the chaos, it is close to impossible. In the second book, Thomas Fool takes a trip and becomes involved in investigating crimes in heaven. You know, perfection, harmony, all peace and fluffy clouds. You would not think there would be a lot of crime but heaven is out of balance and pulling hell out of whack to.
My descriptions do not even begin to do justice to this incredible book. Let me just quote one small section:
"fire had a voice, it talked in a constant bitter mutter, the sound of something chewing its own teeth, a one-sided conversation that babbled as the flames burrowed deep into wooden frames around now-glassless windows and ate warping doors buckling in their mounts. And as the fire talked and drew itself on, it cleaned, leaving no spore or trail"
Every time I read that section it takes my breath away. The prose, the characters, the descriptions, everything is done well in this book. I recommend you read The Devil's Evidence as soon as you read The Devil's Detective. The books are just fantastic.
I received my copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The book was stunning in it's originality and descriptions. I was amazed at the Hell the author created. It actually seems more harsher than the hell I was taught about as a child at church. The characters, oh my goodness, the characters were so varied; not just in personalities but in species and purpose. I read the last page this afternoon and my jaw dropped. Talk about not showing all the cards until the end.
When I had the opportunity to review the audiobook for Audiobook Jukebox, I jumped at it. Narrated by David Rintool, a book I loved became even better. Mr. Rintool's clear, smooth voice brings the book to life. He created unique voices for the characters. Imagine having to create voices for humans, demons, angels and "what the heck was that thing?". The narration matched the pace of the action. When voices, or growls, were raised the dialogue was still clear. The production values are excellent.
If you must choose between reading or listening to The Devil's Detective, the audiobook adds a deeper dimension and creates a more enjoyable experience.
Welcome to Deadland
Zachary Tyler Linville
Pub Date: Aug 9 2016
I did not find anything new or even very interesting in Deadland. The three main characters, Asher, Wendy and Rico, never really connected with me. The chapters are titled after characters with the notes of "- before" or "- after" indicating where in the time line that section falls. The fluidity in time lines in a novel can be done if executed well. Deadland used past tense verbs for before and present tense verbs for after. I found it jarring going from each section to the next. Reading a book is like dreaming. A noise can knock you out of your dream and wake you up. Books can have issues where you are kicked out of your imagination and return to the real world. The truly great books keep you trapped within them. Unfortunately Deadland did not.
I received a copy of Deadland from NetGalley in return for a honest review.
The Rules of Supervillainy: The Supervillainy Saga Volume 1
Written by: C.T. Phipps
Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
Series: The Supervillainy Saga, Book 1
Publisher: Amber Cove Publishing
The Rules of Supervillainy was a very fun listen. My son and I listened to it on a ten hour road trip. It kept both of us interested enough that neither of us napped. We both laughed out loud several times. All of the cultural references were a hit. The only one I had to explain to my 22 yr old son was the one related to the vice-presidential debate from the late 80's.
The characters, both super and normal, were great. The inanimate object character was a lot of fun. The action was fast paced. The description of the action and the heroes, villains and monsters were very well done. The one monster immediately brought to mind a boss from Dark Souls II. Describing items or people from fantasy worlds can be difficult because there is not usually a frame of reference in real life. Mr. Phipps did such a great job at the descriptions that I could draw (if I possessed any artistic ability, which I don't) pictures of them.
Jeffrey Kafer was a fantastic narrator. I have listened to his narrations before and enjoyed them. His speech is distinct and easy to follow. The voices and accents of the different characters were distinctive so I knew which characters were speaking.
I enjoyed this book so much, I already purchased the Kindle and Audible versions of the sequel. As soon as I can clear my present stack, I will dive into them. The narrator provided me with a copy of the audiobook in exchange for a honest review.
My adopted daughter needs her family medical history (column)
Nann Halliwell 2:11 p.m. EDT June 1, 2016
Carolyn has no right to her own medical history.
My daughter was born at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1992 at Carlisle Hospital. Her birth name was Maggey Suzanne. She weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces. When Carolyn, the name we gave her when we adopted her, was 16, she found a lump in her right breast. When the doctors asked us if there was any family history of breast cancer in the family, we could only give them the facts listed above.
Like many, many adoptees she has no family medical history.
We contacted a mediator and asked her to find our daughter’s birthparents. We gave her the scant information we had. By the end of the day, the mediator had located the birth mother and the birth father's mother. The birth father had died several years before. The paternal birth grandmother was very generous and gave us all the information we needed and more. She and Carolyn developed a very lovely relationship, and she has gotten to know her birth father through his family.
Her birth mother refused. The birthmother has a son, just over a year older than my daughter, and two daughters younger than my daughter that she has parented. They have medical histories. She flat-out refused to provide any medical history to my daughter although it was explained that the child had a potentially serious medical condition that could be genetic in nature.
And the kicker is Carolyn has no right to her own medical history. Other than begging, which we have done several times through the mediator, we can do nothing to compel the birthmother to provide the simplest of medical histories.
Years ago we registered Carolyn’s information with the Pennsylvania Adoption Information Registry (http://www.adoptpakids.org/PaeAmhr.aspx) whose mission is to help “adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth relatives who would like to share or obtain medical or social history about themselves or their birth relatives.” This system only works if both parties, birth parent and adoptee register. Needless to say, Carolyn’s birthmother has not registered, although the mediator did provide her with information about the service.
As Carolyn has matured we have encountered more medical problems that having a full medical history would have been very helpful with. Her birth father's family is always willing to fill in any gaps as they can. When the birth mother refused to respond, we tried appealing to her parents, my daughter’s maternal birth grandparents. They never responded. Think about that for a moment. The woman who gave birth to her, and her grandparents will not lift a finger or fill out a form to help in a medical crisis. Can you imagine how that made Carolyn feel?
When Carolyn was around 10 years old, she began to have some issues. I did not know if they were normal puberty issues, adoptions issues or transracial adoption issues. It took almost five years and so much suffering on Carolyn’s part to discover she is bipolar and has major depression. Someone who knew the birth mother told us that she also had mental illness issues in high school. If I had known that was in my Carolyn’s family history, I would have gotten the right help for her much sooner. Instead she suffered, suffered to the point of suicidation ideation, because we did not have the information we needed.
Carolyn is now 23 years old. Her need for a medical history has not changed. She does not know whether she carries a particular genetic disease or is at risk for any particular issues. She knows her paternal grandfather was diabetic, but what about her maternal side? There are conditions and diseases that develop later in life. Are there any that she should be aware of? We simply do not know.
We are one family among many who have had to deal with this issue. The children are the ones who suffer. The solution is to require a full medical history provided by the birthparents primary care physicians to be prepared for each adopted child. It would be given to the adoptive parents with the birth parents’ names redacted. It protects their anonymity. The physician involvement insures the information is correct and complete.
I asked Carolyn how she feels about the lack of a medical history. She answered, “I would say this issue has and continues to affect me in a very negative way. If I could say anything to my birth mother, I would say how dare you do this to me because you had no understanding of responsibility and consequences of your actions. I would ask legislators to help us. I live my life in fear for many reasons, and lack of a medical history is the main reason. Not only do I not know who I am, but I have no clue what I could become in my future.”
This column first appear in The York Daily Record
This book was stunning in it's originality and descriptions. I was amazed at the Hell the author created. It actually seems more harsher than the hell I was taught about as a child at church. The characters, oh my goodness, the characters were so varied; not just in personalities but in species and purpose. I read the last page this afternoon and my jaw dropped. Talk about not showing all the cards until the end. I cannot recommend this highly enough.