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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-13-18

Enjoyable, even if a bit Verbose and Disjointed

An angel and a demon come together to help stop the apocalypse. I loved the premise of this book. Sadly, the execution left much to be desired.

Firstly, said angel and demon are joined by an extended cast of characters, most of which could be completely erased from the book and the story would have been fine. Seriously, thinking about the conclusion and how we got there, it could've been angel, demon, the anti-christ and his band of misfits. We didn't need prophecies, witch hunters or any of the rest of it. They simply served to pad out the book (and test my dedication to the act of finishing the tale).

There are so many meandering sidebars (and footnotes) that this story is easily twice as long as it should be. Giving background to characters is great, but not every sentence has to be stuffed to bursting with dry humor and irony. Around 5 hours in, I thought we were heading for the end-game -- and we easily could have, but the authors had other ideas.

That said, there WERE some truly funny moments, and the humor was generally up my alley -- there was just too much of it. I'm unsure if an abridged version exists, but with some editing for pace and focus, this could be an amazing read where you aren't just waiting for it to end already.

If you like the TV Show "Supernatural" (which seems to have been influenced by this book), you'll love this as it's basically an entire season in audiobook form (including filler episodes to pad things out).

The narration was great. Jarvis made the characters believable and the endless sidebars bearable.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-13-18

More local State of Emergency than Apocalypse

Book 2 is here and most of the characters from book 1 have returned. Those missing weren't particularly interesting in my opinion, and one in particular, just wasn't necessary given the events. Our college friends are here though, each off on their own adventures this time. We also see the return of our oddball divorcee, though Maggie doesn't make an appearance. A few new characters (or at least ones I didn't remember) appear as well.

As one of the characters notes in the book, the apocalypse is what happens to you, so with that line of reasoning, the title fits. In the bigger picture however, this was more like a local natural disaster due to a series of unfortunate events. This time, the characters are trying to make their way home or to safety after fires break out all over California. More of a "day in the life" tale for most vs actual survival drama, but there are a few deaths. One character's death early on makes me think the author just doesn't like the character and plans to off them in creative ways each book. I'm OK with that as I don't particularly like them either :p

While I won't spoil it, there was a death that I felt was just largely unnecessary -- almost as if the author knew there wasn't enough drama in the book (and the characters are all disposable given the series) so wanted to turn it up a notch.

Though there were hints of a broader, overall reasoning or motive behind the disaster (and even some vague references to the other books), nothing ever came of them, which is unfortunate. The tidbits of their lives dropped in books 1 and 2 show that many of these characters have so much to explore as well. So, while I've enjoyed both of these tales for the adventures they bring, I really feel the author is leaving something on the table by not giving us "more".

Still, it was an enjoyable listen with excellent narration.

This audiobook was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my unbiased review.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-26-18

Great Standalone piece

This story feels like classic Stephen King mixed with modern Peter Clines. There are various elements here that hearken back to both of these authors (whose works I greatly enjoy) and yet it stands firmly on its own.

This is one of those stories where what makes them great is hard to describe to someone. The characters, the atmosphere, the writing, all of it comes together to form a very enjoyable piece.

Dialogue is one of the many ways Nelson establishes and develops his characters, and Sadzin does a great job bringing them to life. There's quite a bit of swearing at certain parts, but it doesn't feel gratuitous. Indeed, it helps make all the characters feel "real".

I was provided this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I honestly loved it and will be checking for more.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-24-18

Not for me

After reading the synopsis and reading glowing reviews comparing it to Harry Potter, I just had to see what this book was about. Sadly, I'm going to have to differ on those opinions.

The book isn't BAD, it's just not terribly good. Audible doesn't really differentiate Young Adult content from others, so it's hard to tell, but I'm going to assume this was intended to be YA. With that in mind, it's easy to overlook the lackluster dialog from characters, weak exposition and lack of emotional ties or atmosphere in the book.

While I found most of it predictable (again, if it's YA, we're not exactly going for subtle), there were a few developments and scenes that were impressive. I think one of the biggest issues is that the characters seem to jump from scene to scene in a rush and the little time spent developing the characters and their bonds felt superficial. Many of the developments also lacked any sort of build up to make them believable (we legit have a scene where a girl fidgets in a room of supposed elites and comes up with a random idea, everyone jumps up and we get "OMG you may have just saved the day!").

Perhaps this genre isn't her cup of tea, but Meghan Kelly's narration was easily the worst part of this listen for me. Kelly read most of the prose in a half-whisper and then seemingly shouted all the dialog. Speaking of dialog, there was no inflection, leaving everything read in a monotone devoid of any emotion. I was shocked hearing several questions read with no upward inflection at all.

The voices used were pretty terrible as well, especially for males and Sasha. Trent and Sasha were the worst. They both shared a sort of croaky, smarmy, yet still whiny, tone of voice that just grated my nerves.

As I said, this book isn't bad, it's just a bit under-developed and I found myself just wanting to get through it. Weak dialog and poor narration really push it down for me. There was one thing repeatedly hinted at but left unresolved in this book, so I assume the author is planning a sequel. I'm not really too fussed one way or the other, but if you're interested, I'd suggest getting the print or kindle copy.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my unbiased review

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0 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-18-18

What an exciting ride

I've had this book on my wishlist for ages and had been putting off reading it. I'm very glad I finally took the plunge though.

The story is very fast-paced and full of action. There's a lot of mystery and intrigued involved as well.

The ending though... That sort of ticked me off. It actually put me off reading the rest of the series for a bit, especially after reading the synopsis for the next one. I did eventually though, and am glad I did. I don't know if it was the original plan or not, but Sansbury Smith redeemed it in my eyes :)

It's a book about humanity after the end of the world, so of course R.C. Bray did an amazing job narrating.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

Much better than I had expected

I put off jumping into this one as the synopsis (and preview at the end of the last book) didn't sound appealing to me. It all set up a story where the Angel we've seen growing into a new person backslides and goes back to the same ole. I've seen the trope often, especially from writers who run out of ideas and don't necessarily want to reboot, but want to take a step back.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Yes, junkie Angel surfaces, but not as catastrophically as the previews may have you believe. New Angel is still there, and while she does struggle through her addiction, it doesn't completely consume and destroy her life.

We also get a whole new plot outside of Angel's addiction which was engaging and sets up some interesting possibilities for the future. I won't ruin it, but the book has far more to offer than what's on the surface.

As usual, Allison McLemore did an AMAZING job. She's the perfect fit for this series.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-18

An odd start, but solid story

Starting this tale was a bit rough. Lots of kids (are they kids or more like nearly adults? By the end, I'm not even sure), and hard to keep track of them all. Thankfully this problem goes away as the story REALLY gets underway and we focus on a core cast.

One of the things I liked about this tale was that the author tried to have a reason for the things that were going on. It didn't all mesh for me in the end, and some of it just got downright "out there", but he certainly tried, and that's a big plus.

There's some pretty graphic violence in this one, so something to be aware of in case you're queasy about those things. The author was pretty unapologetic in that, and I think it worked well here.

The ending was fair enough, though I think HOW we got there and WHY got a bit muddled -- though, as I said, the author TRIED, and that's important.

The narrator did a pretty good job. Pleasant voice, though it was a tad distracting how it sounded like he was reading in a library. He didn't whisper, but he definitely sounded like he was trying to keep his voice down.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. It's short and mostly entertaining. Maybe not worth a credit, but an outright purchase at the going rate for the length would be a good bet.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-18

I really enjoyed it

Most of these stories are from the perspectives of other characters in the Dresden Files universe. For the most part, they were good, but some were a little boring.

I really enjoyed the story of how Molly got her apartment, but was so/so on the one of her first job in Winter. Butters' story was pretty boring to me, but found Lucio's entertaining. Marcone's story was middle of the road. I don't feel Jim did him justice on that one.

I'd previously heard all the Bigfoot tales, so skipped those, but they're really good, so worth a listen if you haven't heard them before.

The last story in the collection was the standout by far. I don't want to ruin it, but it takes the spirit of this collection and turns it on its head. Very enjoyable and opens up so much for characters we already know and love!

Definitely worth the credit on this one!

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-23-18

Simply Amazing

I had the opportunity to request a review copy of this book some time back and declined just because I had so many books on my plate at the time. The idea of the story always stuck with me though, and so I finally decided to plunk down a credit on it.

I'm so glad I did.

Off the bat, things were a little confusing with how we seemed to jump to a whole new character after being introduced to one for a good chunk of time. For anyone feeling that jar, just know that Dylan is the main character, and you can sort of consider the beginning a prologue of sorts.

After that, the book is broken down into acts, starting with Dylan as a kid and working through his life. There are some time jumps, but we always seem to get enough info to understand where Dylan is at that point in his life.

Things kick into high gear once the Apocalypse finally happens and we get to see Dylan try to make his way home in the midst of the chaos, then adjust to life in many different ways. Things come to a head and time travel gets to once again play a part in the story, but not int he way you might assume. I know that all sounds a bit hollow, but I don't want to ruin anything -- just know that this story isn't just "on the road, trying to get home" like most.

While most characters got to be very well fleshed out, I did have a few niggles. First, Dylan's mom has been there since nearly the beginning of the story, and she's apparently a well-liked figure for all parties involved, but CF Waller does nothing to really form an attachment to her with the reader. Heck, we can mostly only assume how much Dylan actually cares. Same goes a bit for Izzy. We get that she loves Dylan wholly, but it's not really clear WHY. Her character isn't developed enough on that front (I actually felt he and Fitz had more chemistry on the road).

While I'm there, Dylan sadly never seems to grow up. He seems to be about as clueless as a kid as he is as an adult later on in the story, and though he's the protagonist, Snape's line from one of the Harry Potter books kept coming to mind: "He's survived through a combination of sheer luck and more talented (and intelligent) friends".

Narration was pretty good, though I did get confused, as mentioned above, with the transition from a female to a male protagonist. The voice was similar enough for me to wonder for a while which would be the main character going forward. Still did a great job though.

All that said, this is still a GREAT story that I'm sure you'll love. I was falling asleep but didn't want to stop listening as the endgame came into focus. Lots of tugging on heart strings here. I would love to see more of these characters, but I think things were wrapped up well enough that a sequel wouldn't do them any justice.

Get it for sure.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-18

Sadly, wasn't a fan

This isn't a HORRIBLE book, but it did not keep me engrossed either. I found the male protagonist to be rather annoying and somewhat idiotic. In the middle of an intense situation (which he gets himself into repeatedly without seemingly learning from the last encounter) he starts thinking about his feelings, and how wonderful and amazing his wife is. What? How about focusing on getting your butt out of the fryer again?

How'd he get into the fryer? Well, he wants to help people with their spiritual problems, but can't even resolve his own and has no real idea how to do so, so he just blunders ahead. He repeatedly engages the supernatural with no real plan on how to combat it other than to wing it, get emotional, full of regret, and then get lucky.

The wife isn't too much better, although at least she is more interesting in that she has SOME level of skill and can contribute to their efforts to combat the supernatural. Their relationship was rather cheesy and it helped make this feel more like a YA novel (maybe it was supposed to be?).

I found the ghost to be the most interesting, and even that was a stretch. His backstory was pretty tragic, but then we were also made to feel that we shouldn't feel sorry for him because he may or may not have been a mean person too. It wasn't all that clear, but I walked away not really caring either way.

The narrator did a pretty good job in my opinion, though I did think her voice was a bit too wistful for some of the more intense moments.

I was provided this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest review. Sadly this one wasn't a hit for me, but I thank the author/narrator for the opportunity.

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