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nrlymrtl has commented on (240) products.

Not an Egg! by Cheryl Matthynssens

nrlymrtl, January 13, 2015

In this short children’s book, the parent dragons are soon expecting their second child (an egg will soon hatch). The story is told through the eyes of the eldest child, exploring the various emotions associated with not being the only child.

First, I really liked the imagery. There’s a beach, fun in the water, and, of course, the dragons! Next, and probably more importantly, the eldest child explores feelings of jealousy, wonder, acceptance, and eventually joy at the idea of having a sibling. The parent dragons explain to their child that their love for their first born will not be diminished by the arrival of a second child; love is infinite.

Many of us, as adults, know that love comes in many flavors. But for a children’s book, I felt this was a positive and worthy, if hopeful, message for kids. It was enjoyable to get caught up in the tale of a little dragon family on the beach.

Narration: Valerie Gilbert did a great job. She had the most adorable little kid voice for the kid dragon. Her voice for the mother dragon was soothing and womanly all at once. The voice she used for the father dragon was patient. All around, a great job for this kids’ book.

What I Liked: The cover art; dragon family on the beach!; kid dragon gets to explore all his feelings.

What I Disliked: Nothing ��" I think this is great for kids!
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How the Dragons Got Their Colors by Cheryl Lynn Matthynssens
How the Dragons Got Their Colors

nrlymrtl, January 13, 2015

Once upon a time, all the dragons were drab, grey colors. But one young, small dragon got the idea into his head one day that dragons should be all sorts of colors too, just like the beautiful world around them.

So starts our story. This little entrepreneurial dragon captured colors and offered to make the other dragons any color they wish. Of course, they were all very enthusiastic and pretty soon all the dragons made up a rainbow of colors. But the little grey dragon saved himself for last, and did he save enough color for himself? You will have to give this book a listen to find out.

This story, like most kids’ stories, has a moral built into it. But don’t worry, it’s not all preachy or in your face. The moral here is that those who share and think of others first are rewarded greatly in the end. As adults, we know that this isn’t always so, but for kids, I think it is a fine thing to teach and hope for.

A delightful 6 minutes filled with dragons and a rainbow of colors! Really, is there any better way to spend 6 minutes? Well, maybe if you were eating icecream and cake while giving this a listen. And this book goes good with Not An Egg!, also by Cheryl Matthynssens.

Narration: Once again, Valerie Gilbert did a great job. She used her most adorable little kid voice once again for the kid dragon. She had a variety of voices for the other dragons and they were all distinct.

What I Liked: The cover art; dragons!; rainbow dragons!; the idea of sharing.

What I Disliked: Nothing ��" I think this is great for kids!
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The Balborite Curse: Book Four of the Dragon Stones Saga by Kristian Alva
The Balborite Curse: Book Four of the Dragon Stones Saga

nrlymrtl, January 13, 2015

Note: While this is Book 4 in the series, it works as a stand alone. It is like a first book in a second trilogy following characters we met in the first 3 books, but set years later.

This was another excellent installment in the Dragon Stone Saga. In this book, the main character is Tallin, the half-dwarf dragon rider and teacher to Elias from the first three books. He was a fascinating character in previous books and I was quite pleased to see him take center stage. The Balborite Curse takes place about 5 years after Book 3, Vosper’s Revenge. Peace has lasted, though it is threadbare and falling apart in places (such as the dwarf kingdoms). There are still few dragons and few riders. Sela is still head of the dragon riders but is soon called back from her vacation to help Tallin deal with yet one more merchant attempting to smuggle a deadly poison into the desert city. I sense these two may be headed for romance in future installments, but for this book there was just the merest hint of something more than friendship.

The interrogation of the merchant leads to more questions and sends Tallin on a small quest to ensure the safety of the merchant’s family, if they still live. Along the way, he visits Chua and Starclaw. Starclaw gives Duskeye (dragon companion to Tallin) some much needed advice on finding receptive dragon females, if any still live. Dragon reproduction is a taboo subject for humans and dragons to chat about, therefore there is much mystery as to why the dragons have not started reproducing again.

Peppered throughout Tallin’s narrative, we get to hang out with the Balborite assassin Skarekina (spelling?), who we have met in previous books. We get some flashbacks to how she became a deadly, accomplished assassin. She has a grudge against Tallin and it comes to blows! Skarekina is a wonderful villain because she is so competent!

We also learn a little about the Orcs and their civilization. It seems that everyone discounts and looks down on the Orcs, even some of our heroes. However, I get the feeling that the author has something more planned for us when it comes to the Orcs. I look forward to surprises later in the series. Towards the end, another dwarf magic user is introduced. She is elderly and practical and was a joy to see in action. I expect we will be seeing more of her in Book 5. I am already somewhat attached to her, so I really hope she doesn’t get killed any time soon.

I know I keep saying it about this series, but I feel each book is just a touch better than the last. I couldn’t be more satisfied with a fantasy series. The characters are interesting, the plot has more than one story line and is not horribly predictable, and the bad guys are complicated and often competent. Plus we then have these side issues going on (fighting dwarf kingdoms, the Orcs, dragon reproduction, etc.) that keep the reader wondering what will happen in the next installment. With this book in particular, we have what could be a very significant question to be answered in the next book and I am very much looking forward to giving it a listen.

Narration: Adam Chase continues to do a great job with this series. I love his blunt voice for Tallin. He voice for Starclaw (an older female dragon) was also great as I could just imagine her wrecked body and mild anger during her chat with Duskeye. Chase has the most wicked female laugh which he employs quite well while performing the assassin.

What I Liked: Tallin is a great character and totally deserves his own few books; the evil assassin is competent and wicked scary; more info on the dragons; possible new threat in the Orcs; a new awesome dwarf magic user is introduced.

What I Disliked: Nothing, this was a great book!
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Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

nrlymrtl, January 2, 2015

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it can stand on its own.

Stephen Leeds is a kind of modern-day detective. He’s super smart, doesn’t stand out in a crowd, and has a whole team of specialists that help him out. What makes him unique is that he is the only one who can see, hear, and interact with his team; he thinks of them as his Aspects. Hence, he is sometimes called ‘Legion’. In this book, Leeds is hired by a tech company (I3) to track down a morgue and ensure it is cremated. The corpse use to be a leading scientist in a niche industry researching biotechnology and wetwear. He was working on a project that would allow humans to store info in their very cells; but because it’s a new science and there’s always unforeseen outcomes, I3 is deeply worried that corpse could release something biologically unwholesome on the populace.

I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series. Since much of the mechanics of Leeds and his Aspects were already founded, I could concentrate on the plot. Stephen starts off on a date but soon is distracted by his bodyguard, JC, as he notices a hitwoman dining a few tables over. Of course Stephen’s conversation with JC is all one-sided to his date and pretty soon she is a bit spooked. But then Yall, who is one of the head managers of I3, calls with a job for Stephen (so he doesn’t have to linger over his failed date).

There’s plenty of humor, some suspense, and a good dash of very interesting cutting edge technology. The characters are interesting and I can see that they grow a little in this book (and if you read Book 1, then you can see that they have developed even further). The action is interspersed with either detective sleuthing or with Leeds doing some introspection. Put all together, it’s an excellent installment in this series.

As with Book 1, Leeds learns more about his Apsects and about what they can and can’t do. There’s not a few theories kicked around about just what Leeds’ Aspects are, and not a few of these are put forth by the Aspects themselves. I am very interested to see in future installments what Leeds’ final form will be with all his Aspects, if he ever has a final form.
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Pirates of Mars by Chris Gerrib
Pirates of Mars

nrlymrtl, January 2, 2015

This not-so-far-future scifi story has humans settled on Mars and up to nefarious deeds. The pirates of Mars are quite a mixed crew (which was entertaining) who end up kidnapping a volunteer space rescue man (Peter). But his agency doesn’t have the funds to ransom him. Luckily, he has friends who improvise a rescue. Over all, the book had a Wild West feel to it, kind of a nod to the TV series Firefly.

Once the characters were set, there wasn’t much growth. But that was OK as this was a fast-paced action flick. I really liked that none of the women were wall flowers or simply there for pretty scenery. There was a lesbian sex scene which could be a bonus or a distraction depending on your view on sex in books. For me, the sex scene was OK, bringing a slight heat to my cheeks but nothing beyond that.

There’s plenty of fun tech in ships and weapons and protective gear. I don’t need it all to be true to life functional for me to enjoy the story. I was a bit skeptical of the human race being capable of having Mars settled and infested with pirates by 2074. But that was easy to set aside and simply pretend it was 2274 instead.

The storyline was predictable but for a quick action flick, I wasn’t looking for any deep mystery or great twists and turns. Over all, I would give this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars. My biggest issue was with the narration.

Narration: I hate being negative in my reviews, but I have to be honest and say that this was a pretty rough narration. McKenzie had a limited range in voice, so many of the characters blended together. His feminine voice was almost non-existent (which was an issue as about half the cast were ladies). Also, I could occasionally hear the pages being turned as he narrated. There were some words that were pronounced oddly and I had to stop and puzzle out what he meant. Also, his words were not always clear. For example, one of the characters is named Jack. So several times there is this phrased, ‘Jack asked….’. Well, the ‘asked’ part was not enunciated so it often sounded like ‘jackass’ and I thought the characters were joking with each other or insulting each other, when in fact Jack was being inquisitive. I felt that the story was being announced, like in some sports announcer voice, for much of the book. With such a narration, I have to rate the audiobook lower than 3 stars.
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