The creatures who live next door …

Working Stiff: The Cases of Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Volume 5 (Unabridged)

Author: Kevin J. Anderson Date: 2015 Narrator: Michael Gilboe Provider: WordFire Press Running Time: 6 h 17 min Audible Enhanced Audio Back from the dead – and back on the case! Even being murdered doesn’t keep a good detective down, and in the Unnatural Quarter – inhabited by ghosts, vampires, werewolves, mummies, and all sorts of creatures that go bump (or thud!) in the night – a zombie PI fits right in. Dan Chambeaux, aka “Shamble”, solves a string of madcap cases with his ghost girlfriend Sheyenne, his Best Human Friend Officer Toby McGoohan, and his firebrand lawyer partner Robin Deyer.

 

Since I discovered Sookie Stackhouse some years ago, I have come to very much enjoy the lighter touch authors are using to deal with the interaction of unnatural (or “othernaturals?) and humanity in the modern world.  In this collection of short stories, we see all sorts of different um, species (for lack of a better description) interacting with humanity as nearly a normal part of everyday life, and the whole subject is treated with humor.  The cases are sometimes laugh out loud funny, as are most of the characters, and, while this book doesn’t have a serious bone in its body, it is grand, well written fun.

 

Mr. Gilboe provides his usual excellent narration.  He uses expression and character voicing to good effect, and his style enhances both the quality and the humor of this lighthearted romp through the world of legends that have come to life, and can now be found at the nearest gourmet coffee shop or mall.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for this unbiased via the courtesy of AudioBookBlast dot com.

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Another wonderful Fantasy world!

Aranya: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1 (Unabridged)

Author: Marc Secchia Date: 2015 Narrator: Shiromi Arserio Provider: Marc Secchia Running Time: 14 h 28 min Audible Enhanced Audio Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly? Long ago Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonizing, building, and warring. Now the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom – the Island-Kingdom of Immadia. Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter. Series Note There is a companion series to Aranya, set in the same unique Island-World above the Cloudlands. Aranya is the last of the Dragons – or is she? Find out why the Dragons disappeared in The Pygmy Dragon, now available on Kindle.

 

I had read and enjoyed the Pygmy Dragon so much that the author very kindly gifted me a copy of this book.  I enjoyed it just as much, and for many of the same reasons.  First of all, the world building in both books is superb.  The author creates his own world, complete with geographic features, civilizations, and history. it all works together to enmesh and then captivate the reader.  Yes, one can trace certain inspirations back to the Earth we know, but those inspirations are merely jumping off points, and by the time the author is finished with them, they are creative and entirely his own, fitting perfectly into his world.

 

Next, there is the writing, which is vivid and engaging.  The author’s use of language is admirable, and he weaves his tale with a light but firm hand.

 

I had noticed, before, the deft way the author has with portraying young people, and that definitely carries on in this book as well.  His teens are just that, whatever world they live in.  they laugh and play (not always at appropriate times), tease one another, and have the same doubts and fears anyone approaching adulthood have, and they deal with them, with a minimum of angst, which I, frankly, appreciate.  These young people are far too busy living to dither and agonize, let alone be self indulgent or self absorbed.

 

The story is exciting, complicated, filled with lots of action, including some incredible aerael battles, the politics of diplomacy, and yes, romance.  This is a marvelous fantasy series, and a delight to revisit through the pages of this book.