Adam Vine’s Lurk Audiobook Blog Tour

Author: Adam Vine

Narrator: Kevin Meyer

Length: 9h 46m

Publisher: Lilydog Books⎮2017

Genre: Horror

Release date: Jan. 16, 2017

Some secrets should stay buried….

College student Drew Brady never wanted the power to spy on his friends. But late one night, he finds a box of old Polaroids buried under his house that can change to show him whatever he desires, and Drew finds himself with the power to watch the people around him without them ever knowing.

Yet as Drew falls deeper into the rabbit hole of jealousy and despair, he begins having strange visions of the students who lived at the house 20 years ago and the gruesome fates they met after moving out. He finds evidence of a stalker who may be living on the property. The line between reality and nightmare blurs. Drew realizes there is something under the house that is manipulating him through the pictures, an eldritch, not-quite-dead thing that will drive him to do unspeakable evil if he doesn’t look away….

A blistering horror story, Lurk is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

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Adam Vine was born in Petaluma, California. By day, he is a game writer and designer. He has lived in four different countries and visited almost thirty. His short fiction has appeared in various horror, science fiction, and literary fiction magazines and anthologies. When he is not writing, he is traveling, reading something icky, or teaching himself to play his mandolin. He currently lives in Germany.


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A devoted Midwesterner, raised in rural Wisconsin and transplanted to Tulsa, Oklahoma over three decades ago. A career-long voice-over and music radio guy, my iPhone playlist ranges from Alice Cooper and Waylon Jennings to Twenty One Pilots and The Zac Brown Band. Favorite reads are dominated by political biographies (Lincoln, Truman, Kennedy)…and Stephen King. And now Adam Vine…’cause day-um that Drew Brady is one twisted mother!

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May 7: Read Day and Night
A Book and A Latte

May 8: Dab of Darkness

May 9: The Desert Bibliophile

May 10: CGB Blog Tours

May 11: The Pursuit of Bookishness

May 12: Lomeraniel

May 13: There Are Books

May 14: Lilly’s Book World

May 15: The Bookworm Lodge

May 16: Ronelle Antoinette

May 17: Avid Book Collector

May 18: Between the Coverz

May 19: A Book and A Latte

May 20: Bound 4 Escape

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Review: Omari and the People (Audiobook)

Omari and the People (Audiobook) by Stephen Whitfield, Read by Curt Simmons
Omari and the People (Audiobook) by Stephen Whitfield, Read by Curt Simmons

★★★★1/2 (4.5 out of 5)

Official Synopsis:  In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the Empty Quarter in Arabia) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead his life and the success of the caravan – is jeopardized.

Nearly all of the folktales that survive today have origins in the oral tradition.  They were passed down from generation to generation and from culture to culture by master storytellers.  Omari and the People, by Stephen Whitfield, is written in the style of a folktale — one that tells the story of a hero’s journey to save himself and his wandering band of nomads — and as such is a perfect fit for the audiobook format.  Having Curt Simmons performing the narration just makes it that much better!

Whitfield’s prose is simple and stark, yet utterly powerful.  As the story unfolds, we travel with the titular Omari and his caravan as they search for a new life beyond the seemingly endless swaths of desert separating them from their potential future.  The story may seem simple on the surface — a group of characters must travel from Point A to Point B despite numerous conflicts — but Omari and the People is far from simplistic.  Trials and tribulations abound as Omari and his fellow travelers must come to terms with sandstorms, food shortages, infectious diseases, insects, raiders, water shortages, and deeper philosophical issues.  Even in its quietest moments, Omari and the People never slows down.

As a protagonist, Omari is deeply flawed.  His past is dark and his decision-making abilities are almost certainly compromised by those around him.  Will he do what needs to be done to save his people?  Or will he succumb to the temptations of his past and present?

This novel is essentially a classic epic hero’s journey and the audiobook narration of Curt Simmons only adds to this sense of grandeur.  Simmons’ voice takes on a not-quite-placeable Middle-Eastern accent which he somehow manages to keep up for the nearly eleven-and-a-half hours of run-time.  His performance is multi-layered and manages to capture the characters in amazing, nuanced detail.  Simply put, Simmons’ narration is a revelation.  (Seriously.  Check out samples of his other work on Audible.com.  He always seems to bring something completely fresh to each performance!)

If and when I listen to audiobooks, they are nearly always non-fiction in nature due to the fact that I can listen to them without having to pay too close attention to plot points or character arcs. Omari and the People, and Simmons’ narration in particular, may very well change this as I found myself so completely drawn into the tale!  Although the conclusion wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped it would be, this audiobook gets my complete recommendation.  Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Omari and the People today!

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review.  The tour is being sponsored by Stephen Whitfield and Curt Simmons.  

Author Stephen Whitfield

Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. His various adventures have taken him to such places as London, Paris, Trondheim, Johannesburg, Beirut, most of The Virgin Islands and the wilder neighborhoods of Chicago.

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Narrator Curt Simmons
Narrator Curt Simmons

Curt lives in Seattle and produces and narrates audiobooks in his home studio. He began his performing career in college as a stage actor and radio personality. After college, in addition to acting, Curt also did voiceovers for commercials, which he also wrote, directed, and edited for broadcast TV. Following the birth of his daughter in 1984, he left the performing arts to pursue a more “stable” profession managing projects. Then, in 2014 he returned to the professional stage for the first time in over 30 years as Walter Flood in Becky’s New Car by Stephen Dietz. He has also appeared recently as Lyman in Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz and Ralph in The Last Romance by Joseph DiPietro. Omari and the People is Curt’s sixth audiobook.

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Recently Added to My TBR List

Here are three new(ish) books that have recently earned a place on my TBR list:

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

The acclaimed New York Times bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming delivers her first adult novel in twenty years.

Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

Like Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives.

 

The Hike by Drew Magary

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.

On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the “Producer,” the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path.

At once bitingly funny and emotionally absorbing, Magary’s novel is a remarkably unique addition to the contemporary fantasy genre, one that draws as easily from the world of classic folk tales as it does from video games. In The Hike, Magary takes readers on a daring odyssey away from our day-to-day grind and transports them into an enthralling world propelled by heart, imagination, and survival.

Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture by Jace Clayton

In 2001 Jace Clayton was an unknown DJ who recorded a three-turntable, sixty-minute mix and put it online to share with friends. Within weeks, Gold Teeth Thief became an international calling card, whisking Clayton away to play a nightclub in Zagreb, a gallery in Osaka, a former brothel in Sao Paolo, and the American Museum of Natural History. Just as the music world made its fitful, uncertain transition from analog to digital, Clayton found himself on the front lines of creative upheavals of art production in the twenty-first century globalized world.

Uproot is a guided tour of this newly-opened cultural space. With humor, insight, and expertise, Clayton illuminates the connections between a Congolese hotel band and the indie-rock scene, Mexican rodeo teens and Israeli techno, and Whitney Houston and the robotic voices is rural Moroccan song, and offers an unparalleled understanding of music in the digital age.

Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks Fire)

★★★1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch has been garnering a lot of online buzz prior to its March 2017 release — and rightly so.  It’s like Memoirs of a Geisha, if only the geisha were magic-wielding warriors who fight evil across the land.  Sounds great, right?  And in principle, it is.  In principle.

The Bone Witch tells the story of Tea, an asha.  Think of asha as geisha who not only have to entertain paying guests, but must also learn and use magic for a variety of purposes.  Tea herself is a Dark asha, or Bone Witch, in that she can use necromancy to raise the dead — something she does “accidentally” a couple of times throughout the novel to varying effect.  Sounds pretty interesting so far, right?  And when you add in dangerous mystical creatures, an enemy known as Faceless, a little romance, and plots of revenge, we should be looking at YA Fantasy Book-of-the-Year.  So what’s the problem?

Unfortunately, a majority of the novel (at least 90% of it — no joke) focuses on Tea’s training and learning the ways of the asha and it features is A LOT of exposition!  Huge chunks of the book are taken up with people simply explaining things to Tea.  I have to admit that I lost interest multiple times throughout the read and had to step away from it from time to time. Whatever happened to the concept of “show, don’t tell”?  And since 90% of the book is about Tea’s training, the whole thing feels like a like a set-up — with very little actual reward and only the promise of more to come.

And there will be more to come.  In response to a question on Goodreads asking if this will become part of a trilogy, Chupeco stated that she will at least write a sequel.  Good!  Because the world she has created in The Bone Witch universe is an intriguing one that should be revisited.  But I hope that when she does, she puts all of Tea’s training to good use — because I’ve seriously had enough exposition already!

So, if you’re looking for a new YA series with lots of action, look elsewhere.  But if you want a fantasy with some terrific world-building, interesting characters, and the hope of exciting times to come, go ahead and give The Bone Witch a try!

Also, it should be noted that the cover art is absolutely wonderful!

A special thanks goes out to Rin Chupeco, NetGalley, and Sourcebooks Fire for the advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Witch will be released on March 7, 2017.  Pre-order your copy HERE.

Review: Viva la Pizza!: The Art of the Pizza Box

★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Viva la Pizza! by Scott Wiener is a surprisingly informative book about pizza boxes. That’s right — PIZZA BOXES!

I picked it up thinking it was merely going to be a book of pictures, but that’s not the case. The author has clearly done his research and it shows in his writing. This helped me go from “I’m just going to flip through this” to “let me sit down and read the entire thing.” Which I did. And I enjoyed it immensely.

This book will probably only hold the interest of pizza-fans, but c’mon…who doesn’t like pizza?

From Amazon.com:

Since the origins of to-go pizza, pizzerias and pizza chains have taken great pride in covering take-out boxes with captivating designs. They’ve also wrestled with the best way to manufacture a box that can keep a pizza looking and tasting great.
Here, the world’s expert on pizza boxes presents more than one hundred weird and wild box designs and explores the curious history of the pizza box. Included are international designs, corporate designs, and dozens of quirky images from mom-and-pop pizzerias.
Where does all this art come from? Scott Wiener has been collecting and cataloging pizza boxes for more than five years. In Viva la Pizza!, Wiener traces design trends over the past four decades and profiles some of the world’s most prolific box designers and manufacturers. The result is a captivating overview of pizza culture and a new way to look at one of the world’s favorite foods.

You can purchase Viva la Pizza!: The Art of the Pizza Box HERE.

A pizza I recently made for my wife with balsamic glaze for a little extra oomph!

Review: And Then the Sky Exploded by David A. Poulsen

★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5)

I recently received an ARC of And Then the Sky Exploded by David A. Poulsen courtesy of NetGalley and Dundurn Press in exchange for an honest review. So, here it is:

And Then the Sky Exploded is the story of Christian Larkin, a ninth-grade student who discovers that his recently-deceased great-grandfather was a member of the Manhattan Project. He travels to Japan in order to make up for what his great-grandfather did in the past.

The first half of the novel features flashbacks to a young girl named Yuko, who survived the attack on Hiroshima and the subsequent years of hardship. These flashbacks offer an unflinching look at the horrors of war.

The rest of the first half focuses on Christian’s life at school leading up to his trip to Japan. And this is where I have some issues.

There are LOTS of subplots here that honestly offer nothing to the larger story. We have Christian’s deaf friend Carson, who only exists to send a website address to the protagonist later in the second-half. We have pages upon pages dedicated to a high school football game. Why is it there? I have no idea. We have Christian’s foil in the character of Lorelei. As far as I can tell, she exists only for a moment of redemption at the very end of the novel that makes very little sense (“swish-swish”).

I briefly thought that the author was purposefully contrasting the horrors of war with the frivolity of Christian’s daily goings-on. But, honestly, the Christian subplots simply seemed frivolous and superfluous. In order to better serve the overall story, they should have been edited out.

The second half of the novel fared far better. The descriptions of Japan made the trip seem exciting and I definitely learned a thing or two about the culture. The eventual meeting between Christian and an elderly Yuko was handled particularly well.

If I were to suggest this novel to my students it would be mainly for the second half and the overall message of redemption. It could also be used to teach empathy as Christian and his friends are all very caring.

Overall, I would give And Then the Sky Exploded ★★★. A nice story with heart that could use a little bit of editing.

Review: Repo Madness by W. Bruce Cameron

★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Like the first book in the series, Repo Madness is an enjoyable, comical tale about various mysteries in and around Kalkaska, Michigan. There were, perhaps, a few too many antagonists that muddled the story, but in the end, everything was resolved. Well, almost everything — W. Bruce Cameron clearly leaves enough unanswered questions for another volume somewhere down the line. I can’t wait to read it!

From Amazon.com:

Ruddy McCann is back in “Repo Madness–the “laugh-out-loud, thrilling adventure from bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron!

Ruddy McCann, former college football star, now Kalkaska, Michigan repo man, is finally getting his life back on track. He has a beautiful fiance, Katie Lottner, a somewhat stable job stealing cars, and a lazy, lovable basset hound.

With his job suddenly in jeopardy, his fiance wanting a break, and a new court-ordered psychiatrist insisting he take his medication or violate the terms of his probation, Ruddy finds himself missing the one thing he thought he would be happy to be rid of–the voice of Alan Lottner, dead realtor and Ruddy’s future father-in-law.

When a woman tells Ruddy that the tragedy that defines his life may, in fact, be a lie, Ruddy starts to investigate the disappearances of women in the area and soon discovers that his own redemption may be within reach. Alan’s voice returns, and Ruddy and Alan work together to bring down a corrupt banker, win back Katie’s love, and stop a serial killer before he can strike again.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the digital ARC.

Repo Madness will be released on August 23, 2016