Saturday 25 February 2017

EYE OF THE MOONRAT (The Bowl Of Souls book 1)

Eye Of The Moonrat by Trevor H. Cooley
Book 1 of The Bowl Of Souls series
Read by James Foster
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: paperback & audiobookAudiobook

About Eye Of The Moonrat:
Justan was raised on the outskirts of the Dremaldrian Battle Academy. He watched his father ascend the ranks within the academy to become one of the most respected warriors in the kingdom. The only thing he has ever wanted is to become an academy student and follow the path of his father. Unfortunately, only the best can enter the academy and Justan is a horrible fighter. Everyone tells him that he is more suited to scholarly work than swordplay. In desperation he hurls himself into training, eager to overcome the doubters and walk into the academy triumphant, unaware that secretive powers plot to disrupt his plans.

Meanwhile, an evil wizard of immense power is using magic to twist the bodies of the creatures of the land and transform them into monsters. With these creatures and the peoples of the wilds, he is building an army . . .

Ogres and dragons, warriors and wizards are destined to clash, their fates guided by The Bowl of Souls.

Eye of the Moonrat is book one of The Bowl of Souls series.
Source: Info in the About Eye Of The Moonrat was taken from GoodReads at on 19/02/2017.

My Thoughts:
I like the way James Foster reads. The words are clear and distinct which brought the rating of this audiobook a couple of notches up!

When I first started reading/listening to this book, it seemed like this author is one of those who makes the characters act or be stupid to create a situation where they could save the world... a version of "too stupid to live" (TSTL) kind of writing style... Justan, our main protagonist, sounded like a know-it-all, obstinate learner. That didn't endear him to me at all... I wasn't enthralled, to say the least. However there was nothing better to read and the book was in my phone already so I continued listening to it. I was glad I did because as it turns out, Justan wasn't TSTL but just make mistakes like any of us does. It was annoying at first but it also made the character more real and enabled the reader to connect with story more firmly. However, the super-villain on the other hand is all evil which bears no semblance to reality and is so much like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers instead. The character is painted more of a parody of evil than a real evil. This has the effect of the story having a clear cut delineating line between good and evil. It follows that the plot is quite straight forward as well. A formulaic bad guys attack, good guys defend, and there ensues a fight between good and evil. Then the book ends in a cliffhanger. The end. However, the world building is good enough that I wanted to keep on reading. Kudos to the author for achieving that much! The only thing marring that world building is it's slight middle grade tone. In its portrayal of the evil villain, it gave this book a middle grade slant. I'm not a fan of this particular quirk. I was looking for a proper epic fantasy. In that score, I was a bit disappointed.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 4
Story itself = 3
Writing Style = 3.5
Ending = 2
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 4
Pace = 3
Plot = 3
Narration = 5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Bowl Of Souls Series:

The Author
Trevor H. Cooley
Since putting out his first book: Eye of the Moonrat in May of 2012, Trevor H. Cooley has sold over 200,000 copies of his books in ebook and audio formats.

He was born in South Carolina and has lived all around the United states, including Utah, New Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee.

His love of reading started in the second grade with Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series. He couldn’t get enough and continued with David Eddings, Tolkein, Robert Jordan, Stephen King, and many others. Since then, all he wanted was to become a published writer.

The characters and concepts that eventually became the Bowl of Souls series started in his teens. He wrote short stories, kept notebooks full of ideas, and generally dreamed about the world constantly. There were several attempts at starting a novel over the years.

Not long after he was married, his wife told him to stop talking about the story and write it down. Many years and rewrites and submissions and rejection letters later, he finally put the books on Amazon. In August of 2013 he quit his day job and started writing full time.

The Narrator

James Foster
James Foster was born in Bj√∂rk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where his parents were giant stone heads. He has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of his hands and he can turn his legs into tigers. On Sundays, James enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. His favorite color is greenish-transparent and his favorite movie is the one you just watched. James is in charge of uploading the staff bios to the website, and no one has checked over his work.

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Tuesday 14 February 2017


The Novice by Taran Matharu
Book 1 of the Summoner series
Read by Dominic Thorburn
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

About The Novice:
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
Source: Info in the About The Novice was taken from GoodReads at on 13/02/2017.

My Thoughts:
This book is a very slow start for me. I wanted to read this book because I like the premise. I also like the cover art, it entices me to read, however, once I start reading it I find myself needing breaks from it so I put it down and then pick it up again on a later date. Another contributing factor for this book being a slow start is reading about the bully. I just get so angry that I just have to have a break from it. If I was Fletcher, I would have shot Didric a long time ago... several times... However, once it got going it went relatively quick for me.

This is the first Dominic Thorburn book I've ever listened to and I like the way he reads. I specially like his interpretation of the Orc incantation! However, I don't know why he would give the Dwarves a Scottish accent though...

Ignatius quickly became my favouritest sidekick right from the start. He is the red Salamander with the arrowhead-tipped tail!

I like the story telling quality of this book. Although the genre is very congested with "coming of age" epic fantasies which is what this book is, the author still managed to stand out from the crowd. Kudos to Taran Matharu!

But here is the kicker, it ended with a huge cliffhanger which did not endear this series to me at all!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 3.5
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 2
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 3
Plot = 4
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Summoner Series

The Author
Taran Matharu
Taran Matharu is a New York Times bestselling author. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for reading at a very early age. His love for stories developed into a desire to create his own during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.

Thanks to and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.

After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Saturday 11 February 2017


Echoes In Death by JD Robb
Book 44 of the In Death series
Narrated by Susan Ericksen
Genre: scifi crime fiction
Format: ebook & audiobookAudible Books

About Echoes In Death:
This chilling new suspense novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb is the perfect entry point into the compelling In Death police procedural series featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman — dazed, naked, and bloody — suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner—party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?
Source: Info in the "About Echoes In Death" was taken from GoodReads at on 10/02/2017.

ECHOES IN DEATH by JD Robb audiobook
My Thoughts:
By now, Susan Ericksen's voice is firmly entrenched in my head as Eve Dallas' voice, just as Johanna Parker's is Sookie Stackhouse's. Flaws and all. So it no longer matter what previous dislikes I might have for the narration, it is all good now.

The plot is just a little on the side of fantastical rather than crime fiction this time. Or maybe it has always been like that and this is just the first time that I really let myself see it. I do have the tendency to want to keep my fantasy bubble and be obstinately blind. Or maybe I am becoming less enamoured by this series and start getting cynical (I hope not). Anyway, it is still a flipping good read.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 5
Ending = 5
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = (13 hrs & 43 mins listening time)
Plot = 4.5
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries

FTC Disclosure:
Ebook and audiobook copies of the book were purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.