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Crackdown

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“I gots a Verna.”

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-07-20

I like to get the nitpicks out of the way first. The editing could be tightened up. Even just a good Beta reader would help catch a lot of the edits required. All authors are prone to mistakes, or habits, that another point of view will often catch. Tis the nature of the beast.

But that's it, that's the nitpick. Now normally that's enough to have me pulling out my hair, and muttering the more colourful invectives under my breath. Not so with this series of books.

I love the world built up in this series, I adore the characters. The dialogue is witty, or serious as needed. When required there is an emotional hand that reaches up and grabs hold of you. Throughout the series I have found myself laughing, to crying, to feeling just about every emotion in between. Hollie Jackson has done a great job as narrator, and cleverly weaves those ebbs and flows of the story together.

My two favourite parts so far are, one: in an earlier book when Emily has hold of the dictionary, and Laney knows she's not letting go of that any time soon. Two: in this book, “I gots a Verna.” Just ideal settings for the characters both times. There are other moments I have savored almost as much, just far too many to mention.

So yes, I have become emotionally invested in these people and their lives. To the point where I avidly await the next installment. I don't think there is a much better compliment to give an author. Thank you, Mr. Erik Schubach, for bringing us along on the journey.

There are only two other authors who have written a book series that have had me so emotionally invested.

In parting, (in my very meagre Welsh from living in the Welsh Marches) I look at the clock, and bid you, 'nos da'. Good night.

Surprisingly okay.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-20

While some comparisons to Harry Potter have been made, I don't think it qualifies as a direct comparison.

It's close in some ways, except our heroine is older when she discovers she's a witch, and that there are others like her out there. Plus she'd already started to do odd things in her life, which have helped get her into employment.

The main thing that does feel close to Harry Potter is a coven seems like the Ministry of Magic in their description. Especially the method of travel between mirrors, and the main access points to each coven.

I like the idea of the Beasts, and how they come into being.

To be honest, there are so many mixed reviews to this series I probably would have given the whole thing a miss, except for one thing. I like the narrator.

If you aren't sure, give it a try remembering you can return the title if you don't agree with the positive reviews.

As we say in the UK, I feel this is a bit like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. I ended up... loving it might be a tad too much, but certainly liking it enough for a five star rating. Not bad when I was expecting to hate it with a vengeance.

Another favourite of mine.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-20

This is the sequel to 'Backwards to Oregon '. However, there is one tiny reference to a short story (the name of the short story collection eludes me at the moment), in the accompanying short story collection that is relevant to this story. That said, you don't need to read the short story to understand the reference.

I first got this book as a Kindle version

Like the first story, I was thrilled to see it in the Audible catalogue.

It's well researched, well developed, and has you wanting the happy ever after both the main characters are hoping for, if for totally different reasons to start with.

It was also lovely to have Tess included in a more tangible way.

I didn't mind the narrator, I think she actually did a better job on this book than the first one.

If I want a couple of books to lose myself in, these two are some of my go-to escape novels.

2 people found this helpful

One of my favourite books.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-20

I first got this book as Kindle and paperback versions.

I was thrilled to see it in the Audible catalogue.

It's well researched, well developed, and has you wanting the happy ever after both the main characters are hoping for, if for totally different reasons to start with.

I didn't mind the narrator, although I think she actually did a slightly better job on the sequel, 'Hidden Truths'.

1 person found this helpful

I was surprised at how hooked I became.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-20

I always try to get the negatives out the way first.

For this author it is the lack of editing. I know he is a self published author, but I wish he had even just a good Beta reader to help reduce the editing mistakes. Even the most accomplished authors need editors, because it gives a fresh set of eyes to catch repetition of phrases, or typing mistakes. The overused word here is, 'then'. Plus, some of the internal monologues aren't always needed.

Right, that's out of the way.

The positives. And they're enough for me to overcome my natural instinct to kill off reading a story that hasn't been edited well. In fact, I think this author is the only one who can happily take my money with that in mind. Why, you might rightly ask?

Well, simply because the world is well crafted, the characters are engaging, and we get a story that is unique.

Laney is finding her way in the world of Knights, all to avoid the stockade. And the real adventure all starts at Gus Davis Ford. I enjoyed the way Margaret had her own little bit of intrigue right at the start of Laney's new life, and Jace is not an afterthought.

There are plenty of moments of humour, and the action sequences are believable within this fantasy land.

I only have one complaint, and that is that only the first three stories in the series are in the Audible catalogue. I would love it if the other three (so far) were added. Especially as I listen to audio books more than reading hard copies these days for disability reasons. Okay, so it's not a complaint in the real sense of the word... but hey, a fan of this author, and especially this series of books, can hope. 🙏

Hollie Jackson is also a good enough narrator to pull off the different characters and their nuances.

I love this series.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-20

This author is one who goes down the self published route. As with a lot of self published books there are moments when the edits could be tighter. The author uses the word 'then' a lot, or unnecessarily doubles up on words in the same sentence or paragraph. Plus, some of the internal musings are repeated a bit too often. Even just using a decent Beta reader would clear up a lot of these understandable mistakes... because every author makes them, which is why an editor or good Beta reader can be so useful.

Now...

Normally those edits would kill a book for me. Not just kill it... but kill it, bury it, dig it up, kill it again for good measure, and bury the whole thing for good!

Despite me saying the above, I have read or listened to far worse, and because of the way these storylines engage me and flow, I get carried beyond the editing. I think this is the only author who has that distinction for me.

I have been a fan of the author ever since Music of the Soul came out, and I love the easy nature, yet imaginative settings of his books. I especially love this series, I find myself rooting for the good guys, and I have the other books in the series on Kindle. I would love them all on Audible, and I hope at some point they are added to the catalogue.

There is humour sprinkled within the whole story, the characters are believable, the settings well imagined, and Hollie Jackson is the right narrator for the job. I love the interaction between Misty and her parents, it has added a whole new level to the books. At some point I hope we get to see Margaret mend the friendship she had from her youth. I feel that could add an interesting little wrinkle to the future stories. Bex deserved his moment in this story, as did the Gypsies arriving for carnival. Rain, as leader of the gypsies, always amuses and delights.

All the parts of the stories that take part in Cedar Ridge are a great counterpoint to whatever the next adventure will be, and I love the way the knowledge and understanding has been explored and expanded.

In summary: simply put, I can't wait for the next book.

I really enjoyed the story.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-08-19

This tale slowly drew me in, its characters were people you were rooting for, and the worlds they inhabit was nicely crafted.

It's not often I find myself pleased a tale has been made into a trilogy. However, this story is so well balanced, it fits into three books perfectly. I especially liked the extra binary additions to the story, I have Trans family and friends, as well as non-binary friends, and my dearest wish is for their existence to simply coexist with the rest of us, equal on every level. We get that in this story.

The narrator was not too bad, I've certainly heard worse.

I have enjoyed these books so much, I have found myself listening to them on more than one occasion. Each time I seem to find more layers that enhance my listening experience.

1 person found this helpful

Another winner from Jae with Angela Dawe Narrator.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-19

I don't think Jae has actually written a bad book. There are always some books you prefer over others, and this one was a pleasant surprise.

The premise might be cliched, but it's well done with characters that you really care about.

Angela Dawe is one of the best narrators out there. I've listened to multiple books read by her, and each book has its own style. Not an easy feat for any narrator.

All in all, a great author, paired with a great narrator, has me listening to these books again and again.

A great fantasy book.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-07-19

I loved this book.

The narrator was somebody I hadn't heard before, and I was impressed.

The story weaves the uncertainty the main character feels in her day to day life, with the confidence of putting on the mask that being a Superhero gives her. Not to mention how she balances her Superhero work within all the emotions.

Add in a believable arc of friendship, and then love, between her and her boss, and it comes together nicely. I especially like that the story doesn't quite end when they realise how much they love each other. It gives the story a bit of extra depth that works well.

I wish the other books in the series (by different authors) were in the Audible catalogue, but we can hope. Pretty please, if there aren't any contractual issues to content with, of course.

1 person found this helpful

Could be better.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-07-19

I struggled to finish this. I only got a third of the way through before giving up.

I just couldn't connect with the characters. Especially when we got the life history of the psychiatrist twice. Her schooling was repeated almost verbatim when we met her sister. It wasn't needed, and when things keep getting over explained I get disinterested rather quickly.

The timing of the river dump to the kidnapping also jumps around a bit at the beginning, and it was unclear which timeline we were in. Plus, did nobody think to follow the basics of finger prints and DNA for Jane Doe? Especially given they decide early on she's a woman who came from an affluent background. A woman of means was likely reported missing with those things on record. It's the little things that niggle, and these all happened only a little over an hour into the book.

I liked the idea of the story, and I think with some tighter editing it could be a really good, escape the real world, type novel. Sadly, it doesn't quite work for me as it stands.

The narrator isn't bad, and I think she did a decent enough job. So plus marks for that aspect of the production.