Cheri Reviews The Wrong Unit by Rob Dircks

Sci-fi isn’t really a go-to genre for me and I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book. I had never heard of the author and I didn’t read the blurb before I stared – I like to be surprised. If you want to read the blurb, here’s what Amazon has:

I don’t know what the humans are so cranky about. Their enclosures are large, they ingest over 1,000 calories per day, and they’re allowed to mate. Plus, they have me. An Autonomous Servile Unit, housed in a mobile/bipedal chassis. I do my job well: keep the humans healthy and happy. “Hey you.” Heyoo. That’s my name, I suppose. It’s easier for the humans to remember than 413s98-itr8. I guess I’ve gotten used to it.

Rob Dircks, best-selling author of Where the Hell is Tesla?, has a “unit” with a problem: how to deliver his package, out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to guide him. Oh, and with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance. It’s a science fiction tale of technology gone haywire, unlikely heroes, and the nature of humanity. (Woah. That last part sounds deep. Don’t worry, it’s not.)

Not much to the blurb but there’s lots to the story. Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away.

I was engaged right from the start and absolutely loved hearing Heyoo’s interpretations of things that are very human. Quite possibly my favorite were his theories on the meaning behind the song “The Wheels on the Bus.” I’ll never listen to it in the same way again.

There was so much that I enjoyed while reading this book! The humor is fantastic and I laughed out loud many times. The science fiction aspects were interesting and I was immersed in the world that Heyoo and Wah lived in. I cared about the characters and the outcome and was a little sad when I got to the end of the book. Speaking of the ending, very well done! I didn’t see the final resolution coming until a few seconds before it happened. And the ending almost made me tear up a bit. I’m still smiling after nearly an hour.

Probably the most pleasant surprise was how much I enjoyed the narration. Some authors should definitely stay away from narrating their own work but not this one. His voice is great and his sound effects definitely added to the work.

What a fun, entertaining, feel-good book. Mr. Dircks has a new fan.

I received a copy of the audio book from the author for a possible review.

You can download a sample or purchase The Wrong Unit by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton


I’d been hearing about Janet Evanovich for a very long time before I read One for the Money. Several of my relatives and friends swore she was just the best author ever and I really needed to stop putting it off and get into her Stephanie Plum series. Of course, that only made me more resolved to avoid them at all costs. I’m hard-headed like that. Once the movie came out, I figured I’d waiting long enough and dove in. What a hoot! I loved the characters and the language and the humor. I never did get around to finishing the series but I could certainly see why so many other folks devoured her books as soon as they came out.

Flash forward a few years and I see the first book of a new series that has Evanovich writing with an author I’d never heard of before. I like mysteries and I hadn’t been even remotely disappointed with One for the Money, so I figured I had nothing to lose by requesting it from the publisher for a review. As soon as I cracked the ebook open, I was hooked.

Our heroine is Riley Moon. She’s just started working for Blane-Grunwald, one of the worlds largest banks, and her first assignment is to meet with Emerson Knight, who is rich, handsome, and eccentric. Very eccentric. He’s concerned about his gold that is supposedly held in the vaults at Blane-Grunwald and Riley has been sent to make him feel better. What happens from their first meeting on is a non-stop ride filled with murder, mayhem, alien hunters, and lots of humor. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I laughed and there were even a few surprises which made it even more fun.

Anyone who has read Evanovich before and enjoyed her work will surely have a great time reading this one. And if you haven’t read her yet, what better way to get started than with the first of a new series?

You can download a sample or purchase Curious Minds by clicking here.

I was provided with a copy of this book through NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.

Nikki reviews Time of Our Lives by Jane Waterton


This book brings the reader into an all-lesbian retirement community in Austraila called OWL Haven. Here we meet a cast of characters all learning to live again after deciding to embark on some big life changes. Some are here for health reasons, some because of loneliness, others for the sense of community they so desperately need, building a family with each other they didn’t expect to find again.

Although a true ensemble piece with a multitude of characters (that can be quite funny together) most of the story centers around six women. Meg and Allie have been best friends for decades, Pat and Bella are dealing with a resurgence of cancer, while Daphne and Swallow (character’s name, not sure why) are finding unexpected love late in life. There are somewhat serious issues these women are having to deal with, their journeys coming with substantial bumps in the road. Even though most admit by this age they should probably know better than make the mistakes they do, they still manage to screw up a good thing on more than one occasion. They taught me the art of communication is something you never stop learning, even with decades of relationship experience under your belt.

This book isn’t without flaws, as some characters had responses that felt a little out of character for how they were presented throughout. Some instances made me wish Allie, Daphne and Pat would get smacked over the head a few times for their emotional immaturity and lack of self-awareness. However, these friends were all adorable together, had each others backs (even when they didn’t want them to) and made me laugh with their antics throughout. A sweet story about women in the twilight of their lives, and I’m glad I read it. Those of you I’ve heard complaining about the lack of romance storylines for women of a certain age, pick this one up as there’s plenty to warm your heart cockles.

You can download a sample or purchase Times of our Lives by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews Backcast by Ann McMan


It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of Ann McMan for a long time – both as an author and as a human being. I’ve read nearly all of her books and have enjoyed them to varying degrees but this one, Backcast, is, in my opinion, her best work yet.

The book covers what happens when thirteen women, most of them authors of lesfic, come together to participate in an artistic endeavor. Throughout the book, we’re treated to plenty of funny and thought-provoking scenes and revelations while following the various characters over their two-week adventure in writing, relationship-building, and, for a few, fishing.

For me, the best and most important parts of this book are the essays each participant writes giving glimpses into their pasts. I’ve said it before and I stand by this statement: Ann McMan writes serious and touching fiction. Yes, the woman is hilarious with great timing and wordsmithing but her ability to get to the souls of the characters and strip them bare is incredible. The thirteen essays included as part of Backcast touched me and, several hours after finishing the book, continue to weigh on my mind. We’re not told who wrote which essay and, while I was able to figure a few out, I plan to go back and read them again. Partially to figure out who each belongs to but mostly because I want to take my time with them and truly absorb them. They are that good, that real.

I had received an ebook copy from Bywater Books for review and then received a signed copy as part of a donation to Lambda Literary in honor of our friend, Sandra Moran, and, later, after a recommendation regarding the audiobook, purchased a copy from Audible. The audiobook is how I finally decided to finish the book and I’m happy I did. The narrator does a pretty good job. Although, I’m sure the author would have created a fantastic narration herself. Maybe for the next book. Which I hope will hold even more serious investigation of the human condition because I truly believe that is where this author shines.

So, if you haven’t already, give Backcast a shot. Even if you don’t dig the essays as much as I did, Phoebe and the CLIT Con Thirteen will make it worth the price all on their own.

You can download a sample or purchase Backcast by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews The Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton


I found out about this book from the Daily Deal email I get from Audible. I read the blurb, saw the star rating was pretty good, listened to a sample, and dropped my $2.95.

Agatha Raisin, an advertising professional who has taken an early retirement and moves to the country, decides to enter a local baking competition. She figures she’ll make some friends and get a little notoriety when she wins. She’s pretty sure she’ll win since she cheats by purchasing her quiche from a well-known quichery in London. Unfortunately, someone dies after eating it. Who the murderer was isn’t too tough to figure out – and the author doesn’t really try to hide it – but figuring out how it was done is main point of the book. That and laying the foundation for a series.

I was pretty quickly engaged and found the various characters inhabiting the small village in the Cotswolds great fun to get to know. I loved the secondary characters, even the most snooty of them. I laughed out loud several times. The narrator did a fantastic job of bringing them to life. I can certainly see how the series could become addictive. The humor and the personalities of the residents alone make me want to read the next one right away.

The only thing that really pulled me out of the story is the way the POV style changed. For probably the first half of the book, we’re getting Agatha’s POV in a third person but that eventually changes to more of an omnipotent POV. First it’s just Agatha, then it was Agatha and whomever was in the scene with her, and toward the end, characters not in a scene with her were featured. I found it distracting but it may not be something that other folks even recognize.

All in all, it was a fun read and I’m likely to eventually read the next in the series. And try to find the TV movie that was made based on The Quiche of Death.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of The Quiche of Death by clicking here.

Corey Reviews Soul Selecta by Gill McKnight


Soul Selecta is an odd novel. A funny, stimulating, enjoyable read, but still a little odd. I like odd, however, so it’s all good.

The publisher’s blurb simply states “Soul mates are hell to work with,” and I salute this truth in advertising. The story opens with a prologue set in Sappho’s Seminary for Artistic Young Ladies (654 B.C.) and imagine every drama that ever could happen in a girls’ boarding school. The author efficiently hits them all, then zooms to the Elysian Fields and the first-person narrative of the Soul Selector. Our narrator lays out the rules of soul mates finding each other and announces that “herding horny cats is easier.” Yes, it’s that kind of book.

By chapter two, we are introduced to American high school student Jesse Colvin. I was rather peeved, because I dislike YA novels, yet I was enjoying reading about Jesse (totally against my cynical will). Jesse is the soul mate of one Norrie Maguire, living 3,000 miles away in Ireland. The Soul Selector begins herding…

The story switches back often to the Soul Selector and the rather hilarious Gods and Goddesses and their minions who make her job more difficult. Aphrodite is a hard-assed bitch. No one likes the slovenly Ares, God of War, who cannot be bothered to get off the couch and end all those destructive skirmishes on Earth. Eros is a sullen, pimply pubescent punk. Death is a frivolous, shy, fluffy, colorful dresser who just hates conflict. And our intrepid Soul Selector just wants to get her soul mates together, despite all the gods and goddesses and other interfering players on Mount Olympus.

Then, a moment arrived in the story and I dropped my kindle and asked my cat, “Wait. What just happened? Wait.” Then I grabbed the kindle up again and read furiously. Spoilers, sorry, I must not tell you more. Go buy the book and find out for yourself.

Soul Selecta ignores most lesfic plot arcs and completely entertained me with trashy Olympian gods, young lesbian love, some hot sex, a conundrum, and enough twisty fun that I consulted several times with my cats about what might happen next. Recommended.

You can purchase a copy of Soul Selecta by clicking here.