Cover Image: Solstice Shadows

Solstice Shadows

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Member Reviews

Solstice Shadows by Avanti Central, narrated by Tim Campbell.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Thunder Creek Press/Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks for a complimentary audio-ARC for my honest review.

I found it a very fast-paced and suspenseful mystery/ thriller. Although I hadn't read the first book in the VanOps series, I found this very good as a stand-alone. However, I plan to go back and read the first one as soon as I can. The narrator did a great job with the characters.

#SolsticeShadows #NetGalley
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Who doesn’t love a fast paced action book, with high octane action, relics and codes that need to be solved. 

Loved the premise of this book and the story that it told. You can’t beat a race against time solving clues to avoid a high-tech apocalypse, always adds great tension. There was quite a lot of information in the story, which is good for this style of book, although not sure this was best delivered in an audiobook. I feel I would have got more from the story if I had read the book; this wasn’t helped by the narrator who I feel could have s done a better job of the narration.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and want to read the fist VanOps book, if I had read this I’m sure I would have enjoyed this even more. Overall a really good book which I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review. Overall I would give the audiobook version 4 stars, and look forward to reading more by this author. 

I would like to say thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing a copy of this book to me for an open and honest review.
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This book was atmospheric and full of action but this was lost by the narrator in this version. You certainly had to concentrate and I found myself going back a few times to try to keep up with what was happening. 
Creative ideas and full of action and  adventure but too futuristic and difficult to follow for my taste.
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I found Solstice Shadows a difficult book to like.  It tried to be so many different things from Jack Ryan to the quest books like Da Vinci's code and Indiana Jones.  It borrowed so much that it became too loaded to hold it all together.

The other issue for me was the reader of this book.  It was kind of a loudish boorish monotone.

I tried to like the story.
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This book was a little bit too hard to get in to, which was a shame because the premise was really interesting.  It says it's a part 2 of a series but can be read as a stand alone.  I didn't feel this was true.  It felt like I was definitely missing information... it felt like I had just started reading from the middle of a book and skipped several chapters.   This made it really hard to get invested in the story because I just kept feeling like I was missing something.  Also, not sure why there wasn't a woman narrator if the main character was a female?
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wasn't able to get it to work at all, tried to down load it more then once but it just wouldn't do it
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This book is sort of a futuristic style fantasy based in the real world. This was my take on it, anyway. It is about a small team that find dangerous artefacts (similar to Indiana Jones) to try and keep them out of the bad guy's hands. I did enjoy the story, but I got lost a lot. I think I may benefit more from reading the book rather than listening to it, as a lot of stuff went over my head. Also, this is the second book in the series, I haven't read the first yet, maybe I would benefit more from reading from the beginning. The narrators were great for this book, it's just I had a hard time concentrating.
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Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for the advance copy of this audiobook!

I loved this book. The atmosphere was everything I wanted it to be. I loved the plot and storyline in the book. I loved the characters in this story. It gave me all the feels I was looking for when I started reading this. I highly recommend this author. I loved the writing. I will be looking for other works in the future from this author.
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Book Review: Solstice Shadows (VanOps #2) by Avanti Centrae
(Published by Thunder Creek Press, August 11, 2020)

4.25 Stars.

"Use the force, Luke." - whispers the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi

And that is exactly what Maddy Marshall does at the team's darkest moment faced with the demon himself, as - to her own peril, she unleashes a horrifying ball of lightning from her bare palms, using her newly developing power from a combination of the energy emitted by that mysterious artifact from space, and her training as a humble sensei in "The Way of Unifying with Life Energy", the Japanese art with ancient origins, also known as 合気道, - aikidō.

"The Raiders of the Lost Ark" meet "Dragon Ball Z", in an action thriller that could fall right into the domain of Toei, the Japanese anime giant.

Author Avanti Centrae pens an eclectic, action-packed, psychic and archaeological thriller that transports the reader to some of the earth's most exotic places.

It's Maddy, twenty-something, a distant member of the Spanish Royal family, cyber coding expert, member of an ancient order, new recruit of strike force, VanOps, and adoptive mother to a refugee child, AJ, and her comrades - against a cabal of Russian and Spanish powermongers who seek to manipulate the energy of the universe inside buried secrets, to seize power and wreak havoc upon the world.

The Winter Solstice and its shadow cast upon ancient pyramids on the shortest day and longest night of the year. Zero point energy, high temperature superconductivity, quantum computing and the vulnerabilities of IOT, the Internet of Things.

Creative, well-researched story with far more substance than would be expected in a short read.


Review based on an ARC from Thunder Creek Press and NetGalley.
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I received an ARC in exchange for my review. I enjoyed listening to Solstice Shadows (Van Opps #2) even though I hadn't read the first one. I do want to go back and listen/read the first book.  I will continue  reading the series too, I loved the action, adventure and the historical references.  I love how the author tied in ancient mysteries to the present  day.  I think the the bad guys are evil and appreciated the fact that the author didn't over do it with gore.  I do think that it could be bought at the high school level.
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Lots of Action

Audiobook and Book Review:
This is the second book of the VanOps series, and I had not read their first before I chose this audiobook and book at one of my favorite book review sites. While the author did explain some of the backstory and relationships, the action was so fast at the beginning—and actually throughout—that it wasn’t easy to get the full scope of what had gone before, who everybody was, and how everything interrelated as the situation melted down in the present. This book is certainly action-packed. If you are listening to it as an audiobook, I recommend doing so when you are awake and alert as the story moves very quickly and you might miss an important point that will then later lead to confusion. This is not the typical genre I read, but I liked the chase and the hunt aspects as well as the globe-trotting. I didn't feel like the characters were as developed as they could be nor were the relationships between the people fully explored. Maddy felt a little wishy-washy at times; I would have preferred a slightly stronger heroine. This book is all about the action, not the characters, which can be fine if that's what you're looking for (or prefer). For the audiobook, I wasn't wild about the narrator. For a book that seems mostly to be about a woman and what she goes through in the story, it seemed odd that it was narrated by a man. I also didn't think there was quite enough distinction between the voices except for the subtleties of some of the characters who had accents. At least the narrator was good at accents, even if sometimes there was only a hint of one. If you like globe-trotting action stories, you might enjoy this story in either book or audiobook format.
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DaVinci Code meets Tomb Raider? Okay, I see that. This was a face paced, hang on to your seat and don't let the charge go out on your device because you will not want to miss a beat. Maddy and Bear are being chased for an ancient artifact and she is one of the only people who can decode it. Sci-fi or not? This was so well written it was like watching a movie and I had this in audio form and felt like I was living it. My heart was racing right along with the characters.  I didn't read the first book and did not feel I was missing a thing. Definitely a recommendation from me! 

**Received this audio ARC for review from the publisher via NetGalley**
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Ok, so I picked this title as my first audio book from NetGalley on the new app because it was compared to The Da Vinci Code and I have to say that I cannot agree with that. I didn't find this connection and honestly, could not connect with this story. It was more espionage-like than I enjoy. Now to the narration, I'm sorry but it was horrible. I had a hard time keeping things straight listening to the robotic tone and found myself giving up and starting chapters, paragraphs and sentences over again. At least he tried different voices when speaking as characters. I will give that an extra star. But otherwise it was truly annoying
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To start this review, I feel the need to mention that this is the second book in the series and I did not read the first book. While it took me some time to figure out some of the relationships, as the book progressed, it became easier. This book is action packed and seems like a cross between Indiana Jones and Brad Thor or Tom Clancy novels. It was very fast paced and exciting. Government forces race to take control of an ancient power which could be a game-changer for technology worldwide.
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Unfortunately this book really wasn’t  my cup of tea so to speak. I found the narrator slightly annoying especially when he tried to speak in a female voice. At times I was lost with who the characters were with the audiobook. Perhaps-S this story is better enjoyed in print rather than an audiobook book. 
Unfortunately I gave up at about 35% of the audiobook.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the arc in return for an honest review
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Had me on the edge of my seat for the entire listen. Loved the narrator's voice and the non-stop action actually had me holding my breath!
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Solstice Shadows is a fast paced, exciting, spy thriller type story. A specialised and secretive VanOps team are after what is termed ”The Holy Grail of Spydom”.... material that would turn a computer, into a super computer,  a computer so fast that it could break any encryption.  They must follow a trail of clues setting out to find a Star Chart, that leads them to multiple worldwide locations, all the while, with their lives at risk and being in danger from sources that want this!

This review is for the Audio Version of Solstice Shadows. I feel the male narrator read well with general narration and the male characters in the book, but not so with other characters in the book, particularly he really lacked genuine voice character for female characters. For that reason, I may have enjoyed the book more just reading it, rather than listening to it.

My thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I received a copy of this novel from net galley in exchange for an honest review.  This being my first foray into Avanti Centrae was at times stimulating and at other times boring.  It is not that the characters were poorly written  (really I only think one was, but it didn't stop me from continuing on with the book) and it wasn't that the plot of the story was a little slow at all honesty if I had been reading this instead of listening to it I probably would have enjoyed it better.  The narrator of the audio book sounded like he was announcing a trailer for a movie (although his accents were spot on) and it just really threw off my whole enjoyment of the novel.  Do not get me wrong there are a lot of points in this book that were fantastic, but the narration really distracts from those parts and makes them hit less than if someone else was reading the novel  or if my brain was doing the narration for me.  I do believe that the author has a good group of characters that will continue to be popular as the stories of their missions progress, so I do look forward to the next title in the series.
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This book just was not my cup of tea. Unlike Dan Brown in the Robert Langdon series, I did not feel that the author successfully balanced the fantastical and the real, as a result it lacked any believability factor. So I could not enter the world in which the characters lived or care about their fates..
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Solstice Shadows is the second novel in the VanOps series. This is a review of the audiobook version. I did not read the first novel in the series “The Lost Power” and I must admit that at times I had a hard time following the story as I have not read the first novel. 

This story follows Maddy Marshall a software expert and sometime aikido instructor and her boyfriend VanOps operator Bear Thorenson as they race a Russian fringe group trying to spark global war with a supercomputer in search of an ancient superconducting meteorite. The locals are richly illustrated and would be on any adventurers/vacation wish list. The pacing was good and kept me interested through the entire novel. 
One aspect of the novel involving Maddy I thought was overdone were the multiple will she/wont she story lines. Throughout the entire novel she is pendulums back and forth over her decision to remain a software engineer or join VanOps and her decision to adopt A.J. a young boy who apparently played a part in the first novel but Is mostly sidelined in this one. 

I listen to roughly 40 audio books a year due to a long commute to work, I found the narrator to be one I am not familiar with and quite good.  My only complaint is with the editing, some sections of the book sounded as if I was listening to them at 1.25 or 1.5 speed. I found myself constantly looking at the media player on my phone to see if I accidently adjusted the narration speed to find that is was set at the standard speed. 

If you read the first novel and can get past the audio speed being a little wonky I recommend this book. If you haven’t read the first novel in the series, I highly recommend that you read it prior to reading this one.
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