A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Hell For The Company (Brimstone #1) by Angel Martinez, Narrator: Vance Bastian


Rating: 4.75 rounded up to 5 stars out of 5

Banner300x250Demons and Angels have been among us for thousands of years, in many cultures and in many forms. What happens when you set the Mischief Corner authors loose on the vague prompt “Write a story about angels or demons?” The poor unsuspecting world is about to find out.

From Angel Martinez – Hell For The Company: Brimstone #1

Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves, has reconciled himself to exile. He has a grand time careening around the galaxy as a high-end, intergalactic purloiner of pretties. Everything’s going just fine, thank you very much. All right, fine, the anti-gravity cows are a bit problematic and some of his buyers are bad for his health, but he manages until he comes across an injured angel in a psychedelic alien jungle.

He only rescues the wing boy for his golden feathers, but what Shax doesn’t know about angels could fill an intergalactic encyclopedia.

Hell For The Company (Brimstone #1) by Angel Martinez as narrated by Vance Bastian was my very first audiobook.  I normally take one look at the running length on an audiobook, think about all the things I have to do, and move along.  But Hell for the Company was different.  At a play time of 2 hours, 2 minutes, I thought that’s doable, given my schedule, even during the holidays.  Another absolute plus?  I had already read the story, loved the series, so I thought I was prepared for what I would find in a narrated version.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This was so much better. Boy, am I going to have to rethink my entire approach about audio books.  This version, listening to Vance Bastian’s narration made me see (hear) the story in an entirely new light. I enjoyed it even more, laughed at places I didn’t even remember reading the first time around.  And even when I knew the dramatic scenes were coming, the sniffles still flowed.

Vance’s voice went from melodic for the wonderful drag queen IA. Ivana, to gruff and surly for the demon Verin, the later posing my first and only stumbling block for audiobooks.  It wasn’t the way I imagined Verin sounded, I expected more hell fire I suppose.  Its the same issue you might have with characters going from book to the screen, we imagine them a certain way, not the way they appear on the movie screen. So I had to expand my versions into the verbalized ones here.  Once done,  there were no limits to my enjoyments of the narration and the enthusiasm that Vance Bastian employed in his reading of Angel Martinez’ story.

The time went by so quickly.  Floating cows please come back.  Ness, I adore you. Oh, Shax, you demon you, I can never get enough of you! Much more so this time around.  Angel and Vance, you have me convinced.  Yes, it looks like audiobooks are the thing for me.  There will be more in the future.  And it all started with the marvelous Hell For The Company (Brimstone #1) by Angel Martinez and the wonderful narration by Vance Bastian.

I love this series.  Shax, the Brimstone crew and all its misadventures and now I get to look forward to listening to them as well.  Are you a lover of the supernatural? A reader of science fiction?  And romance too?  How about a combination of all three?  Here is a story and series you can’t pass up and a lively narrator that makes the words shout, laugh, giggle and snort.  Such two joyful hours I never imagined.

Are you a audiobook virgin too?  Make this your first and see what an adventure lies before you!

Cover Artist: Freddie MacKay did a terrific job on the cover.  Love the floating cows.

Sales LinksiTunes  | Amazon | Audible

Book Details:

Audible Audio, Play Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes
Published November 17th 2015 by
Mischief Corner Books (first published December 31st 2013)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBrimstone #1


A MelanieM Review: Brimstone: Demon Owned & Operated (Brimstone #1-3) by Angel Martinez


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Brimstone Owned and Operated coverDue to circumstances completely within his control, Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves has fled, er, emigrated from Earth to seek his fortunes out in the galaxy. With his faithful friend, Verin, by his side, they acquire a gently used ship with a drag-queen AI.

Hell for the Company: Brimstone 1
Everything’s going just fine, thank you very much. All right, the anti-gravity cows are a bit problematic and some of Shax’s buyers are bad for his health, but he manages until he comes across an injured angel in a psychedelic alien jungle.

Fear of Frogs: Brimstone 2
While Shax recovers from a near fatality, his shipmates have taken the initiative and found them a lucrative cargo run. Shax is horrified to find out what sort of cargo. Unfortunately, he’ll soon discover that a healthy fear of frogs doesn’t prevent frog-driven disasters.

Shax’s War: Brimstone 3
The boys desperately need a vacation. With the not-quite-ill-gotten gains from the Frog incident, Shax takes the Brimstone’s crew to the exclusive resort planet, Opal. What could possibly go wrong?

I  met Captain Shax and his demon friend… childhood buddy…what have you, Verin, in their Brimstone prequel, Potato Surprise.  That wildly told tale gave us the particulars as to how they fled Earth and demon family (sort of), how they got their hands on the hastily renamed ship Brimstone with its lively IA Ivanna and took to space on all sorts of misadventures.  It had bawdy humor, lots of hot sex, wildly imaginative beings and some unexpected angst.  And I loved it.

So of course I searched immediately for more.  And found Brimstone: Demon Owned & Operated (Brimstone #1-3) by Angel Martinez, three Brimstone stories in one from Mischief Corner Press.  I was overjoyed and plowed right into the novels eager to see where Shax, Verin and the Brimstone went next.  It was quite the journey, a little slow at times, but that last story, Shax’s War?  That’s the one that kept me up thinking and so thrilled that I read this collection.  That’s a 5 star slam bang right there but I’m getting ahead of myself and the Brimstone crew.

Putting all three stories under one title actually makes a huge amount of sense because  of one element that runs through each story.  At the start of the first story, its just Shax, Verin, and the IA Ivanna, in the mid-sized spacecraft renamed Brimstone. When Shax and Verin fled from his demon Uncle (plotting a new war with Heaven), they left everything behind, including his minions which he kind of loved (not that he would admit it), their palace, family (not that they liked them mind), and just everything.  Now its just the two…er, three of them, alone in space.  And sometimes they’ve found that a very lonely proposition.

In each new story, one of the main plot threads is that a new member or members of the crew comes on board and becomes family, replacing the one that Shax and Verin fled/left behind.  How I loved that aspect of this story.  Its subtle and I can’t believe I just said that where one story has pages of frog sex.  And it shows how much heart these tales have (even if one has the hearts being ripped out of the bodies…you are warned).

Hell for the Company: Brimstone 1.  Rating:  3.25 stars.

I  liked this story.  Two words make it kind of magical.  Floating cows. Five make it hilarious.  Cow pies from the sky. Its also where Shax meets his fallen angel lover, Ness.  I was slow to warm up to Ness, both as a companion to Shax and as a member of the crew of the Brimstone.  By book three, I had forgotten I ever had those thoughts, but here in Hell for the Company, they are large and looming.  I can’t figure out why, could be I’m just not a fan of angels but this is my least favorite story.

Fear of Frogs: Brimstone 2.  Rating:  4.25 stars

Fear of frogs, frog sex. All hilarious.  Put your emotions in guffaw mode here.  What is the one thing the Demon Prince is afraid of?  Yep, that would be frogs.  I won’t spoil how Shax and the frogs come into  contact but its a doozy as are the after effects.  Because they lead us directly to the next, last and my favorite story of them all, Shax’s War. And yes, another compadre is added to the Brimstone when Verin finds love.

Shax’s War: Brimstone 3. Rating: 5 stars

Parts of this story are downright gruesome, unexpectedly so given all the other stories that have come before.  I thought there would be some humor, and there is.  Some lovely thoughtful moments and wild hijinks, all that’s here too.   But some of the painful stuff? No, I didn’t expect to read elements of that here.  But there is also a reason for its inclusion.  Up until now, we’ve seen several sides of Shax.  The one that loves his “pretties”, the thoughtful one, the loyal one, and so one.  But never this one.

“You think I’m a nice, civilized demon, don’t you? Fussy, arrogant, unwilling to get my hands dirty.” 

That was Shax about to prove to a villain that the opposite of that was true, that he is the Demon Prince after all, something we haven’t seen up until now.  There are multiple points of view, a wild chase, nefarious goings on, more than a few stomach churning scenes (don’t worry, the worst of it happens “off stage”), more action and suspense than anyone could hope for  and get.  Plus a lot of demon sex, which includes bdsm scenes (spreaders, you name it).   Shax’s War is one wild ride.

At the end, Shax has a crew of beings the like of which is quite wonderful, well on their way to being family.  Shax and Verin each have found their long term loves and Ivanna is happy.  Life is pretty darn wonderful on the Brimstone.  I wonderful what next adventure is coming for them.

I love this crew and their stories.  I highly recommend them all.  I believe Potato Surprise is free at Mischief Corner Books.  Check them all out now.

Cover art by Freddy McKay.  I like the cover, even if that’s not my idea of Shax.  Where’s all that gorgeous auburn hair?

Sales Links: Mischief Corner Press | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

300 pages, ebook, paperback and Kindle editions
Published July 25th 2014 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC (first published March 28th 2014)
edition languageEnglish
seriesBrimstone #1-3