Posted in Audiobook, Dystopian, Young Adult

Catching Fire – Audiobook

Review:

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

Library Copy

I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.

– first sentence

I decided to continue my re-read with the audiobook for book two. While I enjoyed listening to the book, I was disappointed with the narrator (Carolyn McCormick). She totally missed the character, and after listening to Tatiana Maslany narrate the special edition of The Hunger Games, it was even worse. McCormick’s narration was irritating and didn’t fit Katniss’s character at all. Her voice is breathy, whiny, overdramatic, and grating. I think she would be good in a different book, like maybe a historical drama.

I knocked off one star for the narration, but I loved the story and would have given it 5 stars.


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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Dystopian, Young Adult

The Hunger Games (Special Edition) – audiobook

Review:

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

Library Copy

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

– first sentence

This is a re-read for me. I watched the movies during a marathon over the holiday break and was inspired to read the books again. This time I decided to go with the audiobook.

I chose the new “Special Edition” and am so glad I did. The narrator is Tatiana Maslany and she did a fantastic job.

There isn’t much I can say that hasn’t been said about this book except I loved it. I will mention that this series, Harry Potter, and Twilight are the books that got me back into reading after a very long slump approximately 10 years ago. To say these books changed my life is not an understatement. 🙂


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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Historical fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Arduous journey towards freedom or disaster

Review:

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

Library Copy

Guilt is a hunter.

– First sentence

This is more than just a story about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, although that is the historical event that inspired it. The book follows the journey of a group of refugees trying to escape war and find freedom. They have a long and arduous journey ahead of them, but if they can make it to the ship (and get aboard), they will have a chance to survive.

We follow the journey from the point of view of four teens: three refugees (each with their own secrets) and a sociopathic soldier with an inflated sense of his own importance. The point of view changes with each section and the effect can be disconcerting. Even though the change of narrator was tough to follow, I did like knowing what the characters were thinking and seeing the different ways they reacted to the same situation. 

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do, it tends to be from the WWII era. I did enjoy the book and felt it was extremely realistic. Sepetys doesn’t shy away from horrific events or from showing the reactions of the characters. By the time the ship started sinking, I was totally rooting for the good characters to live and the bad ones to die, and on the edge of my seat. And of course, the end was heartbreaking even though parts of it were good.

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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Mystery, Young Adult

This is Our Story – Audiobook

Review:

This Is Our Story - Ashley Elston

 

Audience: Young Adult

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor.

– opening sentence

This story revolves around the mystery of what happened at River Point when five friends went hunting and one was killed. Afterward, the “River Point Boys” decide to stick together and say that none of them knows who fired the shot that killed their friend. Kate is interning at the DA’s office and she is determined to get justice for Grant. But it isn’t clear who killed Grant and without evidence, the DA could succumb to the pressure from the powerful families of the boys to sweep the incident under the rug.

The story is well-written and seems realistic, except for the fact that Kate is the only one who can find evidence to solve the crime. Adults aren’t always as inept as YA novels make them out to be. But, I get it – Kate is the intrepid sleuth (ala Nancy Drew).

The plot was slow at times, but I always wanted to keep listening to try to figure out who the killer was. Most of the book is told from Kate’s point of view with periodic sections from the POV of the killer (without giving away who it is). I enjoyed hearing what the killer was thinking and planning. I had a hard time keeping the names of the boys straight but that may have been a factor of listening to the audiobook. There are two narrators and they both did a great job. The plot twists, including one that reminds us how technology can hide the truth, make up for the slow parts of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to YA mystery fans.

 

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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Young Adult

The Heir – audiobook

Review:

The Heir - Kiera Cass

Audience: Young Adult

I could not hold my breath for seven minutes.

– opening sentence

I read The Selection series and found it delightful. Granted it had problems, but it was fun. I found this book on my shelf and realized it has been sitting there for a while. I wanted to finish some of the series that I started but never completed, so I decided to start with this one.

Two of the things I enjoyed about The Selection were the main character America and her romance with Maxon. And the whole caste system and related prejudice were intriguing. But in The Heir, the main character is irritating and has a terrible personality. Princess Eadlyn is America’s daughter, but she is a spoiled brat who thinks the world revolves around her. It is really difficult to listen to her whine and judge people through most of the book. Other than that, it’s not a bad story. I like Cass’s writing style and the book moves along quickly. The ending actually came faster than I expected and was a total cliffhanger. I should have expected it since I knew there was at least one more book, but I wasn’t thinking.

I will not be reading any more of this series. I should have stopped with the third book.

 

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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Halloween Bingo 2018, Horror

The Woman in Black – audiobook

Review:

The Woman In Black - Susan Hill

It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.

-first sentence

This is a dark, gothic, ghost story. The narrator, Arthur, recounts his experience at Eel Marsh house with the Woman in Black and how it changed his life forever. The story has haunted him for years and by writing it down, he hopes to be able to forget.

Arthur goes to Eel Marsh house to settle the estate of a reclusive old woman. At first, he tries to find reasonable explanations for the noises coming from the empty marsh. Then he realizes that what he hears is an echo of something that happened years before.

This is a slow moving story that gradually builds suspense and fear. The house is isolated on a marsh that can only be reached at low tide (it reminded me of The Elementals in that sense). As in that story, the isolation makes Arthur’s experience even more terrifying.

The audio is well done and I enjoyed listening. At 4 hours and 33 minutes, it is one of the shorter audiobooks I’ve listened to, but it didn’t exactly fly by. It’s a good story, but a bit on the old-fashioned side for me.

 

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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Halloween Bingo 2018, Horror

100 Fathoms Below – audiobook

Review:

100 Fathoms Below - Nicholas Kaufmann, Steven L. Kent

Without a doubt, the most insidious dangers were the ones that hid in plain sight, camoflaging themselves inside the minds of rational men.

– first sentence

 

At 100 fathoms, sunlight no longer penetrates the ocean. This book combines the tension of being in a US submarine inside Russian borders during the cold war and being trapped in a submarine with deadly supernatural creatures.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The audio is well done and I spent most of my spare time this past weekend listening to it. The tension starts early and doesn’t let up. The worst (best) part is, the reader knows there is something creepy hiding on the sub while the crew is clueless and just thinks a couple people are sick or maybe someone is losing it.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Halloween Bingo 2018, Horror

Revival – audiobook

Review:

Revival - Stephen King

 

In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies.

– first sentence

During the first three-quarters of this book, we get to know the characters, especially Jamie. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Reverend Jacobs is obsessed with electricity; okay, but what’s going to happen next. I enjoyed following the characters and feeling their emotions through the ups and downs of their lives, but I was hoping for something… more. Then, when the more finally came, I was surprised, to say the least. I know this book has been out for a while, but I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible so I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I had recently read a couple of reviews that claimed this was his scariest book (at least in recent years). I think I was expecting the scary to be woven throughout the book, but it wasn’t – it just hit you in the face during the final part of the book.

I don’t know how I feel about what the ending says about life and death, but I wasn’t especially scared or impressed by it. I’m giving it four stars because Stephen King has been my favorite author for more years than I can count, and because I appreciate his writing and ability to scare us in so many ways. The audio was very well done and I was anxious to see what would happen next. I listened to this every night instead of reading a print book, in addition to listening during my walks and driving time.

 

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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review

Strange Weather – audiobook

Review:

Strange Weather  - Wil Wheaton, Joe Hill, Kate Mulgrew, Stephen Lang, Dennis Boutsikaris

Snapshot

Performed by Wil Wheaton.

This story features a creepy man (The Phoenician) with a Polaroid camera that steals memories. A teenage boy stumbles across the man and becomes tangled up in his plan.

The story is told from Michael’s memories of what happened. The narration is excellent; it was fun to listen to “Wesley Crusher” perform the story. The idea of a camera that steals memories by taking pictures is frightening. Hill relates it to Alzheimer’s in the way the Phoenician takes away pieces of the older woman’s memories and gradually destroys who she is. I liked that there wasn’t a simple fix. But I kept thinking the story was over and waiting for something cool to happen, and that was a bit of a letdown. (3 stars)

Loaded

Performed by Stephen Lang

With all the gun violence in our country, this one was hard to listen to. The story follows a mall shooting and how it affects the security guard involved. I liked the reporter character who helped figure out what really happened in the mall that day. But the story was a bit too dark for me and the ending didn’t help. (2 stars)

Aloft

Performed by Dennis Boutsikaris

This is a quirky story about a guy on his first skydiving excursion who somehow lands on a sentient cloud that doesn’t want to let him go. I have an open mind and appreciate fantasy as much as the next reader, but I didn’t love this story. The main problem was I couldn’t stand the main character. (2 stars)

Rain

Performed by Kate Mulgrew

In this story, one day instead of water, it rains crystal nails that shred anyone who is left out in the open. Honeysuckle tries to find her girlfriend’s father and, in the process, finds clues leading to the cause of the deadly rain. I liked following Honeysuckle’s journey and her interactions with other survivors, but there were too many coincidences and the final conclusion seemed highly unlikely. I did enjoy the narrow scope of the story and how it focused on Honeysuckle’s journey as opposed to the effects of the overall apocalypse. I must say that I love Kate Mulgrew and will happily listen to any story she performs, so that may affect my rating. (3 ½ stars)

 

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Horror, Young Adult

Ten – audiobook

Review:

Ten - Gretchen McNeil

 

Minnie’s face was deathly pale.

– First sentence

This is a YA novel “inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None” (according to the Amazon page).

Ten teenagers are at a house party on an island full of summer homes in the middle of February. There is a huge storm which of course knocks out power and phone lines. As her friends start dying, Meg tries to figure out the clues left behind, all while protecting her best friend from falling apart, and hiding her secret crush.

The characters are mostly underdeveloped (some of them die rather quickly after we meet them) and basically unlikeable.  But the book is fast-paced and kept me guessing until the very end. I had my suspicions, but they were wrong, which is always fun.

 

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