Posted in Adult, Audiobook, Book Review, Horror, Sci-Fi

Alien series from Audible Originals

Alien: Out of the Shadows - Tim Lebbon Alien: River of Pain - Christopher Golden Alien - Sea of Sorrows - James A. Moore

River of Pain –
I really enjoyed this performance; the story, characters, sound effects, and music all came together perfectly. I felt like I was listening to a movie. The atmosphere is amazingly scary and claustrophobic. And as others have said, the woman who voiced Ripley was perfect. I liked how they created a brand new story that took place between Alien and Aliens (the movies) and I liked the explanation for it. Overall a very entertaining listen that will be fun for any fans of the Alien universe.

Out of the Shadows –
The overall production of this one was great with the same claustrophobic, scary atmosphere as the first. But I didn’t love the story or the characters as much.  Still entertaining, but just not as original or interesting.

Sea of Sorrows –
This was my least favorite of the three. I just didn’t buy the distant descendant of Ripley having a psychic connection to the xenomorphs. I also didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t connect with any of them and found myself waiting for them to die.

All that being said, I flew through these books. I found myself always wanting to listen to them, even though they are all basically the same formula:
– Humans go where they shouldn’t or mess with things beyond their understanding
– The humans are somehow connected to Weyland-Yutani (which is greedy for money, power, or both, without regard for human life)
– An android works against the humans in service of Weyland-Yutani or in rare cases helps them
– The xenomorphs come and the humans underestimate them
– There is a lone survivor (or maybe a select few)

Anyway, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, these stories are a fun revisit to the universe – and might make you want to watch all the movies again (like I did last weekend).

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Young Adult

The End of Oz

Review:

The End of Oz - Danielle  Paige

Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover (Owned)

The first time I flew, it was under very different circumstances.
– first sentence

It was just my luck to find the person of my dreams in a war-torn world where I was in danger of losing him any minute, I thought.
– Chapter 17

This is the final book in the Dorothy Must Die series (not including the prequel and other world enhancing novellas – I think there are nine now). But, you can read the four main books and totally enjoy the series without them.

This final book is full of action and twists, and I loved the ending. There is a bit of a cliffhanger, but just enough to let you know that there will always be strife in this magical world. (Some reviews mentioned an epilogue in the hardcover version, but there wasn’t one in the kindle version, so *shrugs*.)

Some chapters are from Amy’s point of view and others from Dorothy’s. Seeing Dorothy’s pov didn’t make me despise her any less, but it was interesting to see her reasoning. It seems like she started out with good intentions, but the magic corrupted her to the point that she isn’t even slightly recognizable as the girl from Kansas we all remember. Even so, she seems to have no redeeming qualities left. So, I felt fine about hating her character throughout the book.

Most of the characters are not all good or all evil. They do what they have to in order to survive and protect their friends and family. Sometimes their actions are shocking and sometimes completely understandable.

I think the end may bother some people, but it made perfect sense to me and I loved it. If you like retellings or fantasy, give this series a shot.

Original post:
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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Grades 4-6, Realistic Fiction

Amal – audiobook

Review:

Audience: Middle Grade
Format: Audiobook
Library Copy

I watched from the window as the boys tumbled out of the brick schoolhouse across the field from us.
-first sentence

Amal loves school and her dream is to one day go to college and become a teacher. But one day, a chance encounter disrupts her life. She becomes an indentured servant to the family of her village’s corrupt landlord. Amal plans to work until she pays off her family’s debt, but when she finds out the truth, what will she do?

This story takes place in Pakistan and is meant for a middle-grade audience. Amal is a fantastic strong female character; she knows what she wants, she knows what is right, and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

I listened to the audio and the narrator, Priya Ayyar did a wonderful job. I’m counting this for “A” for the HA a-z challenge on Goodreads.

Recommended to grades 4-6.

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

Cujo – audiobook

Review:

Audience: Adult
Format: Audio
Library Copy

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the town of Castle Rock, Maine.
– first sentence

This is a reread for me and I didn’t remember many details. I think I avoided it because of my love of dogs. I listened to the audio; Lorna Raver gives an excellent performance and helped me get lost in the story.

I was surprised by the beginning stuff about the monster (serial killer) Frank Dodd. I found myself wondering what that had to do with the rabid dog. But this story isn’t about a rabid dog. It’s about evil… evil and coincidences. It’s also a look back in time at what was once thought acceptable in a marriage.

As the story progresses, the parts with Cujo are separated by the stories of the Trenton family and the Camber family. Each family is dealing with their own issues, and these ultimately lead to the events which conclude with the showdown of mother and child trapped in a Pinto by Cujo.

It broke my heart to listen to Cujo’s thoughts as the disease progressed and he gradually went mad. But it was easier to read/listen to than it was to watch the movie. All I really remember from the movie is the part with Cujo and the car. I might have to watch it again just for comparison.

So, is an Evil force controlling the events that lead to the heartbreaking conclusion, or is it just coincidence? Does it even matter?

I’m using this for “C” in the Goodreads HA A-Z challenge.

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

Pet Sematary – audiobook

Review:

Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Library Copy

Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he entered his middle age, but that was exactly what happened…”
– beginning of first sentence

The first sentence sounds so innocuous, and yet this is the novel that Stephen King himself has called his scariest. Perhaps because it centers on death and how fear of death can compel people to do the unthinkable.

I am currently rereading Stephen King books that I haven’t read in decades. I listened to IT a couple of years ago because I wanted to refresh my memory before I saw the movie. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to try the audios of more of his books. When I saw that the Pet Sematary movie is being remade, I decided this should be my next listen. I am glad I did. This book was scary and totally immersive – I was obsessed with listening to this. Michael C. Hall gave an amazing performance. I was constantly picturing him as Louis Creed, even while I kept seeing Fred Gwynne (from the original movie) as Jud Crandall.

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good scare. 🙂

I’m using this as “P” for the HA a-z challenge on Goodreads.

Original post:
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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.


Original post:

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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.

Original post:

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Posted in Adventure, Book Review

The Golden Tower (Book 5 – Magisterium series)

Review:

The Golden Tower - Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

Audience: Middle Grade

For the first time in Call’s life, the house he had grown up in looked small.

– first sentence

I’ve missed the Magisterium; I didn’t realize how much until I started reading this book. It has been a while, so I went to the Book Series Recaps website and read the summaries of the first four books. Call and his friends have been through a lot in the past 4 years, and the final year of magic school isn’t any easier, in fact, it may be the toughest year yet.

Call is full of doubt and flaws; he wants to be good, but he has reason to doubt who he is at his very core. He questions his actions and decisions constantly, but his intentions are always good. He wants to protect his friends and the school, he wants the girl to like him, he wants to please his father and impress his teachers. He insists he isn’t a hero, he is just left with no choice. But he never runs from danger, in fact, he seems to find it more than most.

In this final year at school, Call isn’t the only one who doubts his intentions. Most of the other students fear and resent him and his connection to the Enemy of Death. Many of his friends aren’t exactly his friends anymore. He feels alone, except for the voice in his head that is (I won’t explain this because I don’t want to spoil it).

This book is fantastic. My only complaint is that this is the final book in the series. I keep hoping the story might continue when Call and his friends go to the Collegium, but the summary refers to this as “the monumental conclusion to the Magisterium series,” so it seems like I’m out of luck.

I highly recommend this book (and the series) especially to grades 4-8.

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