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 Book Review, Young Adult

The Belles – audiobook

Review:

The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton, Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

– opening lines

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty – there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don’t look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be “perfect,” and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can’t handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn’t see what is happening around her – the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn’t believe that Camellia wouldn’t see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language – too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn’t – I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator’s accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn’t come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don’t know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

Original post:

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Posted in Book Review, Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

The Last Star

The Last Star (The 5th Wave) - Rick Yancey

Audience: Young Adult

This is my body.

– first sentence

It’s been a long time since I read the first book of the 5th Wave series. So long in fact, that I had to re-read the second book. But it was sooo worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was a fitting and heartbreaking conclusion to the series.

Throughout the series, the characters have never been sure who the enemy is. In the end, it’s about who you can trust, who you are willing to sacrifice for, and how much you are willing to sacrifice. Cassie stays true to herself until the very end; she is strong and never gives up trying to protect her family. It was fun to see Cassie and Ringer (who are complete opposites) working together to save someone and to finally get their revenge.

There are some twists here that I didn’t see coming and some I did. I’m enamored with Yancey’s writing and storytelling ability. I will happily read anything else he writes. I noticed that this book is to be made into a movie (or maybe it already was). It is perfect movie material if they do a good job.

 

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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.

 

Original post:
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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.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Infinite Sea – audiobook

Review:

The Infinite Sea: The 5th Wave, Book 2 - Ben Yannette, Rick Yancey, Penguin Books Australia Limited, Phoebe Strole

Audience: Young Adult

 

The world is a clock winding down.

– opening sentence

 

This was a re-read for me to prepare for reading the final book in the series, The Last Star. I read a recap summary, but I felt like I needed more information.

I enjoyed revisiting Cassie, Ben, Evan, Ringer, Nugget, and the rest of the gang. There is a lot of confusion in this series about who the good guys and bad guys are and how exactly the aliens are achieving their destruction of the majority of the human race.

This is a fun book with a few unexpected twists and a lot of action, danger, and drama.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Dystopian, Young Adult

Not a Drop to Drink

Review:

Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis

 

Lynn was nine the first time she killed to protect the pond, the sweet smell of water luring the man to be picked off like the barn swallows that dared to swoop in for a drink.

– first sentence

I couldn’t wait to see how this one would end. It is the story of a young girl raised in the wilderness by her mother. In this world, water is more than scarce. The only water Lynn and her mother have comes from their pond and they will do anything to defend it. Her mother taught her not to trust anyone and to be entirely self-reliant. But how long can they survive this way?

I enjoyed the wild west feel of this one. I loved Lynn and enjoyed watching her mature and adapt emotionally as the book progressed. Her life is full of struggles and the constant threat of death, but Lynn is strong and she doesn’t give up. There was a devastating event towards the end that I totally didn’t see coming – it was tough.

Apparently, there is a “companion book”,  In a Handful of Dust, that I look forward to reading after Halloween Bingo concludes.

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