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Audiobook Review – Here There Be Dragons – James A Owens

here there be dragonsHere There Be Dragons
Author: James A Owens
Series: #1 in the The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series

Narrator: James Langton
Run Time: 8hrs and 27 minutes

Description:
The Imaginarium Geographica

“What is it?” John asked.
The little man blinked and arched an eyebrow.
“It is the world, my boy,” he said. “All the world, in ink and blood, vellum and parchment, leather and hide. It is the world, and it is yours to save or lose.”

An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds.

Review:
So my initial thought after finishing this was how the heck have I not read/listened to this author before. I initially bought it back in February of 2011 and then never listened to it, but I needed a book that had been shelved as fantasy and sci-fi for a challenge, as well as trying to knock off some of my purchased and not listened books off the pile. I was immediately sucked into the story. Its actually pretty easy to describe – take any fantasy book that you have probably heard of in the past, and then mash all of the various worlds together into a series of islands and a governing council and you’ll have the basis of the story.

It begins in 1920(ish) England, so there was immediately a historical feel to the story, along with the impact of the war, which is felt by several of the main characters. We are introduced to Jack, John and Charles who are the protagonists of the story (and there is a pretty cool twist at the end over who the main characters really are). A murder of a mentor and the mission to protect the Imaginarium Geographica, or the atlas of all the imaginary worlds that we believe exist.

The entire story was like a roller coaster of adventure – it was literally on the go from the get-go – I think the whole book took place only over about a 4 day period (or so it seemed, maybe it took a bit longer). And while it was a longer book, it didn’t feel like it was long – I was sucked in (and for the first time in a long-time I found myself sitting in the car listening to just a couple more minutes…). This is the kind of book that would appeal to not only adults but children, while the main characters were older (in their early 20′s), it was written in a way to appeal to a younger audience with the adventures.

It was my first time listening to a book narrated by James Langton. I do think that his strengths were in the male voices which were the predominate part of the book. While his female voices weren’t bad, they were definately weaker than the male ones. I will say, however, that I plan to see what else he has narrated in the future. I’ve already added the second book in the series to my audible wishlist for a future credit.

Overall, I gave Here, There Be Dragons 4 stars and a high recommendation to other people who enjoy fantasy with touches of realism.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Down and Out in Bugtussle – Stephanie McAfee

bugtussleDown and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness
Author: Stephanie McAfee
Series: #3 in the Mad Fat Girl series
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Run Time: 9hrs 43 minutes

Review Copy Provided by Tantor Audio

Description:
When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancé goes south, so does Ace — she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones’ little house. But even though her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are thrilled that she’s returned home, not everything is smooth sailing. Ace wants her job back as art teacher at the high school, but the beautiful Cameron Becker has no plans to relinquish that position. Although Ace wants to run Miss Becker out of town, she accepts a job as a substitute teacher. On top of her job woes, Ace’s friends keep setting her up on blind dates when all she really wants is for people to stop meddling in her love life.

In her quest to find inner peace, Ace takes up gardening and discovers old love letters in her grandmother’s well-worn gardening book. With her faithful chiweenie, Buster Loo, by her side, Ace is determined to get to the bottom of her Gramma’s secret life, all while hoping her own doesn’t implode.

Review:
Ok, I’ll admit it – I primarily requested the audiobook because of the word Bugtussle in the title…it just made me giggle. Unfortunately for me that book didn’t live up to the humor that I was expecting. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t read (or listened) to the previous 2 books in the series and didn’t know/previous read about the characters or what – but it just didn’t quite work for me. One of my first gripes was with the subtitle – the Mad Fat Road to Happiness – i honestly expected someone who was happy with their body and being big (although, you never find out how big Ace is), but through-out the book, there were many instances where there was almost an unhappiness with her life and her body – comments about clothes not fitting, how she looked in clothes etc. It didn’t exactly sound happy to me…

For me, Ace also just seemed fake – a lot of her humor felt forced and not natural. It just felt like there were supposed to be funny interactions between Ace and her friends, but it was just like listening to nails on a chalkboard. I will say that Ace and her interactions with Stacey Dewberry (substitute teacher stuck in the 80′s both clothing, make-up and car wise) – were probably the most entertaining and I liked Stacey the most as a character.

That being said, I didn’t mind Cassandra Campbells narration. I thought that she did a good job of distinguishing between the characters and making them all unique. But unfortunately, good narration couldn’t improve on my lack of enjoyment with the book. Overall, I gave Down and Out in Bugtussle 2 stars and likely won’t be checking out anything by the author in the future. I would recommend if people try the books, to maybe go with book 1 first, i don’t know if that would have improved my experience or not, but now its too late to find out.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple

where'd you go bernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple

Narrator: Kathleen Wilhoite
Run Time: 9hrs and 39 minutes
Producer: Hachette Audio

Description:
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Review:
Where to start, oh where to start…if I had to pick one word to describe Where’d you go Bernadette – it was would be quirky…not weird (although Bernadette really did have her moments), but not really funny either (in fact, it almost felt a bit overdone and trying too hard in places). I think that since I had to wait for it so long to come in at the library (I was on the reserve list for like 3 months) that I overhyped it to myself. But its not like I regret listening to it – in fact in made for a rather entertaining road trip.

Its hard to describe Bernadette as a character…maybe completely and utterly self-absorbed and quite possibly a narcissist. It was ultimately all about her – no matter who she hurt…in fact it actually started to piss me off. I don’t know if i’ve dislike a character as much as her since I listened to Gone Girl last year…and then there was Bee, her daughter…omg, all I can say is that in places, she needed a good spanking (yes, I said it!). Her husband was at least kind of redeemable but then he was such a minor character (as much as that is possible), that he was kind of an odd-ball. And then there were the gnats…or the other residents of the neighbourhood where Bernadette lived…it seemed at times that they took over the story, and then were left hanging. In fact that was probably one of my biggest gripes – there were several story lines that were just not tied up and i was left with questions – which was part of the reason, i only gave it 4 stars – if everything had been tied up, it might have come close to a 5 star listen.

The narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite was brand new to me and I can say for sure, that it won’t be the last time I listen to her. I loved the inflection that she used for the different characters – I thought she nailed Bernadettes quirky-ness and Bee’s at-times whiny teenage voice. Even her voice for Bernadette’s hubby was good – which I often struggle with (the female narrators doing male voices and vice versa).

Overall, I gave both the story and the narration a solid 4 stars – and i’ll be interested to see what the author comes up with in the future.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society – Darien Gee

avalon ladiesThe Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
Author: Darien Gee

Narrator: Tanya Eby
Run Time: 14hrs and 16 minutes
Producer: Tantor Audio

Review Copy of Audiobook Provided from Publisher via Edelweiss

Description:
Welcome to Avalon, Illinois, Pop. 4,243

At Madeline’s Tea Salon, the cozy hub of the Avalon community, local residents scrapbook their memories and make new ones. But across town, other Avalonians are struggling to free themselves of the past: Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband’s affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up—no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China—unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.

Enter Bettie Shelton, the irascible founder of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. Under Bettie’s guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon’s residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future. But when the group receives unexpected news about their steadfast leader, they must pull together to create something truly memorable.

Review:
I’m really conflicted over my review for this book. I really enjoyed the premise behind the story and the story itself, but I really struggled with the writing style. There was something cozy about getting to know the citizens of Avalon, Illinois (although, I was kind of bummed to see that it wasn’t a real town because I wanted to pick up and move there). Darien Gee did a great job in developing her characters – I felt like I had grown up with them, that I was a citizen of the town.

But at the same time, I really struggled with the writing style. Specifically, that it was written in this weird third person, present tense – and it felt awkward. My editor in my brain wanted me to go through with a red pen and either put it in first person, alternating POV or third person, past tense. My other issue was that at the same time, while I loved the wide variety of characters, a few times there were too many…I wish that she had stuck to the main women – there were a few cameos where someone was introduced and then nothing was ever mentioned about them again…it kind of felt disjointed and missing something. I would also caution that if you haven’t read Friendship Bread, that you might feel like you are missing something – I know that I haven’t and there were a few places where I was scratching my head.

I also strugged a few places with the narration. I don’t know if its because I’ve been spoiled recently by multiple narrators in audiobooks, but I wanted more. This would have been, (IMHO) a great opportunity for a multiple narrator book – with each main character having a different person narrate it. My mind just wasn’t transiting well between the voice for Betty (a 70 year old woman) and Ava (a mid-20′s young woman) to Isabelle (early 40′s)…but I will admit that it could got better as the narration progressed – so maybe it was just a matter of re-accustoming my ears to a single narrator. It would probably also good that there were limited male voices and those that there were, were mostly cameos – there were no main male characters.

Overall, I gave the writing/story 2 stars (mainly due to my struggles with the writing style used) and the narration 3 stars, so 2.5 stars overall. Which is kind of disappointing because I thought it had so much potential (maybe I had hyped it up to myself a bit too much…)

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Crank – Ellen Hopkins

crankCrank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Series: #1 in the Crank Trilogy

Description:
This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster–crystal meth–that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree. Based on her own daughter’s addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins’ novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina’s voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.

Review:
Have you ever picked up a book by an author who has a fairly decent backlist for the first time, and after finishing it, you are like, how the heck have I never read (insert name here) before? That was me and crank/me and Ellen Hopkins. I had routinely seen her books at the library in the YA section, but for some reason, I had never picked them up – maybe it was the idea of poetry, since I am normally not a huge fan…it wasn’t until I managed to need 2 poetry books for a reading challenge, and having Ellen Hopkins recommended to me by a good friend (I now blame her for my addiction), that I picked up Crank…or more specifically, I downloaded the audiobook of Crank to listen to. I was sucked it…

This isn’t the typical poetry that so many of us were “tortured” with in school (and trust me, I think a lot of my distaste comes from those experiences). I was sucked in by the free verse, it was almost at times, like reading a story – the story of Kristina and her addiction to crank (crystal meth)…the transition from her being the good girl to the drug addicted bad girl and the emergence of her alter-ego Bre…there was just something about it – I couldn’t stop listening…

the audiobook itself wasn’t all that long – i think just shy of 4 hours, but considering that it was 4 hours of poetry and I actually listened attentively to the whole thing…lol! I’m pretty sure that I have never listened to anything done by this narrator before – Laura Flanagan – she had the teenage lilt just right…I felt like I was in Kristina/Bre’s shoes…felt her falling into the void created by the crystal meth…it was kind of freaky in a few places…

Personally, I want to say everyone should read this book, but at the same time, i also realize that caution should be given to reading this book. I would advise parents to be prepared to discuss topics with your teen during reading and after, because I’m sure that they will have a lot of questions. But at the same time, I think its something that needs to be read/discussed – because in essence, it isn’t just about drug abuse, its about peer pressure that our teenagers face as they grow up – they wanting to be cool, even for just one minute, even the “cool” kids…I’m interested to see what the other 2 books in the trilogy bring. This is a hard book to rate, but I would probably give it a solid 4 stars, if not 4.5.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Privilege of the Sword – Ellen Kushner

privilege of the swordThe Privilege of the Sword
Author: Ellen Kushner
Series: #2 in the Riverside series

Run Time: 15 hours and 40 minutes
Narrators: Ellen Kushner, Barbara Rosenblat, Felicia Day, Joe Hurley, Katherine Kellgren, Nick Sullivan, Neil Gaiman
Producer: Neil Gaiman Presents

Description:
Welcome to Riverside, where the aristocratic and the ambitious battle for power in the city’s ballroom, brothels and boudoirs. Into this alluring world walks Katherine, a well-bred country girl versed in the rules of conventional society. Her mistake is thinking that they apply. For Katherine’s host and uncle, Alec Campion, aka the Mad Duke Tremontaine, is in charge here—and to him, rules are made to be broken. When Alec decides it would be more amusing for his niece to learn swordplay than to follow the usual path to marriage, her world changes forever. Blade in hand, it’s up to Katherine to navigate a maze of secrets and scoundrels and to gain the self-discovery that comes to those who master: the privilege of the sword.

Review:
And once again, listening to a category for the Audies made me find a book that I would never have picked up and read if it hadn’t been nominated. It wasn’t like this was a new release – in fact, the book was released in 2006. But with the advent of Audibles ACX program, older books that were never released in audiobook format are slowly appearing on the market. And I have to say that I love Neil Gaiman for producing this audiobook (as well as having a cameo in it!).

Anyways, at first I thought this was a neat twist on historical fiction with a female in a typically male role. But rather, when I looked at the random shelving on Goodreads, it fell more into the fantasy genre. Although it was written in such a way that the fantasy aspect was rather down-played. However, I did manage to find a new sub-genre that I’d never before heard of, Mannerpunk – or a satirical take on the uptight societal manners that you would expect to see in historical fiction. Kind of like the steampunk genre – stuff set in Victorian time period with the use of mechanical equipment…but back to Katherine.

I love kick-ass heroines and Katherine was definitely that. I mean, a female trained in sword-fighting. But its a bit hard to go into various facets of the story without providing spoilers for other parts – but needless to say, it was full of swordplay (both real and training), theatre, drama and romance and various combos of all four. Kushner was able to develop such a detailed world – I felt like I was there with them.

I will admit that having not read either of the books in the series published previously, so I did feel like I was missing some of the backstory. But never fear – I have book 1 (Swordspoint) on Mt. TBR and plan on getting to it probably in the next week or so. This review is very scatter-brained apparently and i kind of struggled with it – which is weird, because I don’t normally have those issues…but anyways, I highly recommend this book and possibly the other ones in the series (although I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t read them…).

The narration was almost as entertaining as the story itself. I have to admit that I was rather taken-aback when I started it and Neil Gaiman was the first person I heard at 6am on the way to work, as he did provided the introduction to the book. The main narration was done by the author and Barbara Rosenblat. I will admit that I am normally not a fan of author narrating their own books, but for some reason, this seemed to work. Ellen was the voice of Katherine and then Barbara the voice of Artemeisia. The rest of the cast, including (once again) the fantabulous Neil Gaiman appeared as various other characters in the book. Overall, I would give both the book and the narration a solid 4 stars and I’m looking forward to listening to more books produced by Neil Gaiman’s production company.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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2013 Armchair Audies – Summary – Multi-Voiced Performance

the audies

Armchair Audies

I’m squeezing in this post under the wire – since the announcement of the winners for the 2013 Audies awards starts at 8pm EST (so in about 30 minutes from now). But considering I didn’t finish the book I was listening to until 2 hours ago, I’m rather impressed ;)

Originally when I signed up to do the Armchair Audies, I participated in the Romance category, but since I finished that one in mid-April, and still had about 6 weeks to go until the announcement of the winners, I decided to dive head-first into another category – Multi-Voiced Performance. Unfortunately, time ran out and I only managed to get 5 of the 6 books nominated in this category listened to (if I hadn’t caved and listed to that non-nominated romance, I would have made it…oh well).

The nominations for this category are:
Dracula by Bram Stoker

My Awesome-Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman

The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door: Stories by Etgar Keret

That Is All written by John Hodgman (Un-listened)

Thoughts:
I’m very conflicted over which one of these books I think will win. It wasn’t like the romance category where I had a solid favorite. For me, there are three potentials – Dracula, My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan and The Privilege of the Sword. However, of these, My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan is the only one that I actually have a review posted for right now…and I just finished up Privilege today. And since I didn’t complete the category, I can’t say where, That Is All would have fallen in the scheme of things…so there you have it…I have a couple of potentials but no sure winner…

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Audiobook Review – Suddenly, A Knock On The Door – Etgar Keret

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suddenly a knockSuddenly, A Knock On The Door
Author: Etgar Keret

Narrated by: Ira Glass, Adam Thirlwell, Dave Eggers, Nicole Krauss, George Saunders, Ben Foster,Mathieu Amalric, Aimee Bender, Miranda July, Ben Marcus, Willem Dafoe, Stanley Tucci, John Sayles, Gary Shteyngart, Robert Wisdom, Stella Schnabel, Michael Chabon, Lorin Stein, Rick Moody, Nathan Englander, Scott Shepherd, David Rakoff, Michael Chernus, Shea Wigham, Josh Charles, Michael Buscemi, Neal Stephenson, Mark Duplass, Shalom Auslander, Todd Hasak-Lowy, Josh Radnor, Ira Glass, Jonathan Safran Foer, Etgar Keret
Run Time: 5 hours and 7 minutes
Producer: Macmillan Audio

Description:
A man barges into a writer’s house and, holding a gun to his head, demands that he tell him a story, something to take him away from the real world. A pathological liar discovers one day that all the lies he tells come true. A young woman finds a zip in her boyfriend’s mouth, and when she opens it he unfolds to reveal a completely different man inside.

Suddenly a Knock on the Door is at once Keret’s most mature and most playful work yet, and establishes him as one of the great international writers of our time.

Review:
I have to say upfront that this book really wasn’t my thing – I would compare it to some of the work by David Sedaris – it takes a (IMHO) a different type of individual to like the short stories put forth – the slices of life (for lack of a better word). Added to that, I think that some of the potency of the stories was lost in translation. In fact, it took me probably a good half of the book to realize that the stories were set in Israel – which kind of changed my opinion of the writing – and it was harder for me to find similarities with some of the stories, because I couldn’t draw on similar experiences. They also seemed really short – since I was listening to the audiobook the vast majority of them didn’t exceed more than about 10 minutes of listening – which is somewhere between 5-15 pages (depending on the speed of the narrator).

My other complaint was actually about the narration. Individually, the narrators were all fine, I don’t really have any complaints – although, I will say that the shortness of the stories, didn’t necessarily allow for them to show their wares when it comes to narration skills – but with each story being as short as it was, and then there being a different narrator for each story – my mind had a hard time processing what was going on. The various narrators weren’t actually described anywhere in the production either – maybe that would have helped me come to terms with the different stories – but I don’t know. Overall, this was a disappointing listening experience – maybe the authors work is better being read than listened…or maybe it would be better with a more limited cast of narrators (rather than the 15-20 that I think it had). I don’t know. All I know, is that I gave it 2.5 stars, and can’t say that I will be in too much of a rush to read/listen to any more of the authors stuff – no matter the accolades he has received.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan – Seth Rudetsky

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awful awesome popularity planMy Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan
Author: Seth Rudetsky

Narrated by: Seth Rudetsky, Andrea Burns, Paul Castree, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Gad, Ana Gasteyer, Megan Hilty, Marc Kudisch, Will Swenson, James Wesley
Run Time: 5hr and 15 minutes
Produced By: Audible, Inc

Description:
Justin has two goals for sophomore year: to date Chuck, the hottest boy in school, and to become the king of Cool U, the table in the cafeteria where the “in” crowd sits.

Unfortunately, he has the wrong look (short, plump, Brillo-pad curls), he has the wrong interests (Broadway, chorus violin), and he has the wrong friends (Spencer, into Eastern religions, and Mary Ann, who doesn’t shave her armpits). And Chuck? Well, he’s not gay; he’s dating Becky, a girl in chorus with whom Justin is friendly.

But Justin is determined.

In detention one day (because he saw Chuck get it first), Justin comes up with a perfect plan: to allow Becky to continue dating Chuck, whom Becky’s dad hates. They will pretend that Becky is dating Justin, whom Becky’s dad loves. And when Becky and Justin go out on a fake date, Chuck will meet up with them for a real date with Becky. Chuck’s bound to find Justin irresistible, right? What could go wrong?

Review:
One thing I have loved about listening to books nominated for the Audie Awards is that it made me find authors that I had never before read and narrators I had never before listened to. And in the case of My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan, I got a double dose – with a new author, plus getting to listen to his narration/interpretation of his characters. I got to also listen to the fabulous narration by Megan Hilty (who stars in my favorite, although now cancelled show, SMASH – boo hoo). I think I spent almost the entire time chuckling at Justin’s antics. He was the epitome of the high school geek. I have to wonder how much of the book was based on the author’s experiences. There seemed to be a sense of realism that doesn’t always appear in books (that, or he never truly left his teenage years…).

To say where the plot put forth by Justin was insane, would be an understatement…I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. It was like listening to a comedy of errors as the school-year progressed. Rudetsky managed to pack nearly a full-year of high school trials and tribulations into a relatively short book (I mean, the audiobook was just over 5 hours long). I enjoyed the various narrators who participated in the book. I thought that the director found the right blend of youthful innocence and snarky humor in their voices. I also appreciated the fact that at the beginning of the book, the various narrators were introduced and the characters that they were portraying was mentioned. This really helped me be able to put a voice to a character rather than all of the various narrators blending together. This, to me, is something that I have discovered to be important in multi-narrator books.

I gave My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan a solid 4 stars and I know that I will be seeking out more books by the author in the future.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Never Seduce A Scot – Maya Banks

the audies
never seduce a scotNever Seduce A Scot
Author: Maya Banks
Series: #1 in the The Montgomerys and Armstrongs series

Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Run Time: 10 hrs and 10 minutes
Producer: Tantor Audio

Description:
Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

Review:
Its been a while since I have read/listened to any of Maya Banks stuff and the first time that I have tried her non-erotic romance (although I did enjoy her Sweet series). I had been hearing good things about this series from many of my friends, so I was glad to see the audiobook as one of the nominees for the romance category in the Audies. This was also my first time listening to not only Maya Banks, but also the narrator, Kirsten Potter, so it was an interesting experience all around.

I can’t say that the plot in general blew me away – it did feel the same as a lot of the highland romances that have been published in the past (authors like Julie Garwood) – where the King forces a marriage between two clans in order to strength blood ties, reduce the number of feuds. Which is exactly what happened in Never Seduce A Scot – the Montgomery’s and the Armstrong’s had been feuding for several generations – although, you never knew what actually started the feud (I think it might have been the death of a family member at the hands of the other clan – but I was kind of confused on that part) – which I guess goes to show, how the feuds are continued year after year, generation after generation and eventually people lose sight as to how or why they started.

I have to admit that I did have a soft spot for Eveline, the main character – there was something about her characterization that just sucked me in. Maybe it was how her issues/disability was written. My only gripe was that her change in character occurred really quickly after her marriage – and it seemed fake – like all of a sudden, there was a light-switch that was turned on. I would have liked to have seen it dragged out a little bit more – but at the same time, since the entire book took place in like a three week period (give or take), I guess there wasn’t a lot of time for self-discovery and other people discovery…

I would say that Potter’s narration was a solid middle range for me – it wasn’t some of the best narration, I have ever heard, nor was it the worst. She did a good job with the various female voices, including the pitch/tone/volume of Eveline’s at various stages in the story. But I felt like she struggled a bit with the male narration. Their voices did get better as the book went along, but initially I had a hard time distinguishing the various male voices from each other, they seemed to blur together. That being said, I will more than likely check out other books narrated by her in the future and I look forward to reading more books in this series. I gave both the book and the narration 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Audiobook Review

 

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