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Review – A Mango-shaped Space – Wendy Mass

mango-shaped spaceA Mango-Shaped Space
Author: Wendy Mass

Description:
Mia Winchell appears to be a typical kid, but she’s keeping a big secret—sounds, numbers, and words have color for her. No one knows, and Mia wants to keep it that way. But when trouble at school finally forces Mia to reveal her secret, she must learn to accept herself and embrace her ability, called synesthesia, a mingling of the senses.

Review:
It was funny, when I was talking to my friend Naomi about the book I was currently reading (this one), she made the comment back that I find the weirdest/interesting books to read and how did I do it (of course, there was various other friendly banter in the convo, but that was the gist of it). And I came to realize that is true – so many of my book recommendations come from lists off goodreads and they are ones I never would have picked up before. Case in point, I found A Mango-Shaped Space on a thread called, the best books you never would have read except for this challenge – talking about the Seasonal Reading Challenge, I have done for nearly two years now (and it was the first time I have looked at that thread).

The thing I loved the most about this book was the pure simplicity of it – while so many YA books now a days are so complicated with family issues; or world building – Mia’s life was about as close to perfect as you can get, except for the fact that she sees colors in everything around her – not in the way that most of us see colors (trees are green etc), but rather that words have colors – her name and those around her; numbers; dates in history. I vaguely remember learning about synethesia when i was taking psychology in college, but haven’t read/heard much about it since then – so I was intrigued. You could tell that the author had really done her research and managed to balance telling about the disease through the characterizations; but also just letting the story play out.

I have to admit that I did see the ending coming relatively early on, but then, since it was a YA book that doesn’t surprise me – they normally are fairly telling if you can pick up on the clues. I would probably recommend that parents preview the end before letting their kids read because of one thing that happens (death is a theme through-out and something that parents should be aware of because all kids react differently). I’ll definately be looking for more books by the author in the future. 4 stars overall.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Lifeboat – Charlotte Rogan (@charlotte_rogan @RebeccaGibel)

The Lifeboat
Author: Charlotte Rogan

Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Run Time: 7hrs and 47 minutes
Publisher: Hachette Audio

Book Description:
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she’d found. Will she pay any price to keep it?

Review:
So I have to say upfront, that I originally started reading this book in print and kept getting distracted. I know that it wasn’t a very long book, but for some reason at that time, it just wasn’t clicking. But after seeing the good review that my friend Naomi gave it, I decided to give it another try and put my name on the reservation list for the audiobook (and FWIW, having to wait for it to come in when you are 45th on the list sucks! I think it took about 4 months for it to come in…).

Being a psychologist in training (if I ever finish this damn PhD), I loved the way that the author managed to intersperse different ideas into the novel. Yes, it was a story of survival – but there were so many other elements – the idea of hope and giving up – can you survive when you think there is nothing more out there? How various people emerge different roles in situations of high stress. The notion of group think in a scenario like this? Stockholm syndrome and how it can affect people’s behavior, both during and after events. And so many more – but don’t worry, I won’t be too much of a dork – but it did hit my enjoyment button in all the right places. I enjoyed how she used flashbacks to tell most of the story – it is often a hard writing style to pull off, but it was well-done. My only gripe I had was the ending was fairly obvious – I was able to figure out what was going to happen about half-way through – but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book.

Rebecca Gibel is a brand-new audiobook narrator to me, and I can tell you for sure that it won’t be the last time I listen to something done by her. There was something melodic about her voice, that I was just sucked in. It was a relatively short audiobook and because I enjoyed the narration so much – I sat in my car at work one morning and listened to like another 15 minutes of the book (much to my co-workers disgust because she was waiting for me to get coffee – don’t worry, she gave up and went by herself ;) ) I did like how she was able to draw on a variety of accents that encompassed the different countries of origin of the passengers. As the majority of the book was told from Grace’s perspective, I wasn’t really able to tell how well she did male voices, so that is going to be something that I am looking out for in the future listens. But overall, totally worth it. I would give both the narration and the book itself 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Audiobook Review

 

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