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Category Archives: Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review – Winter – Marissa Meyer


Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: #4 in the Lunar Chronicles
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Rebecca Solar
Run Time: 23hrs and 30min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review:
Winter is one of the two books out of the audiobooks on my Armchair Audies list that I had previously read – going back and looking at the notes I left to myself on Goodreads last year – my summary of the book could be summed up as follows – “thank god its over, it felt like it lasted forever.” It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the series because I did – its just that I felt this last book really dragged on because there were so many loose ends that needed to be tied up – almost like it needed a 5th book that was more of pulling all the bits and pieces together, while letting the 4th book be more about Winter – because honestly, I felt like her story was subsumed by what was going on with Cinder and Cress as they tried to free Lunar and its people from Levana.

This final installation in the series was full of action and adventure – but at the same time – it just got tiring both reading and listening to what was going on – there was no break, no recovery for the main characters. And yet, they managed to pull out success after success. Yes, I know that its fiction and suspension of disbelief is a thing but I was physically tried from listening to it – which is something that doesn’t often happen with audiobooks.

Rebecca Solar is a new audiobook narrator to me but I felt like she captured the young adult voice of the characters in Winter well. Her narration of Winter’s sweet innocent voice was about as I pictured it while reading the book. She managed to bubbly personality of Iko, as well as the more down-to-earth narration of Cress and Scarlet’s French accent. On the male aspect of the narration – her voices were solid – nothing that blew me away, but I didn’t hate them either. For a 23 hour audiobook, it was a pleasant listening experience, even if, as mentioned above, I was physically tired from listening when it was finally done. I’m sad to see this series end and yet – at the same time, I was happy to see it end (if that makes any sense…).

While my rating of the book stayed at 3 stars, I rated Solar’s narration as 4 solid stars – I have to wonder how my impression of the book would have changed, if I had only listened to it and not read it previously?

 

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Audiobook Review – Sweet Dreams – Sunny Leone

Sweet Dreams
Author: Sunny Leone
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Simone Lewis , Vikas Adam
Run Time: 3hrs 41min
Audiobook Publisher: Audiobooks.com Publishing
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
In this thrilling erotic story collection from India’s most Googled person, listeners finally get inside the mind of actress and entrepreneur Sunny Leone with 12 short stories that range from sweet to seductive to scandalous.

Review:
According to the cover of Sweet Dreams – it is a combination of Mills and Boon, and Fifty Shades with a touch of India – I can’t really say if that is completely true – since I never read Fifty Shades, but honestly this was probably the most lackluster Mills and Boon, I’ve read or listened to. For me, it barely met my level of romance – let alone erotica – some of the stories were mildly hot, but mostly, I was left scratching my head. Looking back the ones I enjoyed the most were those set in India – but the few that were supposedly set in the US – you could tell that they were based off a fantasy of how things were – a young new engineering spending several hundred thousand dollars for an escort…

Both Simone Lewis and Vikas Adam are new to me narrators and while I can’t say I loved their narration – it was solid and enjoyable. However, since the book was only 3hours long (although at times, it felt longer than that) – I wasn’t truly able to explore their narration abilities – with the short stories – and them alternating back and forth – I would just start enjoying one narration and it would end and I’d have to switch to another one.

Personally, I found Sweet Dreams to be kind of disappointing and it just didn’t work for me – I gave it 2.5 stars, but the narration did get 3 stars from me.

 

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Audiobook Review – The Baller – Vi Keeland

audie-nominee-erotica

the-baller The Baller
Author: Vi Keeland
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Mackenzie Cartwright, Sean Crisden
Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
Run Time: 8hrs 49min
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room. It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster. The famed quarterback decided to bare all. And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets. No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby: screwing with me. When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me to wanting to screw me. But I don’t date players. And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football. I’d date an athlete. It’s the other kind of player I don’t date. You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.
Brody Easton was the ultimate player. Every woman wanted to be the one to change him. But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for. Turned out I was that girl. Simple, right? Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…and this one is ours.

Review:
Sometimes I feel like i’m uber far behind in current hot authors that friends are reading – and Vi Keeland is just one of those authors who I had heard a lot about and never read – so when one of her books was nominated for an Audiobook Audie in the Erotica category, I figured it was time that I checked her out. Although asking several of my goodreads friends told me that The Baller possible wasn’t the best of her books to be my first one – but I have to say it honestly wasn’t horrible – I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. the romance between Brody and Delilah was hawt – but I could have done without the addition of Brody’s ex – I honestly just felt like that didn’t add anything other than un-needed angst to the story that was actually pretty solid in the romance department (although I will debate whether its actually erotica, but that is a story for another day).

This was my first time listening to Mackenzie Cartwright but not my first time listening to Sean Crisden. I will say that I really enjoyed Mackenzie’s narration – I found her range of voices to be solid and even the portions where she narrated as a male was enjoyable. The pacing of her narration felt natural (meaning I didn’t feel like I needed to speed up or slow down the narration to enjoy it). Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Sean Crisden (although I have listened to other stuff by him before). While I enjoyed the portions where he was narrating as Brody (or other male characters) – I wasn’t a fan of his female voices – in fact they actually made me cringe at times. His female narration was one of the reasons for my 3.5 stars for this audiobook – I just personally, I couldn’t get past them.

I’ve been a fan of Tantor Media’s audiobooks for years and enjoy their continued high quality audiobook productions. I know when I listen to a book done by them, that it will be solid with no issues. Overall, I gave The Baller – 3.5 stars for the book and the narration and 4 stars for the audiobook production.

 

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Audiobook Review – What Stands in a Storm?

what-stands-in-a-stormWhat Stands in a Storm? Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley
Author: Kim Cross
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Tracy Brunjes
Run Time: 9hrs, 46min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
April 27, 2011, marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. The biggest of the tornadoes left scars across the lan so wide they could be seen from space. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth.

Review:
Ashley Harrison, Danielle Downs, and William Stevens are just three of the victims of the tornados that hit Alabama in 2011 – all three were college students at the University of Alabama, who died when a tree fell on the house where they were taking shelter during the storm. They are three names that are imprinted on my memory after listening to What Stands in a Storm? But over 300 people died during the storm and the author, Kim Cross gave homage to all of them through her telling of these three days – it was poignant and moving – I even ended up tearing up a few times. What Stands in a Storm was told through the eyes of the people who both survived the storm and those who perished in it – through text messages, voicemails, facebook posts; from interviews with family and friends. These memories formed the basis for a narrative that struck fear into me – I felt like I was watching the storm bear down on me – not knowing what was coming next – just waiting for it to hit.

I often find that non-fiction leaves me feeling rather detached because of how its written, but What Stands in the Storm? wasn’t like that. I was tearing up while listening to it – in fact, I had to pull over the car a few times to wipe tears away. I can remember the last book that did that to me – it was one about the Canadian Army and deaths in Afghanistan. I attribute these emotions not only to the writing style of the author, but also the narration of Tracy Brunjes. She is a new to me narrator – and from taking a quick peak at her name on audible, only had 4 books to her name. Unfortunately, while I would like to listen to more by her, those other books aren’t really my thing – but i’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for other stuff in the future.

What Stands in a Storm? is a book that will stick with me and is well deserving of the 4.5 star rating that I gave it.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Girl in the Blue Coat – Monica Hesse

girl-in-the-blue-coatGirl in the Blue Coat
Author: Monica Hesse
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Natalia Payne
Run Time: 9hrs, 42min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.

Review:
It’s always hard to try and capture thoughts for books that engage you so emotionally that you are just left wondering what happened? For me Girl in the Blue Coat did just that – as soon as I started listening to the fabulous audiobook narrated by Natalia Payne I was sucked in. Historical fiction set during in Amsterdam in 1943, a time period where the Jewish population were required to wear the yellow star of identification and where significant portions of the Jewish population were starting to be forcibly rounded up and sent to various concentration camps. Hanneke is one of those members of the Jewish population, trying to maintain some normalcy of a life with all the restrictions being placed on them, and attempting to stick it to the Nazi’s by buying and selling goods on the blackmarket. All of that changed when she was asked to help locate a Jewish teenager who was being hidden by one of her customers and who had seemingly disappeared into thin air. What follows is a mystery of who is the girl in the blue coat and where did she go?

But this wasn’t just a story of the girl in the blue coat – it was a story of bravery, resistance, growing up in the face of adversity, betrayal of friends and so much more. I’ll admit that Hanneke drove me kind of nuts at times – for a 19 year old, especially one who had been doing some of the work that she had been doing seemed remarkably naive at times – especially when faced with working with the resistance. Her behavior at times reminded me kind of a spoiled brat – taking risks with no care for others, especially when she was Jewish in a community where Jews were being rounded up daily and sent to concentration camps – it just seemed like at times she was almost asking to be caught. It was the interplay between Hanneke and the other characters – Bas/Elspeth/Mirjam/Amalia that really added depth to the story. I really what to know what happens in the future with Hanneke and Elspeth’s relationship as well as Bas and Hanneke.

Natalia Payne was a new narrator to me but i can’t wait to listen to more books narrated by her in the future. I have to admit that I don’t really know how a dutch accent should sound to be able to judge her on accuracy, but it seemed pretty close to what i’ve heard in other historical fiction/movies set in the same time period. She was able to instill the right amount of fear into me during certain portions of the book, as well as making me cry in other portions. There were definately a few times where I almost needed to pull over because I wanted to cry. I want to thank Hachette Audio for allowing me the opportunity to listen to this book and as an added bonus for the audiobook listeners, there is an interview at the end with Monica Hesse (the author); the narrator and one of the Hachette producers who was responsible for bringing this book into both print and audio. I’m excited to see what more Monica Hesse writes about in the future. A solid 4 stars for both the story itself and the narration.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Underground in Berlin – Marie Jalowicz Simon

underground-in-berlinUnderground in Berlin
Author: Marie Jalowicz Simon
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Ellen Archer
Run Time: 11hrs 47min
Narrator Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
In 1941, Marie Jalowicz Simon, a nineteen-year-old Berliner, made an extraordinary decision. All around her, Jews were being rounded up for deportation, forced labor, and extermination. Marie took off her yellow star, turned her back on the Jewish community, and vanished into the city.

In the years that followed, Marie lived under an assumed identity, forced to accept shelter wherever she found it. Always on the run, never certain whom she could trust, Marie moved between almost twenty different safe-houses, living with foreign workers, staunch communists, and even committed Nazis. Only her quick-witted determination and the most hair-raising strokes of luck allowed her to survive.

Review:
I’m a little bit belated in posting this audiobook review (like 6 months late)…but it was a book that made me think about the lengths people go to avoid getting caught. When most of us think about Jewish people who managed to survive the Holocaust, we think of Anne Frank and her family who lived in the Attic until they were turned in; or people like Corrie Ten Boom who helped hide people in a crawl space – but there were others that managed to survive by just staying a step ahead of the Germans – Marie Jalowicz was one of those people.

What made her story remarkable (at least to me) was how unremarkable it really was – it wasn’t sit on the edge of the chair thrilling, but more of a roller coaster ride – sometimes gentle and lulling and other times ricocheting you around the track…mostly wondering if she could actually manage to avoid the Nazi’s for 4(ish) years until the war ended…obviously since she wrote a book about her experiences she did (does that count as a spoiler?) So much of the story seemed just ehhh, she went here and stayed on a couch and had to keep really quiet so she wasn’t discovered during the day and the moved to another location and did the same thing. I think that the story being remarkedly unremarkable is why I only gave it 3.5 stars – I enjoyed portions of the story but the internal me wanted a bit more excitment (isn’t that kind of pathetic?)

Its kind of weird – I could have sworn that i’d listened to something narrated by Ellen Archer before, but looking through my audiobook files – I can’t find anything by her (which means, i’m either going nuts, or simply didn’t log it)…anyways, one of the good things about listening to non-fiction/biographies is that narrators don’t need to deviate too much from a normal reading voice (differentiating characters etc) – so it was a solid listen with no frills – a story that was relatively simple, with a relatively simple narration style – i could easily get used to something like that.

Overall, I gave Underground in Berlin 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars. Its a solid autobiography that while not exciting is insightful into how people survived persecution during World War 2.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover – Sarah MacLean

never judge a lady by her coverNever Judge a Lady By Her Cover
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: #4 in the Rules of Scoundrels series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Justine Eyre
Run Time: 11hrs 55min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Publisher

Description:
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear… including her heart.

Review:
Sometimes I just have to laugh at how I end up listening to different audiobooks – specifically, I’ve had the ebook of Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover on my kindle since it was released in 2014 and yet, I hadn’t read it…so it was kind of like fate when it showed up as a nominee for the romance category on the Audies (yeah, I know this review is a little bit late, overcome by events has been a standard term of phrase in my life recently). It seemed like perfect timing because I was in the mood for some historical romance and I’ve been a fan of Justine Eyre’s narration in the past.

If you had been reading (or listening) to the Rules of Scoundrels series then we knew who Chase was (as it been revealed in a previous book) – but even before that, I had wondered who Chase and looking back there were hints that were there but that I had kind of glazed over. And Duncan West…what can I say about him – its hard because I hated him at first, then grew to like him, then hated him again and then liked him again – it was a very love-hate relationship. But that just made the ride to their HEA all the more enjoyable. There were a few times where I just wanted to scream (and it is probably good that no one rides in my car with me while i’m listening to audiobooks)…and other times, where I just wanted to sit and wait to see what happened (causing me to be slightly late to work).

Justine Eyre’s narration fit the story perfectly as it had will the previous books I’d listened to by her – her narration style just fit perfectly with Sarah MacLean’s writing – there is a witty banter style to her narration that just is perfect. As I hadn’t listened to the previous books in the series – I had my own idea of how I thought Chase/Georgina would sound and amazing enough, Justine’s narration was actually pretty close to how I envisioned Chase would sound. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover was a solid way to close out the series and overall, I gave it 3.5 stars and Justine Eyre’s narration 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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