Saturday, December 7, 2013

Taking a Hiatus

I have been considering taking a break for a while.  Lately it seems that I am so busy that I don't have time to read and review as I should.  Most of what I read in the last year, was done on audio--if it wasn't for my audio books I probably would have read much at all.   I know it has been a while since I blogged.  I love blogging, reading and reviewing, but sometimes life takes over, and hobbies have to take a back seat.

I want you to know that I didn't make this decision lightly, and there were a lot of factors going into my decision to take a break from blogging and these are only the tip of the iceberg.

  • This year, my son started school and never before did I realize how much homework I would have as a parent.  I feel like I can barely keep track of my schedule, let alone his and all the things I have to send with him.  
  • Fall has always been the busiest time of year at work.  Every year we host an annual Battle of the Books competition and for each book we use I have to write 100 questions.  It also takes a lot of planning and coordinating.  It is our biggest teen program of the year, and it takes so much time and effort I have little time for anything else.
  • Sometimes the world keeps sending you a message and you keep ignoring it as long as you can, and then life sends you a billboard sign with the message flashing in bright neon letters.  This was one of those times.  On November 18th the day after my Battle of the Books competition, my town was struck by a tornado.  While my family was one of the lucky ones (we still have our home) we have to navigate the murky waters of finding a contractor to repair our home.  We sustained damage to a wall on our second floor--we think we were hit by a tree, but the experts think it was something bigger.  Regardless, we have a lot to do before we can get things back to normal.  
I still hope to continue reviewing my books on Goodreads, but right now I just need a break.  I hope to begin blogging again as soon as possible, but right now I need some time to prioritize, organize, and regain a little of my sanity.  Hopefully I will be back soon!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Audio Book Review: Tandem by Anna Jarzab


Title: Tandem
Author: Anna Jarzab
Genre: Teen Fiction, Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: AudioGo
ISBN Book: 9781482929096
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Length: 11 hrs
Format: Audio Download from AudioGo
FTC Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book on CD from AudioGo for review through Audiobook Jukebox and I also purchased an ebook version of this book from Amazon.  This is my honest review.

Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1)Tandem by Anna Jarzab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:

Sasha was shocked when Grant asked her to the prom. She had known him forever, but he hadn’t really ever shown any interest in her. Little did she know that he was not Grant, and that his plans for prom involved kidnapping her and taking her through the tandem where she would be required to take the place of her analog, Princess Julianna or be shot. In a world on the verge of war, Sasha must pretend to be someone she’s not in order to be returned safely to her own world.

Review:

When I first came across this novel, I was afraid it was going to be just another parallel universe novel. I was so glad to be disappointed. This novel stood out to me. Jarzab does a great job with her characters. I loved Sasha. She is a smart and sassy narrator and I couldn’t help wishing her to succeed. I even liked Thomas once I understood his motivations. The characters were completely believable.

Although with a novel like this you could easily fall down on the world building, Jarzab does a remarkable job making Aurora seem real. The characters of Aurora were just as believable if not more so than the ones on earth. The science was interesting, but it was the story that made this novel so great.

I loved the idea of stepping into another world and finding out that you are somebody else. The pacing was great and kept the pages turning. You didn’t want to stop reading until you know how this novel was going to turn out.

I have one tiny quibble and I am not even sure it is worth mentioning. In the novel the main character mentions visits to “Lake Okobogee.” While that is a common variation of the spelling (thanks apparently to the X-Files, the correct spelling is Lake Okoboji. Sorry, I don’t usually notice spelling errors, but that one just jumped out at me.

Audiobook Review:

The audiobook was read by Amanda Dolan and produced by AudioGo. Dolan does an admirable job narrating this novel and is quite believable for the character of Sasha. She even does a good job with the male voices. I enjoyed how she made all the voices and characters distinctive without sounding false. One minor note is that some place pronunciations sounded a little off to me especially place names. As a Midwesterner I know sometimes local pronunciation of a place can vary from what others outside the area may believe the pronunciation to be and I believe that may have been what happened here. I remember when I first moved to where I live now, everyone could tell I wasn’t from around her because I pronounced the town Galveston the same way you would the city in Texas—I was corrected by locals who place a strong emphasis on the –ves- in Galveston. I believe this is a similar situation, and while I noticed, it didn’t influence my enjoyment of the production and I would definitely listen to an audiobook narrated by Dolan again.

The production quality of this audiobook is excellent, and the format is suitable to the book. The audiobook is roughly 11 hours long. I definitely recommend giving the audiobook a chance for this novel—it was an enjoyable listening experience. I hated stopping the book, and couldn’t wait until the next time I had time to listen to the book.

Overall:

For some reason we have seen a lot of parallel universes in the YA market lately. This one, is one in particular caught my eye. Step through the Tandem into a parallel universe and become a princess--what girl hasn’t dreamt of that. With a sensible and likable main character and a plot that will keep you guessing this one is a fun read. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy trilogy!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Title: Beta
Author: Rachel Cohn
Genre: Teen Fiction, Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
ISBN Book: 978-1423157199
Format: Book
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for committee work.  This is my honest review.

Beta (Annex, #1)Beta by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:

Elysia is a beta. She is a clone. She was created when another sixteen year old died, and is used to be a companion on the island of Demesne. She serves the family who purchased her, and does their bidding. Clones aren’t supposed to have feelings, want things, enjoy pleasures such as eating or swimming. Her job is to serve, that is what she is programmed to do. But something is wrong with her programming, because Elysia loves the taste of food, she is a natural athlete and loves being in the water, she has feelings, and she has doubts. And in the end, serving isn’t what she wants for herself. She wants more and even worse she remembers things about the life of the girl she was cloned from, but she is a clone and if the family that owns her finds out what she wants or what she remembers, she will be labeled a Defect and destroyed.

Review:

This was a surprisingly quick read. The setting is an island paradise for only the wealthiest people in the world. Because these wealthy people need servants, and human ones might be too tempted by the lifestyle to serve and not want more, they have created clones to serve the wealthy residents. Clones can be purchased and at the very beginning of the novel, that is exactly what happens to Elysia. She is purchased by the governor of the island’s wife, as a companion to the family.

As you can imagine connecting to the character who is supposedly an unfeeling clone can be difficult for the reader. Elysia isn’t truly unfeeling, but she is a bit of a distant narrator that makes it tricky to understand her or her motivations. Once you get used to her though, you find her to be likable, and also a bit calculating. She knows more than she should, she feels more than she should.

At first her life serving her new family seems to be relatively happy. The family approves of her, and encourages her to be one of them. It seems like a cushy gig. Unfortunately there is a much darker side to this family that is slowly revealed throughout the course of the book.

I enjoyed the story and the plot line. The pacing was quick and the book is interesting. It is science fiction, and that tends to be a genre I favor. Overall it was an interesting read, but I just couldn’t cross from “like it” over to the “love it” category. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it was just missing something, and was a bit too predictable in places. I was left with a lot of questions that remained unanswered and really wanted to know more of the back story.

While I did enjoy the book, and can see it appealing to teens, you will want to save this one for your mature readers. The teens in the book use a lot of drugs. Sex is openly discussed and there is a rape. If there was a hot button topic, this book tried to hit it.

Overall:

This book is an interesting science fiction novel, with an interesting premise. I think I will definitely be checking out the sequel because I think it has some serious possibilities and I am dying of curiosity after the major cliffhanger. I am also hoping I will get some of the answers to the questions I have about the back story.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:

Sex: Yes, including a rape.
Language: Some
Drugs/Alcohol: Yes
Violence: Yes


View all my reviews

Monday, September 23, 2013

Audiobook Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson


Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Audible, Inc.
ISBN Book: 9781416990673
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
Format: Audio Download from Audible
FTC Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this audio download from Audible.  This is my honest review.

Second Chance Summer
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:

Taylor the girl who is great at running away from anything difficult has finally found something she can’t run away from. Her father is dying. Though no one in her family really wants to say the C word, it is the one thing running through all of their minds. He only has a few months left, and wants to spend them at their summer home in Lake Phoenix, where they shared some of their happiest times as a family. Now Taylor must face some of the people she ran away from 5 years ago, friendships she shattered when she ran, and that this summer will be the last one with her father.

Review:

I loved this book for so many reasons it is hard to name them all, but a big warning to the readers: HAVE YOUR TISSUES HANDY!!!

Taylor is your average teen. She has an older brother who is a genius, a younger sister who is a dance prodigy, and two loving parents. By comparison, she is the normal one, exceptional at only one thing; running away when anything gets too hard. Throughout her life, he dad has always been the one to find her when she has run away. Now she is losing that too.

Although you know that this novel is about death and the death of a parent. It is really about second chances and reminding us that it is never too late to change things. I loved watching Taylor grow throughout the course of this novel. She had a lot to learn and a lot to face, and while times are difficult she did in such a realistic way.

This novel really is character driven. You have a wonderful family, that has never been really close reaching out to each other as the tragedy unfolds. I loved each one of the characters for their flaws and their realism. I felt like this could have been the family next door.

Ultimately, yes you can guess how the novel will end, but the true beauty of this story lies in the journey.

Audiobook Review:

I adored this audiobook. The audiobook is published by Audible, Inc. and is roughly 10 hours and 37 minutes long. It was read by Brittany Pressley who did a remarkable job with the narration. I had no trouble believing she was Taylor and all the other characters in the novel. The production was clean and free of flaws. I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who loves to listen to teen fiction. It was a wonderful performance and an amazing book.

Overall:

This book is amazing. If you love realistic fiction and authors like Sarah Dessen you won’t want to miss this one. This book was Sarah Dessen with a punch!

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:

Violence: No
Language: Mild
Sex: No
Drugs/Alcohol: No


View all my reviews

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Title: Exposed
Author: Kimberly Marcus
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Novel In Verse
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Ember
ISBN Book: 978-0375865916
Format: Book
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for committee work.  This is my honest review.

ExposedExposed by Kimberly Marcus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:

Liz loves the simplicity she finds from behind the camera lens, but after one fight with her best friend Kate suddenly she can’t see clearly even behind the camera. Suddenly Kate won’t speak to her, and other kids won’t look at her as she passes them in the hall. Who do you believe when your whole world is turned upside down.

Review:

I really need to read more novels in verse. This book reminded me why novels in verse can be so potent. In sparse lines, this story unfolds. This novel tells the story of two best friends since childhood suddenly no longer speaking after one small fight, and a secret that tears these two apart. I loved how you saw so much through Liz’s eyes and how her photography shaped how she saw the world. I love how she relates stories of her family in the past, and how those incidents influenced her life.

For a novel in verse, Marcus does a remarkable job defining the conflict, and getting to the emotion and the betrayal the characters feel in the novel. I love how she slowly reveals things and how Liz must come to terms with her own version of that night despite the conflicting stories.

The pacing in this novel is really quick. The story and verse pulls you in from the first pages, and the momentum of the novel never falters. This quick read will definitely appeal to fans of realistic fiction who love the novel in verse format.

Overall:

Highly recommended for those who love realistic fiction and novel in verse format. This was a very engaging and interesting read.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 16, 2013

Audiobook Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi


Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: Teen Fiction, Adventure, Science Fiction
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Listening Library
ISBN Book: 9780449013984
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Flagler
Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
Format: Audio Download from from Audible.com
FTC Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this audiobook from iTunes. This is my honest review.

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:

Life inside the protected walls of Reverie could never prepare Aria for what she would find when she is exiled to life outside. Threatened with a knife, almost killed by the savage Aether storms, Aria is ill prepared for the outside world. She has been taught that even the air could kill her with some mysterious disease. Thrown together with someone she considers a savage outsider, a young man whose very presence is the difference between survival and the brutal outside world, Aria seeks to find her mother, and prove that she was wrongly exiled.

Perry has always relied on his strength and skill to survive the world outside. He longs to be the leader of his tribe, but that means displacing his brother the current blood lord. When his young nephew is taken by the dwellers (people who live inside the domed cities like Aria), he will do anything to get him back. Even make a pact with this strange dweller girl, and travel with her across wild and unpredictable terrain to seek the answers that will lead back to his nephew.

Review:

I had been wanting to read this book for a while, but like what so often happens, it just kept getting pushed back farther and farther into the massive pile I call a reading list. I am so happy that I finally got to this one though. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, and I must admit, I went into it not really in the correct mood for reading this type of science fiction. Luckily, that quickly changed as I became more and more engrossed with the novel.

The story is told from two perspectives. First you have Aria who is exiled from the domed cities. Secondly, you have Perry’s story. At first Aria comes across as privileged and elitist. She refers to Perry for a good portion of the story as “savage.” She is appalled at the violence of the world outside the dome, and finds it hard to accept that sometimes you must kill to stay alive. She has been sheltered and is ignorant of life outside. When we first meet Perry is comes across as brash, aggressive, angry, and stubborn. He believes that he knows what is best for his tribe and he longs to challenge his brother to become leader or blood lord. Unfortunately, he also knows such a challenge would result in the death of one of them. These first impressions draw the reader into the story, they make for compelling characters, and you long to see how they will change over the course of the novel. When the change and growth of the characters finally occur, you feel rewarded. I think the growth of these two characters really make this story interesting.

This really is an action packed story. Much of the action happens while Perry and Aria travel together. The world outside is extremely dangerous, and aether storms aren’t the worst of it. I love how the travel and the action propel the story forward. It hooks you right at the beginning and keeps you going for the last page.

This is the first book in the trilogy, and I honestly can’t wait to read more. I hope I enjoy it as much as the first.
Audiobook Review:

The audiobook is produced by Random House/Listening Library. It consists of 8 CDs and is approximately 9 hours 39 minutes long. The audiobook is read by Bernadette Dunne Flagler whose narration style is clear and clean. My only problem with the narrator is that she sounded older than the characters whose thoughts and voices she was narrating. Her narration was very good, but I like the narration to be from someone about the age of the characters in the book. Still, in this instance it was only a minor flaw and the audiobook was still very pleasant to listen to and a very good way to experience the novel.

Overall:

I really enjoyed this novel. It hooked me from the beginning and kept getting better and better. Science fiction fans should definitely give this book a try.

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Audiobook Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott


Title: Shadows on the Moon
Author: Zoë Marriott
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
ISBN Book: 9781455851904
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
Format: Book on CD
FTC Disclosure: I checked out a copy of this audiobook from my public library.   This is my honest review.

  Shadows on the MoonShadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:

In an instant your life can change forever, and that is exactly what happened to Suzume. One moment she was frolicking with her best friend and cousin in a tree near her home and the next soldiers were raiding her home, murdering both her father and cousin. Saved by the ash man and trained as a shadow weaver, Suzume uses her skills to hide her anger over the death of her father and her mother’s sudden remarriage to the man that betrayed her family. In her journey Suzume takes on the many disguises, loyal daughter of a noble house, lowly drudge, and even as the most beautiful courtesan in the land. Appearances can be deceiving, something Suzume knows all too well. Is there room for love in a heart desiring revenge? Shadows on the Moon story of brutality, pain, loss, beauty, and ultimately love. It is a Cinderella story where the remarkable strength of one girl will shine through.

Review:

I love fairytale retellings. I always have. For me, most of the fairytales I read as a child left me wanting more from them. I wanted more detail, and wanted to know exactly how the story got from point a to point b. Where did Cinderella meet her fairy godmother, and how did the magic really happen. As you can imagine, this desire for the why and how often left me disappointed, but it didn’t change my love for these stories. As I grew up, the fairytales from my youth got longer, and suddenly my questions were being answered by authors who took those old tales, and breathed new life into them. They allowed me to experience a favorite fairytale in new ways with new details.

There are so many fairytale retellings out there, but so far I haven’t met one I didn’t like. Retellings seem to come in all shapes and sizes these days, some more traditional than others. I loved this particular retelling for many reasons, but the most prominent among them is a strong heroine who tries to get what she wants out of life.

I loved Suzume. She was a character who I could easily relate to. She was a teen who was happy and then has that happiness ripped from her. She is loyal and determined, and yet she makes mistakes and is human. I enjoyed the fact that her ability to shadow weave gave her the ability to hide her true feelings while in plain sight. For someone like me whose emotions are an open book, I wished I could hide like she did behind those illusions.

I relished the supporting characters in this novel for they were just that supporting. They didn’t rescue her, they let her slowly solve her own problems and choose her own destiny. My favorite character of all (besides Otieno) was Akira, you know what Akira thought was best for Suzume, but she stood back and let Suzume discover that for herself. The author also made her villain easy to loathe, but also easy to understand. Like Suzume, his motivations were purely human. It was greed and desire that led him to the choices he made.

Audiobook Review:

The audiobook was produced by Brilliance Audio and read by Amy Rubinate. Rubinate did a remarkable job narrating the book and making the characters sound so believable. She wove a spell with her voice and I couldn’t stop listening. This book is a little on the longer side. It consisted of 10 sound discs for a total of 11 hours and 17 minutes of listening time. Still I enjoyed every minute and hated to stop listening at the very end. Definitely a great book to listen to.

Overall:

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and found it a pleasant addition to the collection of fairytale retellings. Marriot knows how to create interesting characters who are motivated by human desires and needs.


View all my reviews

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


Title: Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Teen Fiction, Adventure, Mystery, Paranormal
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
ISBN Book: 9780545424929
Narrator: Alice Eve
Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
Format: Audio Download from YA SYNC
FTC Disclosure: I downloaded a free copy of this audiobook from YA Sync this summer.  This is my honest review.
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary:
Blue has grown up surrounded by psychics including her mother. Every psychic she has ever met has told her that she is destined to kill her true love. Every year she goes with her mother to speak with the spirits of those who will die in the next year. Every year she goes she sees nothing, until this year when she sees the spirit of a boy named Gansey, a boy who will either be her true love or someone she kills.

Gansey is a Raven Boy. He is rich, good looking, and usually gets what he wants. For years he has spent his time searching for the tomb of a mythical king. Along with his friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah he searches for ley lines that will lead him to the tomb. Along the way he finds Blue, and though she tries to stay away from these boys, she finds herself drawn to them and their quest. Blue always believed staying away from love would be easy, but she is finding sometimes destiny is too hard to fight.

Review:
This book wasn’t what I expected. Actually, I don’t know what I expected from this book. I was afraid that this would be another boarding school paranormal novel like so many that have come out lately. I should have expected more from Maggie Stiefvater. I should have known that this story would be so much more than what it seemed. Still, she surprised me with this novel and I am so glad I gave it a chance.

The characters in this novel are so unique and well developed they practically leap from the page. I had no trouble believing in the characters she created in this novel. I like Blue, and I think I really like that she doesn’t share the psychic gifts of her family. It’s nice to know that she doesn’t know what is going to happen than anyone else. At first, I was afraid Gansey would be an arrogant rich kid, but he is so much more. His quest means so much to him and his enthusiasm has managed to infect those closest to him, his friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. Adam is a Raven Boy, but unlike the others he doesn’t come from wealth and privilege. Adam works for his place in school and works for everything he wants. His pride won’t let him accept charity even from a friend. I’ll admit Ronan wasn’t my favorite character, but he added an edge to the group that was needed. Just like Gansey, Blue, and Adam his character was carefully crafted and a person you wanted to know more about—if only to figure out why he behaves the way he does. Finally there was Noah who completed this group of Raven Boys. Each character has their place in the group—each necessary.

I loved the setting; a small town, with an elite prep school. I loved it when they went traipsing around the countryside looking for the ley line. The plot builds slowly, but the detail is exquisite, and you just want to enjoy the steady build of tension.

Audiobook Review:
The audiobook was produced by Scholastic Audiobooks and read by Will Patton. When Patton first started reading the novel I wasn’t sure I was going to like his narration—he felt too old for a teen novel. As his narration progressed, I began to warm to the audiobook. I liked the voices he used and his narration was cleanly done. I loved listening to this book on audio, so I would definitely recommend listening to the audio version. It is a longer book 11 hours and 9 minutes or if you are listening on CD it contains about 10 CDs. This title was one of the YA sync books this year, and I downloaded the version when it was available.

Overall:
I loved this book and highly recommend it to those who like mysteries, paranormal, and adventure wrapped up in one package. I will definitely be picking up the second book in this series—I can’t wait to see what happens next!


Where Have I Been


I know it has been a while since I blogged. Almost a month in fact. I am sorry that I have been away so long, but a lot has happened in the past month. First I have started working at a different branch at my library and have taken on some additional collection development responsibilities. I have a lot to learn in this new position--especially about collecting non-fiction. Something that hasn't been part of my job description in the past. Plus, I am collecting for a middle school library--something I know I have a lot to learn about. Yes, the changes are exciting, but if you notice that I am not around much lately--you know I am studying up on my new job duties. Wish me luck!

Secondly, my family and I had a wonderful vacation in Iowa visiting family. We don't get away often. Sadly both my husband and I tend to be workaholics and tend to bring work home with us--if we don't go far enough away sometimes we even end up going into work on our vacation. So this year we left the state to visit our family. We had a wonderful time getting away from it all. Some people may wonder about what there is to see in Iowa, but western Iowa is beautiful hilly farm country. So different from the flat farm land that surrounds us here. It was good for a change of scenery and good to just relax.

Finally, my little on just started kindergarten this year. This has meant homework for both him and us. I didn't realize how much his starting school would change our lives, but it has.

I have still been reading and have a number of reviews to post. Just keep being patient with me as my life transitions both at home and at work. I am still reading through it all, and will get those reviews up as soon as it slows down a bit. Thanks for hanging in there, and now to see if I can get a few of those reviews posted!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore


Title: Spirit and Dust
Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Genre: Teen Fiction, Mystery Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN Book: 9780385740807
Format: Book
FTC Disclosure: I checked out a copy of this book from my public library.  This is my honest review.


Spirit and DustSpirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
Daisy Goodnight uses her ability to speak to the dead to help the FBI solve murder cases. When she is called to Minnesota to help the FBI with a murder and a kidnapping, she finds herself over her head in trouble. When she is kidnapped and manipulated by a mob boss, she will need all her skills to solve the crime before she is the next one dead.

Review:
I love Rosemary Clement-Moore's novels. When I read Texas Gothic last year, I loved how Clement-Moore built her story and her unique family of characters. In some ways Texas Gothic reminded me of an episode of Scooby Doo. It contained a great mystery, fun characters, and a lot of sassy humor. I couldn't wait to read her next book, Spirit and Dust because it would feature Daisy, who first made an appearance in Texas Gothic.

I love the Goodnight family, and wish my family was just as quirky and fun. All the Goodnights have "talents" and Daisy's talent is speaking to the dead. Daisy is sassy and smart. I love how determined she is and how incredibly strong.

This mystery wasn't as good for me as Texas Gothic. I did enjoy this book, but it lacked some of the humor of the first. This mystery felt much more dangerous and serious. Daisy was a fun narrator, and I loved her sass, but I missed the other Goodnights.

The mystery was a little like Indiana Jones. There was archeology, history, mysterious cults, action, adventure, and a lot of paranormal power thrown in. Oh, and don't forget the numerous museums.

The pacing of the novel is great. Clement-Moore keeps the story running from one place to another on a fast paced adventures. You never know what is going to happen next, or where Daisy will end up. She keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what will happen next and loathing stepping away from the novel for even a few minutes.

Overall:
While this book wasn't as fun for me as the first, I still found it highly enjoyable. I hope she plans to write more novels about the Goodnights, because I love this quirky family. This book was a fun read and one that I highly recommend.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:
Violence: Yep
Language: Mild
Sex: None (some references)
Drugs: None

View all my reviews

Friday, July 26, 2013

Audiobook Review: Star Trek Into Darkness by Alan Dean Foster


Title: Star Trek Into Darkness
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Genre: Adult Fiction, Action Adventure
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
ISBN Book: 9781442362697
Narrator: Alice Eve
Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
Format: Audio CD
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book on CD from Simon & Schuster Audio for review through Audiobook Jukebox.  This is my honest review.

Star Trek Into DarknessStar Trek Into Darkness by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:

Based on the 2013 Star Trek Into Darkness movie, this book stays very close to the movie. The novel takes place in the same timeline as the one created in the 2009 Star Trek movie. A young Captain Kirk and his crew return to earth hoping to be sent out on a five year mission, little does Kirk know that a report of an incident by Spock would leave him demoted to commander. Before that can fully take place, star fleet headquarters is attacked and Kirk’s mentor Christopher Pike is killed in the terrorist attack. After being reinstated as captain of the Enterprise, Kirk and his crew head off to catch the terrorist, only to discover that there is more to the mission than even he has been told.

Review:
Let me start out by saying I am a Trekkie. I love all things Star Trek and I adored the new movie when it came out in 2009. I eagerly anticipated this second movie, and couldn’t wait to see it. After watching the movie I decided to listen to this audiobook because I wanted more.

I have read a number of movie novelizations in the past with mixed results. Sometimes I like them because they add detail to the story that was missing from the movie, sometimes I hate them because they stray too far from the movie or worse rewrite portions, and sometimes they come out like this one did; without really adding anything that I didn’t already know and just being mediocre. I saw the movie, and let me tell you up front, if you have seen the movie you don’t need to read the book—you already know everything.

If you like novelizations that stick close to the movie without adding any extra this is for you. I know the author tried to express what the characters were thinking or feeling with limited success. And maybe it is a credit to the actors that most scenes were much more successful on screen than they were in the book—the whole Uhura/Kirk conversation in the turbolift for example. The book had the added effect of making Kirk sound like a petulant child. Now I suppose it could be argued that he acted that way in the film to, but for some reason the book seemed to emphasize the point. He wasn’t the Kirk I knew and loved—he was for lack of a better word whiny.

I know I have read Foster’s work in the past, and I don’t remember having as much trouble with it as I did this one. Maybe it was the book, maybe it was the movie. Either way this book failed to excite me. I think much of the problem with this novel is that it told, it didn’t show and as a result the writing and the novel itself fell flat.

Audiobook Review:

The audiobook version of this novel is produced by Simon & Schuster Audio. Alice Eve performs this book. Perhaps it was my own mistake listening to this title when I am such a fan of the movies. I know how Chris Pine sounds as he plays Captain Kirk and I remember the tone and inflection of the memorable conversations of the movie. Eve’s narration didn’t cut it for me. First of all I was rather surprised that this book would be narrated by a female—I think the content would have been more suited to a male voice. (I’m really not trying to sound sexist here—I have heard great performances from women, this just wasn’t one of them.) I also didn’t like how she interpreted Kirk’s voice—it always seemed so flat and/or whiny at times. She did a great job narrating Carol Marcus, and her other male voices were okay, but they were not what I was expecting. Also her slight British accent seemed a bit out of place. She is a good narrator and I would happily listen to something else that she narrates to see how I like that, but it just didn’t seem like a good fit for this particular novel. Again, this fault could very well lie with me and my own personal expectations of this audiobook.

Overall:

I had high expectations of this book and perhaps they were too high. This is a good novelization if you want something that will just tell you what happened in the movie. If you are looking for more, you might be disappointed.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adult Audiobook Review: One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost


Title: One Foot in the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Adult Fiction, Romance, Action Adventure
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ISBN Book: 9780061245091
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 9 hours and 47 minutess
Format: Audio download
FTC Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this audiobook from Audible and also purchased a copy of the book from Amazon.


One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, #2)One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. At first I had some concerns about how much I would like this book. It starts almost five years after the events in book one, and I was afraid that too much time would have past for Cat and Bones. Surprisingly, this didn't bother me as much as i thought it would and I was able to jump right in to the novel. I love both Cat and Bones as much as I did in the first book if not more. This book is great for readers who love books filled with action. Cat is just as bada$$ as she was in the first book, but now she has a badge to go with it--SEXY! I originally started reading this series as part of a read-along, but now I can't stop myself. I love this series and look forward to reading more.

In addition to getting the ebook from Amazon, I also purchased the audiobook from Audible. The audiobook is narrated by Tavia Gilbert and produced by Blackstone Audio, Inc. The audiobook is about 9 hours and 47 minutes long. I love Gilbert's narration and have gotten used to the voices she uses for the various characters. I plan on listening to the other books in the series on audio as well--this was a great way to experience this novel.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman


Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Author: Robin Wasserman
Genre: Teen Fiction, Action Adventure Fiction, Suspense Fiction
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Listening Library
ISBN Book: 9780670785605
Narrator: Emily Janice Card
Length: 14 hours and 17 minutes
Format: Audio download
FTC Disclosure: I purchased a downloadable copy of this book from Audible.  This is my honest review.


The Book of Blood and ShadowThe Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:

Who knew one night could change everything? Who knew a job as a research assistant could put your life in danger? Nora was prepared to be bored with her job as a research assistant, but when strange things start occurring while she translates letters relating to the Lumen Dei she finds that history and research may be more exciting than she is prepared for. When her best friend Chris is murdered and her boyfriend Max is the primary suspect, she doesn’t believe that Max was the killer. She knows there are people out there who would kill for the power of the Lumen Dei, because if they control the Lumen Dei they can control the world. On the run, and a suspect herself, Nora knows she has no one she can trust.

Review:

I’ll admit that I am a fan of books like Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code and other novels that chase historical documents through time. I loved Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian and this book felt similar to those adult titles I loved. A book with history, action, and suspense is a winning combination for me.

Wasserman creates a novel with a lot going on. I love the plot here; an ancient document with ties to history that may lead to a mysterious device that holds untold power. Murder, danger, and suspense blend well into this novel. The pacing of this novel is fast and action packed—you never know what is going to happen next. The author also creates an atmosphere of mystery and danger. You are never sure what the other characters motives are or who you can completely trust. Like in Kostova’s The Historian you feel like you need to constantly look over your shoulder.

While there was a lot about this novel I really liked, I felt that the characters kind of fell flat for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, but I couldn’t always understand the motivations of the characters or why they made the choices they did. Sometimes I felt frustrated by their naivety. I couldn’t relate to them or really understand them.

Audiobook Review:

The audiobook version of this novel is produced by Listening Library and read by Emily Janice Card. Card does an excellent job narrating this novel and performing the voices of the various characters. The audio is a longer title at 14 hours and 17 minutes, but Card keeps the listener invested in the story the whole time. I was grateful to have the audio for this novel as it helped me through some of the slower parts.

Overall:

This is a great action packed mystery thriller. There is a lot to like about this novel including the plot and the pacing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get attached to the characters as I would have liked, but I still loved the story. A fun entertaining read.


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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen


Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Teen Fiction,General Fiction
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ISBN Book: 9780670785605
Narrator: Allie Gallerani
Length: 11 hours 25 minutes
Format: Audio download
FTC Disclosure: I received a downloadable copy of this audiobook for review from Penguin through Audiobook Jukebox. This is my honest review. I also purchased a copy of the ebook from Amazon for my personal collection.


The Moon and MoreThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:

It’s the summer before college and Emmaline thinks she has it all; the perfect boyfriend, a good job at Colby Realty, and a chance to head off to a good college. Yet somehow, she isn’t satisfied. When her father shows back up in town with her little brother Benji in tow and announces he is getting a divorce. Emmaline, who has been raised by her mother and stepfather doesn’t know what to make of this sudden visit after her father completely ignored her graduation and told her he could no longer pay her college tuition. Meanwhile she meets Theo, a young film student who is eager to please his boss, while they make a documentary film about a reclusive Colby painter. As she works her way through her last summer before college, Emmaline must face changes and choices that will change her life forever.

Review:

I love Sarah Dessen’s books. They are marvelously subtle, very real, and always end up touching your heart. Her books are some of my favorite summer time reads. I always try to read at least one of her books every summer.

I love the characters Dessen creates in her novels. They are so fully developed and real. Each character is carefully crafted full of flaws and remarkably human. Emmaline is a bit of a perfectionist, and loves to have things her way. She is faced with many changes and longs to keep things the way they are. Her parents are realistically portrayed and present in her life. They too, have to adjust to the fact that Emmaline is becoming an adult and will be leaving for college soon.

This isn’t the first time we have visited Colby for one of Dessen’s novels. I love that she keeps setting her stories in this small beach town. The setting is perfect for those looking for a great summer read, and I love finding out more about the town, and seeing familiar characters throughout her novels. Can’t get enough of this setting!

Pacing in a Dessen novel is always unique. Dessen likes to ease the reader into the story, introducing all the characters, and gradually building towards a climax. For some readers this may be difficult, because they like more fast paced novels. While I usually prefer a faster pacing, I love Dessen’s style and pacing for her novels. It feels right, and it feels like you are living the story through Emmaline.

Audiobook Review:

The audiobook version of this novel is produced by Penguin Audio and read by Allie Gallerani. The length is approximately 11 hours and 25 minutes. The production is clean and free of flaws. Gallerani does a wonderful job narrating this novel. I can believe that she is Emmaline, and her voices for the other characters work well too—even the men. I love the audiobook versions of Dessen’s novels. With a couple of exceptions, all the books I have read by her have been on audio. I love sitting in my car on a warm summer day listening to her novels of Colby and the beach—making me long for the beach! This book was a good one to listen to on audio, and I would recommend the audio to anyone who loves to listen to books.

Overall:

This is a fantastic addition to Dessen’s already great collection of novels. I love Sarah Dessen’s books and will continue to read them in the future. If you are looking for a great summer read, don’t hesitate to pick up this book, or almost anything by Dessen.


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Friday, June 21, 2013

Audio Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde


Title: The Last Dragonslayer
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy Fiction
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
ISBN Book: 9781455857340
Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki
Length: 7 hours 33 Minutes
Format:  CD Book (7 CDs)
Disclosure: I checked out a copy of this audiobook from my public library. This is my honest review!


The Last DragonslayerThe Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:
Fifteen year-old foundling, Jennifer Strange lives in the Ununited Kingdoms and works for Kazam Mystical Arts Management. Magical power has been drying up for years, but suddenly predictions of the last dragon’s death at the hands of a Dragonslayer are happening all over the world. The predictions aren’t the only odd thing happening. Suddenly magic is getting stronger, and that can only mean one thing: Big Magic. A magic so big it will change the world and Jennifer forever.

Review:
Hmmm…where to start??? This book is a complex story full of intricate threads that are only really tied together at the end. Sometimes, though, there were too many balls in the air if you catch my meaning. (Bad pun intended.) I really don’t know what to say about this one simply because it really wasn’t the book for me.

The world Fforde has created is so strange I had difficulty getting into the story. As I progressed through the book, I began to understand more about the world and the characters. So many of the characters were tongue and cheek stereotypes purposely created as your traditional bad guys. At times the sheer number of characters were daunting and as a listener it became difficult to keep track of who was who—I think I would do better with this visually than with the audiobook.

My biggest problem with the story is that I really didn’t connect with it. I loved that the main character had strong beliefs and morals and that she wanted to do what was best, but for me that wasn’t enough to carry the story and keep me invested. I think I was bogged down in the exquisite detail Fforde put into creating this world that I couldn’t connect to the story.

My friend who loves Fforde’s work said many of his novels are like this one. If that is the case, I should probably avoid them in future. The problem with this book isn’t with the writing—Fforde is clearly magnificent with that. The sentences and descriptions are beautiful and unique. I loved one thing about this story and it was the Quark Beast. I loved that animal. The world building was well done, and detailed, but I couldn’t see myself in that world. It was probably more my impatience and failure to connect.

This book definitely has an audience. Many people love Fforde’s work and his unique approach to storytelling, but unfortunately this wasn’t the book for me. Scoring a book like this is hard because it is not the book or the author’s fault I couldn’t get into it. If the scores were on writing and artistry, you could expect 5 out of 5, but because my ratings reflect my personal feelings for the book, I couldn’t do better than a 3. So my apologies to the readers out there that loved this book, but it really didn’t hook me the way I hoped it would.

Audiobook Review:
This is one of those times when I am immensely grateful for audio. I could not have finished this book if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was listening to the book in my car. The audio quality is great and the Brilliance Audio production is perfect. The book is performed by Elizabeth Jasicki who does an excellent job reading this novel. Her remarkable performance kept me listening. This isn’t a long book at 7 CDs (approximately 7 hours and 33 minutes) but when you don’t enjoy a book, it seems to go on forever. If you are going to read this one, I do recommend audio—it was superbly done.

Overall:
Every now and then, we come across books that just aren’t right for us as readers. Most of the time I put these down and don’t finish them, but I made a commitment to read this particular book. It is very well written, and extremely imaginative, but unfortunately, it wasn’t the book for me. I know there are people out there who love this book—my friend who explained Fforde’s style to me is one of them and she seemed to like this one. This book will definitely find its audience and its admirers; I just won’t be among them.




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Learning About Audiobooks – Audiobook Week Discussion

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Audiobook Week is hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.  
Visit her website to find out more or to participate in Audiobook Week 2013.  

Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us! We’d particularly love to know what narrators or publishers are active in social media or do a great job communicating with listeners.

Because I do book ordering for my library I see a lot of publisher catalogs and review journals.  This is one source for finding the audiobooks I will later be listening to.  One of my favorite sources for audiobooks though is Audiobook Jukebox.  I love the reviews that they collect from all over the internet, which makes them an amazing source for audiobooks.  I also get an email each week from Any New Books that includes a list of new audiobooks each week.  If you don't subscribe to this free service I recommend it.  You can get updates on new books in various genres and categories--it is a great way to stay up to date.

This past year I finally broke down and purchased a subscription to Audible.  This has been both good and bad for me.  I love Audible and adore the selection, but I have noticed that I am spending a lot more money on audio than I used to because they have these amazing member sales--and the member discounts are amazing.  Still it is a great source for audiobooks that I can't find elsewhere.

I do work at a library and order audiobooks for my library's teen collection of both CD books and audio downloads from Overdrive so I do get a lot of my audiobooks from the library.  Still there are some titles I can only get from Audible, so I am grateful for that option.    

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Audiobook Tasks – Audiobook Week Discussion


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Audiobook Week is hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.  
Visit her website to find out more or to participate in Audiobook Week 2013.  

Today's prompt:  "What do you do while you listen? Any particular tasks or games that you find amazing for audio time?"

I do most of my audiobook listening in the car while driving.  That makes my drive time more productive.  I don't have a long drive--no more that 10-20 minutes to work each day, but that is time that I get to read.  I also listen in my car during my lunches.  I like to get out of the building for lunch, and even if I just drive home and back that amounts to some listening.  Sometimes though I will just sit in my car and listen.  It is both and quiet place, and a chance to get away for a little while.  (If I stay in the building I am too tempted to keep working--so leaving is a must!)

I have also started listening to audiobooks when my husband is watching something I am not interested in on TV.  I'll plug in the headphones and escape into my book for a little while.  This is harder though because he keeps wanting to talk to me and I can't hear him.  I don't do it often, but there has been a lot more temptation to do this lately.  :)

I will also listen while doing jobs around the home.  Anything that wouldn't distract me too much from the book is fair game. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Audiobook Week Mid-Week Meme – Audiobook Week Discussion


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Current/most recent audiobook:

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, narrated by Elizabeth Jasicki

The Last Dragonslayer

 

Impressions:

The audiobooks was the only way for me to get through this one.  The reader, Elizabeth Jasicki does an excellent job and I love her accent.  I still have 2 discs to go, but unfortunately, I am really not into the story.  I am having trouble connecting to the characters or even investing myself in their story.  My friend who has read Fforde's work before says that it is something I have to wait for, and pay off will come when I finish the book.  I certainly hope so, but if this wasn't a book I was required to read, I would have stopped long before now.

Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

A recent favorite audiobook of mine are the first two books in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost narrated by Tavia Gilbert.  I am so loving these book and I loath stopping these books for anything!

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, #2)

Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

Tavia Gilbert in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost.  At first I didn't care for the voice she gave Bones, but once I got used to in (and realized it was better than the one I had in my head) it was great.  She is a superb reader and I love listening to her read these books.  Her voice is so right for the main character.

One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

This is one I wish I had time to get to.  I listened to the first book, and am dying for the second.  Unfortunately, it will have to wait until I clear my obligations!


Adult Audio Book Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost


Title: Halfway to the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Adult Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: March 24, 2010
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ISBN Book: 9780061245084
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 11 hours and 17 minutes
Disclosure: I purchased my copy from Audible. This is my honest review!

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cat is a hybrid. She is half human and half vampire. When her mother was raped by a vampire, she was the result. Her mother hates vampires and Cat sees it as her mission to exterminate every last one of them. Then she crosses the path of Bones, a master vampire, who sees Cat as an opportunity to hunt down the vampires who are preying on women in the area. What transpires is a partnership that is more than a bit unusual.

I loved both Cat and Bones. Cat could be stubborn and pig headed and more than a little prejudiced against vampires in the beginning, but as the novel progressed she came to realize that not all vampires were evil. I enjoyed the relationship between the characters and how Cat could be all kick ass!

The book was fast paced, and I couldn't get enough of it. I was trying to do a read along, but so many times I found myself exceeding the set number of chapters because I couldn't put the book down.

I did use one of my audible credits to listen to the audiobook as well. The audiobook was produced by Blackstone Audio, and read by Tavia Gilbert who does an excellent job with the narration of Cat. I thought her narration of Bones didn't come across strong enough thought, but it didn't discourage my listening. In fact, I plan on listening to the sequels on audio as well. As I said her narration of Cat was spot on and I loved listening to this novel on audio. It is a longer title than I have been listening to lately at 11 hours and 17 minutes, but that time seemed to fly by because I was so engrossed in the story. The audiobook is free of any production flaws and a pleasure to listen to.

Overall this was a fun light read. I so seldom get to read for just the pure enjoyment of it, and this fit that bill. Halfway to the Grave is the first book in the Night Huntress series and I can't wait to read more. I will definitely be recommending this one.


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Do You Choose Your Audiobooks? – Audiobook Week Discussion

Most of the books I listen to are books that I would read anyway, but on occasion I will listen to something I know I wouldn't be able to actually sit down and read.  A lot of the books I choose are ones that I am reading for work either in my position as Teen Librarian or for my various committee work.  Audio books help me get through books I normally would have trouble just sitting down and reading.

I do both read books and listen to audiobooks.  Sometimes audiobooks give me a jump start into a book I want to read.  Once I get past the beginning of the book on audio, I will pick up the actual book to finish it more quickly.  Lately though, I will either listen to the book, or read the book--depending on what my preference is for that specific title.

I don't have any criteria for deciding what I will do on audio versus what I will read.  Sometimes it is just simply convenience.  If I have the audiobook, I'll listen to it.  If not, I will read the book.  Other times I will listen because I know there is no way I could actually finish the book if I were reading it  (I have a little attention problem with books--if it doesn't hold my interest I find myself easily distracted).  Audio books help me avoid that problem--as long as I have them playing in my car I will keep listening allowing me to finish the book.

Last year I went through a big dry spell with reading.  I could say I suffered a book burnout.  I simply didn't want to sit down and read anymore.  I lacked the time, I was stressed, and after several deaths in our family I lacked motivation.  I can't say that I know for sure what caused it, all I know is without audiobooks, I probably wouldn't have read anything last year.  Audiobooks reminded me why I love to read and got me reading again.


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Audiobook Week is hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.  Visit her website to find out more or to participate in Audiobook Week 2013.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Audio Book Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera


Title: Reboot
Author: Amy Tintera
Genre: Teen Fiction, Sciencel Fiction
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Harper Audio
ISBN Book: 9780062217073
Narrator: Khristine Hvam 
Length: 8 hours and 42 minutes
Disclosure: I purchased my copy from Audible. This is my honest review!


Reboot (Reboot, #1)Reboot by Amy Tintera
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
Some times death isn't the end. Sometimes it is only the beginning. Wren rebooted after being dead for 172 minutes. The longer you are dead, the more powerful you become and Wren is the highest number in her facility. When another reboot, a young man who was only dead for 22 minutes comes along and challenges Wren's beliefs about her current life, she discovers that there may be more to life than just following orders.

Review:
It was the book trailer that really got me to read this book. I saw the trailer and couldn't help thinking I really needed to check this book out. Unfortunately, my library didn't have it yet, so I used one of my audible credits, to start listing to this book, and I was really happy I did. I really enjoyed this science fiction novel by Tintera. First, I liked the fact that the teens coming back to life weren't zombies. Second, I loved the characters. Finally, Tintera's pacing was perfect.

Death plays a big role in a lot of teen novels, but this novel takes a new look at death and life. In Tintera's novel because of a virus, some people who die don't remain dead. After a length of time they come back to life as reboots. Reboots aren't treated the same as regular humans. Humans are suspicious of the reboots and they are isolated in facilities where they are used by H.A.R.C. to enforce H.A.R.C.'s rules and regulations. They are used as soldiers to terrify the people and keep them under H.A.R.C. control. The lower the number of the reboot, the less valuable they are because they aren't as strong and fast as the higher numbers.

I loved Wren as a character. Yes, she was flawed, but she had her reasons. Because her number is so high, she believes that she is even less human than the other reboots. In many ways I felt that she was the character Katniss should have been in Mockingjay. She was a leader, and determined to do what was right to save her friends. She didn't let odds or self doubt get in the way of what she needed to do. I only wish Katniss had her strength of character in Mockingjay.

I also loved 22 because he brought out the best in Wren. He saw her for more than what she was. He made her doubt the establishment and gave her hope. I loved that he never gave up, and always kept his sense of humor. The training sessions were priceless.

The pacing of this novel was spot on. Tintera does a great job hooking you in the beginning of the novel and keeps that pace going throughout the book. She also does a great job world building. You can believe in this lost Texas that has been devastated by disease.

Audiobook Review:
I purchased the audiobook from Audible using one of my credits. The audiobook is produced by Harper Audio and read by Khristine Hvam. I loved Hvam's narration of this novel. She gave Wren the right feel of distance and coolness that we believe Wren would exhibit, and did a great job giving 22 a believable voice as well. The audio was really well done, and clear of flaws. The length of the audio was 8 hours and 42 minutes and because I enjoyed it so much, went way too quickly. I highly recommend this audio.

Overall:
I really enjoyed this book. The ending was a bit abrupt which hopefully means there will be a sequel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves good science fiction and dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction. I really couldn't put this one down.


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2012-2013, My Audiobook Year: Audiobook Week Discussion

I have been listening to audio for many years now, so my love of audio really hasn't changed.  I did start listening to more downloadable titles in the last year.  Before my primary source for audiobooks were on CD, this year I discovered that downloadable audiobooks are really more convenient.  Part of this came as a result of a new car with Bluetooth making it more accessible for me to listen from my iPod, and then later my iPhone.

I also subscribed to Audible this year because I really wanted more audio to listen to.  I love Audible's selection and have had a great time adding new audiobooks to my collection.

Some of my favorite audiobooks this year include:

Halfway to the Grave by Jeanienne Frost
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Splintered by A. G. Howard
Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Most of my listening has always taken place in the car, but this past year I found myself slipping in the ear buds and listening on my phone when ever my husband was watching something I wasn't interested in on TV.  This year I relied on audio to do a lot more of my reading.  I found myself pressed for time, and using the audio to keep reading when I didn't have time to actually pick up a book.  If it hadn't been for audio, I would hardly have read anything last year.

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Audiobook Week is hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.  Visit her website to find out more or to participate in Audiobook Week 2013.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest Post by Adrienne Kress author of Outcast


I have always found Jane Austen’s novel PRIDE AND PREJUDICE a really compelling story.  And not just for Mr. Darcy.  Who is, yes, rather compelling . . . rather compelling indeed. . . .

Sorry, where was I? 

Right.

I always really appreciated how Austen created a flawed main character in Lizzie.  Someone who had very strong opinions about everyone and who, over the course of the novel, realizes that maybe she wasn’t always right in these opinions (the same, of course, goes for Mr. Darcy).

I found it fascinating, because, well, I related to the experience. 

When I was in high school I had very strong opinions about others.  There is nothing particularly original in saying so, most of us tend to have such opinions.  I’d say most people on the planet often jump to conclusions about other people without really getting to know them. 

In fact this jumping to conclusions without really getting to know people thing was something I was well aware happened.  Thus I tried very hard to get to know people for who they were, not their outwards appearance.  And so it rather surprised me to learn, that, despite my noble intentions, I did have one form of prejudice I wasn’t even aware I had until toward the end of high school.  You see, I tended to have negative impressions of anyone I thought was playing up to a teenaged stereotype.  To me I could never understand, when there were all these films about teenagers and their “types”, why then someone would actually want to live up to those expectations. Further, I definitely judged those who belonged to what one would dub the “popular” or “in” groups extra harshly.

I made assumptions about anyone who lived up to such a stereotype.  And, I must admit, more often than not, negative assumptions.  But as I got older, as I got to know more and more people in my school by being put into groups for projects or whathaveyou, I realised that these folks were complicated and three dimensional (you know, like people tend to be in general).  That just because they were popular, or didn’t mind living up to the teenager role, it didn’t mean they weren’t also interesting, smart and fun.  It was a hard lesson for me to learn, that as an outsider I was just as guilty of being judgmental of those on the inside as I assumed those on the inside were of me.  Especially considering I had always thought I was quite empathetic and open minded.

So I wanted to write about that self-discovery in OUTCAST.

I created a main character in Riley who has certain opinions about certain kinds of people in her community, especially one head cheerleader.  And I wanted to show her grow and learn what I myself ended up learning. 

It’s a simple lesson, but we all need to learn it at some point.  The fact is we all do make judgments about others without really knowing them.  Sometimes we can be correct – and there are certain people that Riley is dead on about.  But sometimes we screw up.  And I think it’s important to acknowledge those moments and grow from them.

I know I certainly had to.  

While this wasn’t the main purpose of my writing the book, I think it is one of those things that I am most excited about in it.  It’s humbling for me to even write about it now.  And a little embarrassing to admit.  But I do hope others will be able to relate.


Visit these other blogs on the Outcast blog tour to find out more about Adrienne and about her newest book Outcast!


Book Review: Outcastby Adrienne Cress


Title: Outcast
Author: Adrienne Kress (http://www.adriennekress.com/author.html)
Genre: Teen Fiction, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: June 2, 2013
Publisher: Diversion Books (http://www.diversionbooks.com/ebooks/outcast)
ISBN Book: 9781626810921
Disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher to review. This is my honest review!



OutcastOutcast by Adrienne Kress
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
A year ago during the Taking, Riley’s best friend Chris was one of the people taken by the “angels.” While the powerful Pastor Warren says she should be happy for her friend, she misses him and longs to have him back. When it is time for the Taking again, Riley refuses to go to the town’s celebration, and when one of the “angels” come for her, she takes matters into her own hands and shoots him. What happens next surprises her. Instead of a dead angel, she find, Gabe, a young man from 1956, who is very hot, and a lot more than Riley can handle. Can Gabe and Riley unravel the mystery of what is happening to her town, and will she ever see Chris again?

Review:
I have read many angel novels, and I must say this one is unique. The “angels” take people, but only from Riley’s town. No one can explain it and Pater Warren, the pastor at the Church of the Angels insists that their town should be honored, while he uses his place in the community to grab more and more power for himself.

The characters in this novel are great. Riley’s grief over Chris’s taking is believable. For the past year, she has given up putting forth any effort either socially or in school. She misses Chris, her first love, terribly. Then when she sees the angel waiting for her, her grief turns to rage, and she shoots him. What happens next is both humorous and weird. Eventually, Riley finds an ally in the mysterious Gabe, but it is clear she doesn’t fully trust him right away.

The story is interesting and engaging. Kress’s pacing is perfect and keeps you interested throughout the novel. This one is a quick read and very different from the other angel novels I have read. I appreciated the uniqueness of this novel. I don’t want to give too much away, but this one is definitely worth the read.

Overall:
An interesting and unique approach to angels in ya lit. Pick this one up if you love the angel stories, but are looking for something different in the angel genre—this one definitely doesn’t fit the mold.


View all my reviews

To purchase a copy of Outcast visit http://www.diversionbooks.com/ebooks/outcast.
 

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