Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Audiobook Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Teen Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
ISBN Book: 9781742857640
Narrator:  Morvan Christie and Lucy Gaskill
Length: 9 sound discs (10 hr., 9 min.)(Unabridged)
Disclosure: I checked out a copy from my local libraryThis is my honest review!


Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:
Two girls, both best friends, both in a British spy plane shot down over Nazi-occupied France. When Verity is captured by the Gestapo, and as a spy she knows it isn’t going to end well for her. They give her paper and ink, and ask her to write all she knows of the British spy network, and of the air forces. What she writes is a remarkable story of friendship, a dangerous confession, and description of her days as a Gestapo prisoner.

Review:
There are some books that no matter how many times you hear how great they are you really don’t realize it for yourself until you read it. I remember reading the reviews for this book and thinking “WOW that sounds great!” Sadly, it took me a while to get around to reading it, but OMG I am so glad I did.

The story reveals itself slowly. Verity has been captured and tortured, and is now being made to confess everything she knows about the British spy network and her involvement in it. Her story is heart wrenching, and as she begins writing her story for the Gestapo, she reveals an amazing friendship with a female pilot named Maddie.

Wein builds the tension steadily throughout the novel. Verity’s days are numbered and Verity knows it. What she doesn’t know is how she will die. Wein entices you along with Verity’s story, her pain, her determination to get it all down, and the story of a friendship that defines her. The pacing in this novel is amazing. It is steadily pushing you to the conclusion, never rushing or dragging, just pulling you towards the inevitable.

I loved the characters and the friendship between them. These are best friends you wish you had. Girls you could count and depend on. Even some of the side characters are fleshed out. Even the Gestapo commander while cruel has multiple facets to his character and a remarkable interest in literature. It is amazing how Wein makes these characters jump off the page and feel so real to the reader.

Audiobook Review:
The audiobook for this novel is AMAZING! It is produced by Bolinda audio and read by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. Both narrators do a wonderful job giving voice to the characters in this novel. They make you believe they really are the characters, and that makes this novel so easy to enjoy. The production is flawless and very well done. The CD book consists of 9 CDs for a total of roughly 10 hours and 9 minutes in length. There really isn’t praise high enough for this audiobook. I highly recommend it.

Overall:
Get out your hankies on this one, but believe me when I say it is completely worth every tear. This book is amazing, and one that should not be missed. I loved every minute of it and I still can’t stop thinking about this remarkable novel. AMAZING!!! I just wish I had someone around to discuss it with--when you finish it you will want to talk about it!


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Wrap Up Post

I didn't make as much progress on this read-a-thon as I had hoped, but I did read more this past week than I had for the past several weeks put together.  I signed up for the read-a-thon because I needed motivation.  I have had so much going on in my life lately that sitting down to read has taken a backseat to everything else.  I thought this read-a-thon would be my chance to reorganize and make reading a priority once again.  I am proud of the modest progress I made and the lesson I learned.

My goals:
False Memories
Code Name Verity
Halfway to the Grave

My progress:
False Memories:  No progress
Code Name Verity:  Finished (Review will be posted on Wednedsday 5/22)
Halfway to the Grave:  Read 12 chapters
Reboot:  Read 11 chapters
Spirit and Dust:  Read 14 chapters

Lesson learned:

I seem to have some kind of book ADD.  I start reading a book, and then when something more interesting comes along, I start that.  I will be finishing all the ones you see on the list up there for the following reasons:  False Memories because I have to for work, Halfway to the Grave because I am participating in a read-along and really enjoy it, Reboot because the book has me intrigued, and finally Spirit and Dust because I am loving it.

If I can learn to control my book ADD I might be able to make progress and finish all of them pretty soon--if I can't...who knows...

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Audiobook Review: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Title: The Night She Disappeared
Author: April Henry
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Teen Fiction, Thriller
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
ISBN Book: 9781469277851
Narrator:  Kate Rudd
Length: 5 sound discs (325 min.)(Unabridged)
Disclosure: I checked out a copy of the audiobook from my public library.  This is my honest review!


The Night She DisappearedThe Night She Disappeared by April Henry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Summary:
When the order came in, Drew thought nothing about it.  After Kayla disappeared, it was all he could think about.  Kayla, Drew, and Gabie all work for Pete’s Pizza, and on the night Kayla disappeared, the caller asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working.  Gabie owns a Mini Cooper, but Kayla was the one who was delivering the pizzas that evening.  Drew feels guilty because he took the call; Gabie knows it should have been she that disappeared.  The police are investigating, but that isn’t enough.  Gabie and Drew need to prove to everyone that Kayla isn’t dead, and try to save her before it is too late.  Unfortunately, their time is running out.

Review:
This book is an amazingly quick read.  At first, I was uncertain whether I would like the fact that the narration is told from multiple viewpoints.  I was afraid it would cut down on the suspense.  It doesn’t however, and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat flipping pages as fast as you can (or in my case sitting in my car eagerly anticipating the next discs).

When Kayla disappears, there is a lot of blame to go around, but I like that Henry keeps the story moving while acknowledging that each character feels guilty.  Her pacing is spot on, and she keeps the tension mounting throughout the novel. 

I love the mystery, even though you are shown scenes from Kayla’s point of view, and the kidnapper’s point of view, those scenes don’t reveal too much, and keep you wondering how they are going to find the kidnapper. 

Audiobook Review:
The unabridged audiobook is produced by Brilliance Audio and read by Kate Rudd.  At first, I was wondering why a female was narrating the book when we were listening to Drew, but then I realized the book was being told from the perspective of multiple characters.  Rudd does a great job with the narration, and successfully performs all the parts in the novel.  The CD book contains five sound discs for roughly 325 minutes of listening.  This really is a quick audiobook and a great one if you are looking for something short yet suspenseful.  The production is well done and free of flaws. 

Overall:
Fast paced and action packed, what more could you want?  This was a fantastic mystery.  If you are looking for a great suspense that isn’t too long, I would highly recommend this one.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:
Drugs:  One character who is a known drug user is suspected of the crime and characters refer to smoking weed and using drugs though no drug use is present in the novel.
Alcohol:  One underage character indulges in a bit too much Kahlua and Cream in one scene.
Sex:  There is some kissing, but no sex, although, with the kidnapping, the subject of rape does come up in the novel.
Violence:  Some violence.




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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Day Seven

Again I didn't get much read yesterday because I had to work.  I did listen to some chapters in the book Reboot and read one chapter of Spirit and Dust.  I plan on reading more today, but at least I have finished one book during the read-a-thon.  Reboot is turning out to be an interesting read, and I did get a few chapters done, it has me hooked.


Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Adult Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan TrainOrphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Molly is a foster kid living with foster parents who don't want her. According to the system she is nothing but trouble and has no where to go. Soon she will be too old for foster care, and no one seems to care what happens to her next. When she gets caught stealing, she is sentenced to do community service and lands a job with an elderly woman, Vivian, who needs help cleaning out her attic. Vivian, was an orphan too, and in her youth was one of the many orphans sent west on the orphan trains. As Molly helps her go through the boxes, Vivian revisits her past, and the troubles she faced as an orphaned child.

This book is completely heart wrenching, but at the same time I couldn't put it down. The people who took in some of the orphans from the orphan trains didn't want children, they wanted workers, and Vivian had to grow up fast. So little love, and so much hardship.

I loved this book, and really enjoyed the characters. Two generations, so far apart, with so much in common. It was a wonderful novel.

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Bout of Books 7.0: Day Six

While I had the day off yesterday, I am ashamed to say I didn't get much reading done. I read three chapters of Spirit and Dust--I am absolutely loving the novel and I love Daisy the main character. I saw a trailer on Thursday for the book Reboot, and that got me curious. I started reading chapter one of that book and the switched to the audiobook from Audible--I have listened through chapter 2.

I didn't make any progress on either False Memories or Halfway to the Grave, and my tendency to keep picking up new books makes it seem like I have some insane form of book ADD.  I work today, and the in-laws are visiting for the weekend, so I don't know what I am going to get done when I have a chance later today--may some more audio...


Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Day Five

Yay!!!  I finally finished a book!  Last night I turned the final pages on Code Name Verity.  It was an amazing book!  Loved it.  I also finished a couple of chapters in Spirit and Dust and one chapter in Halfway to the Grave.  Finally, I feel like I am making progress.
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Day Four

Still chugging along with the read-a-thon.  I listened to another disc of Code Name Verity and got a little further on the book Halfway to the Grave.  I am making progress though it isn't as fast as I would like.  Luckily I am off work on Friday, so hopefully I can get some serious reading done!


Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bout of Book 7.0 Read-a-thon: Day Three

Well, I made some progress yesterday on Code Name Verity which I am listening to on audio.  I finished a whole CD yesterday.  The book is getting really tense and I can't wait to find out what happens.

I also started a book yesterday.  I got a hold of a copy of  Rosemary Clement-Moore's new book Spirit and Dust and read the first chapter--LOVING IT!!!

I also finished a chapter of Halfway to the Grave.

I haven't finished any whole books yet, but I am making progress on everything I am reading.  Now if I could just stop picking up anything new until I finish these!
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bout of Book 7.0 Read-a-thon: Day Two

Yesterday was the first day of the read-a-thon, and I did make some progress on one of my books.  I read chapters 14-18 of Halfway to the Grave.  In the grand scheme of things that isn't much, especially since this is a book I am reading for fun, but it was what I wanted to read and I had it handy.

I really need to read False Memory and Code Name Verity--those two are for work, and I need to finish them soon, unfortunately when I have to read something, I tend to want to read something else.  :)  Oh well, I was enjoying what I was reading!


Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0: Day One Goals

My goals for this Read-a-thon are on the modest side.  I really need to motivate myself to keep reading, but I have some books I really need to finish.  Here is what I hope to read/finish during this Read-a-thon:

False Memory by Dan Krokos
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

and more...I have approximately 20 titles I need to finish before the end of summer for work, but I am not going to list them here.  Let's just say, if I finish the ones listed above, I will pick something else from my list to read next, but finishing the list would be overly optimistic at this point! :)

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers share what books they are eagerly anticipating.


I was making my way through reviews earlier this week when I stumbled across this little gem.  The cover doesn't jump out at me, but the reviews did.  Historical, mystery, suspense...it sounded brilliant!
The Caged Graves 
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 7, 2013
Summary from Goodreads.com 
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds  herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core.

So how about you?  What is your WoW pick of the week?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Audiobook Review: Ghoulish Song by William Alexander

Title: Ghoulish Song
Author: William Alexander
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
ISBN Book: 9781442363069
Narrator:  William Alexander
Length: 4 sound discs (240 min.)(Unabridged)
Disclosure: I received a copy of the audio book from Simon & Schuster for review through Audiobook JukeboxThis is my honest review!



Ghoulish SongGhoulish Song by William Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
Kaile lives in Zombay, a city always on the verge of flooding. Her mother is a baker, and on the day of inspection Kaile allows a goblin troupe to perform in her mother’s bakery. When her mother finds out, she sends Kaile’s father to get rid of the goblins, and the goblins feeling slighted start to curse the family. Fearing the curses, Kaile sneaks out to pay the goblins with the best bread mean to the inspection, and in return receives a bone flute, that separates her from her shadow, her family, and sends her on a quest to find both herself and to save Zombay from the flood.

Review:
The timeline for this novel is interesting. It takes place at virtually the same time as the previous novel about Zombay, Goblin Secrets. It was interesting to see. These two completely separate stories overlapping and intertwining. On that note, you can read either novel as a stand-alone, but they are better when read together.

One of my greatest qualms about the first book was that I wanted more explanation, more detail. That didn’t bother me as much in this book, partly because the book delivered the more I was looking for, and partly because the place was now so familiar.

I loved Kaile’s story and I loved her shadow. Both are compelling and diverse characters. Kaile has her faults, but so too does Shade. The quest is fascinating and keeps the book moving.

Audiobook Review:
Like with the previous book, Goblin Secrets, the author reads this book too and does a fantastic job. His narration is entertaining and engaging. The audio is produced by Simon and Schuster Audio and consists of four sound discs. This book is relatively short at only 240 minutes and would make an excellent selection for a family trip. I recommend the audio to anyone who likes shorter audiobooks or is looking for something the whole family can listen to together.

Overall:
Overall, this book was both engaging and entertaining. I hope Alexander continues writing more about Zombay and its inhabitants, because I can’t seem to get enough of his remarkable storytelling. You will want to bring this audio book with you on your next family trip, or better yet, bring this one and Goblin Secrets and enjoy the overlap between these two stories. In fact, I may go back and listen to Goblin Secrets again and see if I missed anything!



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