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text 2017-06-09 17:27
The Girl Before - DNF
The Girl Before - Rena Olsen,Brittany Pressley,Penguin Audio

This is one of the books my mother picked using our Audible credits. She loved it, and apparently a lot of other people did, too. I stuck with it long enough to realize that the awful first-person-present-tense style was not just for effect in the prologue, but a stylistic choice for the entire book. 

 

And unlike the last book I just reviewed, it is not compelling enough to allow me to look past the FPPT. DNF. Didn't listen to enough to rate it.

 

Audiobook, via Audible. Brittany Pressly's reading seemed okay, but the quavery voice she's using likely would have annoyed me over the course of an entire book, if she doesn't move on from it once her character is out of the immediate situation. 

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review 2017-03-23 18:11
#Audiobook Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Etched in Bone: A Novel of the Others - -Penguin Audio-,Anne Bishop,Alexandra Harris

Etched in Bone is the fifth and final book in the utterly amazing, wholly original The Others series by Anne Bishop. The story picks up just after the conclusion of powerful events of the previous book, and is the culmination of everything learned since Meg arrived in the Lakeside Courtyard way back in the first book. 

 

Etched in Bone deals with the limited transportation and food shortages created when the Elders culled many humans and took back human-controlled towns. The new living situation brings out a different kind of human "predator,” and the Elders must determine how much human they want to keep in the world. Having two Elders observe the Lakeside Courtyard places Simon in a precarious situation; he must allow a dangerous human (Officer Montgomery’s shady brother, Jimmy) to stay in near the Courtyard so the Elders can figure out what makes him a bad type of human (and therefore they will be able to destroy those humans that are a threat). Simon, along with the other Terra Indigine and some of the more astute humans like Burke and Monty, recognize that the fate of all humankind depends on what happens in Lakeside. This sets up a number of situations that endanger the lives and wellbeing of many of the Lakeside Courtyard residents, weaving a sense of urgency around the moments of everyday living.

 

Like all the previous books in the series, readers (listeners) are privy to an unpleasant series of events that unfold over the course of Etched in Bone and witness how the Terra Indigine react. Although is it evident where the story is headed, it's still gripping. This time around, I liked how well the Others and humans worked together, but I also like that the Lakeside residents are now able to recognize a human predator. The introduction of Monty’s mother, Twyla, adds a missing human/pack grandmother component. She is able to understand the ways of the the Others and put her own way of handling a situation into their framework. Her presence is calming, knowing that she is able to handle the craziness with a firm but caring hand.

 

Additionally, Etched in Bone progresses the unique relationship between Simon and Meg. By now, it is evident to all, expect Simon and Meg, that the pair are in love. Because love between a human and Other hasn’t existed before, and due to Meg’s abusive history, the couple’s dilemmas are different than expected. I absolutely love that Simon gets advice on how to navigate his relationship with Meg through "kissy books!” 

 

After messing with the speed over the course of the series, the narration works best for me at 1.25x speed, and I will freely admit that I am now a huge fan of Ms. Harris’s performance in the series. I've grown to love every voice Ms. Harris performs, each as familiar as the characters themselves. The narrator continues to keep the joy and nativity of Meg, and the gruff predator of Simon. She nails the creep factor of mooch Jimmy, the whine of Jimmy's wife, and the confidence of Burke and Kowalski. 

 

Etched in Bone is another wonderful story in The Others series. The characters have grown so much, and I adore all the Courtyard residents. I've come to think of them as friends and have such an interest in seeing them succeed. I loved just listening to the day-to-day details and life of the Lakeside Courtyard, along with the new experiences for Meg, the Others, the Elders, and everyone in the mixed community. The author ended the series with many (if not all) of the outstanding details wrapped up, yet not completely finalized. After finishing Etched in Bone, I am hopeful for the future of the people/creatures of this interesting world (and really want more!).

 

My Rating: A- 

Narration: A-

 

Series: A-

 

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House Audio

 

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review 2017-03-11 11:41
The Aeronaut's Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1 - Jim Butcher,-Penguin Audio-,Euan Morton

This is truly an excellent book. Awesome story, clean story-telling, little to no swearing which was surprising but very pleasant. I listened to the audiobook and it did seem a little long but I wonder if reading it would have felt different... I will read the next one in the series when it comes out.

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review 2017-03-08 20:21
#Audiobook Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Silence Fallen: A Mercy Thompson Novel, Book 10 - Patricia Briggs,-Penguin Audio-,Lorelei King

Opening shortly after the game-changing previous title Fire Touched, we find Mercy, Adam, and the Columbia Basin pack happy and settled in way they haven’t been in a very long time. However their good times are short-lived when Mercy is brutally attacked and kidnapped by Iacopo (Jacob) Bonarata, Lord of Night, head of the vampires. Mercy is cut off from her pack and mate-bond, on the run, and fighting to survive in a foreign land, while Adam must play diplomat to save both Mercy and ensure the security of his territory.

 

Silence Fallen is the tenth title in the amazing, richly developed Mercy Thompson series. Those readers/listeners who have followed the series since the start will probably notice the book has a different feel than previous titles in the series. First of all, Mercy and Adam spend almost the entire book separated from one another, similar to what happened in portions of the seventh title, Frost Burned. Additionally, due to the circumstances, the author has split the book into sections narrated in first person POV of Mercy (her normal method of storytelling), but also the book is shared in the third person POV of Adam (and very briefly another character). The book also goes back and forth a bit in time, with Mercy and Adam’s stories running parallel, but shifted slightly in timing. This all makes for a very different feeling book. The results are mixed in my opinion.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the story behind Silence Fallen. Ms. Briggs deals with the fallout from Adam and Mercy’s actions in Fire Touched, and even some subsequent titles. I like that there are repercussions from their actions, and that we continue to see the world changing as it uncovers and attempts to adapt to the supernatural world. Mercy’s kidnapping is a direct result of the actions in Fire Touched, and the outcome makes for a stronger pack in the long run. I also like that we learn more about both Werewolf and Vampire global politics. Mercy’s world has always been very small geographically, with trouble coming to her. Seeing Mercy function outside of her comfort zone was rewarding. I also loved watching Adam play diplomatic games, and getting his POV while it happens gave greater insight to how his mind works. With that said, I was slightly disappointed at the lack of time Mercy and Adam spent together. The stories are best when the pair works together to face and solve issues. 

 

My biggest disappointment with the title is the addition of a male narrator for the parts of the book shared from Adam’s POV. While I understand the need for the dual POVs, and even like the idea, the new narrator did not work for me. Mr. Newbern is wholly new and NOT Lorelei King, who has narrated the series for the nine previous titles. Lorelei King is an amazing narrator, and she IS Mercy to me. She is also Adam, Stephan, Marcila, Ben, Elizaveta, Wolf, etc. So hearing someone else attempt “her” characters just didn’t work. 

 

I will say that Mr. Newbern is a talent on his own, with a fine narrative voice, excellent accents, and I would enjoy listening to his work - just not here. Adam's chapters are told in third person, not first person like Mercy, so it wasn’t even necessarily Adam relaying the events, and the story didn’t need another narrator. Part of the issue is that I enjoy Ms. King’s Mercy at 1.25x speed; however this speed didn’t work for Mr. Newbern’s Adam, and I had to switch to 1.5x for when his sections were played. Second, the newness of his voice, when I am so accustomed to Ms. King, was jarring and distracting. Initially, I spent more time analyzing his voice rather than focusing on what he was reading. It’s too bad that the publishers just didn’t have Ms. King narrate Adam. She has established his voice over the course of ten titles, and I have to ask: why change?

 

In the end, I enjoyed Silence Fallen, but it just wasn't the same as the previous title (which was probably my favorite), mostly because I wanted more time with Adam and Mercy together. The story was solid, and I love that the author considered the fallout from previous events when developing the story. There was a twist at the end that caught me completely off guard, and that rarely happens. It made me want to listen to certain exchanges again to see if I should have picked up on something sooner. Unfortunately, I did not like the addition of a new narrator, and it ended up bringing down the entire listening experience for me. However, the book is very good and the series is one of the best out there.

 

Story: B+

Female Narration: A

Male Narration: C+

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House Audio

 

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review 2017-03-06 23:59
Etched in Bone (The Others #5) by Anne Bishop
Etched in Bone: A Novel of the Others - -Penguin Audio-,Anne Bishop,Alexandra Harris

Humanity has been firmly rebuked by the Others. Towns have been depopulated, bodies have piled up, communication is splintered.

 

Humanity tries to rebuild in the aftermath and to face the new reality they live in, under new rules and under new restrictions.


And none more so than Lakeside – Meg, Simon et al have built a whole different way for humans and Others to interact and the Elders are curious. What they learn in Lakeside may decide the fate of all humanity.

 

And the appearance of Cyrus, Monty’s criminal, shiftless brother, risks upending all of that.

 

 

 

The Meg, The Meg is back! We love the Meg. We adore the Meg. This is known!

 

After last book, the whole land has been mauled by the Others. Humanity has been slaughtered and the conflict that has pretty much defined the last few books has been dramatically changed. The whole Humans First and Last movement is no longer a force to be reckoned with. The Others have revealed their claws and the whole idea of humans rising up and taking the land is now well and truly gone.

 

That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of humans who hate the Others – of course there is – but the whole idea of them as an institutional powerful force has slipped. Even the position of local government et al has slipped considerably towards appeasing the Others. Humanity is on survival mode now which makes for a very different tone overall for the books and characters specifically.

 

This book also carries on the tone of the Others being dangerous. That was always on the cards but as we saw more and more of the Others playing with the Exploding Fluffballs of the female pack, of the crows being endearing and curious – and even, in this book, Meg scolding the Elders for being insufficiently polite (and it’s moments of humour like this that really adds the peak to this book series). But this book not only presents the threat but reminds us that even the friendly, happy Others like Simon and the Crowguard are still vicious, dangerous and willing to eat humans who break the rules. The teeth is back in the series with this book.

 

The ongoing conflict is how the humans exist in this new Thasia. A world with more shortages, less communication, less trade and generally everything being so much more isolated than it was. It’s interesting how it touches on things like shortages – because that means “famine” or “starvation” to the Terra Indigene, but means “lack of options” to many of the humans. Obviously, The Others are less inclined to be sympathetic towards the idea of a monotonous diet being a terrible hardship (most of them are carnivores with a relative narrow prey selections) while at the same time being indulgent of the Female Pack

 

And, yes I love the women of the Courtyard. Because though Meg earned her respect and position among the Others with her unique abilities and nature first of all, the other women earned their place through personality, strength, capacity, courage and compassion (and attacking enemies with a teakettle). We also have some really excellent depiction of abusive relationships – but violent and non-physically violent relationships, how words have power and how people can be beaten down so completely in these relationships (and how domestic violence isn’t always between partners). It’s a meaningful and powerful storyline with some excellent characters. I’m also hoping for other women, including the women of the new frontier town, one of which is a police office resisting the sexist assumptions of humanity with the sheer bemusement of the others.

 

Twyla. Twyla gives me complex feelings. On the one side, she is the quintessential mother figure and no-one messes with her. The Others respect (and slightly fear) her, absolutely everyone obeys her. Everyone was wary of her and no-one argued with her because she was right and wise and excellent. She was loving and caring and patient but also stern and unyielding and wise and uncompromising and experienced and beloved, adored, respected by all. She was awesome with Simon, she was awesome with the young wolves. She was awesome in recognising both the strengths and weaknesses of her own children and really just being perfect in every way. No-one was better than her in making Simon forget who was the boss in his town.


I loved Twyla. I adored Twyla. I cheered every time Twyla appeared.

 

Buuuut… strong, wise, tough Black lady who acts as mother to everyone around her? Yeaaah that’s kind of central casting for a Mamy right there. Especially with book having one of her sons basically facing terrible circumstances and her daughter leaving while she acts as mother forgive for the whole district. Even her refusing to choose between her children’s “packs” and instead choosing Simon’s felt less, as it was explained, of Twyla asserting her own identity in the face of her family so much as Twyla deciding to become ur-parent of the whole of Lakeside. This includes her choice of where to live: ostensibly so she can have her own life and not just be a grandparent/childminder. All well and good and an excellent idea – but then she becomes mother figure to everyone.

 

This is an example of a character both being awesome… but kind of a stereotype as well.

 

Cyrus/Jimmy. I’m kind of torn on his character. On some level there is something passionately wonderful about having a complete arsehole character get his righteous comeuppance. So I revelled in how awful he is. I loved how terrible he was. I was properly HUNGRY for the terrible fate we knew was heading for him with joyous awfulness. I was viciously looking forward to it

 

But… he was also something of a caricature. I mean the whole idea that the elders needed to keep him around to study a terrible human? They learned everything the need to know within 5 minutes. He was made of awful. He was a caricature of awful. I was amazed he lived to adulthood, how did Twyla resist drowning him as a child? Again, it was satisfying, but subtle villainy it wasn’t.

 

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/02/etched-in-bone-others-5-by-anne-bishop.html
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