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review 2017-05-04 18:49
This was all the fun!!!
Summer Lessons (Winter Ball) - Amy Lane

I totally love Amy Lane. She's one of those authors who are just an auto-buy for me and even though I've already read this  book, once again, when the opportunity was presented for me to review the audiobook and I saw that Nick J. Russo was the narrator I was all over it.

 

'Summer Lessons' is the second book in Ms Lane's series 'Winter Ball' and as I said in my original review 'I loved this one even more than the first one' which I loved 5 stars worth by the way. So here's the link to my original review...

Summer Lessons

 

So here I am listening to a book on audio that I've already given 5 stars to...really, what's a girl to do? 

Rave about the narrator, of course! Because it's all I got. I'm definitely getting more experienced in the audiobook department and one of things that I learned early on thanks to a very helpful friend...winks at Josy, is always listen to the sample before buying/requesting an audiobook. Trust me...these are words to live by.  I've not done this a couple of times and been left wondering why I love to torture myself. While it's not a guarantee for a good listening experience, it's definitely as close to a sure thing as you can get.

 

However, there are those rare occasions when I've become quite comfortable just saying 'gimme the audiobook' and one such occasion is when I see one of my favorite authors names, in this case Amy Lane followed by the name of someone who has become one of my favorite narrators...Nick J. Russo.

 

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying he's the only good narrator out there. But he's one of a very few that I've listened to narrate more than one or two books (actually to date I've listened to about 10) and consistently without fail I've enjoyed them all.

 

How much I've enjoyed the story may have varied but not because of the narration simply because that particular story didn't appeal to me as much as other ones have, but I've never been left feeling that maybe I just didn't like the audiobook as much as the e-book or maybe I should have passed on the audiobook. Nope, without fail I've either enjoyed the audiobook as much or more as was the case here, Mr. Russo's narration has brought a bit more depth to this story and I ended up liking it even more.

 

In the past I've mentioned that there are certain things I look for when I'm listening to an audio sample...distinct voices for the characters, expressive voices that convey the characters feelings and emotional state, good accents if there's an accent involved and no I'm not an expert in this area by any means so this one is totally subjective and I'm going to add dependability to that list.

 

I know the word 'dependable' seems so staid and boring good old dependable so and so you can count on them, but when you think about it, I think you'll agree, it may sound staid and boring but it's also a characteristic that we all look for in a lot of the important things in our lives...for example...our cars, we want to be able to depend on them to get us where we need to be. Pretty is nice but if you can't rely on it to get you to...let's say work. Who cares how pretty it is?If you can't get out of the garage.  Our friends...we depend on them to have our backs but if you can't count on them to be there when you need them...well really what's the point? And our parents we depend on them to love us no matter what, to help us become positive and productive people and if they're love has conditions and they don't try to give us that moral compass that helps us to be a good and productive person? Well...I think we all have stories about how that works out. So you see dependable may not sound overly exciting but it is important.

 

In this case what I mean by dependable is a narrator that is going to give me a solid performance that I can depend on not to spoil the story for me...trust me, it's happened but not with this narrator. 

 

********************

An audiobook of 'Summer Lessons' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-12-22 17:44
Donny's Brain - Rona Munro

I downloaded Donny's Brain during the Audiobook Sync promotion and finally got a chance to listen to it! I feel like the LA Theatre Works audiobooks are very much hit-or-miss for me. Obviously, I would prefer to actually watch the play and think that some are more suited than others for audiobooks, but this one worked fairly nicely as an audiobook!

 

Basically, Donny has been in a car accident and has brain damage. His memory has been set back some years, so he remembers loving and being married to a woman who is now his ex-wife, and can't remember his current wife at all. And I thought some past situations I had involving exes were awkward --

 

This play revolves around relationships and basically how hard it is to communicate and be in a relationship. Sometimes, we guess at what people are intending when it's not really what they mean to say or do, and sometimes we completely misremember events to make us out to be better than we actually are/were in the situation. This play goes into all of these things and involves some really interesting aspects of people not really remembering what went wrong, what went right, or what even happened. There's even an ironic aspect of maybe the guy with brain damage remembers the most clearly, after all. It's short, sweet, and drives the point home that when relationships don't work out, it's most likely the fault of both parties in some way or another.

 

Overall, this listening experience was enjoyable. The actors did a lovely job and having it be full cast really helped me follow the story. If you have an hour and a half to spare, I think this is worth your time.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=2812
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review 2016-01-17 21:38
“But free will is what it means to be human, and no one can determine the path you take through this universe. Choice is our greatest right, our greatest gift-and our greatest responsibility.” 
Their Fractured Light: A Starbound Novel - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

Book Title:  Their Fractured Light

Author:  Amie Kaufmann & Megan Spooner

Narration:  Kim Mai Guest & MacLeod Andrews W/ Abby Craden & Cynthia Holloway

Series:  Starbound #3

Genre:  YA, Science Fiction

Publisher:  Book-Disney Hyperion, Audio-Listening Library

Source:  Audiobook (Library)

 

 

 

 

 

This series has become a favorite of mine, because it has a profound message at its core…how the choices we make shape us and ultimately guide us and make us who and what; we are.

 

 

 

 

  • Plot: 5/5  This third book in the Starbound Series is not just about Gideon and Sophie's story it's also the culmination of everyone's story…including Tarver and Lilac, and Flynn and Jubilee.  I loved how the six of them are all intertwined with each other.
  • Characters: 4.8/5  I think that Sophie and Gideon's character development is kind of lost in the scope of story, but only minimally.
  • The Feels: 4.5/5 Overall for this book the feels are a 5, but for Gideon and Sophie's romance…more like a 4.
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Flow: 4.8/5  At times the story gets complicated and maybe it's just me, but I'm easily confused…by the closing of the story, though, I felt like I had a handle on things.
  • Originality: 5/5  Captivating and inspirational.
  • Book Cover: 5/5  I have loved all three of these covers.
  • Sex Factor:
  • Narration: 5/5  Excellent…I'm so very happy that I chose to listen to this series, rather than reading it.  I don't think the experience would have been the same, otherwise.
  • Ending: 5/5   Cliffhanger:  No, a very fulfilling ending to this trilogy.

 

Will I read more from these Authors?  It’s possible…♥

 

 

 A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

 

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

 

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

 

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

 

 

  

An epically intense ride is what this series is, confusing at times, but ultimately amazing.  I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys space adventures with a healthy dose of YA romance added to it.

 

 

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review 2015-12-18 23:39
"Better to stay in the gray than get eaten by the dark.”
The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken,Amy McFadden

Book Title:  The Darkest Minds

Author:  Alexandra Bracken

Narration:  Amy McFadden

Series:  Darkest Minds #1

Genre:  Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Publisher:  Disney Hyperion (book) Brilliance Audio (Audiobook)

Source:  Audible Audiobook

 

 

☮♡☮☮♡☮☮♡☮☮♡☮☮♡☮

Why I picked that quote:  Overall, it explains how the MC thinks throughout the whole story.  She wouldn’t ever express herself, it was maddening.

☮♡☮☮♡☮☮♡☮☮♡☮☮♡☮

 

Overall Rating 4/5 Stars

 

 

Breakdown of Rating

 

  • Plot: 8/5  It was overly long and rather slow at times, then there would be some heavy action and the next thing I knew they were doing something completely different, I was left thinking…what just happened…did I zone out or something?
  • Characters: 4/5  Although Ruby annoyed me sometimes, I was screaming at her to just to…say something, anything…because she internalized everything.  Hopefully, in the next editions of the series she starts to realize that she doesn't have to keep everything to herself.  I loved Liam though, he was so freaking awesome and such a steadfast kind of guy.

 

“Did you know...you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breath? I'll be looking at you, and my chest will get so tight...and it's like, the only thought in my head is how much I want to reach over and kiss you.”

  • The Feels: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Flow: 7/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Book Cover: 4/5  A little boring when compared to complexity of the story.
  • Sex Factor: It was questionable for me, did they or didn't they.
  • Narration: 5/5  Started out kind of blah, but eventually she blew me away.
  • Ending: 4/5  Cliffhanger:  A "to be continued" kind of ending…

 

 

Will I continue the series? I think so

 

 

Synopsis:

 

 

 

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
 

 

 

My  Additional Thoughts:

 

Ruby eventually grew on me as a heroine, which was greatly facilitated by the remarkable supporting characters in this book.  Chubbs, and Zu are so great and really made this story more likable for me.  Once those two and Liam show up, the plot really picks up and there are only small hiccups the rest of the way. Overall, it's an intriguing concept with characters that continually realize their potential.  It will be interesting to see where Ruby goes with her powers.

 

 

 

 

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review 2015-06-26 10:20
"Valhalla" by Ari Bach - violent, anarchic, fun
Valhalla - Ari Bach

I picked up "Valhalla" after reading a review by Glen Hates Books. Take a look HERE. It was a good review. It was an even better book, which I probably wouldn't have found on my own.

 

Set in 2230, "Valhalla" tells the story of Violet, a teenage girl with the heart of a warrior, born into a society that sees violence as pathological and Violet as in need of a LOT of counseling.

 

At seventeen, on the brink of adulthood, Violet's family is murdered in front of her by the Orange Gang. Her response is instant, instinctive and lethal.

 

While the cops wait for her to fall into tears and request yet more counseling, Violet starts to figure out who killed her family and why. She joins the army so she can learn to be better at killing people but is thrown out because she's too violent.

 

The story kicks into higher gear when Violet is recruited by the legendary Valhalla, an independent group of heavily armed, cybernetically enhanced, very hard to kill and even harder to keep dead, warriors who see themselves as the good guys, and who's only rule is "Don't Fuck Shit Up".

 

This is a fun book that resists simple labels. It is a young adult right-of-passage book but its attitude towards religion (a cancer in society), violence (a way of letting off steam), and sex (as much fun as chocolate) is not going to get it into many school libraries. It is a science fiction book, filled with cool hi-tech weapons, medical techniques that can bring you back from the dead if your head is intact, and cyborg augmentation yet it is more focused on friendship and family and becoming yourself than it is on the toys. It is face paced and packed with violence, achieving a body-count that would make even Hollywood action movies blush, it even includes a very graphic torture scene and yet none of it feels voyeuristic or even particularly repellent because of the tone of the story-telling.

 

The book carried me along quite happily, although some of the training in Valhalla went on a little too long. The plot had some nice twists and left me looking forward to the next book in the series.

 

The audiobook version is read by Steve Carlson, an American in his seventies, with the voice of an avuncular uncle who is also the black sheep of the family. He does a good job. I enjoyed listening to him but I wondered why he was selected. Violet is seventeen years old and from Scotland. Most of the action is in Scotland, Siberia or Norway. This would have been a very different book if it had been read by Gayle Madine, who did such a good job with "The Panopticon".

 

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