Scythe

Scythe by Neal Shusterman, Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Rating: 5 stars

I started listening to this book in 2018, however, it took me a while to get into. But! I have finished it, and it was well worth it.

This story is post apocalyptic where people, called Scythes, similar to grim reapers, “glean” individuals randomly to help with population control, disease, and crime. Two teens are selected by a Scythe to become his apprentices. When the conclave found out he took on two, without permission, they decided at the final test for the scythedom, only one would be chosen and their first task would be to glean the other. This made their apprenticeship even more difficult knowing that at the end one would have to end the other’s life. During the course of their apprenticeship, their mentor committed suicide and they were split up to continue their apprenticeship with other scythes, separately.  Further, it was indicated, that the edict of one gleaning the other would still stand.

For the sake of spoiling, I won’t go any further in the synopsis. The rest of the story followed them individually with their new mentors. I really appreciated how the book ended and I was not expecting it. It makes me very excited to listen to the next book because I need to know what happens next.

I enjoyed Greg Tremblay as the narrator. I thought he did well for the voices and giving the story life. I am happy he is the narrator for Thunderhead (book 2 in the series). In fact, now that I am finished, I went ahead and got Thunderhead from Audible so I can give it a start soon!

If you read this book and get stuck, please keep going, because it is worth it! Normally a book that is slow for me and takes me a while to get into, gets a lower rating, even if the ending is great, but this book is different. I really enjoy Shusterman’s books, and when I started this book, I had a lot going on and I take that into account of why it took me a while to connect with the story.

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice Lost Fairy Well

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Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice Lost Fairy Well by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michele Carpenter 

Rating: 5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 5 Stars

I was given a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was super happy when book 4 in the Zaria Fierce series was released. This book follows Aleks and his journey towards either becoming totally human, or remaining changeling. It threw me off at first, but this book occurs 3 years after book 3 ends.

The day started out odd compared to every other day. First his mom lost her fridge, and then there was a fire in the chem lab at school. After school, on a plane ride with a few of the guys, the plane suddenly crashed. After the police brought the boys home, and Aleks to his house, Aleks went to his room, where Nori began knocking on his window. Nori convinced Aleks to get Zaria and come help find Fritjof, the last dragon, that is trying to escape.

Aleks, Geirr, Filip, Zaria, Christoffer, and Henrick all agree to follow Nori on the adventure to prevent Fritjof from escaping the Under Realm and end the pending throne war in Niffleheim. Aleks is worried as his age of maturity as a changeling is fast approaching. If he is still away from his human home at this time, he will stay that way forever. The group go on a wild adventure together, getting captured by the Wild Hunt all over again, to see that the king had been overthrown, and the first borns had been captured.

This story was just as amazing as the first 3 stories in the series. My biggest, and only, issue I had with the story was that the narrator changed the voice of Henrick in the story. It started out with one specific voice, however, as the story continued he began to sound EXACTLY like Hector, his father. That is really the only issue I had. Like the three before it, this story went fast and now I am saddened I have to wait for book 5 :(. There is so much that I loved about this story. Aleks is one of my favorite characters and I am so excited that he is getting his own stories so that readers can learn more about him and go on this journey of self discovery along with him and his friends.

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest

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Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michelle Carpenter.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was provided a free copy of this book in audio format by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have not been paid for this review.

Zaria Fierce is a story enriched with Norse folklore. It is full of trolls, elves, giants, and the like can all be found in this story. This story was a very short listen, and the narrator was amazing. Carpenter’s voices were spot on, helping bring every character to life, my favorite being Christoffer.

One of the biggest indicators for a potential 5-star rating for me is when a story is captivating from the very beginning. The only downfall to listening to this story being narrated, is that there are illustrations in the book. BUT! No fear, Gillett provided the book trailer links, and there you can see the lovely illustrations!!

Every character in this book has something particularly charming about them, including some pretty interesting secrets, which become helpful throughout the story. This ragtag team find themselves in some pretty hot water in every world they enter into, but yet they are resourceful enough to get themselves out of these situations. For a bunch of 13 year olds, that is not bad. I did peg who Zaria was from the beginning, but it was fun to watch it all unfold.

This story is great for children, or adults! As an audiobook, I can hear it filling up the time spent together in a long car ride. In book form, I can envision parents reading chapters to their kids before bed at night. I am looking forward to enjoying more adventures of these friends in future books!

I know this is a short and sweet review, but it was a heartwarming story, with a great narrator. It is fun for all ages, and mixes Norse folklore into the story in such a fun way. The narrator is fantastic and helps aide in bringing the story to life for the listener. It is worth the time to read or listen to. I also LOVE strong, heroic, female lead characters, and Zaria is a great leading lady!

 

The Bitches of Everafter

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Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Narrator Rating: 3 stars

 

I found this book on kindle randomly. I decided I would listen to the audiobook version because lately, I have a hard time reading any books because of work and school.

I want to start off with the Narrator. Erin Fossa is just okay for me. I found the voices to be kind of off and sometimes couldn’t tell who was talking. I also felt like some sentences were forced and it felt like the chapters suddenly ended, but the narrator’s voice inflection made it feel as if there was more to come.

The story does end on a cliffhanger. I repeat. The story does end on a cliffhanger. I would like to continue the story eventually. I feel that there were some characterizations that needed to be further developed.

So what is this story about? Basically, Snow White, Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Aurora are all sentenced by Red Riding Hood (who is Judge) to this boarding house for various crimes they have committed. Then, Snow White figures out she is Snow White, and slowly the other girls figure out who they are. It turns out, that some other person has brought various characters of fairy tales from fairyland to a town called Everafter. Judge Red Hood is set out to permanently lock up these “Bitches” in order to keep, what you eventually learn is a curse, from being broken. Each character, except Snow White really, has some weird twisted storyline. I hate that Rapunzel is called Punzie and Aurora is called Aura. I think the behaviors of the princesses were also super far fetched to the point where the story was not believable at points, even for a fairytale. I think the book ended in an interesting twist, but it does not look like the other books are yet released? This book came out in 2014. So I will need to do some digging eventually 🙂

The Iron King

the iron king

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 4 stars

My Goodreads group selected The Iron King for our April read. A little side note on the Iron King- George RR Martin has stated this series inspired his Game of Thrones.

The Iron King is based on Philip the Fair, King of France. It is medieval historical fiction. I love Medieval history, so it was very exciting. My issues with the story: there are soooooo many characters that I had a hard time keeping who was in (in my defense someone who read the literal book had the same problem), there was too much constantly going on, and there wasn’t enough treachery/double cross/excitement for me. The story was TOO factual. Never thought I would say that. I was hoping that the author would take the history lesson and give it a fun spin to it, since it is supposed to be fiction. And though he did give it life, it wasn’t a very good life. Not to me anyways. I found myself constantly checking how much time I had left.

I thought the narrator was good. Some of his voices for characters cracked me up. I have not had experience with the narrator Peter Joyce. I may give him another shot if he narrates books outside of this series.

All in all, this has just been an okay read for me. Part 2 was the best section of the whole book. The rest was just slow.

Joyland

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Joyland by Stephen King, Narrated by Michael Kelly

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 5 Stars

 

I picked up this story on Audible to listen on a work trip. My unconventional book club’s theme is to pick a book off a list/flow chart provided, and I decided, since I have never ever read a Stephen King story, I would like to get a good start somewhere.

First, this story is classified on two different genre subtypes on Goodreads, Suspense/Thriller and Coming of Age. On the flow chart provided, it was indicated as a Suspense. This is really where I want to start my review:

My expectations for Joyland were more along the line of It, and Pet Semetary. To me, that is what suspense/thriller means. However, that is not what this story was. This story is about a young college student, Devin Jones, getting a summer job at Joyland theme park in North Carolina. Devin discovers that a few years prior, there was a murder on one of the rides and no one was ever caught. He was also informed that at some point in time, he would come across two children: a girl and a boy, and of these two children one would have the “sight.” Devin Jones has his heart broken by his first love and this adventure shows him how to move on and provides life experiences that any college kid would be lucky to have. The only real suspense in the story is about a chapter, when he discovers who the Carnival Killer was. I kind of pegged this person, but really was leaning on a different character. I will let you decide who is who.

This book was wonderfully narrated. It took me a couple of hours to really get into the book as a whole, but once it got going, it was really brilliant. The story really  hits on all the feels you want in a book. My wish was that, for a classification of suspense, that there was more suspense in the book, beyond the short info at the tail end of the story.

I will read Stephen King again. I really like the versatility of King’s writings. I really enjoy discussing this book with my fellow book clubbers!

The Ask and The Answer

The Ask and The Answer

The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness

Narrated by Nick Podehl and Angela Dawe

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

Narrated Rating: 4 Stars

 

The Ask and The Answer is the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. If you read my review of The Knife of Never Letting Go, I was left devastated and not wanting to continue on. The Ask and The Answer did not crush my soul so it was pleasant and I will not wait a year and half before reading the finale, Monsters of Men.

The Answer is a terrorist group (let’s face it that is what they are) that was originated by women during earlier wars. When Mayor Prentis took over Haven, and became a tyrant of a President, The Answer reformed and began bombing buildings, grain houses, wells, etc in order to restrict the town and the people within. Mayor Prentis (Now President Prentis) created a response to The Answer called The Ask. Part of The Ask was a process called The Asking, in which men would torture a captive in order to get answers about The Answer.

I won’t give away any endings, or anything significant. I did like this one. There was a LOT of manipulation and attempting to turn Todd and Viola against each other. I like that there was a lot of growth for Todd and Viola.

As expected, Nick Podehl is amazing. Angela Dawes as Viola had a whiney voice. It made it sound like Viola whined the ENTIRE story.

 

 

In A Dark, Dark Wood

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In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, Narrated by Imogen Church

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and when I discovered it was narrated by Imogen Church, I wanted to give it a go that much more. I decided to listen to the story because Church is a great narrator. I enjoyed her in Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, so I wanted to hear her bring Ware’s novel to life. She did great for Nora.

I didn’t like Nora. Her character is whiny, and not confident. Flo was bat shit crazy, Nina was funny, Tom was not memorable, and then we have Clare. The one who knows all the secrets. Nina and Nora’s friend in school, Nora split ways when she was 16 after a bad break up, which, during Clare’s bachelorette weekend, after not seeing Clare in 10 years, Nora finds out Clare is marrying Nora’s high school sweetheart. The start of a great weekend away yes?

The bachelorette weekend is taking place in the middle of nowhere, in a glass-ish cottage where there is no cell phone service at all. (Because THAT isn’t a bit of foretelling, is it?) Flo goes absolutely crazy through the weekend trying to make sure everything is perfect, but it’s not is it? Because someone gets murdered. And then we end up to the beginning of the book where Nora is trying to figure out and regain her memories about what happened that night.

The book goes back and forth: from the happenings of the weekends and back to Nora in the hospital. Ultimately, I wished this story was more than what it was. I felt like I was robbed from great potential. This story could have gone so many different ways, the end was a bit of a let down. I can, however, say that Imogen Church narrates this role amazingly. Church is made to voice this type of character and story.

Alien Warrior Romance

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Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Narrator Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received this book from the Narrator/Author through AudiobookBlast dot com in exchange for my honest review.

First, I need to point out that this book has a lot of fowl language and sexual content. If you do not like that kind of stuff, this book is not for you.

I was a little disappointed in this story. It is based around this young college, Southern, virgin who finds a study for medical “research” and when she gets there, after a battle with her inner self, she discovers the researcher is an Alien with multiple appendages and all kinds of ways to please a woman.

I feel this book could have been good, and I was looking forward to listening to it. Here is how and where it fell short:

  1. Majority of the story was her describing how she could have lost her virginity before but it just never happened
  2. 90% of the story was her describing her upbringing, the lack of sex in the tension of her high school relationship, how she perceives her own body and only 10% was in the research lab/sex scene.
  3. All first person.
  4. The inner dialogue took away from the story
  5. The narrator. I am sure she is a good narrator, but the accent threw me for a loop. Like she was trying a bit too hard. I found myself getting distracted.
  6. I can’t even remember the sex scene. She set up the story to tell about how she lost her virginity, and I can’t remember it.

Why 3 stars? Because 2.5 on goodreads isn’t an option and I felt it was closer to 3 stars, than 2.

I had a lot of hope for this book and was really looking forward to it. I felt it had a lot of potential, but just didn’t go the direction it’s made to be heading.

Jolly Roger

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Audiobook Blast (dot) com for my honest review.

I listened to this book this morning getting ready for work. It was entertaining. I found myself laughing out loud in various parts of the story. I believe the concept of the story was interesting and not one I have really listened to or read before. I like the idea of Agents going back in time to prevent the Rogue Agent Roger Turnbuckle from altering the future by providing pirates with automatic weapons of the future. My favorite character was Gus McAbee as the parrot.

Nicholas Patrella as the narrator was very entertaining. I believe he is what made this story vibrant and alive. I really enjoyed his voice and narration style.