Audiobook Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve heard many people talk about Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, and I had her on my TBR list for some time. When I participated at the Stamford Barnes & Noble B-Fest activities, a small crowd played trivia related to YA books and one of the questions was about this series. There were a few young readers present who gushed about how much they adored her books, and this caused me to bump it up higher on my list than it was before.

Yes, B-Fest was in June and it’s now October. What can I tell you? I’ve got a huge list of books I want to read, and not nearly enough time in the day (or night) to devour them!

Anyway, on to the review…

I really enjoyed this book. Celaena was an interesting female character who started off strong and grew even stronger by the end. Even though she was an assassin, I thought that the author did an excellent job of still making her seem like a vulnerable young girl at the same time. There was a nice mix of mystery and intrigue as well. I kept wanting to see how this would end, so I found myself sneaking in times to listen to it when I normally wouldn’t—with my headphones on while I was cooking dinner, waiting an extra minute to shut the engine off after I parked just to get a teeny bit more of the story in edgewise. I could name other weird things I did to try to finish this audiobook faster, but I’ll spare you from the minutia. I give this book five stars.

The narration for this story was good. Each character’s voice was distinct and easy to tell apart. Also, in places where there was a heightened sense of danger, or a stronger emotion being conveyed (whether it was sadness, anger, frustration, etc.), the narrator carried it through in her delivery.

I fully intend to check out the next book in the series, and I also saw a somewhat recent announcement about this getting made into a TV show. I have a feeling that this type of story will translate well, and I look forward to when it comes out.

Audiobook Review: Partials by Dan Wells

This book was suggested to me by Audible based on my past purchases. The blurb seemed compelling and I hadn’t listened to a YA dystopian in a little while, so I decided to give it a whirl. As I got into it, I found the premise to be interesting, and I liked that the story stayed deeply rooted in the science fiction aspect of things.

The writing contained vivid descriptions that made it easy for me to visualize the world Kira was living in. In the beginning, I thought her plan to cure the virus was over-optimistic, but I gave it a pass. This is YA after all, and a young character always has more to learn, so I shrugged it off and kept on listening. Kira does experience a series of hiccups and a number of difficult challenges which kept me wanting to know what happens next.

There’s a plot twist that I kind of anticipated, but I wasn’t sure how the author was going to pull it off. I thought it was nicely done, and the action continued to build up until the end.

This was another story narrated by Julia Whelan. She did a great job as usual. I suspect one of the reasons Audible recommended the book to me is because I’ve liked a lot of her other work.

I would sum this up as a solid story with good narration. I give it four out of five stars. I’m curious about where the series is headed, and I plan to put book number two on my TBR list.

Audiobook Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

For my next audiobook listen, I was still looking for YA, but decided to go for a contemporary story. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven was recommended to me by Audible, and I thought, why not? Sounds interesting.

This book hit me with all the feels. The blurb hinted at it being a heavy book, and well, it delivered as expected. I especially connected with Violet and her feeling of loss. The way that she grieved and retreated into herself was believable and so very sad. Finch took a little longer to win me over, but he eventually did, making the ending an emotional one. It’s just that, in the beginning, his personality was a little over the top and took a little getting used to on my part.

I really try to avoid spoilers in my reviews. This one is hard to talk about without giving too much away. If you like YA books that deal with hard issues real people deal with every day, then read this. If you like your stories to end with everything neat and tied up with a pretty bow wrapped around it, you might want to skip it.

I love stories that allow readers to experience a range of emotions. This one made me laugh and also had me choked up at times. I give it four stars.

Audiobook Review: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

As I searched Audible for my next book, the cover for The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall caught my eye and the blurb sounded like something that would interest me so I decided to give it a try.

This book is narrated by Julia Whelan. I have listened to other books read by her, and I’ve never been disappointed with the way that she portrays the different characters. Her performance reminded me of the Die for Me series by Amy Plum, since this book also has scenes in Paris, and the accents were very well done.

I liked that this book had a different take on history, with the premise involving a secret society known as the Circle who control much of what goes on in the world. The book is filled with action and many of the scenes play out in intriguing spots in Paris and Istanbul.

I found The Conspiracy of Us to be entertaining. While I liked it, I didn’t love it. I would give this 3.5 out of 5 stars, mainly because I didn’t connect with Avery as much as I wanted to. Stellan was my favorite character by far. At some point, I will probably check out book 2 in this series, primarily because I want to learn more about him. It seems he would be more heavily involved based on the way things ended. I’ll leave it at that to avoid a spoiler.

Audiobook Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

For this audiobook, there were two different narrators for each main character. I liked that it was done this way.

When I heard the opening of the story, it seemed a little far fetched. I was uncertain if I was going to like it, but once I got past Ben and Fallon’s initial meeting, I easily got sucked in to the story. As the story progressed, and plot twists were revealed along the way, the beginning made more sense and I was happy that I had stuck with it.

I don’t like to do spoilers, so I won’t give any specifics, but there are parts of this book that brought me to tears. There is one particular part that just tore at my heart. I love books that make me feel, and this one most certainly did just that.

If you enjoy books that tug on the heart strings, I think you would really enjoy this one.

Audiobook Review: Storm: Elemental, Book 1 by Brigid Kemmerer

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5StarStory_5StarNarrationI purchased Storm: Elemental, Book 1 by Brigid Kemmerer from audible.com. It popped up as a recommendation after finishing Book 1 in The Creepy Hollow Series by Rachel Morgan so I decided to give it a go. I must say, I absolutely LOVED this book.

The author wastes no time getting into the action. It was fun and fast-paced, reeling me in from the very beginning and holding my interest straight through to the end. I flew through the entire thing quickly.

The dynamic between the Marreck brothers was excellent. Their relationships were portrayed in a way that would seem realistic to anyone with siblings. One minute they could be arguing or fighting with one another, then the next they may be protecting each other.

I really liked that the story switched between Becca and Chris’s point-of-view. It showed the emotions that both of them were trying to deal with well, not to mention the confusion both of them felt at times because of Hunter’s presence.

I don’t like to do spoilers so I’m going to keep this short. If you enjoy paranormal YA with strong characters (and alpha male types), read this book!

It’s been a while since I’ve fallen in love with a series, so I’m happy to have come across this one. After finishing this book, I immediately bought Book 2, Spark, and I’m nearing the end of Book 3, Spirit, so I think it’s safe to say I would highly recommend Storm!

Audiobook Review: Creepy Hollow Series #1, The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

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4StarStory_4StarNarrationI recently finished listening to The Faerie Guardian, Creepy Hollow Series #1, by Rachel Morgan. I purchased this book from Audible.com.

This was the first book that I have read or listened to from this author. I devour a lot of YA fantasy, so I often approach a new series with fear that it will be too predictable or chock full of cliches. I’ll admit, after hearing the first few chapters, I really thought this story was headed down that road. The plot felt a little slow in the beginning, though I really liked the world that the story was set in, enough so that it held my interest.

I hate spoilers, so I’m not going to give anything away here. But, about midway through, there’s a plot twist in the book that I totally wasn’t expecting. From that point on, the pace picked up and I got pulled deeper into the story, left wondering what was going to happen next.

I really liked that the main character, Violet, was a tough girl. She had experienced a lot of loss despite her young age, but she wasn’t a withering flower looking for sympathy. There are interesting developments with one of the characters that seemed most annoying to her, and as everything unravels you get to see that the history between this person and Violet runs deep.

I would recommend giving this series a try.

 

Audiobook Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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CynthiaHandTLTWSGRating_ThumbnailAs I mentioned in my bio, I love audiobooks. I almost always have one ready for a listen on my phone, and I play bits and pieces all day long, whenever I can steal away the time.

I wanted to share my thoughts on a recent one that I just finished called,  The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand. I bought this book from Audible.com.

This was the fourth book that I’ve read by this author. I absolutely loved her “Unearthly” series and was very much looking forward to reading a new story from her. She did not disappoint.

“The Last Time We Say Goodbye” is a heartbreaking story about a girl named Lex who is trying to move on with her life after her brother commits suicide. Her parents are divorced, she has a strained relationship with her father, and a mom who is struggling with her grief. Lex feels like she is labeled as “that girl whose brother committed suicide” and that people don’t really see beyond it. She is doing her best to get through the rest of her senior year, with hopes to get away from her home town by going to a far away college.

There is a love interest in the story for Lex, but the way it is presented is not typical and it is not the main plot in the story. I found this to be refreshing. Many problems with the relationship are alluded to, but we don’t get the full explanation of why until the end, and when it’s revealed, it’s very moving.

Cynthia Hand did a lovely job portraying the ugliness of grief. The emotions that the characters go through are believable, and there were moments in the story that brought me to tears.

In addition to a great story, the audio book narration by Julia Whelan was excellent too. Each character had a distinct voice, and the feeling and mindset of that character was delivered flawlessly.

5 stars for both the book and the performance in the audiobook. I really liked this one.