Wow. This is my 402nd audiobook and it was awful. Fortunately, I got it free from the Audiobook SYNC summer program. The only reason I gave it two staWow. This is my 402nd audiobook and it was awful. Fortunately, I got it free from the Audiobook SYNC summer program. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is because I actually listened to the whole thing, but I really can't say why. I guess it just didn't require too much of my concentration at work. Anyhow, here's a list of the things that just didn't work about this audiobook:
1. Bad, stereotypical Southern accents. When I say bad, I mean really bad. Really, really bad.
2. Stereotypical portrayal of a small town in the American South. You name a bad stereotype of Southerners and you will find it in there--minus the racism. Oh, wait! There is metaphorical racism, but against the magical Casters instead of against non-whites.
3. Music and sound effects. Really bad music and really bad sound effects.
4. An under-utilized female narrator. Why did she just show up at the very end of the book? The flashbacks to the Civil War would have been 1000% better with a female narrator than with the male narrator who did the rest of the book.
5. Too much angsty romance. Why do teenagers have to be so angsty and romancey? Oh, they don't. There are a lot of great YA novels that have romance as a side dish rather than as the whole meal. Plus, these two are just reliving the romance of a couple from 150+ years ago, so it's not even about how they feel about each other.
There is so much more I could complain about, but I won't. I did like Kevin Collins narration style when he wasn't doing horrible accents. He was really good and did female characters well. (And, there were a lot of female characters.) When Eve Bianco made an appearance for her 10 minutes, she was excellent as well. I think the narration is what kept me going with this book. ...more
I lost my father to a brain tumor when I was 14 years old. My parents were divorced. I was an introvert. To say that I related to Conor is an understaI lost my father to a brain tumor when I was 14 years old. My parents were divorced. I was an introvert. To say that I related to Conor is an understatement. I knew exactly what the monster was there for. I knew Conor's story. I cried at the inevitable.
This is an amazing story. Do not be put off by the young adult categorization. This is a fairy tale in the darkest sense. It's for anyone who has experienced loss....more
If this book were released in a print version (even without the Doctor Who tie-in), I would give it four stars and make sure my granddaughter had a coIf this book were released in a print version (even without the Doctor Who tie-in), I would give it four stars and make sure my granddaughter had a copy. On the surface, it's an absolutely wonderful children's story that compares quite well to some of the best children's literature. On that level, it is pure fantasy. It completely captures what it's like to be a child. My favorite line was on page 33 of the epub edition:
Kate realised she was the only grown-up in the world?
What bright kid doesn't feel like that? At some point, they all start feeling smarter than the adults around them.
The other level it works on is the Doctor Who fan level. This "author" of this book is Amy Pond who travels through time and space with her husband Rory Williams and the Doctor. The Curator is obviously the Doctor. You can tell by the way he talks. The Doctor Who tie in is definitely there for the fans, but it's delightful even if you've never seen a single episode. ...more
I was prepared to be disappointed by The Fault in Our Stars. It's received so much praise that I thought it couldn't possibly be that good. It reallyI was prepared to be disappointed by The Fault in Our Stars. It's received so much praise that I thought it couldn't possibly be that good. It really is that good. It's a story about life, love, and death. Two teens with cancer fall in love. You know from the onset it can only end tragically. Generally, a young love cancer book is cheesy. Anybody remember Love Story and that gawdawful line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry."? Gag. Fortunately, Green avoids the cheesy trap. Instead, he has written a book that feels honest. By the end, I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. That fifth star is for those tears.
Kate Rudd did an amazing job narrating the audiobook. In fact, I suspect that this is one of those books that is made better by listening to her performance. Maybe it would have been cheese in print, but Rudd is so authentic as the voice of Hazel. The way she captures Hazel's shortness of breath when she exerts herself or the way she talks when she's on the CPAP machine is subtle and realistic. Her narration was probably the main reason I ended up in tears. I really believed her performance.
I cannot express what a good audiobook this is. Wow. Just wow....more
The Raven Boys grabbed me from the first sentence and didn't let go until the last one. It kept making twists and turns that made me say, "I should haThe Raven Boys grabbed me from the first sentence and didn't let go until the last one. It kept making twists and turns that made me say, "I should have seen that coming." Yet, I didn't see it coming. Sadly, the next book isn't coming out until September. I want more now....more
I probably would have loved this book when I was twelve. It has all the elements that would have excited my imagination in junior high. However, my miI probably would have loved this book when I was twelve. It has all the elements that would have excited my imagination in junior high. However, my middle-aged self felt like I had read it many, many times already. Westerfeld does a great job of imagining his alternate history and the beasties are terrific. The three star rating is simply my jaded self talking.
As for the narration, Alan Cumming does a great job with the voices. I never had any trouble figuring out who was talking or which viewpoint character I was following. Deryn and Alek were very well differentiated. However, I felt like he was narrating for an audience much younger than the target audience for the book. He was over-the-top dramatic, especially for the action sequences. I don't know if teen listeners would appreciate that level of dramatization, but a third grade audience would love it....more
I really enjoyed Railsea. I was a bit surprised that it was a young adult novel. I didn't figure that out from the description. That said, I thought iI really enjoyed Railsea. I was a bit surprised that it was a young adult novel. I didn't figure that out from the description. That said, I thought it was a great book for adults as well as teens. In fact, it may also be the perfect book for those of you who are trying to find good books for those troublesome 8-10 year old kids who read at a high school level. I know how hard it is to find books for advanced readers that aren't inappropriate. This book is a great adventure for everybody....more
I had to give Revolution some time to digest before I could review it. I had a hard time with the beginning of the book. The first time I tried to lisI had to give Revolution some time to digest before I could review it. I had a hard time with the beginning of the book. The first time I tried to listen to it, I had to go on to something else. Actually, I had to go on to several something elses. As the mother of a teen, I had a really hard time with the way the book normalized teen drinking and drug use. Most of the teens I've known don't drink or use drugs, and I would hate to have them think it's okay because that's what the really cool, smart kids that Andi Alpers knows does. On my re-start, I was much more aware of the pain that Andi was in. Something so terrible has happened that she can't talk about it. It's led her parent's divorce. She and her mother are living totally non-functional lives with Andi feeling responsible for taking care of her mother who is even more depressed than Andi is. Andi is in the darkest place a teen can be in and comes close to committing suicide more than once.
When the school sends letters to both of her parents informing them that she is in danger of being expelled from her exclusive private school near the end of her senior year, her father comes to New York and takes her with him to Paris for winter break. In Paris, as in New York, Andi spends most of her time fending for herself. Her father's best friend shows her an antique guitar and she finds a hidden diary by a girl her age who does some pretty amazing things during the French Revolution. From this point the stories of Andi and Alexandrine overlap, parallel and converge until they become one and the same. While she is far from healthy and ends up having a serious relapse, Andi begins her healing process with the help of new friends and Alexandrine's diary.
Revolution brought me to tears several times. A big reason for that was the narration of Andi's story. I'm not sure which of the two narrators did Andi, but she was perfect. She sounded young enough and she completely captured Andi's emotions. I really felt like I was listening to Andi tell her own story. The narrator who read Alexandrine's diary was also good. She had a formality and maturity that really displayed the difference between an 18th century 17 year old and a modern girl of the same age. One was a full adult, the other was still in the process of growing up.
I highly recommend this book for older teens and for adults. Because of the content, I would not recommend it for younger teens. I especially recommend it in audio. This production is absolutely perfect and really brings the story to life....more
The audio version of Mockingjay has a bonus section at the end where Suzanne Collins talks about how she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games. SThe audio version of Mockingjay has a bonus section at the end where Suzanne Collins talks about how she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games. She was watching TV and flicking between news coverage of the war in Iraq and Survivor. She started dozing and the two started blending together. I'm thinking that Suzanne Collins should watch more TV, because the result is one of the most truly amazing trilogies I've encounted. She pulls no punches. Horrific things happen to characters you care about and the happily ever after ending is haunted by all that has happened before.
Collins digs into some big ideas in this series. She never talks down to the teen audience she's writing for. She gives them credit for being able to handle difficult situations and to rise to the occasion when needed. She doesn't paint the world and its people in black and white, but in shades of gray. I really wish this series had been written when I was a teen. ...more
While I didn't like the narrator at all in the audio version of the first book, I think she does a much better job here. It sounds more like she's telling the story rather than reading the story and she makes it more personal than the first installment. ...more
This past Saturday, my daughter and I went to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA. Our first stop was the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore booth to getThis past Saturday, my daughter and I went to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA. Our first stop was the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore booth to get the lay of the land. Last year, we stumbled upon Connie Willis at their booth and had a nice chat with her, so we were hoping for some equal luck this year. We started talking to this really nice, intelligent author named D.J. MacHale. There wasn't anyone waiting to get books signed, so we kind of monopolized his time for a bit. I noticed that he had written the Pendragon series. I had heard of it and told him that I'd only heard good things about it, but I wasn't going to get sucked in to reaading a series of ten YA novels. He and I talked a bit about books and series and popularity vs. quality. His latest book, The Light is the first installment of what he promises is only a trilogy. I loved the cover and the synopsis sounded interesting. I bought a copy and he signed it with a reference to our conversation about The Da Vinci Code. Needless to say, I felt obligated to move this book up to the top of my reading pile.
When I was a kid, I loved ghost stories and tales of the supernatural. I read all those Strange but True paperbacks and my friends and I would tell ghost stories in the dark. (Remember Mary White? You'd say her name three times and she'd appear in your mirror?) Once, my best friend and I were playing with a Ouija board under a card table with a quilt over it and it scared the crap out of us by spelling out "I...W...I...L...L...K...I...." We didn't even let it finish spelling and ran out from under that table screaming. My friend, who owned the Ouija board, wrapped practically a whole roll of masking tape around it and shoved it in the back corner of her closet shelf. I think I was eleven and she was twelve at the time. I also remember my 6th grade teacher reading Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart to us and setting me on a path to read everything Poe. I'm dredging up all those childhood memories because The Light brought all of that back to me.
I will admit that The Light is one darned scary book. It starts off slow and builds in creepiness. The ending was completely shocking and unexpected. I would have adored this book when I was a kid. It has a huge appeal to my inner 9-13 year old. I know a lot of people may think that it's too scary for kids that young, but it's exactly the kind of thing I was reading at those ages. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and I hope Mr. MacHale and his publisher get the next two installments out really soon....more
In rating The Looking Glass Wars, I'm going by the GoodReads definitions of the stars. Two stars means "It was ok". I admit that I've never read the LIn rating The Looking Glass Wars, I'm going by the GoodReads definitions of the stars. Two stars means "It was ok". I admit that I've never read the Lewis Carroll novels about Alice in Wonderland and the Disney movie was way too disturbing, so I guess I'm not an Alice fan to begin with. With that out of the way, I found Beddor's retelling of the classic to be dull and flat. The only parts that caught my interest were the scenes of Alyss in England and how she transitions from Alyss Heart to Alice Liddell. I thought she was much better as Alice.
If I had a young daughter or niece who was an Alice in Wonderland fan, I'd consider gifting her with this book. However, it somehow didn't reach the little girl inside of me....more