Not necessarily better, but I do like hearing two different voices for the two narrators. Definitely adds to the experience.
Loved both the protagonists! Both seemed very human and very real--made bad choices, but most of them were for good reasons. They grew throughout the novel, and overcame amazing odds.
Loved them both. Really, I couldn't choose.
How can you look forward to the future when you can't get over your past?
I definitely recommend this audio version. It was very well done.
An enjoyable read with a touch of suspense and a dollop of paranormal, this audiobook was nicely read by the narrator, who has a very pleasant voice and brings life to teenagers well.
Even though Dawn made quite a few bad choices along the way (which yes, made me keep arguing with my audiobook while I drove to and from work...this is perfectly normal, right?) it wasn't at all out of character for a sixteen-year-old who's adjusting to a new home and school/family situation AND is just starting to get a grip on her paranormal powers. Ms. Juba definitely knows how to portray realistic teenagers!
Annoying teenaged tendencies aside, I did like Dawn a lot. She (eventually) wised up and made better choices, and grew in positive ways by the book's end. The antagonist ended up being a bit one-dimensional, but the other secondary characters were solid, and it was easy to find yourself caring about what was going to happen to them.
I'm also 100% convinced that mind control is not a power anyone should have. Ever. Especially not teenaged girls whose mothers tell them no... (but the hall pass incident was kind of funny. Wrong, of course, but funny.)
I'm not sure if there's going to be more to the series, but I'd definitely be interested if there were. Ms. Juba's style of writing made Dark Before Dawn an easy and fun read.
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Decent story, but it never quite lived up to its potential. Lots of geeky moments to squee over, that was a definite plus. I listened to the audio version, which was well done, but that meant I didn't get to see the graphic panels. :( That might have bumped it up a half a star or so...possibly. At the very least, it would have been interesting to see the visuals.
My biggest issue was with the heroine. She could be fun and geeky/quirky at times--I loved the fact that she wanted to draw and write graphic novels--but then she'd go all squirrelly on us. She was completely blind to things that should have been obvious, were actually obvious to everyone else. There were times when I thought she'd gotten a clue, but then she turned around and proved me wrong. She also let certain events from the past rule her present, and went a bit overboard. (Especially when we found out the details about those life-altering events and saw that for the most part they were one-offs. Granted--one caused her parents' divorce and her mother's depression, but when we find out that it was the one and only time it had happened? Seemed like total overreaction on mom's part...which apparently was status quo for mom, at least back then. One rejection of her work and she never writes again? Dramatic much? Though we could clearly see where Mandy got her "one chance and you're out" attitude from.)
Everything ends on an optimistic note, which was nice, but I would in no way classify this as a romance. Mandy spends more time moaning about people moving in on the guys she's crushing on/ attracted to/ used to date (until he kissed someone else) than going on dates or hanging out with guys in date-like settings. I was a bit bummed not to have seen more page time for the guy she's probably going to end up with--he was a fun character. I do have to say, though, that his "declaration" is absolutely adorable. It was definitely a highlight, and the part I will remember most.
Sooo...I didn't love it, but I didn't dislike it either. It had some memorable bits and many cute and funny moments, but never quite lived up to its promise.
Rating: 3 stars / C
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Virginia Kantra is a new-to-me author, but she's quickly become a new favorite! I absolutely loved this book. Yes, I read book three in the series first, but I was not at all lost with the characters or storyline. However, I don't think I was even halfway done with it when I added books one and two to my wish list--and I ended up buying them with my next available credits.
I loved Luke, Kate, and Taylor--Taylor especially is such a sympathetic character. Watching her try to deal with everything life has thrown at her is absolutely heartbreaking. I just wanted to reach in and give her a hug! (Not that she would have let me. But I really wanted to, anyway. That poor little girl...) I've always had a soft spot for heroes in the military, and Luke is no exception. His progression from a guy focused on his career into the kind of father his little girl deserves is fantastic. I did feel like Kate held on to her "I can't get involved with a Marine because he'll be just like my dad" attitude a little bit too long, but it wasn't unrealistic. It was a case of "it's not her, it's me": I loved him, so what was her problem? ;)
The narrator did a great job. I've listened to a couple of books lately where the narration was only so-so, but that was not the case here. She did an especially well with her male voices--not always the case with female narrators. (To be fair, there's an equal amount of men who don't do women's voices well either; it's always a pleasure to find any narrator who does a good job with the opposite sex.) I was very glad to see that she's narrating the entire series, because I'll be listening to the other two--soon!
A good story, but definitely not my favorite from this author. The two main characters took way too long to be honest with each other--their initial hesitation made sense, but after a while it got to be ridiculous, especially since they both got hugely upset when they found out the other one was hiding something from them. (Hello? Pot? Kettle? You're equal in your blackness, so get over it already!) Other than that, Victor and Isa/Sofie were likable characters overall.
Ultimately, the last third or so redeemed the book for me. At one point I was afraid they were reverting back to their old ways, but they proved me wrong so nothing got tossed across the room (I was listening on audio, so book tossing would have involved earbuds being ripped out of my ears. I was very glad to have my fears proven wrong, believe me!) The ending is immensely satisfying, and helped me to get over much of my frustration with the book.
Some of the secondary characters' immense likability helps matters as well--Amalie, their daughter, is charming; Rupert and Mary Grace's secondary romance is adorable; and Sofie's business partner Mr. Gordon is an all-around great guy. Tristan and Dominick, the brothers who run Manton Investigations, are as entertaining as ever, and I cannot wait until they have their own books.
The science too was interesting, both of Sofie's artificial gems and Rupert's studies. I didn't quite "get" it all, but it sounded impressive. ;) Ms. Jeffries's afterword showed that she had clearly done her research in that arena.
Part of my dissatisfaction with this novel stemmed from the audio performance--I couldn't stand the voice the narrator used for Isa/Sofie. It always sounded as if she had a mouthful of marbles when she spoke, and it was distracting. Perhaps if I'd have read it instead of listening, I would have rated it higher.
So far the first book in the series is still my favorite. I wouldn't go so far as to say this one was a disappointment, it just didn't quite live up to the standards of book one. Hopefully the next offering from The Duke's Men will be more consistent in its execution.
Rating: C+/ 3.5 stars
The main character of Omens is supposed to be twenty-four, but the narrator sounds much older, which I found to be distracting and off-putting. The secondary narrator, I thought, would have been more convincing in the role. It really detracted from my enjoyment of the book. I debated between giving the performance 1 or 2 stars, and went with 2 solely on the strength of the secondary narrator. The main one just wasn't right for the part.
The action of the book takes quite a while to get going, and it really wasn't until the last third or so of the novel that things really start to click--hence the 3 star story rating. For much of it, though, I really didn't know what to think about the book--which bothered me, because I love Kelley's three series set in the Otherworld universe so much. I had really high hopes for this one. Omens does get much better toward the end, thank goodness, so I decided on a four-star overall rating based on that strength.
Will I read the next book? Of course--it's Kelley Armstrong. Will I get it on audio immediately if the narrator remains the same, though? Probably not. I can always just read the e-version, in that case.
If I must.
The story itself made the experience enjoyable. It's a heck of a read, taking listeners on a real edge-of-your-seat rollercoaster ride.
The growth of Anna and TJ, and the slow development of their relationship was definitely the best part of this book.
Needs more variety.
Narrator Heidi Baker did not change her voice at all when she switched between reading parts in Anna's voice and TJ's. As a result, it was very hard to stop and start listening in the middle of a section and quickly pick up where you were again--both characters sounded like a twenty-something female. Which, ironically, neither of them were. She's not a bad narrator, but definitely would not be my first choice for a book like this. I ended up wishing I'd had time to read the print version instead.
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