This is my first audiobook, but I wanted to try one that I knew would be good. Blood Red Road and Heather Lind do NOT disappoint! It will be hard to find another as good as this.
The dialect and narrative is just rich.
Super-fun! Ridiculously exciting! Don’t read this; listen to it!
Basically this is how I felt the entire time I listened to the audio version of Etiquette & Espionage. Even the opening chapter hooked me, with Sophronia taking tumbles down the dumb-waiter shaft, in an effort to eavesdrop on her mother and her mother’s visitor. Sophronia, for all her faults and teenagery-ishness, was a fun, likeable character who did not look at herself and think “woe is me,” but decided that is her mother was shipping her off to Mlle. Geraldine’s Finishing School, well, she was going to make the best of it.
And as it turns out, Finishing School isn’t so bad after all! Sophronia begins learning how to be a proper lady, how to bat her eyelashes effectively, how to throw knives, and that a lady should never be without her hair ribbon, a pair of scissors and some perfume. Hey Mom, can I go to Finishing School?!
It was not without its faults. There were a few things that bothered me, namely the shameless token black boy. That he was a token black boy wouldn’t be enough to bare mentioning, except that he was also a) a “sooty” (someone covered in soot from working near coal), b) nicknamed “Soap” because he was sooty all the time, and the worst offender: c) his name was Finneus P. Crow. Yep, CROW. As in a black bird. My eyes rolled so far back in my head, I could see my brain.
BUT – Etiquette & Espionage was just a blast! In a steampunk world with fun gadgets that I had no problem picturing, because the author brought them to life with her words, I lived and breathed how to be a proper lady and how to be sneaky, too. The plot was subtle: a prototype has been squirreled away by one of the girls who is trying to Finish and Sophronia and her friends have decided they would like to be the ones to find it. Add in a dash of werewolves, a sprinkle of vampires and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Moira Quirk is absolutely wonderful to listen to! This is easily a book I probably wouldn’t give a second glance to if I had to read it, but her narration was simply riveting! She can do a Scottish brogue and a boyish whine and the deep sounds of a flywayman demanding a prototype. I’ve never heard narration as superb as hers and I could listen to her read a grocery list! For instance, when describing the foggy moors over England, her voice took on a tone that suggested gray, drear and a murk you would find on the moors. Basically, she brought Carriger’s words to life in my mind. She is easily the best narrator I’ve ever listened to.
This is the kind of book that leaves you in shambles when it’s over.
Mia is a gifted musician with plans to go to Julliard. She has wacky but lovable parents who are reformed hippies/musicians themselves and a hipster rocker boyfriend who is paving his way to stardom. She has everything going for her – until she doesn’t.
I spent a good portion of If I Stay waiting for the “good parts” e.g. the part where she wakes up and everyone hugs it out. What I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t necessarily about that. Oh, it was technically about that, but it was more about the means and not the ends.
If I Stay is told in befores and afters. There is no real sequential order to the events in the Befores and it took me some time (possibly because I’m slow like that) to realize, it wasn’t her remembering anything, but literally her life was flashing before her eyes. And that’s when I fell in love with this book. What we think can take moments before death or near-death took her a day, and it’s hard to believe this entire book only progresses over a day when we get to see Mia’s lifetime. We experience her acceptance into Julliard, her first kiss with Adam, her first time in a mosh pit even though she’s a classical musician, the day her baby brother Teddy was born. Meanwhile in the Nows, we experience her realization that her family may have been killed in the collision and she must come to terms while she is in her coma with whether or not she even wants to live. Her experience is truly spine-tingling.
All of the characters were great. I don’t know what else to say about them, except that I wish I had them in my life LOL. They made me laugh, they made me cry, and they felt real to me.
If I Stay is raw emotion. I ripped my heart out and stomped all over it, and left me wanting more. I can’t wait to read the next book in Mia’s story and have my heart broken all over again.
Kirsten Potter was a pretty good narrator. She was on point with voices and inflections and I enjoyed the book told from her perspective. I’ll definitely be looking for more audios by her.
Falling Into You was at times awkward but altogether not a bad audio to listen to and pretty interesting. I believe I went looking for “romance” titles on audio, to broaden my horizons a bit, and Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder popped up. I marked it on my wishlist and ended up buying Bared To You by Sylvia Day instead. But the good Audible reviews of Falling Into You kept me coming back to it, so when I needed to burn some credits before putting my account on hold (so I can catch up on all the audios I have on my iPhone), I bought it.
It was a pretty good listen, actually.
Nell and Kyle are the best of friends. Their parents are friends, so they’ve known each other a long time, and then one day, the attraction is just there and they stumble into love with one another. It’s a sweet love, the kind of love we all hope to find in high school, and then wax poetry about staying together forever. Nell and Kyle seemed to really fit together well, and give themselves to each other.
Then Kyle tragically dies in front of Nell, a scene that Wilder wrote very well, and nearly broke my heart. She described the despair in Nell’s voice perfectly, right down to the mud on the tip of Kyle’s shoe laying in the rain. Because when you are in shock and a situation like that, you do see those kinds of things, and they do stick with you.
Nell is obviously destroyed by his death and nothing can console her. Kyle’s prodigal brother, Colton, comes back into town for the funeral, and they do share a moment, but only a moment. However, it is more than enough for Colton to begin pining for a girl he can’t have.
Sidenote: I think a lot of people might be squeamish that this is the story of a girl who is with two brothers at different stages of her life, but I wasn’t. I’ll touch on why in a bit.
Two years pass and the second half of the book begins with Colton’s voice, and it is sexy indeed. He’s damaged, but not dangerous (anymore). He’s not looking for anything more than to make his living when he sees her, and his world gets shaken up again.
The thing is, they are both still grieving. Nell is grieving inexorably for Kyle. She feels guilty for his death. Colton is grieving for the loss of his little brother that he didn’t even know very well – AND the continued loss of the family he still doesn’t have, because he’s an outcast. He doesn’t feel good enough for her, or for anyone, as a former thug on the streets of New York. Nell struggles with her attraction to Colton. It feels wrong, but Kyle’s dead and wouldn’t he want her to be happy, least of all with someone he loves already?
As two very damaged characters, I saw a lot of good in them together. I did feel like they made each other better people – and Nell was a completely different Nell than the Nell she was with when with Kyle. It was like a whole different character, and I guess she was, technically. Death does that to people, changes them. That’s why I had no problem that she was with both brothers at two different points in her life.
But the book was not without it’s faults:
He rips her panties off of her (literally ripping them to shreds), but she is looking for them later to put them back on. Some inconsistencies like that take place throughout the book
Other inconsistencies, like it’s mentioned he’s OCD, but that is never followed up on, or that he can’t read, but that’s never resolved either
This guy she was seeing in the first part of the second half of the book acts like he’s going to try to rape her. She does not turn him in, but let’s Colton and his old thug-life friends “handle” it – I hate that crap
The ending was kinda meh
And let’s talk about that ending. Nell misinterprets a lot, because he says he’d like to avoid something, and that something happens anyway. Instead of calling him, she leaves a note taped to her apartment door (which is stupid anyway, you’re inviting a break-in!) letting him know she’s “sorry.” But doesn’t tell him where she went. He of course deduces she went home so books a ticket out of NYC and without getting spoilery, all hell breaks loose, she ends up in the hospital and he’s declaring his love of her to their respective families.
They are still broken people at the end of it, and I know two years isn’t a long time to get over a loved one’s death, but it wasn’t a really happy novel, nor a very happy ending. But I still enjoyed the story. The thing is, I fell in love with Nell and Kyle. And then I fell in love with Nell and Colton. That is really hard for a writer to accomplish so I say well done.
Let me just say, Reflected In You is much better than Bared To You, which I found frustrating because Eva wasn’t a strong character and Gideon thought with his penis way too much (and FINE. Most men do, but let me live my fantasies, okay?). At least Reflected In You had more story going for it.
More Plot, Less Screwing
And yeah, sorry for the smut fans, because there IS way less screwing in Reflected In You. I can really only recall three separate times where they get their sexy times on, which for me, was a complete relief, because when I want porn, I’ll just turn on Cinemax. Or TrueBlood. I like the sex, surprisingly, just not pages and pages AND PAGES of it.
Thankfully, there was no one on a train or at work to catch me listening to book porn.
The plot, while frustrating at times, was pretty good, because it did feel like I was finally getting to the meat of the story lines with the characters. While Bared To You introduced me to them, Reflected In You allowed me to see more into their pasts (and yes, we do finally get to find out what haunts the Gids Man). I will say that sometimes Sylvia Day can be an obvious writer, because there were plot twists I did see coming, although the ending was surprising, and satisfactory. But I do kind of wonder where she is going to go from there.
Sylvia Day kind of tries her hand at some weird love triangle, bringing back an old love interest, but I’m not even sure what was going through her mind when she wrote this, because it was like, “Hey! I’ll bring that person back, create some conflict and neanderthal fights, and stir the pot a little.” It just felt like it was a distraction, but I wonder if she’s going to carry it on in book three. Anyone? Bueller?
Oh yeah, and we finally get to meet Eva’s dad. He wasn’t scary enough, considering he’s a cop and all.
Irritating Characters Are Irritating
Eva, I’m still looking at you chick. Thanks for, you know, not continuing to run away from Gideon all the time (although your abrupt about face is kind of convenient), because I was getting tired of that. I found Eva as insufferable as ever, because it’s almost like she just isn’t interested in actually addressing her insecurities, and makes excuses for them. ”This is who I am, the jealous type, and he will have to live with it.” Um, how about no, you need to figure that S out, girl. He’s not responsible for your emotions. Come a little closer so I can punch you in your face.
You know what I don’t get? Why people think Edward Cullen is so creepy for watching Bella sleep in her bedroom at night, but Gideon is OMGSODREAMY. He’s a creep, ladies. He plays women with his penis, he uses his money to extract things from people, and HE WITHHOLDS HIS LOVE FROM EVA. Seriously, Gideon what in the actual eff is wrong with you. He refuses to say her loves her and tells her she is just going to have to get over that in order to be with him. Way to contribute more to her insecurities, dick.
But at least he’s not solving his problems one screw at a time anymore. So, yeah, props. I will say that their obsession with each other borders on scary. Like, really scary, they-should-be-separated-now scary. Surely this kind of obsession isn’t healthy, and how is it that none of her friends have stepped in? Or her mom? Okay, forget her mom (because she’s kind of an gold-digging airhead).
There are side characters that are getting more face time, which I really enjoyed, because it’s bringing these two to life a bit more for me.
Jill Redfield is awesome and that’s all you really need to know at this point. Although I noticed that her New York accent was eerily similar to a Boston accent.
If you’ve seen the movie Mean Girls, you probably don’t need to read Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. That is, unless you have a morbid fascination with high school drama llamas that are ten million times worse than Regina George could ever hope to be.
I can’t tell if I liked this book or if I hated this book. On principle alone, it pissed me off. Full disclosure: Regina Afton, our protagonist, almost gets raped by her best friend’s boyfriend at a party in the first or second chapter. Rape scenes in books don’t bother me when they contribute to the story. What bothers me is when it’s used as a plot device, like in Some Girls Are. What bothered me specifically about this book is that Regina never goes to the police. Like, ever. Instead, her “friend” Kara talks her into keeping quiet, because her best friend Anna Morrison will never believe her anyway (as if that’s a good reason not to go to the police), thus catapulting the plot into a series of revenges against one another for past transgressions, thrusting Regina in the spotlight at school and as an outcast.
It was a captivating book, don’t get me wrong. But it’s hard for me to get past the idea that Regina never turns Donnie in.
I pretty much hated all the characters, but I think that was Courtney Summers’ intention. They were miserable creatures; they were mean to each other, and there was not one thing they wouldn’t do to one another in an act of revenge. It was especially hard not to dislike Regina, even though we’re in her head and she’s the main character. She’s spent a lot of time being a bitch to her classmates over the years, even going so far as to bully someone nearly to suicide (all the while, seeing a therapist because she couldn’t handle it). Regina was an odd duck. While I did dislike her, I didn’t hate her, because I could see that she didn’t like herself. She was full of self-loathing, and really, that was punishment enough.
If anything, Some Girls Are was an eye-opening book into bullying in schools. But I applauded Regina for not taking it laying down. Don’t be an easy target, that’s what my mom always taught me.
There are a few loose ends in Some Girls Are that never really get tied up: we never find out what happens to Donnie (beyond not getting reported for rape, he’s also a social outcast getting bullied), so his story and bullying just trails off. We don’t find out what happens between Kara and Anna, after Regina gets what she wants, and most importantly, we don’t find out if Michael ever learns about the journal. I’m assuming it was a HEA based on the ending, but it was so fast, it wasn’t my most favorite ending ever.
Katie Schorr is an okay narrator. I actually picked this audio up because I enjoyed the sample by her, but her range seems to be limited. She reads very well, but it was hard to tell different characters apart, because her voice never really changed.
You guys know I am not a typical romance reader. I read YA, almost exclusively. I joke that this makes me a delicate soul, despite the fact that much of my YA perusings take me to far-off planets and stars, or government take-downs. So why so delicate? They don’t address the issue of sex, all that much. YA is a kiss here, a touch there, and then break to the “after.”
So why did I dive headfirst into a near-BDSM erotica novel by Sylvia Day?
It’s a question I asked myself through the entire novel, and I can only say, most of my book buds are romance readers and all of them have sung the praises of this book. I’ve been told, “It’s 50 Shades of Grey but better” (thank goodness, because I’ve read passages of 50 Shades that made me want to stab my eyeballs right out of my head), and since I had the opportunity to sit in on an erotica panel (sort of by force, mind you) at this year’s RT that was headed by Sylvia Day herself (and she is awesome!), I decided to give the genre a go.
Whoa. That’s all I have to say.
That’s not really all I have to say…
I have heard that the beginning is much like 50 Shades, but since I haven’t read 50, I can’t comment on that. I will say, however, that the whole “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so screw me maybe” attitude by Gideon was both a turn-on and a turn-off for me. If someone actually said that to me in real life, I probably would punch him in the face. Wait, not probably. Definitely.
So I can get beyond that and I dig the tension between Eva and Gids, except she leaves all the dang time. Like, come on girl, have some self-respect. Self-respect doesn’t include running away every chance you get. I know she had her issues with her past, and she’s all “boohoo I’m scared” but this really bothered me, because at some point, it was less about her past, and more about being passive-aggressive to get Gids-man to do what she wanted of him. Which was to chase after her. I seriously became fricken annoyed with that ploy and it never ended.
I totally dug on Gideon up until he used screwing her to fix everything. I mean, I felt bad for the guy, because he has his demons and we don’t even really find out too much about him (gah! so I guess I still have to get the next book, FML!) but he has these control issues that are so not normal, and seriously, it was sometimes like watching a bad episode of the Young & the Restless. Remember that show? No? Man I’m getting old. It’s still on TV, right? *Googles* So anyway, Eva will get upset about something, oft-times, because Gids-man is upset about something, so he’s all “I’m going to sex you back to your senses, rawr.” And so they do. A lot.
There’s a lot of sex. It was sexy and steamy, but at some point it got boring, because you can only listen to so much porn sex before it becomes repetitive (it’s like when you are at a party and standing at the door of a room, listening to a couple having sex and you’re giggling, but then after a few minutes, you’re all “This is boring because I’m not the one having sex, good bye.” Oh… am I the only person who’s done that? Nevermind.), and that’s when Sylvia Day brings out the BDSM big guns. (Okay, they were probably just pistols compared to other BDSM books). And my eyeballs popped out of my head. I’m no longer an ear-virgin. There were no red-rooms folks, but I bet the Gids-man has one…somewhere…in that penthouse mansion of his.
I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it. There was a lot about the story that annoyed me, mostly the characters (Eva, I’m looking at you, chick), because they’re so damaged and I don’t have a lot of patience for people who can’t work stuff out. But you know, it could have been a lot worse. Hell, it could have been 50 Shades worse (Kristina is going to kill me when she reads that)! So, you know, if you’re reading this review, you’ve probably already read Bared To You, and if not and you like this genre, don’t take my review as anything other than a YA reader getting her feet (or something) wet in erotica. Whoa, did I just go there? Yep. Yep, I think I did.
Jill Redfield is a stupendous narrator. She is quite possibly the best narrator I’ve come across yet, and while that hasn’t been too many, I have passed on books because the narrator sounded awful in the preview. Jill should never do anything else besides narrate books for a living, because she brought to life the characters in this story, and I will be looking for more audiobooks by her.
I don’t think that I can give The Fault In Our Stars the praise it most certainly deserves. So let me tell you a little story:
I’m driving down I-95 on my way to South Carolina last weekend to see my family for my cousin’s wedding. I decided I’d finish The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, because I had started it the weekend before and 7 hours in the car was the perfect time for some interrupted audiobook listening (without my boyfriend mocking me, I might add).
John Green’s writing nearly caused 1) an accident, because I was getting so wrapped up in the story, that I was spacing out and not really paying attention to the road (did I mention it rained my entire drive down?), and 2) me to pull over because The Fault In Our Stars caused me such excruciatingly painful (and awesome!) feels, that I didn’t think I could keep driving.
I had to turn it off and listen to Ke$ha for a little while. True story.
This was my first John Green novel. It won’t be my last. I Loved it with a capital “L”. Yep, capital “L” Love. The exquisite and emotional story tugged at me in ways very few novels have. I can probably tick them off on one hand, honestly. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are like two star-crossed lovers in my mind. Fated, but their infinity together is unfairly small. Bound together by cancer, they bond, not just with each other, but with the idea that they will not live forever, so they MUST LIVE NOW. And live they do.
John Green doesn’t keep The Fault In Our Stars all sobs and heartbreak. He somehow knows what it’s like, that to have cancer, you must have a sense of humor about life and all the things in it. So many scenes, or small quotes from the characters themselves had me laughing out loud. I quickly fell in love with all of them. The story told from a teenaged girl’s point-of-view is brilliant brilliant BRILLIANT with a capital B. I’ve only been on one side of cancer; now I can say I’ve been on the other, through Hazel and Gus.
So, spoiler alert, we’re talking about kids with cancer. There is no happily-ever-after in this story. There is only before and after. I appreciated the realistic concept, rather than a, “Surprise! You’re cured!” approach I think some authors would take. Green is not afraid to make his readers feel, or think. And that’s what The Fault In Our Stars does: it makes you think, about life, death, mortality, the Before and the After, and what you are making of your life now.
Basically what I’m saying is, this book deserves the highest praise and I bow down its greatness and John Green.
Easily one of the best novels I have ever read – er, listened to – Easy by Tammara Webber is emotional, uplifting, and empowering. I think every woman should read it.
Jacqueline Wallace followed her high school boyfriend to college, despite being an incredibly talented musician, where a music conservatory would have been better suited to her collegiate and musical needs and advancement. She was in love and shunned the criticism of her high school music teachers and her parents. Three years together with her boyfriend Kennedy and she thought she had most of her life figured out; she never thought he would dump her to “bang co-eds with shameless abandon.”
But he did. And the result of that leads her to a Greek party with her roommate, where one of Kennedy’s frat brothers sees an opening to Jacqueline, now that Kennedy is out of the way, for his own twisted agenda.
If you have read other reviews, you know that Easy opens with what appears to be a rape scene. It’s uncomfortable, it’s controversial, but…it’s very real. Some books use rape, or any controversial topic, really, to make the book. And honestly, Easy is no different, but it’s incredibly well-done and delivered with a very specific message that when someone violates your body, you can recover from it if you are empowered to do so. It also shows that rape is not just about the two involved in the encounter: it’s like throwing a pebble into a pond, and watching the ripples spread out, because rape has adverse affects on those around the victim, not just the victim herself. Enter Lucas, bad boy-extraordinaire.
Lucas is the Bad Boy Ever Girl Dreams About, with his broad shoulders, gray eyes and shaggy, dark hair. He is not just a way for Jacqueline to get over Kennedy; he is a savior, he is her outlet for desire, he is her safe zone. He might be everything she ever wanted that she didn’t even know she craved. He is full of his own secrets, and no, he isn’t above reproach, but he walks through life knowing he isn’t perfect, and yet, I think he strives to achieve perfection.
Holy sh*tballs, I lusted after him.
Jacqueline’s roommate, Erin, is the friend every girl needs. She is brazen and confident, and always has her sh*t-kicking shoes on, no matter if they are platform heels or not. She’s also incredibly supportive when she finds out about Jacqueline’s attack and urges Jacqueline to become self-reliant and able to defend herself. She’s funny and, while the polar opposite to Jacqueline’s studious, quiet nature, not as brainless as she passes herself off to be in the beginning.
There are a myriad of other characters that really flesh out the story: Buck the Rapist, Kennedy the Ex-Boyfriend, Professor Heller, Mindy the Other Victim, the Greeks, and Landon the Tutor. They were all really great (well, except Buck, what a dickhead!) and they rounded out the story perfectly.
But let me tell you how Easy made me feel:
The first night after listening to the book, I dreamed I was raped. It was that well done and I was that emotionally disturbed by the story that I dreamed about it. I couldn’t get it out of my mind and every chance I had, I was listening to this book. It felt compulsory, like I needed to be there with Jacqueline to go through this time with her. My heart raced through the “pages” with Jacqueline and Lucas, and I railed against the obstacles that faced each of them and kept them being together where they so obviously belonged. I wanted them together, dammit!
Rape is a very central theme to this story; even if it makes you uncomfortable, I still urge you to read it, because it elaborates how it knits people so closely together, and how a community of friends can build from it. It’s super-rare that a book makes me feel so emotionally attached to its characters and Easy deserves every star it has earned from me.
Tara Sands does a great job narrating the audio version of Easy by Tammara Webber. She has a wide range of voices, although she did sometimes mix them up between the characters, which would occasionally throw me off. It didn’t happen often, just enough for me to notice when I got into the story and was able to distinguish who was whom. Her pace and accents were fabulous and I will definitely look for more audios narrated by her.
Never read the print, can't say!
I can't say I really enjoyed the part where Day gets captured, but it's a pivotal moment in the book. I think that is when June really begins to see things as they are and not what the government wants its civilians to see.
Mariel Stern.....but only marginally. They were both good.
No extreme reactions. This doesn't say anything about the book....I don't cry often and and it's not a funny book.
I definitely recommend this for fans of dystopian.
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