JOSHUA, TX, United States | Member Since 2013
Layers. The best way to describe SIEGE & STORM is Layers. From the backdrop to the characters to their relationships. Layers. They are all so rich and complex. I was at war with myself, not knowing exactly what I wanted to happen. I had to resign myself to sitting back and seeing where LEIGH took me.
Being the second in the series, you are already familiar with LEIGH‘s world building. Regardless, I found myself whist off to some far away place where magic overlay-ed a Russian landscape and history that could be a character of its own.
Alina is waging a war within. She so desperately wants to be safely away from the Darkling living Happily Ever After with Mal. And I wanted that for her. Their relationship was warm and fuzzy or should I say comfortable. After growing up together and being on the run, they have this in-sync kind of banter and closeness. It was a big ol’ warm hug. But there is the power in her and it is demanding to be used. Alina feels so very guilty that she wants it. She wants to use it for good, but sometimes it just calls to her in a seductive kind of way. Just like the Darkling. Oh, Darkling. You are back and so mysterious. I still haven’t been able to figure out quite where you belong. Villianous? Swoony? Then there is Sturmhond. I think he almost stole the release of SIEGE & STORM. He is so alive. Witty and Sarcastic. Kind of a fun twist on Peter the Great. And so much more.
I’m liking that the trend lately in high quality 2nd books. This is by far another example. There is no letting up. It is so messy. From the relationships to the problems at hand. I am almost desperate for RISE & RUIN. I really need to know what is going to happen.
LAUREN FORTGANG was a delight. She portrayed Alina as young, with a touch of naivete, kind and playful. You could feel her joy all the way to her heavy heart. LAUREN‘s Mal was a little soft for me. I picture him as this overly large brute of a man, but when he is brooding and down-trodden she captured him pretty well. The Darkling was calm and resolute with a creepy evil. And there is no other way to capture Sturmhond, but larger than life. I could feel him take up the whole room when he entered a scene. I’ll likely continue the series in audio, because I especially enjoyed how the magical words and locations rolled off her tongue. Much more beautiful than I could imagine saying them in my head.
YEKO gives the reader a solid scenario. Michelle is scorned and in need of saving. Jason, a firefighter, is a natural-born knight in shining armor. The bad guys are bad. They provide the initial burst of adrenaline that Michelle and Jason run with all the way to the end.
MOUNTAIN HERO was a nice nugget of a romance. Being short it walked the line of a perfectly paced build. The action and story are evenly paced and developed. Jason's calm and strength make him easy to fall for. But Michelle was a little uneven. Understandable, but her character bounced back and forth between "save me" and "I'll save myself". It made it a little hard to see what Jason saw in her. But who am I to deny some much-needed body heat in a mountain storm.
ALAN TAYLOR was kind of stoic with a touch of fire that made him a perfect voice for Jason. It matched his calm with something yummy just underneath the surface. But he did lack last touch of huskiness that would have brought home all the FEELS.
WINGER was magic to my ears. It had all the ingredients: main character with a strong voice, quirky-connectable supporting cast, depth and meaning. But ANDREW SMITH knocked it out of the park with wit and humor.
I enjoyed being in Ryan Dean's head while he worked through his Coming of Age story. Bullying, Man Codes, being apart of a Team and all the boy shenanigans they can come up with. The desire to kiss available lips warring with trying to escape the "friendship" zone with the girl he loves. Care packages with condoms and a "Your First Time" pamphlet from your loving mother.
Ryan Dean is smart, funny with a sensitive side. He unapologetically wears Pokemon underwear. He embraces the "Wild Boy" persona and goes for it, even when fear and uncertainty creep in.
SMITH's words and MARK BOYETT's narration are DY-NO-MITE! MARK captures the young, unsure, geeky Ryan Dean that is a tad unpredictable with throw-up of the month and mind. None of the oddness, wildness, passion or bravado escape his range to express all that WINGER has going on between the covers. He perfectly pegs all the screwballs and neanderthals in the supporting cast of characters. His females are feminine with a little fire. MARK's pacing and emotion create a movie in your mind. He had me there in the moment right along Ryan Dean. I felt like I was in the car with Screaming Ned, shrieking, cussing and losing my shit too.
There will be more SMITH and BOYETT in my future. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this audiobook.
I know. It's about time. I'd heard so much about THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY that I bought it for the library, but didn't read it. Then Felicia @ The Geeky Blogger's Book Blog decided to highlight favorite audiobooks. Guess which one popped up more than any other? Yep. So when I was manipulated by Audible to buy audiobooks, I knew this had to be one of them.
I was immediately drawn into Nastya's world. I liked her wit and sarcasm and had to know what caused this girl to decide to remain silent. And not only that, but why was she outfitted in an armor that made her unapproachable and up for speculation. She seemed so strong and self-assured and powerless at the same time. Then the running, the relentless need to get herself to exhaustion so her mind could rest. I wanted to know her story.
And it would take an equally broken, Josh, with an equally thick wall of amour to not only intrigue Nastya, but frustrate her right out of her shell. Their story is one of damage and trying to deal with it. They can't quite seem to wrap their own brains around who they are now after. After the loss. After the things and people who have been taken away. Much less can they figure out how to navigate the everyday high school world carrying around so much pain. They aren't who they used to be. They've changed. So they erect walls and lots of barriers to keep everyone else out and try to protect what little they have left. But it is lonely.
This is a book to experience. I woke up at 2:30 am to snoring, so I plugged in my audiobook like usual to go back to sleep. But this was different, I couldn't go back to sleep. I stayed up the rest of the night following Nastya and Josh. My eyes leaked, my stomach was in knots and my heart broke. It was powerful and sad and beautiful.
CANDACE THAXTON captured Nastya's anger, jadedness and intelligence. KIRBY HEYBOURNE was Josh. He was strong, withdrawn, but attentive. They took the story that KATJA wove and made it play out in my mind in 3D. BRAVO.
There really aren't adequate words for me to describe all the ways I enjoyed being along for the ride with ARI & DANTE. This Coming-of-Age novel is so full, even the silence speaks.
There is never a doubt that these two boys needed to find each other. Their own special baggage is exactly what is required for them to connect, question and work through things. It may be as comical as their Mexican-ness or lack of to grief over their missing pieces. As in most Coming-of-Age novels, they need to learn to be OK with who they are and reconcile what kind of person they want to be. Their journey takes you through all the FEELS, laughing to frustration to tears. It isn't easy, but they get there. I appreciate the fact that in the end they had each other all the way, plus a pair of wonderful parents for support. The lesson I walked away with is learning to be UNASHAMED with who you are.
LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA was phenomenal. He had the perfect blend of age, unease and bravado that could take you through the rage, snark, laughs and the range of emotions of teen boys. Ari had more bravado and Dante had more excitable wonder. He also captured both sets of parents, their calm, love and specific personalities. SAENZ & MIRANDA served up an experience that won't be forgotten.
I've been taunted by my friends and fellow bloggers on MOLLY HARPER's greatness. Though I knew I'd regret it, I had let her work remain on my distant horizon with the promise of when I finish this series or make more of a dent in my bookshelves we'd have a date. I couldn't take it any longer.
HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF hit me right in the funny bone. It was just what I needed. Book Therapy at its finest. Mo is the kind of funny, smart and feisty that can only be the product of a confident yet dysfunctional upbringing. I could have been completely content just reliving Mo's attempts at normalcy in the Wenstein home. Add a cast of wacky characters and a hot, naked werewolf and MOLLY had me hook, line and sinker. I wasn't even disappointed when my husband woke me up at 2 am snoring. I gladly stuck in my headphones and didn't even care if I woke him up with my laughing.
AMANDA RONCONI delivered the witty, quick thoughts and dialogue of Mo with snap and sass. Loved, Loved, Loved. I loved it so much that I didn't mind that her male voices are a little desperate sounding, kind of like they are trying to whisper huskily. I have the next one in ebook form and I'm trying to have enough willpower to not grab the audio anyway.
It was nice to spend time with YA Fantasy's favorite secondary couple and have them in the spotlight. Zuzana's fiesty, humorous, intelligence was the recipe for insta-love. Her embrace of magic and endearing friendship with Karou has us friends for life.
The romance between Zuzana and Mik in DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT had me wanting to know more about them. How they met? How they fell in love? I mean the dude traipses through the Moroccan dessert with the woman he loves, because he wouldn't want to be anywhere else but where she is. AMAZING!
NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS started a little slow, while Zuzana establishes the backstory of her work with puppets. But it doesn't take long for you to be wrapped up her in tale of the "Biting Puppet" and on to how she stalks the quiet Violin Boy. I was swept away once again with TAYLOR's language as she sets out to create the perfect meeting for the Rabid Fairy and Violin Boy. It was beautiful, playful, romantic, and full of imagery that dances around in your mind and in your heart. I WANT A STORY LIKE THIS ONE.
I want to do some living with my lips.
KHRISTINE HVAM captures Zuzana's spirited soul and the evening is magical. I wasn't quite ready for KEVIN T. COLLIN's Mik though. He was fleshed out in my mind in KHRISTINE's likeness and KEVIN's brusque Eastern European accent hardened the sensative Mik for me a touch. But overall, it made for a beautiful Valentine's Day listen for me. I can't wait for GODS & MONSTERS on audio.
Lucy @ The Reading Date's review roused my affinity for stories about bullying and Iranian-Americans. Being a social studies teacher-reader, PERMANENT RECORDs mix of rich topics that could use an open dialogue and empathy led to my purchase of the book and then the audio.
It does not disappoint. PERMANENT RECORD has a similar feel of favorites, like Looking for Alaska, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the The Silver Linings Playbook, but LESLIE gives a unique and authentic lens to experience all the frustrations of Badi's coming of age. Some of his struggles with friends, love, bullying and family are similar to any other teen, which makes him completely connectable to the reader. But he does have the additional issues of cultural expectations and nuances that make things harder for Badi.
You enter Badi's life in the wake of his attempted suicide. Though I agreed with Badi's anger about his parents changing his name to Bud Hess, I was hopeful for his new start at Magnificat's Academy. And in the beginning it was promising, he found friends that appreciated his wit and quirks. It doesn't take too long for things to seemingly spin out of control. Badi has found a home on the newspaper, but this emboldens him to speak his mind and not remain invisible. The problem is this coincides with the traditional chocolate bar sales that support only a portion of the student body, obviously not his particular slice of Magnificat. As Badi's refusal to participate in the fundraiser becomes known, someone decides to throw super octane fuel on the fire. A series of anonymous letters lambasting the Academy's treatment of lesser clubs has everyone pointing the finger at Badi.
NICK PODEHL captured Badi's experience. He took me there. I could see and feel Badi's frustration, outrage, angst and teenage indifference. NICK didn't lose sight of the lighter and hopeful moments either. But as things became more volatile, his pace and tension matched it. I wasn't going anywhere. He also beautifully portrayed Badi's family, their accents and their dynamic within their unit. NICK dialed in on the particular douchiness of Badi's terrorizers and concern of his friends. His females didn't lack either. I'll be looking for more of his narrations in the future.
I've been dying to finally get around to reading this book since it came out. Yep, 3 years ago. I'd heard it was creepy. The buzz word "zombies" came up too. Even after finishing it, I still don't know what to think. I guess I'll have to read on.
Alex was great to follow. She is strong and confident. She heads out into the woods by herself, living with an expiration date because of brain cancer, and freaking stays calm and collected as an EMP goes off and changes everything. It causes a somewhat defined segment of society "Changed." Though they can't quite puzzle out what changes some and not others, their threat is very real. She along with Ellie, an orphan, and Tom, a soldier suffering from PTSD, find each other and head out of the woods looking for a more stable place to hold up. I found myself shouting, "go back into the woods."
If life with the Changed isn't bad enough, all kinds of crazy hell is being perpetuated by the not changed. Trying to escape an evil band of bandits, the trio is forcibly separated. Alex stumbles into a crazy sect held up in Rule. Nothing like an apocalypse to bring out the crazy religious fundamentals.
I think I can sum of the book with Questions. I have lots of Questions.
How does this EMP seemingly cure Alex's brain? and give her extra sensory powers?
What causes the Changed to change? Why that segment? Why is it delayed in some?
What's with the Changed being associated with Zombies? These things hunt and organize. They fight too, not just lumbering biting.
Tom or Chris? Urgh! I don't want to like them both. Tom with his kind, calm protectiveness and something to live for. Chris with his bringing books back to the town and doing things that are bigger than his own wants and needs.
Needless to say, I'm going to have to take a walk into the SHADOWS and more answers lie there.
KATHERINE KELLGREN portrayed an appropriate aged Alex that was calm and collected, but with a hint of angst for the justifiable situation. Tom and Chris both had a strong, but vulnerable manliness. She painted the bad guys with a sinister or unease that made you know or not want to know how bad they were. I will make a declaration that I am not a fan of audios with whiny children. KELLGREN spares no annoyance in portraying a scared and bratty Ellie. It actually took me a little longer to warm up to the book, because I found myself wanting to duck tape Ellie's mouth shut. When KELLGREN's pace of action sped up, you felt the anxiety and the real threat of death.
THACKER gives the reader all that we love in a historical romance. We have an impossible situation and a woman confined by society's dictates. She is strong, imperious with a strong compulsion for saving others. She is put in close and vulnerable proximity of a mysterious, brooding man. One that has duty and honor lurking from behind his combative, bad-boy attitude and not to mention exudes sexiness. The tension grows between them as they learn each other's motives and true character. Nothing like near death situations to make them want to take hold of the living thing between them at all costs. Yummy goodness. But nothing they want will come easy or without sacrifice. Like I said, it has all the ingredients of a good historical romance.
JULIA MOTYKA portrays a mature Ciara that is weary with her situation. You can feel the weight of bringing peace to her people at the cost of her freedom and heart. She also brings an appropriately masculine touch to the male characters. She conveyed all of Royce's frustration with his past, current task and longing for a future that might not be.
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