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The Lady Rogue audiobook cover art

A nonstop Indiana-Jones-style adventure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-06-19

I was a little hesitant about this book at first (I don't remember why) but man oh man am I glad I listened to it. It was so fun! It's an Indiana Jones-style adventure set in the 1930s in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania. Theo, daughter of treasure hunters, is constantly on the run from occultists as she races to find her father who disappeared while searching for Vlad the Impaler's bone ring. The action is pretty much nonstop and the tension still somehow manages to continue to ratchet up as secrets are revealed. The story is told in Theo's POV as she reads her father's journal and tries to chase him down, but is interrupted occasionally with chapters from her father's journal that give insight into him and the mystery surrounding the bone ring. The narrators do a great job, and the story is a wonderful adventure. Highly recommend.

In Other Lands audiobook cover art

Laugh-out-loud funny and So relatable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-15-19

I have FEELINGS about this book. As someone who loves reading and writing Harry Potter fanfic, it really resonated. But beyond deconstructing Harry Potter and other magical lands stories and asking why kids had to fight wars and what was up with adults that they thought this was ok, this story had heart. I loved the snarky and secretly wounded Elliot and all his insights, commentary, and criticism of the Border Lands. The first 25% was absolutely laugh-out-loud funny (I lost count of the number of times I found myself laughing) in a way that reminds me of Terry Pratchett's works and biting social commentary disguised as humor. The bulk of rest of the book dealt with Elliot's depression and fear of being unloved and unloveable, and the that was written so very REAL. I deeply relate to Elliot and his distaste for violence and hunger to learn about all the magical creatures and read all the books. Also Elliot being bisexual was treated lovingly and the way no one took him seriously because of it was very real. I loved the way Elliot's relationships were handled as he grew into himself and learned what he was willing to give and take. Just 100% relatable and I am basically Elliot but shy instead of brash. Also the audiobook was done really well and the snark came through perfectly in the narrator's tone which is tricky to do well.

Spin the Dawn audiobook cover art

Simply magical; one of the best books of 2019

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-19

This is easily one of the best books I've read this year. Part Mulan, part a tapestry of other tales, and all of it magic. There are echoes of familiar tales woven throughout an enchanting story, twisted so you never quite know what's coming next. The writing is gorgeous. The audiobook narrator did a fantastic job bringing it to life. A joy to read and listen to. I cannot wait for the next book

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Enchantée audiobook cover art

Simply magical

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-31-19

I found it simply magical. It was long and slow, but that only prolonged my enjoyment. There was the excitement and hope of the balloon, the glitter of Versailles with its dark underbelly as it all threatened to come crashing down, the struggle of the poor and the excess of the wealthy aristocrats, the simmering resentment and growing rebellion among the people. Woven through it all was the magic, ever so slowly revealed, the increasing stakes, the ever-tightening web Camille found herself trapped in. The climax was a little rushed, but still felt right. I'm terribly curious what Trelease has planned next for her characters, as everything wrapped up so nicely. (A definite plus) The audiobook narration was also very well done, and I much preferred hearing the French words and names pronounced properly rather than butchered them in my head as I'd have done reading the paper book.

The Beholder audiobook cover art

A hot mess

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-19

This book is a hot mess. I kept waiting for it to get better… and then it ended.

The setting: When is this book set? An alternate history post-American revolution that didn’t happen? Sometime in the 1800s? Instead of the American revolution, India - I mean ‘Bharat’ - had a violent rebellion and England retreated back into its own borders to mind its own business and give up on empire? There’s this evil Eastern European empire that’s chewing up countries and spitting them out ravenously and everyone is afraid of it? Why do Europe, New York, and England get to keep their names but every other (non-white) country gets a name change? A girl can’t rule on her own but suddenly there are radios and she’s wearing a ponytail?

The ‘retelling’: This is not a retelling of anything. It’s a mish-mash of fairy tales and myths that make little sense and are just cobbled together into …. well I’m not sure what.

The main character: Selah is the worst MC I’ve read in a while. She has no agency. None. She drifts along, letting the plot happen to her, falls for every boy she meets, cries constantly, ignores whatever illegal activity the Beholder’s crew is getting up to, and is utterly infuriating. I kept thinking well, she’s annoying and passive *now* but let’s give her a chance to grow… and then the book ended. Spoiler: she didn’t grow. She has a brief moment of standing up for Anya and saying she should choose who she marries — and then goes back to blindly following her evil? stepmother’s plan to woo a different boy every two weeks. No. Agency. No acknowledgement that she's just as much a pawn as Anya. Also she claims that a character she’s barely spoken three words to is ‘like a brother to her’ and the Beholder’s crew is like family… when she never interacts with them and they have the depth of cardboard for all we've seen of them.

There was one brief moment on the Beholder, before all the nonsense of falling all over all the boys started, when it *did* feel like she was at home there with them. And then it was over. But that was the one point where I thought I might like where the book was going.

The love interests: Why must she fall for every single one? Why is she ‘completely in love’ with three different boys in one book? and honestly there were signs that Captain Lang was going to be another one but that never materialized. Just ugh.

The stepmother: why is she SO evil? And no one else can see it? and her father does nothing and is just wasting away? while she schemes to send Selah away for good?

The audiobook: The narrator was all right. She made the MC sound like a whiny brat which to be fair she was. Also some characters got really strong accents which was a bit weird but with the confusing setting was excusable.

Summary: A hot mess. Seriously. Skip this one

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sorcery of Thorns audiobook cover art

The best book I've read this year

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-19

The best book I've read this year. This book is epic and beautiful and tore my heart out several times. And that ending! As that girl who practically lived in the library growing up... this book is like coming home. The audiobook narration is fantastic, and only enhances the story itself.

The causal cruelty and misogyny that keeps Elisabeth from being believed again and again feels very real, and each time she runs up against the brick wall of a man who dismisses her is jarring and too believable. Pitted against that is the reluctant help of the sorcerer Nathanial and his demon servant Silas, both of whom she's been raised to hate on principle. The sacrifices each is willing to make for her and each other are breathtaking.

The Duke's Wayward Ward audiobook cover art

lackluster story, good narrators

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-19

Forgettable and somewhat clumsily written. I DNFed it at 70% because I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters, what happened to them, or the mystery. The audiobook narrators were good, but couldn't make up for the lackluster story.

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

Finale audiobook cover art

Outstanding finale and narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-28-19

This book was an outstanding finale to the series. I've come to expect great things from Stephanie Garber's Caraval series, and from the audiobook versions of them, and this did not disappoint. There is plenty of heartache and romance and magic and darkness and plot twists and more magic. I love it. Can't wait to see what Stephanie Garber writes next. The narration was, as usual, excellent

Sherwood audiobook cover art

A delicious variation on Robin Hood

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-28-19

I was apprehensive about this book -- about the romance, in particular -- after reading several reviews. I needn't have worried. This book was amazing and everything I wanted. To be fair, I always want new Robin Hood tales, and I'm very much predisposed to like them. But still. Marian *as* Robin was lovely, and beautifully done. Her grief for Robin and slow recovery, her chafing at the bonds of womanhood and desire to be free, her desire to right the wrongs done to the people, all of it was beautiful. True, it didn't *need* the romance, but Marian's masquerade as Robin Hood was bound to end. Even her band wouldn't have accepted her as their leader if they'd known she was a woman. Or maybe they would, but they would certainly have treated her differently. And there was only so long she could deceive everyone around her. Because of that, because even she knew she couldn't be Robin Hood forever, the romance fit. And to be honest I loved it. It didn't come out of nowhere -- their relationship changed and grew slowly over the entire story. And the grand gesture was swoon-worthy.
Fiona Hardingham did an excellent job as audiobook narrator, as usual.

We Hunt the Flame audiobook cover art

Lives up to the hype; fantastic narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-28-19

I really loved this story. I'm always a sucker for enemies to friends to lovers, and alternating POV stories where we get to see both sides slowly becoming closer to one another. Also morally gray characters, assassins, girls masquerading as men to provide for their people, looming evil, magic, impossible quests, bands of reluctant companions... basically everything in this story. I love the Arabian setting, and the way it permeates everything about the book and feels so authentic - less researched than lived. I love the characters. I love the descriptions. The plot twists. The slow pacing that gets faster and faster until things happen at a breakneck pace. Just everything about this book is amazing and lives up to the hype. One of my top reads for the year so far and I can't wait for book two.
Oh, and Fiona Hardingham and Steve West do a truly fantastic job (as always) narrating it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful