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Nicole

NC
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  • Absolution Island

  • The Salvation State, Book 2
  • By: Marcus Damanda
  • Narrated by: Jessica McEvoy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

The chase is over. For Rebecca, Daniel, and the rest of the Forgottens of Second Salvations, there is only one choice: Get with the program or die. But there's a spy lurking somewhere within the cabins of Angel Island, someone with contacts in the outside world. Ruth Black is determined to find out who it is before the world learns the truth about her - and about the special punishment ministry of her husband, the Reverend Matthew. Rebecca and Daniel are not destined to remain forgotten very long.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Riveting!

  • By Nicole on 07-25-18

Absolutely Riveting!

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

This is the second installment of The Salvation State trilogy, so if you haven’t read or listened to the first one, just go ahead and buy them both so you don’t have to wait. You’re gonna love it that much, trust me.

I am a huge fan of dystopian fiction, and I’ll admit that it can get somewhat repetitive, especially when it’s marketed as a YA series. This series *is NOT* like that. These kids are living in a not-so-far-fetched theocracy a la The Handmaid’s Tale, but the story itself is so well written and unexpected that I found myself running extra miles and cleaning longer just so I could keep listening.

Jessica McEvoy is an outstanding voice actress. I had previously purchased and read the eBook, but listening to her read this story gave it a whole new life. I don’t usually prefer an audiobook over its text counterpart, but I can honestly say that I prefer listening to Jessica read this story.

TL;DR - Even if dystopian or YA fiction aren’t your usual cup of tea, give this series a chance. Between the amazing writing and stellar narration, I’m almost certain you’ll love it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Unreal City

  • By: A. R. Meyering
  • Narrated by: Jessica McEvoy
  • Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 16

Sarah Wilkes is desperate enough to do anything, even make a deal with the devil - or in her case, a familiar spirit. After her twin Lea is murdered, Sarah finds college life impossible and longs to escape. Everything changes when Sarah realizes a familiar spirit is stalking her and offers to transport her to the terrifying and fantastical realm of Unreal City.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing

  • By Kitty L. on 10-29-15

Wasn't Sure What I Got Myself Into, but I Loved It

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

Reviewed: 03-22-18

What did you love best about Unreal City?

The premise of the story felt very unique to me! It's hard to describe without giving away too much of the plot, but the surrealness of the story and the way it's woven so thoughtfully between the real world and the Unreal City did a great job of transporting me back and forth along with the protagonist, and it gave me a feeling that Unreal City could actually exist.

Have you listened to any of Jessica McEvoy’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to MANY of Jessica McEvoy's performances in audiobooks and podcast dramas and she outdid herself on this one. I never get tired of her natural narration voice, but I am always in awe of how she can give every new character his or her own life and personality so perfectly.

The accents and cadence for a few of the characters in this book were absolutely beautiful - you can tell she put a lot of work and care into getting them right for the story! I wish there were more audiobooks with her narration.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I really did want to listen to this all in one sitting. I wasn't able to do so, but I did find myself taking every possible excuse I could to listen because I was anxious to know what happened next.

Any additional comments?

There is a lot of depth and emotion in this story, but there's plenty of lightness, wonder and magic to balance it out. This is the only book by A.R. Meyering that I've ever read/listened to, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I can happily say that the book is well worth listening to, both for the intriguing and unique plot as well as for the outstanding job that Jessica did acting it out.

By the end, you'll wish you had a Felix too. c:

  • Donn's Hill

  • By: Caryn Larrinaga
  • Narrated by: Jessica McEvoy
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

After returning home from her father's funeral to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Mackenzie Clair is looking for a fresh start. She thinks she'll find it in her favorite childhood vacation spot, but returning to Donn's Hill awakens more than nostalgia. Mac regains a lost psychic ability to talk to the dead, and the poltergeist haunting her apartment is desperate to make her use that gift to find his killer. Aided by her new roommate - a spirited Tortoiseshell cat named Striker.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Haunting Story, Award-Worthy Performance

  • By Marcus Damanda on 08-05-17

Excellent Characters, Wonderful Story - Must Read!

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

Reviewed: 03-22-18

Would you listen to Donn's Hill again? Why?

I would absolutely listen to this book again, and I plan to once I've made it through some of the other titles in my library. I am a HUGE fan of Jessica McEvoy's narration style, but I also just love the flow of this story. It's the kind of book that, even if you know where it's headed, you still want to pick it up and read it (or listen, in this case) over and over.

What did you like best about this story?

Honesty time. I love the cat. Striker totally makes the story for me. She adds something that's difficult for me to describe...she's like that one little pinch of spice you add to a dish that takes it from great to completely delicious.

Aside from my love for Striker, I also really enjoy how connected to every single character I felt throughout the story. The author does a wonderful job of fleshing out the characters without being overly wordy and makes you wish you could be a part of Donn's Hill too. I was sure other reviewers were exaggerating when they brought this up, but they were not! It's part of the reason I know I could read or listen to this story many times over.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were a few moments that got me in the feels, but I don't want to say anything to spoil the story. I will say that I like how there are no "perfect" characters. The good ones make mistakes and the bad ones have redeeming qualities, which makes them feel more real to me.

You'll definitely develop strong feelings one way or another for most of the people in the book.

Any additional comments?

Overall, the book is a great and engaging ride from beginning to end. It is absolutely worth buying simply because you'll want to listen to it again and again. The combination of Caryn Larrinaga's fantastic writing and Jessica McEvoy's amazing narration gave me a serious "book hangover" when it ended. I cannot wait for there to be more books about Mackenzie and Striker!

  • The Salvation State

  • By: Marcus Damanda
  • Narrated by: Jessica McEvoy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

Rebecca and Daniel have never met. A 15-year-old preacher's kid and a 16-year-old atheist outcast, they appear to have little in common. And yet they both have attracted the attention of a recruiter for Angel Island, where bad kids go to be remade-or destroyed. Agents of the all-powerful New America Unity Church will stop at nothing to get them. They're building an army, a modern children's crusade, in which Rebecca and Daniel may be just the kind of future leaders they need. If not, they might be just the kind of sacrifice necessary to keep the rest of the faithless in line.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing book and performance!

  • By Charlotte on 01-29-18

A Must-have, Even If You've Read the Book

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

Would you consider the audio edition of The Salvation State to be better than the print version?

To be perfectly honest, I am very picky about audiobooks and rarely like them as much as the print version. The Salvation State was an extremely pleasant surprise on that front! I think that Jessica McEvoy reading this story added a layer of depth that I didn't know I was missing when I read it to myself the first time.

What other book might you compare The Salvation State to and why?

I love that this book has such a distinctly dystopian-yet-plausible feel to it. If I were comparing it to other books that gave me that feeling, I would say it's similar to The Handmaid's Tale (but better) and James Halperin's The Truth Machine. This is a very intelligent, engrossing story.

Even though it's about teenagers and (I believe) considered YA fiction, it's not at all "young." It's accessible and appropriate for young adults, but it's well-suited to a broader audience as well. Anybody who enjoys dystopian fiction, especially the kind with interesting religious overtones, will love this story.

What about Jessica McEvoy’s performance did you like?

My problem with so many audiobooks is the flatness of the narration. I'm a bit spoiled in that regard because I'm used to listening to audio dramas with a full cast, so I often feel like one person reading the dialogue of multiple people can't be as good. With Jessica, that's not the case at all.

She has a lovely voice for narration in general, but she really shines with the diversity of her voice acting. It's more of a production than a simple reading aloud, and it gives the characters distinct depth that they otherwise wouldn't have for me.

Each character gets his or her own tone, and she conveys so much about every character's personality just with her voice that I was amazed. In fact, I enjoyed her performance so much that I immediately sought out every other work that she has narrated to add to my library.

If you happen to be on the fence about trying this book for some reason, you should give it a shot based on Jessica's performance alone. Then, like me, you'll be clamoring for her to narrate the next two books in the series ASAP. :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful