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Posts Categorized: Amy Rubinate

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Audio Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult6 Comments

Audio Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Series: My Life Next Door,
Also in this series: The Boy Most Likely To
Published by Tantor Audio on 25 March 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Also by this author: What I Thought Was True, The Boy Most Likely To

Place(s) Traveled to: Stony Bay, Connecticut

First Line: The Garretts were forbidden from the start.

My Life Next Door Series Order
Book 1: My Life Next Door
Book 2: The Boy Most Likely To (2015)

Not long ago I was looking for a new audio to listen to that was also a contemporary read and any trusted friends on Twitter suggested Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door. But what sold me on getting this one was the narrator, Amy Rubinate, whose style I’ve grown to adore. As with the previous books I’ve listened to that were narrated by Rubinate I really enjoyed her style and think she did an excellent job in bringing Samantha Reed to life. Rubinate is great with the teen voice and does a good job with the male voices in this story for life. This was a book that I was glad to have listened to as I’m not sure what I would have thought of it if I’d read it in print. Because while My Life Next Door begins as a cute and fun contemporary romance there is this big shift in the middle that almost makes it seem like two different books.

I really loved the start of this book. I liked how Sam and Jase meet and start their relationship though I never fully understand Sam’s mothers hangups with the Garretts. I also didn’t like Sam’s mother very much. She is very judgmental and critical and even though Sam is the perfect daughter who always listens (well, up until she starts to hang out next door) and never gets into trouble all it takes is a minor infraction and she’s treating Sam like a dysfunctional teen. To me it doesn’t send a good message as people make mistakes, and the things that Sam does are very minor – especially compared to her’s mothers – but you wouldn’t know that to see her mother react.

I also had big issues with Nan, Sam’s so called BFF. All too often in books these days are these false best friends that are just horrible to the main character and yet the MC just takes it and makes up reasons. Nan is not a nice person. She’s horribly jealous and filled with issues and she just overreacts about everything. Yes, there were things that Sam should have told her but Nan wasn’t all that great with full disclosure either so she was definitely a character that I wish would just go away.

Sam herself was a bit wishy-washy as she tried to please everyone all of the time and never seemed to really do anything for herself. Her school, her jobs, and all her activities were dictated by her mother. When her mother wasn’t telling her what to do, Nan did. Then when Sam started to find her own voice both her mom and Nan reacted as if Sam had turned unibomber or something. It was just totally unrealistic that in some ways I don’t blame Sam for trying to keep her secrets. But on the other, you don’t have a secret boyfriend when its someone you claim to love. Jase is so sweet and open that he didn’t deserve that and I was glad when he called her on it. Though I do think that he was too passive when it came to her explanations.

Then there was that thing that happened about half way through the story that was all a bit over the top and contrived and totally changed the whole tone of the book. As if there weren’t enough issues happening in the story for the characters to deal with this was this. And it was this event where the book started to lose me. As I said it was over the top and it just seemed like I’d entered an entirely new book. And then the outcome? That was rushed and so unrealistic. I often found myself rolling my eyes and talking to my radio saying that you never happen.

Now, it seems like I may have hated this book but I didn’t. Yes I had some issues but there were bright points and they came from Jase and Tim. Tim was such a surprise and out of all the characters he is the one that had the most growth. Tim is Nan’s brother and at first he just seems like this drug addicted loser but then by the end he is one of the most lovable characters of them all. He makes mistakes, owns up to them and really tries to change. He is this books biggest success story and I would love to see a companion novel for him. Jase too was always a bright light. He is just this really sweet and amazing person and while there were times where I thought he was too accepting of things he was a genuinely nice person. Jase was really good for Sam and loved their relationship.

My Life Next Door is an okay story and one that I don’t feel like I wasted time in listening too it. Amy Rubinate helped to keep me engaged and listening until the end. She’s a fantastic narrator that puts just the right amount of emphasis at just the right time. While I may not have liked some of the events that happened in this story I did like Fitzpatrick’s writing style. Huntley Fitzpatrick is an author that I will be reading more of in the future. I just hope that her next book has characters that I like a bit more.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Audio Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Everneath by Brodi AshtonEverneath by Brodi Ashton
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Series: Everneath,
Published by Hachette Audio on 24 January 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours 42 minutes
Format: Audiobook

Place(s) Traveled to: Everneath // Park City, Montana

First Line: I was picturing his face – a boy with floppy brown hair and brown eyes – when the Feed ended.

Everneath Series Order
Book 1: Everneath
Book 1.5: Neverfall
Book 2: Everbound
Book 3: Evertrue

The first thing that drew me to Everneath by Brodi Ashton was its pretty cover. The second thing that drew me to Everneath was that it was a retelling of a couple of Greek myths cobbled together to make a new story. I’m always a sucker for Greek mythology retelling and there were many raves about this book so I thought, why not? But alas, this book was not for me and its taken me forever to put my thoughts about it down as sometimes the meh reviews are the hardest to write.

The main character Nikki is one of those characters that just makes my eye twitch. She has a limited time on the surface to find a solution to her problem and yet for 3/4th of the book all she does is whine about how little time she has and how much she loves Jack. And I swear it seemed like Nikki thought or said the name Jack in every other sentence. It literally began to make my eye get all twitchy.

Out of curiosity I did a search with the Amazon Look Inside feature and Jack’s name is mentioned 101 times and Cole’s 110…I knew those names were mentioned a lot! Although to be fair I did a similar search with a book I liked and that character’s name was mentioned 134 times…so in this case annoyance is all in the eye of how annoying the main character is.

The mythology of this book was just so-so. Maybe there was just too much that was being used as the source material or maybe not enough. I could see hints of the various Greek myths used in this story and I think that maybe this one would have been a bit better if it had focused on one story. It also has hints of vampirism and I am just getting so tired of those paranormal beasties. No, there aren’t actual blood-sucking creatures in Everneath but the Everliving (the name for Cole and those like him) need to feed off the energies of humans in order to live forever. Its the feeding off of another person that makes them seem a bit vampiric in nature.

Then the worst part of the whole book, the love triangle. Oh sweet baby Jesus do I dislike those. Especially when you have two so uber-hot guys who both desperately want the main character and everything she says or does just makes you want to smack her. There was nothing special about this girl and I don’t get why Jack or Cole wanted her when all she did was mope and whine. It also seems to boggle my mind a bit that for someone who was that Nikki was supposedly in love with Jack for the entire book and yet despite that fell instantly in love with Cole (the typical bad boy to Jacks uber goody-goody persona). Nikki’s life was so bland and ordinary and its never really explained why she decided to chuck it all to be Cole’s thing to feed on. Well, truth told that may have been explained but there is just so much of this book that is so completely forgettable that I kinda wish I’d been able to find the words sooner to write this review.

For me, Everneath is a book where nothing happens until the very end which is this horribly cliched and overly predictable ending that would have made me toss the book across the room if I wasn’t listening on my iPod. Everneath is a very commercial book and I can see how it would appeal to many but its just not my cup of tea. It reminded me in many ways of Twilight – just without the vampires and werewolves. So if you liked that book you’ll like Everneath if you did not, then you won’t. Overall, I found this one to be very bland, generic, entirely forgettable.

About the narrator

I think that the only thing that kept me listening to Everneath until the end was its narrator Amy Rubinate. I first discovered Rubinate’s narration style with Shadows of the Moon and enjoyed her voice and her way of bringing a story to life. And it was Rubinate that drew me to the audio version of Everneath and I am just glad that I listened to Shadows first. It can be hard sometimes to separate a narrator from the characters that they portray and if I’d heard Rubinate narrating the oh so annoying Nikki I may have sworn off listening to other audios by her. The end result with this book was I loved the narrator but I wasn’t a fan of the story she had to tell.

People who liked this book better than I did (Click blog name to read their full review):
Making the Grade – “Everneath is a story of perseverance. It is a story of pure grit, determination, and not excepting defeat. More than that, it is a story of unconditional love that defies all odds.”

The Book Scout – “The plot was extremely unique and Ashton incorporated the mythology in such a new and refreshing way. There were quite a few twists and turns that kept me engaged and several things completely shocked me. I had a hard time setting Everneath down, especially towards the end when Nikki’s time was running out.”

Book.Blog.Bake – “Jack and Cole are both fantastically written characters. They’re both intriguing in their own ways while being complete opposites of one another. The way the characters are written and the subtle themes that run underneath this work make this a 4/5 star read for me.”