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Publisher: Harper Audio

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Audio Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Grey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia GreyTen Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Firebird, Book 2
Also in this series: A Thousand Pieces of You
Published by Harper Audio on 03 November 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, People & Places, Road Trip, Romance, Social Issues, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: A Thousand Pieces of You

Place(s) Traveled To:
Rome, Italy (Medieval-verse)
San Francisco, California (Triad-Verse // War-Verse)
Berkeley, California (Our Universe // War-Verse)
Paris, France (Russia-Verse)
New York, New York (Mob Verse)
Unnamed (Home Office Verse)

First Line(s): The first time I traveled to another dimension, I intended to take a life. Now I’m trying to save one.

Second books in a trilogy can be a mixed bag. Sometimes they are really really good and sometimes you wonder why the series wasn’t a duology instead. THE THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU by Claudia Gray falls somewhere in the middle of these two reactions. On one hand, there is a lot of new information and a series of events that keep you on the edge of your seat. On the other it felt a little drawn out and there was no real explaination for why things started as they did. While A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (my review) can be considered a stand alone, TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU is not. It ends in a crazy cliff hanger and while I want to know what happens I’m also on the fence about it.

Which is a shame because A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was such a surprise that had me eagerly anticipating this book. Perhaps I was looking forward to it too much and so I fell victim to my own hype. It didn’t help that TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU was very repetitive and it even seemed to contradict itself at times. One moment they are saying that their alters don’t remember what happens when they are “possessed” (for lack of a better term) and then they next they do retain memories of the experience. You can’t have it both ways, either they remember or they don’t. Pick one and run with it.

Ten Thousand Skies Above You Quote

It also didn’t help that Marguerite was way more annoying in this book than she was in the first one. She seemed to regress a lot and I was glad for Theo as he saved many a scene. But then at the same time I was conflicted because of the events that happened in the first book and with some that happened in this one. Things came close to becoming love triangly and that just didn’t sit well with me. Fortunately though, Marguerite stays true to Paul throughout though it makes me sad that we didn’t get to see much of this character in Triad-verse self. But I do like how Marguerite learns to accept all the possibilities of Paul and to me that is a very big and important step.

Tavia Gilbert returns to narrate the story and as with A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU I was very pleased with the narration. She is great with all the various accents and her voice really helps make the story compelling. I’m glad that I continued this one via audio because I may have tossed the book across the room a time or two if it wasn’t on my phone. I do have plans to read the final book, A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU (Goodreads) but as of now its not one that I plan on rushing out to read, even with the crazy cliffhanger. I want to know what happens buy I’m not crazy bouncy with excitement for it as I was with TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU. Altough I do know I’ll be buying a finished copy of book 3 as these covers are absolutely stunning!!

irishdarkblue

IR - Thousand Pieces of You

 

Add Hourglass by Myra McEntire to Goodreads.

Add Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry ThomasThe Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea
Published by Harper Audio on 13 Oct 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Royalty, Survival Stories, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea

Place(s) Traveled To: The Sahara Desert // Delamer, The Domain // Atlantis

First Line(s): Somewhere in the most immense desert on earth, a thousand miles south of the Mediterranean Sea and just as far west of the Red Sea, rose a line of sheer sandstone cliffs.

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is the third (and final) book in Sherry Thomas’s Elemental Trilogy and as such I was terrified to read it. I had an ARC of it long before it was published but I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up because once I turned that last page then it was be over. I would have to leave this world and these characters and while I can always re-read the series its just not as special as that first time. Those moments that make your heart pound because you know that your favorite characters may not live to see the end of the story. But in the end, the lure of Titus and Iolanthe was was strong and my love of the audio version was too strong for me to stay away.

As always, Philip Battley does an amazing job bringing all of these characters to life. You would think that its an odd choice to have a predominately female POV story narrated by a male actor but it really works for this series. Battley becomes all of these characters and I hear his voice in my head when I pick up the print version of these books. Battley’s voice combined with Thomas’s words make for an enthralling story and I always hated when I got to my destination and had to stop listening. This is definitely one of those series where I recommend the audio over the print because the narration is just so good.

Immortal Heights Quote

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is not a perfect book there where times I rolled my eyes and wanted to shake some of the characters for the things that they did. They could be annoying and frustrating and I just wanted to wrap them up in a cocoon of protectiveness and prevent them from coming to harm. The ending was also a bit anti-climatic based on all that came before but its also one that worked for the story. I also didn’t hate the epilogue which, as regular readers know, isn’t something that happens often.

I loved this whole series and I am so sad to see it come to an end. The random head jumping and the action of some of the characters could be frustrating at times but I loved them in spite of all their flaws. I loved the prose of this book and how the words just flowed over me. Its an addicting story that made me laugh, made me cringe, and made my heart ache. Its a must read for any fantasy lover and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

Add

four-stars
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: Fire and Thorns,
Published by Harper Audio on 24 July 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Amalur, Orovalle // Brisadulce, Joya D’Arena // Basajuan, Joya D’Arena // Rebel Camp, Joya D’Arena // Great Desert, Joya D’Arena // Oasis, Joya D’Arena

First Line(s): Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson first came to my attention back in 2011 when I received an ARC of it. At the time it sounded interesting but I wasn’t sure it was for me so I put it on my shelf as a maybe someday read. Time passed and I never really forgot about the book as so many people kept recommending it to me. Telling me I had to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS as it was so so good and as a lover of fantasy I needed to experience the story. So after many attempts I finally did. And I wish I hadn’t. I just had so very many issues with this book that I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to capture them fully here.

First, my biggest issues with THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS was all the body shamming that occurred. Elisa was contantly told she was fat and as a result wasn’t pretty and would be useless if she didn’t carry the godstone. Not only were the outside comments terrible but her own internal ones were worse. She was so self-depreciating that it made me cringe. Then, she gets kidnapped and loses all her excess weight and all of a sudden is smart and beautiful and everyone flocks to her. She has value and is fierce and no….just no!!! Before she lost weight she’s considered to be naive and after she is this smart warlord who is a great leader. And I just hated how all of Elisa’s character growth came because she lost the weight not not because of who she was. And even though she does become skinny, Elisa maintains a very low self-esteem and low body image of herself and she never really grows or changes in that perspective.

Girl of Fire and Thorns Quote

The other part of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that drove me batty was all the talk about food and religion. If Elisa wasn’t thinking about food then she was either eating food or yearning for food. And if none of those were happening than she or others were talking about food. The few times when food wasn’t the main topic things moved to religion. So much religious talk. I get that religion was a big deal in this world but it was forced down a readers throat at every turn of the page. There are ways to be a religious and spiritual story with out forcing it and this would have been a grand lesson for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS to learn.

The whole plot was pretty non-existant and the writing tended to make my eye twitch. I swear the word grin was horribly overused along with smile and every variation that you can think of of those words. They would be used several times on the page and even a time or two in the same sentence. For a kidnapped naive princess turn warlord general trying to stop an invasion there was an awful lot of grinning. You’d think there would be more suspense involved but there never was. But in the end there wasn’t a whole ton that happened and what did occurred mostly off the page.

And finally, I was promised a great romance. But there really was none. Elisa was married at the start of the book and then her marriage was kept secret from her husband who kept a mistress. Elisa then started to fall for one of the rebels but that didn’t progress far and ended badly. When I started to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS I had lots of people make comments to me about a character named Hector and how swoon worthy he was. But he was barely in the book at all. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is a book that I felt I wasted my time reading. It just annoyed me from start to finish and I’m going to have to think long and hard before I decide if I should continue on with this series or not.

Read my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did

Two Chicks on Books – “I really loved the characters she created Elisa is weak at first but she learns quickly and finds her inner strength. The king is likable enough and I absolutely loved his guard Hector (more of him in book 2 please Rae). The rest of the characters each have strong personalities and I can tell you some you will fall in love with and some you will detest from the moment you meet them.”

Book Smugglers – [Elisa]’s not a perfect heroine or a Mary Sue, for all that she’s God’s Chosen, but she finds a way to take on the innumerable challenges thrown in her path with a kind of calm grace and growing sense of confidence and self-respect.

Tripping Over Books – “I have to also take a minute to say that THINGS happen in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that almost never happen in YA books. I’ll tell you this: as an avid reader of ADULT fantasy, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the twists. They still hurt like burning, but in a devastatingly good way, and I give Rae Carson incredible props for going there. TWICE.”

 

IR - Girl of Fire and Thorns

Special thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books for today’s recommendation suggestions!!

Add Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s thoughts / Click here for my review)

Add Defy by Sara B. Larson to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s review)

two-stars
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Monday, October 26, 2015

Audio Review: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: None of the Above by I.W. GregorioNone of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Narrator: Caitlin Davies
Published by Harper Audio on 07 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hours 20 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com, Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Utica, NY

First Line(s): Dawn is my favorite time of day.

NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio is a book that I wanted to love and I think that I may have gone into it with too high expectations. In the end, I ended up being disappointed in NONE OF THE ABOVE but I do think that its a important book to exist in the world. NONE OF THE ABOVE is about a girl, Kristin, who learns that she’s intersex or a person who has both male and female chromosomes. Outwardly she looks like a girl and has been raised as a girl and its not until she’s 17 that she learns that she has male chromosomes. This is shocking news to her and her father as they never suspected and while much of the first part of this book is Kristin dealing with her diagnosis I felt that this book often stayed on the surface of emotions. At first, Kristin was freaked out and in denial and this was all normal reactions. But then in a blink she was ok with things and it just didn’t seem real.

Then there was the whole side story line with the faux BFFs, Vee and Faith, and I think that this annoyed me more than anything else in this book. Why is it so hard to depict real and genuine friendships in a book? Instead we always have these cases where the MC will confess a secret and then the friend is turning on her and in this case, someone told the entire school something that Kristin wasn’t ready to divulge. And maybe its just my poor memory as its been a bit since I listened to this book but I don’t think we ever learn who was behind the leak. Just that Kristin was outed before she was ready and then had to deal with her diagnosis as well as the cruelty that humans so love to inflict on other humans.

None of the Above Quote

Throughout it all I’m glad that Kristin was able to find people who were truly her friend and saw her for who she really was. Which is why part of the ending had me wanting to through my iPod out my car window because of the WTF-ery of it all. I liked the romance in the book and wish that there could have been more of it. I think that if there was more of these positive moments that I may have liked the book a little more. But even with my issues with some dislikable characters I do think that NONE OF THE ABOVE is an important story to have in the world. There are real teen going through what Kristin did and while there is some ugly in this book there is a HEA and that is an important thing to have when going through something so emotional.

I hope that NONE OF THE ABOVE is the first of many of its subject matter. The more books that are made available the more people can see that there is nothing freakish about Kristin being intersex and maybe the bullying she faced in school won’t happen to a non-fictional person. This may not have been a book I loved but that was more for the faux BFFs than for anything else. I listened to NONE OF THE ABOVE on audio and I enjoyed the narrator, Caitlin Davies. She did a great job bringing Kristin and this world of Gregorio’s to life. Davies is a new to me narrator but I liked her style and her pacing and I’ll definitely listen to a book read by her in the future.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - None of the Above

Add Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman to Goodreads.

Add Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Audio Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Firebird,
Also in this series: Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Published by Harper Audio on 04 November 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours 18 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // St Petersburg, Russia // San Francisco, California // Coral Sea (Future)

First Line(s): My hand shakes as I brace myself against the brick wall.

Its no secret that I can be picky with books and so I was a little wary of Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You as it was a book a lot of my friends were talking about and hyped up books and I don’t always get along. Since I do like audiobooks I thought that I would try A Thousand Pieces of You in that format and was a little unsure of it at first. I didn’t trust one of the main characters and then there was that learning curve of trying to figure out just what was going on. A Thousand Pieces of You thrusts you right into the action and while I liked it I just wish there was a little more explanation at the start on what was going on.

By the 50% point though I was totally hooked on this story. I mostly loved the events in Russia and I think that was in part because they were Theo-less. I just got such a creepy vibe from him and that was in part due to the age difference between him and Marguerite. What I did like, was Marguerite. She was a strong character who was just trying to find the truth about what happened to her father. I liked how she wasn’t boy crazy and that she made the best of all the various situations that she found herself in. I didn’t always agree with her choices when she was living the lives of other Marguerite’s but I do understand why she made them.

Thousand Pieces of You Quote

Overall, I did enjoy A Thousand Pieces of You. Once the story got going I couldn’t listen fast enough though there were moments where things seemed to contradict themselves and I found that frustrating. There were things that happened that certain people shouldn’t have known. However, things got to be a bit shaky at the end with hints of WTF-ery that just made me roll my eyes. There were things that happened that made me roll my eyes and I think it took away from the story a bit as it pulled back some of the earlier punches that this novel threw.

The ending of this also starts to set the stage for things to come in the next book in the series and while I get that the seeds need to be set I do think that there were times they were a bit distracting in A Thousand Pieces of You. That said though, this is a book that I would recommend as overall it is a fun and unique read. If you like audiobooks then you might want to check this one out as Tavia Gilbert did an amazing just bringing this book to life. Gilbert didn’t have it easy either as there were many accents that she needed to cover throughout the length of this story. Accents can always be such a tricky thing in an audiobook and Gilbert nails them every single time.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Thousand Pieces of You

Add Hourglass by Myra McEntire to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Cruel Beauty,
Also in this series: Gilded Ashes
Published by Harper Audio on 28 January 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adaptation, Assassins, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Greek, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Free Download
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Gilded Ashes

Place(s) Traveled To: Arcadia

First Line(s): I was raised to marry a monster.

Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairy tale and when I received an advanced copy of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I was intrigued but never seemed to find the time to pick it up. Recently though a few people began to recommend this book to me and I had also downloaded the audio via Audiobook Sync’s annual program of 2014. I was having trouble settling on a new audiobook recently and was looking through the titles I had received from Audiobook Sync and thought I’d listen to a small clip of each of the titles I’d downloaded last year and then choose one. Only when I started the audio of Cruel Beauty I found that I couldn’t turn it off. The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was enthralling. And while she sometimes mixed up her voices I found that I didn’t mind overmuch as I just loved the way that she told this story and brought it to life.

As I listened I also learned that Cruel Beauty wasn’t just a Beauty and the Beast retelling. There were also hints of other fairy tales mixed in Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, and East of the Sun West of the Moon to name just a few. Cruel Beauty also contained not just fairy tales but Greek mythology and this mix of stories added depth and uniqueness to the story. I enjoyed this story and loved Nyx’s struggle as she dealt with her internal struggles over what she was raised to do and what she wants to do. I enjoyed Nyx’s interactions with Ignafex and was intrigued by there relationship. While her relationship with Shade and her sister just annoyed me. Oh how her sister annoyed me. For someone who was supposedly so good she harbored a lot of ill will in her heart.

Cruel Beauty Quote

 

For this one I am partial to the audiobook and I am not sure if I’d feel differently if I’d read this one in print instead. As I said above I found Elizabeth Knowelden’s narration to be enthralling and she’s the one who kept me listening and engaged in the story through that slow beginning. She’s the one who kept me listening when I got really annoyed with Nyx’s sister and with Shade. Knowelden is definitely a narrator that I am going to be looking into more because I’d love to see how she narrates other stories.

For me, Cruel Beauty had a slow start and was a little repetitive at times but repetition is something that is becoming more and more common in books these days so I think its something that I have to learn to deal with and accept. What I really liked about Cruel Beauty was how it ended. The ending wasn’t something that I was expecting and yet at the same time it was fitting for the story that Hodge was telling. Things were wrapped up nicely and I like knowing that this is a standalone book. I love me a good fantasy story and it can be so hard to find a standalone fantasy. I like that Hodge has a companion story to Cruel Beauty in her novella, Gilded Ashes (my review), but do think that it is a story that should be read before this one.

If you like Greek mythology and fairy tale retellings then you should really give Cruel Beauty a try. Its a beautifully written story and one that I enjoyed. The mystery aspect of it is a little simplistic and easy to figure out but I didn’t mind that as I enjoyed the time that I sent in this world. Its a world that I wouldn’t mind revisiting and a book that I will most likely re-read at some point. This one wasn’t quite what I expected and I enjoyed it more than I thought. Its a story that I’d recommend especially for those that listen to audiobooks.

irishdarkblue

IR - Cruel Beauty

Add Entwined by Heather Dixon to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher HealyThe Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Series: The League of Princes, Book 2
Published by Harper Audio on 26 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Magic, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: The Kingdoms – Erinthia // Sylvaria // Harmonia // The Orphaned Wastes // Sturmhagen // Avondell

First Line(s): A true hero plays the flute.

 The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle is the second book in Christopher Healy’s League of Princes series and picks up not long after the first book ends. Events have been turned against our princes a but as their heroics are turned into a bit of a farce and Briar Rose is determined to concur all of the kindoms. Which she will do with through blackmail and cunning where she can. But then the bandit king steals an item of power and this will have our luckless League of Princes joining with Briar Rose to get it back.

As with the first book, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, this book is filled which shenanigans and humor as our bumbling princes and their sassy princesses try to overcome impossible odds in order to save the say. Bronson Pinchot does a great job bringing all of these characters to life making them endearing and bratty depending on who is doing the talking. Pinchot’s narration had me finding reasons to listen to this story to see what would happen next. The only thing missing from the audio version of this story was that I missed all the artwork that I know had to be included in its pages. The artwork was really fun and added to the the story and so without it there was something missing from this one.

Storming the Castle Quote

Overall, I enjoyed this story but there are times when the characters do annoy with their constant bumbling and a refusal to learn from past mistakes. There are also things that are easier for me to see reading this as an adult than some of the intended audiences might. Like the various star-crossed lovers that fill the pages of this book. Just because a fairy sets up two people doesn’t mean that they are destined to be together forever.

However, most of my quibbles and annoyances with this one do come from the fact that I’m not the target audience. There are tools needed sometimes when writing for younger readers that seem repetitive or just plan dumb. But I do think that Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle will have a lot of appeal to both boys and girls who like adventure stories.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storming the Castle

Add Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Fablehaven by Brandon Mull to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph DelaneyRevenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch
Series: The Last Apprentice,
Also in this series: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer
Published by Harper Audio on 09 September 2005
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying, Fantasy, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Magic, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards
Length: 5 hours 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer

Place(s) Traveled To: The County – Horshaw // Chipenden

First Line(s): When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail.

I first became interested in Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney when I learned that there was going to be a movie released based on the series. Looking for a new audio I downloaded this from audible and quite enjoyed the narrator for the most part though he doesn’t do the best job with the female voices. The story is quick moving and while Revenge of the Witch is filled with a ton of set up there is a lot of promise for the series.

I enjoyed this book but felt it dragged a lot in portions and didn’t seem as action filled as movie previews appeared. The movie previews also look like nothing in this book so I wonder how many books that the movie pulls from to make up its story. For the most part, I liked the character of Tomas Ward but he does annoy me at the same time. He does some very stupid things and yet is also really smart and despite being a new apprentice often manages to save the day. The two sides of himself just don’t seem to mesh and I hope that he becomes more cohesive as the series progresses.

Revenge of the Witch Quote

The story is also told mostly in first person present but every once in awhile there is this foreshadowing/flashback-eske comment that just really took me out of the story. Tom would be talking about something and then make a statement along the lines of ‘this would come back to haunt me later’ or ‘by the time I did this it was already too late.’ I’m fine with the bulk of a book being mostly a flashback, heck that’s mostly how Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is told. I just want these things to be more clear from the get go and not mentioned in random, cryptic comments.

Revenge of the Witch was an enjoyable audio and I will be reading other books in the series but as they are short, quick reads I will probably be switching over to print. I do plan on seeing the movie at some point but may way until DVD to do so as I can hopefully get most, if not all of the books read before then. That way I won’t be spoiled in the books if the movie pulls from the full series. This is a series I’d recommend if you are looking for a quick read and its a world that I look forward to getting to know better.

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Audio Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa KantorMaybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Published by Harper Audio on 18 February 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Better Than Perfect

Place(s) Traveled To: Wamasset, New Jersey // Newark, New Jersey // New York, New York

First Line(s):“I realize this is upsetting news,” said Ms. Daniels, watching me and Olivia across her enormous wooden desk.

Why I was planning on avoiding Maybe One Day. Its a cancer book.

Why I’m glad that I decided to read Maybe One Day. Because its so much more than a cancer book.

My friend Andi, over at AndiABCs, has been telling me that I needed to read this book since she read it but I resisted. But I had an ARC of it and I had used one of my audible credits to download the audio. Then one day I was looking for a new audio to listen to and I handed my iPod to a co-worker and she selected Maybe One Day. So I decided to listen to it, after all if I didn’t like it then I could always stop listening, right? Only I never wanted to stop listening. Shannon McManus did a great job with the narration and it was partially because of her that I didn’t want to stop with this one. But it was mostly because of the characters that Melissa Kantor created.

The friendship between Zoe and Olivia is so wonderful to see on the page. All too often books are filled with false best friends and that wasn’t the case here. They were more like sisters than anything else and were almost too close at times because they were so wrapped up in each other and in there dancing. This was fine initially but when the dancing stopped and Olivia got sick Zoe was left at a crossroads. She became a before and an after and she had to learn how to be the new her. But she’s not alone as she learns to deal with Olivia’s diagnosis, there is Olivia and Olivia’s brother, girls at school, and Calvin to help her put the pieces of herself back together.

Maybe One Day Quote

One thing I really liked about Maybe One Day was how it was told from Zoe’s point of view as it gives a new perspective to the cancer storyline. I also loved, like seriously loved, Zoe and Calvin’s romance. My only real regret with this book is that there wasn’t more Zoe and Calvin. Oh how those two made my heart ache!! And all those feels on top of the sad heart aches of what was happening with Zoe and Olivia. *sighs* This book was just a roller coaster of emotion from page one all the way until the end. If I had been reading this one instead of listened I totally would have binged on it.

So yes, Maybe One Day is a cancer book but even more than that its a friendship book. I fell in love with this story and I can’t believe that I ever resisted the idea of it. Sometimes you just need to set aside your preconceived notions and give something outside of your comfort zone a shot. I have no regrets with this book an I am eagerly awaiting Kantor’s next book, Better Than Perfect.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Maybe One Day
five-stars
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Audio Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights
Published by Harper Audio on 25 September 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights

Place(s) Traveled To:

Domain: Little Grind-on-Woe // Delamer
England: London // Windsor // Slough // Kent (1883)

First Line(s): Just before the start of Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is one of those books that I’ve heard about since it was released but just never got around to reading. Then one day I had some Audible credits to burn and decided to give The Burning Sky a shot. At first the use of a male narrator, Philip Battley, kind of threw me since the story was mostly told from Iolanthe’s POV and she was most definitely not a male. But as the story progresses it makes sense and really works for the story, so much so, that I can’t imagine what this story would have been like with a different narrator. Battley just really captured these characters and this world and it was partly because of him that I feel so deeply in love with this book. The Burning Sky is a fast paced story that kicks off from the first page. The prologue is intriguing and then the opening scenes set in The Domain really set the pace for whats to come.

The Burning Sky is one of those books where I found myself looking for reasons to drive around just so that I could spend more time in this world. I loved the mystery and the magic and the parallel worlds aspect of the story. Then there is the friendship between Iolanthe and Prince Titus….oh how these two made my heart ache! Their is a slow burn kind of story and one that starts off a bit rocky. Its one that is realistic and so well done. They are great friends and they are both so perfect for each other and yet there is also so much standing in the way that they might not ever be. Have I mentioned that they make my heart ache? Because oh the feels that they made me feel. And not just them but all of the other characters as well. I loved the supporting cast and just want to know more about each and every one of them. This is one of those rare times in which I wish there were novellas to help expand and flesh out the story even more.

Burning Sky Quote

For me, The Burning Sky, was a pleasant surprise of a book and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. The audio was fantastic and if you like audiobooks then I highly recommend this one. Its almost 12 hours long and I managed to listen to it in just 4 days. This is one of my favorite fantasy reads of the year and I was so glad that the sequel, The Perilous Sea, was already out by the time I finished this one so that I could dive right into it. The Burning Sky is such a richly imagined world and I just loved the premise and its execution. There were a couple of things that happened that seemed a little too convenient and a few other quibbles that I had but they were mostly minor and didn’t take away my enjoyment of the series. If you haven’t read this one yet then you are really missing out and should head to your nearest bookstore or library and grab yourself a copy today.

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

four-stars
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