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Publisher: Listening Library

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Audio Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

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

Audio Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Published by Listening Library on 05 April 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Los Angeles, California // Chicago, Illinois

First Line(s): Seven hundred and thirty-three days after my mom died, forty-five days after my dad eloped with a stranger he met on the Internet, thirty days after we then up and moved to California, and only seven days after starting as a junior at a brand-new school where I know approximately no one, an email arrives.

Dear Reader,

Let me tell you three things:

1) There aren’t enough words to in the universe to tell you how much I loved Juile Buxbaum’s TELL ME THREE THINGS

2) This is a book that I’ll re-read over and over and over again

3) If I learn that you haven’t read this book then expect me to bully you to do so because I know your life will be forever made better as a result.

I promise you dear reader, TELL ME THREE THINGS, is a super duper wonderful book. This book hit all the right notes for me and I just loved every word. I just love the trope that was used in this book, with the secret correspondence and I was so super happy when my guess on who Somebody/Nobody was proved correct. The ending of TELL ME THREE THINGS gave me all those wonderful heart achy feels that I love and if I hadn’t been listening to the audio on my phone I totally would have hugged this book when I finished it.

The narrator of TELL ME THREE THINGS, Jorjeana Marie, was a new voice for me (or at least I don’t recall the name) and I thought that she did a wonderful job in bringing Jessie and all these various characters to life. My only real complaint was in the reading of IMs and emails as they are often more of a visual thing and easier read in print than heard over audio. So there are parts of me that wish I’d read this book but then there is a bigger part of me that listened to the story as I did love Jorjeana Mareie’s style. She did a great job with not just Jessie but all the characters and I never had an issue telling who was who. She also had a great pacing and delivery so it was easy to get lost in the story. Well, as lost as one can get while still paying attention while driving!!

Tell Me Three Things Quote

My one big complaint with TELL ME THREE THINGS and what prevents me from giving the book 5 stars was the complete personality transplant of one of the characters. Its something that seemed to come out of no where and I kind of go whiplash from the whole thing. I can understand where said character was coming from but right up until the explosion it was all systems go lets act how we’ve always been acting. I get that sometimes people do bottle things up inside but even there there are still usually some clues that there is a rift brewing. I just think that overall the whole could have been handled better so that it meshed better with the story. Because as it was it just seemed forced and manufactured – drama for the sake of drama – and there really was no need for the drama.

Overall though, TELL ME THREE THINGS was a delightful story and I hated for it to end. Its a book that I wish I could read again for the first time and one that I know will have a forever home on my shelf. Its full of real, flawed, and yet perfect characters that I would want to be friends with . (You know if they were real and I had to relive those pesky teen years over again.) TELL ME THREE THINGS is a well written and well plotted story and I hated to stop listening each day. Its a book to get lost in and one that I can’t recommend enough. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book you go forth and one click it now!! Like for reals….NOW!!

you're welcome

irishdarkblue

IR - Tell Me Three Things

 

Add P.S. I Like You by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Audio Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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

Audio Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Narrator: Amber Faith
Series: The Naturals,
Published by Listening Library on 05 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Fixer, The Long Game

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado // Washington, DC

First Line(s): The hours were bad.

THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes first came out in 2013 and while it was on my radar then it got shuffled off to the side enough that I forgot about it. Until recently when there just seemed to be a renewed interest in the story as it was mentioned all over my social media. Not long ago I’d read Barnes’s THE FIXER (my review) and I liked her Scandal meets Veronica Mars story and so I requested the audiobook of THE NATURALS when I saw that it was available. THE NATURALS can almost be described as a teenage Criminal Minds as all the kids in the book have these natural profiling abilities. The FBI has collected a bunch of them to live together and to hone their abilities for future careers within the FBI. But of course things are never that easy when it comes to a mystery novel.

There are some added complexities to THE NATURALS first you have an eclectic cast of characters from Cassie (who is our narrator) to numbers nerd Sloane (complete with all the social awkwardness that is sterotypical of the ubersmart) and Lia the natural lie detector. And no YA book would be complete without your broody, chip on his shoulder male love interest and this one has two: Dean and Michael. Which will lead to a love triangle I am sure because you can see the beginnings of one in THE NATURALS but thankfully while there is some teen angst over liking boys and kissing boys the focus on this book isn’t the romance.

The Naturals Quote

One must suspend a lot of disbelief with THE NATURALS, not that there aren’t people out there that aren’t naturals at reading people or a crime scene but that the government would recruit and train them as teenagers. And then of course there is the complex backstories of all the main characters along with the revelation that a killer has turned up over a decade later who is killing woman in the exact same way that Cassie’s mom was killed. A case that was never solved and has haunted Cassie for a variety of reasons.

For me, THE NATURALS was a very slow story. There was a whole lot of sitting around and doing nothing with a few instances where we were supposed to be wowed by Cassie’s ability. There was a lot of angst and indecision and then things just sort of happened and boom the book was done. THE NATURALS was filled with set up and background and as such it suffered by not having a ton of plot on its own. I didn’t fully buy the mystery aspect of it and was just left underwhelmed by it all. I did like the narration of Amber Finch though like most female narrators she suffered with her male voices but overall I enjoyed her style. Her voice is soothing though which doesn’t go along well with a slow and plodding story so this was one that I couldn’t listen to when sitting still else I’d space out.

I didn’t love THE NATURALS as much as I had hoped but I do see the promise of the series.  I think that I will continue with it for at least one more book though the love triangle aspect does concern me. I’m also unsure if I’ll try the audiobook version or switch to a physical read as I liked the narrator but wasn’t all ZOMG must listen more! In the end, this was good not great and I’ll just have to see how things go in KILLER INSTINCT.

IR - The Naturals

Add I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Audio Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: The Winner's Trilogy,
Published by Listening Library on 04 March 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 24 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown Fictional World

First Line(s): She shouldn’t have been tempted.

Pretty cover? Check.

Pretty words? Check.

Pretty story? For me, not so much.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a fantasy (yet not a fantasy) novel that came to me highly recommended. Its a book that I was unsure of when I first read the synopsis but all I kept hearing was how good it was. That the story was amazing and the main charater was a strong heroine with an epic swoon worthy love. So I gave in and downloaded the audio and started to listen and it wasn’t long before I began to wonder what all the hype was about because NOTHING HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK. I mean seriously, nothing happened. Kestrel buys a slave, she talks to said slave and tells him ALL THE THINGS. He in return just broods and tells her nothing in return. And yet. They fall in love.

Kestrel goes to parties and talks dresses and clothes, obsesses over her conflicted feelings for Arin, and complains that she has no choices in the world except to get married or join the military. Her struggles are real and her life is so hard and she doesn’t understand why the country that her people has occupied for the last decade would be unhappy. She’s also absolutely shocked that these same people, who are now slaves in their own country, know her people’s language. Because you know, they would have learned nothing in the ten years of occupation or the countless years prior when they were a free people and used to trade with Kestrel’s. She’s shocked they they seem to be intelligent thinkers when she mentions that before the occupation her people didn’t have books or use utensils but hers is, of course, the better race.

*insert much sighing and eye rolling by me*

Winner's Curse Quote

I just…I just couldn’t with this book. I tried. I really did and I listened to it until the bitter end because even though I had serious issues with the stories and the lack of anything going on I did like the narrator, Justine Eyre. Her narration kept me invested when I would have totally given up on the print. Despite all the urgings from friends who kept telling me to stick with it that the ending made up for all that came before. And while that may have been true for some that wasn’t the case for me. Yes, things happen at the end but its a rush and a jumble and it starts and end within the last 100 pages or so. In my option, I don’t think you should have to wait an entire books for something to happen. No matter how pretty the words are up until that point.

Because yes, despite all of its many flaws, The Winner’s Curse was very prettily written. It was a flowery and oft times repetitive text repeating things that we already knew but with Eyre’s narration it had this hypnotic quality that kept me listening. The Winner’s Curse wasn’t a book for me and yet I am still debating on if I want to read The Winner’s Crime or not. I do tend to be a glutton for punishment but it isn’t unheard of for me to dislike the first book in a series and then grow to like it as it progresses.

irishdarkblue

People Who Liked This Book Better Than I Did:

Alice Marvels – An utterly captivating story of forbidden love and political upheaval that will leave you breathlessly anticipating the sequel.

Cuddlebuggery – What I really loved about the book was that even though at the heart of the story it’s a romance, neither Arin or Kestrel allows their relationship to dominate their common sense.

Miss Print – Secrets and lies are key to both Kestrel and Arin’s characters, creating a story that is as much about what is said as it is about subtext. This novel is brimming with non-verbal communication and other subtle cues that Rutkoski expertly manipulates as a story of love and other–somewhat darker–matters slowly unfolds.

IR - Winner's Curse
two-stars
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Audio Review: The Memory of After / Level 2 by Lenore Applehans

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: The Memory of After / Level 2 by Lenore ApplehansThe Memory of After by Lenore Applehans
Narrator: Jenna Lamia
Series: The Memory Chronicles,
Published by Listening Library on 18 December 2012
Genres: Afterlife, Angels, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 19 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Frankfurt, Germany // Level 2

First Line(s): I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I used to say it a lot.

Previously Titled: Level 2

The Memory of After was a book that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read and not because of the premise as that intrigued me but because of who wrote it, Lenore Applehans. Lenore is someone that I call a friend and who I knew first as a blogger and then watched as she transitioned from reviewing to writing books herself. I was so proud of the day when she announced her deal and putting to rest all the speculation that a person couldn’t be a book reviewer and an author. Lenore is also one of the most down to earth and nicest people I know. I was wary of this book because I didn’t want to not like and as I can be terribly picky with books this was a real fear. But curiosity won out and I found myself downloading the audiobook and listening to it on my morning commute. The narrator, Jenna Lamia, was new to me but I liked her voice and she reminded me of a few of my favorite narrators so I settled in and let the story flow over me.

At first, I was intrigued by this new world that Lenore had created and even though Level 2 is quite barren I could picture all its small nuances based on how it was described. Felicia, the main character, seemed a little blank but that falls into part of what makes Level 2 what it is as the memories of the people contained there are used as currency and maybe something a bit more sinister than that. Residents of Level 2 are encouraged to spend the bulk of their time in their pods reliving not just their memories but the memories of others who exist in this realm as well. It seems like a quaint and quiet existence but all is not as it seems in Level 2 and when Julian bursts onto the scene you learn that there is something more sinister going on. Julian is one of those ambiguous characters that toes the line between good and bad and depending on how you are seeing him your opinion tends to change. For Julian is special in that not only is he in Felicia’s present but he was also a big part of her before…her time alive before.

The Memory of After jumps quickly into the action but then sort of fizzles out quickly as Felicia needs to spend a lot of time in a pod as she weens herself off of a drug used by Level 2’s keepers to keep residents mellow. While she’s in a pod we are often shown one of her memories, the series of events that led her to becoming a resident in Level 2 which is an afterlife of sorts. In her memories we meet Neil, another romantic interest, and is the other side of the love triangle that isn’t a love triangle. Felicia has strong feelings for Neil in her past and wants to try to find him in her present but then there is Julian and all her mixed up feelings for him. Both Neil and Julian are very different and there were many a times when I wondered why they were drawn to Felicia as she was a very mellow character. She never really showed anyone her true self and I found it hard to connect with her. There were also moments when I didn’t like her very much but then the same thing happened with Julian as well. But overall, my favorite character of the story was Julian and I would have loved to have read some chapters from his POV to fully understand his motivation for doing all the things he did.

There is a bit of a mystery in The Memory of After but it isn’t what moves this story forward since so more time was spent in Felicia’s memories than in trying to figure a way out of Level 2 and learning more about its mysterious keepers. The memories while intriguing at first just started to bog down the story for me and if I wasn’t listening to the book then I may have started to skip them. I would have preferred more time to be spent building up the story instead of reliving the past especially when the memory being shown didn’t add anything to the story. I also found the ending to come about too quickly and was a bit unbelievable as it just sort of appeared on the page and then the book was over. I did enjoy The Memory of After and I am looking forward to the sequel/finale Chasing Before to see how it all ends. Now I just have to decide on if I want to read it in print or go with the audio again.

 

irishdarkblue

Memory of After Banner

three-stars
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Audio Review: Black Heart by Holly Black

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

Audio Review: Black Heart by Holly BlackBlack Heart by Holly Black
Narrator: Jesse Eisenberg
Series: Curse Workers,
Also in this series: White Cat, Red Glove
Published by Listening Library on 10 April 2012
Genres: Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Paranormal, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 33 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: White Cat, Red Glove

Place(s) Traveled To: Princeton, New Jersey // New York, New York // Paterson, New York

First Line(s): My brother Barron sits next to me, sucking the last dregs of milk tea slush noisily through a wide yellow straw.

Black Heart by Holly Black is the third, and final, book in the Curse Workers series and I have to say that I am really sad that there are no more books. I have really enjoyed my time in Cassel Sharpe’s world of con men and thieves. I’ve enjoyed Cassel’s sharp sense of humor and his gift of not just getting into trouble but in getting out of it as well. In Black Heart the stakes are higher and there are times when things looks bleak for our hero but the intensity of it just keeps you on the edge of your seat.

As with the previous books, I listened to Black Heart in my car and I can’t imagine any other narrator than Jesse Eisenberg for Cassel Sharpe. He is just so perfect in this role that I am unsure on if I will be able to listen to Eisenberg’s voice and not think of Cassel Sharpe. Its hard to say much about Eisenberg’s narration that I haven’t already said before as this is the third book in a series. He’s firm and consistent in all of his voices and part of why I am sad that this book is over is that it is also the end of Eisenberg as Cassel Sharpe.

Black Heart is a really good end to a series. All the main story ARCs are wrapped up and the ending is a complete one. Not just that but its also a hopeful ending and leaves open the potential for more books. I would love to see more stories involving Cassel, Lila, Sam, and the rest of this crazy cast of characters. I just love how flawed and real they all are. When you read (or in my case listen to) this story it is so easy to forget that they are characters in a book.  The story telling and world building is just so vivid that everything comes to life before your eyes.

The Curse Workers series has something in it for everyone. There is romance and mystery and magic and mayhem. Its a gripping story and once you start it you will be glad that all the books have been published. I can’t even imagine how horrible the wait would have been if I had read these as they were published. That is one perk in coming to late to the party. This is a series that I can’t recommend highly enough and if you are a lover of audiobooks then you need to try this series in this format.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Audio Review: Red Glove by Holly Black

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Red Glove by Holly BlackRed Glove by Holly Black
Narrator: Jesse Eisenberg
Series: Curse Workers, Book 2
Also in this series: White Cat, Black Heart
Published by Listening Library on 12 April 2011
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Young Adult
Length: 7 hours 5 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: White Cat, Black Heart

Place(s) Traveled To: Atlantic City, New Jersey // Princeton, New Jersey // New York, New York // Newark, New Jersey

First Line(s): I don’t know whether it’s day or night when the girl gets up to leave.

Cassel Sharpe isn’t the most likable of characters, he cheats, he lies, he’ll say and do whatever it takes in order to get what he needs. And yet there is something charming and charismatic about him that makes you want to believe even though Cassel Sharpe is the definition of the unreliable narrator. He can’t help it, he was raised by a family of con artists and to lie was to survive. Red Glove by Holly Black is the second book of her Curse Workers series and so this story only builds upon all the things that we learning in White Cat. The stakes are higher and the cons more daring and Cassel is more on the fence than ever on deciding which side to play for.

In Red Glove, Cassel has to deal with the FBI as well as Zaracharov both who know his power and both who think that he knows something about who killed his brother Phillip. For me, Red Glove was bigger and more engrossing than White Cat was. And the best thing is that you already know these characters so there isn’t much background that needs to be given and they can just continue to grow and solidify with each turn of the page. I loved this book more than the first and it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion when in the car.

Jesse Eisenberg is THE perfect voice for this story and he just nails all the characters with just the right tone. Eisenberg is Cassel Sharpe and I can’t imagine anyone else voicing this story. He is just so perfect for these books that I don’t know if I can listen to him narrate other stories. If nothing else, I’ll need to put some distance between the next Jesse Eisenberg narration and this series.

If you like a good crime drama, things with spies and intrigue, humor and mystery, and even a little bit of romance then you will want to try out Holly Black’s Curse Workers series. These books have a little of everything for everyone and as with White Cat I do wish that I’d given them a try earlier. The only good thing about waiting is that all three books in the series were out by the time I started and so there was no waiting to learn what happens next. So if you haven’t looked into this series yet then you are really missing out. Black is a master at her craft and I think everyone should read this series.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Audio Review: White Cat by Holly Black

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

Audio Review: White Cat by Holly BlackWhite Cat by Holly Black
Narrator: Jesse Eisenberg
Series: Curse Workers,
Also in this series: Red Glove, Black Heart
Published by Listening Library on 11 May 2010
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 41 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Red Glove, Black Heart

Place(s): Traveled To: Princeton, New Jersey // Trenton, New Jersey // Atlantic City, New Jersey // Carney, New Jersey

First Line(s): I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air.

White Cat by Holly Black is a book that two of my friends had been bullying me to read. These were the same friends who bullied me to read Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon’s Lexicon series (which is super fabulous and you should read it if you haven’t.) As time can be short I downloaded the audio and I have to say that I fell in love with Jesse Eisenberg’s narration. He is the perfect voice for Cassel Sharpe and with bringing the prose of Black’s words to life. Black has a real gift with language and telling a story and when you read the written word sometimes that beauty can be lost. But when you listen to a story you are forced to slow down and pay attention and White Cat is worth taking that time on.

With the first novel in a series, especially an urban fantasy, there is a lot of world building and background to be given out. Black does a good job in weaving in the history of the world and with the magic of being a curse worker without bogging down the story. Much of White Cat is in dealing with a basic mystery, just what did Cassel do three years prior and why are his nightmares so different than his waking memories. As Cassel investigates, using the various skills he’s learned growing up from his con artist family he uncovers a nest of secrets and lies and what he uncovers isn’t what he expects.

White Cat starts off a little slow but by the end of the story you are on the end of your seat. Cassel’s struggles with his desire to be normal when his family is anything but will resonate with many readers as we all struggle with something. The magic of this world, the curses that some people are affected with are fascinating. As is the stigma that goes along with them. Its a world that the reader can clearly see existing and its easy to see how it came about. How those with curses are almost shunned and so they have little choice but to work for mob families.

Cassel’s narration of the story is filled with much wit and sarcasm but its also filled with intelligence. Cassel is a force to be reckoned with especially as he’s often underestimated by those around him as he’s the only one in a family of curse workers without a curse of his own. Its fun to watch as Cassel manipulates those around him into doing what he wants. Although he does have a bad habit of not knowing when not to lie and manipulate. Cassel with lie to anyone and its hard for him to trust people, even those that he calls a friend. He’s grown up in a family of liars so it can be hard for him to know the boundaries so White Cat is not just a mystery its also Cassel’s personal journey of learning to trust people are him.

White Cat was a fabulous read and I when I finished it I immediately downloaded the audios for Red Glove and Black Heart. The Curse Workers series is one of intrigue and was a fascinating audio to listen to. I love this world and all of its characters all of who are flawed in one way or another. I enjoyed Black’s story and writing and this is a book that I know I’ll be recommending to others. I’m glad that I was bullied into reading it. So if you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Audio Review: Ash Mistry and the City of Death by Sarwat Chadda

Posted by Irish in Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Audio Review: Ash Mistry and the City of Death by Sarwat ChaddaAsh Mistry and the City of Death by Sarwat Chadda
Narrator: Bruce Mann
Series: Ash Mistry Chronicles, Book 2
Also in this series: Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress
Published by Listening Library on 29 October 2013
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective, Urban Fantasy
Length: 10 hours 23 mintues
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Also by this author: Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Calcutta, India // Lanka, India (Fictional)

First Line(s): “I can’t do it,” said Ash. He’d beaten a demon king. He’d faced an immortal sorcerer. He’d saved the world. He shouldn’t be scared of anything. But fear now grabbed his chest with icy fingers. “It’s suicide.”

Ash Mistry and the City of Death by Sarwat Chadda is the second book in his middle series the Ash Mistry Chronicles. This is a series that is perfect for all Percy Jackson fans and those that just love edge of your seat action. I found the Ash Mistry Chronicles to be better written and more exciting than the Percy Jackson books. The Indian mythology is fascinating and I loved learning more about it. Though there were times when the things that Ash said or did were a bit cringe-worthy. But he is just a teenager and human and as such is prone to making some bad life choices. What is important is that he eventually learns from this bad choices and finds the right path to take.

There is so much to love in this book and I found myself wanting to listen to it every chance I could just to see what would happen next. How would Ash and Pavrati manage to overcome this newest obstacle. What stupid decision would Ash make next and how would he deal with the consequences. Because there are always consequences and that is what I love about a Sarwat Chadda book. Things happen, there is a cause and effect and the characters must deal with the fall out…for good or bad.

Another thing that I loved with this story was the appearance of Elaine. If you’ve read Chadda’s Young Adult series then you’d know her from her role in those books. I loved this cross over and how the two worlds are both the same and different and it just adds a whole new level of awesome to it all. The only that would make it better is if Billi SanGreal had made a cameo of some sort. But then I mentioned that in my review of Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress and I am sure that it will be something that I will continue to wish for long after this series is over.

The only drawback on this one for me was the narrator, Bruce Mann. I remember enjoying his style in Savage Fortress but this time around there was just something so slow and stilted about it all. It often reminded me of William Shatner back in his 1960s Star Trek days where it seemed to take him 20 minutes to say something that most normal people would spit out in 5. When I tried to speed up the narration it just sounded a bit tinny and cartoonish and so I was forced to deal with the overly slow speaking style.

Despite the poor narration style the story was gripping and engaging enough to keep me engrossed in the story. The action is crazy and over the top and I sometimes forgot that I was listening to a middle grade story. But the worst part of this book, the super most horrible thing…was the ending. Oh Em Gee. That ending! What a killer! Such an edge of your seat, totally took me by surprise cliff hanger ending. And yet at the same time it totally made sense and was so perfect for the story. Its the perfect set up for the third, and final book, Ash Mistry and the World of Darkness. Which is oh so cruelly NOT available in the US. Thankfully though the kind folks at Foyles UK were willing to send it across the pond to me. (Oh internet, how I love thee!)

If you are looking for a new read then you should really check out this series. It is just filled with everything you could possibly want in a book and then some. I am not much of a middle grade reader but if more of the age level was written like this I would definitely be a bigger reader. This series just makes me all bouncy with excitement and I want everyone to read it. So much so that I am giving away the first book in December 2013 and you can enter to win it by CLICKING HERE. Now all that’s left for me is to read the final book…and yet at the same time I don’t want to read it as I don’t want it to end.

irishdarkblue

four-half-stars
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Audio Review; Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Audio Review; Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat ChaddaAsh Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda
Narrator: Bruce Mann
Series: Ash Mistry Chronicles,
Also in this series: Ash Mistry and the City of Death
Published by Listening Library on 26 February 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective
Length: 8 hours and 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Ash Mistry and the City of Death

 

 

Place(s) Traveled to: Rajasthan, India // Varanasi, India

First Line: “That is so not a cobra” said Ash. It couldn’t be.

Ash Mistry Chronicles Series Order:
Book 1 – Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress
Book 2 – Ash Mistry and the City of Death
Book 3 – Ash Mistry and the World of Darkness

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda is a middle grade fantasy adventure story that will keep readers of all ages on the ed of their seats. I thought that Sarwat Chadda had some crazy intense moments in The Devil’s Kiss and Dark Goddess but in some ways those books pale in comparison to this one. Perhaps Savage Fortress is a tad more shocking as it is a middle grade story and you expect things to be more safe and tame even while the main characters are going through a grand adventure. This is not the case in Savage Fortress this is no safe and tame story but one filled with the gritty realities of life. Ash Mistry and his sister Lucky are visiting his aunt and uncle in India and what was supposed to be a hot and boring trip quickly turns into a race for survival. Not just for Ash and his family but for the entire world.

Chadda wastes no time in bringing the reader into the story and its not long before events really start to unfold. At first there are just a few inklings that something is not quite right and so you peek over the edge for a closer look. When you are pushed from behind and remain in free fall until you smack into the end of the story. As a reader you are helpless to do anything but travel along side of Ash as he makes various choices and hoping with each one that its the right one. For the consequences of making the wrong choice can be dire.

This is one of those audios where I found myself making excuses to go for car rides just so I could get in more listening time. The narrator, Bruce Mann, did an excellent job bringing all the various characters to life. He even did a decent job with the female voices. But where Mann really brings this book to life is with all the pronunciations. Looking through my print copy afterwards there are words and names I know I would have read incorrectly if Mann hadn’t been there to read them for me. He is also pretty brilliant at bringing out an angsty, bored, and oft times sarcastic teenage boy to life. Listing to Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress and I totally believed that a teenaged Ash was telling me his story. That paired with Chadda’s amazing descriptions and action scenes really makes you think that you are in the story seeing and hearing everything that is being described.

If you are a fan of Chadda’s young adult books then you really need to pick up his middle grade books. Nothing about this book felt middle grade, other than the age of the main character. And if you haven’t read anything by Sarwat Chadda then you really don’t know what you are missing out on. Every book is just filled with amazing story telling and writing to be envious over. These are books that I can’t recommend enough and are brilliant for all ages. Young and old can enjoy these stories and I for one can not wait to dive into the next Ash Mistry adventure as I wait in vain for more Billi SanGreal books. But at least there was a mention of Billi and the Templars in this book. This gives me hope of a potential cross over and no one better pop my bubble of hope if you know what’s good for you! Now go, do yourself a favor and go read these books!

irishdarkblue
five-stars
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