22 January 2018

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: All Audiobooks, All the Time

4 audiobook reviewsThank goodness for a little milder weather over the weekend. Even though I didn't have much time to get out and enjoy it, I was happy to see some of the snow melt.

Although I am a lifelong Vikings fan, my husband grew up in the Philadelphia area, and I've been living in Pennsylvania for ages, so it was easy to cheer on the Eagles to their Super Bowl chance. Now I'm really looking forward to February: Super Bowl Sunday and then the Olympics!

I'm just entering my busy editing season, so I'm again very grateful for audiobooks. I finished four (one was only an hour!) and started another.

Tomorrow I'm giving away a copy of JoJo Mayes's new book, Still Me, to someone with a USA mailing address. I'm in the middle of reading (in print) Louisa's adventures in New York, and I'm loving every minute.

What I Listened To

Review: Vengeance in Death by J. D. RobbContinuing on with J. D. Robb's Eve Dallas series, I listened to Vengeance in Death. In this one, murder comes very close to home: the victims are all people Eve's husband, Rourke, knew during his misspent youth. What's worse, the killer is trying to make it look like Rourke's friend and right-hand man Somerset is to blame. Eve and her police team, with some help from Rourke himself, must solve this one quickly. In some ways this book is a transition story: Eve and Rourke's relationship begins to solidify, we learn more about Somerset and Rourke's past and why they're devoted to each other. We're also introduced to a new character: police techy Ian McNab. I'm guessing we see more of him in future books. As always (phew!) Susan Eriksen is the narrator of the unabridged audiobook (Brillance Audio; 11 hr, 19 min). Eriksen is super with this series, nailing Eve's blend of toughness and fragility. I'm sure I'll soon run out of insightful things to say about her performance, but I doubt I'll stop enjoying it. (bought)

Review: The Great Alone by Kristin HannahMy next audiobook could possibly be one of my favorite books in a long time, and will likely make by 2018 top ten list. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, Feb. 6). In the 1970s a struggling family moves to Alaska after Ernt is bequeathed a homestead from a fellow Vietnam POW who didn't make it home. The three of them arrive in a VW bus totally unprepared to face the harsh landscape. With the help of their neighbors, Cora, Ernt, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leni, prepare for the long winter. But Cora and Leni have more to fear than grizzlies and the cold, Ernt, suffering from undiagnosed PTSD (not well understood back then), has a hair-trigger temper and takes his furry out on his wife. The small community is aware of the abuse, but the courts in the 70s aren't supportive of beaten women. The tension and foreboding are perfectly built, and my heart went out to Leni, a girl who grew up too fast and little room to think about herself. Hannah's novel is much more than a story about domestic violence, it is also a love story to stark and beautiful Alaska. Those who live in the northern wilderness must be ever vigilant because their land is unforgiving. You may be able to survive one mistake, but rarely two; let your guard down for a second and all could be lost. The unabridged audiobook (Macmillan Audio) was read by Julia Whelan, who is brilliant. She gave each person a distinct voice and so beautifully worked the pacing that I could barely turn off the book. My full audiobook review will be available through AudioFile magazine, but don't miss this one.

Review: Spin (audiobook musical)Spin: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical is an audiobook original that I just loved. What a fantastic production of storytelling and singing with a full cast led by Jim Dale. This short audiobook (Harper Audio, 1 hr, 28 min) is a delight, and you and your family will be singing along with Rumpelstiltskin in no time. The story itself is a fun update to the original tale, and I loved the young king and his stepsisters (because every fairy tale must have stepsisters!). This is an audiobook to share with your kids, especially on a rainy or cold day or a short driving trip, but it's also perfect for adults. Each member of the full cast of performers is wonderful. You'll feel as if you were at the theater and will be spellbound from start to finish. The story has some grim (ha!) moments, but remains lighthearted and the contemporary elements will make you smile. The transformation of the stepsisters is a delight, and you'll love getting to know what drives Rumpelstiltskin to make his bargain with the poor girl who is tasked with spinning straw into gold. Spin gets my highest recommendation, and I truly hope the production team, Hvam Audio and Sammy Smile Music, is planning more modern musical fairy tales. (review copy)

Review: Timekeeper by Tara SimI also listened to Timekeeper by Tara Sim. This is a genre-blending novel that contains elements of alternate history, steampunk, and speculative fiction and has a gay protagonist. In a different sort of London, 17-year-old Danny is a clock mechanic, which is a much more important position than it is in our world. Time is a living thing, and unless the mechanics keep the big clock towers running smoothly and in sync, human lives would be chaos. Danny is the youngest master clock mechanic ever, but he seems to have a natural talent for steadying time and helping the world flow smoothly. But ever since he was a victim to a violent accident--one of the clocks he was working on exploded--he's been a little nervous at work. When a second explosion kills a mechanic, it's clear that someone is out to sabotage time. Danny has a vested interest in solving the crimes and figuring out how to restore fatally broken clocks: his father, also a clock mechanic, has been stuck in time, trapped in a town with a destroyed clock tower. Without the powerful clock, the townsfolk must live the same moment over and over forever. Besides the mystery of the broken clocks and warped time, Danny is learning to live with being openly gay, experiences his first love, and discovers something surprising about time itself. A promising start to a new trilogy that features diversity and solid world building in a fresh setting. The unabridged audiobook (Forever Young Audiobooks; 8 hr, 48 min), was read by Gary Furlong. It took me about 30 minutes to warm up to his performance, but then it clicked for me. Furlong did a good job distinguishing among characters and picking up on their personalities and ages--for both males and females. I also appreciated that both Furlong's delivery and Sim's writing presented Danny's sexuality in a matter-of-fact manner: no stereotypes here. The book is complex and a little difficult to explain without spoiling the surprises, but I definitely recommend this first in series. (bought)

16 comments:

Sarah's Book Shelves 1/22/18, 7:19 AM  

I'm hearing some amazing things about The Great Alone! Hopefully will be picking it up soon.

bermudaonion 1/22/18, 9:15 AM  

I hear you on the audiobooks! I can't believe I've never read a Hannah book - everyone loves them. I'm making note of The Great Alone.

Susie | Novel Visits 1/22/18, 10:03 AM  

I'm reading The Great Alone right now and also love it. I only have 17% left and can't wait to get home this evening and finish it. (Of course, today is the one day this week I have meeting that will run extra late...drat.) Glad to hear that the audio version is good. With Julie Whelan reading, I'm not at all surprised. Have a nice week.

Kathy Martin 1/22/18, 10:28 AM  

Nice variety of books. I was disappointed that my Vikings didn't make a better showing in the game. Oh, well! The Olympics are coming and then baseball. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 1/22/18, 10:49 AM  

I'll be reading The Great Alone soon...and I'm looking forward to it. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog. Have a great week!

Amanda 1/22/18, 11:19 AM  

Timekeeper sounds very interesting! I don't generally listen to YA on audio and my library only has a physical copy anyway, but I've got it on order now!

Greg 1/22/18, 1:49 PM  

It was milder here too, and then a bunch of rain just melted everything that was left. I hope the snow stays away for a while, frankly. And yay for the Olympics! Can't wait...

Timekeeper sounds like it's worth a read.

Kay 1/22/18, 2:06 PM  

I've got THE GREAT ALONE preordered on audio and very much looking forward to it. I've read Kristen Hannah's books for a long, long time. And I love that you like the Eve Dallas books. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one. Yes, that narrator is the one for all of them so far and I think I said that I listened to all 40+ of them last fall. ;-)

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/22/18, 2:33 PM  

Your rave about The Great Alone means I will be bringing it to the beach this weekend.

Vicki 1/22/18, 2:52 PM  

The Great Alone sounds really good, and I love anything to do with NY!

Nise' 1/22/18, 8:15 PM  

Looking forward to the Olympics too! Not a fan of football, but will check out the commercials during the Superbowl. Looking forward to The Great Alone.

Kailana 1/22/18, 8:42 PM  

Good looking books! One day I will get back to J.D. Robb. I am so bad with series and still trying to find my footing with audiobooks again. I kind of want Timekeeper, though.

AJ Sterkel 1/22/18, 9:09 PM  

I’m very curious about The Great Alone. I’ve heard great things about it. Have a good week!

Aj @ Read All The Things!

Katherine P 1/22/18, 9:17 PM  

I love the cover for Timekeeper! I've been wanting to read J.D. Robb but never thought about trying it on audio. And I desperately want to try Kristin Hannah. The Great Alone sounds really good!

Susan Schleicher 1/23/18, 9:53 AM  

I love the Death Series on audio. I need to get to another one soon. I just received a copy of The Great Alone and am excited to start it. Happy reading!

Daryl 1/25/18, 8:23 AM  

Timekeeper sounds good ...

i am warming up to Susan Eriksen now (book 4, i think is next for me ) that Eve has stopped being so shrilly whiny about who she is and how she feels about Rourke ..

highly recommend Joe Ide's IQ series

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