Audio Book Review: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Narrated by Kyla Garcia

Book: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Narrated by Kyla Garcia

Published February 2019 by HarperAudio|Length: 9 hours, 54 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: We Set The Dark On Fire #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

I liked We Set The Dark On Fire!  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, but I definitely have some mixed feelings.

I’d say it’s The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Belles meets Girls Of Paper And Fire.  I’d say it’s more Handmaid’s Tale than any of the other two books I mentioned, but I think it reminded me of The Belles and Girls Of Paper And Fire because of girls chosen to do be something, and getting trained to it.  Plus the whole forbidden romance you see in Girls Of Paper And Fire.

I really felt for Dani, and what she was trying to protect.  She has to make a lot of hard choices, but I did find myself wishing that we had more with her parents.  I know she wanted to protect her secret, that her parents gave up everything so she could do better, but I never really felt like that was in danger of being revealed.  I felt like her joining the Resistance, and her falling in love with Carmen was more at stake than sacrificing what her parents did.

I really wanted to know more about the school she went to, and how it was decided who was Primero and who was Segundo.  I really wanted to know that.  It was easy enough with Handmaid’s Tale- Handmaidens were the ones who could still bear children, while wives sometimes could not.  But I wasn’t sure how it decided- if it was explained, I clearly missed it.

So, I did listen to the audio book, which I think didn’t help with the world building.  The narrator, Kyla Garcia was really great, and she did an awesome job narrating.  I loved her narration of Joyride by Anna Banks, but having finished this one, I don’t think it completely worked on audio.  At least for me.  There were details, like who was Primero and who was Segundo that were either left out, or completely forgettable.  There were quotes from the guide that the Medio School For Girls had, and they were completely forgettable as well.  I didn’t mind them, but for audio, it didn’t work.

And there was this story at the beginning of the book that explained how the world came to be.  I liked it, but by the end of the book, I had completely forgotten what it was about.  I think that’s what made me think of The Belles.

The idea was interesting, and I liked a Handmaid’s Tale-type story in a fantasy setting.  It’s not at all a Handmaid’s Tale re-telling but it was the only thing I could think of the entire time I was reading this book.  That is partly why I picked this book up, and I did like it.  The world and characters are interesting, and I do want to know where the story is headed.  I think this is the one time that a comparison to another book is dead-on.

I didn’t really care about Carmen, but I did like Dani.  I can’t say I’m surprised by some of the things that happened between them, but I did want to keep listening to see if any of my guesses were right.  It was fairly predictable, but I didn’t mind.  I liked the overall story enough that I didn’t mind the predictability.

3 stars.  If you love the Handmaid’s Tale, you really like this book.  It reminded me way too much of the Handmaid’s Tale for me to love this book, and it’s similarity to it made it hard to see it as a separate book.  Still, I liked the world and the story enough that I want to know what happens next.

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Audio Book Review: Dreams Of Gods And Monsters by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Book: Dreams Of Gods And Monsters by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Published April 2014 by Hachette Audio|Length: 18 hours, 8 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva for killing the only family she’s ever known.

When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat–and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves–maybe even toward love.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera, and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

I’m really glad to be finished this series!  I know people really love Laini Taylor, but I don’t know if I’ll be picking up any other books by her.  I started off really liking this series, and I liked this one, but it really fizzled out for me.

I really liked Eliza’s story, and I thought she was a nice inclusion to everything that was going on.  At the same time, though, I’m not sure why she was introduced now.  I wish we had seen more of her throughout the series, and it would have been interesting to have her balance out everything else that happened in the first two books.  We are building up to everything that happens in this book so maybe this is the best place to introduce her.

As usual, Khristine Hvam did an awesome job narrating.  I’m pretty sure I would have given up on the series a long time ago if I hadn’t switched to the audio books.  Even listening to the book, I struggled to get through it.  This is not a short book- it’s well over 14 hours, and there were quite a few times where I found myself not paying attention to the book.  I’d spend a couple of hours here and there listening to it, but I could only listen to it for so long before I had to listen to something else.  It’s not Hvam at all, because she’s why I switched to the audio.  I just wasn’t engaging with the story as much as I wanted to.

It was interesting to see what was going on with earth while Karou was trying to save the world, and I think that’s why Eliza is so important.  From the moment we met her, I knew she was going to be important, and I wondered what her connection to the chimera and the angels were.  I wasn’t expecting the story we got, but I really liked it.  It was unexpected but in a good way.

The world is such a unique one, and there are a lot of memorable characters.  I liked Karou, Zuzanna and Mik, though I could have cared less about Akiva.  Ziri was pretty cool, and I really liked him and everything he was trying to do.

3 stars.  I loved the narration, and I loved the addition of Eliza.  I had a hard time getting through the book, but the world and the idea are pretty unique.

Audio Book Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Book: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Published November 2018 by Macmillan Audio|Length: 14 hours, 33 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: Renegades #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Part thriller, part superhero fantasy, here is the fiercely awaited sequel to the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Are Nova and Adrian each other’s worst nightmare?

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

I really liked Archenemies!  With how Renegades ended, I knew I had to read this one, just to see what happen.

I was surprised that the cliffhanger wasn’t a huge part of this book.  It’s there, throughout the book, but I really thought it would play a larger part in the book.  I’m a little disappointed with the lack of follow up on the cliffhanger, and it really makes me wonder how the cliffhanger in this book is going to be handled.  I mean, is it going to be hovering in the background, or is it actually going to be a plot point in the next book?

Like Renegades, I thought Nova’s story was much more interesting.  Adrian’s story was a nice contrast to Nova’s, but his story just isn’t one I particularly care about.  As much as I love Nova, I was getting a little tired of how she needed revenge because the renegades didn’t save her family in time.  It was fine in the first book, but it was repetitive in this book.  I feel like it’s going to get a lot worse in the last book, with how this one ended.

Nova has a lot of conflicted feelings in this one- as much as she wants revenge on the Renegades, I also feel like it’s possible she won’t be able to follow through after getting to know at least some of the renegades.  We’ve been building to her revenge for the last two books, and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get it.

Also like Renegades, it seemed like the Renegades were a lot worse than the villains.  I just don’t like them, especially where Agent N is concerned.  I hated that they used Max for it, especially because he’s just a child.  I’m glad that Nova wasn’t the only one who was concerned about it’s use and that she wanted regulations put in place.  Its use can go both ways, and it certainly doesn’t seem like they realize that it could fall into the very hands they want to use it against.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of Adrian or his story, it does show why they think the way they do.  I understand their point, but I also get Nova’s point.  Like I said earlier, Nova and Adrian are a nice contrast to each other, and it does show both sides.  Still, I’m not feeling anything warm and fuzzy towards the Renegades, and I’m having a hard time feeling any sympathy for them.  It’ll take a lot for me to change my mind about them, and I can’t see myself changing my mind in the last book.

It’s an interesting mix of superhero story and thriller and maybe even dystopia.  I really like what she’s done with the superheros, even if it is cheesy and cliche.  It’s fun and entertaining, but it does have its serious moments.

And since I listened to the audio book, I should probably talk about the narrators.  Once again, we have Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner narrate the book.  They did a great job narrating, and I could picture them as Nova and Adrian.

4 stars.  I really liked Archenemies, and I can’t wait to listen to the next one to see what happens next.

Audio Book Review: Days Of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Book: Days Of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Published November 2012 by Hachette Audio|Length: 15 hours, 21 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was declared a “must read” by Entertainment Weekly, was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, and The New York Times called it “a breath-catching romantic fantasy.”

I liked this one!  This is one of those series I keep meaning to finish, and I never seem to get around to it.

For this one, I switched to the audio book because I tried reading it a couple of times but never got very far.  I really like the narrator (Khristine Hvam is one of my favorites), and I figured I’d give the audio book a try.  I thought Hvam did a great job narrating, and she was great at bringing Karou to life.  I’m pretty sure I would not have gotten through the book this time if it weren’t for the audio book.

I really liked the world, and how much this book added to it.  We only got a glimpse of Karou’s world in the first book, and we got a lot more of it in this one.  We see more of the war between the seraphim and the chimera, and we get more of the conflict between the two.  It had this huge mpact on Karou’s life, and she lost her family because of it.

I understand Karou better (and why she might ally with Thiago, and not want Akiva around) but she wasn’t the same Karou we see in the first book.  I get why, with everything that happened, but I think I was expecting the same Karou we see before.  It will be interesting to see how Karou changes in the next book.

I really wish I liked this book more.  I’m not sure why I couldn’t get into it, and it makes me a little sad because I really do like the world and the characters.  Maybe it’s just not my thing, which is fine…I just wish it were, since I know how much people love Taylor.

3 stars.  I liked it, especially the world that Taylor created and the narration.  I wish I had more to say about Days Of Blood And Starlight but I don’t.  I’m curious to see how it all comes together and to see how it ends.

Audio Book Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published May 2017 by Record Books|Length: 9 hours, 25 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Menagerie #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

This is another book I’ve really enjoyed!  I really liked the first one, and I’m glad I switched to the audio book, because Gabra Zackman is one of my favorite narrators, and she was a great choice for this book.

I liked seeing the aftermath of what happened in the first book at Metzger’s, and what happened once they were taken to the Savage Spectacle.  What they had to endure there was horrible- more so than what we saw in the first book, and I hated seeing them go through that.  In particular, I hated what Genevieve, Gallagher and Delilah had to go through, but I think that’s because Genevieve’s story really stood out, and we get chapters from Delilah and Gallagher’s perspective.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the different perspectives we see in the book.  I really liked in Menagerie, and I did like it in this book, but not as much as I did previously.  I think part of it is that I didn’t find the other perspectives as interesting.  And I think part of it is that it didn’t translate well to audio.  At least for me, but there were points were I was paying attention but also had my attention elsewhere, so maybe I just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.

Like Menagerie, we get snippets of headlines and other stories about cryptids and the Reaping.  I’m curious to see how what’s going on now will come together with everything that happened before.  It’s more creepy and horrifying and it really opens up this world that Delilah is now living in.

Life at the Spectacle is pretty contained, much like life at Metzger’s was, but somehow, this book opened up more of this world.  I think it’s because of everything Vandekamp was trying to do, with the collar, and the clients that frequent the Spectacle.  When you have a lot of wealthy and powerful clients, it’s going to change things, and I’m curious to see the fallout from what happened there.

With being able to control them at the press of a button, and trying to break them to learn what their triggers are…it’s a brutal world they’re now living in, and it’s a lot more threatening, especially where reproduction is concerned.  There’s no consent for the cryptids (as far as humans are concerned), and that’s something to keep in mind if you pick up this book.

What’s interesting is that while Menagerie would make a great stand-alone, there’s still a lot of story that could be told in this world.  Spectacle is a great addition to the series and adds to the world we get introduced to in Menagerie.  I can’t begin to imagine what we’re going to see in the next (and last) book, but I’m hoping it’ll add more to the world while wrapping things up.

4 stars.  The brutality and cruelty was a little hard to handle, especially on audio, and the multiple narrators didn’t work as well as I thought they would.  Gabra Zackman did a great job narrating the book as well.

Audio Book Review: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Book: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Published October 2018 by HarperAudio|Length: 8 hours, 44 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: Adult

From the New York Times best-selling coauthor of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.

“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system – uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more, will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

I loved Alice Isn’t Dead! Ever since I heard there was going to be an Alice Isn’t Dead book, I knew I had to read it. It’s rare I pre-order books, but this was one I pre-ordered on Audible the second it was available to pre-order.

It’s a great book, whether you’ve listened to the podcast or not. It has some of the same elements and events from the podcast and while it’s the same premise as the podcast, it’s also a completely different story. So if you’ve listened to the podcast, it’s also worth checking out the book, because it’s a different take on a story I’ve come to know and love.

I liked hearing this version of Keisha’s story, and how she went in search of Alice. I loved seeing them find each other again and what happened once everything was over. It makes me want to listen to the podcast all over again, to see how they’re different but also the same. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to the podcast, particularly the earlier episodes, and it might be fun to revisit the podcast.

Back to the book…I honestly don’t have much else to say about the book. I loved the story, the search for Alice, and how things weren’t what they seemed. It’s a very different feel than the Night Vale books, and it’s more of a thriller than whatever category you want to place Night Vale into. I know there’s no way any mention of Night Vale would happen, but now that I think about it, it would have been cool to have seen a mention of it. Still, Alice Isn’t Dead is great, regardless of connections or mentions to the same weird desert town that got me into listening to Alice Isn’t Dead.

Since I did listen to the audio book, I think I’ll talk about that! I knew I had to go with the audio book for the Alice Isn’t Dead book. I’ve loved the podcast, and I can’t imagine physically reading the book. It would be interesting to read Alice Isn’t Dead in print, but I remember the print version of the Welcome To Night Vale book not working in print, and I have the feeling it would be the same with this book.

I’m glad Jasika Nicole narrated the book- she did great as the voice of Keisha on the podcast, and I knew she would be great at narrating the book too. It’s definitely worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan of audio books. Something about the story works so well on audio- it’s like it was written for the audio book listener in mind.

One last thing I’d like to talk about: Keisha’s anxiety. It’s definitely present throughout the book, and the thing I loved the most was that it wasn’t cured or magically gone by the end of the book. You see how she copes and deals with it, and I loved Keisha more knowing that she was still the same Keisha we saw at the beginning of the book.

5 stars. I loved Alice Isn’t Dead, particularly as an audio book. If you like a little bit of horror and road trips and thrillers, this is the book for you!

Audio Book Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Book: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Published March 2018 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 59 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I really liked this one! I ended up reading it pretty close to Halloween, which was the perfect time to listen to it. It was also great as an audio book, and I’m really glad I decided to take a listen.

The whole time I was listening to it, I was reminded of Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It doesn’t feel like Halloween until I watch it, and if you love Hocus Pocus, this is a great book to check out. It had a really similar vibe to it, but it is pretty different.

For one thing, the book takes place in the summer, not on Halloween. And it’s set in Oregon, not New England- which is where I thought the book was taking place. I was surprised when I realized the book was set in Oregon, because there were things I didn’t expect, but I thought worked well for the story.

I liked the idea of the sisters coming back to possess three girls and lure boys to their death. I wish we saw a little more of that, because I thought it was interesting. Especially with one of the sisters (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) and how she was involved. You get such a good sense of who each sister is, and while we see one more than others, I still wish we saw more of the other two sisters as well. I get why we see the one sister, but still. I just really would have liked seeing the other three.

It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized the book was described as Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic. The Hocus Pocus vibe is very strong with this book, but I do see the comparison to Practical Magic. Granted, the last time I read Practical Magic was in high school, so it’s been a good 14-ish years since I’ve read it. From what I vaguely remember about it, though, it’s a good comparison as well. Take that one with a grain of salt, though.

I also really liked the narrator! She was a great narrator and I can’t see anyone else narrating Penny’s story. I’m definitely going to have to see if Casey Turner has narrated anything else, and I’d definitely listen to other books she’s narrated.

4 stars. I didn’t love it (and I can’t exactly say why) but I did really like it. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves Hocus Pocus, and it’s a great book to read in October.

Audio Book Review: Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published January 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises, LTD

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Soulfinders #3, Study #6

Genre: Adult Fantasy

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

I still can’t believe it took me so long to actually get to this book!  I’m glad I did, but it’s bittersweet.  I mean, I’ve enjoyed this series since the very beginning, and I was excited to see it end, but at the same time, I’m sad it’s over.  I really like all of the characters, and I really like the world, but I’m also excited to see what Snyder will write next.

So, at this point in the series, I never felt like they were in any danger.  Things were really bad, of course, with the cartel taking over Sitia and controlling everything.  And the whole possibly being invaded by Ixia thing.  But I didn’t get the sense they were in horrible danger, like I did in the first 3 books.

I’ve really liked Valek in books 4-6.  He’s very protective of Yelena (but not controlling), and he’s different than the Valek we saw in the first half of the series.  Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve read those books, but he is different than I remember.  Clearly, he wants a more calm life with Yelena.  Well, as calm as things can be when these two are involved in pretty much anything.

I loved following all of the characters, and it was great to see characters like Leif, Ari and Janco, but it was also great to spend time with characters like Reema, Fisk and Teegan.  It was good to have some chapters from Valek’s POV, but I think that’s part of why I didn’t feel a sense of danger, you knew what was going in Sitia and Ixia, and it took away from it a little bit.  At the same time, though, it was nice to get more backstory on one of my favorite characters.

I missed seeing Yelena use her magic, and I missed her conversations with Kiki most of all, but I also liked seeing her learn how to live/survive without it.  Also…I know this is the last book in the series, but part of me wants a spin-off or sequel focusing on her child.  I really do wonder what her abilities are, and it would be cool to see how the child of Yelena and Valek turned out.  One can only hope it’ll happen someday, but even if it doesn’t, at least we know how things turn out.  Things did end up on a good note, and I’m pretty happy with how things were resolved.

I also love Gabra Zackman as the narrator.  She’s been an amazing narrator this entire series, and I can’t imagine the series being narrated by anyone else.  I specifically got Snyder’s Touch Of Power series on audio because it’s narrated by Zackman, even though I already have the e-books.  Zackman really brought Yelena and Valek to life, and I’m glad she was the sole narrator, because I can’t imagine anyone else narrating Valek’s chapters.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really enjoyed it, and it’s a great ending to the series.

Audio Book Review: The Book Of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, Narrated by Robin Miles

Book: The Book Of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, Narrated by Robin Miles

Published September 2015 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 50 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Who Fears Death #0.1

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Dystopia

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman” – only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading ebooks, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7. Then one evening Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life.

Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape. But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future. 

I really liked The Book Of Phoenix!  Nnedi Okorafor always writes really interesting books, and this one was no exception.

This one is a prequel to Who Fears Death, and I kind of wish I had re-read that one first, just to get back into this world.  Also, I couldn’t begin to tell you how the two books are connected, but maybe I’ll re-read Who Fears Death just to see.

I did like Phoenix, and I thought it was horrible what people were doing to the biologically altered.  I do remember wondering how we got to the future we saw in Who Fears Death, and I am thinking that maybe everything we see in this book is what leads to that future.  I could be wrong, and I really am wishing I had re-read Who Fears Death.  But that is what I get for randomly deciding to read a book without re-reading any of the other books in that series.

That being said, I thought the book stood on its own really well, and I don’t think the order in which you read the books matters.  Also, you could probably read just this one, and be fine.  It is its own story, and I liked seeing Phoenix try to take down the towers and fight back against her controllers.

The Book Of Phoenix worked really well as an audio book.  It’s an oral history, told by Phoenix herself, and I felt like Phoenix was telling me her own story, which really worked.  Also, it’s narrated by Robin Miles, who is a fantastic narrator.  I’ve really liked the books I’ve listened to that have been narrated by her, and this one was no exception.  I’m really glad I went with the audio, and I wholeheartedly recommend the audio book.

4 stars.  I wish I had more to say about this book, but I don’t.  I really liked it, and I love how Okorafor blends fantasy and sci-fi.

Audio Book Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Book: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Published May 2018 by Listening Library|Length: 7 hours, 7 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star. 

Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light. 

I really liked My So-Called Bollywood Life!  It’s really cute, and I think it’s a good read-alike if you like When Dimple Met Rishi and Anna And The French Kiss.

There were times when I really liked Winnie, but there were times when I didn’t like her at all.  I liked that she did question the prophecy, especially with how things with Raj turned out.  It was clear that the prophecy was a big part of her life, and though I don’t put a lot of emphasis on prophecies, I did like seeing how important it was to her family, and how astrology did play a big part in their lives.

I also liked how she a blog where she reviewed Bollywood movies.  Film was really important to her, and it’s what she wants to do career-wise.  I think it was that part of that made me think of Anna And The French Kiss.  It’s really cool to see books where the main character is into movies and wants to be a film critic, instead of an actor or director.

It was cool to see how much she loved Bollywood movies, and how it’s something she shares with her dad.  It’s interesting, because I feel like it doesn’t happen a lot in YA.  Of course, that would require parents to be around in YA, and that’s something that doesn’t happen often.  It’s nice to see her relationship with her family, and it was clear that family is important to all of them.

Wanting love and a happy ending was important for Raj, Dev, and Winnie.  In the case of Raj and Dev, it didn’t feel fake, and it’s nice to see a book where guys believe in love.

One thing that I thought was interesting was how each chapter started off with a rating of a Bollywood movie.  It was different, but I thought it really worked.  At the end of book, we also get Winnie’s reviews of each of the movies mentioned in the book.  I don’t know if it’s different in the print version, since I went with the audio book, but it was fun to hear her actual reviews.  I thought it worked well at the end of the audio, especially because I don’t know that it would have worked at the beginning of each chapter.  It would be cool to see it worked into each chapter in the print version.

Speaking of the audio book, I really liked the narrator!  I felt like she really captured who Winnie is as a person.  I’m glad I went with audio for this one.  Looking back, I don’t know if I would have liked nearly as much if I read it, but it worked really well on audio.

4 stars.  I really liked My So-Called Bollywood Life.  It’s a really cute contemporary romance, and worth reading!