Audio Book Review: Not So Pure And Simple by Lamar Giles, Narrated by Korey Jackson

Book: Not So Pure And Simple by Lamar Giles, Narrated by Korey Jackson

Published January 2020 by Quill Tree Books|Length: 11 hours

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles delivers his first contemporary YA—an eye-opening novel that spotlights societal pressures, confronts toxic masculinity, and asks the question: What does it mean to be a “real man”?

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed himself up for a Purity Pledge. His best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe anyone is worth this long of a long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl.

And that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word, but with other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move now. However, with all his plotting and scheming, Del never really stops to think: What does Kiera want? No matter, though—once he gets the girl, he’s sure all will sort itself out. Right?

I really liked Not So Pure And Simple!  I liked Del, though he has a lot to learn.  But I really enjoyed his story, and seeing him change and grow.

Del has a lot to learn.  He’s not forgiving of Kiera, when he’s being pretty dishonest himself, holding her to a completely different standard.  I felt like he had her on a pedestal, and that came crashing down.  I felt like he never took the time to get to know her as a person, and that he was into the illusion of her but not her as a person.  It sucks when your crush doesn’t respond the way you want them to or doesn’t feel the same way.  I get why he was angry and frustrated and everything else.  But Kiera is a real person with real feelings- and was definitely not the person Del thought she was.

Was Del frustrating at times?  Absolutely!  He wouldn’t leave her alone, had this odd obsession with her and jumped through all kinds of hoops when he could have been more straightforward.  There were times when I felt like Del was that guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I was a little frustrated by the couple of times we see male characters not seeing women as people until they learned a female they were close to was hurt by a guy.  It’s sad that’s what it took for what that to happen, but hopefully, it was a wake-up call to be better and to treat all women better.

I really think Del started to learn from it, and I hope he continues to learn AND listen to the women in his life.  Hopefully, he’ll have more conversations with his sister and Cheyanne, and they’ll continue to be honest and call him if they think he needs it.  I like that toxic masculinity came up, and that we need to recognize it in ourselves and others, and speak up when we see it in others.

One thing that was interesting in the book was how sex education in Del’s school was very much influenced by the pastor.  It was frustrating, because not everyone has parents who will talk about reproduction, sex and birth control with them- it seemed like the healthy living class was the only way for some of these kids to get any information about their bodies.  And even then, they directed their questions to Jameer so Del could ask the questions in class.

I was really surprised that there was a flyer on the door, and that nothing seemed to go home to the parents, because Del’s parents were definitely surprised that the class wasn’t a thing anymore.  It’s sad, because the kids suffer and the parents know nothing about what’s going on.  I feel like that’s something the school should have told them, but that’s just me.  You really see what happens when sex ed isn’t a priority, and I feel like it would have been good for these kids.

It really is a good read, and one I think we should all read.  As a woman, I’m not at all surprised by what a lot of the girls experienced, and maybe, just maybe, seeing things through Del’s eyes will be good for at least some of the people picking this book up.

I also thought Korey Jackson was a great narrator.  I feel like I always say that, and that I always say that the narrator brought the characters to life.  But it really is true most of the time, and it is the case for this book.  I don’t know that I’ll be seeking out other books narrated by Jackson, but I wouldn’t mind listening to another book narrated by him.

4 stars.  I really liked this book, and I’m definitely going to take a look at Giles’ other books because of how he handled some of the more serious issues in this book.

Audio Book Review: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, Narrated by Logan Rozos

Book: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, Narrated by Logan Rozos

Published May 2020 by HarperAudio|Length: 8 hours, 24 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

FROM STONEWALL AND LAMBDA AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR KACEN CALLENDER COMES A REVELATORY YA NOVEL ABOUT A TRANSGENDER TEEN GRAPPLING WITH IDENTITY AND SELF-DISCOVERY WHILE FALLING IN LOVE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Felix Love has never been in love – and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but hime to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many – Black, queer, and transgender – to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages – after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned – Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle…

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning a self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. ‘FELIX EVER AFTER’ is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

I really liked Felix Ever After!  I’m really glad I read it.

I really felt for Felix, and I hated that someone was so jealous of him that they shared a name and photos that they had no right to share.  I was so angry for him, and the person behind it had no right to do what they did.  I hate that his existence is considering flaunting, and I’m glad that person is no longer around.  All I’m going to say is that people are horrible.  Absolutely horrible.  It’s brutal, and hard to listen to, so please keep that in mind if you pick this book up.  But it’s important to not shy away from something just because it’s hard to listen to.  It’s a big part of Felix’s life in this book.

Even with the messages he was getting, Felix learned a lot about himself.  He learned to recognize that he has a father who loves him, no matter what.  Even though things aren’t easy for them, we see that money isn’t everything, and doesn’t make up for parents who don’t care about their kids, or that his parents didn’t disown him because he’s gay.  Yes, he sees some of his classmates as privileged, but that is definitely challenged as he learns more about them.  Things aren’t what they seem, and I liked seeing Felix see that.

I loved seeing Felix see that he deserves love and letting it into his life.  He’s a good kid, and I just want all of the happiness, joy and love in the world for him.  We all want love, but we also have to accept that we are worthy of it.  It’s not always an easy path, but I’m glad Felix found love.  He has such a great group of friends, and he has a lot of support, even though it was hard for him to accept for a long time.  Still, I’m glad he has some people in his corner.  He really needed it!

He’s not sure about his gender identity but takes the time to think and learn and question it.  He is comfortable and okay with who he is, even if he’s not always sure who he is.  Honestly, I just wanted to give Felix a hug.  I know it won’t make things better for him, and I know transphobia will always be a part of his life.  I know people are judgmental as hell, and not willing to looking part surfaces to who people really are.  Felix made a lot of decisions out of anger, fear and hurt, and that’s something I think I would have done as well.  He reaches out to others, though, and that’s a huge step because he realizes he’s not alone.  There are people going through something similar, and he has people he can lean on if he has questions or needs some support.

I love the cover!  It’s absolutely beautiful, and I really hope it’s one of Felix’s self-portraits.  If I could have that cover hanging on my wall, I absolutely would.

And Logan Rozos did a great job narrating.  I will say, since I did go for the audio book, it was sometimes hard to distinguish between Felix’s thoughts and his conversations with someone.  I’m sure it would have been a lot more clear if I read it in print (at least, I hope so), but it wasn’t something that was really clear when I was listening.  Still, it’s great on audio, and I really recommend this book, regardless of how you read it.

4 stars.  This is such a great book, and worth reading!

Audio Book Review: Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer, Narrated by Reba Buhr

Book: Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer, Narrated by Reba Buhr

Published September 2020 by HarperAudio|Run Time: 8 hours, 48 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Crownchasers #1

Genre: YA

A deadly race across 1,001 planets will determine more than just the fate of the empire. This explosive first book in a duology jam-packed with tension and thrills is perfect for fans of ‘The Hunger Games, ‘Aurora Rising’, and ‘Three Dark Crowns’.

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy, even leaving behind the Kingship and her uncle, the emperor, for a life of exploring.

But when her dying uncle announces a crownchase – a search for the royal seal hidden in the empire that will determine the next ruler – Alyssa is thrust into her greatest, most dangerous adventure yet.

I really liked Crownchasers!  It was really interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

This is a story that’s pretty familiar- a race across the galaxy to see who will rule the empire.  Still, it’s in space!  We get to see the galaxy and the people living in it!  There’s a lot of adventure and outrunning the past!  It was exciting and I always wanted to know what happened next.

I also liked seeing Alyssa’s memories, and they were pretty important in how we see the present, and the other people involved in the crownchase.  I get why she doesn’t want to be empress, but at the end of the book, I felt like that might be in her future.  It might not be, but with everything that happened at the end of the book, I feel like it’s an option for her.

So, for the life of me, I cannot remember what happened to her parents that she had to live with her uncle.  I believe they died, but obviously, any details that might have been mentioned did not stick with me.  Her mom did come up a little bit, and it seems like her mom wanted to change things, but we don’t get a lot of detail.  And I’m really curious about her dad, because I feel like we don’t hear about him at all.  I really shouldn’t assume he was around, because maybe he wasn’t, and that is perfectly fine.  I’m just really curious, that’s all.

I just want to know what’s going on!  Who are the cloaked people, and what are they up to?  What on earth do they really want?  I hope we find out in the next book, because otherwise, what’s the point in bringing them up?  Anyway, they are very suspicious, clearly up to no good, and I want to know why.

I liked Alyssa.  She certainly likes to run into danger and has no sense of self-preservation.  She also wants to do her own thing, even though being her uncle’s heir would make a lot of sense.  It makes me wonder if he knew that she wouldn’t want to be forced into it, and I doubt he could have known everything that would end up happening during the chase.

It seemed to me that she was only involved in the chase because of her connection to the former emperor, but I can’t help but wonder if he thought that maybe she want it, but had to choose that role on her own.  Or not, and it’s just protocol or whatever that she’s involved.  She clearly didn’t want it, considering she makes an alliance with one of her competitors, but I am looking forward to see if that changes, and it does (or doesn’t) change.

I also liked Hell Monkey, and I’m glad he’s sticking around.  I’m glad Alyssa has someone she can trust and rely on, because it seems like the number of people she cares about is shrinking really fast.  She can’t do this alone, and she’s going to need all the help she can get.  I don’t know if things will become more romantic between them- it would be weird, because I didn’t particularly notice or care about a romance for Alyssa, much less with Hell Monkey.

I don’t know that I’m necessarily hoping they’ll get together, because Alyssa has a lot going on.  I honestly like them as friends, and I think they have a pretty good working relationship.  I’m really glad they made it through the book relatively unscathed, though it didn’t always look that way.

This was a book that I was glad I did on audio.  I don’t know if I would have gotten through it had I read it in print, but I enjoyed listening to it.  Buhr did a great job narrating and I hope she’ll narrate the next book.  I mean, she probably will because series usually stick with the same narrator, but still.  I enjoyed her narration.

4 stars.  I really liked Crownchasers, and I really, really hope some of my questions from this book get answered in the book.

Audio Book Review: Shift by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Shift by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published March 2010 by Harlequin Books|Run Time: 11 hours, 3 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #5

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Being the first female werecat enforcer isn’t easy. Scars accumulate, but I’m stronger in so many ways.

As for my personal life? It’s complicated. Choices worth making always are. Ever since my brother’s death and my father’s impeachment, it’s all I can do to prevent more blood from spilling. Now our Pride is under attack by a flight of vicious thunderbirds. And making peace with our new enemies may be the only way to get the best of our old foe.

With the body count rising and treachery everywhere, my instincts tell me to look before I leap. But sometimes a leap of faith is the only real option…

It’s about time I continued this series!  I really enjoyed Shift, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

I was surprised by how easy it was for me to slip back in Faythe’s world.  It’s been a while since I’ve read the books before this one, so I was a little worried I’d have a hard time getting back into this series.  And that I wouldn’t remember much of anything from the events of the previous books.  But that wasn’t a problem at all!  We got the basics throughout the book, as it came up, and I was glad to see what was going on with Faythe.

There’s a new threat, in the form of thunderbirds, and I was glad to learn more about other shifters in her world.  I mean, there was no way that only werecats existed, and I knew there had to be other shapeshifters out there.  The series isn’t really about that, of course, though I’m glad we were introduced new enemies.  There’s always something that’s gone wrong in Faythe’s world, and they never seem to get a break or time to breathe.  It’s been one crisis after another, and there’s more to come.

It looks like they’re headed for all-out war, and it’s not going to be pretty.  I really hope we don’t lose anyone else, but I feel like that’s a strong possibility.  There’s no way they make it out unscathed in that.

But back to this book.  The thunderbirds are an interesting group, and while it’s not surprising they like wide, open spaces, I was still slightly surprised that they don’t like the woods, even in human form.  Staying out of the forest is generally a good idea, because there’s a lot of really terrible stuff that can happen there.  But it makes sense that werecats and thunderbirds don’t really cross paths.

I’m glad Faythe was able to get the evidence she needed to make sure her pride stayed safe from the thunderbirds.  Their punishment was a little scary, but to each their own.  I wouldn’t want to cross them or get on their bad side, that’s for sure.

Though she’s no longer fighting the thunderbirds, she has some things she needs to deal with in her personal life.  Mainly, things got really weird with Jace and Mark, and even though I know things will work out, it’s not going to be easy.  It complicates things, not just for them, but for the pride as well, and there’s no way that Jace and Mark can work together as long as Faythe is around.  Honestly, I’m not sure they could work together even if she weren’t around, but it made things a lot more complicated, that’s for sure.

As usual, Jennifer Van Dyck did a great job at narrating, and I particularly liked how she gave voice to the thunderbirds.  They had a completely different voice than Faythe and the other characters, and it was super easy to tell the difference between the thunderbirds and everyone else.  Honestly, their voice really fit them, and there is something birdlike about their voice.

4 stars.  I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Faythe and her family.  I really hope they get the happy ending they deserve.

Audio Book Review: Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera, Narrated by Lillian Claire

Book: Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera, Narrated by Lillian Claire

Published July 2016 by Audible Studios|Run Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

I liked Juliet Takes A Breath!  Juliet’s pretty cool, and I loved seeing her as an intern in Portland.  She learns a lot about herself and others, and it was great to be along for the journey.

I was pretty angry at her family when she came out to them.  I was angry that they saw it as a joke, and didn’t take it seriously.  I was angry that they saw it as a phase she’ll grow out of.  I know not everyone has supportive families, but I still found myself angry at them and their reaction, because Juliet deserves so much better than that.

She had quite the summer in Portland.  She’s a world away from New York, and her time in Portland wasn’t what she expected.  We see social justice, feminism, race, sexuality, and how they do (or do not) intersect.  We see that the people we look up to are flawed, and that meeting our heroes can be hard, and that they’re not who we thought they were.  That the words they write can be hard to separate from the person writing them, and that they can get some things wrong, while also getting some things right.  That people can be allies in some ways, but ignorant in other ways.  I can see why Juliet clung to Harlowe’s book- we all have that something we hold onto for dear life, that thing that means the world to us, and the realization that we can’t put the creator of it on a pedestal.  Still, I’m sad that Harlowe was great in some ways, but horrible in other ways, and that Juliet had a front row seat for it.

Still, I loved some of the people Juliet met over the course of the summer, and I hope that she stays in contact with some of them.  Like Kira, and Harlowe’s ex.  And the women from the workshop that wanted Juliet to submit her story to the anthology she was putting together.  I wish I could remember their names, but they seemed really cool and supportive, and I hope Juliet talks to them long after the book is over.  I also hope Juliet’s family comes around as well, and they’ll be more accepting of her and whoever she brings home to meet them.

Honestly, I just enjoyed seeing Juliet figure things out and what she learned about life, other people, and herself.  She has a clear, honest voice, and I found myself rooting for her the whole time.

3 stars.  I didn’t love Juliet takes a breath, but I still liked it!  Juliet had an interesting summer, and I was glad I was there for it.

Audio Book Review: Prey by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Prey by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published July 2009 by Harlequin S.A.|Length: 12 hours, 33 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audiobook

Series: Shifters #4

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game…Play? “Right.” My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father’s authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven’t laid eyes on Marc’s gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother “and” an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don’t exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.

I really liked this one!  I’ve really enjoyed this series, and this book is no exception.

In Prey, we see Faythe dealing with Marc in exile…and Marc goes missing, of course, so Faythe has to deal with that as well.  She’s not willing to give up on finding him, even though there are so many other things that are going on.  She has a lot of heartbreak in the novel, and I was really sad about it.  Faythe and her family has a lot to deal with and they didn’t need that at all.  It made me really sad for her.

Faythe is Faythe, though, and while it hurts now, she will be okay, even if it takes time.  She’s pretty tough, but we do see her as a slightly more vulnerable person in this book.

There are some mysteries in this one, like everything we see with the strays.  I’m curious to see how that works out in the next couple of books, because I feel like that story is far from over.  Also, I really hope Mark is able to leave exile and come back home, but who knows when or how that will happen, if it does?

Honestly, I’ve been feeling pretty frazzled, so I’m surprised I can remember this much about the book!  Granted, when I take a while to review a book, there are times where I don’t always remember a lot, but with school, my brain is somewhat fried.  At any rate, this was an interesting listen, and I really felt for Faythe.  She does find herself in the weird situations, and trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes.

As an audio book, I really liked it!  Jennifer Van Dyck continues to narrate the series, and she does a great job.  Once I finish this series, I want to check out some of the other audio books she narrated.  Honestly, that’s how much I like her!

4 stars.  I really enjoyed Prey, and there’s both mystery and heartbreak for Faythe and her family.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Audio Book Review: Pride By Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Pride by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published February 2009 by Harlequin Books S.A.|Length: 13 hours, 18 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #3

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

The werecat council has three cardinal laws; and headstrong Faythe stands accused of breaking two of them: infecting a human with her supernatural skills and killing him to cover her tracks. With the death penalty hanging over her head, Faythe has no escape route left. That is, until a shapeshifter informs the pride of a rash of rogue strays terrorising his land. Yet this threat is nothing like any they’ve seen before. Only Faythe has the knowledge to save the pride, but can she prove her worth? Or will the council’s verdict condemn them all…?

I liked Pride!  We’ll see how much I actually talk about this book, considering it’s been a few weeks between me finishing the book and me writing this review.

In this book, we see Faythe on trial for everything that happened with Andrew.  There are some interesting developments on the Mark front, and I do want to see how that works out.

I was angry at the panel deciding Faythe’s fate.  Mostly because her fate largely rested on her desire to get married and have kids.  It seems like female shifters are pretty rare, and to execute her because she’s not sure about marriage and having kids?  It made me so angry, and angry for Faythe that more importance was placed on her child-bearing abilities and desires.

And because we’re talking about Faythe, she gets wrapped up in some weird things going on.  Most of which revolve around a girl who ended up in Faythe’s care because she wouldn’t let anyone else near her.  And of course, Faythe realizes that with a new (young) shifter, the council really has no reason to keep her around.  Plus, a younger female would be more likely to listen to them, as opposed to Faythe, who is really headstrong and independent.  Still, Faythe makes it through everything.  I knew she would, but it was quite the journey.  And I’m definitely planning on listening to the next book to see what happens next.  Whatever it is will be sure to get Faythe into some sort of trouble.

Jennifer Van Dyck continues to do a great job at narrating!  She is great to listen to and she really has a way of making me feel like she is Faythe.  She’s a great choice for this series.

4 stars.  I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Audio Book Review: Rogue by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Rogue by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published April 2008 by Harlequin Books S.A.|Run Time: 11 hours, 30 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #2

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Rebellious werecat Faythe is shocked when the bodies of murdered men begin turning up in her Pride’s territory, especially as the killings can be traced back to her former life as an ordinary college student. But could a message from an old friend provide a chilling clue?

Faythe knows that a past indiscretion may have led to these men’s deaths. She also risks exposing her family’s supernatural secret. Faced with a terrifying choice, Faythe must decide: pray the tribal council grant her mercy – or risk everything to pursue her own brand of justice.

I really liked Rogue!  I’m glad I picked this one up because I really wanted to see what happened to Faythe.

So, after reading Stray, I was wondering what happened to Andrew.  I felt like he was mentioned and we never heard about him again.  We actually find out what happened to him in this book.  That surprised me, but I was glad we found out.  I wasn’t expecting it to happen but it was an interesting storyline.  Everything is connected, and it kept my interest.  I really needed to keep reading so I would know what happened next.

Faythe does seem more human than the rest of her pride.  She makes a lot of mistakes, and rushes into things.  It is a little annoying at times, but maybe that’s what makes her seem more human.

I don’t know that I like her with Mark.  They seem to have pretty terrible communication, but I’m not really surprised because that would make things too easy.  He just seems to want her to be someone different, and even though he’s known Faythe for a long time, it also feels like he doesn’t completely accept her for who she is.  I am curious to see if he changes, or if she will have to in order to make him happy.

I know Faythe lives in a male-dominated world, and I get that females tend to get a pass in her world, especially those who can have kids.  But it seems like no matter what they do, they get a pass, which is kind of unfair, because the guys don’t.  Something does happen where Faythe will eventually have to go before the council, and while I admire that she’s brutally honest and wants to do the right thing, I also feel like she has a death wish.

I liked that her father gave her an opportunity to change her story.  Of course, she didn’t, because we’re talking about Faythe, but I liked that he wanted to protect her, and keep her from going in front of the council.  I’m sure we’ll see that at some point, and even though I know she’ll be okay, I’m still curious to see the journey.

I did like how everything connected.  We get some more information (and resolution) of some of the things that happened in the first book.  I doubt it’s the last we’ve seen or heard of women going missing, and I feel like it’s the larger mystery of this series.  I really liked seeing how everything came together.

This is random, but we also see a little more of Faythe’s mom!  I don’t really have much to say about her, but I really hope we see more of her.  We see a lot more of Faythe’s dad, and it would be nice to get to know her mom a little better.

Jennifer Van Dyck is back as the narrator, and she continues to do a great job.  I really do like her narration, and she does a great job with making me feel like I’m going on this crazy adventure with Faythe.

4 stars.  I really liked Rogue and I can’t wait to read the next book!

Audio Book Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Book: Stray by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Published May 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.|Run Time: 13 hours, 49 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Shifters #1

Genre: Adult

There are only eight breeding female werecats left…

And I’m one of them

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back…for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them…

I really liked Stray!  I’ve read a few of Vincent’s series and I’m glad I picked this one up.

I liked Faith, and thought she was a great character.  She is very independent, and doing her own thing is important.  She wants more than what is expected of her, but I also felt like she started to understand the power her own mom had.  Faith is definitely smart and she’s a fighter.  While she can take care of herself, I also liked seeing how protective she was of her cousin.  I’m curious to see how much she changes over the course of the series.

Faith lives in an interesting world.  I like it, though.  I mean, there is definitely a structure there, though I think there’s a lot we don’t know about the rest of the world.  I have the feeling we’ll see a lot of Faith’s Pride, but will also see some of the other ones.  That’s what I’m hoping, because I think there’s a lot to work with.

The one thing that I was reminded of was her Menagerie series, which I still need to finish.  I have no idea why I kept thinking of that series.  Well, it is set in a carnival, and you see mermaids, minotaurs and other mythological creatures.  The two series are two very different worlds and in no way connected to each other, but it makes me wonder how the two would come together.  It makes me wonder what other creatures/cryptids exist in Faith’s world.

Anyway, Faith ends up in a spot of trouble.  Which is a vast understatement, but things work themselves out in the end.  I knew they would, but there are definitely some obstacles along the way.  It makes me want to know more about the strays that are pretty important to this story.  I feel like there’s more to them than what we’re getting, and I feel like this is not the last we’ve heard of them.

I am wondering a few things, though.  For starters, what is going on with Andrew?  I get why he came up at the beginning of the book, and then we didn’t hear from him for most of the book.  Until the end, when we find out he just randomly left school, and vanished without a trace.  I honestly can’t remember if they even broke up or if they were still together.  A lot happens, and it was either mentioned and I wasn’t paying attention, or it was never mentioned and happened off-the-page.

I am glad I went with the audio book.  I liked Jennifer Van Dyck as the narrator, and her voice sounded really familiar.  That was pretty odd because this is the first book of hers that I’ve listened to.  But her voice reminds me a little of Gabra Zackman, who is pretty awesome.  Maybe that’s why I was reminded of Menagerie- I listened to that series, which is narrated by Zackman.  I’m definitely going to continue series on audio.

4 stars.  I really liked Stray, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Faith.

Audio Book Review: Supernova by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler And Dan Bittner

Book: Supernova by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler And Dan Bittner

Published November 2019 by Macmillan Audio|Run Time: 16 hours, 32 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Renegades #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

All’s fair in love and anarchy…

Supernova, the epic conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian struggling to keep their secret identities concealed while the battle rages on between their alter egos, their allies, and their greatest fears come to life. Secrets, lies, and betrayals are revealed as anarchy once again threatens to reclaim Gatlon City.

I really liked Supernova!  It’s a really good end to the series, and the ending made me want another book.

I was wondering how everything would end, and we definitely get that in this book.  Unfortunately, we lose a few characters along the way, and a couple were really sad.

Things get a little more grey in this book, and we see that things are not as black and white as they were in Renegades and Archenemies.  I feel like Nova really struggles with being an Anarchist or a Renegade throughout the series, but we really see it in this book.  Once Ace becomes the Anarchist we’ve heard about for two books, and is hellbent on destruction, Nova really starts to see that he is different than she thought he was.  He was a pretty terrible person, in my opinion.  Especially once we find out what really happens the night her family was killed.

It made me really sad for Nova, and while I completely get that she wanted to be on Ace’s side, I also get why she wanted to be on the Renegades side too.  People aren’t just good or bad, a superhero or a villain.  Nova has a hard decision to make, but in the end, she realizes being an Anarchist isn’t what she wants.

At least, not how Ace wants the Anarchists to be.  I can’t imagine having to choose between her only remaining family and her friends.

The ending was mind-blowing.  I would absolutely love another series from that character’s perspective- I wouldn’t mind seeing that character grow up, or even this series re-told from that character’s perspective.  I wasn’t expecting it, but looking back, it makes a lot of sense.  I don’t know if Meyer will ever return to this world, but if she does, she has a great starting point with how this book ended.

Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner did a great job narrating.  I’ve really enjoyed their narration, and they are great choices for Adrian and Nova.  I can’t imagine the series being narrated by anyone else.

4 stars.  I didn’t love Supernova, but I still really enjoyed it.  This series has been really fun to listen to.