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!

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer And Ann Barrows

Book: The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Ann Barrows

Published July 2018 by The Dial Press|322 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

This was a book I read for school, and I liked it!  I’ve talked about this book a lot in discussion posts.

This book is told entirely through letters- we see letters from a lot of different people, though most of the letters are addressed to Juliet and are from Juliet.  I didn’t love the letters, especially at first, but overall, I liked the story.  I really liked following Juliet as she learns more about Guernsey, the literary society and and the German Occupation during World War 2.  All of the people from Guernsey seem like really interesting people, and while I wasn’t enthused with the letters, I still liked reading their letters.

It is a book about books, and that was one of my favorite things about the book.  Some of the characters love reading, while others haven’t read in years.  I just love books about people who love books, though there are a lot of other things going on.  But a love of books and reading does bring together this very strange group of people.

Getting that letter from Dawsey really changed things for Juliet.  She ends up writing the biography of the mother of the child she adopts, she ends up getting married and settles on an island that had a lot to deal with over the last few years.

I liked Juliet’s story, though.  Though we get the stories of the other characters, hers is the one that’s the main focus.  She’s an interesting one, and I wonder what’s in store for her now that she’s married.  I really want to know what she’s going to write after finishing Elizabeth’s biography, and if she’ll ever write something that’s more in the realm of fiction.  Non-fiction seems more her style but you never know.  Anything is possible.

I don’t know that I would have picked this book up on my own, and if I did, I think the letters would have been the reason I decided not to finish it.  But since it was for school, I had to finish it, and I’m glad I did.  I feel like I learned some things- I never knew Guernsey existed before this book, or that it was occupied by German soldiers.  As much as I want to say that I’m going to learn more about it, I know that I probably won’t.  Still, it is in the back of my mind in case I ever change my mind.

I will say, though, that the letters felt very real and thoughtful.  I liked seeing the characters tell their own stories, and the letters made it easy to connect to characters.  It did feel like I was the recipient of the letters, even though I really wasn’t.  In a way, it made it easy to get through, because there were a lot of points where I could easily put the book down and pick it back up.  I can’t imagine the book being told any other way, but…I just don’t know that epistolary novels are for me.

I know it’s a movie, and I’m curious to see how it translated to film as it’s told entirely in letters.  I’d imagine there’s a lot of liberties they could take with the movies, because there’s a lot they could fill in.  Maybe one of these days, I’ll watch it.

3 stars.  I liked the story but I didn’t love that it was told through letters.  Still, I enjoyed it and I think it’s worth checking out.

Book Review: Sweep In Peace by Ilona Andrews

Book: Sweep In Peace by Ilona Andrews

Published November 2015 by NYLA|315 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2

Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

Dina DeMille isn’t your typical Bed and Breakfast owner. Her inn defies laws of physics, her dog is secretly a monster, and the only permanent guest of the inn is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. The inn needs guests to thrive and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance. Unfortunately, for Dina, bridging the gap between space vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. To make the summit a success, she must find a chef, remodel the inn, keep her guests from murdering each other, and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper.

I really liked Sweep In Peace!  We follow Dina as she hosts a peace summit, and, of course, trouble ensues.

It’s a not a surprise, of course, and I think the book would be a lot less interesting.  She really has a lot to manage, from 3 different groups of people to a new chef to a mysterious and manipulative arbiter…I’m surprised things didn’t go completely haywire.  She really had her hands full, with mysterious guests and fighting and everything else that happened.

I really liked Dina in this book.  She’s an interesting one, and she really does care about her inn.  This treaty means Gertrude Hunt will be okay for a while.  Finding out what happens to her parents doesn’t come up in this book the way I thought it would.  There’s so much going on in this book that I didn’t realize it until later on.  We may see more of that in the future, but don’t expect it for this book.  Still, I did like seeing the couple of times her parents did come up.

I really am curious to see what happened to them, and if a guest will lead the way to what happened to them.  There hasn’t been a change in her rating, but she did get a pretty important endorsement, so anything is possible.  It really makes me wonder what’s going to happen next, and who will be staying at the inn in the rest of the series.  I’m pretty sure we’re going to see some colorful characters- and I think I’d be slightly disappointed if they weren’t as colorful as some of the other characters we’ve seen so far.

4 stars.  Sweep In Peace was an entertaining, fast read and 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!

Book Review: Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford

Book: Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford

Published January 2009 by Random House|317 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s—Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel’s basement for the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.

I’m not going to lie, this was a book that I’ve had on my TBR for ages…and the only reason I read it was because it was required reading for my English class.  I actually really liked it, and who knows when I would have gotten to it, if it weren’t for school?

I really liked seeing Henry change over time- we see him as a child in the 1940’s and as an adult in 1986.  Eventually, the two timelines come together and we get a more complete picture of what happened to both Henry and Keiko.  Well, Henry more than Keiko.  What happened to her in the years after World War II is unknown, and we never find out what path her life took.  I wish we knew more about that, but it’s also fun to wonder what happened.

I really felt for Henry- in 1986, we see see him deal with resurfacing memories because of found objects at the Panama Hotel.  He has some great conversations with his son about what happened in the 1940’s, and his son eventually finds Keiko and gets Henry over to New York so he can see her again.  It was nice to see Henry have some sort of closure.

As for the 1940’s, I really liked seeing that part of Henry’s life.  He doesn’t have a great relationship with his dad, and by spending time with Keiko, his relationship with his father really changes.  And not for the better.  You could tell that Henry really cared for her, and it seemed like she really cared for him as well.  It couldn’t have been easy to see her go through so much, and you could tell that what was going on really bothered him.  As a 12-year-old, he knew that how Japanese-Americans were treated was wrong.

There was still a lot I didn’t know about the time- like how families who were sent to internment camps often didn’t return to their homes once they were released.  Families had little time to get rid of their belongings, and either sold them for really cheap or gave them to others to hold on to.  That’s how Henry made his way to the basement of the Panama Hotel, looking through belongings.  Another thing that I had no idea about was a conflict between China and Japan at the time.  It explains why Henry’s father hates those who are Japanese.  Which doesn’t mean it’s okay, but I can understand it.

It also explains why he has Henry wear a button that says “I am Chinese.”  I get being scared that they’ll be next, and that he was trying to protect his son in his own way.  It couldn’t have been an easy time to be an immigrant.

Glancing over this review, I’m surprised I talked so much about it!  Between the discussion posts and writing assignments I had to do for this book, I thought I had already gotten all of my thoughts and feelings out there!  Obviously not, but I am glad I read this book.  Then again, I think all of the assignments I did for this book are why I remember so many details, even though I’m writing this review nearly 3 weeks after finishing the book.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really liked it.

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.

Book Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Book: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Published December 2013 by NYLA|225 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Clean Sweep #1

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

I really liked Clean Sweep!  I’m glad I picked this one up.

It was fun to read, and it moved pretty fast.  It is short, so that might be part of it.  But I really liked Dina’s world, and the magic and how it seems to be a little sci-fi too.  Like how the werewolves seem to have some genetic enhancements.  And other planets are mentioned.  Plus, the vampires kind of reminded me of aliens, but I really liked the spin on vampires.

The magic was really cool!  I love the idea of a magical inn, and how it can defend itself if it has to.  I also liked how the inns were rating, and higher ratings mean really good things.  I get why Dina took over this abandoned inn, and how she wants it to be a hustling and bustling place where she might have a guest who can lead her to her parents.  I really hope we learn more about them.  And I hope Dina finds out what happens to them.  I don’t know if we’ll ever meet her siblings- I doubt it we will, but it would be nice to see them.

I really hope we see Sean again too.  I hope it’s not the last we see of him, and I really hope he makes an appearance.  It would be nice to see him again in some way.

Actually, I liked a lot of the characters we meet.  Dina was really cool, and I really liked her.  She seems pretty independent, and she kind of reminds me of Nevada from the Hidden Legacy series.  I think, if you like that series, you’ll like this one.  Dina has a guest, and I wish I could remember her name, but she seemed pretty cool.  I want to know more about her, and I hope we get to see her in the rest of the series.

As fast as things went, and as much as I loved the world, I thought things could be explained a little more.  It’s pretty short, so more could have been added.  I got a basic idea of the world and how it worked, but a little more explanation would have been nice.  Still, I know there are other books after this one, so I think we’ll get more as the series goes in.  Even if I’m not completely happy with the information we get, I know we’ll get something.

4 stars.  I really liked this book, and I wish it were a little longer.  I don’t mind that too much, since this is only the first book in the series.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Audio Book Review: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink And Jeffrey Cranor, Narrated by Mara Wilson

Book: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Narrated by Mara Wilson

Published March 2020 by HarperAudio|Run Time: 9 hours, 13 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Welcome To Night Vale #3

Genre: Adult Fiction

From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a book that is part The Haunting of Hill House, part The Count of Monte Cristo, and 100% about a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home.

The latest installment in the Welcome to Night Vale universe is the story of the familiar and terrifying Faceless Old Woman. Her story is told in eerie flashbacks that reveal her initially idyllic and then tragic childhood on a Mediterranean estate in the early 19th century, her rise in the criminal underworld of Europe, a nautical adventure with a mysterious organization of smugglers, her plot for revenge on the ones who have betrayed her, and ultimately the story that continues after her death as her spirit travels for decades through the world until settling in modern Night Vale.

Interspersed throughout the Woman’s history, readers follow a present day story in Night Vale, as the Faceless Old Woman haunts, guides, and sabotages a man called Craig. In the end, the story of her current day dealings with Craig and her swashbuckling life story in 19th century Europe will come together in the most unexpected and horrifying way.

Part The Haunting of Hill House, part The Count of Monte Cristo, and 100% about a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home.

I loved The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home!  I knew it was going to be a great book, and I pre-ordered it the second I heard there was going to be another Night Vale book.

I was really excited about this book in particular because we get the amazing backstory of one of my favorite Night Vale characters.  I don’t want to ruin anything for people who haven’t read it yet, but I loved learning more about her, and how she came to Night Vale.  I loved the reason she ended up there, and I loved seeing how she became the faceless old woman.

Of course, I did the audio book, which I highly recommend!  Mara Wilson is a great narrator, and I’m glad I went with the audio book!  She also is the voice of the Faceless Old Woman on the podcast, so I’m really glad she narrated the audio book.

I had no doubt about listening to the audio book because I’ve been listening to the podcast for years.  It’s been the same way with the previous audio books, and I have no doubt that it will be the same way with any other books Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor write.  Their books just work really well on audio, and I can’t imagine trying to read them in print.

I also want to say that you don’t need to listen to the podcast to know what’s happening in the book.  As a huge fan of the podcast, I am going to say that listening to it is a great idea, but not at all necessary to know what’s happening in the book.  I love that the books can be read without listening to the podcast first.

I still think you should listen to the podcast.  It’s awesome.

But this review is not about the podcast, it’s the book about a really cool character from one of my favorite podcasts.  She has such a great story, and I loved seeing her as a child to a teen to an adult to the faceless old woman we all know and love.  I loved seeing her in Night Vale with Craig, and I loved seeing it all come together.

I was surprised by how it came together, though I figured out one piece of it.  That didn’t take away my enjoyment of the story, because I liked seeing the journey.  That’s what I was here for, to see how the faceless old woman became the faceless old woman.

She is a lot more than that now, and now she has a face.  She’s just as real as Cecil, Carlos, and Hiram McDaniels, and I can’t wait to see more of her in the podcast.

5 stars.  I loved this book a lot, and I think it’s a must read!

Audio Book Review: Navigating The Stars by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Navigating The Stars by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Self-Published January 2019 by the author|Length: 10 hours, 52 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Sentinels Of The Galaxy #1

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

 

Navigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

I really liked Navigating The Stars!  I was pretty excited about it, because I really like Maria V Snyder, and I thought it would be fun to read something that’s not only sci-fi but set in space!

I liked Lyra, and even though she got herself into a lot of trouble, she really did like worming.  And it seemed like she had a knack for it too, which will be a good thing considering how things ended up for her.  Well, maybe.  It’s hard to say with everything that happened at the end of the book.  Especially with how people who worm end up having their own style, which seems like a signature to me.  I honestly don’t want to give anything away but certain things will make worming challenging for her.

One thing I really liked was how travel between planets affected aging.  It’s strange how Lyra had normal aging while going from Singhi to Eulan, but the friends she left behind aged decades.  They went to college, got married, had families, got jobs…all while she traveled from one planet to the next, and had no major life changes during that time.  I can’t imagine leaving friends knowing they’d live their whole lives while I stayed the same.  I found myself wanting to see that explored a little more but there was enough going on, and it wasn’t super important what with shadow blobs and disintegrating hearts and looters trying to kill her and then take her away once they realize she’s not really dead from when they tried to kill her the first time.

I knew, once Niall was introduced, that he and Lyra would end up together.  I’ve read a few of her series, so it wasn’t hard to figure to out who the love interest was.  It didn’t happen right away, which was nice, and it was something that took a while to happen.  I knew it would eventually, and I was a lot more interested in everything else going on.  I don’t feel invested in them as a couple yet, but they might grow on me as the series goes on.

There were a couple of things that took me out of the book.

The first is the fact that Lyra is 17.  I kept forgetting that she wasn’t 18 yet, but then her age would be mentioned, and I was startled by how young she was.  She seemed more in her early 20’s than 17, at least to me.  She was also on her own a lot, which I get because her parents had a lot to do work-wise.

And the other thing that took me out of things was the narration.  Just a little, but enough to take me out of the story.  Don’t get me wrong, Gabra Zackman is a great narrator.  If I see she’s narrated something, I will probably pick it up.  And she’s a big reason I went with the audio book for this one.  But the voices reminded me a lot of the ones from her Study series, and it was a little strange to be so reminded of characters from a completely different series.

On an unrelated note, I have no idea if I’m spelling any names correctly, because I listened.  I do feel a little bad about that, because I want to spell them correctly.  You’d think the planet names would be mentioned somewhere but maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

The warriors were interesting, and considering she didn’t want to be an archaeologist like her parents, she spent a lot of time around the warriors.  She certainly figured out a lot of things, but security seemed to be what she was really interested in.  I don’t know if there’s a way for her to merge those two, but if anyone could, it would be Lyra.  Assuming she wanted to do both.  But she’s young, and she has a lot of time to decide.

4 stars.  I really liked Navigating The Stars, and I can’t wait to see what happens next, but there were a couple of things that took me out of the story .