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.

Audio Book Review: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, Narrated by Andrew Kanies And Morgan Fairbanks

Book: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, Narrated by Andrew Kanies & Morgan Fairbanks

Published March 2019 by Blink|Run Time: 9 hours, 37 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.

Degrading treatment make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

I liked Within These Lines!  I didn’t love it but I did like it.

For me, Taichi’s story was so much more interesting than Evalina’s.  I really felt for Taichi, and everyone else who had to go to the internment camps.  It wasn’t until listening to this book that I realized how little I know about the internment camps.  I’ve heard of them, but all I knew was that they came about after Pearl Harbor.  I didn’t know anything else, and I was horrified by what Taichi went through at Manazanar.

No one should have to go through that, and the way people talked about Japanese-Americans was horrible.  But I was reminded of today, and how people are still treated because of where they come from.  It’s just hard to believe that it happened only 70 or so years ago.  It feels like it was a long time ago, and yet, it also feels so recent.

I was glad Evalina was so outspoken about what was going on.  I don’t think she realized or knew how bad it really was, but I was glad she spoke up about it.  It would have been really easy for her to not say anything, and just let it be.  She definitely did not let it be, and I thought it was really cool that she wanted to be a lawyer.  In the epilogue, we see she’s a civil rights lawyer, and that seems to fit her very well.  I wasn’t as interested in her story as Taichi’s, but I thought their stories together were important.  As a whole, the story was great because you see how it affected people, but on an individual level, Taichi’s story got my attention a lot more than Evalina’s.

The epilogue really got to me, and I was definitely crying because of how it still affected Taichi.  Even though the epilogue was years later, I was heartbroken for Taichi.  I don’t think it will ever be over for him, but I did think his story was really well done.  I hope he’s able to find peace after everything that happened.

I did like the narrators, Andrew Kanies and Morgan Fairbanks, though I did like Kanies a little bit more.  They both brought the characters to life, but Kanies really stood out, and really made Taichi someone worth caring about.  It’s not that I didn’t care about Evalina, because I did.  Just not as much as I cared about Taichi.  Still, Fairbanks did a great job at narrating Evalina’s part of the story.

3 stars.  I liked Within These Lines, and thought Taichi’s story was one worth reading.  His story really made this book worth reading.

Currently Obsessed With: March 2020

March has been such a crazy month!  I feel like I’ve lost all sense of time, which is weird because I’m mostly sticking to my usual routine.  I’m eternally grateful I still have a job- healthcare is pretty essential right now- but there have been a lot of changes, and I’m sure there will continue to be a lot of changes in the weeks to come.

You definitely can’t go wrong with animal pictures, and when I saw this duck on a walk I took, I knew I had to get a picture.

Surprisingly, I haven’t been as anxious as I thought I would be.  I’ve been journaling, crocheting, and doing yoga, which has helped keep me calm and relaxed.  Reading has helped, and so has being on medication for depression and anxiety.  It’s helped a lot, and I’m just grateful that I haven’t been too anxious.  I am, of course, because things are so different now than they were a few weeks ago.  But it really hasn’t been as bad I thought it would be.

Reading quotes from some of the books I’ve read has also helped.  I don’t know why, but it makes me feel better.  These are a few of my favorites, plus they’re some of the shorter ones I’ve written down, and I just wanted to have them as quotes that are really helping me out right now.

Inspired By:

  • House of Rage And Sorrow.  There’s one line in particular I loved that gave me a spark of a story that I have yet to figure out.  If I can muster up the motivation, I’ll have plenty of time to work on it.
  • Our Plague Year: This is a new podcast from one of the creators of the Welcome To Night Vale podcast, and even though there’s only a couple of episodes, I feel inspired to journal about how I’m feeling during the Covid pandemic.

Watching:

  • Designated Survivor.  I’m bummed there’s only 3 seasons of this show, because I really like it.  At least I can re-watch it!
  • Yoga With Adriene.  I’ve been doing yoga a lot more lately.  I love that she has videos for pretty much anything you need.  I’ve been doing a lot of her lower back pain videos lately, and it really helps!

Reading:

So many things!  A House Of Rage And Sorrow stands out.  Also, the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home, which was awesome!  And Renegades by Marissa Meyer.  I still need to finish the last book, but I’m in a mood to re-read the whole series, so once I finish Renegades and Archenemies, I plan on reading Supernova.

Thinking About:

  • Baking Bread.  I have a couple of books, now I just need to hope I can find some yeast at the store.  Failing that, something without yeast.
  • Learning to sew.  I have a sewing machine that used to belong to my grandma.  I have no idea if it works, but I’ve thinking about sewing for a couple of years now.
  • Grief and rage.  This has been on my mind ever since I finished House Of Rage And Sorrow.

Listening To:

  • Blood Ties.  This podcast was interesting to listen to!  It’s this 6 episode podcast about two siblings who learn family secrets after their parents die in a plane crash.  You can find it here, if you’re interested.
  • Audio books.  Granted, I only listened to one in March but I have been in an audio book mood.
  • I Said No Gifts!  This is a new podcast but there are some really interesting conversations revolving around gifts.  It’s pretty funny as well, and it’s fun to listen to.

Dream Life:

As usual, I can only remember bits and pieces.  I know I had a dream about the San Diego Zoo, I’ve dreamed about about being in a bookstore (several times), and I know my grandma has shown up in a dream or two.  I can’t remember any other dreams, or anything more specific about what I do remember, but at least I remembered something!

Researching:

Tea Kettles.  I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, and an actual tea kettle might be nice to have.

Eating And Drinking:

  • Tea.  I’ve talked about all the tea I’m drinking, so it’s worth a mention here.
  • Trader Joe’s Bacon Ranch Cheddar Dip.  This dip did not last long the couple of times I got, because it is that good!  If you can find it, it’s worth picking up!
  • Sun Chips.  I haven’t been eating Sun Chips with the Bacon Ranch Cheddar dip, but for some reason, I’ve really wanted Sun Chips.

Grateful For:

  • Having a job!  These are crazy times we’re living in, and I’m glad I have a job.  I know other people aren’t as lucky but I’m grateful to have a job.
  • I’m also grateful that I had a pretty stocked pantry when the shelves were pretty empty.  And the couple of times I did need to get some things I didn’t have, I was able to get it pretty easily.

Good Things:

Honestly, I wasn’t really keeping track of good things, but I did get new glasses!  I really can see a lot better now.

Work was really stressful for a while (and it still is, but in a very different way) but I am no longer doing two different jobs, which is a big relief.

I’ve done some spring cleaning, and I have a couple of drawers I need to tackle before I feel like I’m done.  It’s nice knowing things are more organized.

I’ve been doing some yoga, and taking some walks around my neighborhood.  Of course, I’m keeping my distance from everyone else taking a walk.  I’ve seen a lot more people taking walks, so I’m obviously not the only one needing some fresh air.

I even saw some ducks on one of my walks!  I definitely don’t get outside enough, but I’m definitely trying to only leave the house if I absolutely need to.

That’s all for today, and make sure you take care of yourself!

Audio Book Review: Evermore by Sara Holland, Narrated by Eileen Stevens

Book: Evermore by Sara Holland, narrated by Eileen Stevens

Published December 2018 by HarperAudio|Length: 9 hours, 1 minute

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Everless #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestseller, Everless!

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

I really liked Evermore!  I really liked the first one, and I knew I had to read this one to see how everything went.

We learned a lot more about the world, and how the Alchemist and Sorceress came to be.  I’m glad we got some answers, and that back-story was pretty interesting.  Getting that world-building made sense in this book, and it definitely would have been out of place in the first book.

Like the first book, we learn things as Jules learns them, and I’m glad it didn’t seem as muddled as the first book.  Maybe I’m more used to her writing style, or it just made more sense in this book.  I’m not too sure but it was nice to learn more about what happened between Jules and Caro centuries earlier.  The person who would break Jules heart wasn’t who I was expecting at first, but with everything that Jules discovers, it makes sense.  I knew it would be someone unexpected, but I still didn’t see it coming.

Jules ends up on the run, because of what happened in the last book, and she goes to quite a few places to recover her memories.  I kind of like that she found herself back at Everless, and fought for herself so Caro wouldn’t take over.  I wasn’t sure if this book would be a duology or a trilogy, but things were wrapped up really well.  It felt like things were over when I finished the book, though I’m curious to see what happens to Sempera years later, and if time is still currency, or if that has faded away.

I also liked Eileen Stevens as the narrator.  She did a great job with the first book, so I knew she would do a great job with this one.  She really is good at bringing Jules to life, and there were a few points where I was right there with Jules as she was dealing with all kinds of stuff.

This is slightly random, but I would love to read a book of short stories about the Sorceress and the Alchemist.  These legends are pretty important to Semperans, and actually reading the legends would be pretty cool.

4 stars.  While I didn’t love Evermore, I still really liked the story and the world.

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 .

Audio Book Review: Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, Narrated by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff

Book: Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff|Narrated by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff

Published May 2019 by Macmillan Audio|Run Time: 6 hours 31 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: Adult Non-Fiction/Memoir

Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.

 

Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered is a warm hug.  I absolutely loved this book, and I felt like I was listening to friends telling me stories from their lives.

Honestly, don’t let the title fool you!  It’s not about murder, it’s two awesome, funny, honest people taking about their fears and struggles.  True crime does come up, but this book is not about that.

My Favorite Murder is one of my favorite podcasts, and when they announced they were coming out with a book, I knew I had to read it!  Or in this case, listen to it, because I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Especially since the book is narrated by Georgia and Karen.

I am, however, terrible at reading books I own right away, especially audio books.  But I’ve been in an MFM mood- to the point where I went back to the very beginning and started listening to their entire back catalog of episodes.

So back to the book.  Each chapter title related to the podcast in some way, which is really cool.  And I loved hearing them share stories from their lives.  One of the stories that really stuck with me was hearing Karen’s story about her mom having Alzheimer’s and the struggles of that.  For some reason, it really made me think of my grandma, and not only could I relate but it really made me miss her.

I loved the honesty and openness with the stories they shared, and as I finished the book on my way to work one morning, I found myself crying.  I really felt like things were going to be okay.  Not that they aren’t okay, because they are but there was something very reassuring about this book.  I’m not always great at taking care of myself, and I really need to do better with that.  Something about listening to this book, and how open both of them are about their struggles with mental health and anxiety felt very reassuring- that I’m not the only going through it, and to take care of yourself and find your fucking hooray.

I had a lot of fun listening to this book, and while I cried, I also laughed!  I would like to add in that just thinking about how much I loved this book and how much it means to me is making me teary-eyed.  It’s not what I was expecting, especially since I’m at the library as I’m writing this.  But it’s quiet since I’m writing this during the week, on a kind-of random day off, and I am sitting in the corner.  And it’s a library, so all in all, it’s quiet, and there’s no one near me.  Honestly, it might not be the weirdest thing at the library.

I feel like I’m going pretty off-topic for this book review, but I also feel like that’s sort of like the podcast.  It’s fun to listen to (like the book) but I feel like I’m all over the place and can’t write a coherent review.  Honestly, it’s an amazing book, and worth reading.

5 stars.  I absolutely loved this book, and I especially recommend the audio book!  I loved hearing Georgia and Karen tell their own stories.

Audio Book Review: Sadie By Courtney Summers, Narrated by Full Cast

Book: Sadie by Courtney Summers, Narrated by Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, Gabra Zackman and Fred Berman

Published September 2018 by Macmillan Audio|Length: 7 hours 57 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page. 

I’ve heard a lot of buzz around Sadie, and I finally got around to listening to it!  I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would and it was just okay for me.

The story was pretty interesting, and I did like that you had a combination of podcast episodes and Sadie’s story.  You see West try to figure out what happened to Sadie as you actually see what happened to Sadie.  It’s two definitely two stories in one, and it made the book interesting but it also…I don’t know, something about it really bothered me.  It’s liked, I liked that the two stories ran alongside each other but they didn’t really come together the way I thought they would.

I did want a little bit more resolution at the end, which is pretty open-ended.  While I don’t mind stories with open-endings, I really wanted one for this book.  I think I assumed the podcast would bring some sort of closure to Sadie’s story, and that didn’t happen.  At least to my satisfaction.  I know it’s not always the case with stories like Sadie’s but it didn’t stop me from wanting it.

I did feel for Sadie, and she really did everything she could to take care of her sister.  She certainly went on her own path for revenge and I don’t blame her.  It’s a lot darker than I expected, and I’m not sure why.  I do like that she took care of her sister, and wanted to protect her and keep her safe.

It does inspire a Serial-like podcast, and that was more interesting to me than Sadie’s story…not that her story didn’t interest me, because it did.  I think I was just more interested in seeing West try to piece Sadie’s story together.  Still, it was nice to actually get Sadie’s story as well, because it certainly would have been easy to not write Sadie’s side.

I’m in the minority in my opinion of Sadie, in that everyone else seems to love it.  I wish I did, but I’ve read a few of her books, and I’m starting to think that her books aren’t for me.  The mystery didn’t grab me, and I can’t say I’m surprised by any of what’s revealed throughout the book.

I am glad I did Sadie as an audio book because I don’t think I would have finished it otherwise.  With several narrators, I did expect to hear from all of them pretty equally, but I mostly felt like we heard from two of them for most of the book.  That was slightly disappointing to me, since I think they all did a great job.

2 stars.  I didn’t love Sadie as much as I wanted to.  I was disappointed by the ending, and I wanted more closure to Sadie’s story.

Audio Book Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud, Narrated by Rasha Zamamiri

Book: Mirage by Somaiya Daud, Narrated by Rasha Zamamiri

Published August 2018 by Macmillian Audio|Length: 8 hours, 58 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Mirage #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

I liked Mirage!  Originally, I wasn’t sure about it, because I had a hard time getting past the first couple of chapters.  I ended up giving the audio book a try, and I’m glad I did, because I don’t think I would have made it very far otherwise.

Even with switching to the audio book, I had a hard time getting through the first few chapters.  Once I got past it, I was fine, but initially, I didn’t care about what was going on, and it didn’t really get my attention.  It took a while to get into Mirage, but once I did, I ended up liking it.

It’s your typical brutal empire takes over a planet meets being a body double for the hated princess story.  It’s a story I’m pretty familiar with, especially since the brutal empire and the rebellious people they’re ruling over seems to be pretty popular right now in both sci-fi and fantasy.  I think, if I hadn’t read other books like it, I would liked it a lot more.  I still liked it, of course, but I just wanted to like it more.

I liked Amani, though it took me most of the book to remember her name.  I completely forgot that she was her own person for a good portion of the book and she didn’t really stand out as her own person.  I wish I could say a lot more about her, but I’m having a hard time with that.  Amani and Maram felt like the same person, which was the point, but I wish there had been more to distinguish Amani as a person with her identity.

The narration pretty much saved this book for me.  Zamaimri did a great job at narrating Amani, and what she was going through.  She was great to listen to, and while I thought Amani didn’t particularly stand out as someone with her own personality, Zamamiri did add to her character.  There’s something about her Amani’s voice that worked a lot more for me, and I think it’s because I did feel like Amani was telling me her story.

3 stars.  I didn’t love Mirage, but I still liked it!  I’ll probably pick up the sequel, just to see what happens but I’m not in any rush to read it.

Audio Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray, Narrated by January LaVoy

Book: The Diviners by Libba Bray, Narrated by January LaVoy

Published September 2012 by Listening Library|Length: 18 hours, 14 minutes

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

Series: The Diviners #1

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED…

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…

I’ve meaning to read this book for a while, and I finally got around to it!  I liked it, and it was great on audio but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I thought the setting was a great backdrop for the paranormal.  It worked really well, especially with the time period and with the book being set in New York.  While it would have worked in another time period/place, I can’t imagine it being somewhere else.  I don’t know that it would have worked otherwise.

There were times where I ended up getting confused.  We’d be with Evie, and then the book would suddenly switch to someone else.  It took a while to figure out how those other stories were connected to what was going on with Evie.  I think it just didn’t translate well to audio, at least for me.

It was really long, and it took me a while to get through it, so by the time I got to the end, I was fuzzy on what had happened at the beginning.  I was never clear on what Evie could do and what led her to New York, and I’m not sure if it’s because I just didn’t remember what happened or if it was never mentioned.

I’m not sure how I feel about Evie.  I didn’t mind the slang at first, but I did get tired of it by the end.  I feel like if Evie were a real person living right now, she’d have her own reality tv show.  She has this ditzy socialite vibe to her, and she seems pretty self-absorbed, even at the end of the book.  Obviously, some don’t change, which is fine, but maybe there’s hope for Evie.

I did like the narrator, though!  January LaVoy did a great job narrating, and she really brought Evie to life.

3 stars.  I liked The Diviners but I didn’t love it.  I might pick up the next book, but I’m still undecided.

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.