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: 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: 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.