Saturday, November 30, 2019

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl



FEATURING

⬥A Totally Original Premise
⬥Sort Of Like Groundhogs Day (the Movie)
⬥Reliving the Same Day Over & Over
⬥A Sort of Death Limbo
⬥Murder Mystery
⬥Science Fiction w/a Subtle Overlay of Supernatural
⬥With Audio Performed Wonderfully by Phoebe Strole


(AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4.3 STARS | GRADE A-


MY THOUGHTS


You meet up with your group of friends that you've estranged yourself from since the death of your boyfriend, Jim.  He was the one who was loved by everyone.  You arrive home, after a night out, and a near-miss accident.  Then you get a mysterious visit from a kooky old man...and the next day...is the same as the last.  And Repeat...again and again.  The Neverworld Wake is insane!

Like Groundhog's Day but darker, way less funny...and with a mystery to solve.  A twisty, turn-y kind of ride that never lets up until the end.  Ultimately, to end the Wake they have to solve the mystery of Jim's death and the farther they dig, the twistier and fantastical things get.  Only one of them can beat death...who will it be.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.3/5
Narration Performance 4.5/5
Characters 3.8/5
The Feels 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 5/5
Theme or Tone 4.3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4.2/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 4.3/5 Cliffhanger Nope.
_____

Book Cover Trippy...just like the story...
Setting Wincroft on the coast of Rhode Island
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 8 hours, 47 minutes


The New Hunger by Isaac Marion


FEATURING⇢

⬥Zombie Apocalypse
⬥The End of the World As We Know It
⬥Prequel to Warm Bodies
⬥A Glimpse of the Past and a Path to an Astonishing Future
⬥With Audio Performed by Candace Thaxton (one of my least favorite narrators...)

LINK TO SYNOPSIS 
(AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+


MY THOUGHTS


If you felt you were cheated by Warm Bodies because of the lack of zombie murdery type scenes...then this prequel should help fulfill that need.  While still taking a deeper, more literary look into the zombie apocalypse scenario, it shows Julie at the age of 12 and first made her way to Seattle with her parents. It has a second POV from R when he first becomes a zombie and lastly a third POV, which is pivotal to R's story.  The world, overall, that the author has created is a thought-provoking take on zombies.

At around 190 pages this is all story and no filler with previews of other books.  Also, did you know that there are two more books after Warm Bodies?  I knew about The Burning World, but there is also a third full novel-sized book...titled The Living, but so far it's only available on Kindle, I'm hoping they make an Audio Version as well since it's over 400 pages.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4/5
Narration Performance 3/5
Characters 4/5
The Feels 4.2/5
Pacing 4.3/5
Addictiveness 4/5
Theme or Tone 4/5
Flow (Writing Style) 3.5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4/5
Originality 4/5
Ending 4/5 Cliffhanger Not really...but sort of.
_____

Book Cover Very cool...I quite like it.
Setting Seattle mostly
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 3 hours, 24 minutes

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston



FEATURING⇢

⬥Small Town Louisiana
⬥Murder Mystery
⬥Suspense Thriller
⬥Young Adult (HS Seniors)
⬥Dual POV'S
⬥Twisty
⬥Splash of Romance
⬥With Near Perfect Audio Performed by Amy Melissa Bentley & Eric Michael Summerer



LINK TO SYNOPSIS 
(AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4.7 STARS | GRADE A


MY THOUGHTS


The perfect November read...5 boys go out hunting in the morning, a little later...there is only 4 boys left. 

Told for the most part by a girl who lives in the same town and had been texting with the boy who was killed and finds herself in a position to be able to investigate the tragedy via her after school internship-type job with an attorney on the case.  In addition, there is also one of the boys narrating...it's obvious that it's one of the four boys that was not shot and killed...only you have no idea which one.  This other narrator, despite his parts being sporadic and succinct, really ratchets up the mystery.

There is twists throughout the story that really serve to keep you invested in the story, including an unseemly little sub-plot.  Overall, this is an exceptional mystery/thriller in the YA-ish genre that was excellent in Audio format.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.5/5
Narration Performance 4.5/5
Characters 4.3/5
The Feels 4.3/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Addictiveness 5/5
Theme or Tone 5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 5/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 5/5 Cliffhanger Nope.
_____

Book Cover Who doesn't love deer heads hanging on the wall...oh yeah, me!  But seriously, it's perfect for the story.
Setting Belle Terre, Louisiana
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 8 hours, 47 minutes

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra


FEATURING⤏


⬥Australia Setting
⬥Murder Mystery
⬥Thriller/Suspense
⬥Impostor Daughter
⬥You Got Me w/the Whodunit
⬥Needed A Second Narrator
⬥ With Narration Performed by Saskia Maarleveld

LINK TO SYNOPSIS
(AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 3.5 STARS | GRADE B-



MY THOUGHTS


While I always enjoy Saskia Maarleveld's narration...this could have benefitted from a second narrator for each of the Bec's.  The constant POV changes were hard to keep up with, especially with only one narrator for each POV.

I did not see that twist coming...so well done on that.  But...yeah there's a but, I felt like the ending, overall had some believability issues.  I'm just not so sure that things could have played out the way they did. It was like, whoa, here's this unforeseen twist and this should ratchet up the suspense, but it was written in a way that downplayed everything that was going on.  Basically, it was weird...but also, compelling.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3.8/5
Narration Performance 3.5/5
Characters 4/5
The Feels 4.3/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 4.5/5
Theme or Tone 3.7/5
Flow (Writing Style) 3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4/5
Originality 4.5/5
Ending 3/5 Cliffhanger Nah...
_____

Book Cover Kind of blah...
Setting Australia
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 7 hours, 22 minutes.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Solo: A Star Wars Story

FEATURING


Star Wars Disney Canon
Movie Adaptation
Han Meets Chewy
L3 - One Of Coolest Droids Ever!
Lando and His Capes
Qi'Ra, I Loved You In Most Wanted...
...But Not So Much In This
How Han Acquired the Millennium Falcon


With Audio Performed by Marc Thompson

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4.2 STARS | GRADE B+



MY THOUGHTS


Full Disclosure:  This is my second ever Star Wars read...and it won't be my last.  I've seen all the movies, including Solo...which I just watched after finishing this.  And while I really like the Star Wars movies, I'm not a die-hard fan, like some others out there are...you know those people, they know who every character is, and what planet they came from, and all their stats, basically.  I don't follow the stories that well...in fact, when I saw Rogue One in the theatre, I didn't even know that they were all going to die in the end...I was like, what, they just died?  My husband rolled his eyes at me.  Furthermore, I don't even care that Disney took it all over.  It totally works for me.  One other thing, I find I have a better idea of what is going on after having read these two books...at least in regards to the Movie Solo.

I didn't love this like I did Star Wars Most Wanted...I think Rae Carson captured the true personality of Han Solo much better than Mur Lafferty did.  Although the narration performed by Marc Thompson did make Han...well, more Han.  I have to say though, that L3 gave him some competition for best character, I really love how all the droids in the Star Wars Universe have such personalities, even R2D2, who only communicates with beeps has character.  It's quite refreshing when we're constantly bombarded with the robots that want to kill us all, like the Terminator Universe.

Overall, I really liked what these two books (Solo and Most Wanted) together gave me...a background on Han Solo, my favorite character in Star Wars Universe.  Well, other than the droids of course.  



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.5/5
Narration Performance 5/5
Characters 4.5/5
The Feels 3.5/5
Pacing 4.3/5
Addictiveness 4.3/5
Theme or Tone 5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.3/5
Ending 4/5 Cliffhanger ...you could say that.
_____

Book Cover Movie Cover...
Setting Star Wars Universe
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 9 hours, 32 minutes

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Echoes of Time by Calia Read

SURVIVING TIME #3

FEATURING


Time-Travel
Romance
Mystery
Sex-Plicit
Quit Using Sex As Plot Filler...
Rating for Book #1 - 3 STARS
Rating for Book #2 - 4.3 STARS
Finished Series!!!


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+



MY THOUGHTS


Time Travel books can be tricky and this series requires a definite suspension of belief, but other than that, and one other issue that I will get too, this series was pretty enjoyable.  I adore the characters, Etienne, Serene, Nathalie and of course, Livingston.  Riley was a newcomer in this third book and I really liked her too.  I really loved seeing Etienne in modern times.  It was amusing to see him navigate the technology, guys night out, and the bad manners of our century.

While there was some actual story here, my only complaint is all the explicit sex...seriously, it's okay to leave some of those to our imaginations.  I despise when authors use a gratuitous amount of sex scenes just to make a book longer.  I can only trust a handful of romance writers to not do this...and apparently, this author is not one of them.  But let me just say...I know quite a few readers who are completely okay with this...

Overall, I recommend to anyone who can suspend belief enough to go with whatever explanation is given for the believability of time-travel, with a heavy emphasis on romance and of course, likes plenty of steamy sex scenes.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3.8/5
Characters 4.5/5
The Feels 3.7/5
Pacing 3.8/5
Addictiveness 3.5/5
Theme or Tone 4.5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.5/5
Originality 3.5/5
Ending 3.8/5 Cliffhanger Nope, it's the final book.
_____

Book Cover Love it.
Setting Present-day Champaign, Illinois & 1914 Charleston, South Carolina
Source Kindle eBook (KU)
Kindle eBook Length 321 Pages

Friday, November 22, 2019

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

FEATURING


The Tox
Possibly Apocalyptic
Quarantined Island
Dark Academia - All-Girls School
A Splash of Girl 2 Girl Romance
Horror-if-ic Body Altering

With Audio Perfectly Performed by Eileen Stevens & Jessie Vilinsky


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+



MY THOUGHTS


The reviews I read for this almost derailed me from listening to this...but when the Library bought the Audio and automatically checked it out to me (I had recommended it), I was like, why not...it could be interesting, and I'm glad I did.

Wilder Girls is quite different from anything else I've ever read.  The premise alone, an apocalyptic type virus affecting the entire island, not just the school, but also the wildlife, in fantastically bizarre manners.  Added to that, the almost magnetic writing that sets it apart from other Dark Academia out there.  I was warned that it is very gory...and it is, although, the way people went on about the gore, I thought it would be more so than it was.  The romance is subtle and just a small part of the story because seriously, these girls got a lot on their plates, and very little of it is actual food.

But alas, while I dug this for all the above reasons...overall, its most significant issue is the lack of answers by the end of the story.  In that respect, it reminded me of Lost (The TV Show), which I loved right up until the final episode.  The ending of Wilder Girls needs a sequel...and so could Lost, actually...now that I think about it. 



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4/5
Narration Performance 5/5
Characters 4/5
The Feels 4.3/5
Pacing 4.2/5
Addictiveness 5/5
Theme or Tone 4.3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4.3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.3/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 3/5 Cliffhanger Well...yeah it sorta did.  It felt like there should be a second book...but nothing about that yet.
_____

Book Cover Wow, this could easily be Best Cover of the year.
Setting Raxter Island
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 8 hours, 49 minutes.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Weight of This World by David Joy

FEATURING


Harsh Living
Drug Dependency
Meth-Amphetamines 
PTSD
Gritty Realistic Fiction
Poignant & Brutal
TW: Dog Violence

With Audio Performed by Macleod Andrews


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+



MY THOUGHTS


Another bleak disheartening look at the harsh life you may get if you go down the road with drugs.  The drug of choice for this story is Meth.  Why anyone would choose to do this drug in the first place is beyond me...but for some, maybe it is beyond them...almost as if it chooses them instead of the other way around.  The book portrays how circumstances beyond control can set one down a path that no one should ever have to go down.  The story itself is superbly written, and it reminded me of Winter's Bone with the atmosphere that was set. 

Narration by Macleod Andrews is well performed...and I haven't listened to anything by him that I didn't enjoy, actually.  Overall, The Weight of This World is a gripping story despite some lagginess and that one particular element of the story that left me really sad...seriously, you didn't have to kill the dog off, dude...RIP Loretta Lynn.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot4/5
Narration Performance 4.5/5
Characters 4/5
The Feels 3.5/5
Pacing 4.2/5
Addictiveness 4.3/5
Theme or Tone 4/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.3/5
Originality 4/5
Ending 3.8/5
_____

Book Cover It's quite striking...the nastiness of the trailer is quite vivid.
Setting Little Canada, North Carolina (The Mountains)
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 7 hours, 37 minutes.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Star Wars Most Wanted by Rae Carson

STAR WARS DISNEY CANON NOVEL


FEATURING


Han & Qi'ra's Story...Prequel to Solo
A Galaxy Far Far Away
My First Star Wars Read!
Droids, Wookies, Storm Troopers and Of Course, Han
Way Cool Sound Effects In The Narration

With Audio Performed by Saskia Maarleveld

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (WOOKIEEPEDIA PAGE)


MY RATING⇢ 5 STARS | GRADE A+



MY THOUGHTS


Full Disclosure:  This is my first ever Star Wars read...but it won't be my last.  I've seen all the movies, except Solo.  And while I really like the Star Wars movies, I'm not a die-hard fan, like some others out there are...you know those people, they know who every character is, and what planet they came from, and all their stats, basically.  I don't follow the stories that well...in fact, when I saw Rogue One in the theatre, I didn't even know that they were all going to die in the end...I was like, what, they just died?  My husband rolled his eyes at me.  Furthermore, I don't even care that Disney took it all over.  It totally works for me.

The sound effects on the narration is phenomenal, I loved it...and Saskia Maarleveld was pretty freaking fantastic...even when she did Han's POV.  Anything that the story might have been lacking was more than made up with the audio performance. Not that the story is really lacking either...if you're even a casual fan of Star Wars, I think you'll like this...especially if you're a regular reader of YA space-themed stories.  I think Rae Carson did a more than adequate job with the many nuances that make Han Solo the charismatic character that he is.  He was just so Han...and he will forever be my favorite character in Star Wars, so it was only fitting that I started my sojourn into Star Wars-themed novels with this book.


THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.5/5
Narration Performance 5+/5
Characters 5/5
The Feels 4.8/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Addictiveness 5/5
Theme or Tone 5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 5/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 5/5 Cliffhanger Well...
_____

Book Cover I like it...
Setting Mostly Planet Corellia
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 7 hours, 56 minutes


Friday, November 15, 2019

Rolling In The Deep by Mira Grant

ROLLING IN THE DEEP #0.5


FEATURING


Killer Mermaids
Cruise Ship Ride From Hell
They All Die In The End
Novella Prequel
For Into The Drowning Deep

With Audio Performed by Teri Schnaubelt

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (GOODREADS)


MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+



MY THOUGHTS


Killer mermaids for the win...I listened to this after already having listened to Into the Drowning Deep...so I knew the deal with the mermaids but it was still ultimately a diabolical foray into the deep waters of the Mariana Trench. The characters are rather unlikeable, so I wasn't sad to see them come to their dastardly end (not really a spoiler).

A super quick listen that I enjoyed immensely.  The Audio was also fantastically performed, I do believe I liked this narrator more than the girl who narrated Into the Drowning Deep, even.  These two books could be listened to in any order, I think either way will work.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.2/5
Narration Performance 5/5
Characters 3/5
The Feels 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 4/5
Theme or Tone 4/5
Flow (Writing Style) /5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.5/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 4/5 
_____

Book Cover Way cool...book edition (pictured above) is better than the audio version.
Setting Mariana Trench
Source Audible Audiobook
Length3 hours, 6 minutes. 


The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

FEATURING


Mystery
Crime Fiction
New Girl In A Small Town
Past & Present
The MC Has My Name

With Audio Performed by Rebekkah Ross 

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 2.3 STARS | GRADE D+



MY THOUGHTS


While the mystery was a unique one, it was delivered so tediously, with constant time jumps, that flipped from one to the other with barely a breath in between.  Added to that were the many characters to keep track of and I found myself not able to engage in this mystery by Megan Miranda.

This is my second book by her, the other one being Come Find Me...which I did like, so I will probably give her books another try in the future.  With a high number of three-ish star ratings for this book...I was expecting to like this more than everyone else...and I actually liked it less than...just goes to show you never can tell how you feel about a book based off reviews alone.  When it comes to mysteries, it all comes down to what your mind lets you believe.  The narration by Rebekkah Ross was also a little lacking or maybe just annoying after a while of listening to her.  Meh, I don't know...



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 2.5/5
Narration Performance 4/5
Characters 2.5/5
The Feels 1.5/5
Pacing 2.5/5
Addictiveness 3/5
Mysteriousness 2.5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 1.5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 3/5
Originality 3/5
Ending 2.7/5
_____

Book Cover I love the purple sky!
Setting Pennsylvania
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 9 hours, 43 minutes

Monday, November 11, 2019

I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

FEATURING


Part of the Big Library Read in November
Racial Tension
Rioting & Looting
Bonding
Young Adult

With Audio Performed by Brittany Pressley & Channie Waites

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (K.JONES WEBSITE)
LINK TO SYNOPSIS (G.SEGAL WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4 STARS | GRADE B+



MY THOUGHTS


A timely read that could be all too real...the most interesting aspect of this book is being able to see through the eyes of each girl and knowing their thoughts throughout.  Having each character written by a different author made the differences in the characters even more tangible.

This is also a super quick listen that is always available at most Overdrive Libraries as part of the Big Library Read, but only through the 18th of November.  The Audio version is performed very well by both narrators. 

THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4/5
Narration Performance 4.2/5
Characters 4/5
The Feels 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 4/5
Theme or Tone 4/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4/5
Backdrop (World Building) 3.8/5
Originality 4/5
Ending 4/5
_____

Book Cover Love it...with the mirror flip element it has going on.
Setting Atlanta, GA
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 5 hours, 20 minutes

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