A few quick reviews of audiobooks I’ve been listening to this summer. Hopefully these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
Published by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media in 1/14
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 345 Audio Length: 11 hours and 41 minutes
Source: The Author
Aria’s life is full of secrets–secrets about her mother’s death, her father’s cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart’s melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a captivating love story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.
This was a really beautiful story. I especially loved the first half of the book, when Thomas and Aria were first falling in love and Thomas was helping Aria to see her true potential and worth. The story dealt with both abuse and the pain of losing a loved one, and I completely connected to both Thomas’s and Aria’s stories – my heart ached for these characters. My only complaint was that the middle of the book was dragged out a little bit and there is a love triangle introduced that I could have done without. I think the pain of what happened between Thomas and Aria could have been enough conflict. Still, overall, I loved the story and I give it 4/5 Stars!
The narration: I thought that Heather Masters did a wonderful job with the emotion of this narration. She was a bit slower than some other narrators I’ve listened to, though. (I usually listen to books at 1.5x speed, but this one I usually listened to at 2x!)
***Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the author via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group in 8/15
Genres: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Pages: 280 Audio Length: 7 hours and 24 minutes
Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season–when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17–is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.
Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There’s a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she’ll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she’ll uncover the dark origins of the accident season–whether she’s ready or not.
I didn’t know what to expect from this book except that the story was going to be “strange.” And, yeah, that was pretty much true – but it was also really powerful, touching, and occasionally creepy. The mystery of why and how Cara’s family is plagued by accidents kept me tuned in as often as I possibly could be, and the the coming-of-age forbidden romance didn’t hurt either. I loved most every minute of this book – though I did get slightly confused at the end (I couldn’t quite figure out if the accidents were resolved and done with by the end of the book – I actually ended up going back and reading the end of the physical book so I could dwell over it a bit more.) This unique book was completely engrossing, and I give it 4.5/5 Stars!
The narration: I LOVED the narration for this book. I could listen to Colby Minifie‘s beautiful Irish lilt all day long, and her voice felt perfect for Cara. With just the right amount of mysteriousness and emotion, I thought the narration was spot-on.
Published by Ideal Audiobooks (originally by Disney-Hyperion) in 6/15
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Depression & Mental Illness
Pages: 368 Audio Length: 8 hours and 15 minutes
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
Oh, how I adored this book! This is definitely my favorite SYNC book so far this summer – I want to listen to it again! Sam’s OCD is handled with such beautiful authenticity (at the end of the book, you find out why – Stone used the real-life experiences of a family member as inspiration, and it shows in the accuracy of how the illness was depicted). I especially loved the portrayal of Sam’s relationship with her therapist. My heart broke over and over again for Sam, who so wanted to break out of the endless cycle of her illness and the abyss of relationships that were holding her back in life. When Sam met her new best friend Caroline, who introduced Sam to poetry, she realized that the words could be an outlet for her and allow her release that she never thought possible. Her newfound interest in poetry and the swoony poetic AJ started to make Sam feel almost normal again. Things came crashing down in a majorly spectacular way (I realized what was happening just before it was revealed, which was kind of perfect). If you’re a fan of contemporaries (especially those that deal with mental illness) and you haven’t picked up this book yet you need to! I give it 4.5/5 stars.
The narration: It took me a little while to get used to the narration for this one. Amy Rubinate did a great job portraying AJ’s strengths and vulnerabilities, but her voice was a little repetitive at times and seemed slightly affected in a strange way. Once I got used to it, I still really enjoyed the book, though (and her voice was better at 1.5x speed).
***NOTE: I received this book from the SYNC free summer audiobook program (check it out, if you haven’t – there are still several more weeks of audiobooks!). No review was required or requested. All opinions are my own.***