Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver – Audiobook Review

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, narrated by Jim Dale
Published in audio by TK, published in print by HarperCollins

Synopsis:

The death of her beloved father has left Liesl helpless in the clutches of a very evil stepmother. Instead of forcing her to clean house Cinderella-style, though, Liesl’s stepmother keeps her locked in the attic Bertha Rochester-style. Surprising as it may seem, the luckiest day in Liesl’s young life is when a ghost named Po shows up in her attic bedroom. No longer male or female, the prickly Po befriends Liesl, and is able to give her information about her father on the Other Side, information that makes Liesl determined to take action to change her lot in life and her father’s lot in the afterlife.

Thoughts on the story:

Lauren Oliver’s middle grade story Liesl & Po is very cute and sweet. Liesl and Po have an interesting friendship as they attempt to overcome the barrier between the living and the dead. Similarly charming is the ardent schoolboy crush that Will, the alchemist’s apprentice, has on Liesl. It may be slightly creepy that he watches through her window from the street, but before long it becomes clear that his is a noble (or at least shy and embarrassed) love. Perhaps the best thing about Liesl & Po, though, is that it failed to simply go exactly where I thought it would. Oliver kept the story fresh, and moving in new and more complex directions, which was both surprising and refreshing.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Jim Dale’s adult women all sounded very mannish in Liesl & Po, but they were simply supporting characters, so it wasn’t really a problem. Overall his voices were relatively good, and he certainly made for an engaging listening experience.

Overall:

An enjoyable audiobook and a good palate cleanser. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Print*
Indiebound: Print*
Audible.com

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Library.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Audiobook Thoughts

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale
Published in audio by Listening Library, published in print by Scholastic

Synopsis:

What more is there to say about Harry Potter, particularly the first book in the series? Harry is terribly mistreated by his relatives and has a generally miserable life, until he finds out he is a wizard. The discovery is slightly bittersweet when Harry finds out that his parents were brutally murdered by the now-disappeared evil wizard Voldemort.

Thoughts on the story:

It may be that I’ve finally just read this series too many times. I’m starting to see things that don’t quite line up throughout (I blame Michelle for pointing out inconsistencies in book 7 when we watched the movie). I was also struck on this reread at just how ridiculous the opening scene with the Dudleys really is. They might as well have been tying Harry to a railroad track and twirling their mustaches. Honestly, it sort of annoyed me a little. Eventually I was able to get back into the book, but it took longer than usual.

Thoughts on the audio production:

I’ve listened to the rest of the series in audio narrated by Jim Dale before and been impressed, but at times during Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I distinctly heard Dale make mouth noises, such as lip smacking, which sort of disgusted me and turned me off.

Overall:

I was all excited about going through the series again, but now I’m feeling sort of blah about it. Anyone up for convincingme?

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio | Print*
Indiebound: Audio | Print*

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And now from a brief word from our friends over at Audiobook Jukebox:

Are you a blogger who reviews audiobooks? Whether you review them regularly, occasionally, or exclusively, there’s a new place to find free review copies for your perusal. The site is called Audiobook Jukebox and we’ve recently started a new program called Solid Gold Reviewers.

The idea is to have a place where audiobook publishers can offer titles for review and reviewers can select those titles which interest them the most. At the beginning of this month, 9 publishers helped us get started by offering 42 titles and over 100 copies for review. I’d like to invite you to check out the guidelines and then take a look at the titles listed.

I hope you’ll see something interesting to listen to and review. If not, check back next month (we already have some additional publishers who’ve said they’ll contribute). If we all participate, more publishers will contribute more of the audio we love. In turn, we’ll have the chance to tell others about more great listens!

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I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: library.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Words by Heart by Ouida Sebestyen – Book Review

Words by Heart by Ouida Sebestyen
Published by Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House

Lena is determined that she is going to win the school’s Bible verse recitation. As the only African American student in the school, a member of the only non-white family in town, she knows that, as much as most members of the town are not hostile towards her and her family, they only see her skin color and not her mind. Getting what you wish for is not always a good thing, though. Between Lena’s success over the white male student who everyone thought was a shoe-in and her father rising in the estimation of his employer, racial tensions begin to surface in their small town. Now, Lena must decide whether she believes in vengeance or forgiveness.

Words by Heart is a great look at faith and racism for young readers. Sebestyen walks a line very well of not shying away from the realities of hatred and the negative consequences, without writing a book too overwhelming for middle grade readers. Largely this is done by the strong message of faith and forgiveness. Lena’s father, in particular, is a proponent of forgiveness and attempts to teach her to forgive as he tries to do.

This is the sort of book I wish I had found when I was younger. While I could definitely appreciate both the story and the message, I know it would have meant quite a bit more to me if I had approached it as a pre-teen. I’m glad I read it, though, if for no other reason than that now I know about it to read with my own children when they are at an age to learn about the horrors of hatred and freedom of forgiveness.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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