The Registry by Shannon Stoker – Audiobook Review

The Registry by Shannon Stoker, narrated by Kate Reinders
Published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by William Morrow, both imprints of HarperCollins

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

Welcome to a safe and secure new world, where beauty is bought and sold, and freedom is the ultimate crime.

The Registry saved the country from collapse, but stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained to fight and never question orders.

Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous questions. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.

All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Thoughts on the story:

You know, two or three years ago I might have dismissed The Registry as being outlandishly unrealistic. With the whole ‘war on women’ of the last couple of years and the seemingly-concerted effort to erode rights, I don’t see it as necessarily being totally insane if set far enough out. Is it actually likely? Well, no, but (hopefully) few dystopians are actually likely. It has a very similar concept to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, at least as far as the role of women and in my opinion has a similar level of likelihood. Atwood does spell out the events that lead to her dystopia more clearly, but she also has them happen much, much more quickly, so it is logical that her characters would know exactly what led to their current situation, while Mia is in a world that is generations removed from the one we know, which is why neither she nor anyone around her truly understands how they have come to be in such a predicament.

Uh, so that was a lot of stuff to say I found the story interesting, and believable enough to keep my interest, even if I don’t exactly think this is going to happen next week.

Thoughts on the audio production:

For the most part, I really enjoyed Kate Reinders’s narration. She was a big part of what sucked me in to the book right away. The only thing that  bothered me was her depiction of one of the male characters who, thankfully, came in later in the book. I found the way she presented him to be very creepy, one might even say ‘rape-y.’ Luckily he came in a good portion of the way through the novel, but I don’t think that Stoker intended him to come off like that and it distracted me from the story every time he spoke, wondering whether or not he was actually a total creep.

Overall:

All in all I found The Registry to be a fun, enjoyable audiobook.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks 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.

 

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Audiobook Review

The Ocean at the End of the Lane written and narrated by Neil Gaiman
Published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by William Morrow, both imprints of HarperCollins

Synopsis:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane opens with the protagonist, now an adult, returns to his childhood home and happens upon an old friend’s house, where he finds one of her older relatives. The longer the protagonist stays at Lettie Hempstock’s house, the more he behinds to remember his time with her. These memories are long buried, other more reasonable memories of the same time have taken their place, but the Hempstock farm brings back the truth of what happened when the protagonist was seven years old.

Thoughts on the story:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is so magical that it is scary. It begins as a simply charming story of  a sweet little boy, but strange things begin happening around him. When he tries, with his new, slightly older friend Lettie Hempstock to appease the spirit causing problems, he inadvertently creates a far larger problem. The story builds along very nicely. While I wouldn’t classify it as horror, there is one section that would nearly qualify as a supernatural horror, although it invokes more tension than outright fear, since we know the protagonist survives. The details about the Hempstocks are beautifully crafted, making this otherworldly family seem absolutely realistic. It is a short but utterly absorbing novel, if you have it in print you could probably easily read the whole thing in a single sitting.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Ah, Neil Gaiman is one of those few authors who really should narrate his own work. His narration is particularly effective since his protagonist seems to be approximately his own age in the framing pieces and his protagonist as a child is said to be loosely based on his own childhood (minus the magical creatures trying to kill him, I’m assuming). As such, his narration fits the novel beautifully and he is able to give his words a level of emotion that take them to the next level.

Overall:

The story in itself is fabulous, so I don’t think you can go wrong with The Ocean at the End of the Lane however you consume it, but Gaiman’s narration gives it that extra special something. If you can listen to this audiobook, please do.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks 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.

 

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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight – Audiobook Review

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, narrated by Kristine Hvam
Published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by Harper Books, both imprints of HarperCollins

Synopsis:

In the middle of a hugely important client meeting, Kate gets a call about her daughter. Amelia, always an exceptional student and a good kid, has been accused of cheating on an English paper and is being suspended. By the time Kate arrives at the school an hour later, there are emergency vehicles everywhere and Amelia is dead after ostensibly jumping off the roof. Kate is bereft at losing her daughter and finds herself overwhelmed by her grief, until she receives an anonymous text claiming that Amelia did not jump. As Kate begins to investigate her daughters life, she realizes just how much Amelia had been keeping secret from her, and becomes increasingly sure her daughter did not commit suicide.

Thoughts on the story:

Reconstructing Amelia alternates between Kate’s point of view after Amelia’s death and Amelia’s leading up to her death. Amelia’s sections in particularly are heartbreaking because she is a great, funny girl with some serious problems that are really not her fault and knowing that her story is going to end with her tragic death is often very difficult. I actually found myself hoping she had committed suicide or that she had fallen off the roof by accident because I just couldn’t bear the thought of anyone killing her. The way this whole thing is plotted worked very well for me. Kate’s discoveries often connect with what Amelia is going through in the alternate chapters, but not so much that anything feels redundant. It is overall a very well put together story.

Thoughts on the audio production:

This is the first time I’ve listened to Kristine Hvam in a full-length production and I was very impressed. She introduces slight variations in her voice to differentiate between Kate and Amelia, so that even if you miss the chapter tag of the character and date you can still figure out easily which character’s point of view you are in (even without the fairly obvious context clues). About the dates in the chapter titles, though… That was the one thing that didn’t work for me as well consuming this as an audiobook versus a print book. I did not pay enough attention to the dates when I heard them that by the next time around I could remember what they were, and audio of course makes it more difficult to go back and check. Luckily both story lines progress in a linear fashion, so the only real issue was not knowing quite how much time elapsed over the course of the story.

Overall:

Loved! This is a good one if you want to cause some obsessive listening. The book is well put together and the narration is top-notch. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio*
Indiebound: Audio*
Downpour Audio

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.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks 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.

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Jungleland by Christopher S. Stewart – Audiobook Review

Jungleland by Christopher S. Stewart, narrated by Jef Brick
Published in audio by Harper Audio, published in print by Harper Books, both imprints of HarperCollins

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

On April 6, 1940, explorer and future World War II spy Theodore Morde (who would one day attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler), anxious about the perilous journey that lay ahead of him, struggled to fall asleep at the Paris Hotel in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Nearly seventy years later, in the same hotel, acclaimed journalist Christopher S. Stewart wonders what he’s gotten himself into. Stewart and Morde seek the same answer on their quests: the solution to the riddle of the whereabouts of Ciudad Blanca, buried somewhere deep in the rain forest on the Mosquito Coast. Imagining an immense and immaculate El Dorado–like city made entirely of gold, explorers as far back as the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés have tried to find the fabled White City. Others have gone looking for tall white cliffs and gigantic stone temples—no one found a trace.

Legends, like the jungle, are dense and captivating. Many have sought their fortune or fame down the Río Patuca—from Christopher Columbus to present-day college professors—and many have died or disappeared. What begins as a passing interest slowly turns into an obsession as Stewart pieces together the whirlwind life and mysterious death of Morde, a man who had sailed around the world five times before he was thirty and claimed to have discovered what he called the Lost City of the Monkey God.

Armed with Morde’s personal notebooks and the enigmatic coordinates etched on his well-worn walking stick, Stewart sets out to test the jungle himself—and to test himself in the jungle. As we follow the parallel journeys of Morde and Stewart, the ultimate destination morphs with their every twist and turn. Are they walking in circles? Or are they running from their own shadows? Jungleland is part detective story, part classic tale of man versus wild in the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Lost in Shangri-La. A story of young fatherhood as well as the timeless call of adventure, this is an epic search for answers in a place where nothing is guaranteed, least of all survival.

Thoughts on the story:

I’m not always keen on authors inserting themselves into stories, but Stewart’s combination memoir/history is extremely effective. I’m not sure that either his own story or Morde’s would have been enough to fully interest me, but combined they definitely kept me listening. Morde’s story provides the background, as well as some interesting spy games – including a plot to assassinate Hitler. Stewart’s story provides the heart, the human interest. I mean, this guy misses his daughter’s fourth birthday to gallivant around the jungle! It is his drive and his need to find the lost city that keeps the reader going, and then Morde’s story that provides the color and interest enough to break things up.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Jef Brick does a really great job, I generally had no problem discerning whether we were listening to Stewart’s story or Morde’s. There was one odd moment where I wondered whether I had been confused and there had really been two narrators the whole time because he sounded so different for one of Morde’s sections, but that seems to have been an odd bit of stray editing, or a different recording venue, or perhaps a trick of my ears and not an issue with Brick’s narration.

Overall:

I found Jungleland to be a nice change of pace and an enjoyable audiobook. I think I would have liked the print, but am fairly certain that I enjoyed it more in audio than I would have in print. Recommended.

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

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.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks 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.

 

 

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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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