The Humans by Matt Haig – Audiobook Review

The Humans by Matt Haig, narrated by Mark Meadows
Published in audio by Simon & Schuster Audio, published in print by Simon & Schuster

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a leading mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor wants to complete his task and go back home, to the planet he comes from, and a utopian society of immortality and infinite knowledge.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, the wars they witness on the news, and totally baffled by such concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he has been led to believe. He drinks wine, reads Emily Dickinson, listens to Talking Heads, and begins to bond with the family he lives with, in disguise. In picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, the narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans’ imperfections and begins to question the very mission that brought him there. A mission that involves not only thwarting human progress…but murder.

Thoughts on the story:

The Humans is a thoughtful and humorous look at life on Earth (at least in the West), as well as what it means to be human.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Mark Meadows does a great job narrating The Humans. He plays it straight, which makes it all the much funnier, as well as more moving. He captures the tone of the book perfectly.

Overall:

A wonderfully done novel, made even better by the top-notch narration.

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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Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory – Audiobook Review

Stormbringers: Order of Darkness by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Nicola Barber
Published in audio by Simon & Schuster Audio, published in print by Simon Pulse, both imprints of Simon & Schuster

I previously reviewed the first book in the Order of Darkness trilogy, Changeling.

Synopsis:

Luca and Isolde have a growing relationship and are happy that they will be able to continue traveling together for the foreseeable future. Their plans are halted, however, when a young man named Johann arrives in town leading a veritable army of children who claim to be on a crusade, sent by God. Johann has been prophesying, but when one of his prophecies comes true in an unexpected manner, Luca, Isolde, and the rest of their party find themselves in mortal danger.

Thoughts on the story:

In Stormbringers, Gregory does a great job telling a new complete story as well as forwarding the stories of Luca and Isolde, their relationship, and the lives as a whole. I am most intrigued to continue learning about this order Luca finds himself working for; I am fairly certain that I know where Gregory is going with this, and I think it has wonderful potential. If anything, I find myself looking forward to the third book in the trilogy even more than I looked forward to this one.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Initially I was disappointed that Charlie Cox was not selected to narrate Stormbringers after narrating the first book in the series, Changeling. I had fond memories of his narration and the switch from a male to a female narrator is kind of a big difference. However, with a third person point of view and a cast very nearly equally split between male and female characters, the gender of the narrator does not really matter here, and once I got used to Nicola Barber being the voice of Stormbringers I actually found her quite good. One thing Barber really excels at is bringing out the humor in the secondary characters, two of whom can be really quite funny. She is good overall, though, and by the end I was pleased by Cox’s replacement, even if I’m not sure why he was replaced.

Overall:

I am really loving this series, particularly in audio. I can’t wait until the next one comes out! Highly recommended.

For more, 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 Bro Code for Parents by Barney Stinson – Audiobook Review

The Bro Code for Parents by Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn, narrated by Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris)
Published in audio by Simon Audio, published in print by Touchstone, both imprints of Simon & Schuster

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

So you’re going to be a parent.

You might be asking yourself a series of important questions:

Will I be a good parent? • Will I be able to afford this? • Can I ever have sex again?

Well, the answer to all these questions is a rock-solid no. But just because your existence is now a petrifying turd on the canvas of life doesn’t mean your kid has to be as lame as you’re about to become. That’s why I’ve written this book—to teach you how to be an awesomommy or legendaddy.

The Bro Code for Parents will help you:

Choose a baby name that won’t get your kid stuffed into a junior high locker •

Interview and hire a smokin’ hot nanny • Teach your child instant classics like “The Boobs on the Bus” and “Bro, Bro, Bro Your Boat”

With full-color illustrations, interactive work sheets, and even suggestions for how to turn a stroller into a broller, The Bro Code for Parents gives you all the tools you’ll need to raise your child to be almost as awesome as I am. Almost.

Thoughts on the story:

If you’ve watched How I Met Your Mother this is probably exactly what you think it will be: ridiculous, slightly sex-obsessed advice that bears little resemblance to any sane parenting advice, but is pretty funny. This will sound like I’m damning The Bro Code for Parents with faint praise and I don’t mean to do that, but the best thing about this book i that it knows when to stop. I absolutely do not mean that it gets tired. The thing is, this concept absolutely could get tired, but Stinson (okay, Kuhn) keeps it to the perfect length where you feel that he has covered what he should, but he doesn’t overdo it. If you find Barney funny on How I Met Your Mother, you are likely to be amused here, too.

Thoughts on the audio production:

I have only watched How I Met Your Mother sporadically and, while I really enjoyed it, I’m not sure that I am into it enough that I would have cared much about this book in print. Audio, though? Neil Patrick Harris kills it. He KILLS it. The voices, the vocal sound effects… Yeah, audio is the way to go with this, because of the supreme awesomeness that is Neil Patrick Harris.

Overall:

If you’re into Barney Stinson and have any knowledge about parenting, this is – at 2.5 hours – a fun diversion of an audiobook.

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

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link at the bottom of this post. 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: 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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The Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma – Audiobook Review

The Map of the Sky by Felix J Palma, narrated by James Langton
Published in audio by Simon and Schuster Audio, published in print by Atria, both imprints of Simon and Schuster

This is the second book in the Map of Time series. I previously reviewed the first book, The Map of Time. This review may contain some spoilers for previous books in this series.

Synopsis:

There is a Whole Lot going on in this story. I mean, it is over 600 pages in hardcover and over 2o hours in audio. This being the case, I’m going to give you the publisher’s synopsis so I don’t inadvertently include spoilers:

A love story serves as backdrop for The Map of the Sky when New York socialite Emma Harlow agrees to marry millionaire Montgomery Gilmore, but only if he accepts her audacious challenge: to reproduce the extraterrestrial invasion featured in Wells’s War of the Worlds. What follows are three brilliantly interconnected plots to create a breathtaking tale of time travel and mystery, replete with cameos by a young Edgar Allan Poe, and Captain Shackleton and Charles Winslow from The Map of Time.

Thoughts on the story:

Palma integrates disparate pieces of his story much better in The Map of the Sky than he did in The Map of Time. Perhaps it was partly that I knew more of what to expect, but this time around he seemed to avoid the rambling exposition which occasionally plagued the first book in this series. Not only that, Palma seems to be the absolute master of his narrative in The Map of the Sky. Threads are introduced and seemingly abandoned, only to be picked up later in ways that are nothing short of brilliant.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Oh, James Langton, the only problem with this series is I’m not sure I can ever listen to you in anything else, you so perfectly encapsulate Palma’s cheeky third person omniscient narrator. Occasionally when Palma goes a bit too much into exposition, you keep things light, fun, and moving forward. I can’t imagine anyone else narrating these books and you make 20-odd hours fly by in the blink of an eye.

Really, though, the production is wonderfully smooth, and Langton’s narration even more so.

Overall:

I listened to The Map of the Sky in fewer days than most audiobooks half its length because it is just So. Good. Although I enjoyed The Map of Time, The Map of the Sky is definitely the better of the two and it is even better in audio. Highly recommended.

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

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.

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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Changeling by Philippa Gregory – Audiobook Review

Changeling by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Charlie Cox
Published in audio by Simon and Schuster Audio, published in print by Simon Pulse, both imprints of Simon & Schuster

If you reviewed an audiobook today, Wednesday, June 27th please leave your link in the Mr. Linky before midnight Central time (US) and you will be eligible to win a prize.

Synopsis:

Luca Vero has a curiosity that cannot be squashed by the strictures of the church and his religious order. Luckily for him, the intelligence that accompanies this curiosity has been recognized by another order, a secret sect within the church known as The Order of the Dragon. Luca is recruited by the order and sent out to investigate strange occurrences across Europe that may signal the end of the world.

For Isolde, the world as she knows it is indeed ending. Her father, who treated her as a virtual equal, instead of a piece of chattel like many medieval women, has died, and the life she knew is no longer. Now her brother tells her that she must either marry, or join the local abbey as the Lady Abbess. When strange things begin happening at Isolde’s abbey, she and Luca are set at odds, even as there is a growing attraction between them, despite their vows.

Thoughts on the story:

This is Philippa Gregory’s first foray into YA literature, and it was quite successful. I’m finding that much YA historical fiction is, even more so than other YA fiction, based almost solely on marketing decisions. There is not much about Changeling that has a particularly young adult feeling. Yes, the characters are in their late teens, but as they’re not really dealing with parents and high school, it doesn’t seem to matter much, they could just have easily been in their early to mid-twenties.This is not to say that teens would not enjoy Changeling, indeed it is a great crossover novel, but there is no reason for adults to shy away from this because of the YA label.

As for the story itself, it was highly engaging and absolutely kept my interest the entire time. Although it did fall victim to a bit of Gregory’s propensity to repeat herself, those sections weren’t too egregious and they did not significantly diminish interest in the plot or the characters. I was always interested in seeing what would come next, and am excited to know that this is the first in the series, although Changeling is sufficiently self-contained that you could read it without reading the sequels, although I suspect if you read Changeling you will want to continue with the series.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Charlie Cox did a great job narrating Changeling. He kept the story moving and got out of the way of the characters, conveying the story without being a focus himself.

Overall:

I really enjoyed Changeling and would not hesitate to recommend it. This is Philippa Gregory at her most engaging.

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

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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