Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

Introduction:

The story falls in the category of “far-fetched” but still fun.

Summary:

It’s like the adult version of a horrible, no good, very bad day. This woman – September Day – knows how to find trouble in spades.

Additional Comments:

  • Warning: Contains strong language throughout. And a bit of violence.
  • Plot’s kind of out there, but that can add to the charm.
  • The author does a decent job narrating her own story. Not a huge fan of the concept of self-narrating, but she does decent sound effects and voice variation.
  • I love Shadow! Feel like I should get a T-shirt with that emblazoned on it. He’s adorable. I could go either way on sections of a book being written from a dog’s point of view, but it’s done well here.
  • Some of the “bad guys” aren’t really believable, but it’s good to have some moral ambiguity to wrestle with. (sometimes)
  • The part about drug trials is realistic enough.
  • Loved the end twist. I had heard book 2 first, so I might have known it already, but I’d forgotten enough.
  • There are quite a few perspectives to keep track of, not all of them necessary. But the skipping around didn’t bother me in audio form.
  • I love how ordinary September is. That makes her an awesome heroine.

Conclusion:

Don’t think too hard about plausibility. Grab the audiobook and enjoy the wild ride.

 

* I received a copy of the audiobook, but the choice to review it as well as the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Awesome Audiobooks 4.5/5: Swim Season by Marianne Sciucco

4.5/5 High School Sports Drama

Summary:

There’s drama in and out of the pool for the Two Rivers’s high school girls swim team. Aerin Keane’s been on a ton of teams in the last few years, but she’s spending her senior year living with friends of her mother so she doesn’t have to live with her father and his new family. She’s the outsider who just wants to fit in. Meanwhile, there’s a high-stakes challenge with a $50K scholarship on the line …

Additional Comments:

– I’m not sure about some of the details concerning school attendance and sports laws. Most public and private high schools have some sort of anti-recruiting rules in place. Meaning, I’m not sure Aerin would have legally been allowed to join the Two Rivers high school team. I’m not even sure how she would attend the school, though there might have been an exception given her family situation. (Doubtful because she could have lived with her father.)
– Another nitpicky point – quizzes do not get taken and graded in a day if they’re on paper. They “might” get graded instantly if they’re on the computer, but if somebody’s got to handle paper, there’s about a .0001% chance of that paper getting graded same day. Trust me. I’m a high school chem teacher. Also, why does Mel’s twin brother drive and she doesn’t?

Point by Point:

– Length 4/5: It’s long. Very long. Probably could have been slimmed down by 200 pages and been fine.
– I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version because then the length doesn’t mean much, somebody’s reading the story to you. The narrator’s very believable and gave a solid performance.
– Main Character 4.5/5: The main character’s likeable for most of the book. The first third or so she annoyed me, but you knew she’d come around.
– Side Characters 4.5/5: Erica (sorry about spelling if that’s wrong; friend), Mel (new best friend), Tatiana (rival), and Jordan (mean girl) are a tad cliche, but high schools tend to have them, so in that sense it’s realistic. I really liked Aerin’s background. It might be cliche, but it works very well.
– Plot 4/5: While one could probably predict the outcome if you’ve read enough of these sorts of books, it’s still satisfying. The Allison Singer Challenge is kind of cool. I liked how the whole community really got into the swim team’s season. That sort of fervor’s usually saved for football in most towns.
– Swim details 4/5: In audio form, following the competition times got a tad difficult.
– Themes 5/5: I loved that the book contained a bunch of YA themes: fitting in, dealing with bullies, finding yourself, discovering your potential, pushing yourself, pressing on, the flightiness of popularity, etc.

Conclusion:

Swim season delivers an enjoyable high school sports drama.

The Ebook is only $0.99. That’s an awesome deal for a 600+ page book.

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Audiobook Reviews: Next Stop, Chancey by Kay Dew Shostak

3.5/5 A Look at Small Town Life

Summary: Carolina Jessup panics after she finds condoms in her daughter’s purse. She sells her house, packs up her family, and moves them to a small town, all the while hating small towns as she’ll repeatedly let you know

 

Additional Comments:

  • There are a lot of characters to keep straight, but the audio performance was well-handled. Male voices sort of sound the same, but the main characters have distinct voices and the narrator does the female Southern accent very well.
  • The main character complains a fair amount in the book. She’s constantly doubting her decision to move the family, even though she knows her husband enjoys the new place and the fact that it’s near trains.
  • The book’s essentially a small town soap opera. The gossip flies fast and the muffins are fine. Everybody knows everybody else’s business. The teenage daughter finds herself competing for the top social slot. The boy finds a new friend and sort of disappears into the countryside to reappear from time to time and ask for food.
  • There’s the added intrigue of the ghost story, but to be honest, the explanation sort of ruined it. Maybe I’m just too much a fan of paranormal twists to books.
  • The main character does sort of find out what she wants by the end, but it was a pretty arduous mental “I should be happy here” journey.
  • I love the cover!

Conclusion:

If small town gossip’s your thing, then this is just the book for you. It’s a study in small town modern suburban existence.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Please, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Three Nails by Michael Maxwell

4.0/5 A Snapshot Look at a Teacher’s Personal Tragedy

Summary:

A public school teacher has his whole life turned upside down by a personal tragedy.

Additional Comments:

  • Plot: It goes all over the place, but it’s really a snapshot of a guy’s life. The description pretty much tells you what’s wrong in his world. Most of the first half centers around the devastating loss of his son, Logan. However, I’m not sure how the very first scene fits in. I know it plays into his nightmares later, but I’d thought the book must be a murder mystery given the way it begins.
  • The side characters felt a little flat to me. I mean Logan’s death obviously devastates this guy, but since the reader doesn’t really get to meet him, there’s not a big emotional pull.
  • The guy works in a much tougher school than I do, but the descriptions of some of the frustrations public school teachers face are accurate, except that his first teaching assignment probably would never have happened. I think you need a special ed license to be assigned a classroom like that. At the very least, it would probably be a co-taught class, meaning there would be two teachers/witnesses supervising and instructing the students.
  • I like that the book didn’t shy away from showing the dark side of life. The things some of these kids in this guy’s classroom face are horrific, and the sad part is that even though it’s fiction, the scenarios are very realistic.

    Characters:

  • The characters are pretty well fleshed out, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the main character’s name.
  • – Not sure why it’s categorized as Christian fiction. While there is nothing offensive besides a few curse words, the main character doesn’t ring true as a Christian. His daughter who becomes a missionary – maybe – but his comments at the end sort of tell the reader he’s not sure what’s “up/out there.” I don’t think there’s a set requirement that the MC has to be a Christian to categorize the book as one, but it certainly would help.

Conclusion:

A snapshot look into a teacher’s life during one of the darkest times he faces.

 

As Always …

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Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

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Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

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Audiobook Reviews: 3.45/5 Stars The Girl in Seat 24B by Jennifer Peel

 

Summary:

Carly’s left to fend for herself emotionally and practically become a single mom because her husband, Michael Bishop, decides to pursue some career opportunities.

Additional Comments:

– It’s predictable.
– There’s excellent character development in everybody but the main characters. I love Joseph Xavier and his family. Even the in-laws progressed believably. Michael, not so much. Carly … yeah, I can believe her character development.
– I was really hoping it’d turn into a murder mystery at several points. That says a lot for the author’s skill to make realistic characters, but annoyed typically isn’t the vibe you want for 95% of the book.
– I heard the audiobook and the narrator did a lovely job. There weren’t too many voices she needed to do, but there were quite a few emotional moments that she captured nicely.
– I had to take the book in small doses, but luckily, I had a scifi study in ridiculousness to balance out this family drama thing.
– Although the characters were pretty realistic, their circumstances were not. Besides the major plot of “I don’t love you anymore” Michael walking out for 80% of the book, everything else works out like a dream.

  • Carly has 0 wants for money. Her business just flourishes from nothing to she’s turning down jobs left and right. She’s a social media hit with her wonderful pictures, and so forth. Even Michael, as he pursues his new career goals, he gets plush assignments and book deals thrown at him. The two kids are wonderful in every way. Oh, there are a few references to crankiness, but otherwise they’re little angels who love each other. There’s references to trouble with the in-laws but throughout this journey they’re nothing but supportive and loving.
    Content warnings – a few curse words; adult themes
    – I can’t speak to grammar because I heard it read to me, but aloud, it flowed decently well.

Conclusion:

If family drama’s your thing, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s basically one woman’s journey to survive a stint of single motherhood while her husband’s an idiot then her battle to forgive him once he comes to his senses. (All that can be gathered from the book description.)

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.