Monday, June 24, 2019

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Series: Shadow of the Fox #1
Publisher: HarperAudio
Published: Oct. 2, 2018
Narrators: Joy Osmanski and Brian Nishii
Length: 14 hrs. 45 min.
Source: Audiobook Sync

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. 
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. 
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. 
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
My thoughts:

I think I was just ready for a good fantasy adventure in a culture we don't often see. This one has some great characters which build on Japanese folklore and mythology. This is also one reason I highly suggest the audio. You get the correct pronunciation of the Japanese words sprinkled throughout the story. Not only that but the dual voices really work for the characters in the book. I did slightly prefer Joy Osmanski's narration but that is typical of me. I like female voicing female characters over male and I don't mind a male character from a female narrator. However that is my own preference and take it as such.

The story actually reminded me of a mixed up Inuyasha anime (if you haven't seen the show it is quite cute) and it feels like the quest is familiar. I actually think that endeared me more to the book. I actually anticipated a cliffie so it didn't put me off when I reached the ending (which is not usual for me, I hate cliffies). Kagawa is notorious for those kind of endings and I expect it in the next book as well (which I think I must also do as an audiobook).

I don't want to spoil too much of the quest but I do think this is a fun YA fantasy and also hints at a possible romance budding. You know Kagawa won't make that easy and we probably won't get fulfillment of that romance for a couple of books out (my prediction... lol).

I highly recommend this audio and I really did enjoy both narrators voicing the characters. I give the book 5 stars.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Audiobook review: I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 9/16/14
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Jesse Bernstein
Length: 12 hrs. 57 min.
Source: Sync Audiobook

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways... until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. 
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
My thoughts:

I have been wanting to read this for quite a while and I had gotten the audiobook from Sync a couple of years ago but never tried it. I'm sorry I waited. Like so many, I found myself engrossed in what happened to the two twins and everyone who surrounds them.

I did take 1/2 a star off for the beginning. It was slow and I wasn't sure I really wanted to get into it, but by the time I hit Jude's part I was getting invested and shortly thereafter I was all in.

The book also deals with grief and I think that is one of the reasons I put it off. However, I really liked how they dealt with the heartbreak. It was sad, however it wasn't devastating even if the characters thought they would never heal and be broken forever. Although grief is the journey both kids make there is a HEA which might be a bit too easy as pieces fall into place. However, at the same time, I appreciated how easily it all fell together. In this way you felt good after the book ended and uplifted.

I also love how you are immersed in the way both kids saw the world. Full of metaphor and art. It was a way of understanding or controlling everything they experienced. The thoughts and feelings became art as well as the art they produced. All of it became catalysts in their healing.

I enjoyed the audio and did like the split between the two narrators. I think their accents were consistent and it really separated the voices between the twins.

I give the book 4 1/2 stars. After a slow start this is a great book full of metaphor, art and above all healing the heart. I highly recommend he book and I need to try the author's other work.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Audiobook Review: Hunted by Kevin Hearne

Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #6
Published: 6/25/13
Publisher: Random House Audio
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 9 hrs. 52 min.
Source: Library

For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt—Artemis and Diana—for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha DΓ© Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell. 
Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok—AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living—and still have a world to live in.
My thoughts:

If you haven't tried these books on audiobook, I do suggest you try at least one. I do love Luke Daniel's narration of this series and he is the voice of Atticus in my head. His rendition of Oberon is always spot on and is capable of making me laugh. Like most male narrators, it takes me a while to get used to his female voices but it didn't take me long (like usual) to just fall into the flow and it didn't bother me at all in a few minutes.

The humor of his stories was back in this one and I loved learning about his version of mythology. There was a huge twist that I didn't expect and while I knew what the outcome would have to be, I just didn't know how it would be solved.

The romance in the book was still on the back burner but definitely there. It was cute and there was also a possible partner for Atticus that did surprise but not really at the same time. Atticus, like a lot of males, was clueless until it was too late. It really did make it interesting to see his emotions about this event (which I will evilly not tell... bwa haha).

I give this book 4 stars. My biggest niggle about the book is how it ended. It didn't quite feel like a solid end to me but it wasn't really a cliffie, it just felt unfinished and abrupt although others might tell you otherwise. It just felt that way to me. I will continue the series as I'm curious as to what else Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon have in store for us all next.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Audiobook Review: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

Series: Jane True #1
Publisher: Brilliance audio
Published: 11/20/10
Narrator: Kate Reinders
Length: 9 hrs. 47 min.
Source: Owned

During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human. 
Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures that are terrifying, beautiful, and deadly all of which perfectly describe her new friend, Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire. 
It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never ever rub the genie s lamp.
My thoughts:

I have had this one for a while now but never got into it. I have been wanting to bring down my tbr and I was glad I had. I love a good mermaid tale and while she was a selkie (close enough) it still ended up being a fun PNR/UF romp.

While I did really like Jane, sometimes I felt she might have been too naive for what she is going through but I also know that in a UF the protagonist who is clueless at first really has some growing to do and as long as that happens I don't mind in the least. I really do like this author so I have no worries on that front. I think the biggest problem I had with the book is that I didn't have access to the next right away to see if that growth starts to occur at even a faster rate. Interlibrary loan here I come! LOL

The romance was cute and hot but I am still uncertain about Ryu. I think he is a good guy and I hope that I am right. Right now I'm rooting for another but I'm happy to take him if Jane doesn't want him. ;)

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I reall loved Kate's narration and she voiced all the characters well. I hope she does the rest of the series as I do think I want to audiobook the whole series.