Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: The Radium Girls

Fascinating. Horrifying. What do you know about radium and the Radium Girls?

Radium is a huge part of our history. It was a magical new element around the turn of the century. It was the one thing many sought, but few could hold. Yet when we look back with the knowledge we have today, it's a terrifying part of the past.

When I saw The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women at the library, it looked fascinating. I didn't know much about the radium era, and wanted to learn more about it. Author Kate Moore has written a wonderful book on the lives of the radium women. She drew her information from published and previously unpublished sources. Moore's fascination began with a theatre play and ended with a book that gives readers a glimpse into the lives of women who changed history, litigation, and science. Job well done! I would recommend this book to everyone! I couldn't wait to take a drive in my car so I could continue hearing about The Radium Girls.

Angela Brazil narrated The Radium Girls. This is the first time I've heard Brazil read an audiobook. Brazil has a strong, firm voice. Other listeners thought her voice sounded harsh, but I heard determination of telling a haunting story. I think a gentler voice could have made this story too sad to hear. I would listen to Brazil again, but she is not a narrator I would seek out.

Additional information about Radium Girls:
The Spectator newspaper article
Radium Girls on Wikipedia
The Radium Girls on Audible (with review)

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
Read by Angela Brazil
Produced by HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 13
Total Time: 15 hours, 51 minutes
Release Date: May 2017
ISBN: 9781681684215

Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: A Frozen Heart

Disney's Frozen is one of the top animated films right now. There have been numerous books and audiobooks about the story. A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick is another one you can add to the list of available books. Rudnick's rendition of Frozen is a chapter book for older elementary readers. She focuses on the characters of Anna and Hans. She created backstory for the characters and offers their perspective of the events that the movie shares with the audience.

A Frozen Heart was a fine story. I played the audiobook hoping for a twisted tale of Frozen. I was disappointed. It was Frozen. I wanted to stop the book and start a different one, but I was all ready committed. I listened to all 6 CDs. If you're a Frozen fan, by all means find a copy and give a listen! If you're looking for something completely different on this new classic, you could pass.

Narrator Andrew Eiden did a fine job sharing the story between two characters. He was not dynamic with voices, but he gave the characters different nuances. I previously heard him narrate another Frozen tale: Journey to the Lights. I would listen to him again.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick
Read by Andrew Eiden
Produced by Disney / Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 7 Hours, 32 minutes
Release Date: September 2016
ISBN: 9781504751049

Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Dragonwatch

Journey back to the world of Fablehaven!

Brandon Mull has begun a new series, A Fablehaven Adventure. Book one is entitled Dragonwatch. If you have yet to hear the original Fablehaven series, you need to start there before tackling his newest adventure. Familiar characters return to familiar locations in this fantastical story.

Here is the book description from Brandon Mull's website:

"In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.
No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.
As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.
How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?"

I am thrilled to hear more about Fablehaven's world! I was hoping for more stories, but I was content with end of the original series. I adored the original narrator, E. B. Stevens, too. I hoped for the return of Stevens, but Shadow Mountain went with Kirby Heyborne. I was disappointed, but Heyborne did an amazing job! Dragonwatch is a dramatic story and he fully embraced the emotions without going over the top. The only voice that got muddy in my ears was Grandpa's voice. I look forward to the next installment of A Fablehaven Adventure and hope to hear Heybourne read again.

One final note on Shadow Mountain - they produce an wonderful audiobook. The music at the beginning and end of the discs is lovely with what sounds like a full orchestra. Moving from disc to disc is an artform. They fade out the story and bring in Heybourne to tell you to go to the next disc and fade out with music. There is no abrupt cutoff of the story or jarring new voice to tell you to change discs. Well done, Shadow Mountain!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
Series: Book 1, A Fablehaven Adventure
Read by Kirby Heybourne
Produced by Shadow Mountain
Number of Discs: 9
Total Time: 10 hours, 19 minutes
Release Date: March 2017
ISBN: 9781629722962

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Pillow Stalk

Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere is a cozy mystery for adult readers. I typically review fiction or non-fiction that has a link to adolescent readers or families. This was purely a book for me. I am a fan of Doris Day and this Mad for Mod / Madison Knight mystery series looked too good to pass up! Here is the book description from Dreamscape Media:

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere
"Interior Decorator Madison Night might look like a throwback to the sixties, but as business owner and landlord, she proves that independent women can have it all. When a killer targets women dressed in her signature style-estate sale vintage to play up her resemblance to fave actress Doris Day-what makes her unique might make her dead. The local detective connects the new crime to a twenty-year old cold case, and Madison's long-trusted contractor emerges as the leading suspect. As the body count piles up, Madison uncovers a Soviet spy, a campaign to destroy all Doris Day movies, and six minutes of film that will change her life forever."

I will admit this is my first cozy mystery that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't wait to hop in the car and hear this story. There are little tidbits that I can match up with Day films and characteristics of characters in her movies. I was surprised by the unfolding mystery and a surprising teaser at the end of the book. I look forward to hearing more from the Mad for Mod series!

Susan Berneis narrated Pillow Stalk. I've previously heard her narrate children's titles including The Christmas Quiet Book and Ben Franklin's Big Splash. I enjoyed her narration of Madison Night's story. Berneis did a fine job of the various female and male voices. I could hear that she tried to voice each character differently. I would definitely listen to her again as Madison Night and am thrilled to see that she returned to read the next three books in the series.

Reviewed from a Dreamscape Media copy. Thank you, Audiobook Jukebox!
I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review.

Audio Book Details...
Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere
Series: Book 1, Mad for Mod Mystery
Read by Susan Berneis
Produced by Dreamscape Media
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 8 hours, 19 minutes
Release Date: January 2017
ISBN: 9781520063553

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Review: The Jolly Regina

Sisters Jaundice and Kale Bland live a very bland life. They stay in one place and repair stockings. Everything they need is delivered to them. Until one day when there is a knock at the door. Before the sisters can blink they are kidnapped and set to work on the pirate ship, The Jolly Regina. How unintended!

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews The Jolly Regina
A fun family listen of blandness, adventure, and silliness. There is word play during the tale as well as definitions at the beginning of each chapter. The definitions play well in hand with the topic of the chapter as well as bringing in the Bland sisters only book, a dictionary. Yes, it is adventures on the high seas, but nothing terrifying for young listeners in the family. All's well that ends well. If you appreciate silliness, adventure, or pirates, give this story a go.

Rosalyn Landor narrates the first book in the new series The Unintenional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. This is the first time I have heard Landor narrate an audiobooks. I would listen to her again. I did read that there is a second book coming, The Uncanny Express. If the books is also made into an audiobook, I hope Landor returns to narrate. The girls are soft spoken characters while the pirates are boisterous. It listens well, but I did have to adjust my volume up and down in the car as I listened to the story. Dreamscape Media adds end of the disc notifications so it is easy to know when to change CDs.

Reviewed from a Dreamscape Media copy. Thank you, Audiobook Jukebox!
I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review.

Audio Book Details...
The Jolly Regina by Kara LaReau
Series: Book 1, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters
Read by Rosalyn Landor
Produced by Dreamscape Media
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 2 hours, 41 minutes
Release Date: February 2017
ISBN: 9781508227960

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Dragon Captives

Unwanteds, the New Quests!

The final installment of The Unwanteds: Island of Dragons came out last year (April 2016). Such a wonderful, fantastic series. With great anticipation (with a hint of unease), a new Unwanteds series has arrived! The Unwanteds Quests by Lisa McMann, narrated by Fiona Hardingham.

Journey back to Artime and say hello to familiar friends.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Dragon Captives audiobook
Dragon Captives takes place several years after Island of Dragons. The sister twins, Fifer and Thisbe, are older and bolder. They want to strike out on their own and use their unknown, magical powers. When an old friend, Hux the ice-blue dragon, arrives on Artime's shore, new adventure calls out to the girls. They can help Hux as wells as their brother.

Author McMann truly returns to the world of Artime and the surrounding islands. Time has passed, but she captures the feelings and tone of her previous series. There is humor, seriousness, twists, and a good cliffhanger. I cannot wait to hear the next book!

Narrator Fiona Hardingham reads the story. After several books with narrator Steve West, this change of narrator was a bit of a shift. It makes sense to change from a gentleman reader to a lady because of the shift of characters from brothers to sisters, but I miss you Mr. West. Hardingham does a fine job of sharing the story. Only one character made me cringe while listening - Simba. His voice is low and gravely and it can very difficult to capture. It takes strength to maintain a voice, but he sounded like he had Southern accent. I look forward to book two and we'll see if Hardingham returns to narrate the next installment.

Reviewed from a Simon and Schuster copy. Thank you, Simon and Schuster!
I received this audiobook for free from Simon and Schuster for an honest review.

Audio Book Details...
Dragon Captives by Lisa McMann
Series: Book 1, The Unwanteds Quests
Read by Fiona Hardingham
Produced by Simon & Schuster Audio
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 8 hours, 8 minutes
Release Date: February 2017
ISBN: 9781508227960

Monday, June 12, 2017

June is Audiobook Month 2017

Welcome to Day 12 of June is Audiobook Month Blog Tour! Thanks for visiting Adolescent Audio Adventures. As a children's librarian, I love to share stories as well as listen to stories. Audiobooks help feed my reading appetite because I can always have a book with me! Audiobooks are also great for trips. It doesn't matter if it's a quick commute or a long family road trip. They can be shared to an audience of one or more. I love it! And we have a whole month to celebrate!

Planning a family road trip this summer? Here are a couple suggestions for your travels this summer:

Screen Shot from Christopher Heely's Website
The Hero's Guide Series by Christopher Healy, read by Bronson Pinchot
Quick review: Funny, fairytale remix with a fantastic reader!

Screen Shot from
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman OR by Full Cast
Quick review: Slightly scary tale with two different production styles!

Ralph S. Mouse series by Beverly Cleary
Quick review: Classic trilogy to enjoy again or introduce to someone new!

Wonder by R. J. Palacio, ready by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
Quick review: A new classic that can be read before the movie comes to theaters in November 2017.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren
Quick review: Hilarious historical fiction with a mystery that is still unfolding!

Thank for stopping by Adolescent Audio Adventures! Huge thanks to Audio Publishers Association for putting this blog tour together for June is Audiobook Month. They also shared with me a fun giveaway - earbuds and 3 free audiobook downloads from Comment below for your chance to win.

What are you listening to OR hope to listen to this summer?

Comment for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. The giveaway is open until Saturday, June 17 at 8am (CT). One winner will be chosen. The prize is a pair of earbuds and 3 free audiobook downloads at (approximate value: up to US$45.00), which expires July 15, 2017. The codes have been provided by the Audio Publisher’s Association and Entrants are restricted to US addresses only, please. One entry per person, please.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: Demon Dentist

Demon Dentist by David Walliams is a Middle Grade Audie Award Finalist this year. I was able to find a copy through my library's interlibrary loan program. Thank you public libraries for providing this service!!

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Demon Dentist by David Walliams
The story was not my cup of tea, but the narration was fantastic. The story was about Alfie's dental adventures that turned out to be horrible, yet uplifting at the end. It made my stomach turn over and gave me shivers. As an individual who would prefer not to visit the dentist, this was a horror story. For those readers who enjoy a disgusting scare, this is the book for you. Walliams's style reminded me of Roald Dahl and Adam Gidwitz's Grimm series. For more story information, I would recommend Ms. Yingling's book review.

The narration on the other hand was wonderful! David Walliams, Jocelyn Jee Esien, and Nitin Ganatra shared the narration of the story. It was smooth dialogue from one character to another as well as genuine. Deborah Taylor spoke about authenticity of accents and it really hit home in this audiobook. Beyond the stellar narration skills of three actors, music was also added at the beginning, end, and between chapters. It felt like a grow-up version of a book and CD audiobook that has page cues. I think it really added to the story. Another addition was a sound effect to point out the use of made up words. A thoughtful touch for readers / listeners who are learning words and what is a true word versus a created word. I would definitely listen to this combo of voice talent, music, and smooth editing.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Demon Dentist by David Walliams
Read by David Walliams, Jocelyn Jee Esien, and Nitin Ganatra
Music by Mark Morriss
Produced by Harper Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 Hours, 46 Minutes
Release Date: March 2016
ISBN: 9780062443977

Review from Publishers Weekly

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: The Wooden Prince

The Wooden Prince by John Claude Bemis is on the shortlist for the 2017 Young Listeners Audie Award. It's the first book in a new series, Out of Abaton. Abaton is a magical kingdom, but it has ties to the Venician Empire (Venice). Book one shares snippets about Abaton, but all the action takes place in the Venician Empire.

Bemis shares a new interpretation of the classic story Pinocchio. In The Wooden Prince, Pinocchio is a automa servant who carries something mysterious inside is chest. He is sent to the alchemist Geppetto by the ruler of Abaton, Prestor John. Geppetto is in hiding. The airmen of the emperor are after Geppetto and Pinocchio. Prestor John is imprisoned and his daughter, Princess Lazuli is determined to rescue him. As the story unfolds, their paths cross and the Abatonians band together to overcome the evil forces of the emperor.

This story is not what I expected at all. The magical world is built on alchemy and elemental forces (earth, wind, fire, water) which are attached to magical creatures (gnomes, sylphs, djinn, undines). Some readers might place this story under the steampunk genre. I personally didn't feel a heavy steampunk vibe. The story does wrap up well in book one with openings for book two. No giant cliff hanger for those who are uncertain to continue with the series. I'm not sure I will continue with book two.

The Wooden Prince under the shortlist for the Young Listeners Audie category and after finishing the story I'm questioning the placement. Shouldn't The Wooden Prince be in the next step up with Middle Grade? Young Listeners goes up to age 8 which is around second grade. This story is pretty in-depth with magic, battle, new worlds, etc. Readers can even download a glossary of terms online. I am sure there are some children who would happily jump into this tale, but in general this is not a book I would recommend to third graders and younger. If you have ideas or thoughts on the The Wooden Prince, please let me know. I would be very interested.

Audie awards are given for the production of the piece and this is a well crafted audiobook. Oasis Audio put a lot of time in adding music, sound effects, and voice adjustments for some of the magical characters. Narrator Ralph Lister was a fine voice to hear throughout the book. I have previously heard Lister reading The Haunting of Charles Dickens and The Flint Heart. I liked Maestro's cranky voice and attitude. The undine's voice was the hardest to hear while I was listening. His voice was very low and being accompanied with sound effects made the voice very muddy to me.

The added sound effects and music were a fine addition. The music is by Vernian Process. The sound effects helped and hindered the story. Some of the squelch noises were disgusting - eating and arrow pulling. Other sound effects help set the mood of the story - night crickets or a fire burning. I think sound effects were an interesting choice to add.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Wooden Prince by John Claude Bemis
Series: Book 1, Out of Abaton
Read by Ralph Lister
Music by Vernian Process
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: 8
Total Time: 9 Hours, 39 Minutes
Release Date: March 2016
ISBN: 9781613757666

Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals

Lady Ada and Mary return in the third Wollstonecraft Detective Agency adventure, The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals. Ada and Mary are joined by Allegra, Jane, Charles, and the staff at Ada's home. Book three closely follows book two, The Case of the Girl in Grey. In the third installment, "The game is truly afoot in this quirky caper involving blood-sucking leeches, an asthmatic pug, smoke bombs, secret elevators, diabolical disguises, and wicked word-play."

The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals Audiobooks reviewed by Adolescent Audio Adventures
The characters remain true to their personalities that were shared in the previous two stories. Sometimes it can be hard to follow all the characters through the story, but that could be just me listening instead of reading it. I did listen to book three while in the car so the story was a bit broken up instead of at one straight go. The final disc in the three disc set was my favorite. There is a letter delivery scene that I really enjoyed. The ending tied into a story from book one, The Case of the Missing Moonstone. I am intrigued to read the next book in the series. Author Stratford can't leave his listeners (or readers) hanging on this small book ledge!

I would recommend this series to families or someone who enjoyed The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. There is a website for The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency if you'd like to wander around Ada and Mary's world.

Nicola Barber returns to narrate The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals. Yahoo! I heard the characters come back to the life from the previous stories. The female and male characters were enjoyable. I still really enjoy how she says, "clandestine." I hope Barber will return for the next book.

Reviewed from a Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, HighBridge Audio!

Audio Book Details...
The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals by Jordan Stratford
Series: Book 3, The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency
Read by Nicola Barber
Produced by HighBridge Audio
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 2 Hours, 50 Minutes
Release Date: January 2017
ISBN: 9781622314300
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