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

Monday, March 13, 2017

Music Review: Kids in the City

Singer Laura Doherty is a new and old artist name for me. In addition to producing her own music, she is the director of the Wiggleworms program at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. At the library, we have a Wiggleworms CD and love it for storytime. I stumbled upon Doherty's "solo" albums while reading through librarian blogs. I wish I could remember which blog, but I can't recall. If I find it again, I'll try to tag the post!

Laura Doherty is crAdolescent Audio Adventures reviews Kids in the City CD by Laura Dohertyeative, mellow,Kids in the City is a great CD for family listening or listening in the car on a roadtrip. The CD case is out of cardboard with production notes and thanks printed on the inside. The back cover lists the songs on the disc. There are not printed lyrics included. I added my notes to the track list below. I italicized some of favorite songs on the album. I also added a star to song I think have storytime potential for me. Kids in the City also was named a Parent's Choice GOLD winner. I look forward to hearing more Doherty albums!
and fun. I think





Track List --
1. I Spy -- game song
2. Kitty Cat* -- an invitation to sing along with the hummingbird, bee, pigeon, dog,
3. Hot Dog* -- food song -- colors song -- I could see this done as a flannel board!
4. Uncle Ukulele's Band -- musical instruments -- ukulele, bass, banjo, guitar, mandolin
5. Rockin' at the Zoo -- animal song -- movement song -- lions, monkeys, seals, penguins, elephants
6. Farmer's Market -- food song
7. Hello Hippopotamus -- imaginative song -- animals acting like people around the city
8. Wheels in the City -- I spy song -- impressive list of wheels and a catchy tune
9. El Train* -- transportation song -- smooth song with an element of a freeze song (clickety, clackety, STOP) -- added tidbit at the end of colors (the blue line is connected to the green line, etc)
10. Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head -- classic song
11. Uno Dos Tres* -- counting to ten in Spanish -- echo song -- I appreciated the slower speed of this  counting tune for better learning for littles.
12. Elevator Escalator* -- up and down song -- counting song (1-10 and count down at the end)
13. Sweet Home Chicago -- song originally by Robert Johnson, MPCA, LLC DBA King of Spades -- counting and alphabet song
14. Firefly -- lullaby song

Reviewed from a library copy.

Album: Kids in the City
Artist: Laura Doherty
Label: CD BABY.COM/INDYS
Genre: Kindie / Family
Length: 34:24
Release Date: May 2009
ASIN: B002APNO5G

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

A long title for a quick read!

Meet Perry, a 12-year-old who grew up in a minimal security prison in tiny, tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mother, Jessica is close to parole. They have dreams when they exit the gates. Their timeline is coming to a close. But Perry is forced to leave Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility without his mom and before the parole hearing. Something isn't right. Someone is turning their lives inside out. It's the new District Attorney.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook audiobook
I could not stop listening to this audiobook. It's up for an Audio Award this year and I can hear why it made the short-list for Middle Grade. Author Leslie Connor has written a story that grabs the reader and draws them into the world of Blue River. Perry's family turns into your family. The ups and downs, the joys and heartache become your own. You want to see everyone succeed! This is a story that after you hear it, you want to share it with everyone. You should hear this book!

Extra notes ... I want to hear more about the Blue River family! There are a couple curse/swear words in the story, but it is very minor. Other themes besides family and prison include friends, school, forgiveness, and truth.

Michael Crouch and Kathleen McInerney narrate All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook. I was intrigued about having two narrators. It fits the story well. Most of the book is narrated by Perry (Michael Crouch) while Jessica (Kathleen McInerney) narrates a couple chapters here and there. It's Perry's story, but it's Jessica's too. Both voices are needed to share the history of the Cook family. They don't take away from each other, but build on each other to create depth of character and understanding. Crouch and McInerney sounded good together in the story. The characters are on the younger side (11 and 29), and both narrators gave very believable voices for each main character. The supporting characters were given vocal depth as well, so they could be distinguished from one another. It was fantastic! I would listen to this book again.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
Read by Michael Crouch and Kathleen McInerney
Produced by Harper Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (8 parts)
Total Time: 9 hours, 41 minute
Release Date: March 2016
ISBN: 9780062448187

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Everything is Possible

Finding Faith & Courage to Follow Your Dreams

Jen Bricker, acrobat, aerialist, daughter, sister, and speaker, is a woman with a mission to succeed in life and praise the Lord. She strongly believes that God has an amazing plan for her and everyone in the world. We need to trust God and stay connected with Him. God will give His people unbelievable adventures.

Jen shares her story - good, bad, and everything in between. As she shares her life's struggles and victories, Jen encourages her readers. It's a very refreshing read. I would highly recommend Everything is Possible to readers who enjoy biographies, athleticism, and faith journeys.

Jen Bricker narrated her book which I really enjoyed. Her words were in her voice, which doesn't always happen in audiobooks. It was an enjoyable listen. One small note was at the very end of the book after information about how to contact her, she ends with, "Thank you." It felt so genuine and the perfect way to end her story.

Thank you, Jen Bricker for sharing your story and your faith!


I received this audiobook for free from christianaudio for an honest review.

Audio Book Details...
Everything is Possible by Jen Bricker
Read by Jen Bricker
Produced by Mission Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (14 parts)
Total Time: 3 hours, 47 minute
Release Date: September 2016
ASIN: B01J6HS5Y0

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale

Author Liz Braswell returns with book two in the Twisted Tales series. Book two, Once Upon a Dream tackles the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Just like book one, A Whole New World, the tell is a dark story. The tag line from the cover reads, "What if the Sleeping Beauty never woke up?"

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Once Upon a Dream a Twisted Tale
Maleficent is in control of Aurora's dream world. Aurora's dreams are gray and confusing without much love or sunlight. The tale picks up when Phillip pierces the dragon's heart and runs to wake up Aurora except the sleeping power of the castle overcomes Phillip before he can kiss Aurora. The reader is transported to Aurora's dream.

Familiar Disney characters appear in the story - Aurora Rose, Prince Phillip, Maleficent, Maleficent's minions, Aurora's parents, Phillip's father, and the three good fairies. New characters are also introduced into the tale as well.





Disney's Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite Disney movies. I was very intrigued to hear this story and how Braswell would twist this tale. She gave the characters added depth compared to the movie. The story is very dark with some bloody scenes. I was rather relieved to finally finish the audiobook. It was a bit lengthy for me and dark magic wasn't enjoyable. (Compared to book one, book two is just over an hour longer.) I would definitely place this story in the young adult / teen section of the library. There is a hint of romance, but it focuses more on individual growth versus relationship growth.

James Patrick Cronin returns to narrate Once Upon a Dream. His reading was enjoyable. I recognized his voice from book one, but I never felt that the character voices overlapped between the books. Which is great, since each story is a solo book in the series. The ladies voices were believable. Blackstone Audio added intro and exit music.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Blackstone Audio!

Audio Book Details...
Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
Read by James Patrick Cronin
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (37 parts)
Total Time: 9 hours, 42 minutes
Release Date: October 2016
ISBN: 9781504751346

Friday, February 10, 2017

Armchair Audies 2017

The Audies are awards given by the Audio Publishers Association, or the APA. Audiobooks from 26 different categories are narrowed down to a short list of finalists. The finalists were announced in February and the winners will be announced at the Gala in June. The Armchair Audies are audiobook enthusiasts who listen to the finalists in each category and cast a vote for the winner.
 
I want to listen to the Young Listeners and Middle Grade finalists. My goal is to listen to as many titles as I can find through the library system. If there is a generous publisher, author, narrator, or friend who has a spare copy to share, let me know!

The titles for each category are listed below. I hope to link my reviews to each of these titles. If I am unable to find a copy, I will share that as well. I'm looking forward to hearing some great audiobooks for young listeners!


2017 Audie Award Finalists for Middle Grade:
  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor, narrated by Michael Crouch and Kathleen McInerney, published by HarperAudio 
  • Demon Dentist by David Walliams, narrated by David Walliams, Jocelyn Jee Esien, and Nitin Ganatra, published by HarperAudio 
  • The Enchanted Files: Hatched by Bruce Coville, narrated by a full cast, published by Listening Library 
  • How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by Cressida Cowell, narrated by David Tennant, published by Hachette Audio 
  • The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, narrated by Adam Gidwitz and various, published by Listening Library

2017 Audie Award Finalists for Young Listeners:

  • 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr., narrated by a full cast, published by Live Oak Media 
  • Island Treasures: Growing up in Cuba by Alma Flor Ada, narrated by Trini Alvarado, published by Recorded Books 
  • The Quentin Blake and John Yeoman Collection by Quentin Blake and John Yeoman, narrated by Stephen Thorne, published by Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd 
  • The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter, narrated by Helen Mirren, published by Listening Library 
  • Voice of Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, narrated by Janina Edwards, published by Dreamscape Media, LLC 
  • The Wooden Prince: Out of Abaton by John Claude Bemis, narrated by Ralph Lister, published by Oasis Audio


Want to join the audiobook fun of the Audies? Visit Armchair Audies and sign-up to judge a category! You can also follow these audiobook awards on Twitter with hashtags #ArchairAudies and #Audies2017. Happy listening, friends!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Audies 2017

Today was the day the Audio Publishers Association announced this year's Audie Award Finalists! It's an exciting day for publishers, writers, narrators, and audiobook lovers. The Audies are called the Oscars of audiobooks. This year's hashtag is #Audies2017. The winners will be announced during the Gala in New York on Thursday, June 1, 2017.

Adolescent Audio Adventures primarily focuses on listens for younger readers. Here are the nominations for Young Listeners, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. For a complete listing of the 2017 Audie Award Finalists, check out the AudioFile Magazine press release.







Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights

Welcome back to the world of Frozen!  Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and friends continue their adventures in Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights! A rock troll, Little Rock, is ready for a new crystal and with the help of his friends he will earn his tracking crystal.

Adolescent Audio Adventures review of Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights audiobook

I felt that author, Suzanne Francis (Disney Press) captured the character very well. Olaf was so Olaf and everyone else seemed true to their personalities first introduced in the movie. If readers want more Frozen, this is a fine book. I could hear the kid appeal. I was intrigued to see where the story would go as I did enjoy the movie. I doubt that I would listen to this book again. I would recommend this book to Frozen fans or young listeners who are earning badges.

Narrator Andrew Eiden was a fine narrator for Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights. He had different character voices and youthfulness in his narration. I would listen to him again.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Blackstone Audio!

I received this audiobook for free from Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review.

Audio Book Details...
Frozen Northern Lights: Journey to the Lights by Suzanne Francis
Read by Andrew Eiden
Produced by Blackstone Audio / Disney Press
Number of Discs: MP3 download (20 parts)
Total Time: 2 hours, 23 minutes
Release Date: July 19, 2016
ASIN: B01INXXGJW

Monday, December 26, 2016

Review: Grayling's Song

Grayling's Song is a juvenile fiction novel written by Karen Cushman. She created a medieval world with magic. Grayling sets off on a journey to find magical people who can help her mother (and others along the way) who is turning into a tree. It's a ragtag team that comes together and helps Grayling along the way. It's a fine quest story. The unlikely characters are a good mix of interesting. It reminded me a little bit of Christopher Healy's series, The League of Princes. Grayling is more serious, and Healy is more humorous. I picked up Grayling's Song because of the narrator, Katherine Kellgren, and the fantasy element. If readers appreciate, medieval times, music, or Ms. Kellgren I would recommend this book to them.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman
Katherine Kellgren was an amazing narrator. Grayling sings throughout the story and Kellgren sings to tunes, too. Acapella. I am every so impressed when music is added to an audiobook. I am even more impressed when narrators feel comfortable and confident while singing without a tune in the background. Wow! Beyond the singing, Kellgren offers different voices for each character which sounded very authentic to the type of character Cushman described: crabby weather witch, languid enchantress, a befuddled wizard, and more. I would definitely listen to Kellgren again.

Grayling's Song reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 5 hours, 6 minutes
Release Date: June 7, 2016
ISBN: 9781501916922
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