Friday, December 21, 2012

The Fire Chronicles

The Fire ChronicleThe Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

The three siblings return to another orphanage in hope of safety from their enemies. Unfortunately, their enemies find them and the children are on the run. Kate took ownership of the Emerald Atlas and reigned over traveling through time. Yet, as she escaped from an enemy she lost consciousness and trapped herself in the past. With Kate missing, Michael is head of the family and is entrusted to care for his little sister, Emma. Michael, Emma, Dr. Pym and Gabriel join forces to fight the their enemies, find the Fire Chronicle, and look for a way to bring Kate back to them.

Oh, John Stephens! There were no words when I finished listening to The Fire Chronicle. I could only give a loud shout of protest that the story was done. I don't want to give any details away from this amazing story. I want you to read it or listen to it. Stephens continues the chase scenes and the fight between good and evil. You think you can follow the story then an amazing twist arrives to make you stop and ponder, "What will happen next!?" It was so difficult to wait for The Fire Chronicle and now the waiting has intensified for book three. I think book three will be the most anticipated book for 2013.

The amazing Jim Dale returns to read The Fire Chronicle. His characters remain true to the first book and the new characters are equally fun and imaginative. My favorite voices were, well, come to think of it, hard to pinpoint. It was just amazing. I hope Dale will read the next installment of The Books of Beginning.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens
Series: Book Two, The Books of Beginning
Read by Jim Dale
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 10
Total Time: 12 hours, 30 minutes

Friday, November 30, 2012

3 Below

Floors #2: 3 BelowFloors #2: 3 Below by Patrick Carman

The Whippet Hotel is now under the ownership of young Leo Fillmore. Mr. Whippet passed his hotel to Leo, but failed to take care of some business. The hotel owes back taxes! Leo and Remy need to travel through undiscovered floors to find the money needed to pay the taxes or the hotel will be put up for auction.

Carman's second Floors novel continues where book ones ends. The characters remained strong and the new characters add extra flavor to the story. The new floors that Leo and Remy discovered were so creative and unexpected. Similar to the first novel, the ending turns out for the best and there are hints to more Floors adventures.

Jesse Bernstein returns to narrator the second Floors novel. His character voices remain true to his original interpretation. Jesse is youthful and distinguishes the characters from each other.j

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Floors by Patrick Carman
Series: Book Two, Floors
Read by Jesse Bernstein
Produced by Scholastic Audiobooks
Number of Discs: 5
Total Time: 6 hours

Friday, November 16, 2012

Stealing Magic: a Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure

Stealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms AdventureStealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure by Marianne Malone

Ruthie and Jack discovered the magic of the Thorne Rooms located at the Chicago Art Institute in The Sixty-Eight Rooms. They made friends and solved mysteries, but their adventure didn't end with the discovery of Mr. Bell's photographs. Ruthie and Jack return to the Thorne Rooms only to discover a thief. Someone is taking objects from the Thorne Rooms!

Malone continues the magic of life in a museum. In Stealing Magic, a life-size mystery is revealed. She intertwines magical objects, art, technology, and student crime solvers. Characters from the first novel also make an appearance to assist Ruthie and Jack throughout the story. Stealing Magic was a faster read than the first novel. The first story lays out the magic and the basics of the Thorne Rooms. This second installment jumps right in, so it is faster paced. I would highly recommend listening (or reading) the first book before venturing into the second.

Cassandra Campbell returns to read Stealing Magic. I love it when narrators continue reading a series! Campbell is a mellow reader and shares the story well.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Stealing Magic: a Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure by Marianne Malone
Series: Book 2, The Sixty-Eight Rooms
Read by Cassandra Campbell
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 5
Total Time: 6.5 hours

Friday, September 14, 2012

War Horse

War Horse - AudioWar Horse - Audio by Michael Morpurgo

Albert's father aquires a beautiful horse. Albert immediately bonds with his father's new horse and names him Joey to along with their old farm horse, Zoey. As war becomes closer to their village, soldiers come and seek out available horses for their calvary. To keep the farm, Albert's father sells Joey. Albert it heartbroken. He asks to join the calvary, but is denied because of his youth. Albert returns home with a promise to find his beloved Joey.

War Horse is a play and a movie, but the original is a book by Michael Morpurgo. I wanted to hear the original text before seeing the play or the film version. Teachers and researchers require original resources and readers should seek them out as well.

War Horse is a short book with an amazing storyline. Listeners (and readers) see war via a calvary horse. They hear about the love of animals and the misunderstanding of using calvary in modern warfare. The story is heartbreaking, but do not toss it aside. I would highly recommend this title for any reader interested in war stories, horse tales, or overcoming adversity. I am looking forward to seeing the various interpretations on stage and film.

John Keating narrates War Horse and various Irish stories. Joey, the horse travels all over the world, so the Keating must add several dialects in his narration. When the characters moves from the UK, to France and Germany, the narration changed as well as male and female voices. Some of the group scenes were similar in character, but still understandable and very acceptable. I am very pleased the decision to use Keating for a European story would be very flat without a him.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Read by John Keating
Produced by Scholastic Audiobooks
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 4 minutes

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Willoughbys

The WilloughbysThe Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

What a wimpsical and riotous story about a family called Willoughby! The parents don't like their children and the children don't like their parents. They are out to remove themselves from each other's care. Surprisingly...yet unspirisingly...freedom is won! The adults go off on vacation and sell their home. The children leave their home and live with a neighbor.

Lowry freely sprinkles outrageous and classic moments throughout the story. The children label themselves as old fashioned children, so they constantly share the names and booktitles of classic litruature such as Pollyanna, Heidi, etc. The crazy antics include giving away a baby, sharing one sweater between twins, and hiding from the realtor.

Arte Johnson is a wonderul fit as narrator for The Willoughbys. He has a classic radio voice which goes hand in hand with the homage to classic children's stories. Even the glossary at the end is amusing to hear.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Read by Arte Johnson
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 2 hours, 56 minutes

Friday, July 27, 2012

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic EyesPeter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

A baby boy was found in the ocean and brought to land by sailors. He was sent to an orphange and named Peter. A hard-hearted thief saw Peter's small, nimble fingers and adopted him, so Peter could pick locks and steal. Peter scratched out a living, until he unlocked a visiting magician's wagon and stole a mysterious box filled with magical eyes.

The magical title in a golden and curly font above a shadowy figure on the rooftops caught me right away. I began reading a digital copy from NetGalley, but never finished. When the book officially released, I found the audio version as soon as possible so I could finish the tale. I loved the historical fiction beginning of Peter Nimble, but was taken aback at the quick change to fantasy. I knew the story would be magical, but I never pictured such a fantastical tale. I believe this story will be enjoyed by elementary and middle school students. Families could add this to their playlist on a car trip. The story was predictable, but I think the younger listeners will enjoy figuring out the clues and how the story fits together.

Michael Page narrates Auxier's imaginative tale. (He previously narrated Leaving the Bellweathers.) Most of the voices were distinct. The voices that puzzled me were the police or mob creatures. They sounded very similar, so every once in while I did not know who was talking in the scene. My favorite characters were the sea creatures near the end of the book.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
Read by Michael Page
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 8
Total Time: 9 hours, 48 minutes

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Help

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

A friend told me about The Help before the movie came out. I tend to read more juvenile fiction, YA, or faith fiction, so I set it aside for the moment. As more friends shared the enjoyment of the book, I added it to my "to-read" mental list. As the book gained popularity and became a film, I sat down and placed a library hold on The Help. It wasn't until I finished another audiobook that I finally picked up and listened to The Help.

More? Ms. Stockett can you please give me more!? 

To date, The Help has been the longest audiobook I have followed with 15 discs. It looked daunting, but once it began I couldn't listen to the CDs fast enough. The Help told the story of several ladies who lived in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960's. Stockett shares the stories of society ladies and stories about household help. This novel will touch your heart and give much food for thought. She wraps up her characters very well, but I greedily want to know more. I want to follow the lived of these amazing characters. I want to hear how Baby Girl grows up and how Aibileen becomes a writer. I want to see the new Skeeter and if she meets a special someone. I much more.

Well, listeners (and readers) will just have to wait and see.

The multiple readers added a beautiful flair to this piece. The readers gave life to Aibileen Clark, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and Minny Jackson. The middle section that embodied all the characters (like a news article about the benefit) was read by a seperate narrator. The middle section was the strangest, but after talking with someone who read the book verses listening to it, it was understandable. A highlight was listening to Octavia Spencer. I enjoy her numerous roles as an actress and she was also the movie version of Minny.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Read by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell
Produced by Penguin Audio
Number of Discs: 15
Total Time: ca. 18 hours

Friday, June 22, 2012


Floors Book 1- AudioFloors by Patrick Carman

Welcome to the Wippet Hotel! The Wippet was created by an excentric gentlemen who excelled at creating strange inventions. Each floor of the hotel is unique and full of surprises and adventures. No one knows the ins and outs better then the janitorial staff of the Fillmore family. Leo Fillmore discovers all this and more when a mysterious box is discovered...which leads to more myserious boxes.

Carman writes an amazingly imaginative tale that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. If you need a book that needs to span a range of ages during a roadtrip, this is an excellent selection. The older listeners might be able predict the some plot points, but there are plenty of surprises along the way. The ending wraps up happily with hints at more Wippet adventures.

Jesse Bernstein reads the first Floors novel. The narrator is well-known for his reading of The Lightning Thief and the Percy Jackson series. His voice is youthful and he differentiates between the characters. I prefer consistancy between books, so if the Floors series continues, I hope Berstein will return to tell the tale.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Floors by Patrick Carman
Series: Book One, Floors
Read by Jesse Bernstein
Produced by Scholastic Audiobooks
Number of Discs: 5
Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Audiobook Month!

Did you know? June is audiobook month! With the majority of schools breaking for summer, June is a wonderful time to celebrate the audiobook format of reading. These auditory adventures are wonderful to listen to when traveling, finishing chores, taking a walk, or just for fun! My favorite place to enjoy an audiobook is during my commute to work. When do you like to listen to audiobooks?

Happy listening, friends!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami YodaThe Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda has a sequel called Darth Paper Strikes Back. These books are popular among tweens and teens at the library. To catch up on reading I jumped in and found the audiobook version.

Origami Yoda is a short chapter books lasting the length of two compact discs. Surprisingly, Recorded Books used five narrators to represent all the characters in this novel. The storyline includes a crowd of unpopular teens who deal with the surprising wisdom from Dwight's paper puppet. The chapters are people's reflections about the circumstances around Yoda's wisdom. The main character, Tommy, remarks upon each incident as does Harvey who is pessimistic about Yoda's/Dwight's wisdom.

I understand the pull of Origami Yoda. Angleberger shares the themes of frienship, school life, and relationships. He also focuses on an extremely popular pastimes of Star Wars and origami. Listening to Origami Yoda looses some of the uniquness of the novel itself. Character Kellen adds doodles to the pages and being audio, you miss out on the illustrations. If audio is preferred format, go ahead and have a listen, but reading it would be the best format for Origami Yoda.

The readers include Mark Turetsky, Greg Stenbruner, Jonathan Todd Ross, Julia Gibson, and Charlotte Parry. With so many characters, it was wonderful to hear a audible clue of who's case is the focus of the chapter. Overall, everyone shared a great story. Some narrator's tried too hard to capture a teen's attitude and voice characteristics. My favorite was the cases recorded with a player (then trascribed by Tommy). I also enjoyed everyone's rendition of Yoda's voice - very humorous.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Series: Book One, Origami Yoda
Read by Mark Turetsky, Greg Stenbruner, Jonathan Todd Ross, Julia Gibson, and Charlotte Parry
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 2
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Purchase The Strange Case of Origami Yoda from Amazon (Affiliate)

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Case of the Deadly Desperados

The Case of the Deadly Desperados: Western Mysteries, Book OneThe Case of the Deadly Desperados: Western Mysteries, Book One by Caroline Lawrence

P.K. Pinkerton is on the run. His adoptive parents were murdered by a gang masquerading as American Indians. He needed to escape before he was killed as well. He runs to Virginia City to find an escape, but Wittlin Walt is always right behind P.K.

Lawrence's newest mystery series is centered in the Wild West during the Silver Rush. I heard about the popularity of this book and I enjoy a good Western. It was a very pleasant surprise to find a new series. P.K. keeps running and the listener will be on the edge of their seat to see if he succeeds. He needs to grow up fast and be quick witted to survive in a city where no once trusts each other. The final twists to the tale are clever and interesting. I am looking forward to hearing book two, The Case of the Good-Looking Corpse.

T. Sands is the narrator of this tale. With a diverse community in Virigina, Sands did a wonderful job distinguishing the different accents. P.K.'s twelve year old voice wasn't too deep or too high, very believeable with a country hitch. I hope Sands will return to read again.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence
Series: Book 1, Western Mysteries
Read by T. Sands
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 7 hours, 19 minutes

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Haunting of Charles Dickens

The Haunting of Charles DickensThe Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee

Meg Pickel's older brother, Orion, has gone missing. She is determined to find him and the Dicken's novel that he took with him. As she spies a seance from a neighbor's roof, she meets author Charles Dickens. With the help of Mr. Dickens, Meg and Charles set out to find Orion in the city of London.

The haunting begins with the seance seen from the roof. The mysterious gathering is a cover for more dangerous activity with lost and stolen children. With a ghostly character named Peter, the ghostly haunting is done. The haunting refers to the sleepless nights of Dickens and Meg. Meg is searching for her missing brother and a way to help the lost children of London. Dickens seeks a muse for another book. They are haunted by circumstances.

I am not a fan of ghostly tales, so this take on hauntings was refreshing. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will enjoy this tale. A fictional look at an author is imaginative and fun. Buzbee's piece can open the readers to the world of Dickens, his stories and his London. This is an excellent jumping point for researching the life and times of Charles Dickens, historical London, or children workers.

Ralph Lister, a UK-trained actor, reads this piece. A British voice is needed with a book based in London and Lister shares a wonderful rendition.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Lewis Buzbee
Read by Ralph Lister
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 8
Total Time: 9 hours, 47 minutes

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Whites Of Their Eyes (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School, #3)The Whites Of Their Eyes by Andrew Clements

The last day of school is coming closer and Benjamin Pratt is running out of time. Jill and Ben need another Keeper of the School. Janitor Lyman is upping the game with technology and they need to outsmart him. The school and its history needs to survive!

With each new addition to Clements series, I am left on the edge of my seat. Clements is writing a series that is reminiscent of the serialized novels of the 1800's. Readers from the past would wait for book chapters to be printed in the newspaper. Once the complete story was finished, printers would publish the novel in several novels (think Charles Dickens). I want to read the whole book in one sitting and Clements is drawing the readers along so cleverly. Bravo! I cannot wait for the next installment!

Keith Nobbs returns to narrate the third Keepers of the School. With the first words, the characters spring back to mind immediately. I look forward to his next rendition of the Keepers of the School.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Whites of Their Eyes by Andrew Clements
Series: Book 3, Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School
Read by Keith Nobbs
Produced by Simon & Schustler Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow

Hitler YouthHitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
To use Bartoletti's words, the story of Hitler Youth is "complicated, riveting, and turns the heart over." The author spent two years studying to give listeners (and readers) a glimpse into twelve years of history.

I cannot describe the stories in this non-fiction piece. After watching the History Channel's series on The Third Reich, this audiobook was very intriguing find on the library shelf. It was amazing and heart stopping to hear how children and young people played such a large role in history. I would highly recommend this book.

The enhanced CD adds another layer of interest. The photos are from archives and personal albums (shown with permission). If the book is not available, the added photographs on the CD are a great plus.

Kathrin Kana reads Hitler Youth along with the author. Her voice is deep and serious. Her accent on German names and places is wonderful and genuine.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Read by Kathrin Kana and Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 27 minutes

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the TalesThe Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales by Chris Van Allsburg

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

For more than twenty-five years, readers have been puzzling over the illustrations by this enigmatic artist. Thousands of children have been inspired to weave their own stories to go with his intriguingly titled pictures. And now, some of our most imaginative storytellers attempt to solve the perplexing mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Enter The Chronicles of Harris Burdick to hear this incredible collection of stories: magical, humerous, creepy, poignant, inscrutable, these are tales you will not forget.

Readers who enjoy slightly scary and strange stories will appreciate Van Allsburg's collection. The biggest difference between the book and audiobook is, of course, the illustrations. It would have been nice to have a leaflet of the illustrations with the audiobook. I was fortunate to have the book and audiobook checked out at the same time.

Three readers were included in this drama - Cassandra Campbell, Christopher Lane, and Luke Daniels. I assumed that readers would rotate between stories, but they did not. Campbell told all the stories and the gentlemen read the introduction at the beginning and the original introduction at the end. Campbell has a pleasant voice. The pauses between the stories were too quick for my taste. Music, extended pauses, or even a second reader would have a been appreciated between each story.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales by Chris Van Allsburg
Read by Cassandra Campbell, Christopher Lane, and Luke Daniels
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 6 hours, 19 minutes

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Unwanteds

The UnwantedsThe Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Quill runs a severe classification system between Wanteds and Unwanteds. Wanted individuals follow the rules and do their jobs. Unwanteds show trouble or artistic leanings. When Quillians reach age 13, they attend the Purge. Wanteds become members of society while Unwanteds face the Eliminators. Unknown the to Wanteds, the Unwanteds enter a world of Artime that encourages creativity as a gift and as a weapon. The time is coming when Artime will be revealed.

The Kirkus Review quote on the cover reads, "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter." Don't be fooled by comparing books. The Unwanteds can stand on it's own in the fantasy genre. Yes, there is magic like Harry Potter and yes, there are teens caught in a battle like Hunger Games. McMann adds talking statues and uncommon creatures. She pits siblings against each other and divides families and friends. She also opens to the doors to new friendships and the new lifestyles found in the colorful world of Artime. The Unwanteds is the first book of McMann's fantasty series. The second novel, Island of Silence, is coming in August of 2012. I am looking forward to hearing more about artistic Artime and colorless Quill.

Simon Jones reads this unabridged recording of The Unwanteds. His characters are distinctive and enjoyable. His natural accent is also enjoyable on the ears. I hope he returns to read McMann's second book.
Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Series: Book 1, The Unwanteds
Read by Simon Jones
Produced by Simon & Schustler Audio
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 480 minutes

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Heroes of Olympus return! In the previous novel, The Lost Hero, a new camper arrived at Camp Half-Blood. The Son of Neptune picks up the other half of the story with the reappearance of our good friend Percy Jackson. Instead of returning to Camp Half-Blood, he is drawn to the Roman camp. His memories are gone, but his new friends help me maintain his grip on reality and even team up on a quest to the Alaska, the edge of the world!

Riordan is very compelling writer. I started listening to The Lightning Thief with the intent to become familiar with the series. I never thought to continue. Yet, here is a review for book two of series two. Riordan's books are excellent reads for tweens, teens, and adults. On a side note, recently watching The Eagle (2011) helped my understanding of Romans and their dedication to the eagle (pictured on the front of the novel).

Joshua Swanson returns as the reader. I appreciated that the selected reader for the series is consistent, but Swanson is not my preferred voice actor. I have grown accustomed to his renditions, but they fall flat for me. You might wonder why I bother to continue to listen rather than read. I began the Olympian series as audiobooks, so I must finish the series as an audiobook. It's consistency.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Series: Book 2, Heroes of Olympus
Read by Joshua Swanson
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 11
Total Time: 13 hours, 28 minutes

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Sixty-Eight Rooms

The Sixty-Eight RoomsThe Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Welcome to a new view of the Thorne Rooms from the Art Institute of Chicago. The Thorne Rooms are miniatures that depict different times and places in history. While on a field trip, Jack and Ruthie discover the magic of the Thorne Rooms. It goes beyond the historic details of each room. Jack find a key and when Ruthie holds it, the key takes her on an unforgettable journey to the present and the past.
Malone grew up in the Chicago area and shares the lives of two elementary students living in the Midwest. Her background in art history and her familiarity with the Thorne Rooms clearly shows. It was nice to read a book placed in the Midwest. I enjoyed the magic of walking around a miniature room with Ruthie and Jack. It was exciting to see how the past and present collided. Towards the ending, I felt it could have ended in several places, but Malone continued to include tidbits for a second book. I am intrigued to see how the story unfolds.
Cassandra Campbell shared the story. She has a comfortable voice with pleasant differences between characters. I enjoyed the distinctive qualities between the historic characters. I hope Campbell returns for the second Sixty-Eight Rooms book.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
Series: Book 1, The Sixty-Eight Rooms
Read by Cassandra Campbell
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 7 hours

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Flint Heart

The Flint HeartThe Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Jump into the world of British fairy tales! John Paterson and his wife Katherine freely adapted Eden Phillpott's original story, The Flint Heart. They modernized the tale for today's readers. If you are a lover of fairy tales, find this treasure. Brilliance Audio also included an amazing afterword with Katherine Paterson.

The story reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. The pieces fit together, but in unexpected ways. Mysterious creatures and inanimate objects come to life! Reader Ralph Lister is enjoyable to hear. His UK training is appreciated considering this is an English story.

When you finish this tale, you might be interested in finding the original. The Flint Heart is an old story and isn't easy to find. I recommend Google Books to view of copy of Philpott's original tale.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Flint Heart freely adapted by Katherine Paterson & John Paterson
Read by Ralph Lister
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Friday, March 16, 2012

Operation Yes

Operation YesOperation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Operation Yes intrigues the reader with the toy army men on the cover. I personally never read the back cover. I liked the army men and figured that the story would be about army men coming to life and saving their owners. Yes, it would be a novel like Toy Story the movie.
I was wrong. After listening to the first track I questioned if I should continue. The story was about Bo, Bo's mom and Bo's cousin Gari. They all worked for the various divisions in the military. I am not too familiar with military life, so this was really eye-opening information. This was a fantastic novel about making your voice heard, living on a military base and learning to open yourself up to new experience. I would highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for realistic fiction or children of today.
Jessica Almasy read Operation Yes. When the story began with a male character, I was taken aback. Usually, male main characters are read by male readers. But Operation Yes is more than Bo; Operation Yes is about Bo and Gari and Miss Loop and all the students in school. I enjoyed Almasy's reading. I especially enjoyed the dynamic sessions in the taped space.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes
Read by Jessica Almasy
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 6 hours, 28 minutes

Friday, March 9, 2012

It Happened on a Train

It Happened on a Train: Brixton Brothers, Book 3It Happened on a Train: Brixton Brothers, Book 3 by Mac Barnett

Steve Brixton is finished with being a detective. After discovering the ghostwriter's secret, he is set on throwing away the entire Bailey Brothers series and his own detective agency. Yet, a mystery catches his attention during a train ride. He agrees to come out of retirement, just this once.
The mystery, the danger, the humor! I love the Brixton Brothers books. Every time a another book appears, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Barnett writes a story that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. I would highly recommend reading the Brixton Brothers (starting with book one, because they do follow an order), to anyone who wants a mystery or humorous story. If the reader enjoys both genres, it's a perfect fit!

Arte Johnson returns to read book 3. Johnson brings perfect animation to the Brixton Brothers. He isn't flamboyant but straight forward in his approach. I hope all future Brixton Brothers books will be read by Johnson.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
It Happened on a Train by Mac Barnett
Series: Book 3, Brixton Brothers
Read by Arte Johnson
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Year of Audiobooks

Adolescent Audio Adventures began on February 25, 2011. I wanted to share my joy of audiobooks with others who enjoy listening to books. It's been a full year and it's time to stock of all the books I heard over the year. Let's break it down...

Juvenile Fiction [estimated trt: 7 days, 8 hours, 13 minutes]
Leaving the Bellweathers
Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster
The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity
The Ghostwriter Secret
Lulu and the Brontosaurus
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
The Candy Shop Wars
Abby Carnelia's One and Only Magical Power
Bless This Mouse
100 Cupboards
A Tale Dark and Grimm
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Peter Pan
The Emerald Atlas
The Candymakers
Secrets of a Civil War Submarine
No Passengers Beyond This Point
Fear Itself
Rise of the Evening Star
Grip of the Shadow Plague
Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary
Keys to the Demon Priso
Murder at Midnight 
The Hidden Gallery
Brown Bear & Friends 
The Unwanteds
Operation Yes
It Happened on a Train
Son of Neptune
The Flint Heart
The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Young Adult [trt:  20 hours, 32 minutes]
Death Cloud

Adult [trt: 16 hours, 2 minutes]
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Over 30 books and over 200 hours of audiobook excellence. Trips back and forth to work will never be the same. I am looking forward to another year of amazing audio adventures. What was your favorite audiobook last year? What book are looking forward to hear this year?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brown Bear & Friends

Brown Bear & FriendsBrown Bear & Friends by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
Brown Bear & Friends features the four wildly popular bear stories by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle. I would recommend reading the books and enjoying the vibrant illustrations before listening to these audiobooks. This compilation is read by Gwyneth Paltrow.

According to the back cover description, the audiobook only includes four picture books. The listener is in for a few surprises! After Gwyneth Paltrow shares her versions of Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Panda Bear and Baby Bear, Adriana Sananes shares each story in Spanish! Even if you are not familiar with Spanish, Sananes shares an excellent retelling. Following the eight stories, Macmillan Audio includes Bill Martin Jr. reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear and then an interview with Eric Carle.

I was greatly disappointed by the description on the back of Brown Bear & Friends. Only Paltrow is credited to reading and with a description of "Academy Award winning actress and mother." I thought the description was poorly stated. She won awards and she's a mother! With those accreditation, it clearly makes her an appropriate narrator. I understand descriptions need to by eye catching and informative, but it rankles me when writers throw in information that seems to justify why they chose one person over another.

Paltrow's versions include music underneath each book while she soothingly shares each tale. Her voice would be welcome for young listeners. The stories would also be gentle stories before bedtime.

Adriana Sananes shares dynamic retellings of the bear books. I know a smattering of Spanish so it was really interesting to see what I could understand and follow. Music was not included underneath her audio tracks. I would be interested to hear her entertain again.

Bill Martin Jr's recording was great. I love to hear author's read their own work, because they will read it as they picture it in their head. It's a special treat.

Finally, the interview with Eric Carle was very informative. I wish it could have been longer, but then the cd would have ran over an hour. Oh, well. I would recommend this audiobook to librarians and teachers. It is very versatile with English stories, Spanish stories and an illustrator interview.

Paltrow's versions - 3/5
Sananes' versions - 4/5
Martin's version - 4/5
Carle interview - 5/5

Reviewed from a library copy.

Stephanie also reviews this audiobook at's blog Vox Daily.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Hidden Gallery

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2) The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2) by Maryrose Wood

Maryrose Wood continues the tale of how Miss Penelope Lumley is turning Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia into acceptable and mannerly children. The Incorrigibles are still learning the ins and outs of society. Unfortunately...or fortunately?...the children learn their lessons while visiting the bustling city of London. The city life presents new challenges including a run-in with palace guards and an abundance of pigeons.

Listeners are in for a treat! Katherine Kellgren returns to read the second Incorrigible Children of Ashton place. I was on the edge of my seat to checkout this story. I love the Incorrigibles and their adventures. Kellgren shares these books with finesse. I look forward to listening to The Hidden Gallery again soon. The next book, The Unseen Guest, is coming out this year. I cannot wait!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
Series: Book 2, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 5
Total Time: 5 hours, 57 minutes
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