Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Unreviewed Audiobooks

Throughout the year I've enjoyed many great (and not so great) audiobooks. The goal of Adolescent Audio Adventures is to continually post reviews on the books read through the year, but life speeds by and the review is not posted. Here's a wrap up post for the unreviewed audiobooks  in the year of 2014.

In a Glass Grimmly by

The Secret of the Key by Marianne Malone, read by Cassandra Campbell


The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Read by Kristen Bel
Book 01: Veronica Mars
Produced by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Number of Discs: MP3 download (7 parts)
Total Time: 8 hours, 42 minutes
ISBN: 9780804193528

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck, read by James McCourt

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift: A Christmas TaleThe Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale by Philip Van Doren Stern

Have you heard of The Greatest Gift? Are you familiar with the Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life? The Greatest Gift was the inspiration for that classic film! The first time I heard about it was after my high school theatre production of It's a Wonderful Life. My parents gifted me a hard copy of The Greatest Gift. I was not familiar with this little book and mum explained that this book was the inspiration for the play I recently participated in at school. Thanks, Mum for the introduction!

I was so thrilled to see the audiobook available from Simon & Schuster Audio. This tiny tale was meant to be shared and reach out to everyone. The Greatest Gift is a about discovering life and worth. If you've watched George Bailey's life in the movie, the story will be different and very brief in comparison. Frank Capra fleshed out the story and gave it more background, but the original message is still present. The greatest gift is life. Everyone is important and plays a roll in the world around them. It'a a beautiful story to share.

Edward Herrmann narrates Van Doren Stern's story. He has a good voice and shares the story with subtle flair throughout. It's not a radio play or a movie script, but a story. He isn't overly dramatic which is good. I believe the story should be heard, reflected upon, and savored.

Simon & Schuster Audio did add an afterward to their new audiobook publication. Philip Van Doren Stern's daughter Marguerite Stern Robinson wrote a brief memoir about the experience of The Greatest Gift and how it turned into It's a Wonderful Life. Robinson's afterward is read by Madeline Maby. This special tidbit is not advertised on the CD, the case, or the sleeve. I found that interesting and strange. Simon & Schuster Audio does share information about the afterward on their online product description.

Another enjoyable audio tidbit is the use of music. The music throughout is the song AuldLang Syne. The movie (and stage production) end with that song. It's a lovely piece to add to this audiobook edition.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio!

Audio Book Details...

Madeline Maby

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Christmas Quiet Book

The Christmas Quiet BookThe Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood

When the original Quiet Book and Loud Book appeared at the library, I was a bit skeptical. It seemed like a rather odd topic for little ones to read and enjoy, but I was amazed at how Underwood pinpointed moments of life. When The Christmas Quiet Book appeared a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to read that book right away.

I have savored The Christmas Quiet Book and shared it with others. I've also noticed the popularity of Underwood's stories. It is now available as an audiobook and on DVD by Dreamscape Media. I listened to the three minute audiobook, then listened to it again while paging through the picture book.

I found it best to listen with the book rather than listen to the recording alone. The audiobook features Susie Berneis as the reader and she does a fine job expressing the lines. She has a lovely voice.

Some of the lines had sound effects while some of them did not - it was a ratio of about 1 in 3. I wasn't a big fan of most of the sound effects. I think the story can stand on it's own. Some of the effects were heard at the same time as the narration and that can be difficult to separate the layers of sound. It might be best if the sounds were before or after each narrated line.

I enjoyed the opening and closing music on the CD. I wonder what it would have sounded like with the light music during the entire story.

I still believe this is a strong book and I would share it with anyone - young children, elementary students, grown-ups, grandparents. The recording can also be shared with anyone. It's a gentle, thought provoking book. The narration lends itself to use for non-readers or early readers that want to enjoy the book but cannot read or are learning to read.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Dreamscape Media, LLC!

Dreamscape Media, LLC

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Incredible Journey

The Incredible JourneyThe Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

The only reference I had for The Incredible Journey was watching Disney's 1993 movie: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey when I was younger. I figured it was (finally) time to read the original.

I checked out the Incredible Journey from my library's Overdrive collection, so I could enjoy it while I walked. It made an excellent companion because the animals were on the move and so was I! It also kept my interest as I relived that the Disney movie was far from the book. (But aren't most movie adaptations far from the book?)

I'll try not to play the comparison game between the two media forms. Each are great in the their own way. The biggest different was the location of the book - it's not America, it's Canada! The location made the journey so much harder because winter was coming. I say winter in Canada is harder because it is further North than the US. It's also wilder, less populated in certain parts of their country. (This book was written in 1960, when less people populated the earth and technology wasn't at everyone's fingertips.)

I appreciated that Burnford wrote about her animals as animals. They were not speaking to each other or holding conversations with humans or other critters. The author observed and reported the happenings on the journey. It made the story come alive in reality, rather than fantasy.

The audiobook version was narrated by Megan Follows. It took me a little bit to realize who was reading. (I checked out the book without paying attention to the narrator.) Her voice was so familiar and when I looked it up I was so pleased to read the name Megan Follows! She is known for her role as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. (One of my favorite film series.) Follows has a fine voice for narration. I also appreciated that Listening Library hired a Canadian to narrate a Canadian story. Something different in the recording was the use of music in the story. The music faded in when their were intense moments of the story. I thought that was very interesting. I think it was added to either warn younger readers about trouble ahead or heighten the emotions of the listener. Either way it was interesting. I don't think it took away from the story, but I'm not sure if it added anything either.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Listening Library

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Hero's Guide Series

The Hero's Guide Series by Christopher Healy, read by Bronson Pinchot
Book 01 - The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Book 02 - The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was published in  2012. Being a fan of retold and fractured fairytales, I immediately added it to my to-read list. As more titles in the series were published my list got that much longer. Finally, I took the time to checkout and listen to Healy's manly retold fairytales.

They are laugh out loud hilarious! I enjoyed listening to them so much, I recommended them to others before I even finished the books. Christopher Healy focuses on the Prince Charmings, and/or Princes Charming, of various famous tales and gives them a country and a back story. Each prince has a different family life, different strengths and weaknesses, and different wardrobes. It's odd to mention wardrobes, but wardrobes do mean something in these tales. The princesses are also unique in personality as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

The first book brings all the princes together for the first time. They are fighting the bards' silly songs that don't share the truth of their stories! As they try to bring the truth to their lands, they stumble upon a nasty plot to bring down all the kingdoms. They need to work together to save everyone and their lands.

The second book follows up with the princes and their princesses. After their *soiler alert* success at saving their kingdoms, they need to handle their fame and their futures. The princes return home, but soon enough they need to band together. They need to save a powerful weapon that's in the wrong hands. As the title states, it is a Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle.

Between book one and book two, the characters and their personalities remained strong and sure. The consistency was fabulous. Book two brought well-known characters and new characters into the storyline. The danger, surprise, and plot twists in each novel were fantastic.

What truly brought the Hero's Guide series to life was narrator Bronson Pinchot. He gave each kingdom their own accent and each character their own voice and flair. I was astounded. Mr. Pinchot was amazing! The hilarious storyline brought together with the remarkable reading truly created a fantastical piece that will be well remembered. I cannot wait to hear the final installment of the Hero's Guide series, The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw.



Monday, September 29, 2014

The Family of Jesus

Heart of the Story: The Family of JesusThe Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury

Many readers have fallen in love with Karen Kingsbury and her many, many books and series. I cannot recollect picking up one of her titles until now. Her previous titles were set in modern times with modern themes. I typically read historical fiction. The Family of Jesus is one of her newest titles and it is historical fiction. It's also a creative insight to Bible stories.

Kingsbury created a book that follows the life a Jesus through the eyes of His relatives. Kingsbury's timeline for this book goes from Mary and Joseph's betrothal to Jesus death and resurrection. The order of individual is Joseph (Jesus' stepfather), Zechariah (father of John the Baptist who is Jesus' cousin), John the Baptist (Jesus cousin), Elizaeth (mother of John the Baptist who is Jesus' cousin), James (step-brother of Jesus), and Mary (mother of Jesus).

The moments shared between the people in Jesus' life overlap a little, but Kingsbury wove a start to finish story. Joseph relays his betrothal to Mary, angel visits, Jesus birth, and Jesus visit to the temple when he was 12. Zechariah shares his lot during Passover, the angel visit, John's birth, and John's life before his step into ministry. John the Baptist talks about his ministry, his cousin Jesus, and his arrest by the king. Elizabeth bares the pain of John's death with Zechariah and the blessing of a visit from cousin Mary (Jesus' mother). James' reflects on the craziness of his brother Jesus and His strange ministry to say that He is the son of God. James follows him all the way to the Crucifixion. Mary concludes the short stories with her knowledge of the Messiah, her son. She follows him until the end - Jesus' death and resurrection from the dead.

Listeners (and readers) keep in mind that Kingsbury anchored her storytelling in the Bible. She placed moment in the Bible first in her timeline, when wove a story around those moments. It's not a question of did it happen, but could it have happened. I believe that her goal was to give listeners (and readers) a deeper understand about the people in the Bible - how they might have felt, what trials they were going through, how they relied on each other and loved each other. These short stories are perfect to hear (or read) and reflect upon.

These stories were meant for a Bible study series, either personally or in a group. MP3 files of the Bible study are available on the last disc. I would have preferred pdf files to print off the Bible study, but my copy was an audiobook copy. I'm not sure if they could add pdf files to an audio disc or if the publisher would have needed to add an additional disc to the collection. Perhaps on the next collection they can investigate printable files...

All in all this was a very fast and very enjoyable listen. The stories reminded me of a mix between the 1980's You Are There dramatized Bible stories and Adventure in Odyssey Bible retellings which I grew up enjoying. If you are of fan of dramatized Bible stories, I would highly recommend this book. I think it would be a very interesting Bible study series with a group of friends as well.

Two narrators shared the stories from The Family of Jesus. Kirby Heyborne represented the four males and January LaVoy represented the two females. I have heard Heyborne before, but LaVoy was a new narrator for me. I enjoyed Heyborne's renditions of the various Bible characters. He had a serious, straight forward approach with caring in his voice. Each voice was slightly different, but nothing too exaggerated. It was very pleasant.

LaVoy's voice came across a bit more forceful. Mary and Elizabeth were fine and had different vocal qualities, so the listeners could sense the difference of age between the cousins. Her male voices came off strange. They sounded forced in way that LaVoy's range didn't reach that far down on the scale. I understand the difficulty of narrating male voices, so it is what it is.

I'll be interested to see who narrates the following books in the Life-Changing Bible Study series. The next book is set come out in Summer 2015. I'm looking forward to it!

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio!

Simon & Schuster Audio

Friday, August 29, 2014

West of the Moon

West of the MoonWest of the Moon by Margi Preus

West of the Moon arrived on the hold shelf at the library for me and I took a double take. What is this? Why did I place a hold on this audiobook? I checked it out with an attitude of maybe I'll get around to it.

I was very surprised by this book. I was surprised by listening to it right away. I was surprised about the storyline. I was surprised by the ending twists. It was quite an unexpected adventure!

Author Margi Preus created West of the Moon from a line of an old family diary. Her Great Great Grandma hired a maid from her immigrant ship who didn't have a family. Preus originally wanted to write about her grandmother, but the mysterious maid without a past beckoned her from the pages of the diary. West of the Moon is the fictional tale of the lonely maid. (Hear her read a section of West of the Moon at

West of the Moon is a story of sisters. The elder gets sold to an awful goat farmer while the younger sister stays with their aunt's family on the family farm. Their father went to America long ago and Astri (the elder sister) wants desperately to take her sister (Greta) and go to him. As the days grow darker at the goat farm, Astri plans an escape! She runs away with another worker from the goat farm and makes her way to Greta. The three travelers now must escape the goat farmer who is tracking them across Holland as they make their way to the coast. To make their journey even more difficult, they have no money for passage or food for the voyage or legal papers from the church. Perhaps the little gifts the travelers gain upon their journey will turn their luck around.

As I stated earlier, I cannot recall why I originally placed this title on hold at the library. I'm thinking it was because it was a new title in the catalog. Or perhaps a review I saw...somewhere... Or the ties to fairy tales. I'm leaning on the ties to fairy tales. I love a good fairytale story and Preus wove several tales throughout the entire story of West of the Moon. The title of the book comes from the tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon which is the story about a girl and a polar bear. The fairy tale additions didn't standout, but rather wove into the fabric of the whole novel. Astri loved to share stories with her sister and she used the stories as ways to relate to her life. It was very interesting and historically relevant to the times - circa 1850's. Stories were handed down and stories sometimes became belief. Preus shares historical information at the end of her novel about the fairy tales she used as well as the beliefs of the people at that time in history.

I would recommend this title to middle schoolers or high schoolers. The journey isn't always pleasant and the choices made along the way were difficult and trying. It's a book that can generate lots of good discussions in the classroom. It could also springboard activities for students to dig into their family histories or research the fairy tales mentioned in this book. I personally went and checked out East-West renditions from the library including Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, Ice by Sarah Beth Durst, and East by Edith Pattou.

Jessica Almasy narrated West of the Moon. I first Almasy, when she narrated Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes. I enjoyed her voice during Preus' story. She has a youthful and upbeat voice. With the dark turns that arrived during the novel, the story was still alive without turning depressing or horrifying. I also liked her male voices. Female voice artists struggle with the lower male tones, but Almasy did a very smooth job. It never sounded forced or out of place.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Recorded Books

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Frozen: The Junior Novelization

Frozen: The Junior NovelizationFrozen: The Junior Novelization by Walt Disney Company

As the title suggests, Frozen: The Junior Novelization is a written out story of the Disney movie Frozen which came out in 2013. The audio of Frozen the chapter book came out in 2014.

Overall the stories are very similar, but the novel fleshes out the storyline a bit more. The songs are not sung in the audio, but the atmosphere of the celebrations are mentioned. The story follows the movie closely. Only two strange items were mentioned that caught my attention - Kristoff's wagon and someone wearing goggles. I don't recall Kristoff driving wagon, but a sled and I don't remember any goggles in the movie. Those two items stood out for me, but all in all that is very minor. Frozen fans will enjoy this version of the popular movie. It is a chapter book, so it might be advanced for little listeners, but if the youngsters want to listen -- by all means share the story!

Andi Arndt narrators the Frozen story. She did a fine job. It was not overly exciting or dry and dull, but right in the middle. If readers are expecting the different characters voices, please remember that the book is read by one narrator. The voices will be slightly different from each other, but they won't be as different as a separate reader for each person.

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

Audio Book Details...
Frozen The Junior Novelization by Disney Press
Read by Andi Arndt
Produced by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Number of Discs: MP3 download (2 parts)
Total Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes
ISBN: 9781483019635

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Wig in the Window

The Wig in the WindowThe Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Meet Sophie Young and Grace Yang. They are seventh grade detectives as well as BFFs. Their newest case features Luna Vista's unbelievable middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford. Young and Yang are teaming up to find out what's wrong the sickeningly sweet, fake counselor.

I selected this title, because it looked like a winner for young ladies who love mysteries. When I started listening, I thought it could be an alternate universe for pre-teen Veronica Mars and her friend Lily. But no, it is not an alternate universe for Marshmallows. Kittscher wrote her own standalone tween crime novel. It took me a while to appreciate this piece. The ridiculous body humor didn't appeal to me, but I can see it causing snickers in a middle school library.

The investigation became more complex as the story unfolded. I appreciated the plot twists (which I won't share, because I don't want to give anything away). The friendship storyline was also well written. Young and Yang are complete opposites, which can work well together, but also create some strife at times. Yet true friendship will stand the test of time and a dedicated detective will always get their man (or woman)!

This is the first time I have heard Amanda Philipson narrate a book. Her voices is well suited for bringing teenagers to life. She also had wonderful enthusiasm!

Reviewed from a library copy.


Friday, May 16, 2014

The Interrupted Tale

The Interrupted TaleThe Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood

More truths and secrets are uncovered in the latest installment of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place book no. 4! Governess Penelope Lumley visits her alma mater, Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, to give a speech at the first annual CAKE (or the Celebrate Alumnae Knowledge Exposition). Upon her arrival she sees that everything about her dearly loved academy is topsy-turvy! She must restore the academy and encourage the Swanburne girls with the help of her dear and imaginative young charges as well as trusted friends.

Oh, Ms. Wood, how you tease and delight! The Interrupted Tale is utterly delightful, charming, and dear. Each Incorrigible book brings so much joy and laughter. I really enjoyed this book because of all the delightful songs and imaginative play of Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia. Glimpses of the true mystery that weaves throughout each book is seen, but there is more to come! I cannot wait for the next Incorrigible story!!

These books do go in order, so starting with book one is a must. Penelope encounters old friends and reveals relations between other past characters. It is a family read that is fun for a car trip or as a read-aloud. Katherine Kellgren is a fantastic narrator of the audiobooks. She masterfully records each book with consistency. Her tunes for the songs will have everyone singing the funny little ditties from the story. I'm still singing the CAKE Day song!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood
Series: Book Four, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs:7
Total Time: 8 hours, 19 minutes
ISBN: 9780385363693

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Audiobook SYNC 2014 is Coming!

Are you ready for a fantastic summer of audiobooks? The fun begins Thursday, May 15!

Audiobook SYNC is back for another summer of free YA and Classic books.  The complete list of titles is available on their website.  It's a wonderful mix of Tween, Teen, Fiction, and Non-Fiction titles that lasts for 13 weeks.  Stop by their page for a new paring of books each week!  A huge shout-out to SYNC sponsors AudioFile Magazine and OverDrive Media Console! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A couple titles I am looking forward to hearing this summer include CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge, Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden (Harper Audio) and THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill, Narrated by Bernadette Dunne (christianaudio).  I have read the ebook of Cruel Beauty and am intrigued to hear how it will sound.  I have not read The Hiding Place, but it's been on my to-read list since grade school.  What titles are you looking forward to hearing this summer?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sky Raiders

Sky RaidersSky Raiders by Brandon Mull

A haunted house on Halloween goes horribly wrong! Cole and his friends wanted a holiday adventure, but their haunted house hosts take them to another world called the Outskirts. Cole desires to rescue his friends, but he needs more help. The best options are survival and gathering more information about The Five Kingdoms.

Brandon Mull's newest titles, Sky Raiders, is the start of a fantastical adventure in a place called The Five Kingdoms. He weaves contemporary children into a world of magic, power, slavery, and survival. I greatly appreciated how the character of Cole jumped into a new world and needs to inquire about the place where he now lives. It's not out of place questioning throughout the story, so the reader understands the world at the same pace as Cole.

Danger lurks around every corner, but it shouldn't make your hair stand on end. Most dangerous elements in the Five Kingdoms leads to death, so it is best to have a Plan B and learn as much as you can of the new world. Everything cannot be revealed in this first title and Deklan shared it well, "you don't need to understand everything about a world to live in it."

Middlers will enjoy this adventurous tale, but younger ones might be unprepared for the battle and death scenes. I would advise adults to preview the tale for any nervous younger readers.

The story wraps up well as one adventures leads into the next. The cliff hanger is present, but for me, it was a gentler one compared to other titles I've enjoyed. It's reported that the next title comes out later this year. Mark your calendars, readers!

Keith Nobbs shares Brandon Mull's book. I previously heard him read the Keepers of the School series. He has a pleasant tenor voice with different character voices throughout the text. My favorite accents were the Irish ones. Those were such a wonderful surprise! To maintain consistency, I hope Nobbs will return to read the other Five Kingdoms novels.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio!

Audio Book Details...
Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull
Series: Book 1, Five Kingdoms
Read by Keith Nobbs
Produced by Simon & Schuster Audio
Number of Discs: 11
Total Time: 12 hours, 30 minutes
ISBN: 9781442367678

Monday, April 14, 2014

OverDrive & For Young Women Only
Are you familiar with OverDrive? They are a digital resource that shares eBooks and Audiobooks. It typically can be found through your local library. With your library card, you have access to an amazing amount a free materials.

Previously, I only used OverDrive for my eReader. It's free, fast, and works with a wide range of devices! Recently, I downloaded the app for my super phone and figured out how to download an audiobook.

Wow! What a smooth way to enjoy an audiobook! I downloaded an available book and listened to the whole thing in two days. (I started with a short title, so it could be enjoyed quickly.) With the fast turnaround, I feel that the world is at my fingertips! I cannot wait to dive in and enjoy more audios via my super phone.


For Young Women Only: What You Need to Know About How Guys ThinkFor Young Women Only by

For Young Women Only was created to give young women a glimpse into how males process information, build relationships, and relate to women. The information shared in this brief book was garnered from a nation-wide survey and focus groups. (The survey results can be viewed on the book's website.) Shaunti shares the results and adds tidbits of information from her other book, For Women Only as well as a few Bible passages throughout the text. I appreciated the time they took to research and share their findings. Lots of food for thought! I think this title can be read (or heard) multiple times over and enjoyed each time.

Ms. Feldhahm was the narrator for the book For Young Women Only. I originally heard Shaunti Feldhahn in an interview on the radio several years ago. It was good to hear her voice again as she shared her book. I would enjoy listening to her again.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Mandela: An Audio History

Mandela: An Audio HistoryMandela: An Audio History by Desmond Tutu

Mandela: An Audio History is a brief overview of Mandela's freedom fight. For those who are not familiar with Mandela's story this audio is a very brief overview (1 hour, 15 minutes). It highlights moments and events that can whet the appetite and give a glimpse into the history of South Africa. I would recommend this piece to teens, young adults, and adults. It would be a great accompanying piece for a unit study on South Africa, Mandela, or apartheid.

What I enjoyed most about this commemorative edition was the depth of audio achieved in an hour and fifteen minutes. The layers are astounding! In just over an hour, listeners can hear interviews, speeches, radio and television reports, and singing. I can only imagine the length of time editing this CD.

Another interesting side feature was investigating "Radio Diaries" on the back of the CD case. Are there more diaries available? Who do they include? Did HighBridge publish them all? What an amazing find! I would encourage you to check out Radio Diaries are "Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life" and the creators have collected all sorts of stories that can be heard (for free) online! I cannot wait to explore more Radio Diaries!

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

Audio Book Details...
Mandela: An Audio History by Radio Diaires
Hosted by Desmond Tutu
Produced by HighBridge Audio
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time: 1 hours, 15 minutes
ISBN: 9781622314331 

Friday, April 4, 2014


WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio

Palacio shares a slice of life in the fifth-grader year of August "Auggie" Pullman. He was home schooled until this point and now it was time to attend a "normal" school. It's never easy adjusted to a new school, but Auggie also struggles to fit in because of his facial deformity.

The story begins from August's point of view, but then travels to his sibling and new school friends. The past and present are shared with each chapter and each individual who shares their thoughts and reactions. The story reflects on overcoming obstacles and building relationships. It's a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages - elementary, middle, high school, and adult. The various character's make the story come full circle and adds satisfying depths.

Several narrators shared the reading of Wonder including Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Diana Steele. With so many characters sharing their narratives, it was an excellent choice to have a variety of readers. I wish it were possible for more narrators. In an ideal world, a different narrator for each character would have been fabulous! I enjoyed the three readers and overall they had distinctive voices for each character.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Read by Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Diana Steele
Produced by Brilliance Audio
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 8 hours, 12 minutes
ISBN: 9781455844197 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and GloomsSplendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

"Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark."

Clara Wintermute is fascinated with puppets. She requests to have them at her birthday party. Her parents arrange to have Grisini come to the house and present a puppet show with his two young assistants Lizzie Rose Fawr and Parsefall Hooke. The next day, Clara disappears. Grisini is suspesced of kidnapping but the police find nothing in the rented rooms of the puppeteers. Lizzie Rose is saddened, Parsefall is suspicious, and Grisini is smooth and sly. And the twisted tale goes on with magic, travel, mourning, rejoicing, dogs, blood, and reunions!

I began reading this tale last year, but I wanted to listen to it because I heard various good reviews about audio edition. I waited until a local library added it to their catalog and then placed a hold. My original thoughts were very uncertain. I only read a couple chapters, but I had an uneasy feeling about the magic qualities. I adore puppetry, so I wanted to give the complete story a chance.

The magic in the book consisted of supernatural kind with spells and curses rather than the fantastical type with superpowers or time travel. Taking place in Victorian England there were various moments of darkness, fear, poverty, and grime. Every time I heard Grisini's name, I pictured it to be Grease-eeny. He was a greasy character, so the name fit him well. Grisini's "master" was the witch Cassandra. She was quite the manipulator. The children were the best characters and of course the story wrapped around them because this book was written for readers of their ages. Beyond the Clara mystery, Grisini, Cassandra, and the children, there were several other story lines and themes threaded through the book. The Wintermute's were an entire side story with their mourning and recovery. The puppets were also a main theme with first Grisini using them then Parsefall claiming them.

Splendors and Glooms is a very involved story. I would recommend it to Middle Schoolers rather than Elementary students. The story is rather dark and there are a couple language "flourishes" that some parents and readers might not enjoy.

Narrator Davina Porter shared the story well. Her characters were distinct from each other. She captured Parsefall's surliness very well while Lizzi Rose's presice speech reminded me of Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Publishers Weekly Q & A with Author Schlitz

Audio Book Details...
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Read by Davinia Porter
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 10
Total Time: 12 hours
ISBN: 9781449835729

Friday, February 28, 2014

We Hold These Truths

We Hold These TruthsWe Hold These Truths by Andrew Clements

We Hold These Truths is the final installment of Benjamin Pratt & and the Keepers of the School. The final days of school are here and it's now or never for the Keepers to find the final safeguards.

I have been waiting to listen to this book! The Keepers needed to find two more safeguards and the end of school is days away when the last book ended. The pressure builds and Ben finds himself in a new role as manager. The Keepers' plans need to be bigger, bolder, and faster. They also need to stay on the right side of the law. I hesitate to say too much about the storyline because I don't want to give any spoilers or potential spoilers. Relationships do become tense between Keepers and between Janitors. The ending was satisfying. Clements wrapped it up nicely and gave a look to the future as well.

For previous Keeper readers, this is an exciting conclusion to the end of the series. For new Keepers, this final title is exciting as well because all the books are available! There is no need to wait! Check them all out at the library and listen to one right after the other. It's a great story for elementary students and families.

Narrator Keith Nobbs finishes the Keepers series. Thank you, Simon & Schuster for completing the series with one narrator! Nobbs performance was still enjoyable. He maintained the character voices and personalities that he began with We the Children in 2010.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio!

Audio Book Details...
We Hold These Truths by Andrew Clements
Series: Book 5, Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School
Read by Keith Nobbs
Produced by Simon & Schuster Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
ISBN: 9781442357044

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three Years 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 another amazing audio year and it's time to take stock of all the books I heard over 2013. Let's break it down...

Juvenile Fiction [estimated trt: 4 days, 12 hours, 5 minutes]

We Hold These Truths
Twelve Kinds of Ice
Children of the Dust Bowl
The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandits
Ghost Hawk
P. K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man
The Pirate's Coin
Bread Crumbs
Mr. Lincoln's High-Tech War
In Harm's Way
A Tangle of Knots
The One and Only Ivan
The Mighty Miss Malone
Iron Hearted Violet
Jingo Django
Small Steps
In a Glass Grimmly
Liar & Spy

Adult [trt: 17 hours, 26 minutes]
Dad is Fat
Last Child in the Woods

21 books (and over 125 hours) were counted in this year's review.  One more title than last year, but a few hours difference. Quite a surprise to figure out each year's summary. The most memorable titles when I look back at the list include Last Child in the Woods, The Mighty Miss Malone, Mr. Lincoln's High-Tech War, Island of Silence, A Tangle of Knots, and the last books from the Keepers of the School series.

This year I am looking forward to Island of Fire, A Grimm Conclusion, P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows, the final Books of Beginning title and the titles available this summer at Audiobook SYNC. What book or books are you looking forward to hearing this year?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Twelve Kinds of Ice

Twelve Kinds of IceTwelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed

"Twelve kinds of ice are carved into twenty vignettes, each exulting the beauty of ice and ice skating that comes year after year" - from audiobook back

Ellen Bryan Obed reflects and shares her childhood wonder of different kinds of ice. It begins with a thin layer that cracks when touched and end with dreams of ice. It's a short and endearing book that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Obed shares her childhood Winter experiences that today's audience can enjoy and associated with their own Winter experiences. It might be difficult for warm weather readers who haven't experienced icy sports or freezing weather, but it can lead them on new adventures!

If the reader/listener chooses to listen without the book, the classical illustrations by Barbara McClintock will be missed. She drew beautiful pictures in pen and ink. I would recommend having the book and audiobook paired together.

Narrator Jessica Almasy reads Obed's story very well. She conveys the sense of wonder with each different kind of ice. I appreciated that aspect. The pauses between chapters were a breath to long for me, but it's because each ends with an ellipsis(...). As I said, it's a personal pause preference and don't let it stop you from enjoying this wonderful Winter story.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed
Read by Jessica Almasy
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time: .25 hours
ISBN: 9781470363864

Monday, January 27, 2014

Children of the Dust Bowl

Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch CampChildren of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley

Children of the Dust Bowl briefly shares the trials and triumphs of Okies moving from Okalahoma to California. They were looked down upon and rejected. Their children were ridiculed and turned out of schools. Leo Hart saw the Okie children and knew they needed a safe place to live and learn. He helped to build Weedpatch school and became their voice and their savior.

The Dust Bowl was such an interesting part of American history. I knew bits and pieces, but never in-depth knowledge. This short piece of non-fiction was fascinating. I never knew that the Okies were rejected by so many and that their struggles were so heartbreaking. Stanley shares just a small glimpse of Weedpatch Camp history and it was heartening to hear about Hart's part in helping the migrant families. It only takes one person to make a difference! I would highly recommend this title to middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, and adults. The prejudice is harsh and shocking, but the growth of one school created by one man brought an entire county together again.

Fred Sullivan narrates Children of the Dust Bowl. I previously heard him read Mr. Lincoln's High-tech War. Again, it's an easy listen on the ears. Sullivan adds happiness and outrage when needed. I would listen to a book narrated by Sullivan again. He has a great voice for non-fiction.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, AudioGo/Downpour!

Audio Book Details...
Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley
Read by Fred Sullivan
Produced by AudioGo
Number of Discs: MP3 Download
Total Time: 1.4 hours

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit

The Case of the Time-Capsule BanditThe Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer

Randi Rhodes is proud of her sleuthing that she employed as a detective in her Brooklyn neighborhood. Unfortunately, case number thirty-two is her last. Her father is moving the family - Randi and himself - to Deer Creek, Tennessee. From the hustle and bustle urban life to country living in a resort town. The biggest news is the celebration of Founders' Day and the opening of the 200 year old time-capsule. But boring small-town life quickly turns exciting when the historic time-capsule goes missing and strange secret service agents are swarming the town. Randi needs to dust off her detective skills and get to work!

The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit is the first Randi Rhodes mystery in the Randi Rhodes series. An untitled book number two is coming out in Fall of 2014.


I was so thrilled to receive an audiobook copy to review! Ms. Spencer brings so much energy to her movies, as well as, her narration from the audiobook, "The Help". I was vastly looking forward to hearing her voice again.

My first reaction to her audio was slight disappointment. Her narration was flatter than I thought it would be, but I need to step back from my castles in the air and listen to reality. She's reading a story, not putting on a play or movie. It's a fine reading! She's dynamic and gives her characters different voices and remains consistent throughout the book. At one point I did think she was showing off when she had so many different cultural characters in her story, but the location of her story is in a resort town. A resort brings in people from all over the area, so a wide variety of citizen (temporary or permanent) is natural. My favorite character was the cantankerous old man who is accused of stealing the time-capsule.

All in all, it's an easy-listen story. The mystery is fun and suspenseful. The town is small-town America where everyone knows everyone. Readers who like mysteries (or ninjas) will enjoy this book. If a young reader is going through a move, this could be a good story for them. I would recommend this book to tween readers (roughly, 4th-6th graders). I am interested to see what adventure Ms. Spencer creates for the next installment of Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Simon & Schuster Audio! The opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was offered to me for my review.

Audio Book Details...
The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer
Series: Book 1, Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective
Read by Octavia Spencer
Produced by Simon & Schuster Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 27 minutes
ISBN: 9781442364264
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