Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: Westly: A Spider's Tale

Are you a fan of bugs? Insects? Aracnids? I would highly recommend Westly: A Spider’s Tale.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Westly: A Spider's Tale
Westly is the prince of butterflies. Westly and his caterpillar friends are ready to become butterflies. The butterflies hold a special ceremony for the cocoon creations as well as the big butterfly rebirth. Westly is ready to be a butterfly prince! He emerges from his cocoon to the horror of his fellow friends, family, and subjects. What is this? Who is this? Westly escapes the chandelier of the butterflies and jumps to the earth. The gardeners (bugs from below) take in Westly and he learns to become a useful member of their society. He also meets a raven who befriends him and teaches him about being a spider.

I was interested in Westly, because I kept seeing this title around the web and in magazines. Initially, I didn’t think much of the subject of bugs, but as I listened it gave me the creepy crawlies. It’s a book on bugs! Charlotte’s Web is about bugs, but I also read that book at a much younger age. I believe kids will love this book. There are not many chapter books about bugs and it’s well written with a nice array of insects in the menagerie. It was an excellent book about working together - as individuals as well as a group.  Working together helps everyone in the group and everyone in the group has a special talent to add to the group.

Ramon de Ocampo is the narrator for Westly. This is the first time I've heard Ramon de Ocampo. His voice (and character voices) fit well with the story. The book is juvenile fiction and he had a youthful voice for many of the characters. He differentiated well between characters. I also liked how the Mr. Raven was so oily. The raven was friendly, but you could hear that Mr. Raven had another goal in mind rather than just friendship. Well done! Yes, I would listen to Ramon de Ocampo again. 

Are you familiar with another buggy chapter book? Let me know! Leave a comment with the title and author below.

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

Audio Book Details...
Westly: A Spider's Tale by Bryan Beus
Read by Ramon de Ocampo
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (21 parts)
Total Time: 4 hours, 2 minutes
Release Date: September 2015
ISBN: 9781504663830

Friday, December 4, 2015

Review: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale

A Whole New World begins a new series of Twisted Tales by Liz BraswellA Whole New World is a dark new telling of Disney's Aladdin. Jafar takes center stage when he takes possession of the lamp and leaves Aladdin to die in the Cave of Wonders.

The known Disney characters do appear in the story - genie, Abu, Rajah, Iago, Sultan, Jasmine, Jafar, Aladdin, and magic carpet. Liz Braswell also introduces a tribe of street rats. Aladdin knows them but doesn't associate with them because they steal more than they need. But as the darkness of Jafar's rule overshadows Agrabah, he seeks out his old friends. It is time to unite and overthrow Jafar and his mad rule.

I need to begin with applause for Liz Braswell for recreating a classic Disney tale. Readers will either love it or hate it if they have strong feelings toward (or against) the original story. I grew up watching Aladdin and it was a fun, fresh movie. I would not place it as a top favorite or leave it on a dusty shelf to be forgotten either. I guess I'm middle of the road, so I gave A Whole New World a listen. (Rewritten fairy tales also are a favorite genre of mine, too.)

The story begins very closely to the Disney movie version. There a some small twists and turns along the way until Jafar takes the lamp and leaves Aladdin to rot in the cave. Genie (or jinn) is still strange - knowing more than he should about places afar and trying to be humorous. He was okay. I would have liked to hear about a more classic/historical type jinn character, but it is what it is. Jasmine and Aladdin meet in Agrabah and Aladdin is fascinated with her. It goes so far as to talk about Jasmine's cinnamon breath. The romance is stronger than the movie. The dark madness of Jafar is creepy and shocking at times. I don't want to give anything away, but there was a moment or two a gasped aloud while listening.

I appreciated having the animals in the story. The best part of having the animals was that they were animals! No anthropomorphism. Thank you, Ms. Braswell. The magic carpet could also be placed here as well. It was more rug than character. Well done.

I would recommend this title to young adults or adults. The darkness and romance could be too much for some late grade schoolers or middlers. I probably won't listen to it again.

James Patrick Cronin narrates A Whole New World. This is the first time I've heard him narrate a book. I think it was well done. The characters were given different voices. The ladies voices were believable. His voice was youthful so it fit well with the young Aladdin. Blackstone Audio added intro and exit music and other than that each track flowed into the next.

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

Audio Book Details...
A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
Read by James Patrick Cronin
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (28 parts)
Total Time: 8 hours, 38 minutes
Release Date: September 2015
ISBN: 9781504650120

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Ana of California

Andi Teran created a new twist on the classic tale, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Ana Cortez from L. A. is on her last chance. She is sent to Garber Farms in Northern California run by siblings - Abbie and Emmett. She needs to participate in their (new) farm trainee program for the summer. Can she survive farm life after a rough life in the city? Will Abbie and Emmett send her back after the first day?

Ana of California reviewed by Adolescent Audio Adventures
The Anne of Green Gables series is one of my top classic books to read. I fell in love with the books when I was young and adored the movie version with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie (except for The Continuing Story). I was intrigued by someone taking this classic tale and giving it new life in a modern setting. After listening to Ana of California, I'm kinda at a loss for words. It was ... a long story.

Recreating or rewritten a classical story isn't easy. Props to Teran for giving it a go! I could pick out different pieces of the original that were a part of this story, but it was more mysterious and dramatic than the original. Everyone having a backstory with secretes played a large part in those elements. Issues/struggles that are a part of the story include gangs, drugs, drinking, and sexual orientation. There is a bit of romance in Ana's life as well as Abbie's. Other topics include death, friendship, fostering, and farming. The story ends on a positive note with an opening for another book if Teran wants to follow up with more about Ana or Garber Farm. I am fine with this as a standalone story and don't need a continued story. I was a left with a 'meh.'

Andi Teran read her own story. I was a bit nervous to hear an author read their own tale, but Teran nailed it. I really enjoyed listening to her voice. She did well giving each character their own voice. I think my favorite character voice was Ana's social worker, Lupe Saucedo. Dreamscape did not add any music underneath the story, but kept it was pure narration except for someone else stating when the CD ended.

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

Audio Book Details...
Ana of California by Andi Teran
Read by Andi Teran
Produced by Dreamscape Media
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 8 hours, 47 minutes
Release Date: June 2015
ISBN: 9781681411927

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: Switch

Switch is the second companion novel to Savvy. (The other novel is Scumble.) Switch takes place years after Savvy and Scumble and it is a standalone story. Characters from the previous novel are mentioned, but new (and grown) characters are in the forefront.

SwitchIt's been several years since I enjoyed the Savvy audiobooks. I didn't set the stage by listening to the previous titles. I just jumped right it and it felt like welcoming an old friend back. The storytelling voice of Ingrid Law was strong then and it continues to her latest title! It was so much fun to go back and visit the Beaumonts in Kansaska-Nebransas although they didn't stay their long. A family trip was needed to bring home Grandma Pat. Grandma Pat lives in Colorado and she has Alzheimer's (or Old-timer's disease) and needs assistance. The family packs up to go bring Grandma home, but it's a rough trip after Gypsy recently got her savvy and a switch. Unfortunately (or fortunately) a switch also happened! Everyone's savvy was switched!

It was a riotous adventure for the young Beaumonts. Samson, Gypsy, and Tucker along with new friends in Colorado end up traveling all around Denver in a snowstorm. Quite a dramatic story! But it was sprinkled with humor, sorrow, memories, adventure, and whimsy. If you enjoyed Savvy or Switch, you should definitely listen to (or read) Switch!

For this third book, a new narrator is introduced: Abigail Revasch. I enjoyed listening to Ms. Revasch. I think she captured the youthful voice of Gypsy as well as her family of various ages. I would listen to Revasch again.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Switch by Ingrid Law
Series: Book 3, Savvy
Read by Abigail Revasch
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 7 hours and 26 mins
Release Date: September 2015
ISBN: 9781101925690

Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Catch You Later, Traitor

Catch You Later, Traitor is Avi's newest historical fiction title for middle school listeners and readers. He tells a story about the Collison family, specifically 12 year old Peter. The family lives in Brooklyn, New York in the year 1951. Professor Collison teaches at an area college, Mrs. Collison is guidance counselor at an area school, older brother Bobby goes to high school and has dreams of space, and Peter, the youngest Collison, is attending middle school. Peter hangs out with his best friend Kat, enjoys playing punch ball at school, and loves a good detective story. The Collisons are living a typical 1950's lifestyle when Peter's teacher tells his class that Peter is a "pinko." All the sudden Peter's world is turned upside down! His teacher and his classmates give Peter the cold shoulder, an FBI agent wants to talk to him about communism, and his family is full of secrets. Peter needs to turn into a detective, like Sam Spade, and find out the truth!

The description of Catch You Later, Traitor brought to mind a variety of media that I previously consumed, but with a new twist and historical story. I thought of Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin, The Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett, and the movie The Majestic. In Avi's story, it was a double detective story. Peter loves to hear about Sam Spade on the radio and he also reads detective magazines. With all his sleuthing knowledge, he sets out to discover his family secrets and why the FBI is after him. It's a very captivating historical mystery. As Peter unearths family history, his mind picks up part of his life as if Peter himself was a detective story. (Those sections were fun to hear on the audiobook.)

The story picked up pace as Peter shares his life in the 1950's and his findings about truth, freedom, and family. I felt that Avi wrote on a topic that is "new." I know of very few (in any) books for middlers that talk about the Red Scare in the 1950's. There are books on the World Wars and the Great Depression, but not too many about these themes from a young citizen's perspective. If you know of a title, please leave a comment.

Mark Turetsky narrates Avi's Catch You Later, Traitor. I've previously heard him read The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger and The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. It's been a couple years since I've heard Turestsky, but he captured the youth of Peter Collison wonderfully. He gave different tones and voices for the other characters as well. At times, the narration was breathy (where you can hear Mark take a breath before speaking), but the story was captivating. After the first two discs, it wasn't so noticeable to me. Would I listen to another title narrated by Mark Turetsky? Yes, I would listen to Mr. Turetsky again.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Recorded Books!

Audio Book Details...
Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi
Read by Mark Turetsky
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 6
Total Time: 7 hours, 9 minutes
Release Date: March 2015
ISBN: 9781490664637

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: The Graveyard Book Full Cast Edition

The Graveyard Book originally came out in 2008. I cannot recall what drew me to the book, but I fell in love with it. Neil Gaiman narrated his story when it first appeared on the shelves. He's a fantastic narrator and I listened to the book several times. When a full cast version of The Graveyard Book came out 2014, I was very intrigued. I've heard few full cast audiobooks, but I have heard hundreds of hours of radio dramas. I was so happy to see one of my local libraries purchase this title. I put it on hold as soon as I could!

The Graveyard Book CD: Full Cast ProductionWhat a well-produced audiobook! Neil Gaiman reading the story was great and the full-cast audio was pretty amazing. The voices together were genuine, believable, and added a new depth to the story. A couple digital effects were added to the story to build part of the characters and/or the situation. I never considered The Graveyard Book as a scary story, but with the added effects it definitely had that uneasy, slightly terrifying edge. It was also a story that could be enjoyed all together or separated into a radio drama series. I could clearly hear why this production of the The Graveyard Book earned an Audie Award.

I would highly recommend listening to both versions of The Graveyard Book. Both audiobook versions were fantastic. I don't want to say the Gaiman narration or the full cast audio were better than the other. They were both delightful! When an excellent book is paired with an amazing audio, it's a book I want to share with everyone! In addition to the story, Neil Gaiman adds an essay about the creation of The Graveyard Book. It was a beautiful and thoughtful addition. He also hinted about checking up on Silas and what he's up to back home. Gaiman also said that, as with The Graveyard Book, another book would come in it's own time.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Read by Full Cast
Produced by Harper Audio
Number of Discs: 7 CDs
Total Time: 8 hours 24 minutes
Release Date: September 2014
ISBN: 9780062364463

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Mystery of the Midnight Rider

Nancy Drew and her friends George and Bess are back home in River Heights. It's good to be home but a new mystery is just around the corner! This time Nancy is hanging out with Ned at the River Heights Horse Show where a friend of his family, Payton Evans, is competing with her horse Midnight. It's a tough competition and someone is out to get Midnight and Payton!


Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Mystery of the Midnight Rider
The previous titles in the Nancy Drew Diaries series were travel adventures and wonderfully fantastical in the setting of Alaska. Now that Nancy is back home she's living her "normal" life. "Normal" being an amateur sleuth in her town. It's still a bit fantastical to be going to a horse show and finding a mystery. It's nice to hear about Ned and his family since he was absent in the earlier books. Bess and George are still around and help out during the weekend of adventure.

Overall, one clue seems a bit far fetched in this tale, but as the mystery unfolds it fits into place. Out of the three books I've heard this one would be my least favorite. The audiobook was well put together, it was the story that was just okay for me. Every listener's experience is different, so maybe you'll fall in love with Mystery of the Midnight Rider. Give it a listen! It's a great story to share on a family trip or for readers who like mysteries or horses. This book can be enjoyed as a standalone story.

Jorjeana Marie returns to read Mystery of the Midnight Rider! I love it when narrators return to read another book in the series. Just as in Book 1 and Book 2, Jorjeana's voice suits Nancy Drew and the other characters fantastically. She is very believable as a teen/young adult and her voice is enjoyable to hear. Her character voices are maintained well from the previous titles in the series. I would listen to her again. You can listen to an audiobook sample on Oasis Audio's website.

I received this book for free from Oasis Audio for this review. Thank you, Oasis Audio!

Audio Book Details...
Mystery of the Midnight Rider by Carolyn Keene
Series: Book 3, Nancy Drew Diaries
Read by Jorjeana Marie
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (12 parts)
Total Time: 3 hours 13 minutes
Release Date: May 2015
ISBN: 9781613757253

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train follows the adventures of Nancy Drew and her friends George and Bess as they continue their journey on the Arctic Star. The Alaskan cruise is nearly to the end of its route and the girls find themselves going in land to Denali National Park home of Mount McKinley. Nancy is still on the lookout for the individual who wants to hurt her. Other instances happen on the boat, the train, and at the park that made her ponder who on earth could wish her harm?

Adolescent Audio Adventures review Nancy Drew Diaries Book 2 Strangers on a Train
The story picks up right after book one Curse of the Arctic Star. I could not wait to listen to Stranger on a Train. Keene created great cliffhangers for this new series. Putting the two books together, it felt like watch television episodes or a movie split into two parts. The characters were familiar, but the setting different. New incidents, facts, and finds were introduced to keep the story going at a good pace. The danger to Nancy Drew is wrapped up with a great rescue. Nancy (as well as the reader) will be glad to go home to River Heights where danger will be far away. ... Or will it? I don't know. I'll have to find book three and discover what happens when Nancy returns home with George and Bess.

Jorjeana Marie returns to read Strangers on a Train. Again, her voice fit very well with Nancy Drew and the other characters. She is very believable as a teen/young adult and her voice is enjoyable. Her character voices are maintained well from book one to book two. I would listen to her again. You can listen to an audiobook sample on Oasis Audio's website.

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

Audio Book Details...
Strangers on a Train by Carolyn Keene
Series: Book 2, Nancy Drew Diaries
Read by Jorjeana Marie
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (12 parts)
Total Time: 3 hours 19 minutes
Release Date: May 2015
ISBN: 9781613757239

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: PHC 40th Anniversary Collection

Have you heard A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor?  He's known all over the world, especially in the Midwest of America. I've known of Mr. Garrison Keillor and his numerous radio, comedy, and video appearances, but I've never tuned into A Prairie Home Companion. I figured it was about time with their celebration of 40 years and their 40th Anniversary Collection.

The 40th Anniversary Collection is from HighBridge Audio and I need to share that I am very impressed with their packaging. There was a paper sleeve over a hard plastic case. Besides the 4 discs, a booklet is included with an essay from Keillor, photographs and brief introductions about some of the people from the show, a disc index, and credits.

The four discs gives the listener a small, small glimpse of the 40 years of PHC. The collection shares "85 standout performances from four decades of music, stories, and laughter." It's a great mix of musical numbers both vocal and instrumental, skits and sketches, as well as so much humor. They lived up to their description!  Any of the discs are great to pop into a player and enjoy. I listened in the car as well as around the house.

I love a great radio show or a variety show and A Praire Home Companion is both. It's a classic type of entertainment that will tickle the ribs of everyone. There is something for everyone in the family
- parents, children, grandparents, ladies, and gents. 

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

Audio Book Details...
A Prairie Home Companion: 40th Anniversary Collection with Garrison Keillor
Read by various
Produced by HighBridge Audio
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours
Release Date: April 2015
ISBN: 9781622315574

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: The Zoo at the Edge of the World

Visit the Zoo at the Edge of the World! It is located in the jungles of South America. You will meet Ronan Rackham - conqueror and protector of the amazing wildlife found in the jungle.

Ronan Rackham left England to explore the jungle. He brought nothing with him, but built up a zoo resort empire with his sons Tim and Marlin. Older brother Tim follows in his father's conquering footsteps, but Marlin survives in the shadows of the zoo. His stuttering gives visitors the impression he is slow or mute, but he can talk his heart out to his animal friends at the zoo.

Another ship arrives with a boatload of guests and Tim takes over welcoming everyone. Father, Ronan, has been out hunting the dangerous and elusive jaguar. Ronan returns with the jaguar who brings animal magic to Marlin and the resort.


The story Eric Kahn Gale created was captivating. (Yes, pun intended.) The main character, Marlin, was very likeable and the listener wanted to see this underdog succeed. I was also very drawn to the unique trait of stuttering that was given to Marlin. I cannot recall very many books that include a character with a stutter. It was very believable. The reader, Julian Elfer, did an excellent job of reading and stuttering through Marlin's words when he attempted to communicate with the humans in this story. His British accent also gave the story wonderful depth. I would listen to Elfer again.

I was surprised by the magic and darkness that was woven into the story. As the book continued, it seemed to get darker and darker as the characters struggled with how to keep the animals safe, the people safe, entertain the guests, and remain an amazing and beautiful resort zoo. It's a mix of fantasy, historical fiction, adventure, and conservation. I think the book was very well done, but it wasn't my favorite. I invite you to give it a listen (or read) and see how you enjoy the story. Everyone's experience is different!

I was greatly amused by the recommendation from Recorded Books at the end of this audiobook. They recommended Splendors and Gloom is you enjoyed The Zoo at the Edge of the World. I would completely agree with them! I think both titles were interesting, unique, historical, and a bit unsettling. I would recommend both titles to older listeners - middle school or late elementary.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Recorded Books!

Audio Book Details...
The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale
Read by Julian Elfer
Produced by Recorded Books
Number of Discs: 4
Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Release Date: February 2015
ISBN: 9781490658766

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: Curse of the Arctic Star

Are you familiar with Nancy Drew and her friends Bess and George? Carolyn Keene is the 'author' of the very popular mystery series for grade schoolers, middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults! Did you start with the original series first published 85 years ago or did you jump in and start reading the notebooks, graphic novels, or diaries published more recently?

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Curse of the Arctic Star, book one Nancy Drew Diaries
I'll be honest and confess I have yet to read the original books. I started with the graphic novels several years and enjoyed them. I would recommend them to high schoolers who enjoyed Nancy Drew mysteries or graphic novel enthusiasts. When I read about Curse of the Arctic Star, I was curious. I have a dream of going on an Alaskan cruise and Nancy gets to go with her friends and solve a mystery while on board. Sounds like a winning story to me!

Oasis Audio produced Curse of the Arctic Star (as well as seven other titles in the Nancy Drew Diaries series). Jorjeana Marie narrated this audiobook version of book one. I really enjoyed Jorjeana Marie's voice. Her voice fit very well with Nancy Drew's age. Jorjeana Marie was a fair hand at juvenile and male voices. The various girl characters in the book were also distinctly different from one another. I would listen to Jorjeana Marie again and I was happy to see that she narrated the rest of Nancy Crew Diaries that Oasis Audio produced!

The mystery in Curse of the Arctic Star was very appropriate for young mystery readers. It's set at a good pace with lots of suspects to ponder along with Nancy. It's a story of thoughts and clue rather than using various detective gizmos. The cruise mystery wrapped up, but there is another small mystery cliffhanger that leads readers to book two, Strangers on a Train. The diary part of this Nancy Drew Diaires book is the opening and closing of the whole story. The main text of the story is the usual live action setting with dialog between characters and people going about their lives. I was wondering how Carolyn Keene would draw readers into the series and I will admit I want to hear book two. Well crafted story with a solid audiobook production. Very enjoyable listen that I would recommend to mystery readers or families going on a roadtrip together.

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

Audio Book Details...
Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene
Series: Book 1, Nancy Drew Diaries
Read by Jorjeana Marie
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (12 parts)
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Release Date: May 2015
ISBN: 9781621884972

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Audiobook SYNC 2015 Wrap-Up

What a fantastic audiobook summer! If you were able to stop by Audiobook SYNC over the summer, you could download a wide assortment of free classic and YA books. It was fourteen weeks of sensational listening. (Week 14 goes until August 13, 2015 if you'd like to download the final two titles: Under a War-Torn Sky by L.M. Elliott, Read by Elizabeth Wiley and The Old Brown Suitcase by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz, Read by Sofia Bunting Newman.)

I want to share a huge THANK YOU to the audiobook companies that worked together to offer free audiobooks over the summer:

Bolinda Audio and Brilliance Audio
Full Cast Audio
Hachette Audio
L.A. Theatre Works
Listening Library
Live Oak Media
NAXOS Audiobooks
Oasis Audio
Penguin Audio
Post Hypnotic Press
Recorded Books
Scholastic Audiobooks
Tantor Media

THANK YOU Audiobook SYNC for having another summer of fun. You will be missed #SYNC15.


What did you think of #Sync15? If you have a moment, AudiobookSYNC would love to hear from you! Their survey is available until the end of August.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: Galgorithm

Meet high school senior Shane Chambliss. He is the "Hitch" or dating guru of Kingsview High School. He created the "galgorithm" or at least he said he did. Is it real? Does it work? Can a guy get a gal with an algorithm? It's not math, people. It's about building confidence of who you are and reaching for what you want.
The title Galgorithm was very clever. The plot I read reminded me a lot of the movie Hitch. I was very curious to see how and if they could be compared. (I have enjoyed watching Hitch on various occasions.) Yes, they share similar ideas, but they are independent of each other. The basic similarities are that there is a dude - Hitch and Shane - who want to help other people with their dating lives. Both end of up in very different situations, but both of their "businesses" are uncovered and ciaos ensues. It boils down to - did they do the right thing? Were they helpful? Did they create more hurt then love? Are they able to find a love interest of their own. As Shane's dad said to his son, "True love takes time." Overall their tips, "tricks," and advice were meant to help build a relationship and not tear it down. I enjoyed this YA read. It was good to hear a story from a guys point of view.

One off-balance storyline was the relationship with Shane and his math teacher, Bob Kimbrough. Mr. K comes to Shane for dating advise. Shane is uneasy at first but helps him out. I just can't picture a teacher asking dating advice from a student and then sharing the results of the advise. Yes, it is slightly amusing and necessary for the story, but it's just weird.

Jacques Roy read Galgorithm. I really enjoyed his voice and he was very believable as Shane. He also gave the other characters different voices by his inflection and tone of voice. I could hear the different personalities in each person. Timing of the text was also spot on. I would listen to Roy again.

Music was at the beginning and end of the audiobook. It was jazzy and smooth and I felt that it fit with the book.

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

Audio Book Details...
Galgorithm by Aaron Karo
Read by Jacques Roy
Produced by Simon & Schuster
Number of Discs: MP3 download
Total Time: 6 hours, 26 minutes
Release Date: May 2015
ISBN: 9781442387829

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Island of Shipwrecks

Haunting and beautiful music begins the audiobook. Artimé and Quill are still at odds with one another. Island of Shipwrecks continues the story from Island of Legends (book number four). I would highly, highly recommend reading the Unwanteds series in order. Each book packs so much activity, emotion, and adventure in each book. When one book ends, I'm at the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment. (Island of Graves is next and it is coming out in September 2015!)

Island of Shipwrecks (Unwanteds #5)The Island of Shipwrecks is a new island that Alex and his crew discover. They sail toward it, only to find they are trapped in it's pull toward terrible rocks. They survive and meet the people who survive on the barren island. Meanwhile, back in Quill, Aaron is looking for away to still remain ruler of all. He goes to the Quillitry to seek assistance and is surprised by the presence of a leader who survived the first battle. Those are just a few opening details I think are all right to share without giving away too much. The Unwanteds is a series that I want to share all the information, yet none at all because they are so good. Oh my heart! I cannot wait for Island of Graves!

Steve West returns to read Island of Shipwrecks! Huzzah! I thought the voices were consistent with the previous titles he has read in the series. A couple a words in the text sound a little different because he's not originally from the US, but it never takes away from the story. I just want to repeat how he says it, then follow up with how I pronounce it. Quite amusing. (And I'm glad I ride only by myself as I talk back to the audiobook.) I am excited to share that Steve West finished recording Island of Graves, so the next book should sound wonderfully consistent. Again, huzzah!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Island of Shipwrecks by Lisa McMann
Series: Book 5, The Unwanteds
Read by Steve West
Produced by Simon & Schuster
Number of Discs: 8
Total Time: 10 hours
Release Date: February 2, 2015
ISBN: 9781442377523

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: What I Learned From a Penguin

Fat Freddy, the penguin, made a life changing impact on Daniel Amen. Amen shares his story about this realization in a lyrical story. It's a children's book, but the message is truly for readers of any age. It's about looking for the good and building on the positive over the negative. Amen and Payne shared a fun story with a serious message. If you want to help people, you need to be positive and emphasize the good behavior over the bad behavior.

An annonymous female narrator shares the introduction, then Daniel G. Amen picks up the dedication and the rest of the book. The women returns at the end of the audiobook to share additional information of the book and the publisher. There is a muscial bed beneath most of the story. The music changes to fit the story (about six different times). It's cheery and upbeat. I don't think it distracted from the story. It give this lyrical non-fiction book a little boost. Amen did well reading his rhyming lines. Sometimes rhymes can follow a very definite (and annoying) pattern when read aloud, but he emphasized it just right. I would be interested to hear him again.

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

Audio Book Details...
What I Learned from a Penguin: a Story on How to Help People Change by Daniel G. Amen & Jesse J. Payne
Read by Daniel G. Amen
Produced by Skyboat Media and Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (1 part)
Total Time: 9 minutes
Release Date: February 17, 2015
ISBN: 9781481529556

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Ms. Rapscott's Girls

A Mary Poppins type teacher who lives in a lighthouse? Read by Katherine Kellgren? Yes and yes!

Ms. Rapscott's Girls audiobook reviewed by Miss Pippi ReadsMs. Rapscott is the headmistress of Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents. She offers room and board to five students who arrive in (amazing) flying boxes. Along the way to school, one of the students goes missing and the other students must go out and find not finding her. It's a fun, mysterious, and quirky little story that listeners of all ages will enjoy.

I truly appreciated Ms. Rapscott's quiet dogs, Lewis and Clark. They were always present in the book, but they never took on the speaking roles. They were surprisingly believable as they assisted in the classroom, on the road, and in the lighthouse.

The story wraps up well with fun twists and turns that are similar yet very different from the magic of Disney's Mary Poppins. I would be satisfied with just this one book, but if there are more in the works I would be delighted to hear what's coming next! The girls were only at school for a short (but dramatic) time before they went on a school break. I hope everyone returns after break!

Katherine Kellgren is one of my favorite narrators! Without reading much about the story, I knew I wanted to listen to Ms. Rapscott's Girls. Kellgren did not disappoint. The most surprising moment was when she read in an American accent. I was completely shocked, because up until this book I have only heard her read in her European accents. It was an excellent narration. With six different female characters who shared the spotlight, it must have been difficult to differentiate between each character. Well done, Ms. Kellgren!

Audio Book Details...
Ms. Rapscott's Girls by Elise Primavera
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 3
Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
Release Date: March 10, 2015
ISBN: 9781101890660

Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: I Will

The cover and the length of the I Will Nine Habits of the Outwardly Focused Christian interested me at first glance. The cover looks determined with capital letters and three bold colors - red, black, and white. The length of the audiobook is 3 hours which can easily be enjoyed during my short commute to work.

I Will: Nine Habits of the Outwardly Focused ChristianI was blown away by this short little book. It was packed full of good information about how to focus on God and others rather than yourself, while growing in faith. I'm never read (or heard) anything by Thom S. Rainer before so I didn't know what to expect from this non-fiction title. I enjoyed it so much! Before I finished listening to I Will, I was telling friends about it. Rainer talks about Christians in the Early Church, meeting together in small groups, praying, volunteering, corporate worship, as well as other topics. Every chapter ends with reflective questions. This would be a good book for a Bible Study or a Book Club. I would like to read I Will after listening to it. I want to underline, highlight, and talk to other people about this book. It brings to mind this Proverb in the Old Testament, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

George W. Sarris narrates I Will. Again, another first for me! Sarris is a new narrator to my ears and he has a wonderful voice. Sarris reminded a little of Bill Pearce from Nightsounds. It was the cadence of Sarris' voice, the inflections he used rather than pitch of his voice. I would definitely listen to Sarris again!

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

Audio Book Details...
I Will Nine Habits of the Outwardly Focused Christian by Thom S. Rainer
Read by George W. Sarris
Produced by
Number of Discs: MP3 download (11 parts)
Total Time: 3 hours
Release Date: July 15, 2015
ISBN: 9781633892439

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: Love in Every Stitch

Lee Gant shares her stories of knitting and healing in Love in Every Stitch. Gant tells the reader parts of her personal journey and how knitting saved her life. Along the way, she invited others to share their stories.

Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and HealingKnitting, like reading, can be very addicting, healing, relaxing, and exciting. It's a past time that can take you places because readers and knitters also want to know and share with others around them. Just as I want to knit one more stitch, I want to read more page, or listen to one more minute in my audiobook. Love in Every Stitch was a difficult book to set aside for other activities that needed my attention.

I wanted to read Love in Every Stitch to know more about the knitting community. I consider myself a beginning knitter. My great-grandmas knitted dishcloths and I adored those dishcloths. After several years, I found friends who knit, I found the pattern online, and I learned to knit! It's been very rewarding to make those dishcloths for myself and for others.

Dawn Harvey shared Lee Gant's stories on audiobook. I felt that Harvey's voice fit very well with the tone of the book. Her voice reminded me of a mother or grandmother sharing a story. This is a non-fiction biographical book, so dynamic flare was not needed and I think Harvey captured the emotions well. I would listen to Dawn Harvey again, as well as a another story by Lee Gant. If you enjoy knitting or biographies, I would highly recommend Love in Every Stitch.

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...
Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and Healing by Lee Gant
Read by Dawn Harvey
 Produced by Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (32 parts)
Total Time: 5.6 Hours
ISBN: 9781481529341

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Answers to Your Questions About Heaven

David Jeremiah is well-known speaker, pastor, and broadcaster. He is a pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church and founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries. Although he is a familiar on-air voice, he did not narrate his book, Answers to Your Questions about Heaven. The book was narrated by Bob Souer.

Answers to Your Questions about Heaven by David Jeremiah reviewed on Adolescent Audio AdventuresThis is a book of firsts for me - the first book by David Jeremiah and the first book I've heard read by Bob Souer. The narration was well done. The format is questions and answers. The questions read with good pauses before the answers were presented. Souer's voice was an easy listen. Every once in a while, it felt like a computer narration, but not for long sections. Souer has a very straightforward approach to reading an audiobook. I would listen to him again.

The content of Answers to Your Questions about Heaven was okay. Jeremiah talks about heaven, angels, demons, and the millennium. The most thoughtful section of the book was when he answered questions about angels. To briefly sum up, our impressions of angels are vastly different from how they are described in the Bible. I would agree. For the most part, the millennium section stood out because it was a very different take on the end times and heaven. I know people have questions about heaven and I appreciate Jeremiah sharing Bible verses with the readers.

I was intrigued by the questions shared in the Answers to Your Questions about Heaven, but I would not need to read it again. This book made me go back to Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Faith builds hope and trust and removes worry. So I don't need to worry about heaven. God has kept his promises for ages past and I know he will keep his promise of heaven to me.

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

Audio Book Details...
Answers to Your Questions About Heaven by David Jeremiah
Read by Bob Souer
Produced by
Number of Discs: MP3 download (18 parts)
Total Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Release Date: April 16, 2015
ASIN: B00W851PF4

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Gettysburg Address & Emancipation Proclamation

Have your read the Gettysburg Address? Or the Emancipation Proclamation? For myself, it's been a while since I've dived into these historical documents. I think the only time I've been asked to read these pieces was during my high school American History class. It was good to hear Abraham Lincoln's words again. The Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation were shared during 1863, but both pieces are still shared and talked about because of their significance in American history.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Gettysburg Address & Emancipation Proclamation Audiobook

Robertson Dean narrated both pieces on one CD. Each piece is very short and to the point. Dean read them on the CD rather than performed, proclaimed, or reenacted them. He reminded me of how a professor or teacher with a pleasing voice would share these during class. Dreamscape Media added a bit of music at the beginning and the end of the CD which was fun. The music was very appropriate and early American sounding with drums and winds.

I think students or history lovers would enjoy listening to this audio CD. It would work well in a classroom setting or a quick audio on the way to school.

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

Audio Book Details...
Gettysburg Address & Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln
Read by Robertson Dean
Produced by Dreamscape Media, LLC
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time: 9 minutes
ISBN: 1633796833

Friday, June 5, 2015

Audies 2015

Are you familiar with the Audies? The Audies are awards given by the Audio Publishers Association, or the APA. Audiobooks from nearly 30 different categories are narrowed down to a short list of finalists. The finalists are announced in February and the winners are announced at the Gala on May 28, 2015. The Armchair Audies are audiobook enthusiasts who listen to the finalists in each category and cast a vote for the winner.
I listened to one of the youth categories - Children's for Ages Up to 8. I listened to five out of the six titles before the Gala. My top picks that I thought would win were H.O.R.S.E. and Deep in the Swamp. This year's winning title for Children's for Ages Up to 8 is ... H.O.R.S.E.!

For a complete listing of the 2015 Audie winners, check out the Audio Publishers Association press release.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: H.O.R.S.E.

I was first introduced to the picture book H.O.R.S.E. two years ago (March 2013). I appreciated the story, but the illustrations threw me off of the book. I think it was the idea of using your tongue to shoot a hoop. That grosses me out. My brothers played basketball when I was little so I understand where that ball could go. Just the idea of it makes my skin crawl. To boil it down, I wasn't a big fan of the book because the imaginative illustration was too real for me.

Let's fast forward to this year, 2015. Recently, H.O.R.S.E. won the 2015 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. All right, I will need to give this book another try, "If it won the Odyssey, it's got to be good."

After listening to the Live Oak Media production of H.O.R.S.E., I think everyone who reads the book should listen to it as well. It's a two voice book, so they had two readers: Christopher Myers and Dion Graham. They also included a rim sound effect and funky, fun music underneath the story. Myers and Graham were so natural going back and forth with the story, it was as if I was watching the game from the sidelines.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details ...
H.O.R.S.E. : A Game of Imagination and Basketball by Christopher Myers
Read by Christopher Myers and Dion Graham.
Produced by Live Oak Media
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time: 10 Min 59 Sec
ISBN: 9781430117469

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: Deep in the Swamp

Deep in the Swamp is a musical picture book! This title is also a 2015 Audie nomination for the Children's Titles for Ages up to 8 category.

Author Donna M. Bateman used the familiar song Over in the Meadow and created a book focused on the Okefenokee Swamp located in Georgia and Florida. The story counts up to 10 and includes critters, creatures, flora, and fauna. I was familiar with a few things mentioned in the book, but definitely not everything! A couple verses sounded a bit Seussical to me because of my unfamiliarity with the nature in the Southern part of the United States. (I am from the northern part of the Midwest.) All in all it was a great singing story! It's simple tune could be followed by children (and adults). If they are familiar with the song, they can anticipate what's happening next. I appreciated the extra information at the end of the book, Swap Flora and Fauna Facts.

Live Oak Media and Tom Chapin created a beautiful audio CD to go along with the book. The CD has three tracks:

1 - Narration with page turn signals (including story, song, and back matter)
2 - Narration with no page turn signals (including story, song, and back matter)
3 - "Deep in the Swap" song

The page turn signal is not a beep or ding; it's the sound of a page being turned. The narration is playful and smooth. Chapin has a deep voice, but he's lighthearted as he reads the story. The timing is well done. It can be followed on the page or just enjoyed without the book. I greatly appreciated the back matter being narrated. Not every book includes the facts in the back. Knowing the story is also a song begs for it to be sung. The story is narrated, but the song is included which is so much fun! Live Oak Media also added layers of sound effects, music, and voice duplication. The sound effects and music underneath were very subtle and did not take away, but added to the book's ambiance of the swamp. The voice duplication is the layers of animal children when they reply to their parent. As the count goes up, so do the number of voices being heard. It was an unexpected and delightful element of the narration.

I would recommend this title to any elementary or pre-school child and family. It's a fun book packed in information about the Okefanokee swamp. It's also beautifully crafted with a talented narrator and layers of sound to tickle the ear.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details ...
Deep in the Swamp by Donna M. Bateman, illustrated by Brian Lies
Read by Tom Chapin
Produced by Live Oak Media
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time:  17 minutes, 12 seconds (track 1)
ISBN: 9781430114604   

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: The Black Reckoning

The Books of Beginning trilogy has come to close with The Black Reckoning. I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for this title since The Fire Chronicle came out in 2012. If you are unfamiliar with The Books of Beginning series by John Stephens, please do not jump into book three without listening (or reading) The Emerald Atlas and The Fire Chronicle. Each book picks up the story after the other ends. Characters from previous books also return (or continue) their appearance(s) in book three.
The Black Reckoning
It's such a fantastic story! It's a book that I don't want to describe; I just want other people to read it. Stephens takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster - sweet surprises, bitter ends, hilarious circumstances, and terrifying traps. One character described the adventures as a great swelling of the heart following by heartbreak and I can only agree. Their statement wrapped up the storyline so well. I laughed, I cried, I lived another life and visited a new place. Okay, a lot of new places. There is a quite a bit of traveling in each of these books. I would recommend The Black Reckoning to middlers, teens, and adults. It's so good! Well done storytelling, Mr. Stephens!

Jim Dale narrates The Black Reckoning as well as the previous titles. He is one of the top rated audiobook narrators. He's very consistent with his voices in this book as well as in the series. Dale shares believable emotions as well as male and female characters. Well done storytelling, Mr. Dale!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
The Black Reckoning by John Stephens
Series: Book 3, The Books of Beginning
Read by Jim Dale
Produced by Listening Library
Number of Discs: 11
Total Time: 13 Hours
ISBN: 978030791517

P.S. Now that The Books of Beginning series is complete, what will John Stephens do next!?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: I Had a Favorite Dress

I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn

My first introduction to Boni Ashburn was through her books, Hush, Little Dragon and Over in the Castle. I think they are adorable stories! When I noticed her newest title, I Had a Favorite Hat, Ashburn's name caught my eye. I had no idea she had written this book! Upon looking up the hat book, I saw I had a Favorite Dress. It was originally published in 2011, but Dreamscape Media published an audiobook (and video) edition this year (2015).

I Had a Favorite DressI was looking forward to listening to I Had a Favorite Dress. I enjoyed Ashburn's previous books and the narrator, Bahni Turpin, is a familiar voice. Bahni Turpin narrated The Help (along with Jenna Lamia, Cassandra Campbell, and Octavia Spencer) and The Mighty Miss Malone which are both fantastic stories.

The story is fun and creative. The young lady in the story has a favorite dress that doesn't fit, so Mama found a solution: make a new clothing piece. As time goes by the favorite dress turns into a skirt, a scarf, and a bow (to name a few). It's a fun way to look at reusing something and being industrious. I also thought it was fun that the girl talked about her favorite day of the week, which always changed as the clothing changed.

Narrator, Bahni Turpin is talented. Her voice is youthful without being childish. It sounded like a natural fit for the story. Along with Turpin's narration Dreamscape added music and sound effects. The music was lovely guitar music. Only one sound effect stood out - a dog bark at the beginning. I listened to the audiobook without the book and if the reader has the book they can see that there is a pet dog in the story. (The pet dog does have a role later in the story.)

I would recommend listening and reading the book together. It can be enjoyed separately, but the final project is unknown if the book is read only as an audiobook. The girl in story turned her "scraps and bits" into "this." What was "this"? I'm glad I had the library book with me. "This" is a picture she created of her favorite dress - very clever but also confusing. I understand that words cannot be added to an unabridged recording or a published book, but it would have been helpful to readers.

I Had a Favorite Dress is a picture book. I think tots to early elementary students would enjoy this story. Different themes of this book include mother, daughter, clothing, sewing, art, and days of the week. I am intrigued to see if I Had a Favorite Hat  will also turned into an audiobook.

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

Audio Book Details...
I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn
Read by Bahni Turpin
Produced by Dreamscape Media, LLC
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time: 8 minutes
ISBN: 9781633797888

Hello, SYNC!

I'm so happy to share that SYNC has returned for another great summer of audiobooks to share! Prepare for a fantastic assortment of free audiobooks. Each week from May 7th to August 13th, SYNC offers two different audiobooks to download. One is a YA title and the other is a classical (or required reading) title. Stop by SYNC to see the full list of audiobooks available this summer.

Free audiobooks all summer long at SYNC : Young Adult Lit for Your Earbuds

A couple of books I'm looking forward to hearing this summer are COURAGE HAS NO COLOR: THE TRUE STORY OF THE TRIPLE NICKLES by Tanya Lee Stone (Brilliance Audio) and CROWS & CARDS by Joseph Helgerson (Brilliance Audio). Ironically both of these titles are from Brilliance Audio, but many great publishers have shared amazing books at SYNC. There is something for everyone! You can download one or all 28 audiobooks over the next 14 weeks.

What titles are you looking forward to hearing this summer?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas

Are you a V Mars follower? If so, this is the latest installment in the Veronica Mars / Neptune saga. If not, you need to start at the beginning with the original TV series.

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2)Mr. Kiss and Tell picks up after book one, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, which in turn picks up after the V Mars movie. Mr. Kiss and Tell continues story lines from the movie as well as the previous book. Characters from the original TV series also make an appearance. The new mystery of Mr. Kiss and Tell wraps up with plenty of surprises. (I was gasping like a fish out of water at a couple points during the novel.)

It was so exciting to hear more about V Mars and the city of Neptune. I don't want to give any tidbits away, but it was an excellent read. Others might have a different experience but I label myself as a Marshmallow. I was disappointed in some of the language. They added in curse/swear words. I'd rather not have those in the books I hear or read. It's also a graphic story, so I would not recommend it to younger readers.

Kristin Bell read book one, but Rebecca Lowman is the narrator for book two. I was hoping Kristin Bell would return to read, but alas, no. I did enjoy Lowman's reading of the story. She was genuine and believable. I would listen to her again.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Nuts to You

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins

Hello, anthropomorphism. We meet again.

Nuts to You is a story of four squirrels. One squirrel gets removed from his grove and his friends go in search of him. Along the way, they meet other squirrels and become friends as well as squirrel rescuers. They need to move their grove to a new grove because humans are clearing the the forest away from the electrical lines. It's a story about friendship, travel, stories, and conservation.

The story was okay for me. (Your experience can be totally different!) What threw me off the most was the beginning author's note, where a squirrel approached the author to eat part of her sandwich and then share his story. It wasn't until I had the book in my hand that I saw there was an ending author's note to finish the beginning squirrel/human dialogue. I didn't hear the second author's note title, so it ran together with the story at the end. That was very confusing to me.

I think beginning chapter readers and animal lovers will enjoy this book. The story would be a good one for family car trips. The actually book has illustrations throughout with wide set lines in short chapters. I didn't know about all the illustrations when I listened to the audiobook and I understood the story just fine without any of the artwork.

Even though this story didn't peak my interest, the narration was great! I liked listening to Jessica Almasy. I've heard her read West of the Moon, Twelve Kinds of Ice, and Operation Yes. Her voice is youthful and energetic. It was also good to hear the squirrel names rather than reading them. Just to name a few names - TsTs, Chrika, and Tsam. Those names would stump me if I has reading it myself. There is another female voice that assists with technical information on the discs (end of disc one, etc). Recorded Books also prints the track number with the chapters on the disc. I think that's a nice touch for readers, especially for readers who follow along with the book as they listen to the audiobook.

Reviewed from an Audiobook Jukebox copy. Thank you, Recorded Books!

Recorded Books

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit and Friends

Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit and Friends is a collection of short stories and nursery rhymes. This title is also a 2015 Audie nomination in the Children’s Titles for Ages up to 8 category Here is a list of the titles included on the audiobook:

—"The Tale of Peter Rabbit"
—"The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin"
—"The Tailor of Gloucester"
—"The Tale of Benjamin Bunny"
—"The Tale of Two Bad Mice"
—"The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle"
—"The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher"

—"The Tale of Tom Kitten"
—"The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck"

—"The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies"
—"The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse"
—"The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes"
—"The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse"
—"The Tale of Mr. Tod"
—"The Tale of Pigling Bland"
—"The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding"
—"The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan"
—"The Tale of Ginger and Pickles"
—"The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit"
—"The Story of Miss Moppet"
—"Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes"
—"Cecily Parseley's Nursery Rhymes"

The audiobook I checked out from the library did not include a book with it BUT Tantor Media includes a PDF eBook on disc one! I think that detail is fantastic.

Katherine Kellgren narrates Peter Rabbit and Friends. I adore listening to Kellgren and the stories she narrates. She brings so much life to each audiobook! Peter Rabbit and Friends was no exception. Beatrix Potter was a British children's author and Kellgren with her British accent is a perfect fit. She brings classical stories to a new generation of listeners.

I grew up with a one book collection of Beatrix Potter stories. When I listened to this audio collection, it brought back fond memories of paging through the book. It was so easy for me to bring Potter's illustrations to mind. It was also fascinating to hear how all the stories were connected to each other. I never realized that most of her characters either are in multiple stories or are referenced in other stories. Potter created her own little animal village. These tales are so charming!

Listening to them one after another was a bit tedious for me. By disc three, I was ready to pull the plug on my player but I was so close to the end that I just finished. I think a short musical interlude between stories would have been lovely touch, but one story just followed another.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Tantor Audio

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Looking at Lincoln

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman

Abraham Lincoln is a familiar face because his profile can be seen on U.S. currency. But Lincoln is also a familiar name because he was our 16th president. Beyond his face and name, who was he? What did he do? Where did he grow up? Author Maira Kalman shares a picture book full of historical tidbits about Abraham Lincoln.

Kalman begins with someone recognizing Lincoln then going to the library to discover more about him. The information in the book follows Lincoln's life from his birth in Kentucky to his death at the theater. It's a very compact biography with lots of wonderful highlights. Elementary students reading (or listening) to biographies would enjoy this one.

I listened to the audiobook without paging through the picture book biography. The story flows well without the need for the book, but the book is a fine addition if listeners want to follow along with the CD. It's a very artistic book with illustrations done in gouache. The book also includes additional notes about the facts used in the book as well as sources.

Elizabeth Cottle reads Looking at Lincoln. I enjoyed listening to her voice and appreciated her pacing of the book. The pace was slow enough to contemplate the facts and fast enough to not grow bored with the story. As I stated previously, this would be a good match for elementary students.

Dreamscape added music at the beginning, end, and for a short part during the last third of the book (a dramatic part, talking about the Civil War). The music was well suited to the story - strings, drums, and horns. (If my listening skills are off, fellow listeners, please let me know.) Other sound effects were added throughout the story to highlight different moments - a gunshot, outdoor nature sounds, the "traditional" shh at the library. I don't think the sound effects took away from the storyline. They fit in well and you could hear the the narrator during the sound effects and over the music.

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

Dreamscape Media, LLC

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: The Drop Box

The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie

I heard about The Drop Box film from a local radio station, WEMI. They advertised it's short showing at area movie theaters: March 3-5, 2015. I also had some Facebook friends talking about going to see the movie. I was intrigued, but put it on the back burner with the thought, "It will be out on DVD soon." And now I am waiting for it to be available...

The Drop Box Audiobook reviewed by Miss Pippi on Adolescent Audio AventuresExciting news for those who are waiting along with me, Brian Ivie (with Ted Kluck) wrote a book about his experience filming The Drop Box. It's an autobiography on how his trip to South Korea changed his life and led him to see the need for a Savior and become authentic. He writes about his childhood and his love of films. He started creating movies with his neighbors, friends, and family. Brian also watched hours and hours of movies. At the beginning of each chapter, he includes a film quote. The quotes are from a wide range of films - very impressive. I've heard and seen some of the movies he quotes, but not all of them.

The Drop Box book focuses on the journey of making The Drop Box movie, but also on Brian's life - his childhood, his films, his relationships, and his faith journey. It's a great faith story. I originally thought the book would be closer to my pledge of Read It 1st when I found out the movie also had a book, but I found it to be a companion piece to the movie. I believe readers can enjoy the book before or after viewing the film. The audience for the book is primarily adults from young adults to seniors. Brian was in college when he filmed The Drop Box.

Brandon Batchelar narrates The Drop Box book. His tenor voice suited the story very well. He sounded sincere and believable sharing someone else's story. I would listen to another recording by Batchelar. The recording was breathy. The listener can hear him take a breath during the reading, but it did not take away from the story.

My copy of the audiobook was a digital download. It downloaded in 21 parts - an image of the cover, a pdf of bonus materials, and 19 mp3 files. Eighteen of the files were the unabridged story of  The Drop Box and one audio file was a sample. Oasis Audio also shares a sample on their website. The bonus materials came on one pdf file with ten pages. The pdf shares additional material including acknowledgements, the filming crew, Kindred Image information, and notes. I thought bonus materials added to the audiobook. I always appreciate seeing the names of people (or characters) involved in stories. I'm not a good speller and if I want to share names it is difficult if I don't have the book as well as the audiobook. Thank you, Oasis Audio!

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

Additional information about The Drop Box and Brian Ivie can be found here ...


Audio Book Details...
The Drop Box : How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie and Ted Kluck Read
Read by Brandon Batchelar
Produced by Oasis Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (19 parts) [4 CDs]
Total Time: 4.25 Hours
ISBN: 9781613756881
Released: March 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: The Terrible Two

Adolescent Audio Adventures Review of The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory JohnThe Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John

Miles moves to a new town - Yawnee Valley. He is unimpressed with the new town that is known for their cows. Miles plans to be known as the prankster at his new school, Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy, as he begins his school day. Unfortunately, he is greeted by one of the greatest pranks he's ever seen - the principal's car blocking the front door to school! Before he knows it, Principal Barkin is accusing Miles of this prank and Miles is introduced to Niles, the school helper.

Authors Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a fun new book for older elementary and middle school students. It's been said that there will be more books to follow, but The Terrible Two is a great standalone book. It's a great book of humor and friendship. The characters can be extreme, like Principal Barkin being upset and red-faced most of the book, but it works! I can see readers loving this story. I think parents would be amused as well if families wanted to listen together during a car ride.

The book is illustrated by Kevin Cornell, but when you listen to the audiobook the only illustrations are in your imagination. I did not feel cheated by not seeing the illustrations.

Adam Verner narrated The Terrible Two. This is the first audiobook I've heard him read. It was well done. The characters were different and I think they're personalities showed through the voices he created. One character in particular got under my skin - Stuart. He liked to shout about the happenings in the story, so his voice needed to be "shouty." Stuart was definitely shouty ... and annoying. Currently, Stuart is a minor character, so I could live with his maddening voice. If the series continues, I hope Mr. Verner returns to narrate the rest of the Terrible Two saga.

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

Audio Book Details...
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Series: Book 1, The Terrible Two
Read by Adam Verner
Produced by Blackstone Audio
Number of Discs: MP3 download (38 parts)
Total Time: 3.4 Hours
ISBN: 9781481515290

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Island of Legends

Island of LegendsIsland of Legends by Lisa McMann

I will admit that I never really finished The Unwanteds, Book 3, Island of Fire. I knew it was going to end and I couldn't stand the cliffhanger, so I stopped on the last track of the last disc. That worked well for me. I was looking forward to this new installment, but I wasn't crushed waiting for the release. Now books four and five of The Unwanteds books are out, so I didn't feel the panic of stopping the final track of book four, Island of Legends. I finished the entire story and now wait on pins and needles for the next book. (I need to finish some other titles before delving into book five.)

Each installment of The Unwanteds begins where the previous title left off. It's like one giant book and I'm on the edge of my seat! There were some unexpected twists as always, but I didn't find myself mouthing a moment with the reader as a scene unfolded. That was neat. I'm not going to share too much of the story, because I don't want to give away any spoilers. It's captivating and creative. Each book opens the world of the Unwanteds wider and wider, but still leaving mystery in its wake. If you're a fantasy fan, I would highly recommend this series. I would suggest middler schoolers and up.

Steve West returned to narrate the fourth Unwanteds book! He's originally from London and his British accent adds a bit of other worldliness to the Unwanteds series. Every once in a great while, his pronunciations of certain words tickle my funny bone, but it's not a negative to the narration. Each character has their own voice which is appreciated. From the last title (Island of Fire), I think Mr. West maintained his characters voices very well. The next installment of the Unwanteds - Island of Shipwrecks - is out now and I'm looking forward to hearing Mr. West's voice again.

The audiobook did have beginning and ending music. Each CD picked up the story from the previous disc without another narrator sharing the disc number or to ask to change discs. It's a smooth story from one disc to the next. The last CD only had a few minutes of story on it before it went into the credits. I wish the whole story could have fit onto 8 discs, but working with media, I understand that it doesn't always fit. If the quality is better on 9 CDs instead of 8 CDs, the product should be on 9 discs.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Island of Legends by Lisa McMann
Series: Book 4, The Unwanteds
Read by Steve West
Produced by Simon & Schustler Audio
Number of Discs: 9
Total Time: 10 hours .25 minutes
ISBN: 9781442375260

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: Ben Franklin's Big Splash

Ben Franklin's Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First InventionBen Franklin's Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First Invention by Barb Rosenstock

Ben Franklin's Big Splash is fictionalized telling of one his first invention - swim fins and swim sandals. When he swam in the local river (Boston's Charles River), he observed the fish and the way they moved in the water. Ben wondered if he could create something that would help him move as fast as fish.

I listened to Ben Franklin's Big Splash while paging through the printed version of the story. The pacing was done very well. There are no page cues, but pauses between pages so readers can turn at the appropriate time. This story can be enjoyed with our without the picture biography book.

Barb Rosenstock wrote an active story while highlighting "s" words. I counted over 50 "s" words in the first ten pages of the book. Narrator Susie Berneis read the abundance of "s" words very well. She didn't over or under pronounce any of them just read them smoothly as the story progressed. It sounded like a story, not a tongue twister with "s" vocabulary. Well done!

Music and sound effects were added to this audiobook edition. The sound effects chosen fit the pictures of the story. They were subtle and added to the story, rather than took away from it. I really enjoyed the opening and closing music, which they also used again during the high points of the story - the inventions! The music selected was comprised of musical instruments and a tune that could have been heard during Franklin's life time. It sounded very colonial with drums and fifes. I think it would have been fun to add some glass armonica music to the story, but drums and fifes fit much better. And I am unsure if anyone would recognize the sound of an armonica. I just "discovered" the armonica last month and it has a very unique sound that could be perceived as eerie or ear-piercing rather than historical to listeners.

This book could be shared at any time of the year, but it could be highlighted during a unit on Colonial America, Inventors, or Swimming and Water. I think the target age is elementary students, but anyone with an interest in Ben Franklin would also enjoy this glimpse into Franklin's youth.

The audiobook solely features the story and two quotes of Franklin, but the picture book also shares a timeline, some of Franklin's inventions, and an author's note. Out of all the extras, the author's note would have been a nice addition to the audiobook. Rosenstock shares more about Ben Franklin and his swimming in her note to the readers.

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

Dreamscape Media, LLC
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