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.
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