Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: Island of Graves

Island of Graves by Lisa McMann is book six in the Unwanteds series. It's an excellent fantasy series! I would HIGHLY recommend listening from the beginning if this is your first introduction to the Unwanteds series.

I wait at the edge of my seat for each new installment of the Unwanteds. The newest book, Island of Graves, did not disappoint. The pirates have taken Aaron away and left him for dead. Alex wants to go after him to help save Artime and Quill. The entire island is in jeopardy.  If you're looking for magic and battles and missions. This is an excellent book. I don't want to give too many details away!  The plot twists were so surprising. The end of the book had me gripping my steering wheel the whole drive home from work. The story wraps up well, but McMann included an epilogue... I cannot wait for April 2016! Island of Dragons is coming.

Steve West returns to narrate book six. Huzzah! The familiar characters were all recognizable and the new characters were just as strong and distinctive. Simon & Schuster did have another narrate share the end of the disc news. She had a lovely voice, but it was slightly startling to go from story with Steve to a pleasant, elevator voice telling you that you need to switch discs. With a single disc player, this information is helpful, but on a multi-disc player it's a distraction.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Island of Graves by Lisa McMann
Series: Book 6, The Unwanteds
Read by Steve West
Produced by Simon & Schustler Audio
Number of Discs: 9
Total Time: 11 hours 11 minutes
ISBN: 9781442388857

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: The Adventures of Bella & Harry, Vol. 1

The Adventures of Bella and Harry is a picture book series about two chihuahuas that travel around the world with their family. Volume one is an audiobook that includes three of the book titles: Let's Visit Paris!, Let's Visit London!, and Christmas in New York City! 

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews The Adventures of Bella & Harry, Volume One
The books briefly cover top tourist spots in Paris, London, and NYC. NYC features Christmas highlights, while the others are general highlights. Bella does most of the talking while Harry chimes in with a question or two. The books share a food item or two that is country specific. There is also a short dictionary of foreign words. I appreciated the audiobook for the dictionary section, because it is better to hear a foreign language rather than trying to read it.

Gabrielle de Cuir narrated all three titles in The Adventures of Bella & Harry, Vol. 1. I was impressed with her wide array of accents and tones. She was also energetic throughout each book. I would listen to her again in another Bella and Harry book.

In addition to a fun narration, the producers also added music and sound effects. The music was added as a highlight. The music also had the flavor of the country they were visiting. The sound effects were nicely placed throughout each story. My favorite sound effect was the running, cartoon scramble when Bella was looking for Harry at a museum. It was the perfect touch. I also appreciated the photo shutter sound when Bella shared different landmarks at the end of the book. Since I didn't have a physical book, I could see a photo album being created in my mind. Well done!

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

Audio Book Details...
The Adventures of Bella & Harry, Vol. 1: Let’s Visit Paris!, Let’s Visit London!, and Christmas in New York City! by Lisa Manzione
Series: The Adventures of Bella & Harry
Read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Produced by Skyboat Media
Number of Discs: MP3 download (3 parts)
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Release Date: October 6, 2015
ISBN: 9781504668071

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Safe House

Safe House was a very meaty audiobook to hear and digest. I listened in lengthy chunks, then set it aside to reflect on the material Straub presented. Each chapter does include questions to reflect upon. It’s an excellent book to read in a book club, with a spouse, or other parents/safe house members.

Straub outlines his book well. He begins with the parent(s) and their own story (history). He gives the space to reflect on the past and see how it can be a part of their future or their children’s futures. He goes onto explain the characteristics of a safe house: explore, protect, grace, and truth. The house analogy was easy to picture in my mind and I think other listeners can connect well with the analogy as well. He finishes his book with reflective materials on faith and marriage.

Yes, this is a parenting book, but Straub went beyond new or young parents. He includes seasoned parents and to be parents. He includes single parents and parent supporters (grandparents, friends, family members). In addition, he talks about marriage and the partnership or team that marriage creates. A husband and wife team needs to be together in their parenting and in support of each other.

Mike Chamberlain narrated Joshua Straub’s book. Chamberlain has a straightforward and friendly voice, well suited for this non-fiction book. He was expressive throughout each chapter and never over the top. This is the second time I’ve heard Chamberlain narrate a book and I would listen to him again.

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

Audio Book Details...
Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids who Live, Love, and Lead Well by Joshua Straub
Read by Mike Chamberlain
Produced by
Number of Discs: MP3 download (12 parts)
Total Time: 9 hours, 1 minute
Release Date: October 27, 2015
ISBN: 9781633894679

Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: Billy and Goat at the State Fair

Dan Yaccarino shares two new characters - Billy and Goat. Billy is a young boy and his friend, Goat, who is an actual goat. Goat is outgoing and looks for adventures. Billy is more reserved. Together they balance each other out and have fun adventures together. Billy and Goat visit the state fair first to win a blue ribbon then to have a fantastic time exploring the fair. After reading Billy and Goat at the Stat Fair, I wonder if this new duo will appear in other adventurous tales together.

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Billy and Goat at the State Fair
Billy and Goat at the State Fair is a children's picture book. I read the book before listening to the story. The book was fun with wonderfully bright illustrations. I listened to the audiobook without the picture book in front of me. The book as well as the audiobook stand alone very well. If readers want to follow along with the story, it would be an excellent pairing, too. Dreamscape Media does not add page signals to the story, but the pauses between sentence and phrases are well placed. Dreamscape Media also adds music and sound effects underneath the story. Their audio is crafted very well. The music is fun and upbeat with a little country flavor. The sound effects were subtle, but cleverly places. Goat bleats every once in while, but not overwhelming. Well done, Dreamscape!

Kirby Heyborne narrates Billy and Goat at the State Fair. Upon my first listen of the audiobook, I thought the pace was so s...l...o...w. On the second listen, I had to shake my head. This is a fantastic pace for a book! Children who are beginning readers or learning to read need an even and slow pace to follow along or read with the narrator. As an adult, I'm accustomed to a faster pace and I've also learnedthe skills of listening and reading. Children are constantly learning and having a faster pace doesn't allow them time to comprehend what is happening around them. To sum it all up, excellent pace Mr. Heyborne. It captured the story and the listener was able to follow along with a book or create a picture in their imagination.

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

Audio Book Details...
Billy and Goat at the State Fair by Dan Yaccarino
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Produced by Dreamscape Media, LLC
Number of Discs: 1
Total Time: 7 minutes
ISBN: 9781681411576
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