Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Dragonwatch

Journey back to the world of Fablehaven!

Brandon Mull has begun a new series, A Fablehaven Adventure. Book one is entitled Dragonwatch. If you have yet to hear the original Fablehaven series, you need to start there before tackling his newest adventure. Familiar characters return to familiar locations in this fantastical story.

Here is the book description from Brandon Mull's website:

"In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.
No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.
As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.
How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?"

I am thrilled to hear more about Fablehaven's world! I was hoping for more stories, but I was content with end of the original series. I adored the original narrator, E. B. Stevens, too. I hoped for the return of Stevens, but Shadow Mountain went with Kirby Heyborne. I was disappointed, but Heyborne did an amazing job! Dragonwatch is a dramatic story and he fully embraced the emotions without going over the top. The only voice that got muddy in my ears was Grandpa's voice. I look forward to the next installment of A Fablehaven Adventure and hope to hear Heybourne read again.

One final note on Shadow Mountain - they produce an wonderful audiobook. The music at the beginning and end of the discs is lovely with what sounds like a full orchestra. Moving from disc to disc is an artform. They fade out the story and bring in Heybourne to tell you to go to the next disc and fade out with music. There is no abrupt cutoff of the story or jarring new voice to tell you to change discs. Well done, Shadow Mountain!

Reviewed from a library copy.

Audio Book Details...
Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull
Series: Book 1, A Fablehaven Adventure
Read by Kirby Heybourne
Produced by Shadow Mountain
Number of Discs: 9
Total Time: 10 hours, 19 minutes
Release Date: March 2017
ISBN: 9781629722962

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Pillow Stalk

Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere is a cozy mystery for adult readers. I typically review fiction or non-fiction that has a link to adolescent readers or families. This was purely a book for me. I am a fan of Doris Day and this Mad for Mod / Madison Knight mystery series looked too good to pass up! Here is the book description from Dreamscape Media:

Adolescent Audio Adventures reviews Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere
"Interior Decorator Madison Night might look like a throwback to the sixties, but as business owner and landlord, she proves that independent women can have it all. When a killer targets women dressed in her signature style-estate sale vintage to play up her resemblance to fave actress Doris Day-what makes her unique might make her dead. The local detective connects the new crime to a twenty-year old cold case, and Madison's long-trusted contractor emerges as the leading suspect. As the body count piles up, Madison uncovers a Soviet spy, a campaign to destroy all Doris Day movies, and six minutes of film that will change her life forever."

I will admit this is my first cozy mystery that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't wait to hop in the car and hear this story. There are little tidbits that I can match up with Day films and characteristics of characters in her movies. I was surprised by the unfolding mystery and a surprising teaser at the end of the book. I look forward to hearing more from the Mad for Mod series!

Susan Berneis narrated Pillow Stalk. I've previously heard her narrate children's titles including The Christmas Quiet Book and Ben Franklin's Big Splash. I enjoyed her narration of Madison Night's story. Berneis did a fine job of the various female and male voices. I could hear that she tried to voice each character differently. I would definitely listen to her again as Madison Night and am thrilled to see that she returned to read the next three books in the series.

Reviewed from a Dreamscape Media copy. Thank you, Audiobook Jukebox!
I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review.

Audio Book Details...
Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere
Series: Book 1, Mad for Mod Mystery
Read by Susan Berneis
Produced by Dreamscape Media
Number of Discs: 7
Total Time: 8 hours, 19 minutes
Release Date: January 2017
ISBN: 9781520063553
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