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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mini Reviews 10: A Handful of Audiobooks

It's time for another set of "mini" reviews (I use the term mini loosely, as I tend to still go on and on).  A handful of audibooks = hours of sanity time for me during my endless commute!

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication date: February 2011
Length: 5 hrs 58 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun!
Series: Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 2


When Penelope Lumley and her charges, along with the Ashtons, make their way to London for a visit, she is eager to visit with her former headmistress.  But she gets so much more, meeting strange gypsies, a very nice young man, pirates, and a strange hidden art gallery.  Further secrets are revealed about the children and even Lord Ashton himself!

My Thoughts:
I really like this series, but think I'd like it less if I wasn't listening to the audio versions.  I was drawn into and involved in everything that went on during the book, but afterward wondered what exactly the point was.  They come to London, fiddle around, and then go back home with pretty much no plot moving forward, except perhaps some things that Penelope "learns"  Mostly, this one entertains me with its quirky characters and bizarre happenings.  And Katherine Kellgren's delightful narrations and voices which she does, as always, quite perfectly.

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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication date: February 2012
Length: 6 hrs 50 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun!
Series: Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 3


When Lord Ashton's mother shows up for a visit with the brassy Admiral Faucet in tow, they bring uproar to the Ashton house.  The admiral is determined to marry Lord Ashton's mother, in order to further is dream of bringing ostrich racing to England.  When his prize ostrich runs away, though, the children and their plucky governess are enlisted to head into the forest and track the bird down.  Much more seems to be at stake, though, than one lost bird.

My thoughts: 
And this book continues to reinforce my love for Katherine Kellgren's narrations and her ability to portray any kind of voice and inflection and do accents perfectly.  I really enjoy the stories in this series, though they seem to meander a bit before getting to their point, but again I'm hooked on these books because of the narration.  I did enjoy getting more revelations and surprises about the children and the Ashtons at the end of the book, though I'm still a bit in the dark.  I will continue to listen eagerly to each addition to this series, however.
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Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication date: November 2006 (HC)
Length: 6 hrs 31 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: YA Audiobook Challenge


 
When Keturah is lost in the forest and on the brink of dying, she sees Lord Death and pleads with him to spare her life.  He agrees, if she can find her one true love in the next day.  Keturah returns to her home, desperate to discover who among all the village boys is her love.  But she also has bigger worries about her family and the people she may leave behind if she can't find him in time. 

My thoughts: 
I remember reading and loving this story ages ago.  I listened to the audio for fun and loved it just as much.  Alyssa Bresnahan does a really good voice for Keturah; I was impressed at her tone and how it seemed just right for the story.  I love Keturah and how she is both grounded and completely crazy about how she tries to find her true love.  She's very determined and I enjoyed listening to her figure out just who it was she loved.  It remains a beautifully written, compelling, and interesting love story.  
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Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Publication date: October 2012
Pages: 9 hrs 14 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: YA Audiobook Challenge


 Glenn grew up right next to the Rift, with no idea what was on the other side.  But, when Glenn's father is arrested for his scientific work, he sends her and her friend Kevin to the Magesterium with no idea of what to expect.  In this strange new place, they meet creatures and monsters they never dreamed existed and face terrible choices about the people and places they love.

My thoughts: 
I really struggled with this book.  I thought it was very imaginative and really liked how interesting the idea was - that there was this place just on the other side of a border that held magic and power and you were different when you got there.  It reminded me of Narnia and those fun worlds within worlds stories.  However, the whole story seemed very disjointed, episodic, and completely pointless.  It honestly seemed like Kevin and Glenn were simply wandering aimlessly through the Magesterium with no real purpose and no idea what they were doing there.  The writing was fell flat for me - I did not like the style at all.  I think the audiobook kind of added to my dislike. Julia Whalen, the narrator, seemed to have a voice only suited to a teen girl, which works most of the time with Glenn.  But, when she would do voices for the boys or men, it sounded like a person doing a bad imitation of their dad or brother.  I just stopped caring most of the way through and I'm still not sure why I stuck with it to the end.  I have no clue what the magic is about and why the two worlds are magically separated by a "border."  Just a meh book for me.   
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A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication date: February 2011 (HC)
Pages: 10 hrs 47 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun!
Series: Flavia de Luce mysteries, Book 3


When an old gypsy woman, who told Flavia's fortune, ends up being savagely beaten, Flavia is on the case.  But there is much more to this mystery than she first thought, when another body turns up.  Flavia must follow the clues to their logical conclusion, even if it means getting in dangerous situations.

My thoughts: 
Pretty much, I read these books for Flavia.  She's fun and unique and not what you expect from an 11 year old.  I love her obsession with chemistry and her desire to figure things out.  She's fascinating and funny and clever and strange.  Plus, the other quirky characters in the books are quite interesting as well.  I just generally have fun listening to or reading the stories.  I loved the narrator, Jayne Entwistle, as she was able to capture a fairly young voice for Flavia and then kind of imitated the way Flavia would think of the adults voices in her head.  It was fun.  I did finally figure out the mystery in advance, which is kind of a miracle for me as I usually don't.  That probably means it's not that complicated, but I still managed to enjoy it.  Mystery-lovers will not get a thrill from the mystery, but as I noted, I'm in it for Flavia.


Any thoughts on these books?  Suggestions for more great audiobooks?

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8 comments :

  1. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (1st book) is going to be one of the books available through SYNC this summer. I hadn't heard of it but am looking forward to downloading it for FREE! http://www.audiobooksync.com/2013/04/13/sync-2013-titles-revealed/

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    1. I LOVE SYNC and all the awesome audiobooks they offer for free. Definitely you should download that one! It's a blast :)

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    2. Um, I am SO EXCITED to discover SYNC! Thanks for sharing the link!

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    3. It's such an AWESOME service! Hope you get a chance to listen to some of the audios.

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  2. So glad I saw your review of Children of Ashton Place because it's going to be free this summer and might appeal to my kids.

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  3. I've never heard of the Incorrigible Children! But obviously I need to check them out. :)

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    Replies
    1. They are super fun, if a bit silly :)

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