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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Audiobooks Mini Reviews: Departure by A.G. Riddle, The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston & Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Departure
Author: A.G. Riddle
Narrated by: Nicola Barber & Scott Aiello
Genre: Sci-Fi
Publisher: Audible Studios
Format: Audiobook
Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
Harper Lane has problems. In a few hours, she'll have to make a decision that will change her life forever. But when her flight from New York to London crash-lands in the English countryside, she discovers that she's made of tougher stuff than she ever imagined.

As Harper and the survivors of Flight 305 struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of the crash, they soon realize that this world is very different from the one they left. Their lives are connected, and some believe they've been brought here for a reason.

In addition to Harper, several other passengers seem to hold clues about why Flight 305 crashed. There's:

Nick Stone, an American on his way to a meeting with The Gibraltar Project, an international group dedicated to building a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar and draining the Mediterranean.

Sabrina Schröder, a German scientist who has unknowingly sealed the fate of half the flight's passengers.

Yul Tan, a Chinese-American computer scientist who has just made the breakthrough of a lifetime: a quantum internet capable of transmitting more data, farther, faster than ever thought possible. His invention, however, does much more than he ever dreamed possible.

With time running out to save the survivors of Flight 305, Harper and Nick race to unravel the conspiracy that crashed their plane. As they put the pieces together, they discover that their decisions have already doomed one world and will soon determine the future of ours.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started Departure by A.G. Riddle, what I got was an engaging Sci-Fi thriller with compelling characters and an original story that keep me listening until late. Departure is a book that will make you think about the decisions we make today and the repercussion they could have in the future. Departure was my first (audio)book by A.G. Riddle, but it won’t be my last.
Nicola Barber and Scott Aiello bring to life the story with their narration.

My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other reviews Goodreads

Title: The Silver Witch
Author: Paula Brackston
Narrated By: Marisa Calin
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Format: Audiobook
Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins 
A year after her husband’s sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat’s death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she’s near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

In her own time, Tilda’s grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake’s ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each others, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren’s prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more.
The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston is the story of two women, Tilda and Seren and how their lives are connected through time. Tilda lives in our time and Seren in Celtic times. Usually I have problems with audiobooks when they move back and forth in time because I get confused. I didn’t have that problem with The Silver Witch, Marisa Calin does an excellent job with the different voices, so it was easy to know who was who when they were talking. The Silver Witch is a book about magic, history and the power of love. I’m looking forward to read/listen to more books by Paula Brackston.

My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other reviews Goodreads

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Format: Audiobook
Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins 
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now.Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
Landline by Rainbow Rowell is a (audio)book about all the things we take for granted in our relationships with our significant other. Rowell balances the drama with humor to made of Landline a very enjoyable listen. Landline will leave you thinking about all the little mistakes you unconsciously make in your life and how could you change them to make your relationship a better one.
Rebecca Lowman perfectly conveys the feelings and brings to life the different characters.

My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other reviews Goodreads

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hot Off the Press: May 19th Releases

May 19th

Beach TownMary Kay AndrewsWomen's Fiction
Unbearable DesireVivi AndrewsLone Pine Pride #4PNR
Alien SkyDaniel ArensonAlien Hunters #2Sci Fi
Robert B. Parker's KickbackAce AtkinsSpenser #43Mystery
A School for Unusual GirlsKathleen Baldwin Stranje House #1YA
The Scarlet GospelsClive BarkerHorror
In Firefly ValleyAmanda CabotTexas Crossroads #2Contemporary Romance
The WellCatherine ChanterFiction/Suspense
Nothing but ShadowsCassandra Clare, Sarah Rees BrennanTales from Shadowhunter Academy #4YA
Flame OutM.P. Cooley June Lyons #2Mystery
Death Ex MachinaGary Corby The Athenian Mysteries #5Historical Fiction/Mystery
Six and a Half Deadly SinsColin CotterillDr. Siri Paiboun #10Mystery
Behind the MaskCarolyn CraneThe Associates #4Romantic Suspense
Game ChangerMelissa CutlerBomb Squad #3Contemporary Romance
The ChoosingRachelle DekkerSci Fi/Dystopia
The Silver SwanElena DelbancoWomen's Fiction
CorneredHelenKay DimonCorcoran Team: Bulletproof Bachelors #1Romantic Suspense
IllusionariumHeather DixonYA/Fantasy
The Sweetheart DealPolly DuganWomen's Fiction
The Hanged ManP. N. ElrodHer Majesty's Psychic Service #1Mystery/Thriller/History
Eternity's WheelNeil Gaiman, Michael Reaves, Mallory ReavesInterworld #3Sci Fi
Dangerous DeceptionKami Garcia & Margaret StohlDangerous Creatures #2YA
Lion HeartA.C. Gaughen Scarlet #3YA
The Harvest ManAlex GrecianThe Murder Squad #4Historical Fiction/Mystery
The Bride Fonseca NeedsAbby Green Billionaire Brothers #2Contemporary Romance
SugarbabyCrystal Green Aidan Falls #2Contemporary Romance
Chantress FuryAmy Butler GreenfieldChantress Trilogy #3YA
Bone to Be WildCarolyn Haines Sarah Booth Delaney #15Mystery
Skies of AshRachel Howzell HallDetective Elouise Norton #2Mystery
Radiant StatePeter HigginsWolfhound Century #3Fantasy
The Neptune ChallengePolly Holyoke The Neptune Project #2Sci Fi
Talking DirtyElliott JamesPax Arcana NovellaUF
Eighth Grave After DarkDarynda JonesCharley Davidson #8UF
Witches Be Burned Stacey KennedyMagic & Mayhem #2PNR
Disclaimer Renée KnightMystery/Thriller
Devil in the WiresTim LeesField Ops #2Fantasy
The GracekeepersKirsty LoganYA/Fantasy
Water from My HeartCharles MartinFiction
ReviveTracey MartinRedZone #1UF
Tracking MagicShannon Mayer Rylee Adamson #0.25UF
From a Distant StarKaren McQuestionYA
Stallion MagicDeborah Fletcher MelloContemporary Romance
Summer's EndMary Alice Monroe Lowcountry Summer #3Women's Fiction
The Life and Death of Sophie StarkAnna North Fiction
UprootedNaomi NovikFantasy
The Coldest SeaMarian PereraEden #5Fantasy/Romance
Off the PageJodi Picoult, Samantha Van LeerBetween the Lines #2YA
Dead ShiftRichard PhillipsThe Rho Agenda Inception #4Sci Fi
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected FictionHannu RajaniemiSci Fi
Protective InstinctKatie ReusMoon Shifter #5.5PNR
Once PureCecy RobsonShattered Past #3NA
Crossfades: A Dystopian NovellaWilliam Todd RoseHorror
SnatchedDavid SapersteinSci Fi
Hold Me Like a BreathTiffany SchmidtOnce Upon a Crime Family #1YA
Ever NightGena ShowalterPNR
SevenevesNeal StephensonSci Fi
The KnockoffLucy Sykes, Jo PiazzaWomen's Fiction
When the Heavens FallMarc TurnerThe Chronicles of the Exile #1Fantasy
The Shadow of ElysiumDjango WexlerThe Shadow Campaigns #2.5Fantasy
Use Once, Then Destroy: StoriesConrad WilliamsHorror
The Canterbury SistersKim WrightWomen's Fiction
Made You UpFrancesca ZappiaYA

Contemporary Romance
Historical Fiction
New Adult
Paranormal Romance
Romantic Suspense
Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy
Women's Fiction
Young Adult

Monday, May 18, 2015

Early Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (May 19th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
After an incident when Alex was seven years old, when she tried to free some lobsters, her family realized something wasn’t right with her; but she wasn’t diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia until years later. Since her diagnosis Alex has tried to live a normal life or as normal as her illness allows her. She has learned some coping mechanisms and techniques that help her deal with her illness. Some of them are perimeter checks every time she enters a room or goes to a new place. She also takes hundreds of pictures everyday; when she gets home she checks her pictures to see if what she originally saw was real or if it was a delusion.
Alex is starting her senior year in a new high school. Meeting new people and pretending to be normal is not an easy job, but Alex needs to do it to prove to her parents and to herself that she’s doing better.
It’s at the school that she meets Miles, a guy that reminds her of the boy who helped her free the lobsters and whom she thought was a delusion.
Trying to fit in a new school while keeping her illness a secret, making friends, applying to colleges, investigating a mystery concerning the haunted school’s scoreboard and falling in love take all of Alex time and energy, and went her secret comes to the light Alex learns some hard truths that could destroy her.

Alex is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. We see the world through her eyes, but we don’t know if what she sees is reality or delusions and she knows this as well. My heart broke more than once for her. I can’t imagine how it must be to know that what you see may not be real, that people you know and count as friends maybe just a delusion, and how hard it must be to pretend you are normal and everything is ok with you when you know your reality most probably is a delusion.
One of the things I like the most about Alex is that she is conscious of her illness and her limitations, but that doesn’t deter her in hoping for a better future for her. She just wants to have a normal life or as normal as her illness allows her. She wants to have friends, to go out with them. She wants to go to college and have a future where she could thrive despite her shortcomings.

On the beginning I didn’t like Miles, but after a while, when I learned more about him I was able to understand his behavior. I’m almost sure he could be diagnosed in the autism spectrum, although his behavior is never referred as that in the story. My heart also broke for him, for what he is forced to do and endure.

I really liked Alex and Miles together. I loved how Miles accepts Alex the way she is and helps her deal with her illness. The same way Alex knew Miles brain work in a different way and was able to understand him when nobody else could.

The secondary characters enrich the story even more. We see Alex’s parents dealing as best as they can with Alex illness. Sometimes they succeed, others they fail while doing what they thought was best for her.
Another character I really liked was Tucker. I loved how easily he accepted Alex and was there for her when she needed him despite everything that happened between them. I can’t say more without giving too much away. I can only say, read this book, you won’t regret it.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia was everything I was expecting it to be and more. With her spotless writing Zappia gives voice to a difficult topic like mental illness in kids/young people and the stigma it has on society. It also shows us how wrong we are in many cases and how easy it’s to judge when we don’t really know anything about it.

The thing that kept me from giving Made You Up a five paws (stars) rating was the end. It felt a bit rushed… or maybe I loved Alex so much I just wanted a little more.

I recommend Made You Up to everyone, especially to those who like unreliable narrators. Francesca Zappia surprised me in a good way with this, her debut novel. I’m planning on following her closely from now on.

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws

Other reviews Goodreads

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