The Audiobookworm

An Audiobook Review Blog
 
The Audiobookworm

🎧 Sweep In Peace [Dramatized] by Ilona Andrews

Reviewed Mar. 2022

Narrator: Full Cast
Length: 7 hours
Publisher: GraphicAudio⎮2022

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Coming hot off the heels of my amazing experience with Graphic Audio's dramatization of Clean Sweep, I immediately wanted to continue with the series. Alas, the dramatized version of Book 2 in the series has not yet made it to the Audible retail platform,  and even though it's available for pre-order, I simply could not wait until May 1st. So, being the impatient listener that I am, I decided to purchase the original version of the audiobook.

I made it about three hours into Renée Raudman's narration of Sweep in Peace before my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to purchase Graphic Audio's dramatization of this book as well. I did not regret that decision. It's not that I hadn't been enjoying the regular audiobook, it's just that I knew I would enjoy the Graphic Audio version so much more and I was right! I think I'm a Graphic Audio addict now. To be honest, I could do without most of the sound effects, but I love, love, love the full cast performance. It keeps me glued to the story like nothing else.

As for the story, I appreciated that Sweep in Peace greatly expanded the lore of innkeepers and inns, as well as throwing new races of aliens at us, along with their lore. We learned a lot more about how it inns come to be and what all they can do. There wasn't much growth for the romance angle, nor for the missing parents angle, however. This installment was quite episodic. I definitely feel like I'm more invested in the series after having heard this installment. I also intend to continue with the series, although only time will tell if I'm able to wait for the Graphic Audio dramatization or if I break down and buy the regular audiobook.

Update: Six hours later, I've already broken down and purchased Book 3 on Audible. I'm definitely getting into this series! But I've already made my next Graphic Audio purchase: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Stay tuned for reviews on both of those!

🎁 Clean Sweep [Dramatized] by Ilona Andrews

Reviewed Mar. 2022

Narrators: Alejandro Ruiz, Christopher Walker, Holly Adams, James Lewis, Karen Novack, Ken Jackson, Nora Achrati, Peter Holdway, Elias Khalil, Ryan Reid, Alex Hill-Knight
Length: 5 hours 59 minutes
Publisher: GraphicAudio⎮2022

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

This audiobook was graciously gifted to me (via Audiobookworm Reviews) by its publisher, Graphic Audio, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Graphic Audio!

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Let me preface this review by saying that if you do not like sound effects and background music in your audiobooks, this particular dramatization is not for you. These things are prevalent in the Graphic Audio dramatization of Clean Sweep and, in my opinion, provide an immersive experience. However, some listeners may find them distracting. I've never been particularly put off by these things in audiobooks, so I greatly enjoyed this listening experience.

Graphic Audio's slogan is 'A Movie in Your Mind' and, I have to say, that is completely accurate. It's like I could see the story come alive in my mind. Soon after I began listening, I decided that this audiobook deserved my full focus, so I began listening after I went to bed each night, which really allowed for maximum immersion in the story.

My experience with the dramatized version of Clean Sweep greatly differed from my listening experience of the original audiobook when I heard it back in 2016. I attribute a great deal of that to the dramatization of the story. I found that it was much easier to focus on the story and that my mind wandered a lot less while listening to the dramatized version. Plus, I always enjoy full cast narrations. On the rare occasions when my mind would wander a bit, the frequent sound effects would pull it back to the story (and scare the sh*t out of my cat 😂), which was an added perk of listening to this version.

I also credit my changed opinion of Clean Sweep to the fact that I'm in a different place in my life now than when I listened before and things can 'hit differently' after a few years, you know? For example, in my original review (linked here), I compared Clean Sweep to the show Supernatural and said that I had never really been able to get into that show either. In 2016, that was true. I had tried several times and failed to get into that show. Fast forward to 2022 and, not only have I completed the entire 16 seasons of Supernatural, but I've also just returned from a Supernatural fan convention (where I met both Jared and Jensen!). See what a difference a few years can make?!

It gave me a good chuckle to see that I had written in my original review: "Unless one day I suddenly become majorly interested in all things alien/paranormal, I don’t think I would particularly gain anything from listening to the rest of the series." Well guess what, 2016 Jess?! You are way into the Paranormal genre now. 👽

All of this makes me want to go back and give things I had previously written off another try. But first, I'm going to be listening to Graphic Audio's dramatized version of Sweep In Peace, the next book in the Innkeeper Chronicles series (linked here).

Catching up with The Audiobookworm

Hey y'all, long time no see!

I don't even know if anyone still comes here, so I may be shouting into the void, but I was shocked to realize I haven't posted here since September 2022. I never intended my hiatus to last so long and I'm sorry for abandoning this blog like that, without so much as an explanation. But, at least it wasn't for any tragic reason. In fact, it was quite the opposite: I started my own audiobook production company!

OK, let's rewind: Some of you may know that in the Fall of 2016, I started organizing audiobook blog tours on this very website. Not long after, that service took off and Audiobookworm Promotions was born. It became an LLC and got its very own website. This, my first company, my eldest born, got all of my attention until a new company came along in the Fall of 2019: Audiobook Empire.

You guys, I make audiobooks. Somebody pinch me.

The Empire is my pride and joy. To date, we've produced around 30 Audiobooks and I couldn't be more proud of them. I mean, I'm up to my eyeballs in stress and emails, but I freaking love it. I love the narrators I work with, I love the audiobook industry, but most of all, I love audiobooks. I wake up every day excited to work because I just love what I do. Yes, I'm gushing.

And you know what else? Today, when I published my first audiobook review in almost 2 years, I realized that I still love reviewing audiobooks. 2021 was sort of a pitiful year for me regarding audiobook listening. I think I listened to only around 20 audiobooks in the entire year. That's down from 108 a couple of years before. One of my biggest goals for this year is to listen to more books and now, in front of you, I vow to make a better effort to review them as well. The Empire is rolling full steam ahead and I am busier than ever, but if recent global events have taught me anything, it's that I need to make more time for the things I love.

Here are the audiobooks I heard in 2021:

📚 Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron

Reviewed Sep. 2020

Narrators: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 9 hours 45 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios⎮2019

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 3.5 Stars

I chose Minimum Wage Magic from an Audible 2-for-1 sale. I had just finished One to Watch and knew that I needed something completely different from it in order to survive the inevitably massive book hangover.

Because of the sale, I went ahead and purchased the sequel to this audiobook as well. I normally don't take such a risk, buying a sequel before I have even heard the first book, but I could tell from the summary and sample that Minimum Wage Magic was probably a safe choice.

And I turned out to be mostly right. I enjoyed Minimum Wage Magic. I liked Opal as a main character. Her job was really fascinating and I wish the overarching story had revolved more around that, rather than it just being a catalyst.

I was most intrigued by the world Rachel Aaron created. The DFZ is an interesting concept and Aaron does a good enough job of explaining her system of magic. The world building was adequate and so was the character development. But there was a lot to unpack in this one installment. Between Opal's job, the info dumps about the gods, magic creatures, cyborg body parts, her enemies-to-lovers romance, and all the drama with her family, it was just… a lot. Oh, and let's not forget the dragons!

I think that's what kept me from enjoying this as much as I could have. Rachel Aaron is definitely a talented writer, but I think her style could use a little finesse. Maybe I'm just a slow absorber, but I was never really able to fully connect with a character or process a certain thing before something else major was thrown at me. It's like a dinner where there are so many different rich foods that you make yourself sick trying to eat everything and end up with a massive tummyache and a bad taste in your mouth (a.k.a. American Thanksgiving).

With that said, a massive tummyache has never stopped me from digging in again at the next Thanksgiving and it certainly didn't stop me from heading straight into Book #2, Part-Time Gods after finishing this one. I'm glad I did that because we do learn more about Opal's family in the second book, which gave her character more depth. It also advanced some of her relationships with characters we met in the first book.

There's a third book in the series, but despite adding it to my Audible wish list, I can't see myself spending a credit on it. However, if it should ever pop up in another sale, I would probably grab it.

Narration review: I know I've heard Emily Woo Zeller narrate before, but I can't remember exactly what book it was. I'll have to do some digging. Whatever it was left a residual positive impression in my mind, because seeing her name as narrator of Minimum Wage Magic made this an instant buy. My subconscious must know its stuff, because Woo Zeller gave a great performance here. She conveyed a light, fun tone for Opal that immediately made me like her. If you're into Urban Fantasy and/or dragons, this is probably a safe bet for you. And I highly recommend it on audiobook. ♣︎

📚 One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Reviewed Aug. 2020

Narrators: Kristen Sieh
Length: 11 hours 42 minutes
Publisher: Random House Audio⎮2020

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 5 Stars

Just kill me now, because as long as I live, no book will ever compare to this one. It's so perfect, I want to cry!

One to Watch was EVER-Y-THING. It made me want to hug every woman who has ever been made to feel the way Bea did and also want to relive my Bachelorette watching glory days. It was light and funny, but carried a deeply concerning message about society pretty close to the surface.

My emotions ran the gamut while listening to this. I raged at the (almost too) realistic hate comments hurled at Bea for being a plus size woman and daring to live her life. I "squee-d" at all the cute moments, fist-pumped at all the empowering ones, and constantly swooned over the romantic cuteness. I even cried a little. It's been a while since a book has made me tear up, but it's also been a while since I've enjoyed one this much.

Bea was the ultimate main character. I had no problem liking her and wanting her to succeed. If anything, I may have gotten a little too attached to her. Almost from the first page, I felt like I had taken Bea under my wing and was very protective of her. Needless to say, I became very emotionally invested in her life and in this story, overall. She was endearingly flawed. I didn't always agree with her actions, but I always understood where they were coming from.

Not only did One to Watch write a killer story with a plus-sized and badass main character, but it also did a pretty great job with Ace (Asexual) representation as well. The ace character in the story wasn't the protagonist, or even in the spotlight that much, but he still made a substantial impression. If Stayman-London ever decides to write a spin off with this character, I would definitely read it.

One to Watch also had a unique formatting. The story wasn't always told from the POV of our main character. In fact, many of the defining moments were told through blog or social media posts, magazine articles, or chat room transcripts. It was a very unique way to tell the story and it kept my mind from wandering.

I think One to Watch would make a great Netflix original film. I could see Netflix optioning this story. And, more than anything, I really want to see these characters come to life! I need to see what each of them looks like and I need to see this story play out before my eyes.

Before I was even halfway through, I had already recommended it to a couple of people. And now, the week after finishing it, I'm still recommending it. One to Watch was an all-around amazing book. The writing was on point, the characters were dynamic and realistic, and the overall message of body positivity and self-love was inspiring and empowering!

Narration review: Kristin Sieh deserves all the awards for One to Watch. There's no way that this was an easy story to perform, but this girl knocked it out of the park! There were so many characters here, most of them men, but Sieh voiced them all flawlessly. Honestly, the one that stands out most was her voicing of Luc, the French chef. Sieh provided a full, well rounded accent that sounded authentically French.

But the most noteworthy part of her performance was her character distinction. She managed to make each of the Bea's suitors sound unique and appropriate to their character. When reading tweets, news articles, and the like, Sieh and viewed each of them with the appropriate emotion and inflection. ♣︎

📚 House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewed July 2020

Narrators: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 27 hours 50 minutes
Publisher: Audible Original⎮2020

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.75 Stars

I'll admit it. House of Earth and Blood surprised me. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. I like SJM's A Court of series well enough to have heard all three current installments, but the Throne of Glass series has never been my favorite. I'm currently two installments behind on that series. I plan to catch up at some point, but I'm just not super driven to do so right now. I guess I would say I am a fan of `SJM, but definitely not exactly a super fan, so I definitely did not feel obligated or predisposed to like her newest book.

House of Earth and Blood seems to have divided reviewers into polarities. Those raving about it seem to be the super fans who count the Throne of Glass series among their favorites, so I was fully expecting to have the opposite reaction. But that was before I realized how different this series would be from anything SJM has written in the past. House of Earth and Blood is a solid an Urban Fantasy series. I can't say I'm particularly drawn to Urban Fantasies, because I've never really read that many of them. Urban Fantasy was popular a few years back, but then the craze seemed to die down before I could get completely on board with it. The world Maas created in this story stands out to me more vividly than any of her other fantasy worlds because of its similarity to our own. It was so surreal to hear things like "modern science" and "instant messaging" used in the same sentence as "fae" and "archangel".

And speaking of the fae and archangels, they weren't the only supernatural species present. [Stefon voice] This story has it all. Witches, angels, fairies, shifters (werewolves), sphinxes, wraiths, faun, and a cute little fire sprite who initially seems like comic relief but comes in clutch at the end. In the past, stories with more than a couple of different species heavily on display have irritated me, but Maas actually made it work here. She categorizes them into separate houses, with each having a loyalty to their own species. This type of separation and classification helped prevent a free-for-all type chaos in my mind as I was listening and trying to keep everything straight. Unlike her other series, I actually connected with the secondary characters in House of Earth and Blood. I was able to follow the alternating POVs and keep the cast of characters straight in my head with ease.

But I kept my guard up for classic Maas-isms. Most fans will know that Maas usually pulls a romantic switcheroo at some point in the series, with the initial romantic interest not being endgame for our main character.  With that in mind, I tried not to become too attached to the inevitable pairing in this installment. I'm actually not opposed to this type of bait-and-switch done by Maas. In fact, I'd rather hope she pulls it off again. I enjoy a well-developed love triangle and I'm not overly fond of our male love interest in this particular installment. I don't mind him, but I still feel our protagonist could do better and I'm curious to see what/who else Maas may have in store for her.

There's certainly a lot left to explore in the world of Lunathion. I have a feeling each installment in this series will be named after one of the four houses of Midgard and because I formed such solid connections with all of the characters in the story, I'm excited to see which direction we go in next.

Narration review: Elizabeth Evans also narrates SJM's Throne of Glass series, so I'm familiar with her work. However, I think I enjoyed her narration more here than previously. In part because I enjoyed this story more, but I also feel that Evans talents were better suited for the Urban Fantasy subgenre. The grittiness of her tone just fits it more naturally, producing a more believable performance. SJM and Evans are quickly becoming a power duo in the audiobook world, like Philippa Gregory and Bianca Amato. This is a pairing that is continually growing on me and I can't wait to see what else they produce together. ♣︎

📚 How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Reviewed May 2020

Narrators: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Length: 6 hours 24 minutes
Publisher: Audible Original⎮2018

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Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

How to Date Your Dragon was one of four books I grabbed during a recent Audible two-for-one sale. It wasn't something I had already had my eye on, but was more of an impulse buy. Interestingly enough, it wound up being the first one I heard. This wasn't my first experience with Molly Harper, however. Back in early 2018, I heard and reviewed Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs and had a less than stellar reaction to it. I figured it was one of those really popular books that just didn't vibe with me for whatever reason. Because of that, I've been hesitant to pick up another Molly Harper novel since then.

I'm not sure what exactly drove me to take a shot with How to Date Your Dragon, other than the synopsis seemed interesting and I needed another book to round out my two-for-one selection. I guess I chose it more out of curiosity than anything, since I've never read a dragon novel. It may actually be the only supernatural creature I hadn't had a literary experience with yet. That curiosity also made me dive into it immediately after purchase.

Almost right away, I could tell that this was going to be a very different experience. The tone of the writing just seemed so different from what I remember in Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs. How to Date Your Dragon was funny in a simplistic way. Although a lot of reviewers rave over how funny Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs is, one of my main complaints about it was that the humor aspect felt too forced.

One unwelcome similarity did rear its ugly head in How to Date Your Dragon, so let's go ahead and get that out-of-the-way. Insta-love. I remember cringing at it in Nice Girls and although it's also present in How to Date Your Dragon, I was less annoyed with it this go around, probably because my overall enjoyment of the book was so much higher. Still, you have been warned. However, if it's something you think you can look past, I really do recommend forging on. The rest of the book is so worth it.

There's really great world building in this one. The atmospheric setting almost has a cozy feel to it. When coupled with the murder mystery our main character is adjacently involved with, one could probably even classify this as a cozy mystery, although the paranormal romance elements definitely stand out more. It takes place in a small town Louisiana setting. Thanks to Anne Rice, I'm a sucker for anything set in Louisiana and the French/Cajun words and sayings peppered throughout made the setting come alive. There was no way I could forget where this was set.

The other part of the world building that was done really well was the development of the magic system. Harper doesn't go into a ton of broad-spectrum detail regarding her supernaturals. Rather, we get little info snippets about certain creatures, almost as asides. She does go into a bit more detail about one or two species of supernaturals, since they are more at the center of the story and we learn more about dragon sex than I would have wondered on my own, but that's no complaint. I do wish this audiobook had been just a teensy bit longer to allow for extended world building. I'm not saying anything was lacking, per se, just that I wanted more. Luckily, this is a five book series. That discovery actually made me subscribe to the Audible Escape package just so I can hear the rest of the series. It looks like each additional book in the series will also take place in the town of Mystic Bayou, Louisiana, so I can't wait to return. I plan on starting the second installment tonight!

Narration review: The really cool thing about How to Date Your Dragon is that it was released on audiobook exclusively for six months before the release of the e-book. An audiobook releasing before its written counter part is almost unheard of but I love that the audio format is getting this sort of attention.

It was dual narrated by Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis. I was already a fan of Amanda Ronconi but this was my first time hearing anything from Jonathan Davis. I'm normally a huge proponent of dual narration and I didn't mind it in this case, but I also didn't think that it added as much to the overall experience as previous audiobooks I've heard. Jonathan Davis did a fine job, but I did think that Amanda Ronconi outshined him a bit in this performance. Alternating between the two made it more obvious and I also had a slight problem with their different takes on how certain characters sounded. Obviously, some of that is only to be expected, but in this case, the differences in character interpretation actually changed my mental image of the character each time the narrator was switched.

But really though, this was such a well performed audiobook that I shouldn't dwell on such minor annoyances. It was an absolutely wonderful listening experience and I'm excited to continue with these two performers throughout the rest of the series. ♣︎

📚 The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Reviewed Mar. 2020

Narrators: Patti Murin, Jon Root
Length: 7 hours 29 minutes
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio⎮2020

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Honey-Don't List was a Booktube recommendation. I've heard of Christina Lauren before, but never heard any of their books until this one. The author duo has been on the outskirts of my radar for a couple of years now. I don't have a particular interest in romance, so I've never seriously considered listening to their work before. However, The Honey-Don't List was described as being somewhat 'left of center' from their normal romantic comedy style, so I figured it would be a good place to start.

What really intrigued me, though, was the idea of it being based around a Chip and Joanna Gaines-type couple, complete with their own home design reality television show and brand. I love celebrity gossip as much as anyone, but I'm not especially obsessed with the Gaines. In fact, I've never even seen a complete episode of their show, Fixer-Upper. But being a person living in the world, I have heard of them. Now, what really sold me on listening to The Honey-Don't List was the idea that this fictional couple hates each other behind-the-scenes. I know it's not technically celebrity gossip, but it was salacious enough to pique my interest.

The first disappointment was in discovering that the story is told from the point-of-view of the couple's two assistants, not either of the couple of themselves. I guess that makes sense, given that the couple and their marital woes are basically just used as a plot device for these two assistance falling in love. The wife's assistant is the main character and her love interest is the husband's assistant. They are the couple that we are supposed to become invested in and root for, yada yada. But I didn't connect with either of them. That's the kind of disconnect that happens when you take two secondary characters and shove them into the limelight. The two most interesting characters (the celeb couple) were always held at arms length from the reader. Major bummer.

Now, if Christina Lauren were to come back with a spin off told from either of the celebrity couples POV, I would pick it up in a heartbeat. Despite us never really getting close to them, their characters were pretty well fleshed out. We know their backstory, how they met, how things used to be before they made it big, and where everything started to go all wrong. That is where the story should have been. I wanted a redemption arc for them. Their assistants could have had their own spin off.

Aside from that one hugely disappointing aspect, The Honey-Don't List wasn't terrible. The writing was good, if a little bland. It was extremely easy to listen to while working. But I doubt I'll ever pick up anything else from Christina Lauren, because despite having an incredibly intriguing premise, they failed to do notable anything with it. And if The Honey-Don't List is unlike anything else they've written, I already know the rest of her titles won't be for me.

Narration review: Patti Murin and Jon Root did a perfectly respectable job narrating this audiobook. I'm afraid I can't gush about the narration, because it was more than likely dragged down by my disappointment with the story. Murin and Root did nothing that would prevent me from wanting to hear either of them perform again. In fact, I would welcome the opportunity! This was my first time hearing (or hearing of) either of them and I'm excited to have two new narrators on my radar. If you are a fan of Christina Lauren or HGTV-type celebrities, I bet you'll love The Honey-Don't List. And if you're interested in it, I recommend the audiobook. ♣︎

📚 Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Reviewed Mar. 2020

Narrator: Eileen Stevens, Tristan Morris
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes
Series: Once Upon a Con Series, Book 1
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.⎮2017

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I discovered Geekerella at the perfect time in my life. I was in the middle of a mild listening slump, having recently heard several great, but intense thrillers. I needed something lighthearted and fun to break that pattern (and destress!). I don't typically hear a lot of Young Adult fiction anymore. After overdosing on it a few years back, I now approach the genre with more caution and moderation. However, it had been a while since I had heard any YA and I thought it just might be the thing to lift my spirits and break my slump.

It also didn't hurt that I'm currently binge watching any and all Star Trek shows on Netflix, as well as the newest addition, Star Trek: Picard. I missed the original (and then five subsequent) Star Trek fan boats, so I'm definitely late to this SciFi party/convention, but I'm trying to make up for that with enthusiasm.

To be clear, Geekerella isn't directly related to the Star Trek fan base, but it's certainly adjacent. Instead of Star Trek, this story follows a lifelong fangirl of "Starfield", a fictional Star Trek-esque show. If it weren't for the frequent Star Trek references, I'd think that Starfield was a thinly veiled disguise for it. Instead, the two exist alongside each other in this fictional world.

I was initially pulled into Geekerella by the SciFi fangirl-ness of it all, but wound up being pleasantly surprised by the Cinderella retelling. I've heard several retellings, but I've never heard one quite like this. If it hadn't incorporated the geek/SciFi/ComiCon elements and had only been marketed as a Cinderella retelling, I probably would have passed on it, since those are a dime a dozen these days.

As with most retellings, you can see the broad strokes drawn from the original fairytale. A "wicked" stepmother, two "evil" stepsisters, a mistreated stepdaughter named Elle, a pumpkin carriage, a fairy godmother, a ball, a prince, and a missing slipper. Ashley Poston checks all of those boxes, but it's in between those broad strokes that she weaves together her own story. The setting is contemporary, the stepmother is a snobby Country club member, the stepsisters are online influencer wannabes, the pumpkin carriage is a food truck, the prince is a teen actor, the fairy godmother is a teal-haired LGBT character (who drives the pumpkin food truck), and the rest is simply magical. Instead of Cinderella trying to get to a ball, our protagonist Elle is trying desperately to get to a SciFi convention.

Above all, Geekerella was just So. Freaking. Cute. The "geekification" of a classic fairytale is something I've never seen done before and I didn't realize how much I was longing for it until hearing Geekerella. I will undoubtedly be continuing on with the series. I believe the next one is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper centered around a minor Geekerella character. Whatever it is, I'm here for it.

Narration review: Eileen Stevens knocked this audiobook out of the park. She was one of two narrators, with Tristan Morris being her counter, but Stevens' performance is the one that stood out most to me. Her character differentiation was subtle, but effective. I could always understand which of the two stepsisters was speaking, even though they initially appear to be of the same temperament. Even after that was proven to not be the case, the distinction was slightly enhanced, but not overly done. I definitely appreciated the dual narration for the alternating POVs. It added dimension to the story that would not have otherwise been available if reading the traditional format.

Overall, this audiobook was a wonderful listening experience and I recommend it to anyone interested in this title or series. I will certainly be continuing the series on audio. ♣︎

📚 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Reviewed Mar. 2020

Narrator: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, Cassandra Campbell
Length: 18 hours 16 minutes
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2008

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Summary

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 5 Stars

I originally read The Help back around 2010. I had just received a Kindle and was on a major reading binge. Recently, I've decided to revisit the books I read during my Kindle phase (2007-2012), but this time on audio.

I remember enjoying The Help when I first read it, but this time around, I was absolutely blown away by how much I was able to fall in love with it all over again. It was like a brand new story to me. Enough time had passed since my previous experience that I was able to see it with new eyes. The story had obviously not changed, but I clearly had.

This time around, The Help was actually became a comfort listen. That really surprised me, considering the purposefully uncomfortable nature of the story and its overt themes of segregation, racism, classism, and feminism. When I first read it, it was eye-opening. There was this somewhat scary sense of enlightenment. This time around, however, I found myself much more comfortable listening to these themes. This realization caused me to do a lot of reflecting on my own evolution over the past decade, as well as that of society. I've learned that this sort of introspection is necessary for personal growth and the more you do it, the less awkward it becomes.

What I'm saying is that we all have (or should have) these literary wake up calls and The Help was one of mine. It was the first time I had read anything that caused me to step out of my comfort zone and view life from the perspective of someone of a different race than me. Now, I actively seek out these types of works.

The Help is the type of story I could listen to over and over again. It's a true classic. It was my last listen of 2019. At that point, I had given up reaching my goal of 100 audiobooks that year (I was like 12 books behind), but I wanted to hear something enjoyable to end my year on a good note. Ending the decade with The Help felt like coming full circle.

If any of you read The Help when it was first released, I encourage you to revisit this story and note your reactions to it. See if/how they have changed. And I definitely encourage you to listen to the audiobook.

Narration review: Now, what really made this audiobook such a comfort listen was the narration. It was next level. Octavia Spencer, in particular, is such a joy to listen to. I loved her parts of the audiobook. Even though I hadn't seen the movie at that point, I was still able to picture the cast as I listened to the audiobook.

Fantastic writing coupled with perfect narration made for an unforgettable listening experience. I will undoubtedly be revisiting this modern classic several times in the future. It also makes for a great slump-buster! ♣︎

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