📚 Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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Throne of Glass #4

Description⎮Reviewed Oct. 2015

Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 20h 18m
Publisher: Audible Inc.⎮2015

4 ★ AudiobookQueen of Shadows is huge and I enjoyed every single second of it. Looking back, Maas throws some serious high-fantasy curve balls (and plot twists) but she does so in a way that the reader never misses a beat. She very easily could have worked a love triangle into this book (all the ingredients were there), but she did not. I kept expecting it around every corner, but thankfully, it never came to fruition. Believe me, that is refreshing. Queen of Shadows was the book (#4) that made me fall head over heels in love with this series. I started it immediately after Heir of Fire and was on a high the entire time I read it. When does #5 come out?! ♣︎

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

20613470Throne of Glass #3

Description⎮Reviewed Oct. 2015

Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 20h 18m
Publisher: Audible Inc.⎮2014

3.5 ★ Audiobook⎮For some reason, the first half of Heir of Fire was a little bit slow for me. I read a few books in between Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire and I think that’s why it took me a little while to get back into this world and the characters. But at least I’ve learned to continue straight on with a series (whenever possible) for maximum enjoyment, which is why I started Queen of Shadows immediately after finishing this one. This installment was action-packed! The third installment in a series tends to be my favorite and this is no exception. I loved the change of scenery and introduction of new characters to keep the plot fresh. It’s already evolved so much from the first book. Maas’ world building skills are wonderful, in my opinion, and I’ve enjoyed her take on character development. Recent plot twists make me want to reread the first two books. I feel like I didn’t enjoy them as much as I could/should have. Those saying that this series only gets better with each new installment are not lying! ♣︎

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible

📚 The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

11431896

Fire and Thorns #3

Description⎮Reviewed Dec. 2015

Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda, Luis Moreno
Length: 12h 58m
Publisher: Harper Collins⎮2013

5 ★ Audiobook⎮I started this series a couple of months ago when I was reading several popular fantasy stories and this one was my favorite out of all of them. I loved the character of Elisa from the very beginning. She is beautifully written and so relatable that you can’t help but adore her. In a world of Bella Swan’s, it is incredibly refreshing to read a female character like Elisa (that’s not a knock against Twilight; I’m just contrasting). It’s appropriate that I wrapped up this series while #ReadWomen is trending, because Elisa is not the typical YA female character, mentally or physically. Her character development throughout the series is a beautiful thing to watch. I felt as if I were being vicariously empowered through her as she came into her own.

Needless to say, this series satisfied all of my feminist desires for a YA character, but not in an over-the-top way. It really was beautifully done. I especially liked how the author gently wove spirituality and religion into the story line without ever singling out a particular religion. All the better to please everyone with, I suppose. There was always enough action in The Bitter Kingdom to keep me interested, but not never too much to overwhelm me.

Narration Review: This freaking narrator (Jennifer Ikeda) has the voice of an angel. Her soothing voice nearly lulled me to sleep more than once. She instantly made it onto my favorite narrators list. Without this particular narration experience, I am not sure I would have enjoyed The Bitter Kingdom to the degree that I did. ♣︎

$ Available at The Book Depository (paperback), Audiobooks.com and Audible

📚 The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

10816908Fire and Thorns #2

Description⎮Reviewed Dec. 2015

Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 11h 41m
Published: Harper Collins⎮2012

3.5 ★ AudiobookThe Crown of Embers was a very solid 3.5. I definitely enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first. At times, my interest seemed to lull a bit. I ended up reading 75% of it and then being tempted away by something else, as opposed to my not being able to put the first book down. However, I’m glad to say that when I eventually picked The Crown of Embers back up nearly a month later, it was very easy to jump back into and my interest was renewed almost immediately. I’m really enjoying this narrator and I’m excited to wrap up this series next month! ♣︎

$ Available at The Book Depository (paperback), Audiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

20613491The Worldwalker Trilogy #1

Description⎮Reviewed Oct. 2015

Narrator: Emma Galvin
Length: 12h 23m
Publisher: Macmillan Audio⎮2014

3.5 ★ Audiobook⎮It really bums me out that Trial by Fire was just “okay” for me overall since it started out so well! Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed series is one of my favorites and I think this book could have been too if it hadn’t taken such a drastic (in my opinion) genre turn. It seems like it started out as a scifi/paranormal story (alternate universe), which I was really into, and then took a sharp turn into what ended up being basic fantasy to me (nothing extraordinary). I was hoping there would be more similarities between the two worlds so the reader could compare and contrast, but instead it seemed like Angelini only marketed this book as AU to attract readers when all she really wanted to do was write high fantasy. I was really bored with the “other Salem” which translates into being bored with 75% of the book. I kept hoping it would returned to the original setting, but apparently that’s only happening in the sequel, which I may or may not get to (probably won’t anytime soon). ♣︎

$ Available at The Book Depository (paperback), Audiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Winter by Marissa Meyer

132069001

The Lunar Chronicles #4

Description⎮Reviewed Jan. 2016

Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 23h 30m
Publisher: Macmillan Audio⎮2015

4 ★ AudiobookThis is hard for me to objectively rate. I enjoyed this series, but can’t bring myself to gush over it like everyone else seems to be doing. I’d say this was probably my second favorite installment after Cinder. I feel like I would have likely enjoyed it a much greater amount had I been a few years younger. I would definitely recommend it for teenagers and possibly even preteens. I’m not saying it was written in a juvenile manner, but I feel like my age (28) held me back from being able to fully enjoy this series. It just didn’t hold the same appeal to me that it could have if I were just a few years younger. With that said, I did find it really adorable. This series would definitely make a great movie/movies! ♣︎

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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The Lunar Chronicles #3.5

Description⎮Reviewed Dec. 2015

Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 6h 36m
Publisher: Macmillan Audio⎮2014

4 ★ Audiobook⎮I’m so glad I decided to give this is a chance. I usually think of novellas (or .5’s) as marketing ploys that don’t add much to the overall series or move the main plot line forward. But this one greatly enhanced my understanding of The Lunar Chronicles. Its pace and smaller cast of characters actually made the story much easier to keep up with than Cress! ♣︎

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Cress by Marissa Meyer

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The Lunar Chronicles #3

Description⎮Reviewed Dec. 2016

Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 15h 40m
Publisher: Macmillan Audio⎮2013

4 ★ Audiobook⎮I feel exhausted after completing this book! It’s so full of action that reading it felt like trudging through knee-high snow. It was kind of difficult to get through because of the carousel of POV and geographical changes. Meyer throws so much at the reader that not even the enormous length of this book could make up for its whirlwind of a storyline. It probably should have been split into two volumes to give the reader time to digest it all. I’m still experiencing severe reader’s overload… With all of that said, this book was still very exciting. But I’ll need a lot of time to process its events before even considering starting Winter. ♣︎

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

12812550

Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2

Description⎮Reviewed Dec. 2015

Narrator: Kristine Hvam
Length: 15h 21m
Publisher: Hachette Audio⎮2012

4 ★ AudiobookI thought the story itself was good, but not great. I definitely did not enjoy it as much as its predecessor, largely due to the new setting and and cast of characters. I can’t even tell you the number of times I had to refer to this book’s wikia page to keep characters/chimera races straight in my mind. The total plunge into the chimera world was a bit overwhelming. I did find myself liking Zirri quite a bit, though. And I really appreciate the way this author writes her female characters. They all have spunk. 

Narration Review: This story felt so different than the first installment. It took place in a different world, with several new characters and new races of characters. I’d say I was probably confused 45% of the time during this. The point-of-view changes were too frequent and numerous and without any audible indication that a change was taking place. The physical book probably had a visual indicator whenever there was about to be a POV switch, but the audiobook had nothing. Other audiobooks have used some sort of sound effect to indicate a new POV. The lack thereof in this particular audiobook significantly hindered my ability to fully enjoy this story. Overall, I would say that if you are choosing between the physical book and the audiobook, definitely choose the physical book (unless you plan on paying excruciating attention to detail). ♣︎

$ Available at The Book Depository (paperback), Audiobooks.com and Audible

📚 Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

15745753

Description⎮Reviewed Sept. 2015

Narrator: Rebecca Lowman; Sunil Malhotra
Length: 8h 56m
Publisher: Listening Library⎮2013

4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮In retrospect, this was quite possibly my favorite read of September! Beautifully told; it’s amazing that a book that addresses such a triggering topic (abuse) could still give me the “warm fuzzies”. Rowell does an excellent job of using the beauty of the main characters’ unlikely friendship to balance the harsh reality of familial neglect and abuse. I liked this so much better than Fangirl. Rated 4.5 because the ending felt rushed and lacking at the time of reading (I wanted more!), but I’ve come to terms with it now. ♣︎

$ Available at The Book DepositoryAudiobooks.com and Audible