The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker – Audiobook Review

The Delphi Effect

It’s never wise to talk to strangers…and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life.

When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.

The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy #1) by Rysa Walker
Published October 11, 2017 by Skyscape
Format: e-book/e-audiobook; 379 pages/12 hours
Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal
Also By This Author: The CHRONOS Files Series (Timebound, Time’s Edge, Time’s Divide)
Goodreads | Audible | Amazon Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 

Thoughts

Once again, I bought a Rysa Walker book and then didn’t start reading it until MONTHS later. Let’s just say I was waiting until book 2’s release date was close so that I wouldn’t have to wait long in-between (this is true! I just received an advanced copy of The Delphi Resistance, which comes out next month, so I’ll be starting that ASAP!). My husband actually finished this book before me, and I’m so glad that we both enjoy Rysa’s novels because it’s fun to discuss and digest them together.

This series is more fantastical than I had been expecting. Her previous series is a solid sci-fi tale, and while The Delphi Effect can definitely be classified as sci-fi, it was more in the fantasy/paranormal realm. Our protagonist Anna is able to converse with spirits, particularly spirits of deceased persons who are unable to move on. I guess you can say they are stuck in purgatory, and they try to convince Anna to help them with their unfinished business. Sometimes that unfinished business is easy, like finishing a crossword puzzle or making sure someone’s beloved pet was adopted. But other times Anna has difficult, even dangerous hitch hikers. Such is the case with Molly, a murder victim, and who unintentionally catapults Anna into a secretive government conspiracy.

Rysa Walker is very skilled at world building. She is a history buff, and she always weaves her stories into real-life events. I also love how detailed and intricate she makes her characters’ powers. In The CHRONOS Files, the main character has the genetic ability to time travel. In The Delphi Effect, Anna and many of the characters she meets have supernatural abilities: ability to converse with spirits, power of persuasion, visions of the future, etc. I really enjoyed visualizing all of these different abilities, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more of this series. The Delphi Resistance comes out in October, and the final book, The Delphi Revolution, will probably be released next year.

Audiobook Review

If you’ve ever hesitated about buying a Kindle, let me persuade you (with my supernatural powers of persuasion…): Amazon has this feature called Wispersync. When you buy an e-book, you are then able to purchase the audiobook (at a much cheaper price) and switch back and forth between reading and narration within the Kindle app. I had already bought the first two CHRONOS Files novels when my husband wanted to read them as well, and since he prefers audiobooks so he can listen at work (he does drafting so lucky for him he can put in headphones and tune the office out), I went to buy the Audible version and found out about Whispersync. It cost me between $20-$25 to buy three e-books and the corresponding audiobooks! It usually costs that much for ONE audiobook. I don’t know if this feature is available for every e-book, but it’s worth a try. I don’t even think you really need a Kindle; just an Amazon account and the Kindle app.

Now, onto the audiobook review. Kate Rudd narrates this series, and she narrated The CHRONOS Files as well. I love her narration. She does a great job with the characters’ different voices and accents, and I would be highly inclined to listen to any audiobook that she narrates. Even though I only have an advanced e-book version of The Delphi Resistance, I still plan on buying the published e-book/audiobook copies via Whispersync, especially so my husband can continue listening to the series. I will probably be rereading these books sometime. I already want to reread Timebound because Kate Rudd’s voice reminds me (unsurprisingly) of that story and how much I absolutely adore it.

You May Also Enjoy…

18108877mara dyerAnya's GhostTimebound by Rysa Walker

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Time Reavers (Time Reavers #1) by Jacob Holo – Audiobook Review

Time Reavers Audiobook Cover

The monsters are real, and time is their weapon.

Fed up with bad teachers and daily fights with her sister, 16-year-old Nicole Taylor yearns for something better. Sadly, she’s in for a letdown, because the world ends next week.

Nicole discovers she has a rare gift. She can bend time around her and even stop it completely. With her powers awakening, she must face the Reavers: horrific killing machines that exist outside our time.

Plagued with nightmares and ambushed by monsters at every turn, Nicole has one chance to stop their genocidal invasion. With help from a chain-smoking pyrokinetic, a neurotic sword-wielding assassin, and an icy goth chick with a crossbow, she may stand a chance.

But the Reavers are tireless foes, and time is on their side.

Time Reavers (Time Reavers #1) by Jacob Holo
Published 2017 by Holo Writing
Format: e-audiobook; 8 hours, 36 minutes
Science Ficition / Urban Fantasy / Young Adult
Also By This Author: The Dragons of JupiterSeraphim Revival Series
Goodreads | Audible | Amazon Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥ ½

Thoughts

When I first heard about this Audiobook tour from The Audiobookworm, I jumped right on it, because I’m game for any time travel book. Time Reavers is more about controlling/stopping time than it is about traveling to the past or future, but from the very first chapter we are thrown into the action of the Time Reaver world, and the pace never really slows down.

The heroine, Nicole, is a misfit high school student, struggling with self-confidence, who is catapulted into the hidden world of time bending while on a field trip in Russia. Although Nicole is a relatable protagonist, the supporting characters are really the more interesting ones, especially Daniel, a trench-coat donning assassin who teaches Nicole about her new powers. He’s extremely charismatic and roguish, and the voice narrator Tess Irondale uses for Daniel makes him seem especially geeky, too (win!).

Time Reavers is packed with action in nearly every chapter. If you enjoy fast-paced sci-fi/fantasy novels, you will really enjoy Time Reavers. Personally, I prefer when there is more build up and suspense between battles and life-or-death situations, because that is when characters experience personal growth and deepen relationships with other characters. Aside from some minor details, that was the one thing I felt was missing from this novel. The writing was excellent and I only had to rewind a couple of passages to be able to clearly understand what was happening (let’s be honest, even if I’m not listening to an audiobook, I normally reread passages in most sci-fi novels, including two of my favorite books, The Martian and Timebound).

About the Author

Author Jacob Holo PhotoJacob Holo is a former-Ohioan, former-Michigander living in sunny South Carolina. He describes himself as a writer, gamer, hobbyist, and engineer. Jacob started writing when his parents bought that “new” IBM 286 desktop back in the 80s. Remember those? He’s been writing ever since.

As a fun way to get to know him better, here is a list of This or That? questions for author Jacob Holo :)

  1. Waffle Fries or Curly Fries? Either’s fine as long as they have Cajun seasoning.
  2. GIF with a hard g or soft g? Soft G. It’s not a peanut butter.
  3. Fantasy or science-fiction? Science fiction, because good science fiction makes my brain happy.
  4. Superman or Batman? Batman. BECAUSE HE’S BATMAN. Also, because even with all his training and gadgets, he’s still just a human being like the rest of us.
  5. Text message or call? If it’s important enough to be communicated, it’s important enough for a call.
  6. Pancakes or waffles? Waffles. I like syrup, and waffles are nothing but big syrup grids.
  7. Doctor Who or the Walking Dead? Doctor Who. Even though a lot of its episodes are misses, when it hits, it resonates in a unique way because its canvas is so limitless.  I also enjoy that when it does become stale, it’s able to revitalize itself by switching out characters and actors to keep things fresh.
  8. TV Shows or Movies? Movies. They’re over faster, so I can get back to writing.
  9. Facebook or Twitter? Neither. I have a Facebook account, but it’s been a year since I logged in…
  10. Alice in Wonderland or Robinson Crusoe? Alice in Wonderland. It’s closer to what the inside of my brain is like.
  11. Being too warm or too cold? Too cold. You can put on clothes when you’re too cold, but you can’t take off your skin if you’re too warm. (Not without difficulty, anyway.)
  12. Netflix or Hulu? Can I add an option? For an anime nerd, CrunchyRoll is fantastic.
  13. Work Hard or Play Hard? Work hard. I’ll play hard when I’m done. If I’m ever done.
  14. Passenger or Driver? Passenger. My wife’s better at handling the crazy drivers in her home state than I am.
  15. Amusement Park or Day at the Beach? I’m more of a day on the couch kind of guy.
  16. Honesty or Other’s Feelings? Honesty is the best policy, though politeness goes a long way, too.
  17. Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater? Movies at home, because if someone in the audience talks too much it’s easier to lock them in another room.

Audiobook Review

Tess Irondale does an exceptional job at narrating Time Reavers. There are even multiple times when she has to voice the Time Reavers themselves, which basically consists of high-pitched screams. If you think that would be annoying to listen to, it wasn’t; I was actually rather impressed with her narrating skills.

While listening to science fiction and fantasy audiobooks, sometimes it’s hard to get through long, detail-filled passages, especially when names or scientific terminology is difficult to picture visually. The pro is that you don’t have to worry about how specific names or places are pronounced, because the narrator does that for you. Tess Irondale narrates clearly and emphatically enough that I was able to understand what she was reading, even if I didn’t know until halfway through the novel that Nicole was on a journey with Tau Guards and not Tal Guards.

Version 2About the Narrator: Tess​ Irondale​ is a professional audiobook narrator and voice actress, credited with bringing ​nearly ​5​0 titles to life. ​She ​specializes ​in ​Fantasy, Adventure, and Erotica, although ​her​ work ​has covered​ nearly every genre including Young Adult, Humor, Spirituality, ​LGBTQ, Sci-Fi, Self Help and ​Mystery​. ​She is on Audible’s in-house voice roster, and ​also works directly with authors through ACX.​ When not in the recording booth, she can be found hiking in the woods or hunkered over a crossword puzzle.

Giveaway!

Time Reavers Giveaway: Signed Copy of Time Reavers

Liked this review? Check out the tour page below to find other bloggers’ reviews!

Time Reavers Tour Banner

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jacob Holo. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

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Notable for its sheer invention, suspense, and psychological nuance, The Invisible Man focuses on Griffin, a scientist who has discovered the means to make himself invisible. His initial, almost comedic, adventures are soon overshadowed by the bizarre streak of terror he unleashes upon the inhabitants of a small village.

 

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
Published 1897 by Pearson’s Weekly
Format: e-book/library hardcover/audiobook; 192 pages (clearly I couldn’t put this book down!)
Classics/Science Fiction
Also By This Author: War of the Worlds, The Time Machine
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

What a creepy story! I have to admit, when I first picked up The Invisible Man, I was not expecting it to be a Gothic suspense story, so I was pleasantly surprised to read the subtitle: a grotesque romance. I love Gothic literature, especially when paired with science fiction! [side note: there is no romance in this novella; according to the footnote, that description refers to the fact that this story deals with supernatural incidents that are removed from every day life.]

The Invisible Man starts off right away by throwing readers into suspense and intrigue. We meet our antihero, whom we later learn is called Griffin, as he arrives at an inn and begins terrorizing the local townspeople. Terrorizing is a little harsh; at first he is simply worrying them with his shroud of mystery, but as the novel progresses and Griffin’s condition worsens, he enacts a self-proclaimed reign of terror.

I must confess that in the beginning I liked Griffin, despite the fact that he was impatient, rude, and prone to outbursts. He reminded me of Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre and he had an unusual sense of humor about him. But then Griffin started harming other people without remorse, and I felt torn over my former sympathy for his predicament and my later fear of and disappointment in his mental decline.

There are several minor characters, but none of them are nearly as interesting as Griffin; however, I did feel for both Marvel and Dr. Kemp at times.

The ending was appropriately abrupt, and the story was resolved in a surprising and inevitable way (the best type of ending!). This was my third H. G. Wells novel, after War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, and I will definitely be reading more of his novels in the future.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classic novels and science fiction.
…you appreciate Gothic literature.
…you’re interested in books that feature a villain or antihero as the main character.
…you’re looking for a suspenseful story that has a fair amount of creepiness.

You May Also Enjoy…

waroftheworldsFrankensteinThe Birthmark

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine.jpg

The Time Traveller embarks on an astonishing journey into the future. His Time Machine transports him to a far-distant but dying world where humanity is divided into two classes: the graceful, idle Eloi who inhabit the idyllic surface of the world, and the Morlocks, ugly nocturnal creatures who live and work underground. In The Time Machine, Wells created one of the first and finest science fiction stories: a social allegory that is both vivid and perturbing.

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Published 1895 by William Heinemann
Format: paperback; 118 pages
Classics/Science Fiction
Also By This Author: War of the WorldsThe Invisible Man
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

When I was twelve or thirteen years old, I remember watching what was quite possibly my first ever live-action sci-fi movie. However, for years afterwards I could not remember the title, or the basic plot, or even the actors; I could only remember one scene that involved a beautiful, misfortunate lady in a red dress and a man determined to save her life. For years I longed to find this movie and watch it again. It bothered me like an itch I just couldn’t scratch, and I started to believe that I had dreamed the whole thing up.

Then one day, somehow, I stumbled across the movie The Time Machine. I probably picked it up for one of two reasons: Guy Pierce was on the cover, and it was about time travel. But then I watched it, and my heart filled up with excitement because at long last I had been reunited with THE movie!

Since then I have watched and re-watched The Time Machine multiple times, and I credit it as the movie that sparked my love for all-things time travel. But, until only recently, I had never actually read the novella that the movie is based on. H.G. Wells is often regarded as the father of Science Fiction, and The Time Machine is what originally brought him critical acclaim at the end of the 19th century. It was one of the first stories of its kind, and it propagated sub-genres of science fiction that remain wildly popular today.

The Time Machine is told through the narrator, known only as The Time Traveler. In the same manner Jules Verne, another pioneer of science fiction, introduced Phineas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days, H.G. Wells introduces The Time Traveler and his time machine by presenting them to a group of intelligent and skeptical peers. The majority of the novella is told as a recounting of The Time Traveler’s journey to the very distant future, when the human species has devolved into two opposing and rival species. The Eloi, which represents the consequences of mankind’s political and cultural aspirations, is a frail and indistinct group that has few interests or emotions in general. Their way of life is free from burden, work, or even relationships. The Morlock tribe, on the other hand, symbolizes the savage and industrial sides of mankind. They are completely nocturnal and reside underground, surfacing only at night to hunt.

The suspense in The Time Machine is incredibly thick and mystical. Even though, through Wells’s use of foreshadow, you know what is going to happen, you can’t help but become caught up in The Time Traveler’s journey to and escape from the future. The imagery of dying Earth and the fall of humanity is both fascinating and worrisome. When coupled with H. G. Wells’s technical voice, it’s easy to pretend you’re reading a memoir and not merely a science fiction novella.

Read This Book If…

…you appreciate both classics and science fiction.
…you are looking for a book that can be read in one sitting.
…you have a healthy imagination and sense of curiosity.
…you love stories about time travel and dystopian societies.

You May Also Enjoy…

Around the World in Eighty DaysjourneyThe Martian Chronicles

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

 

Final Musings

The Time Machine

Does anybody else love the movie The Time Machine? Fun fact: it is directed by H. G. Well’s great-grandson.

To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation #3) by Tamera Alexander

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided that the truth doesn’t tear them apart first. 

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancee—and what has broken her heart. 

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both. Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a stirring love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were tenuous and hard-won.

To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation #3) by Tamera Alexander
Published August 8, 2017 by Zondervan
Christian Fiction / Historical Fiction / Romance
Format: e-book from Netgalley for review; 384 pages
Also By This Author: To Whisper Her NameTo Win Her Favor
GoodreadsAuthor’s Website

My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts:

I’ve been a faithful fan of Tamera Alexander’s Belle Meade Plantation series since I read the first installment in early 2013. The first two novels, To Whisper Her Name and To Win Her Favor, were very enjoyable and captivating reads for me. I remember loving the romances in both of them, and the storylines were suspenseful and conjured up empathy in me for the prejudices and racial tensions of post-Civil War America.

To Wager Her Heart, the third and, I’m assuming, final novel in the Belle Meade Plantation series was a disappointing read for me. My expectations were high after thoroughly enjoying and appreciating the first two novels. In To Wager Her Heart, I felt that the emotion Tamera Alexander’s writing normally invokes was watered down and not as intense as I remember it being in To Whisper Her Name and To Win Her Favor.

The beginning of this novel pulled me in right away. There is a fair amount of tension and uncertainty with regards to our two main characters’ journeys, but by the middle of the novel the story starts to lag. One thing in particular that threw me off about the middle act of the novel is that the conflict our hero, Sy Rutledge, faces is glossed over and practically wrapped up entirely too quickly.

The novel’s ending was somewhat satisfying, with a realistic amount of loose ends remaining, but overall the book lacks a crucial amount of suspense. I didn’t feel particularly connected to Sy or our heroine, Alexandra, and I even felt that their romance, which began as a promising conflict in the story, blossomed unrealistically too quick and therefore didn’t feel as deep or anchored as the romances in the earlier novels.

I must say that a major reason why I admire Tamera Alexander as an author is because of the amount of research she does. Apart from this series, I haven’t read any of her other books, but Belle Meade and many of characters we meet in these books are real. At the end of each book she gives a brief history of the plantation, the family and workers who lived on it, and the surrounding town. As an aspiring historical fiction writer myself, I appreciate how she crafts her own story around real people and real events.

Read This Book If…

…you’ve read and enjoyed To Whisper Her Name of To Win Her Favor (although these books can be read as standalones, some minor characters are present throughout the entire series).
…you are a fan of historical fiction.
…you love Christian fiction novels.
…you are looking for an inspirational romance.

“Some memories, they never leave a person. But that don’t mean you gotta stay stuck back there with ’em.”

Final Musings:

I feel like I’ve been overly critical of this novel, but believe me, if I had really not liked it, I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. To Wager Her Heart managed to keep my attention until the end, while many other books I’ve reviewed have not. I must credit Tamera Alexander’s writing style and the setting of this novel, because, as I’ve already mentioned at least once, I was really intrigued by the true life historical aspects of Belle Meade Plantation and Nashville in the late 1800s. I still look forward to reading more of Tamera Alexander’s novels in the future, and I know that will also include rereads of To Whisper Her Name and To Win Her Favor.

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

The One That Got Away

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Now, ten years later, Ruby is single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past…

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel
Published August 22, 2017 by Penguin
Format: Netgalley e-book; 352 pages
Fiction/Romance/Retellings
Also By This Author: Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future, Love by the Book
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

The One That Got Away is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, a classic tale of love revisited. Melissa Pimentel reimagines Persuasion in her own way, turning quiet and humble Anne Elliot into determined and witty Ruby Atlas. Captain Wentworth has evolved into Ethan Bailey, a Forbes magazine featured technology entrepreneur, who, I was happy to discover, treated Ruby much more warmly than Wentworth treated Anne after their angsty decade apart (I love Captain Wentworth, but even he acknowledged that he was rather cold to Anne).

The One That Got Away alternates between the present, where Ruby and her ex Ethan are awkwardly reunited for a week in England to celebrate the wedding between Ruby’s sister and Ethan’s best friend, and past flashbacks covering Ruby and Ethan’s short, but passionate romance. Ruby is forced to confront her lingering and unrequited feelings for Ethan while surrounded by her family and their own erupting problems, all the while suffering over the real, secret reason she broke up with Ethan ten years ago.

When I first heard about this novel from a friend, I knew I had to read it. Persuasion is one of my top five favorite novels, and therefore it’s practically sacred to me. I’ve read three other Persuasion retellings (here are my reviews of Amelia Elkins Elkins and The Last Best Kiss), as well as two blog retellings (Half Hope and Only Annie), and the only time I was disappointed was while reading For Darkness Shows the Stars. I won’t give any spoilers, but Kai alters something that I didn’t agree with ethically.

I thoroughly enjoyed The One That Got Away. Ruby was an entertaining narrator, and her and Ethan’s relationship felt real and bittersweet. I was pleasantly surprised by how Melissa Pimentel improved the minor characters, specifically Ruby’s family, and strengthened relationships instead of severing them as I had expected.

Ruby, listen to me. You are a human. You are allowed to feel sad, and scared, and whatever else you feel. You’re allowed to feel things. Stop trying to out-tough life.

Read This Book If…

…you are open to retellings of classic literature.
…you are not opposed to cursing and sexual references in books (I’d rate this book PG-13, with a generous dose of the f-bomb).
…you enjoy unrequited and lost love stories.
…you are in a slump and need a book to lift your spirits!

She dwelled on the way he smiled when he saw her, like she was made of a million tiny stars.

Final Musings

I was reading through two historical fiction novels lately; one is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the other is the final installment in a series that I love. But they both deal with dark eras in history that have reemerged as current events, and I have been struggling to keep myself together dealing with real-life, let alone fictionalized accounts, of war, racism, and hatred.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my feelings and convictions and I just want to turn my compassion meter off so I can recuperate. This in turn makes me feel guilty and then I find myself in a vicious cycle, alternating between anger, hopelessness, and self-loathing. This is not healthy. As guilty as I felt for wanting to escape, I’m glad I did.

I will still finish those other two novels I’ve been reading, because they’re powerful and important, but it was refreshing and uplifting to read The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel. If you need a pick-me-up to get you through the end of summer, I’d sincerely recommend this one!

What are some novels that have helped you escape from the burdens of reality? And if you know of any other worthy Persuasion retellings, please share them with me!

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
Published March 14, 2017 by Berkley Books
Format: Netgalley e-book; 368 pages
Historical Fiction
Also By This Author: Secrets of a Charmed LifeA Fall of Marigolds
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

When I first heard about A Bridge Across the Ocean, I was not aware of the paranormal aspects. I thought it was going to be purely historical fiction; however, the fact that Brette is able to see and speak with ghosts did not make this story fantastical. Susan Meissner wrote it in a realistic way that blended well with the other story lines.

I was originally drawn towards this novel because of the cover. This ship on the front looks very similar to the Titanic, and I have been obsessed with the story and legacy of the Titanic since the third grade. This novel has nothing to do with the Titanic, though. It revolves around two women, from Germany and France, surrounding the WWII era. One of the women, Simone, is a subtle part of the Nazi Resistance in France while the other woman, Annaliese, is the unfortunate wife of a Nazi official. They meet aboard the RMS Queen Mary, while traveling to America after the war. Decades later, Brette crosses paths with both women while searching for a ghost on the now memorialized Queen Mary.

Honestly, I was more interested in the flashbacks of Simone and Annaliese’s lives before, during, and even after WWII than I was in Brette’s present day journey of self discovery. Some of the flashback scenes are hard to read, but that’s typical of wartime settings. Brette is a pretty mild character, while Simone and Annaliese have stronger personalities and act, rather than react, like Brette does. I feel that Brette only serves to reconcile Simone and Annaliese’s storylines, which is where the meat of the story takes place.

“Her life had morphed into an existence defined always by losses.”

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy historical fiction, especially WWII historical fiction.
…you like books that have twists and unexpected endings.
…you don’t mind reading books with multiple narrators.
…you can enjoy a book even if you connect more with the supporting characters than you do the main character.

Final Musings

“Love is always what you get to keep when someone you care about dies. You will always have that love.”

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

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Anne of the Island was published in 1915, seven years after the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, partly because of the continuing clamor for more Anne from her fans – a fan base that continues to grow today!

In this continuation of the story of Anne Shirley, Anne leaves Green Gables and her work as a teacher in Avonlea to pursue her original dream (which she gave up in Anne of Green Gables) of taking further education at Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane enroll as well, as does Anne’s friend from Queen’s Academy, Priscilla Grant. During her first week of school, Anne befriends Philippa Gordon, a beautiful girl whose frivolous ways charm her. Philippa (Phil for short) also happens to be from Anne’s birthplace of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia. Anne, always the good scholar, studies hard, but she also has many life lessons. This book sees Anne leave behind girlhood to blossom into a mature young woman.

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
Published 2014 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1915)
Format: e-audiobook; 8 hours, 20 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Emily of New Moon
Goodreads | Audible | Publisher
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Even though I’ve read Anne of the Island several times, and there are still five books that follow it, I feel sad, as if Anne’s story is over. Which it isn’t, honestly! Anne of the Island only marks the end of Anne’s beginning. So I will contribute these sad feelings to what I like to call a “book hangover.” Apparently it is still possible to be wrapped up in a book you’ve read and reread multiple times.

Anne of the Island is often regarded as the most popular installment of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne series, and that is most likely due to the fact that this novel is a culmination of events that started back in Anne of Green Gables. Anne finally gets to go off to college, after having put her education on hold to save up money through teaching. She also experiences romance in several different and, in one particular case, hilarious ways. Finally, Anne gets to see multiple dreams of hers realized, and the outcomes are particular surprising.

Although Anne of Green Gables is my favorite novel, Anne of the Island (and book #5: Anne’s House of Dreams, as well) holds a very dear place in my heart. There are so many sweet and sentimental scenes in this book that really pull on your heartstrings. Anne experiences heavier emotions, such as love and grief, but now as an adult. In Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, Anne is still growing up and learning about who she is and who she wants to be. In Anne of the Island, Anne has to actually make decisions about her future, and, as she says perfectly, “I do know my own mind…the trouble is, my mind changes and then I have to get acquainted with it all over again.”

Read This Book If…

…you’ve previously read Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea and you need more Anne in your life!
…you are looking for a book that makes you feel.
…you appreciate good storytelling.
…you love books that make you laugh, cry, swoon, and feel suspense.

Audiobook Review

I’ve been listening to many different audiobooks lately, and I can tell you that a narrator can either enlighten or ruin a story. Colleen Winton does a fantastic job at bringing Anne Shirley and the rest of the rest of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved characters to life. I would love to know if there were plans to have her narrate the rest of the Anne series, because I would definitely enjoy listening to them!

colleen-wintonAbout the NarratorColleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honored with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

If you are interested in this audiobook, enter into a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Colleen Winton’s narrations for Anne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island! Good luck!

Anne of Green Gables Tour Banner.png

I’m reviewing Anne of The Island as part of a blog tour hosted by Jess at The Audiobookworm. Stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island!

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

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Following Anne of Green Gables (1908), this book covers the second chapter in the life of Anne Shirley. We learn of Anne’s doings from the age of 16 to 18, during the two years that she teaches at Avonlea school. It includes many of the characters from Anne of Green Gables, as well as new ones: Mr. Harrison and his foul-mouthed parrot, Miss Lavendar Lewis, Paul Irving, and the twins Dora (sweet and well behaved) and Davy (mischievious and in constant trouble). Anne matures, slightly, but she gets into a number of her familiar pickles, as only Anne can: She accidentally sells her neighbor’s cow (having mistaken it for her own), gets stuck in a broken duck house roof while peeping into a pantry window, and more.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Published 2014 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1909)
Format: e-audiobook; 9 hours, 5 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island, Emily of New Moon
Goodreads | Audible | Publisher
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Anne of Green Gables Teaser 2

It’s amazing what you pick up from a book when you listen to the audiobook version, even if you’ve read the book countless times before. I have read and reread Anne of Avonlea several times since I was in elementary school, but I had never connected with this quote before now: “She seemed to walk in an atmosphere of things about to happen.” What a perfectly lovely description of Anne!

In Anne of Avonela, a lot of things do happen to Anne: she becomes a teacher, she turns a grumpy old neighbor into an unlikely friend, and, my personal favorites, she stumbles upon an enchanted cottage in the wood and helps to reunite two lost lovers. In this novel we discover Anne the opportunist, who never shies away from the prospect of an adventure.

Besides Anne, we also reconnect with Marilla, Diana, and Gilbert, and we are introduced to several new brilliant characters, including Mr. Harrison and his spiteful parrot, Ginger, ethereal Ms. Lavender, and the polar opposite twins, Davy and Dora (more on Davy down below!). L.M. Montgomery is a master story teller and through these complex characters she tells the most delightful and inspiring stories.

Like many other second installments in a series, it’s may be easy to overlook Anne of Avonlea as merely a bridge between Anne of Green Gables and Anne of the Island, but I have always regarded this novel as one of the best in the series. Anne is becoming more of who she will be as an adult, but she still has her typical mishaps and serendipitous adventures that made the world fall in love with her in Anne of Green Gables.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classics and/or young adult fiction.
…you love novels with romantic depictions of nature and rural 19th century life.
…you prefer character-driven books.
…you’re looking for a new audiobook to listen to (keep reading below!).

Audiobook Review

If you read my recent review of Anne of Green Gables, you already know that I really enjoy Colleen Winton’s talents as a narrator. In Anne of Avonlea, Ms. Winton continues to bring L.M. Montgomery’s beloved characters to life in her own dramatic way. My favorite aspect about this audiobook is Ms. Winton’s portrayal of darling Davy Keith. Davy is without a doubt one of my favorite characters in the Anne of Green Gables series. He is mischievous, adorable, and spunky, and his antics are depicted wonderfully by Colleen Winton. I always smiled when she said Davy’s trademark line, “I want to know!”

I’m really looking forward to listening to Anne of the Island; I’m positive that Colleen Winton will do a fantastic job with the next series of characters we meet!

colleen-wintonAbout the NarratorColleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honored with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

If you are interested in this audiobook, enter into a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Colleen Winton’s narrations for Anne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island! Good luck!

Anne of Green Gables Tour Banner.png

I’m reviewing Anne of Avonlea as part of a blog tour hosted by Jess at The Audiobookworm. Stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island!

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Audiobook Review

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Anne, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia (based upon the real community of New London), is sent to Prince Edward Island after a childhood spent in strangers’ homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, siblings in their 50s and 60s, had decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm. They live at Green Gables, their Avonlea farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne Shirley. Anne is described as bright and quick, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative. She has a pale face with freckles and usually braids her red hair. When asked her name, Anne tells Marilla to call her Cordelia, which Marilla refuses; Anne then insists that if she is to be called Anne, it must be spelled with an e, as that spelling is “so much more distinguished”. Marilla at first says the girl must return to the orphanage, but after a few days she decides to let her stay. Marilla feels that she could be a good influence on the girl and had also overheard that another disagreeable woman in town might take Anne in instead.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Published 2014 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1908)
Format: e-audiobook; 10 hours, 7 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Emily of New Moon
Goodreads | Audible | Publisher
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you are probably aware that Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book. If you didn’t know that, you can just look up to my blog’s header and see a copy of Anne there, in-between Jane Eyre and Persuasion, two other favorites of mine. Despite the fact that I adore this novel, I have never actually written a book review for it! But recently I joined an audiobook tour for the first three Anne books, and now I can finally tell you why I love this series so much.

Anne Shirley is one of the most lovable literary heroines you will ever come across. Since I first discovered Anne when I was in 5th grade, I have only met one person who did not like Anne of Green Gables or its imaginative heroine. Anne Shirley is dramatic, unwavering, a tad bit naive, and full of soul and wonder, and every time I read the series I discover something new. I’ve looked up to Anne in each season of my life, from being a young, self-conscious red-headed girl myself, to going off to college and living my dreams, to getting married and being in a new, foreign town, I have always been able to relate to Anne and learn from her mistakes, misadventures, and life lessons.

If you have never read L.M. Montgomery’s most famous masterpiece, I urge you to pick it up now! Even if you are a middle-aged man, I am sure you will enjoy it, if only because you find Anne’s enthusiasm and melodrama entertaining.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classics and/or young adult fiction.
…you love novels with strong characters who possess deep hearts and realistic motives.
…you want a book that can make you laugh, cry, and fall in love.
…you’re looking for a new audiobook to listen to (keep reading below!).

Audiobook Review

I’ve read Anne of Green Gables at least five times (it is my favorite book, after all); but I have never listened to it on audiobook, and I was very pleased with Colleen Winton’s narration! She has a pleasant and non-distracting voice, and each of her voices for the different characters were appropriate and fitting. It’s always frustrating when you’re listening to an audiobook and the narrator’s voice, tone, and/or pronunciation distract you from the story. Fortunately, this is not the case with Colleen Winton’s reading of Anne of Green Gables.

Sometimes I have a difficult time reading classics. The old-fashioned syntax and depictions of every day life can make me zone out sometimes. L.M. Montgomery’s writing is so flowery, however, it’s like reading poetry, so I’ve always been hooked on her novels. But if you also have a hard time reading classics all the way through, I’d recommend trying to listen to audiobooks instead. Often times it’s easier to understand what’s going on in a classic novel when you’re listening to a dramatic reading of it. I found it enjoyable to listen to this audiobook of Anne of Green Gables during my work commute and while doing housework.

colleen-wintonAbout the NarratorColleen is a Vancouver actor, singer, dancer, director and choreographer…and now a narrator. Her career has taken her all over the country and includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the original Canadian companies of CATS and Show Boat, extensive film/TV credits, and numerous directing/choreographing credits. Her stage work has been honored with numerous nominations and a Jessie and Ovation award and she received a cultural award given by her local Chamber of Commerce. She was especially pleased to have recorded the works of L.M. Montgomery for Post Hypnotic Press just before she embarked on a production of the musical Anne of Green Gables at Theatre Calgary in which she plays Marilla Cuthbert.

Anne of Green Gables Giveaway: Three Winners

If you are interested in this audiobook, enter into a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Colleen Winton’s narrations for Anne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island! Good luck!

Anne of Green Gables Tour Banner.png

And stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Anne of Green Gables :)

 

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.