Friday, May 30, 2014

Title: Rebel
Author: Amy Tintera
Narrator(s): Khristine Hvam, Mike Chamberlain
Length: 7 hrs 59 mins
Series: Reboot, book #2
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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The sequel to the action-packed Reboot is a can't-miss thrill ride, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Veronica Roth, and Marie Lu.

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.

So, I didn't love Reboot when I read listened to it last year, and I'm sad to say that I may have actually liked Rebel even less. Which was kind of unexpected because so many friends were gushing that this sequel was better than the first book. I honestly think it's just a case of "it's me, not you," though, because I am rather tired of the post-apocalyptic rebellion-type stories. I thought the zombie-esque element might make this series stand out, especially the way it's handled, but I just found myself bored, tuning out the audio whenever I was multi-tasking.

The dual narration did little to enhance the experience for me. I love Khristine Hvam as a narrator, and she brought the ultra-intense yet stoic Wren to life, so to speak. But the narrator for Callum's perspective sounded like a news anchor to me, dull and monotone. Which is the opposite of Callum, who's the closest to human out of any of the Reboots we've met. The difference in the narrative voices would have been obvious without the different narrators, but it became less so because of them, if that makes sense. What I mean to say is, I would have preferred Khristine Hvam have narrated both points of view. She does the male voice well, and it probably would have made my listening experience, and therefore the story, better.

I think what bored me the most was the Micah aspect because it was obvious how that was going to go and it felt like filler to me. I think I would have enjoyed this series more if that section had been cut and the two books had been combined to make one really long one. As it stands, I'm glad this is scheduled to end as a duology because I don't think I'd pick up a third book, and I'm glad to have the closure. I normally really enjoy "zombie" stories, but this one didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped. I still think I might see it as a movie, if that comes to fruition, because I love a good zombie action flick, but I'm kinda over this storyline, otherwise.

GIF it to me straight:

Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Narrator(s): MacLeod Andrews, Arielle DeLisle
Length: 9 hrs 33 mins
Series: n/a
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don't.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

Guy in Real Life was cute. A lot cuter than I was expecting, anyway. I think that you'll probably like it more if you're any kind of gamer, less so if you're not, but it's relatively likable all the same. You've probably seen all of the comparisons to John Green and Rainbow Rowell, and though I detest not letting a work stand on its own merits, I actually kind of think these are apt: a) the dual narrative from both the main character's perspectives, b) Lesh reminds me of the surly Will Grayson, and c) Svetlana was a slightly less introverted Cath-like character. Also, the writing is clever and sardonic and definitely on par with those two authors, but Steve Brezenoff still adds his own flair. This story definitely makes me want to check out his other books, which I'd previously written off as "not my thing". Oops.

I liked the gaming aspect, even though I'm not a gamer myself. I am an enthusiastic gamer observer, though. My husband's not a LARPer or a MMOGer either, but it all seems fun to me. And I love that that was kind of the underlying current running through the two narratives: their enjoyment of different types of gaming and unusual characters and their abilities to see past their preconceived notions. Also, acceptance of these things. One thing that threw me, though, was how one's online life could become one's reality, and though that part was a little sketchy, kudos to the author because I did NOT see it coming.

My enjoyment of this novel was immediately secured one I saw that MacLeod Andrews was narrating for Lesh. He is one of my favorite narrators for the young adult male perspective, and he did me proud with this character. And now that I think about it, he provided the voice to the idiosyncratic, sarcastic will grayson, the counterpart to the other Will Grayson in John Green's story. Funny, that. I don't think I've ever listened to anything else narrated by Arielle DeLisle before, but her performance as Svetlana was spot-on. She wasn't too angsty, but she was distracted and bumbling and kind of perfect for the role.

Yep, I kind of loved this story. I know not everyone did or will, but like I said, I think that depends on how you feel about the gaming aspect, as well as how you take to Lesh. If you liked either Will Grayson, though, I think you'll be fine.

GIF it to me straight:

Title: Her Dark Curiosity
Author: Megan Shepherd
Narrator(s): Lucy Rayner
Length: 12 hrs 52 mins
Series: Madman's Daughter, book #2
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss, audio borrowed from library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

When I finished The Madman's Daughter last year, I thought we were done with the monsters from the island, done with that silly love triangle, and rid of the crazy experiments that brought all of it about. So, imagine my surprise when all three aspects make a return in this retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The science and the gore didn't bother me. That's actually what drew me to this series, besides the reimagining of some already thoroughly creepy stories. The reemergence of that awful love triangle, though, was a bit disconcerting. The turns it took were all a bit abrupt, but I can honestly overlook it because the romance is not where my interest in this story lies.

The first three quarters of this story were rather bland, with the exception of the serial killings and what they meant for Juliet and the others. But once the story was in full swing, I found the level of horror and the resulting aftermath to be quite enthralling. In real life, something like this would appall me, but I'm reading/listening to this series specifically for the horror aspect, and I was pretty happy with it once it emerged full-force.

Lucy Rayner did a beautiful job narrating from Juliet's perspective, and it's not her fault that the romance fell to the wayside, that the swoon-inducing moments weren't quite up to par and couldn't hold my interest like the more gory elements. This sequel was okay, but neither book in this series has yet to reach the level of awesome that the covers have hinted at. Here's hoping the third book, which seems to be a retelling of Frankenstein of some sort, will make up for that.

GIF it to me straight:


  1. MacLeod Andrews is an amazing narrator. I was totally crushing on his Noah voice and he's the only reason I requested Guy In Real Life.

  2. Great reviews! I still have to read (listen) to Reboot but from the sounds of it, I might have to stick to the book version of it. I hate monotone narrators!

  3. Aw so sad you didn't like Reboot and Rebel that much! I guess I can understand feeling like the post-apoc genre is a bit overdone though. To be honest, when reading Reboot, I thought the series was going to be a trilogy, the way it was going- but then reading the second book, it was a bit filler-y.

    As a bit of a gamer, I feel like I should check out Guy in Real Life! I did also like both Will Graysons, so that just gives me more reason to give it a go ;)

  4. I'll be reading (listening to) Guy in Real Life as well. Just waiting for the audio copy to arrive. I'm glad you gave it a chance, despite the author comparison. (I HATE that too!)


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