Tag Archive: adventure



The Secret Benefits of InvisibilityThe Secret Benefits of Invisibility by C.W. Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was just as fun as the first book in the series by C.W. Allen. Ivy Tara Blair (Narrator) is excellent at acting out the different characters.

If you need a break from overly adult, angsty books, this book and the first one will make you feel better. I bet it would be a fun read-aloud book for parents and kids.

I loved meeting the Dodos the most. Obviously, not the world we know.

The adventure is intense, and you are invested in the outcome immediately.

The boy and girl are not typical kids. Both have their take on how things should be. And I love how they respect each other while teasing here and there, but lovingly.

Give this a chance. I think you’ll like it!

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Relatively Normal Secrets (The Falinnheim Chronicles, #1)Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want a little reprieve from the heavier material you’ve been reading lately? This is the book. It is so much fun and a quick read. After all, it is a chapter book for middle grades. But I don’t quite know how to intrigue you without giving spoilers. Here is the blurb, even it has spoilers I wouldn’t have included.

“Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents. Their father won’t discuss his job, their mother never leaves the house without her guard dog, and the topic of the family tree is off limits.

When a last minute “business trip” gets the adults out of the way, Zed and Tuesday decide to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Too bad some thugs with shape-shifting weapons have other ideas. Their escape leaves them trapped in the modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, where everyone insists their father is a disgraced fugitive. They hope whoever is leaving them coded clues may have some answers, but they’re not sure they’re going to like what they learn.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they’ll need the help of a smuggler with a broken compass, their unusually talented dog, some extremely organized bandits, and a selection of suspiciously misquoted nursery rhymes.

Zed and Tuesday may not have all the answers, but one thing is certain: when it comes to normal, everything is relative.”

Add to the adventure the great narration by Ivy Tara Blair in this Audible version, and you will be in a place of pure enjoyment.

I don’t remember how I heard about these books, but I am already reading the second. I love the characters and how they go about solving the mysteries around them.

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The House Of The ScorpionThe House Of The Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. Much of it gives me the creeps. I love the Walking Dead and think cloning will never bring exact replicas due to the environment and circumstances of the original versus that of the clone. But the treatment of people in this dystopia seems horrible and never improves.

Nancy Farmer’s writing keeps the reader engaged. That is why I read to the end.

Robert Ramirez (Narrator) did well when reading for the males in the book, but all the females sounded foolish and unreal.

A few years ago, I decided to read primarily women authors who wrote of strong female main characters. I have found that women portray their sex far better than males do. The male narrators are great for boys or men but seem unable to play the fem parts.

Another thing, this is supposed to be a book for middle grades to adults. I can’t imagine a child reading this. I can’t imagine not getting nightmares from this as a kid. It nearly did that to me as an adult. On the other hand, I think it would have been a good read together and discussed with my children when they were old enough to handle the subject matter. My kids were better at the scary books and movies than I was. But I wouldn’t have wanted them to miss the lessons presented.

On the plus side, I loved getting into another culture. The Spanish language and mores are a beautiful addition.

Look, I don’t want to taint your opinion of this book. There are so many varied ratings; everyone sees this story differently. There are lessons for the modern world to look at sprinkled all over.

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The Novice (Summoner, #1)The Novice by Taran Matharu
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was not my cup of tea. One of my best friends loved it, so don’t take this review to heart.

If you loved Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, etc. This book is for you. Those and this are too male-heavy and too similar that I just got bored. I never got into the main character. I never felt anything about him was worth my time.

But, please don’t take my word for it. It was a quick read that I borrowed from the Libby library app. The text-to-speech was enabled for those who like to listen to books as they do other things like artwork with their hands. So it was painless. Still, when it got to the preview of the next book, I didn’t care if the MC was alive or dead. I was ready to move on to a series more to my liking.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another reread. I needed something while waiting for my next Outlander read. I figured with all the stress of my cataract surgery, I needed something in the fantasy realm.

I did enjoy the book, but I kept remembering the ending and hated reliving it. I don’t think I would have been a good candidate to read this as a kid.

Besides the ending, I had a hard time with this whole series is the lack of good fleshed-out female characters. Hermoine was okay, but there weren’t enough good girls or women. It was very male-heavy.

I may be reading the next one and making it to the series’ end, but it will not be soon.

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A Breath of Snow and AshesA Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is the review from the last time I read/listened to this book. I have re-rated this and given it five stars. I think this reading corresponds with the newest episodes on the show. The last episode I watched was exactly what I had just listened to that day. I love following both the book and the show and seeing how they translate the written word, especially a long book like this, into a show excellently done.

Though I stay with the thought that the narrator, as excellent as she is, for the most part, had a hard time helping the listener to know who’s point of view she was portraying. Still, I followed better this time than the last read.

I highly recommend these books. Like last time, I have already started book 7. Yay, William as a grown-up!

***

Wow! Am I finally finished with this book? It is the longest book I think I have ever read. I don’t think it needs to be that long, either.

Look. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the story, the characters, and the time travel element concept. I just found the length unbearable with the thousands of books on my TBR shelf.

It is fun to explore the early days in America with the characters. I have to admit that I loved the time in Scotland the most, so this book is missing that aspect.

The other problem with this book is that our magical narrator, Divina Porter, couldn’t handle all the characters. Now that Brea is an adult, she sounds like Clair. Now that Roger is an adult, he sounds like Jamie. All the children sound the same. Maybe if I could read simultaneously as listening, I could sort them out. But that is not possible for me and my eyes.

The last thing I need to point out, in case it counts for your reading the book is that I am already reading book 7, so…

It is worth the read. Stay with it. There are rewards in the story. And in this crazy world, a sweet time-travel romance can calm the worries that like to strike at bedtime.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m on my second reading of this book. I read the actual hardback the first time. Now the eyes wouldn’t be able to. So I chose to listen to Jim Dale read the book to me. For the most part, he is a good narrator, but ugh, for the females. He makes them sound like he’s making fun of them. And he seems to use the voice of Hagrid for another character making it a bit confusing.

Still, I am raising my rating from three stars to four as I found this more pleasant this time. I don’t know if it is my interpretation of the book versus how Jim Dale portrayed it. I just remembered this book as scary and dark. Yet this time, I found it lighter and happier. Maybe I knew where it was going, so I didn’t shake in fear?

As with the first two books, I find them male-heavy, which is disappointing because it is a female author. Seeing that she chose to be more acceptable to males by having a male pseudonym makes me admire her less. But maybe now, she might not choose that path.

Since I have the collection on Audible, I plan to continue listening. I do wish there was another actor to play the females. Still, how many can say, “Buckbeak’s back” multiple times without tripping over their tongues? Jim Dale got points for that!

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The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1)The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Well, there are a couple of weeks I won’t get back.

Okay. Some people will love this and climb down my throat about this epic adventure. These may be the same ones who hate my opinion of the Lord of the Rings series and the Star Wars series. Those people are more likely males or still haven’t shaken free of forgiving male-heavy reads or shows. Look. I get it. We had no choice of what to reading when I was a kid. All the adventures were about guys. But for the adventure, I’d read.

‘Oh, but you had Nancy Drew!’ I hear them say. Yes, a girlie girl who took time to straighten her nylon seams, donned lipstick and could run like the wind in heels. No, thank you! Sure I enjoyed looking like a girl, but the reality is, let’s have the adventure without vanity like most of the guys could.

Ahem. Sorry, here’s me stepping off the soapbox.

This read was the Libby audio version. The narrator, Michael Kramer, was hard to take. His female voices were demeaning. And though it says there was a female narrator, Kate Reading, I don’t remember hearing her voice until the end of the book.

I remember when they were giving this first book away to entice folks into reading the series. It was EVERYWHERE. I refused. I hate coercion like that. The only reason I gave in now was that the television show is coming up, and I wanted to compare. My husband has watched a bit of the series, and he loves it. I hope they have learned since the writing and the show will be equal in adventure.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of the series. I noticed I haven’t changed my star rating. I’m still only giving it three stars. Jim Dale is part of the reason for this rating. His voice is suitable for all the males in the book but is horrid with the females. I do feel the grumpiness of Professor Minerva McGonagall and the hyper-energy of Hermoine. But for the most part, Mister Dale’s females sound demeaning and whiny.

But things I love about the book are the basilisk and the phoenix. These are two very fantastic beasts. Oh, and I love the idea of a diary that talks to you from someone else. I don’t like the Tom Riddle part or Voldemort parts, but I suppose we need the bad guy. I did like getting to know Tom’s back story.

When I read the tome about a decade ago, I thought it was a slower slog. This book was over quickly. And for these stressful days having something I know and enjoy, helps the sleep come faster at night.

I’ve already started book three. And I remember how each book gets darker. Maybe by the end, I won’t use these as bedtime books.

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Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest TrailThru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will stay with me for a while. Erin Spencer (Narrator) made me feel like I was right there, on the trail, soaking wet or extremely tired. Sometimes a narrator is so good that you think it has to be the author as they seem to maintain the cadence of the written speech as if it were their own. It was fantastically done.

That means the writing was natural and felt genuine. This was a journal of sort of the hiker, Carrot Quinn. She was honest and told the good and the bad of her travels. There were times that I laughed out loud at what happened. And there were tears of seeing the incredible scenery and tears of hurt along the way.

I have to admit I want to do this. But it seems so far away from possible when just getting the dog and I out for our mile walk is tough. A windy day will keep us in. Rain is my dog’s least favorite. She won’t go out, yet I have the raincoat and boots and plenty of umbrellas. Snow is my favorite, but my dog can’t handle it very long, even with coat and pad coverings, so we walk around the yard. So much for my trek.

So it is fun to live vicariously through those who do the long hikes or marathons. Inspiration helps with daily life and gives hope for more.

I want to read this again soon.

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