Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mini Audiobook review

It's been quite awhile since I've written one of these mini-review post. I've been on a lot of quick road trips these past few weeks, so I've worked my way through quite a few audiobooks. Bear with me as I play catch up.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, read by Grayce Wey

Awesome, awesome read! The author took her own experience of coming to a slum in NYC from Hong Kong at an early age and created Kimberly's own story. From working in a factory as a child to making her way into a prestigious private school and then falling in love with a factory boy, the reader truly becomes involved in the hardships of Kimberly, her mother, and the other characters of the story, as well as their triumphs. You will cheer for them and cry with them when things are really bad.

Grayce Wey was the perfect reader for this story. Her slight accent gave an authenticity to the book that other readers could not possibly have achieved, making it more believable and realistic.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5

Girl in Translation
Jean Kwok
Penguin Audio
April 2010
Borrowed from my local library

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen, read by Hope Davis

Well, this one was a bit of a surprise. Last minute trip to NY, meant last minute audiobook, so I had no idea what this one was about, though I've previously enjoyed books by Quindlen. It started out a little slowly, with main character Mary Beth describing her seemingly mundane life with a husband, a dog, and three teenaged children. And narrator Davis has a nice flow to her voice that gives a sense of calm and quiet to the story.

For the first 1/4 of the story I was drawn in by the beautiful descriptions and simplistic story of a family doing rather typical things...summer camps, prom night, and a boyfriend break-up take up most of the pages. Then it got complicated and I was glued to my seat of the car. A horrific tragedy strikes Mary Beth's family (one I was totally not expecting, due to my lack of reading of the summary)  and Quindlen gets character emotions SO well, that you'll be completely rocked.

A heartbreaking, yet incredibly well-written story. You won't be able to put it down.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

Every Last One
Anna Quindlen
Simon & Schuster Audio
April 2010
Borrowed from my local library

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer, read by Emma Galvin

The main reason I picked this up last weekend was because I was so entranced by Ilyana Kadushin's reading of the Twilight series and I just assumed she would have read this one too. No dice. Emma Galvin does a nice job, but I would have much preferred Ms. Kadushin's work, since I didn't totally care about this story.

Bree Tanner's story was a bit unnecessary I think, at least in this form. I think it would cool to have a full-length novel on what happened during Victoria's "army building" phase, but this was just so short, not a lot of meat or description, but entertaining all the same.

Meyer has that way about her writing that is really inviting to readers. You want to read more of the story after getting through the first page and that's what happened with Bree's story. I liked her character, wanted to know more, but felt, overall, the book was completely unnecessary UNLESS done all the way. No more novellas please.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella
Stephenie Meyer
Listening Library
June 2010
Borrowed from my local library

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker, read by Carrington MacDuffie

I fell in love with Truly's character, both in size and personality. She is described as being "huge" (among other things, most not very nice), which we later find out is caused by an actual medical disorder, but holds her own so well, throughout the entire story, which spans years. Years of taunting, degrading, and humiliation by the townspeople and family alike. Definitely a family drama, this is one of those books where not a whole lot happens, but you get really involved in the setting, the characters and their stories, as well as the amazing writing.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to you as an audio read. Carrington MacDuffie did a fabulous job at bringing you into a slow moving story, however, like I mentioned previously, not a whole lot happens. A great story, but not super-exciting. Not a road trip book to keep you awake for sure, but definitely go out and pick up the actual book. It's fabulous. Bravo to Tiffany Baker, debut novelist.

I read this one for the Fill in the Gaps challenge.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
Tiffany Baker
Blackstone Audio
January 2010
Book borrowed from my local library

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Susan said...

I'm glad the Quindlen one is good. I bought it (the book, not the audio version) at Costco last time I was there. I've loved the other Quindlen books I've read, so I'm excited for this one!

christina said...

I'm really glad that you enjoyed Aberdeen County. I read it a few months ago and just could not bond with Truly at all. I made my way through the end but was not pleased overall.

Just Mom said...

All of these except for the Twilight book have been on my wish list - sounds like they need to stay there!

Abby said...

Oooh, thanks for your reviews, dear! Neither of my libraries have GIRL IN TRANSLATION, so I put in a request for purchase. Sounds great!