Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Tao of Martha: my year of living or why I'm never getting all that glitter off of the dog by Jen Lancaster

The following review I wrote was published in the September 15th, 2013 Issue of the Library Journal.

Lancaster, Jen. The Tao of Martha: my year of living or why I'm never getting all that glitter off the dog. 7 CDs (8 hours 57 minutes). Dreamscape Media. 2013. 9781624065316

In Lancaster's newest book, she takes on the essence of Martha Stewart. Taking the things in life that are not that glamorous, organizing pantries, spice cabinets, planning holiday parties such as Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and much much more she tries to plan and execute in a way that would make Martha approve. Whenever she comes across an obstacle, she asks herself, what would Martha do? Even though this is Lancaster's 9th book, she is still rolling out fresh and original work, while keeping with her humor and wit. Narrated by Jen herself, she was able to get across the exact inflection and emotion that was used when she wrote the book.
This book is recommended for anyone who enjoys a good humorous memoir about self discovery/improvement.
Jessi Brown, Huntington City-Township Public Library. Huntington, Indiana.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SYLO by D.J. MacHale

The following review I wrote was published in the November 22nd Xpress Reviews of the Library Journal, and was a starred review. 

MacHale, D.J. SYLO. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624068546 $59.99; digital download. F

First, freshman Tucker Pierce watches the star of his football team drop dead with no explanation. Then he witnesses an unexplained explosion followed by a stranger trying to promote an “athletic supplement” that gives those who take it superhuman speed and strength. The next thing he knows his home is being invaded by SYLO, a secret branch of the military, and quarantined for a lethal “virus.” The longer the quarantine goes on, the more Tucker and his friends start to believe that SYLO might be lying. MacHale, author of the popular “Pendragon” titles, here launches another thrilling series. With constant action, this book will have listeners trying to decipher the good guys from the bad guys to the very end. Andrew Bates does an amazing job of narrating the fear, anguish, and terror that the residents of Pemberwick Island feel.
Verdict Recommended for anyone who enjoys a fast-paced thriller. Fans of Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne” series might want to try this YA novel with crossover appeal.—Jessi Brown, Huntington City Twp. P.L., IN

Dad or Alive by Adrian Kulp

The following review I wrote was published in the December 20th Xpress Reviews of the Library Journal. 

Kulp, Adrian. Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-Home Dad. 4 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 5 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452614229. $34.99; 1 MP3-CD/4 CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR

Blogger Kulp ( takes listeners into the life and mind of a first-time dad. Kulp explores the struggles of turning the man cave into his daughter’s room, navigating his pregnant wife’s hormonal roller coaster, and shifting gears from executive to stay-at-home father. Many parents will relate to the issues of strangers mistaking their children’s gender, having to change the baby in the car because a changing table cannot be found for miles, and everyone wanting to put their germy hands on the infant. Kulp provides his own capable narration.

Verdict Recommend to fans of humorous parenting memoirs.—Jessi Brown, Huntington City Twp. P.L., IN

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Forbidden Sister by V.C. Andrews

The following review I wrote was published in the July 5th Express Reviews of the Library Journal. 

Andrews, V.C. Forbidden Sister. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. Dreamscape Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781624064890. $59.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F

All Emmie Wilcox has ever wanted was to know her older sister, Roxy, but it is hard to get to know someone who was been thrown out of the house by their parents years ago, especially when the mere mention of Roxy’s name is considered worse than swearing. So Emmie decides to find her sister and learn whatever it is her parents refuse to tell her. When Emmie finally finds what she is seeking, her world is turned upside down. This is your typical Andrews (Flowers in the Attic) novel: the focus is on a young girl, with lots of tragedy. Narrator Amy Rubinate does an excellent job voicing Emmie’s insecure, breathy whispers, her mother’s French accent, and Roxy’s confident tones.
Verdict Listeners who enjoy family drama, transparent plots, and teenage angst will enjoy this book. [The Pocket: S. & S. pb was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Private London

 The following review I wrote was published in the April 26th Express Reviews of the Library Journal.

Patterson, James & Mark Pearson. Private London. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6½ hrs. Hachette Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781611130232. $24.98; Playaway digital; digital download.

Here Patterson and Pearson (Private Games) follow the story of Dan Carter, head of renowned investigation firm Private London, and Hannah Shapiro, a student with a horrific past. The police and Private are investigating a case that involves kidnappings, murder, and mutilation. Can it be Hannah’s past coming back to get her? Rupert Degas does a spot-on job voicing English, American, and Scottish characters.
Verdict It goes without saying that Patterson fans will enjoy this book, but readers who enjoy thrillers with a twist will want to give it a try as well. [The Grand Central hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]

Call the Midwife

The following review I wrote was published in the April 2013 issue of Library Journal.

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

This memoir, the inspiration for BBC's popular series of the same name, chronicles Worth's experiences as a midwife in London during the 1950s. The story, enhanced by amazingly vivid imagery, brings to life the horror of the living conditions in the slums of the London's Docklands, the sadness of mothers who have lost their babies, and the joy of first- or 24th-time mothers as they meet their children. Narrator Nicola Barber, winner of two Earphone Awards, does an excellent job of portraying both seasoned and inexperienced midwives as well as the wide variety of British accents. VERDICT Fans of the BBC series will enjoy this audiobook, as will anyone interested in the history of midwifery. [The Penguin hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—

Monday, February 4, 2013

Heaven's War by David Goyer and Michael Cassutt

The following review I wrote was published in the December 2012 issue of Library Journal. 

Goyer, David S. & Cassutt, Michael. Heaven’s War. 12 CDS. Unabridged. 14 ½ hours. Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 9780307934482. $50.00

Goyer and Casseutt’s book Heaven’s War is the second book in the Heaven Shadow series.  Starting where the last book left off, two groups of scientists on opposite sides of the world are abducted and transported to Keanu. They must figure out how to survive on this alien habitat, discover why they were brought there, and why friends who were dead on Earth are suddenly on Keanu alive. Set in the not too distant future, this story has all the elements of a hard science fiction story. Narrator Joe J. Thomas does a wonderful job portraying a variety of characters from gravely voiced Harley Drake to smooth talker Dale Scott to Russian linguist Valya Makarova and many more. Recommended for fans of space science fiction.

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

The following review that I wrote was published in the June 2012 edition of Library Journal.....

Wyndham, John. The Kraken Wakes. 7 CDS. Unabridged. 9 Hours. CSA World. 2010. ISBN: 9781906147754. $29.95.

In Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes (Previously published under the title Out of the Deeps), English journalist for the EBC--- not the BBC, Mike Watson writes an account of events that he and his wife Phyllis witnessed. Starting on their honeymoon with what was described as fireballs falling from the sky and leading to the attacks of “sea tanks” and the unusually fast melting of icebergs. Not your typical science fiction story, the aliens are no longer confined to taking over from Outer Space. The story was cut up in three phases which moved the plot along wonderfully, however there was not much character development. British narrator Alex Jennings shows animation playing multiple people very well including men, women, English, Russian, and French characters. Fans of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds will enjoy this story. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eon by Alison Goodman

Crippled Eon was not much of a candidate for Dragoneye, but he trained hard and studied hard. On the day of the ceremony when the Rat Dragoneye was chosen, Eon was overlooked. To everyone's surprise, another dragon emerged choosing Eon. A dragon that had thought to have lost forever, the Mirror Dragon. But the Mirror Dragon wants something that Eon cannot give, something Eon has been hiding for years, something that will surely kill him. Eon is really Eona, a female Dragoneye candidate, something that is unheard of. Eona must embrace her true self if she is to truly become one with her dragon.
I really enjoyed this novel,I thought that Eon was a very strong female protagonist and I thought that it portrayed a very good message of being true to oneself.I am looking forward to the sequel Eona coming out in April 2011.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

I got this as an ARC from NetGalley

After years of chemotherapy and struggle, Kate is taking her mother back to her hometown to die. With the insistence of her mother, Kate attends school, counting down the seconds until she can be back with her mother. As a cruel prank, Ave, one of Kate's classmates invites Kate to a "party" in the woods. In the attempt to leave Kate there, something goes horribly wrong and Ava ends up dead. Henry, the mysterious property owner says he can bring Ava back to life-but at a price. Kate must live with him for 6 months out of the year. After agreeing, Kate soon finds her world surrounded with Greek mythological beings. She will be given 7 tests where if she passes she will become immortal, but if she fails she would go home with no memory of what happened. That is, if she isn't mysteriously killed like many girls before her.

From the first page I was hooked on this story. I found the character's to be entertaining, yet realistic. I felt the struggle Kate was going through as she tried to take care of her mother. Although I wished the author developed the character's a little more, I'd like to see more of James or Ava. I found myself constantly trying to guess what Kate's tests were. Although the story ended with everything tied in a nice little bow, I'm very excited to see what Carter's next story holds.