Title: Impossible Things
Author: Kate Johnson
Performer: Penelope Rawlins
Length: 13 hr, 34 min
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2015 by W.F. Howes, Ltd.
Review: I decided to veer away from the realm of Young Adult fiction because most of the audiobooks I want to listen to are on hold. I browsed around for awhile and landed on this audiobook, which was immediately available through my library. I checked it out with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised from the very first chapter. The performer was very engaging, and I was immediately sucked into the story of Ishtaer and Kael.
Ishtaer was an interesting character. She had a lot of depth and her character arc was very profound. She spends most of the book working through her traumas, coming into her powers, and finding the version of herself that was lost through years of abuse and captivity. Kael was a rather cliché character – brooding, fierce, and secretly sensitive – but, I still enjoyed him. I appreciated that this was not an insta-love story, but rather a slow build romance (my favorite kind). Although it was clear that there was going to be a romantic angle, it wasn’t very critical to the plot until the very end. This allowed for a lot more character development from Ishtaer and overall made the story feel more like high fantasy rather than a paranormal romance.
This book lost a star for me because although the author is a very talented writer, her action sequences were short on description and entirely implausible. I was glad to see representation for people with disabilities in a fantasy novel (Ishtaer was blind and her best friend was an amputee), but it almost seemed like Ishtaer’s blindness was used as a literary crutch to explain away things that should have been better described, and this was especially apparent during scenes where Ishtaer was pulling off something heroic. Even so, the book was so engaging and well-written that I was able to look past these shortcomings and love the story for what it was. I will absolutely be reading more books by this author!
Title: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Page Count: 418
Series: Throne of Glass, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: August 27, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Review: Sarah J. Maas is a truly an exceptional storyteller. These days it seems most fantasy series are trilogies, but she manages to drag her stories into long sagas without becoming boring. Her characters are engaging, her twists surprising, and her plot layering is superb. The only reason this is not a 5 star book for me is because it reads very much like a second book in a trilogy (i.e. setting the stage for a final installment), at least at the beginning. I have noticed this is a common trend in Maas’ writing. She starts out slow and then hits you with a lot in the last 25% of the book. Her ability to write strong endings is what keeps her readers chomping at the bit for more. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Heir of Fire.
Title: Foul is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Page Count: 336
Series: Foul is Fair, Book 1
Review: I am shocked at the positive reviews this book has been receiving from early reviewers. All the characters, including Jade/Elle, were terrible people. I did not enjoy reading about them, and I found it very difficult to get behind the revenge story because it was so ridiculous. Although I can completely empathize with a sexual assault victim wanting justice, a murderous rampage certainly does not seem like the answer and I did not find it at all gratifying. I would be extremely hesitant to promote this book to teen readers, because it glorifies murder and manipulation through sex. None of Jade/Elle’s coping mechanisms for her assault were positive, and I personally feel this book would be very unhealthy to put in the hands of someone who has actually been sexually assaulted.
Title: Cilka’s Journey
Author: Heather Morris
Page Count: 352
Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: October 1, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Review: I was beyond thrilled when I saw that Heather Morris would be publishing a book about Cilka. Like many other readers, I was intrigued by her character and utterly heartbroken by her unjust sentencing after the horror of the concentration camps. It did not feel right leaving her story untold, and I am glad that the author felt the same way.
This book reads so smoothly that I flew through it over the course of a couple days. Morris has an incredible way of writing that evokes such strong emotion while still being incredibly straightforward. I actually found that I enjoyed this book even more than The Tattooist of Auschwitz because it covers a topic in history that I know almost nothing about. I have read many books about the Holocaust, but I have never read one about the work camps in Russia. I was appalled that these camps operated for decades in terrible and dangerous conditions completely unchecked. It is staggering how many people were sentenced to these camps and how many of them died.
Cilka was an incredibly brave and resilient woman to have survived both camps. I would have very much liked to meet her, and it makes me happy to know that the legacy of her extraordinary life will live on through this book.
Title: Running Barefoot
Author: Amy Harmon
Performer: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 10 hr, 45 min
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 26, 2014 by Tantor Audio
Review: This is a very wholesome romance about two people seemingly destined to be together. I regret that my library did not have a hard copy of this book, because I did not enjoy it in eAudiobook format. I almost didn’t finish it because I really was not feeling the performer, but I was invested enough in the story to forge ahead.
In hindsight, I found the story to be sort of dry and I found my attention drifting often. It often goes on philosophical tangents, and I was surprised by the strong religious undertones given the fact this book is not tagged in any way that would indicate that it is Christian Fiction. I’m not saying this was a problem for me, it was just unexpected.
A lot of this story revolves around waiting. Waiting for Samuel to come back and waiting for Josie to grow up. She is 13 years old at the start of the story and Samuel is 18 years old. I give the author props for managing to not make this love story creepy, but sweet.
It was incredibly difficult for me to rate this book because it was hard for me to separate my feelings about the reader from my opinion of the book. After some consideration though, I thought the story was just ok. It didn’t completely suck me in, but I still felt compelled to finish it.