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.
Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Performer: Ariana Delawari
Length: 10 hr, 38 min
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2015 by Listening Library
Review: I like the story of A Thousand and One Nights, so I was excited to read this YA adaptation. I was underwhelmed. This book did not do nearly enough to develop the story or the characters before jumping into the romance. The whole time I was thinking, they have spent hardly any time together, know almost nothing about each other, and yet they are deeply in love. After so many extraordinary girls before her, it is unclear why Shahrzad is the one who gets to live. She tells stories? So what. I personally did not find the stories she told to be that riveting and I was perplexed by the rapid passage of time. She tells one short story and then it’s dawn. Hooray she lives to tell another tale! The king trusts Shahrzad implicitly, but again, why? I just didn’t buy it.
I did enjoy the imagery and I listened to the book in it’s entirety, so I didn’t hate it. I would have loved to see the magic aspect fleshed out better. I saw great potential with that particular storyline, even if it didn’t get a lot of page presence. I am on the fence about starting the next book The Rose & the Dagger.
Author: A.S. King
Page Count: 394
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 26, 2019 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Review: This book is bizarre from start to finish. It comes together in the end, but I was confused for about 3/4 of it. Personally it wasn’t my cup of tea. It was dark and delved into difficult topics such as abuse, murder, and deeply entrenched racism. There were many things that still didn’t make sense to me even at the conclusion, but I just did not have the bandwidth to wade back through the book to try to make all the connections. The writing style is very unique and it took me awhile to adjust to it. I would not be surprised if people DNF this book simply because it is difficult to follow. Although I can see why there is buzz surrounding this book, it is not one I will be widely recommending.
Title: Across a Broken Shore
Author: Amy Trueblood
Page Count: 360
Publishing Date/Publisher: November 5th 2019 by Flux
Review: The setting for this book was lovely, but I found the plot to be painfully slow and I did not find any characters to be particularly compelling. This falls into the rare category of books that I did not finish (I stopped at 42% completion).
Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Performer: Amanda Leigh Cobb
Length: 6 hr, 24 min
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 3.1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Recorded Books
Review: I don’t know how this author churns out as many books as she does. With both her Throne of Glass series and this one, she has supplemented her series with interspersed novellas. This novella is much shorter and less action packed than the three full-length books that come before it, and it is focused on the introspection of our main characters as they deal with the aftermath of the great battle with Hybern. It reveals more insight into our main characters and offers POVs that were not present in previous books. I did enjoy the book and the reader, but I found this book to be much soppier than the rest of the series. A lot of focus is put on the mating bond between Rhysand and Feyre, and the rest of the book is more of a snapshot in time as our characters prepare to enjoy a holiday together.
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Performer: Amanda Leigh Cobb
Length: 25 hr, 8 min
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 3
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2017 by Recorded Books
Review: This book was very much like the two that proceed it in that the plot starts out slow and then later picks up speed. I was never bored during this story, but it sort of annoys me when things work out too perfectly in the end. Sure there was a lot of bloodshed, but I never truly feared for any of the main characters, because they always seem to come through in the end. I was also a little annoyed that Feyre was all of a sudden some sort of master spy and manipulator; however, I was greatly entertained by the shifting allegiances, political maneuvering, and a couple surprising character reveals. This story certainly keeps you on your toes as friends become enemies and enemies become friends. I don’t see a release date yet for the fourth book, but the Throne of Glass series should keep me busy in the meantime.
I was a little surprised that they changed the reader partway through this series, but was even more shocked at how similar she sounded to the woman who narrated the first two audiobooks. At first I didn’t even realize that the performer was different because she did such an excellent job matching the character voices to how the original reader performed them. Amanda Leigh Cobb is very talented, and the switch did not negatively impact my listening experience in the slightest.
Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Performer: Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 23 hr, 16 min
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2016 by Recorded Books
Review: This book took the momentum from the first book and catapulted it to even greater heights. Feyre grows so much as a character. She suffers from severe PTSD and much of the book is focused on her journey of healing. She demonstrates how our wants and needs can change as we evolve and that people in our lives can either serve as hindrances or catalysts to this change.
Rhysand fans will be very happy with the events that transpire in this book. The ending was a bit frustrating, but Maas does an excellent job of setting the stage for the conflict that will driving the next books in the series.
Oftentimes the second book in a series is a bit of a bore as it lays the foundation for subsequent books, but I did not feel this way at all with this book. It was emotional, romantic, thrilling, and utterly unputdownable.
My only gripe about this book, and this series in general, is Maas’ near constant use of certain words…male, snarl, growl, etc. It didn’t bother me enough to lower my rating, but I did find myself rolling my eyes from time to time as the words resurfaced over and over again.