Audiobook Review: Bury Me, by Tara Sivec, narrated by Stephanie Willis

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Bury Me
Author: Tara Sivec
Narrator: Stephanie Willis
Publisher: ListenUp Audiobooks (Disclaimer)
Length: 11 hours 47 min
Where I Got It: ListenUp Audiobooks
Audible
GoodReads

Synopsis: 

I hear screams in my head. I see blood on my hands. When I look in the mirror, I see a stranger.

How is it that I can remember bits and pieces of my life, but nothing of any importance and nothing that makes any sense? Everything is twisted and nothing is right. I’m choking with every breath I take, suffocating on the unknown.

Two days ago, everything changed. Two days ago, the people I should trust the most became strangers in my convoluted head. The dreams I have can’t be real. The fleeting memories that whisper through my mind are scary and wrong…they have to be. If they aren’t, I have something much worse to fear than my fractured mind. I need to find out the truth, even if it destroys me.

I’ve been told my name is Ravenna Duskin. I’m 18 years old, and I live in a prison….

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Review: Jesus Christ.

This book is crazy.

So, we open on an 18-year-old girl who has suffered an injury and is experiencing memory loss. She’s told that her name is Raveena Duskin, that she lives in a prison (inactive, but a historical site and her parents provide tours), with her parents who love her, and she is a good girl. As she begins to remember more and more, she starts doubting everything they’ve told her.

This story is dark and full of unexpected twists. I kept thinking I had finally figured it out only to discover that, no, no I had not. Bury Me is an excellent psychological thriller, full of complicated characters – many of whom are absolutely unlikeable, but fascinating.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Stephanie Willis. And her performance was so creepy! Once I got into the story, I didn’t want to stop listening. Some of her voices are kind of screechy or whiny – but it makes sense within the story and I think those voice choices were good. The audiobook is only about 6 and a half hours long and it’s addictive enough that you might want to just listen to it non-stop.

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Audiobook Review: Nine Kinds of Naked

Nine Kinds of Naked
Author: Tony Vigorito
Narrator: Kristin Kalbli
Publisher: ListenUp Audiobooks (Disclaimer)
Length: 11 hours 47 min
Where I Got It: ListenUp
GoodReads

Synopsis: Join cult favorite Tony Vigorito in his acclaimed, surreal whirlwind of a novel exploring chaos theory. A prisoner spins a playing card into a somersault, stirring a wind that becomes a tornado that takes off the roof of a church in nearby Normal, Illinois. Elizabeth Wildhack is born in that church and someday she will meet that prisoner, a man named Diablo, on the streets of New Orleans—where a hurricane-like Great White Spot hovers off the coast. But how is it all interconnected? And what does it have to do with a time-traveling serf and a secret society whose motto is “Walk away?”

REVIEW

I’ve been sitting on this review for awhile because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I knew going in that this book was pretty out-there and unusual. After the audiobook was finished, it was sent to Tom Robbins, who had this to say:

“Tony Vigorito has created that rarity…, a novel of ideas that also happens to be entertaining. And yes, fun. And like those maverick classics, Alice in Wonderland and Gargantua, Nine Kind of Naked is as fanciful and inventive in its form, its structure, as it is in its observations. Like Hesse’s ‘magic theater,’… it fed tasty crackers to all the hungry parrots in my mental aviary.” – Tom Robbins

So, I knew it was some kind of special. I expected humor and weirdness. And, those two things were there, but I didn’t expect this book to be so soothing.

Nine Kinds of Naked explores the butterfly effect, except the butterfly is actually the wind. A very strong wind. A tornado. Its effects reach across time and the lives touched by it intertwine. The quirky character are developed through their philosophical banter. Vigorito uses language beautifully and powerfully. The whole thing made me smile.

It may feel a bit random in the beginning, but the characters various story lines eventually come together brilliantly.

This audiobook was published by ListenUp Audiobooks, where I work. So, I got to hear the narrator auditions. One in particular stuck out as absolutely hilarious, but we decided that it was too funny. It worked for one scene, but might not be a really pleasant listen for nearly 12 hours. Before listening to this, I was still on the fence about our decision, but now I’m confident that Kristin was the right choice. The overall story was such an unexpected joy and her voice was a perfect fit. I loved her character voices, especially Diablo and Elizabeth. I loved listening to scenes with both of them.

I really love this audiobook. I didn’t work on it directly, but I’m proud that it came from ListenUp. We also published another of Vigorito’s audiobooks, Just a Couple of Days, which I haven’t listened to yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Audiobook Review: Binary Star

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Binary Star
Author: Sarah Gerard
Narrator: Sarah Gerard
Where I got it: ListenUp (my employer)
Length: 3 hours
Purchase: ListenUp | Audible
GoodReads
Synopsis: The language of the stars is the language of the body. Like a star, the anorexic burns fuel that isn’t replenished; she is held together by her own gravity.

With luminous, lyrical prose, Binary Star is an impassioned account of a young woman struggling with anorexia and her long-distance, alcoholic boyfriend. On a road-trip circumnavigating the United States, they stumble into a book on veganarchism, and believe they’ve found a direction.

Binary Star is an intense, fast-moving saga of two young lovers and the culture that keeps them sick (or at least inundated with quick-fix solutions); a society that sells diet pills, sleeping pills, magazines that profile celebrities who lose weight or too much weight or put on weight, and books that pimp diet secrets or recipes for success.
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Audiobook Review: Call Me Grim

Call Me Grim ACXTitle: Call Me Grim

Author: Elizabeth Holloway

Narrator: Kelly Collins Lintz

THIS IS A LISTENUP TITLE (Read Disclaimer

Audiobook available from ListenUp Audiobooks and from Audible.

Synopsis:  The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake — and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper… and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark… but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

Review

I think it’s fair to say that Grim Reapers are YA’s next fantasy craze and this book is a fine addition to the genre. I liked Libbi. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders for the most part.The language feels authentic and Libbi’s feelings make sense for the situations. What I didn’t like was that Call Me Grim features a predictable YA fantasy love story – immortal/semi-immortal mythical creature, who happens to be really hot, falls for high school girl. I’m not really a fan of the trope – somehow we are supposed to ignore the fact that Aaron is really in his 50s and used to date Libbi’s school librarian, who is old, just because Aaron hasn’t physically aged past 17? That said, there is not an insta-love connection between Libbi and Aaron, which gives credibility to the possibility of a love story. Most of the characters were likable and related, with the exception of Libbi’s awful friends. As far as those awful friends go, they were annoying teenagers who make illogical decisions and really didn’t redeem themselves to me at all. Kyle was the worst.

This is a ListenUp title, so I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Kelly Collins Lintz. I think she was definitely the right choice for Call Me Grim. Her storytelling was exciting, her pacing appropriate, and her character voices distinct without being over the top. I didn’t like the way she voiced Kyle, but that might just be because I hated Kyle as a character.

Overall, I liked it. Actually, I liked it more than I expected to. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes teen and young adult fantasy.