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Audio Book Review: Heartborn by Terry Maggert, Narrated by Julia Whelan

Heartborn by Terry Maggert
 

Heartborn by Terry Maggert

Narrated by Julia Whelan

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

 
Heartborn by Terry Maggert
Title: Heartborn
Author: Terry Maggert
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Paperback: 238 pages/6h 24m
Publisher: Createspace (October 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via AudioBookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Dark and Inviting

Narration: Clear, Crisp, Engaging

Readability, language: Easy and Simple

Why did I choose this book: The cover was what drew me in and the world of angels closed the deal for me. :)

Heartborn is the first part in a series about angels and humans. Kieron comes from a land high above, a place of violence and bloodshed. A place more like our world than the world of angels. And he has fallen, in to the human world to save the girl Livvy who has just half a heart, but her heart is failing and time is running out.

I quite liked the cover, it’s dark with an angel wing in the foreground and a cosmic background that kept drawing my eye. The title is appropriate as Kieron is Heartborn; the blurb explains this a bit more – “… a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.” and more explanations are in the story.

Plot & Characters

 
A plot that bridges the world of angels and humans, I haven’t read a book like Heartborn before. That said, it wasn’t clear to me even at the end what or how the world’s were tied-up. Hints are dropped through the book of Livvy being a saviour of the angel world but no explanations are given.

The world of angels described by Terry Maggert intrigued me with it’s human-like fallibility, deception, politics and strife. That part of world building was done well and I throughly enjoying listening to all that happened in the world above. In comparison, not much detail of the human world is given and there are more questions raised than answered.

Characters were another bit of a sore point for me. The protagonists Kieron and Livvy didn’t make much of an impact on me. They seemed shallow and insubstantial, especially when they got to kissing without much ado. However the other characters made quite an impression – Kieron’s parents – Sinoff & Vassa, Cressa the Blightwing, and Dozer – Livvy’s best friend; they hold so much promise and I can’t wait to see more of them in the next book ‘Moonborn’.

Writing & Narration

 
Terry Maggert’s writing is simple and language easy, I didn’t have trouble following the story and the pace was good, building well towards the climax. I didn’t see the end coming and it did surprise me, brownie points for it’s unexpected and non-clichéd, non-Happily Ever After end.

My favourite part of the story was Chapter 16, the longest chapter, an hour and 8 minutes but packed with action, so much action I relistened to the whole chapter to relive the action sequence.

Julia Whelan was a treat to listen to, a soothing clear crisp voice, it was easy to follow her every word through the 6 hours and 24 minutes of listening time. She has done a good job of intonation and voice modulation, with shifting speaking styles to differentiate the characters.

Heartborn: In Summary

 
In summary, I enjoyed listening to Heartborn, both in story and narration. I can’t wait for the next book – Moonborn to know what happens next in the story. The world of angels Terry Maggert has created, has me fascinated and hooked. Heartborn comes strongly recommended if you are into Paranormal Fantasy.

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Terry Maggert - Heartborn
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie.
Terry Maggert lives near Nashville, Tennessee. When not writing, he teaches history, grows wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restores his 1967 Mustang.
 
 
 
 
Julia Whelan - Heartborn
Julia Whelan has appeared in many films and television series, most notably ABC’s Once And Again. She’s recorded hundreds of novels across all genres and has received multiple Earphones and Audie Awards. She has repeatedly been named one of Audiofile Magazine’s Best Voices and was Audible’s Narrator of the Year.
 
 
 
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodReads │ Twitter – @TerryMaggertFacebook Page
 
 

June 12, 2017   No Comments

Book Review: Ponni’s Beloved by Sumeetha Manikandan

Ponni's Beloved by Sumeetha Manikandan
 

Ponni’s Beloved by Sumeetha Manikandan

Summary:

(Goodreads)
This is an English Translation Of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan.
Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan is a masterpiece that has enthralled generations of Tamil readers. Many authors have written phenomenal books in Tamil literature after Kalki Krishnamurthy, but Ponniyin Selvan remains the most popular, widely-read novel. It has just the right mixture of all things that makes an epic – political intrigue, conspiracy, betrayal, huge dollops of romance, infidelity, seduction, passion, alluring women, unrequited love, sacrifice and pure love.

 
Ponni's Beloved by Sumeetha Manikandan
Title: Ponni’s Beloved
Author: Sumeetha Manikandan
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Indreads (February 16th 2017)
Genre: Indian Fiction, Indian Epic, Tamil Literature, Translation
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★★★
Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via The Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

Though Ponni’s Beloved came to me for review, I thought the best person to review this book would be my MIL. Mom has read the original by Kalki and so is the best equipped to read and compare the books. The following are her words… [With a few of my edits 😛 ]

Mom’s Review of Ponni’s Beloved 😀

The original Ponniyin Selvan (Son of Kaveri) by Kalki Krishnamurthy with narrative pictures by the artist Maniam is one of the most unforgettable novels for Tamil readers.

In English Sumeetha Manikandan has captured the essence of the novel very well. The contents and narration of the story is almost the same as the original. She has not deviated in any way with the description. The flow of the story, the descriptions and the explanations were very good.

In Tamil the descriptions of the areas and the celebration especially in Adi Perukku (Chapter 1), Gokulashtami (Chapter43) & the Kuravai Koothu are so elaborate that the reader gets immersed in the story and feels like he/she is among the characters.
Sumeetha too has tried to involve the reader with her way of narration, however some of it is lost in translation. I had never expected that anyone could translate this without spoiling the flow of the story, but Sumeetha Manikandan’s Ponni’s Beloved comes quite close to the original.

Ponni’s Beloved has good momentum and once you start you can’t stop. The author has also used a lot of Tamil words which add to the feel of the tale. The book also has a bibliography at the end.

Some things that stood out in comparison to the original –

Kadambur described here is not the one near Kovilpatti. The hero Vanthiya devan is travelling from Kanchi to Thanjavur, so the place should be somewhere between Kallakurichi & Ulundurpet.

The one thing which is very much missing is the pictures of the artist Maniam, which added to the narrative along with the writer’s description in the original.

The character ‘Idupankari’ is spelt wrong. The sound of the name being important as Idumpankari means a person giving trouble.

Avvaiyar is blessed with old age, a boon she gets from Lord Ganesh and not Lord Muruga.

Parting Words…

I enjoyed reading Sumeetha Manikandan version of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan and look forward to part 2.

Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Ponni's Beloved by Sumeetha Manikandan
Sumeetha Manikandan is a bookaholic, thinker, feminist and a daydreamer, she reads across genres and is a crazy fan of history, romance and science fiction novels.
An avid reader of historical novels, she has been translating Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan for the past ten years and hopes to translate more of his novels to English.
Sumeetha is married to filmmaker K.S. Manikandan and lives with her nine-year-old daughter in Chennai.”
 
Author Links:
Website/BlogGoodReads │ Twitter – @sumeetha2 │ Facebook – Page
 
 

May 27, 2017   2 Comments

Book Review: Finding Molly – An Adventure in Catsitting by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge

Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge
 

Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge (Illustrator), Maytal Gilboa (Editor)

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Fresh out of art school and creatively unfulfilled, Molly is stuck in the suburbs with her parents and their cat, Pishi. When she is offered an opportunity to cat sit, she sees it as a way to get closer to her friends who live in the Los Angeles Arts District while fulfilling her dream of making a living as an artist.

 
Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge
Title: Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting
Author: Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge (Illustrator), Maytal Gilboa (Editor)
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: EMET Comics (January 15th 2017)
Genre: Graphic Novel, YA
Read: eBook
Stars: ★★★★★
*

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from EMET Comics via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Eye-catchy

Illustration : beautiful & detailed

Readability, language: Easy read

I’ve read graphic novels before, but that was ages ago as a kid, in the time of Chacha Chaudhri and Tinkle. So, when Sarah of YA Bound Book Tours reached out with Finding Molly, I grabbed the chance to correct that lapse, plus it’s an Indie comic by an author of colour, has a mixed race female protagonist and has cats! That’s a lot of bonus points! 😀

I read Finding Molly in almost one sitting and I enjoyed it so much, I went back immediately to start re-reading and absorbing it in detail.
Molly is just out of art school and lost. Not wanting to sell her soul to a company, she works for free at a local bookstore while she struggles with her art and voice. She is envious of her friends who live in a studio and make art, but she has no money and lives with her parents who are supportive but want her to get married or find a job.

In the midst of all this, a random picture of her cat on Insta leads to her getting a job to draw a cat and that leads to high-paying cat-sitting jobs and a cat comic strip. The money she makes, helps her move out into the Art District of LA where her friends live but her struggles don’t end there…

Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge

With negligible experience in this genre I started reading with a clean state and I took away so much. Compared to a word novel, a graphic novel takes so much more ‘slowness’ while reading; there is so much detail in every picture and you need to slow down to absorb it. I blazed through Finding Molly the first time and found myself pleasantly surprised at the end. I went right back and second time I noticed so much more.

The story part in dialogue is nuanced and one that almost everyone can relate to, but along with it artist Jenn St-Onge, has built so much detail in her drawings. The time when Molly is having a flashback is differently shaded to distinguish the time difference, there is art everywhere, on walls, t-shirts, each panel is just so packed.

When I picked up the book I hoped it would check off a few boxes in my reading challenges this year. And that it did – protagonist of colour, graphic novel, indie comic, author of colour – but it did more. I’m so glad I picked up Finding Molly for I enjoyed the book, both reading and staring at each panel. And the cats were adorable. 😀

A special mention for the end section of the book that introduces the author, the artist and shares the behind the scenes story of creating Molly. I loved getting to know the people behind the book, it made it all more real for me.

Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge

This book was a lovely introduction into the world of graphic novels. The language and setting with use of technology and social media in the story helped me relate easily to Molly even though she is a Millennial and I am not. I loved the colour theme and the look and feel. It was easy to read and had enough to offer in the details. It was an all new experience in reading.

I recommend the book for those who read Graphic Novels and for those considering it. :)

*

About the Author & Artist:

 
Finding Molly by Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge
 
 

April 7, 2017   2 Comments

Book Review: Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner, Narrated by Lucinda Clare

Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner
 

Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner

Summary:

(Goodreads)

In the future there is no disease. There is no war. There is no discontent. All citizens are complacent members of the Global Governance. But one summer is about to change everything.

Keeva Tee just turned fifteen. All of her dreams are about to come true. She’s about to make the trip to Monarch Camp to be imprinted with her intended life partner. One day they’ll have perfect kids and a perfect life. But in her happy, carefree life in the Ocean Community, something weighs on her mind. She hears whispers about “anomalies”—citizens who can’t be imprinted. No one knows what happens to them, but they never seem to come back.

When Keeva arrives at Monarch Camp, her worst nightmare becomes a reality—she is an anomaly. After they are imprinted, the people she loves begin to change, and she starts to doubt everything she’s ever believed. What if freedom and individuality have been sacrificed for security? And what if the man who solves all the problems is the very man who’s created them—and what if he isn’t a man at all?

When Keeva finds a warning carved under a bunk bed she begins to understand: Nonconformity will be punished, dissent is not an option, insurgents will be destroyed.

 
Anomalies by Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner
Title: Anomalies
Author: Colette Freedman and Sadie Turner
Narrator: Lucinda Clare, Punch Audio
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: SelectBooks (February 9th 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★★
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Eye-catchy blue!

Narration: Easy on the ears. :)

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

Anomalies was my third sci-fi dystopian audio book, and I’m enjoying myself. It’s like I’m on a roll!

A World of Peace

 
Anomalies is set in a future world with no war, discontent and disease. People who survived the great war, now live in skill-based communities with their intended partners, governed by the Global Governance.

The book explores a world where people are happy, there is no illness, humankind is complacent, pliable and peaceful. This has been achieved by Sorbek Vesely, who heads the Global Governance that keeps citizens in check with advanced technology.

At fifteen children are sent to Monarch Camp where they meet their perfect partners and then go on to lead perfect lives in a perfect society. But there are anomalies, those who do not have perfect partners and who do not fit into the system. Keeva, the female protagonist is an anomaly.

The male protagonist is Calix, Sorbek’s son who he is grooming to be his heir. Calix hates his father, his methods and all he stands for, yet he is powerless to stop him.

Narration and Story

 
I can’t say more without giving up the story but I enjoyed listening to Anomalies on Audible. Lucinda Clare’s narration is excellent. At no point does the speech get monotonous and Lucinda Clare uses her voice well to switch between characters so each is distinct, she was a pleasure to listen to.

The authors have done an excellent job with world building, building slowly and in detail, so in my mind’s eye I could see this world as if it were real. Two characters’ POV also meant seeing this world from two extremes, the eyes of the oppressor and the oppressed. There are a lot of characters in the book, each one well fleshed out so I could associate with them as if I knew them.

The world at first glance seems great, but the peace and happiness is utopian and comes at the price of individuality with forced conformity. It made me sit back and question the value and importance of free will. Then there were Sorbek’s methods which while dishonourable and depraved, achieved peace, so does the end justify the means?

There’s more to the story than this of course, there’s another ancient race, a resistance and lots of action. The story sets a good pace and doesn’t let up right to the end. It’s 8 hours of listening and I found myself distraught at the end, wanting to continue and know more. I can’t wait for book 2.

The Short & Sweet

 
I enjoyed Anomalies; if you’re into dystopian sci-fi, this book comes highly recommended. The audio book with Lucinda Clare’s narration is especially recommended, I absolutely enjoyed listening to this book.

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Sadie Turner - Anomalies
Sadie Turner is a Los Angeles-based producer and writer originally from Brighton, England, who works in business development with several Hollywood entrepreneurs. She has various projects in development, and also teaches yoga.
 
 
Colette Freedman - Anomalies
 
 
Colette Freedman is an internationally produced playwright with over 25 produced plays. She has co-written books with Jackie Collins and Michael Scott. Colette currently has several scripts in development.
 
 
 
 
Author Links:
Website │ GoodReads – Sadie Turner / Colette Freedman │ Twitter – Sadie Turner / Colette Freedman
 
 

January 20, 2017   No Comments

Book Review: Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game) by I.A. Ashcroft, Narrated by Mikael Naramore

Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game) by I.A. Ashcroft

 
Raven's Song by I.A. Ashcroft
Title: Raven’s Song (Inoki’s Game)
Author: I.A. Ashcroft
Narrator: Mikael Naramore
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Lucid Dreams Publishing (March 14th 2016)
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Read: audio book
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

 

Summary:

(Goodreads)

A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilisation is still choking on the ashes.

Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear.

Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses.

The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field.

If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist.

Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.

 

My Review:

Note: I received this book from the author via Author Assistant in exchange for an honest review.

Cover: Dark and eye-catchy.

Narration: Easy on the ears. :)

Readability, language: Easy on the mind.

This is the second audio book I’ve managed to complete. I’d enjoyed my first book Project: Perception by Joshua Cook, (another fantasy) so much, I decided to pick up Raven’s Song for a listen. It seems like fiction is working better for me on audio, but that’s a topic for another day.

Raven’s Song is set a 100 years in the future, after the burning. This is a world of shields, radiation and raiders. In this world Jackson a smuggler, and Anna a woman from the past, must learn to use their magical abilities and stay alive.

It was the title that first caught my attention, they are beautiful birds – Ravens and have long been associated with magic. Then there was the cover that reminded me of the Omen series, one of the few books I’ve read in that genre. My mind was already made up to read the book, the blurb was that last nudge I needed.

The plot of Raven’s Song felt new and holds promise for the series as a lot of hints are dropped through the book about the core of the story. However a lot of questions remain unanswered at the end and I am still unclear about the heart of the series.

The concept of the world I.A. Ashcroft is creating for the series looks promising, set a 100 years in the future, a world ravaged by fires, a New York now contained in a shield, protected from radiation and raiders. My only complaint that he doesn’t explain how it all happened, I’m really curious and I hope Book 2 has the answer.

Apart from the main characters Jackson Dovetail, Anna Mathews and Agent Jayden Walker, there are other characters that I.A. Ashcroft has described well and made memorable. I’m looking forward to meeting them in future books.
Jackson and Anna are described well, but it was Agent Walker that stood out for me. His character has so many shades and secrets.

Raven’s Song starts off well and holds a good pace through out. This is a long book, 11 hours and 23 minutes! And I didn’t not get bored at any point, I couldn’t stop listening, wondering what would happen next. The story builds well to the climax and the end is a good primer for the next book.

I do wish though that so many questions had not been left unanswered, I would have like to know more about how the world was destroyed, where the gods mentioned in the blurb fit into the story and what the story really was about.

I quite liked I.A. Ashcroft’s style of writing, it light and easy to digest without big words and flowery descriptions. And yet there is enough dialogue and narration to make the book an enjoyable listen.

Mikael Naramore, the narrator brings the story and characters to life using different voices and styles for each character. His diction is clear with a good rate of speech, my Indian ear had no trouble at all understanding him.

I enjoyed Raven’s Song and I’m looking forward to book 2. I definitely recommend the book if you are a Dystopia Fantasy reader. However be warned, you will be left with a lot of questions and a wait for book two. :)

Buy On: Amazon US | Audible | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
I. A. Ashcroft dwells in Phoenix, Arizona, alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. The author enjoys reading and pretending to be other people while rolling dice and wearing fancy hats.

 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

December 1, 2016   No Comments