Audiobook mini-reviews: Twelve Times Blessed by Jacquelyn Mitchard; The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Twelve Times Blessed
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Avon
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Robin Miles
First line: A familiar place, when you have gained heft of life, can feel as confining as a familiar pair of pants when you’ve put on weight.

Jacquelyn Mitchard is an author who is hit or miss with me. I absolutely loved The Breakdown Lane and The Deep End of the Ocean. This one was more of a “like.” I really liked the characters, but the story was fairly predictable, and the ending was dragged out way too long. It was only because I loved the characters so much and I wanted to know how things turned out for them that I kept listening. As far as the audio edition goes, Robin Miles is a great narrator, and embodied each of the characters – including many Creoles – very well.

Title: The Angel’s Game
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Genre: Literary fiction, gothic literature
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Dan Stevens
First line: A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story.

David Martin, a young author of gothic-slash-horror novels, is dying of cancer. He makes a deal with a publisher named Andreas Corelli, a deal that gives him a future he wasn’t supposed to have. The price is far greater than he could ever have imagined. I loved listening to this atmospheric, slightly sinister novel. The city of Barcelona is drawn as a cursed city, and Martin is doubly cursed. There is a terrific cast of characters, an intriguing mystery, and plenty of bookish love. I didn’t realize that this was written after The Shadow of the Wind, as a prequel. I will definitely be reading Shadow soon – I can’t wait to be drawn back into the world of Barcelona and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Dan Stevens is a wonderful narrator. He is understated – not a reader who does extreme accents or vocal stunts – but varies the characters enough that there is no question who is speaking. As the voice of our protagonist, David Martin, he was perfect.

Title: Chains
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: YA historical fiction
Publisher: Atheneum
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Madisun Leigh
First line: The best time to talk to ghosts is just before the sun comes up.

This is my third experience with the work of Laurie Halse Anderson (I listened to both Twisted and Prom on audio) and this is, by far, my favorite. Chains is the story of Isabel, a slave girl during the Revolutionary War. Isabel is a strong character, one whose story broke my heart. The experience of the slave during the Revolutionary War is a theme I also visited when listening to the Octavian Nothing books by M.T. Anderson – the unbelievable idea that our forefathers were determined not to be slaves to the King, but had no problem owning black slaves and using them like animals is one I find difficult to grasp, a part of our history that hurts my heart. Isabel’s story will stay with me for a long, long time – and I will be continuing it with book two in the series, Forge. Madisun Leigh’s voice took some getting used to, but after the first disc or so, I only heard Isabel.

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16 Responses to Audiobook mini-reviews: Twelve Times Blessed by Jacquelyn Mitchard; The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

  1. Kailana says:

    I really need to read The Angel’s Game. I have owned it since it came out!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kelly – it’s really good. Have you read Shadow of the Wind?

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    I’ve been wanting to read Chains since I first heard about it – I’m glad to see it’s so good.

  3. Word Lily
    Twitter: Wordlily

    I predict you’ll be blown away by Shadow of the Wind. Sooooooo amazing.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Hannah – I really wish the library had it on audio, but they don’t so far. I’ll be reading it in print, but it will take me longer to find time for it, I’m afraid.

  4. Darlene says:

    I’m always looking for new audios to listen to. I haven’t read Chains and it sounds great. Thanks!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Dar – you’re welcome – I hope you get a chance to listen to it!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I loved Speak so I would really like to read Chains too.

  6. Ash says:

    I almost bought the print copy of Chains because I really love Laurie Halse Andersen but I never did. Maybe I’ll try the audio since you gave it five stars!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Ash – I did enjoy it on audio – but I don’t think it’s one that absolutely HAS to be listened to, if you know what I mean.

  7. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads

    I loved The Shadow of the Wind so much, but have been a little reluctant to read The Angel’s Game even though I read it as soon as it came out!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Marg – I can’t compare it, since I haven’t read Shadow of the Wind, but I really liked it.

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