Audiobook mini-reviews: Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani; Red Glove by Holly Black; Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian; and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: Very Valentine
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Harper
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Cassandra Campbell
First line: I’m not the pretty sister.

I’ve read many great reviews of the Valentine series, so Adriana Trigiani had been on my radar for a while when I found Very Valentine on audio via my library’s Overdrive site. What a treat! I loved listening to Cassandra Campbell bring Valentine and her Gram and her crazy, wild Italian family to life. I’m not into fashion – or shoes – so there were a few parts that went a bit over my head, especially the long descriptions of shoes and other fashion items, but that didn’t deter much from my enjoyment of the book. I do love food – and the fact that Valentine dates an Italian chef who cooks wonderful dishes for her added to the experience. It also made me hungry. I’m already listening to Brava, Valentine, book two in the series.

Audio notes: Cassandra Campbell is truly excellent narrating Valentine’s story. She became Valentine for me, and she also voiced the rest of the characters equally well. The Italian phrases and dialogue simply rolled off her tongue – an added bonus.

Title: Red Glove
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA paranormal fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderberry
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Jesse Eisenberg
First line: I don’t know whether it’s day or night when the girl gets up to leave.

Red Glove is the second book in Holly Black’s Curse Workers series, and she has managed to craft a story that was just as enjoyable as the first. I love the blending of the paranormal with the world of organized crime, and the series has a feel to it that reminds me of mafia movies like The Godfather. Cassel is a terrific character, caught in the world of the Curse Workers that his family inhabits, trying to stay true to the few scruples he has left. I’m not sure how many installments Black has planned, but if she continues to write stories this engaging, I hope the series goes on for a long time.

Audio notes: I listened to White Cat, the first book in the Curse Workers series on audio, also read by Jesse Eisenberg. While he has a fairly static reading style, he was a perfect choice to tell Cassel’s story, which is told in first person. When given the choice, I chose to continue to listen to the series, rather than read it in print.

Title: Master and Commander
Author: Patrick O’Brian
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Simon Vance
First line: The music-room in the Governor’s House in Port Mahon, a tall, handsome, pillared octagon, was filled with the triumphant first movement of Locatelli’s C major quartet.

I’ve been wanting to read Patrick O’Brian’s maritime series for a while, and when I discovered that Simon Vance narrated the audiobooks, I decided I’d waited long enough. While I wasn’t completely enthralled with the plot, mainly because the author spent a lot of time explaining how things were done on the ship and the various customs and ranks of the British navy (including lots and lots of cannon drills), I did fall in love with the characters. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin are direct opposites – one is brash and physical, one is composed and cerebral – and they make a terrific pair. I will definitely be continuing with the series in order to see how their friendship progresses.

Audio notes: It’s Simon Vance! I’ve always said I could listen to him read the phone book, and in this case, I listened to many scenes full of nautical maneuvers that I didn’t understand and never lost interest.

Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: Speculative fiction, romance
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: William Hope, Lauren Lefkow
First line: The library is cool and smells like carpet cleaner, although all I can see is marble.

This was a reread for me. I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife the first time I read it, and I hoped I would remember enough to listen to the audio without getting confused by the time jumps. Since the author gives the date and also Henry’s and Clare’s ages at the beginning of each section, it was very easy to follow, and I fell in love with their story all over again. I cried through the entire last disc, even though I knew what was coming.

Audio notes: Since this story is told in first person by Henry and Clare, having two narrators was a must. William Hope and Lauren Lefkow were pitch-perfect when it came to becoming the characters. There were some occasional mispronunciations, however, that would pull me out of the story: “tra-PEEZ-oid” instead of “TRA-puh-zoid”; “vi-COE-din” instead of “VIE-coe-din.” I can’t imagine how no one on the production team caught these instances.

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7 Responses to Audiobook mini-reviews: Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani; Red Glove by Holly Black; Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian; and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

  1. irene says:

    I so admire you for listening so attentively, just doesn’t happen for me. But I shall keep trying.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Irene – you’re not the only one – I know a lot of people who have trouble with audiobooks. That’s why it’s so great that there are so many different formats for reading!

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I’ve loved every single one of Adriana Trigiani’s books. I bought The Time Traveler’s Wife when our Borders went out of business and it looks like I need to pull it out.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – your reviews of Trigiani’s work were some of the ones that put her on my radar!

  3. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I am hoping to read my first ever Adriani Trigiani soon. I suspect that I am going to love her books!

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