Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Keep Me Ghosted by Karen Cantwell-5 stars

Cantwell, Karen, Keep Me Ghosted. Karen Cantwell, 2013. 6:20 hrs. (unbar.) Audible Download.

Sophia Rhodes has a ghostly problem, two to be exact. One night, when her boyfriend cheated on her with her friend, Sophia met her ghostly companion, Marmaduke Dodsworth. Because of this, finding another job has been extremely difficult. Going against the advice of Marmi, Sophia takes a job as a receptionist for Dr. Callahan, aka “Cal,” who also has a ghostly companion, Moonflower. All seems to be going well except for one thing; Moonflower has a severe case of green-eyed jealousy and keeps driving Cal’s clients away. When Mrs. Wiley, another client who’s a medium, tells Sophia that Moonflower is a ghost as a result of some witchcraft gone awry, the trio team up to end Moonflower’s tirades. Will they succeed?

The characters are well-developed, entertaining, and engaging. The dynamic between them is hilarious and fun to listen about. The plot is well-developed and, despite initial feels of a fluffy chick-lit, turns into a suspenseful, intense story despite lack of action. The clean romance is also believable and realistic despite the ghostly problems.

Narrator, Nan McNamara does a great job of bringing this delightful listen to life. Her use of different voices brings the author’s unique characters to life and makes them easily distinguishable. She easily switches between different voices and internal dialogue and smoothly handles plot transitions with ease. Her nice tone and pacing are well-suited for the book. People who like chick-lit, ghosts, mysteries, and clean romance will enjoy listening to this book.

 5 stars, ADULT

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tesla's Attic by Neal Shusterman-4 stars

Shusterman, Neal, Tesla’s Attic. Audible, 2013. (unbar). 8:23 hrs. Audible Download.

After their home burns down and his mother gets killed in the fire, Nick Slade moves with his family into his Great-Aunt Eleanor’s ramshackle Victorian house. Desperate to make the attic his space, Nick gets his dad to let him have a garage sale with all the old junk that is stored in the attic. Despite a freak rainstorm, people mysteriously show up and start offering more money for the junk than Nick ever dreamed of, until he turns off a light that he had brought down and plugged in inside the garage prior to everyone showing up. After the garage sale is over, a group of mysterious men show up on his doorstep and try to buy everything Nick just sold. Things get even weirder, however. People who purchased the items are acting strangely and won’t let Nick have them back. From a ring that speaks only truth to an ancient recorder that tells you what the speakers are really thinking, a wet-cell battery that reanimates the dead briefly to a radio that causes earthquakes, there is no doubt there is something bizarre about these objects and the men who are after them. Things only get worse, though when one of the items accidentally changes the course of a nearby Asteroid to be on a collision course with Earth. Who are those mysterious men? Why was everyone drawn to the garage sale? Can Nick get all the items back in time to save the day?

Narrator, Vikas Adam has a unique voice that brings to life the characters and their unique personalities. Although it is hard to suspend disbelief for the premise of this book, the plot is well-developed and intensely engaging. The characters are well-developed and add a lot of humor to the book, despite the suspenseful feel of the book. Reluctant and avid readers who enjoy science fiction will enjoy this entertaining tale.
4 stars. Grades 5 to 9.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Map Trap by Andrew Clements-5 stars

Clements, Andrew, The Map Trap. Simon and Schuster Audio, 2014. 2 CDS (unbar.). 2:27 hrs. Audible Download available.

Ever since he was a baby, maps have been apart of Alton Barnes’ life. His parents lack of name planning resulted in him being named after a city. When his family members found out, they gave him map-related gifts. It wasn’t too many years later that he covered his whole room with maps of various locations, animals, and things related to Earth. Now in 5th grade, Alton loves to make maps of not only places, but things he observes such as how many times the principal says “um” on morning announcements, the various smells around the school, or what lunch dishes cause students to go the bathroom the most. All is well until he shows his maps to Quint, the cool kid. Now all his maps are missing and someone is holding them hostage unless he does what they say. If he fails, they will release them all over the school. With some maps more hurtful than others, it is up to Alton and Quint to figure out who took the maps and to get them back before time runs out. Will they succeed?

Narrator, Keith Nobbs does a great job of drawing the reader into Alton’s world. The characters are likable and realistic and Nobbs unique voices for each character are fun to listen to. The plot is simple, but engaging. The author’s natural transitions between humor, mystery, and internal dialogue are well-done and Nobbs does a great job of moving back and forth in his narrative without losing the listener. People are fans of Clements’ realistic fiction books will not be disappointed and newcomers will have an easy time jumping right in to this story.
5 stars. Grades 3 to 5.