Thank you Bolinda Audio for my prize, how luck am I? ( Did you notice they even threw in a few extra books? How generous!)
In the light of recent wins it is only fitting that I announce what I feel to be the best audio book of 2015. I know I haven’t listened to many this year – but this one stands out – the narrative is excellent and the narration brings the story to life. I highly recommend this for all parents, grandparents, teenagers to read or listen to. This will change your awareness of the power/influence of social media.
The best audio book of 2015 is Risk – Fleur Ferris
Now that wasn’t so hard was it? It is the reviewing 200 books that is the hard work.
Samuel Johnson (Narrator)
Allen & Unwin
A few weeks after finishing their final exams high school sweethearts have an argument at a party. Joe wants to go – Jen begs him to stay. They fight in the corridor, following their usual script, and then he walks out and leaves her. A few hours later she dies.
Three years on, after burning up his own dreams for the future, Joe is working in dead-end jobs and mentoring a wayward teenager not dissimilar from his younger self. Driven by the need to make good, he spends all his spare time doing parkour under an inner-city bridge, training his mind and body to conquer the hostile urban environment that took his love and blighted his future.
Somewhere else, a middle-aged woman, Elise, is treading water in her life as her marriage breaks up. We watch as she retreats to the only place that holds any meaning for her – the tiger enclosure at Melbourne Zoo, where, for reasons she barely understands, she starts painting the tigers and forms a close connection to them.
Joe is broken by grief, but the outside world won’t let him hide forever. A cool and bewitching girl turns up on the doorstep of his share house, somehow painfully familiar to him. Then there is the skateboarding chef at the bar where he works, the girl with the Cossack-blue eyes, who wants to be his friend. And someone going by the Facebook tag Emily Dickinson wants to reminisce about his dead girlfriend and won’t leave him alone.
Can Joe staunch the flooding return of desire – or is it time to let go of the past? And will he make the nine-foot leap from girder to pillar or does he want to fall too?
While at its heart is a searing absence, Leap is driven by an unstoppable and exhilarating life force, and the eternally hopeful promise of redemptive love. Funny, moving, quirky and original, Leap is an effortlessly enjoyable novel that quietly creeps up on you until its final jaw-dropping pages and a narrative twist that will take your breath away.
Myfanwy Jones writes this narrative with finesse and gentleness, Samuel Johnson narrates this engaging story of love, friendship, loss and grief with aplomb. It was pure pleasure listening to this story; the prose was lyrical, the images of the zoo and the tiger enclosure were mesmerising and the stories in the individual character strands were interesting and worked well together to complete a picture of how we react to loss – of identity, loss of physical capacity, loss of romantic love, loss of a child, loss of a relationship. There was even a hint of mystery thrown in for good measure – and I was surprised when the mystery was revealed – I did not pick up any clues to this reveal.
Buy the book or listen to the audio version – you will slowly and gently be guided into this story that ends with a note of optimism.
Sensational! This is a book that all families should share with their teenage children.
Narrated By – Marny Kennedy
Duration – 6hrs 42 mins
Unabridged Audio Book
Audible Australia (available here)
Best friends Taylor and Sierra meet a hot guy in a chat room online. Both fall for Jacob’s charms, but as usual, the more outgoing and vivacious Sierra overshadows Taylor and wins his attention.
Taylor’s devastated – Sierra already kissed Callum, Taylor’s secret crush, over the summer holidays. Life’s not fair, especially when Sierra’s around.
Moving quickly, Sierra sets up a date with Jacob on Friday after school. She asks Taylor and their friends to cover for her. Even though she’s upset, Taylor is still Sierra’s best friend and agrees to help.
But Sierra abuses the favour and calls to say she’s going to spend the night with her date. She doesn’t come home all weekend, doesn’t answer her phone and nobody’s heard from her. Taylor is torn. She doesn’t want to betray Sierra by telling her parents but at the same time she’s concerned for her welfare.
Finally, Callum convinces her to tell. The police are called and their worst fears are confirmed when Sierra’s body is found miles from Melbourne a week later. Devastated, Taylor becomes obsessed with finding Sierra’s killer. As clues emerge, Taylor races against time to try to save the predator’s next victim.
Sensational! This is a book that all families should share with their teenage children.
This book is so good if…if I had the money I would buy the films right to this book and make a feature film! Listening to this book I had a film playing on the big screen in my head. J
The settings – wonderfully urban Australian (but this book translates so well to any city or town) , the accents, the dialogue – perfect, accessible and real. The characterisations – so credible you would think the author is writing about her own experience or that of her own family. The narrative – tense and adrenaline raising.
I honestly believe this book has the potential to positively influence the decisions young people may make whilst simultaneously educating the adults around them. Cyber predators are a real threat – listen closely to this story, the message is clear without being condescending. The narrative is powerful, the moral dilemmas are real and contemporary, and the complicated dynamics of relationships are exposed. A great read!
My first audio book review!
Narrated by Sara Powell
5 hours 21 mins
The terrifying new Hammer novella by Minette Walters, bestselling author of The Tinder Box and The Sculptress.
Muna’s fortunes changed for the better on the day that Mr and Mrs Songoli’s younger son failed to come home from school. Before then her bedroom was a dark windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. She’d grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave. She’s never been outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that’s what the Songolis believe. But Muna is far cleverer – and her plans more terrifying – than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine …
The wicked step mother stories pale into insignificance when cast against this wicked step family!
My first audio book and audio book review! To start I would like to say how relaxing I found listening to an audio book – to sit back and close your eyes and just listen is so pleasant – even if the book you are listening to is regarded as Hammer Horror. Hammer Horror is a term I am not familiar with – I have researched and found a few references to this phrase mostly in relation to the classic horror movies made between 1950 to the 1970’s, you know the sort of thing Bride of Dracula, The Mummy, The Plague of Zombies, The Nanny (the Bette Davis classic) Fear in the Night etc. I wouldn’t class this book as Hammer Horror – there were no goose bump moments, or fear of turning off the light but instead a deep and profound sadness at the horrific things that people do to each other and to the most powerless – to children. For this is a story of horrific abuse inflicted on a young girl and the effect that abuse has on her…or is it the effect the house has on her?? There are hints of some elements of paranormal in the narrative but the implication does not really become obvious until the chilling final chapters.
I think the narrative is more chilling in this audio format – listening to the horrors that were inflicted on Muna rather than just reading about them is so powerful. In particular I found Muna’s childlike innocent naïve voice recounting her perspective of life perfect for the audio format, so many layers are added to her story; despair, fear, acceptance and guile are part of her complex story . Sara Powell does an excellent job with the narration inflecting her speech with elements of fear, anger, acceptance…deftly transforming her style with each character she is representing. Her voice is a tool she uses superbly and effectively in this narration.
My first audio book will not be my last.
NB This book was provided for review by the publisher
Thanks to the prompting of several people I have “e meet”, FictionFan and Janine K in particular, I have embarked on a trial of reviewing audio books thanks to the generous people at Bolinda.
Here is my new set up – ereader and headphones and I am up to chapter 13 of my first audio book – The Cellar by Minette Walters narrated by Sara Powell. Stay tuned for my review.