Sunday 31 March 2024


House Of Ash And Shadow by Leia Stone
Book 1 in the Gilded City series
Narrated by Vanessa Moyen
Genre: fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

“And what if I go dark?” I whimpered. His face sobered. “Then I will jump into the shadows and pull you back to the Light.”

Seventeen-year-old Fallon Bane was born with a a single touch from another person will always cause her excruciating pain. Thus, she has accepted that she will die without ever being kissed, without even hugging her own father.

But when her beloved father falls ill, she breaks into the magical Gilded City to find a healer fae that can save him. When handsome healer Ariyon Madden agrees to help, everything she knows about herself and her curse changes. Because during her father’s healing, Ariyon reaches out and touches her bare skin. She waits for the agony… but it never comes.

For the first time in her life, she imagines a new future for herself. However, that fantasy is short-lived, because not only does Ariyon flee from her in disgust when he learns of her curse; he also reveals her existence to powerful fae who want to hurt her.

Fallon is then swept away to a magical academy, there she learns the terrifying truth about her family history and her dark magic. Her life and the future of fae everywhere hang in the balance, and all the while Fallon is dreaming of being touched by Ariyon Madden one more time before she dies…
Source: Info in the "About House Of Ash And Shadow" was taken from GoodReads at on 22/01/2024.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
I like the premise! It appeals to the fantasy geek in me. However, I was not fond of the cliffhanger ending. Authors with a tendency for cliffhagners tend to be avoided. I bought the second book because I wanted to know what happens after the cliffhagner, but, I have only read about a quarter through it and I am not sure if I am going to finish reading it...

There isn't much of a plot. The entire book is about Fallon going to school and finding romance and that is it! And yes, there is the usual teen angst, too.

This is my second series with Vanessa Moyen narrating and I still like the way she reads!

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 1.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = (8 hrs and 20 mins listening time)
Plot = 2
Narration = 4.5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Gilded City Series:

Meet The Author

About Leia Stone:
Leia Stone is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Matefinder series which is optioned for flim, and the Hive Trilogy. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two kids and her dog. When she is not chasing around her twin son and daughter, or writing, she has her nose shoved in a book. She wrote her first book when she was 23 years old. Keep reading and live with purpose.

The Narrator

About Vanessa Moyen:
Vanessa is a voiceover actor living in New York City with her husband, baby boy, and fat pug princess, Olive. Her voice can be heard on national network TV, radio and video games for companies such as NBC, Nickelodeon, MTV, Noggin, Travel Channel, HGTV, and most recently for the MTV VMAs and 2021 Olympics! She's narrated over 250 audiobooks, most of which fall in the young adult fantasy genre. A California native, Vanessa grew up tapping her toes in the theatre world and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Emerson College in Boston. She's a fangirl of new adventures, DIY'ing, Mother Nature, and all things chocolate.

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Saturday 30 March 2024


The Last Passenger by Will Dean
Narrated by Jenny Funnell
Genre: mystery
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

When Caz steps onboard the exclusive cruise liner RMS Atlantica , it's the start of a vacation of a lifetime with her new love, Pete. On their first night they explore the ship, eat, dance, make friends, but when Caz wakes the next morning, Pete is missing.

And when she walks out into the corridor, all the cabin doors are open. To her horror, she soon realizes that the ship is completely empty. No passengers, no crew, nobody but her. The Atlantica is steaming into the mid-Atlantic and Caz is the only person on board. But that's just the beginning of the terrifying journey she finds herself trapped on in this white-knuckled mystery.
Source: Info in the "About The Last Passenger" was taken from GoodReads at on 12/02/2024.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
I thought that this book must be a paranormal thriller because when you suddenly become the only passenger in a golliath-sized liner with everybody disappeared without a trace, that is paranormal to me. People just don't vanish into thin air in the middle of the ocean.

I would do exactly Caz did. Call for help. Mayday on the radio...

By the way, just how old is Caroline Ripley?

Caz is too stupid to live (TSTL). First, she believes that she can leave the ship whenever she wants after being forced to participate and starved? Then she believes in Peter still after leaving her in the ship. **sigh** I do not like stupid heroines.

There is no plot. Just a story of a pseudo-reality show of people in a ship. Then it ends in a big whooping cliffhanger. I'm not fond of cliffhangers.

This is my first Jenny Funnell audiobook and I like the way she reads. Her attempt at a Welsh accent is not bad.

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 2
Character development = 2
Story itself = 1
Writing Style = 2
Ending = 1.5
World building = 2
Cover art = 2
Pace = (12 hrs and 41 mins listening time)
Plot = 1
Narration = 4

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 cherries

Meet The Author

About Will Dean:
Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the LSE, and working many varied jobs in London, he settled in rural Sweden with his wife. He built a wooden house in a boggy forest clearing and it's from this base that he compulsively reads and writes.

The Narrator

About Jenny Funnell:
Actress / audiobook narraotr / voice-over artist

Accent: Australian, American, Liverpool, London, Midlands, R.P., Scottish, Yorkshire

Style: Clear, Confident, Cool, Mature, Maternal, Natural, Smooth, Trustworthy

Funnell was born in Kenya and has a twin sister. She moved to the UK when she was four years old, and attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art[2] She initially started voice acting in radio drama while still a student at drama school, winning the Carleton Hobbs BBC Radio Drama Award in 1984.

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

Tuesday 26 March 2024


The Eye Of The World by Robert Jordan
Book 1 in the Wheel Of Time series
Narrated by Rosamund Pike
Genre: fantasy
Format: paperback, ebook & audiobookAudiobook

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Moiraine Damodred arrives in Emond’s Field on a quest to find the one prophesized to stand against The Dark One, a malicious entity sowing the seeds of chaos and destruction. When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the village seeking their master’s enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al’Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.
Source: Info in the "About The Eye Of The World" was taken from GoodReads at on 01/03/2024.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

Re-Read Review:
The first time I've read this book was donkey's years ago. I have forgotten most, if not all, of the things that happened in this book. Back then, I stopped reading about halfway through Knife Of Dreams though I couldn't quite remember why. Maybe because the author died and I got discouraged thinking that there would not be a finale or a continuation of the series, then. Luckily, Brandon Sanderson came along. And now I can continue reading this series. But first a re-read.

I started remembering the wonderful world building as I read on! I also remembered the too stupid to live (tstl) elements in the book. Like you are running from danger. You are told (repeatedly) to trust no one and of the dangers. To keep your head down because of the danger. So what do you do? You tell somebody where you are staying and when you are leaving so that the enemy can find you. You laugh out loud in the middle of a crowded street that includes your enemies among the audience so that you get their attention.
At which point, I want to cheer for the bad guys to get our heroes seeing that they are jumping over obstacles to get dead! **sigh** Perrin is the only sensible one among the lot, it seems... And those are not the only times that the tstl element showed in this book.

You are running for your lives with evil pursuing you and your companions. The man who saved your life and still trying to save your life screamed at you to douse the fire. So you just look at him. No, you do not douse the fire because you are waiting for the bad guys to catch you first...

One thing I appreciate about an audiobook is that I can speed it up so that I can whizz through the tstl episodes. Makes it a whole lot less painful!

This is my first Rosamund Pike listen and I like the way she portrayed different characters with various voices. I would buy audiobooks by her again.

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 3.5
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 3.5
Ending = 3
World building = 5
Cover art = 4.5
Pace = (32 hrs and 55 mins listening time)
Plot = 3.5
Narration = 5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Wheel Of Time Series:

Meet The Author

About Robert Jordan:
Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston. He was a graduate of the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics, and served two tours in Vietnam. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool and pipe collecting. He died in September 2007.

The Narrator

About Rosamund Pike:
Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike is regarded as a contemporary and multifaceted actress who has earned international acclaim for both her stage and film roles.

Rosamund recently starred in A United Kingdom opposite David Oyelowo which tells the true story of Seretse Khama, a member of the royal family in South Africa. Khama sparked international outrage when he married a white woman in 1948, and was exiled from his home country by the British Government in 1951. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016 and opened the London Film Festival in October 2016. In the coming year, she will star in HHHH with director Cedric Jimenez and co-starring Jason Clarke, Jack O’Connell and Jack Reynor. The film tells the story of Heydrich (Clarke), the highest-ranked Nazi officer who was considered to be the mastermind of the “Final Solution” and was assassinated by two resistance paratroopers in 1942. Rosamund will play Lina Heydrich, an aristocrat who was married to Heydrich and reportedly introduced her husband to the Nazi ideology. Rosamund recently wrapped production on the film Entebbe, directed by José Padhila, about the Entebbe hostage crisis of 1976 where two Palestinians and two Germans hijacked an Air France plane en route from Tel Aviv and held 246 passengers and crew hostage at Entebbe Airport, Uganda. Rosamund plays Brigitte Kuhlmann, a German revolutionary who was one of the hijackers. Just before that, Rosamund finished production on Hostiles, directed by Scott Cooper, which tells the story of a legendary Army captain who reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory. She co-stars with Christian Bale.

One further film is completed that will also come out in 2017: Radar Pictures’ political thriller High Wire Act, in which Rosamund starts opposite Jon Hamm. Brad Anderson directs, in a script from Tony Gilroy, about a retired U.S. diplomat and CIA operative attempting a rescue mission in 1980s’ Beirut. Rosamund plays the field agent responsible for Mason Skiles' (Hamm) safety, as he is called back into service to save a former colleague.

Rosamund recently starred in David Fincher's film, Gone Girl, in which she played ‘Amy Dunne’, opposite Ben Affleck. Gone Girl was adapted for the screen by the best-selling book's original author, Gillian Flynn. The film emerged as a box office hit in October 2014, earning over $215 million in global ticket sales. The movie and Rosamund's performance both earned widespread critical acclaim. Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair wrote that the film is "Smartly shot, detailed ... and performed" and called Rosamund's portrayal as "a star-makingly good performance, spellbinding in its operatic mix of tones and temperatures." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter reviewed that Rosamund "is powerful and commanding ... Physically and emotionally, Rosamund looks to have immersed herself in this profoundly calculating character, and the results are impressive."

As such, Rosamund was nominated for an Academy Award, a SAG Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Critics’ Choice Movie Award and was honored in February 2015 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. She was also honored with the ‘Breakthrough Performance Award’ at the 26th Annual Palm Springs Film Festival for her role in Gone Girl as well as honored for her performance at the Women in Film & TV (UK) Awards. Additionally, Rosamund won many film critics’ awards for her portrayal including the Austin Film Critics Association Award, Utah Film Critics Association Award, and Oklahoma Film Critics’ Circle Award in addition to being nominated for a London Critics’ Circle Film Award, St. Louis Film Critics Award, Phoenix Film Critics Society, International Press Academy Satellite Award, Women’s Image Network Award, Georgia Film Critics Association Award, Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award and the Washington DC Area Film Critics Award.

Earlier in 2014, Rosamund starred opposite Simon Pegg, Stellen Skarsgard and Toni Collette in Peter Chelsom's Hector and the Search for Happiness. Additionally, she starred in Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin's part improvised BBC comedy What We Did on Our Holiday alongside Billy Connolly and David Tennant. Prior to that Rosamund starred in Barney's Version opposite Paul Giamatti. The film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and went on to receive rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a love story poignantly captures the life of the politically incorrect, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky (Giamatti) and the women he has loved in his life. Rosamund's work in the film earned her a London Critics' Circle Award for "British Actress of the Year" and a Genie Award nomination for best actress.

Rosamund received critical acclaim for her work as Helen in Lone Scherfig's Academy Award Nominated Film An Education, opposite Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan. Received well at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, An Education continued to garner critical acclaim with Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Film Critics nominations, and a win for Best Foreign Film at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Rosamund's past film credits include A Long Way Down, Edgar Wright's The World's End opposite Simon Pegg, Jack Reacher opposite Tom Cruise, and Wrath Of The Titans, directed by Jonathan Liebesman. In 2010, Rosamund played Lisa Hopkins in the dramatic film Made in Dagenham with Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson and Bob Hoskins. She was later nominated for a 2011 London Critics' Circle Award for "British Actress in a Supporting Role" for her role in the film. Others include, Johnny English Reborn, The Big Year, Women in Love, The Libertine, Pride and Prejudice, Fracture, Fugitive Pieces, Surrogates, Burning Palms, and Die Another Day.

Aside from her cinematic roles, Rosamund has continued to return to her roots in theatre on the London stage. She has starred in Gaslight, Patrick Hamilton's Victorian thriller, at the Old Vic Theater, The Donmar Warehouse Production of Madame de Sade in The West End, opposite Judi Dench, and The Royal Court Theatre production of Hitchcock Blonde, directed by Terry Johnson. With its enormous success, the play was moved to the Lyric Theater in London's West End. In 2010 Rosamund played the title role in Hedda Gabler, a performance for which she received rave reviews.

FTC Disclosure:
The ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.