Tag Archives: Audio

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)

Read from 3-14th January, 2017

Author: J. K. Rowling

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5 Stars

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Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

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I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter books for some time now, but this is the first instalment where my thoughts are extensive enough to warrant a review. That said, please forgive the fact that there are no prior reviews on these books and that I am instead jumping in at number five.

Many people say that this instalment is their least favourite of the series, but I didn’t find that at all – perhaps because I listened to the audiobook rather than reading a physical copy. At any rate, I loved this book.

Professor McGonagall and Ginny Weasley completely stole the show with their vibrant personalities and high levels of sass. Luna, Hermione, Neville, the twins and Tonks were also fantastic.

Umbridge has always been a fantastic love-to-hate villain and she certainly did not disappoint. There was also an interesting detail about her that I had forgotten until rereading which I quite liked. She was completely horrible and cruel, and it was a delight seeing her in disarray when the Weasley twins were up to mischief.

Harry really frustrated me, but I actually think that this was a good thing. Harry’s temper was quick and destructive (his friends were even scared of him at times), he didn’t appreciate the people around him, he was selfish, and he was rash. However, some of those qualities (such as the temper) I believe may have been (at least to some degree) appropriated from Voldemort. It also made him flawed and somewhat more relatable. It will be interesting to see his character development through the next few novels – you can already start to see it at the end of Order of the Pheonix in his interaction with Luna.

I really didn’t like Cho but I understand that she was needed to help Harry grow as a character. Personally, I found her to be selfish, extremely shallow and rather superficial.

Dumbledore was interesting. For the majority of the novel, I, like Harry, was frustrated at and disappointed in Dumbledore, who had been like a father figure to Harry in his time at Hogwarts to date. It had been such a long time since I’d read “Order of the Phoenix” that I’d entirely forgotten his motivations – but Rowling did a fantastic job at portraying them in the reveal at the end, painting Dumbledore as flawed, vulnerable and… old. That conversation was perhaps one of my favourite scenes in the novel.

Overall, it was a fantastic read with brilliant characters, mixing entertaining times with frustrating ones.

If you are struggling to get through, I do thoroughly recommend listening to the audiobook as I feel it would help out significantly. However, that is coming from someone who loves audiobooks and what works for me may not work for you.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read Harry Potter? Are you one of the few who haven’t?

What’s your favourite instalment? Least favourite?

Favourite character?

Any unpopular opinions?

Come chat with me! I love to discussions.

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Omari and the People

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Author: Stephen Whitfield

Narrator: Curt Simmons

3.5 Stars

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Goodreads

Audible | Book Depository

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In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability  to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.

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Note: I received this book from Jess at Audiobook Promotions in exchange for an honest review as a part of this tour. The tour is being sponsored by Stephen Whitfield and Curt Simmons. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Although not a story I would usually reach for, Omari and the People was a solid read.

First of all, the narration in this book was fantastic. Curt’s slight accent kept me captivated and coming back for more. With a relatively slow plot and overall story arc, that was important for me. It also serves to further highlight that this was not, indeed, a european setting. I’m not great with accents, but I believe his was possibly arabic.

Omari and the People is largely character driven, rather than plot heavy. The characters, while slightly hard to keep track of due to similar sounding names on audio, were interesting and developed throughout the story. Umal, an older lady, was my favourite character as she was the most intriguing – shrouded in mystery, constantly surprising everyone, incredibly wise, and perhaps even possessing paranormal abilities, Umal was always one to look forward to. Sofia, mother of two young sons, and Umbaric, former captain of the city guard, were also quite interesting.

On a quick side note, shout out to Dab of Darkness for including character names in her review, for otherwise I would have no idea what any of them were (save Omari and perhaps Saba).

The setting, according to Stephen, is loosely based off Africa, but to me – perhaps because of the accent Curt assumes – it appears to be more Middle Eastern, the characters Arabic. However, due to the nature of the descriptions, the desert could really be anywhere. The whole “exodus across the desert” is reminiscent of the story of Moses, but there are no real religious mentions – with the exception of a few characters having possibly supernatural gifts. So, again, the story is one that encourages readers to build the overall world and time for themselves.

A character-driven exodus of a people lead by hope and just looking to survive, this story does have some elements of romance but it is more a side element than anything. I recommend giving Omari and the People a read (or listen, as I would suggest) if you’re looking for something slightly different but enjoyable none the less.

 

 

Don’t You Trust Me? Release Week Event + Giveaway

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Hello everyone! Today I’m coming to you from a ridiculously long hiatus with an exciting linkup with Jess from Audiobookworm Promotions to celebrate the release of Patrice Kindl’s new YA triller.

With a spotlight on Don’t You Trust Me?’s narrator, Bailey Carr, and a fantastic giveaway happening, I’m super excited to get my hands (or, more likely, ears) on this story and I hope you are too.

A teenage girl switches identities with a stranger and pulls off a long-term scam in this smart, sarcastic thriller perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Don’t you trust me? I mean, look at me. Blond, blue eyed, the very image of innocence. Pretty enough, if you care about that kind of thing. I don’t. But would a normal person switch identities with some wet mess of a girl at the airport just to get her to stop bawling about being separated from her loser boyfriend and sent to live with some distant relatives? Nope, she wouldn’t. Yet I did. I’m not as normal as you think. And you’ll just have to trust me.

©2016 Patrice Kindl (P)2016 Recorded Books

Goodreads
Author’s Website

Bailey Carr
Bailey Carr is an audiobook narrator for multiple New York Times Bestselling authors including Morgan Matson, Heather Graham, Ann Aguirre, Samantha Towle, and Laurie Halse Anderson. She has narrated over 50 audiobooks for audio publishers including Audible Studios, Recorded Books, and Tantor Audio. Bailey graduated with a BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She lives and records in Brooklyn, NY.

Q & A

How did you get started in audiobooks?
I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee and moved to New York for college in 2006. I graduated from the NYU Tisch Acting program in 2010 and was cast for my first book for Audible Studios in 2011. I’ve always loved reading, and I feel so grateful to get to bring stories to life in audio.

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve narrated?
So hard to choose! Some of my favorite audiobooks recorded to-date include The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, Inception by Bianca Scardoni, and Art & Soul by Brittainy C. Cherry. I have a youthful voice, so I mostly narrate Young Adult and New Adult material. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to narrate the incredibly interesting and special memoir of hummingbird rehabber Terry Masear, Fastest Things on Wings. I learned so much about hummingbirds! I also recently narrated some Non-Fic on the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. (ENFP over here!) I can’t say too much about upcoming books due to publisher restrictions, but I CAN say I’m very excited about a nine-book YA series on the horizon, and also a book I’ll be co-narrating with a Disney TV star that I totally had a poster of in my locker in school!

What is your preparation process like?
I mark up my scripts like crazy – I’ve created my own notation language (a shorthand IPA, for you VO people) so I can mark pronunciations, underline operative words, and take note of direction the author has subtly gifted me in the words they’ve chosen. Staying true to the text is very important to me, so I rely on the author’s clues to inform my delivery and direct my performance (such as “Not if I get there first!” she gritted through her teeth.) Script preparation helps me be relaxed and present in the booth. Audiobook narration is a marathon and requires stamina, so it’s important to take lots of breaks to remain engaged and connected to the material. As for while I’m in the booth, I’ve learned a lot of tricks of the trade. Hydration is so important. I drink a ton of water! And tea. I probably have at least three different liquids on hand at all times. I also brush my teeth right before every recording session. (Is that weird?)

Any interesting stories from the booth?
In Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, four best friends have a group text thread. No spoilers, but one of the characters gets challenged to an emoji-only summer, where she’s only allowed to use emojis to communicate via text. It’s pretty hilarious! I worked closely with Morgan, the author, and it was a super fun challenge to translate the emojis to spoken word for the audiobook, especially for an emoji-lover like myself 💕📚🐶🐕🐩🍦💑.

Fun facts about Bailey?
My recording booth is purple! (My favorite color.) I play the guitar & the saxophone. I have a pet blue crayfish named Dr. Claw. Out of the booth, I volunteer at educational non-profit, FarmingNYC. I’m also a New York Times published photographer.

Social:
I absolutely love connecting with listeners on social. Recording alone in a booth many hours every day can be isolating, and I put my whole heart into each character and book I narrate, so it’s very meaningful to me to hear back when listeners enjoy a story.

Bailey’s Social Media Links
Twitter: @BaileyCarrVOICE
Instagram: @BaileyCarrVOICE
Don’t You Trust Me? is now available to purchase through Audible  (Digital) and Recorded Books (CDs)

Giveaway

Don’t You Trust Me? Audio Giveaway