Tuesday, October 14, 2014

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The Harper Teen Edition

 * I received these audiobooks from the publisher in exchange for an honest review* 

The Jewel
 The Jewel (The Lone City #1) 
Author: Amy Ewing
Publication: September 2, 2014
By: HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition.
Amazon | Goodreads

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty.

But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude.

Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel's glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence . . . and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess's petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

Debut author Amy Ewing expertly crafts an enchanting story full of riches, rivalries, and riveting
twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Audio: DNF'd because slowest.narrator.ever. I actually DNF'd another audiobook by this narrator recently for the same reason. Increasing the speed didn't help either.

Story: I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this one...

My initial reaction was, perhaps I stumbled upon a Harper Teen potluck dinner with a side of Scholastic and some Henry Holt magic thrown in for dessert. I mean, am I the only one who thought "L" was Cinna in a dress and topknot? 

In spite of the similarities to other recent YA novels like The Eve Trilogy, The Selection Series, Divergent, Shadow and Bone and The Hunger Games, The Jewel still managed to hold my attention. I enjoyed the writing, thought the concept was different albeit creepy, the insta-love entertaining and the cliff hanger cruel---in that, this makes for a decent debut, kind of way. 

Of all of the characters, Ash was the one I liked best. Amy Ewing definitely took a risk giving him the occupation that she did, but I thought it worked well. I don't know that I'll read the next book in the series, but we'll see. 

Fans of The Eve Trilogy, The Selection Series, Divergent, Shadow and Bone and The Hunger Games will most likely enjoy this one too. 

Made For YouMade For You
Author: Melissa Marr
Publication: September 16, 2014
By: HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition
Amazon | Goodreads 

Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

Audio: 4 Stars. The audio is very well done and I enjoyed hearing the character's southern twang. 

Story: 3.5 Stars. This was my first Melissa Marr book and when I saw this cover, I immediately thought, "Oh yay! Silence Of The Lambs for teens!" 

Because that's not a disturbing thought or anything... 

I went into this curious, excited, and intrigued! I left feeling---a little disappointed. The writing is great, and the story interesting, but I figured out who the villain was before the end of Chapter One. Yes, Chapter One. I was still able to enjoy it though. 

Fans of Don't Look Back, Kiss, Kill, Vanish and Blackbird will enjoy this one!


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