I made it to 100 books read this year! Actually I’m now at #105 and not stopping anytime soon. I’m not sure which book was book #100, Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood (excellent YA fantasy/romance) or the first 39 Clues book on audio.
The reason I’m not sure is also a big reason I’ve gotten to #100 so fast this year. With a two plus hour commute everyday, audiobooks have become my salvation. So I made up some awards for the audiobooks I’ve read(listened) so far this year.
Most Fun – Heist Society by Ally Carter, narrated by Angela Dawe. Carter’s newest series about a teenage master thief and her merry band of thieves was not going to disappoint but the audio went beyond. With large cast of characters I worry about following different voices but Dawe gave each character a distinct sound without going over board. Loved the break-in scene.
Best Celebrity Narrator – The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, narrated by Milo Ventimiglia. (Aside: Anyone ever interview one of these Patterson “collaborators?” Just wondering what they have to say.) I don’t hide my feelings for Patterson. My disdain started when I worked at a big B bookstore. He had a new book out every month and no way dude writes all/any of that. But the kids seem to be digging his YA titles so gave one a go. Milo “Jesse for Gilmore Girls” Ventimiglia really makes the book pop. I can forgive the clichés and pat phrases when delivered with such charm. And although I find the storyline slightly creepy (Daniel X hangs out and dates imaginary people, creepy!) and shallow story I can see the guy appeal in the action and gross-out moments. Not a total waste of time and I surprised myself by listening to the second book.
Worst Celebrity Narrator – Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, narrated by Spenser Locke and Elisha Wood. Even my 12-year old crush on Elisha Wood can not overcome all the bad contained in those discs. Take what I said about clichés and pat phrases and times by ten, keep in the creepy imaginary girlfriend storyline (seriously Patterson, WTF?) and add an obnoxious female narrator. Whole lot of bad. I still heart you Elisha.
The “Wish I’d Read This” Award – Insatiable by Meg Cabot, narrated by Emily Bauer. I wanted a pic of Midwest Tape’s very terrible cover. Which I don’t get why they do that but then I don’t know enough about the audiobook industry. Anywhos I listened to other Cabots on audio and was pleased but this one I got impatient, wishing I could fast forward to the good bits. Not to say I didn’t enjoy, it’s Meg Cabot. Breezy, clever and with a heroine you really can’t stand yet grow to like anyway. The narrator also struggled with the male lead voices sounding too similar and had a bad habit of turning the ends of sentences into half-laughs. But Crack Cabot will always suck you back in.
Best Do Over Series – Jacky Faber series, Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Loved reading the books and then saw a recent title was up for an Odessy Award. Clearly. Kellgren is Jacky Faber and is pitch perfect with various British accents and makes every moment tense, hilarious and exhilarating. Definitely one I found myself sitting in the car long after I’d parked. I wish I would have found this on audio from the beginning.
DNF – Liar by Justine Larbalestier, narrated by Channie Waites. Didn’t get into this one but it’s this month book club so I’ll try reading it instead.
Best in Kidslit Audio – Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis, narrated by Mamie Gummer. Love Emma-Jean and love Mamie Gummer. She has Emma-Jean’s voice down and also handles the other characters wonderfully. Gummer is the gorgeous daughter of Meryl Strep so, obviously. Best three hours you could spend.
Honorable Mention: The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, narrated by David Pittu
Most Drowsy – The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, narrated by Del Roy. Don’t get me wrong, Del Roy has an amazing voice and I could see younger child being drawn in by his grandfatherly tone. But this was a long audiobook, 13+ hours and driving home at night it didn’t keep my attention or my eyes open.
Most Likely to Keep You Up At Night – Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris, narrated by Johanna Parker. Holy torture Batman! But seriously if I had read this I probably wouldn’t have slept either. The story is more brutal and graphic than Harris’ other Sookie books but I’ve read her other series and she goes there so I wasn’t too shocked. Parker at least has a better Louisiana accent than Anna Paquin so there’s that.
Best Do Over – Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, narrated by John Lee. I had the book for almost two months and couldn’t get past the second chapter. Made me sad because I love Fforde and determined to give it another go, I listened. Best idea ever. Having a Brit read it to me made the surreal and confusion world of High Saffron solidify.
Honorable Mention: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, narrated byAllan Corduner. Death never sounded so good. Nation (see below)
Best Overall – Nation by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs. If Stephen Briggs comes out with a disc of him reading the phonebook, you get it. He’s simply incredible and if you ever want to see me laugh so hard to stop breathing, play him reading the Nac Mac Feegle in The Wee Free Men and prepare yourself. Nation is more subdued, more sophisticated than Pratchett’s other work but still gorgeous and heartbreaking. So glad I gave it another go on audio.
Honorable Mention: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by the author. Another canidate for Phonebook Reader of the Year.