Time for a collection of Audio books. Nothing in common with these three, really, except that they were all good. Really, really good!
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The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker
6 CDs; 6 hours, 45 minutes
The Penderwick sisters–Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty–were supposed to be going to Cape Cod for their two week summer vacation. But the people who owned the house where they normally went had sold it, and all four sisters despaired. Then Mr. Penderwick found out about a small cottage called Arundel, out in the Western part of Massachusetts, and snapped it up. Soon all four sisters, their father and their dog, Hound, are on their way to a summer of fun, discovery and adventure.
I love the Penderwicks! Part of that may be because I’m from a family of four girls myself, and I completely understand Rosalind. But mostly, it’s because the books are so well written, with a great old-fashioned feel, but set firmly in today’s world. Each of the girls has a distinct personality and voice, and each has her own view of the world.
Susan Denaker does a wonderful reading of the story, and manages to make each character sound different. This is a great story to listen to as a family in the car, or as an individual for any reason! If we rated these with five stars, I’d give it a six!
The main characters range in age from four to twelve, and this title is good for all ages.
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By Roland Smith, read by Ramon de Ocampo
3 CDs; 3 hours, 8 minutes
Chase Master’s life hasn’t been normal for years, ever since his mother and younger sister were killed in a car accident. It only got worse after his father John was struck by lightning; he sold their house and his business, bought some equipment, and set himself up as a storm runner. John seems to have an instinct for weather, every time there’s a hurricane or other big storm, he pulls Chase out of wherever they’ve settled, and they’re off to deal with the storm and its aftermath.
As Chase sets up the trucks at a farm in Florida. John and his assistant go to St. Petersburg, where they think Hurricane Emily will have landfall. Chase goes to school with Nicole, whose family owns the farm. But for once, John’s skills at predicting hurricanes seem to have deserted him, and Chase is the one directly in the hurricane’s path. Will John be able to make it back to Chase in time? Can Chase survive the hurricane and keep his new friends safe?
This is an action-packed story, and it ends just as Hurricane Emily has hit its peak! The first book in a trilogy, this is sure to leave readers (and listeners) on the edges of their seats, waiting for more.
Ramon de Ocampo does a terrific job narrating the story, and his narration is enhanced by the “media broadcasts” of the storm–complete with the voices of the newscasters and weather forecasters and sound effects. This is one audio book that will leave you begging for the next volume.
The main characters are both thirteen, but this book on CD would be appropriate for ages 8 and up.
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Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
By Lish McBride, Narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross and Chris Sorensen
9 CDs; 10 hours, 15 minutes
Sam is a slacker. He was a college student, but he dropped out after his freshman year. He works in a burger joint, but has no idea what else he wants to do with his life. He’s kind of stuck in a rut–work, skateboard, watch movies, work again.
That changes when he has a confrontation with a very strange man in the parking lot of the burger joint. The man threatens Sam and his friends, even though they haven’t really done anything. Soon, with talking heads, ghosts and werewolves surrounding him, Sam’s life is changed forever. Can he (with the help of his burger buddies) uncover the secret that’s been hidden from him his whole life? Lives–including his own–depend on it.
This is a great teen read! (or listen, as the case may be.) Sam is a wonderful character, and his friends are as well. The story is definitely not for younger readers, there’s some violence and relationships that are for teens, but if you have a yen for a paranormal adventure, with a little light romance tossed it, this is the book for you!
The two readers have very good voices–one reads the parts of the story from Sam’s point of view, while the other does the rest of the narrative. This was just a tiny bit problematic, as I had a problem with the bass/treble between the voices, if one sounded good, the other was fuzzy. Other than that though, it was a great production.
Sam and his friends are nineteen, and this is told from the perspective of older teens. Definitely for high school and up.
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Try this and other audio books for your next long (or short!) car trip. If you want advice on these or other audio books, ask one of our librarians. We’re happy to help you find something good!