Bury Me by Tara Sivec

SivecBuryMeWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Stephanie Willis

Publisher: ListenUp Audiobooks (2015)

Length: 6 hours 36 minutes

Author’s Page

Set in 1965,  Ravenna Duskin, who recently completed high school, doesn’t feel quite like herself. Two days ago, she had an accident that left her with scratches, bruises, and a head wound. Her parents dote over her as she recovers, but her memories are not returning as quickly as she would like. Violent dreams haunt her sleep. She just doesn’t fell like herself at all.

My, oh my! This is one of the best Suspense genre books I have listened to in some time. I was hooked from the beginning and engaged the entire book. Ravenna and her parents (Tanner and Claudia) all live in a prison (Gallows Hill) that was turned into a museum/tourist attraction some years ago. Ravenna grew up in this prison, her father having worked there since before she was born, back when it actually held prisoners. As you can see, we have an interesting setting for this nail biting story to play out in.

We enter the story two days after Ravenna’s head wound accident. However, everyone is being rather vague about events of that day and it’s pissing Ravenna off. She wants answers. Her mother is trying hard to soothe her worries by making her pretty pink bed, braiding her hair, and preparing snacks on demand. Yet all that does is raise angry feelings within Ravenna and she doesn’t know why.

Indeed, Ravenna has a lot of emotions in this book and they swing back and forth. At first, we don’t know why and neither does Ravenna. But there is a mystery here, one that Ravenna can’t ignore. As the story moves forward, bits and pieces of her memory break through, and at first, they don’t make sense. Or at least, they don’t match what she has been told. More emotions boil within her, and sometimes they are violent ones.

Now, if you are concerned this book is full of teen angsty behavior and emotions, that’s not the case at all. I think most characters in her position would have most of the emotions she lives through in this tale. Something traumatic happened and no one wants to be honest with her about it.

The cast is small in this story, yet still interesting. Ravenna’s parents have their own ideas of perfection, secrets, and regrets. Nolan,the groundskeeper, is also not telling all he knows, though, admittedly, he’s a bit confused over Ravenna’s changing personality. There’s a mild romantic interest between the two. Trudy, who was once Ravenna’s best friend, is now somewhat too perky and goal-oriented for Ravenna’s taste. Then there’s the rude and somewhat creepy Ike, who is also a groundskeeper. Toss in the shadowy character of Dr. Thomas, and you have an interesting cast, all with there own little dramas.

The ending was very well thought out. For a while, I thought the story would go one way, and it didn’t, then I thought it would end this other way, and that wasn’t it either. I was happily surprised that I couldn’t guess the ending. I was on pins and needles for the climax. Then we have an epilogue that explains things further and gives more insight into the main character’s motives. It was excellent. I haven’t been this satisfied by a Suspense story in some time.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: Stephanie Willis did a great job with Ravenna. She really brought forth all these emotions the main character is feeling without over doing it. I could really feel Ravenna’s confusion and resultant anger over the situation. Willis also had believable male voices and distinct character voices for the entire cast.

What I Liked: The tension and suspense; rather unusual setting; the mystery that no one wants to talk about; Ravenna’s missing memories; the climax as nail biting!; the epilogue explained further and was interesting in and of itself; excellent narration.

What I Disliked: Nothing – this was a thrilling book to listen to.

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Delicate Thorns by Ainsley Shay & Miranda Hardy

ShayHardyDelicateThornsWhere I Got It: Review copy via Audiobook Monthly (thanks!)

Narrator: Angie Hickman

Publisher: Quixotic Publishing (2015)

Length: 2 hours 40 minutes

Shay’s Author’s Page & Hardy’s Author’s Page

She awoke alone on an island and has been so for some time now. She hungers for blood and avoids the sun. She has no memory of who she is nor does she know how she came to be on the island. Then a chance encounter with a group of tourists allows her to leave the island and rejoin society. Her missing past is a constant reminder that she isn’t normal. Her constant awareness of all the walking, talking meals is an annoyance.

Jasmine (for that is the name she chose for herself) fumbles through her life, Part II. At first, it was just about survival, and then it was about a little bit of happiness. She ended up in a larger city, one with a beach and a bad section of town, along with some higher end apartments that are mostly only inhabited by seasonal visitors. As she settles in and starts seriously wondering about her past, she also meets a young, handsome man who lives just a few doors down.

The most intriguing thing about this book was Jasmine’s hidden past. Of course I wanted to learn how she came to be on that island. Was she shunned by a vampire community? Was she once an oblivious tourist who was ambushed on that island and left to die to turn? There were plenty of questions swirling around Jasmine. Eventually, we do get the answers and they were doled out bit by bit, keeping the suspense high. The answer to this particular question was satisfying.

There are only a handful of characters in this book, being a novella or long short story. Jasmine gets the most page time and, hence, has the most development. I enjoyed her character arc from survivalist to answer seeker to someone just trying to fit in and live a life. The young man a few doors down was nice enough, though he was a little too perfect. If this had been a longer story, I would hope that he would have revealed some flaw sooner or later. Other characters show up late in the story so they don’t have time for deep thoughts, but they do play critical roles in unwinding Jasmine’s secret past.

The ending to the story was bitter sweet, and that is how I like it. Jasmine gets some, but not all, the answers and has to make some choices. I am hoping the authors choose to make this a start of a series as there is more for both Jasmine and the reader to explore.

Narration:  Angie Hickman was a great voice for Jasmine, using the perfect mix of anguished, ticked off, and lost soul. Eventually, as Jasmine’s character starts to settle in, we get other feelings. There are some very ugly characters in this book that have very small roles and Hickman pulled these off well too, though it was probably a bit hard. She had a good range of male and female voices, and also accents for a few of the characters.

What I Liked:  The mystery!; the cover art; Jasmine’s character was well rounded and had a good story arc; the ending was satisfying.

What I Disliked:  The handsome young man/love interest was a little too perfect – so perfect it was almost like he didn’t have any character depth.