Monday, May 7, 2018

AUDIOBOOKS: Free YA books all summer

It's a new season of YA Sync! Time for my annual reminder that you can get 2 free audiobooks, every week for the next 13 12 weeks. I'm late with this as you've already missed the first week, but you have til Wednesday to get the second week's books: Solo by Kwame Alexander and The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea (a Pulitzer NF finalist from 2005) 

Every year there is one classic book that I have read and not enjoyed. This year it is The Scarlet Letter. I'll listen to it, but I expect I'll hate it anew, just like Lord of the Flies and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Instead of The Scarlet Letter, try the retelling in When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, or The Scarlet Pimpernell and pretend it's the book you were looking for, like I once did accidentally. 

Eek, I still had a few, if eight is a few, books on my phone from last year that I haven't listened to yet. Since the new season started, I did manage to get two old ones read.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepety 

I remember when this poor book was released around the same time as Fifty Shades of Gray and it got completely overshadowed. Most people probably didn't even realize there were two different books. This is a Russian WW2 book and definitely not that other book.

I was really not into it at first as I find the Holocaust books so horrific. These were Ukrainians being gathered up by Stalin for what ever reason he felt like and sent to prison camps, after the men were separated from their families. We follow a teenage girl who dreamed of art school as she ends up fighting for her life in the Russian winters. It was well done and I ended up liking it, as well as you can like a book like this. The author at the end explains how it was based on stories from her Ukrainian family that were passed down. 

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Modern day fantasy set in New York, I liked the Puerto Rican folklore aspect mixed with the modern day teenagers. The narrator,  Annika Noni Rose is very good and brings the characters alive. I'm not the hugest fan of fantasy and ghosts but this wasn't too elaborate and I was able to follow it. Sierra is a teenage artist painting a mural when she discovers she is a shapeshifter and needs to help the spirits around her. A discussion with her grandfather sends her on her quest.  There is another book but I don't feel the need to keep reading this one.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

I've listened to 10 out of 21 sections of this history book, but I don't know if I'll listen to the rest. I still have it on my phone and I may pick it up again, but surely, an editor is to blame for this length. So far, it's just case after case of who got tried for being a witch. I guess I feel like the story is not progressing, and something could have been summarized. There is certainly research that was done, and I did discover how to speed up the replay to 1.5X. 

I recently read Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks; I think I'm not a fan of the Puritans, and their religious dogma. This also explains my dislike of The Scarlet Letter. Reviews at Librarything indicate this book may be a bit better at the end, so I may finish it at some point.