Tuesday, May 4, 2021

[Mrs. Y Reviews] Drift by L.T Ryan and Brian Christopher Shea

 

Upon the suggestions on Twitter, I decided to look up a book from a narrator I did know, and that narrator is Maryne Young. Moreover, she so sweetly suggested I listen to this specific book, and so using my Audible credit for the month, I purchased up "Drift" by L.T Ryan and Brian Christopher Shea for an honest review!


I do not want to give spoilers because I feel that would be a terrible idea and spoil a book you as a listener may enjoy. Instead, what I want to do is give a basic synopsis. Rachel Hatch comes from an experienced military background, and she knows a lot about criminal behavior from that perspective. She gets a call from her mom to come home, which sends her life into a spin she is not comfortable with and is adjusting to. Without any other spoilers, Rachel has to find the person or people responsible for the death of a beloved woman in the community. This is the story of how she does it and how she adjusts to a life she is not comfortable with. 


For the review, my only complaint falls in how this story is set like a mystery but has different pacing notes, and for me, that threw me off a bit on the genre nature of it. I am a big fan of mystery pacing. I love when things are put together like breadcrumbs. Some easier to figure out than others. "Drift" has different notes, and the red herrings are not as obvious, nor are the mystery clue paces. I like it, but it threw me off, and that is my most significant criticism. 


Another issue I had was a structure issue regarding the desire to care about a victim and not use that as a prop. We do not ever really get to know the victim intimately. We are told about them a lot, but there is not that connection. Furthermore, while yeah, that is often done in an Agatha Christie type novel, I felt that it was a missed opportunity with what was going on in this story. I would have liked to know more about the victim, aside from the few things we got. 


Like for example, why was she a single parent? What happened to the husband to make her a widow? What else did she like to do with her kids? These questions represent the little things that would have helped connect to the prize a bit more, in my opinion. Again, this is just my opinion here. If you, as a reader, do not need to know the little details of the victim behind the story, please ignore my critique here. 


So now, allow me the opportunity to go into what I truly enjoyed about this story. Rachel Hatch is an unforgettable female protagonist. She is not strong because we are told she is strong or given off-page descriptions of her strength. We are shown bullet for bullet or punch by punching a solid and wonderful female protagonist. Hell, she is more robust and better than Rambo, in my opinion. 


Secondly, I loved how the tension went in the story and how that enhanced the pacing. The story flowed so well. When it was tense, the story was fantastic and helped me feel the pace increase. I found this especially significant during the fight sequences. There was the initial introduction one, and the tension at the end as Rachel was going into a place she did not know, but felt confident against her component, was fantastic. The tension was the best during the fight between the cars later and her new ally by her side. I loved this part. It was thrilling, and I could see it in my mind's eye in a cinematic score. Tension is essential, and it was masterfully placed through the narrative by the writers. 


Lastly, I truly enjoyed Maryne Young's performance. Her ability to do voices was fantastic. She also did a phenomenal job at adding to the story by giving it a voice. The best part for me was her ability to make the moments with the children so touching and warm where they needed to be and make a fight sequence more realistic with her vocal ability. Maryne has a skill at her craft of narration, and I think her Twitter handles her role. She truly is an Audio Sorceress. 


Overall, "Drift" was a wild ride. I have scored "Drift" with a 91/100, a 5-star review on Goodreads and Audible. It is the first book in a series, and I am planning on looking into the series further because I enjoyed this book so much, and I hope you do as well. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

[Mrs. Y Reviews] "The One Great Gnome" by Jeff Dinardo

 


Children's literature isn't usually my favorite thing to review, but I saw this on Netgalley, and I thought it looked charming. The cover is delightful, whimsical and the written tales of gnomes have always delighted me. Today I'm reviewing the Audiobook for "The One Great Gnome" by Jeff Dinardo, Narrated by  Simone Stevens. 


Firstly, let me give a brief synopsis here. Sarah is 11, and she moved with her family to Connecticut, and she has to get used to her new surroundings. Like most eleven-year-olds I know, she's curious and goes looking about everywhere. She finds a gnome statue and then brings it inside, and in so doing, ends up in a world of gnomes. I'm not going to give any spoilers; I think it's worth listening to or reading this story for more details. 


Now for the review, and to start, I'm going to critiques. The first act of this story is very dry and slow. The idea is for children to listen to this, and it was a long haul on me getting my son even to sit to listen. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't, and I never could get him back after chapter 2. My daughter, who is 11, was fine with it, but she thought the beginning was dry also, so be aware of that. 


If you're a mom like me who plays audiobooks in the car for a captive audience, this is the perfect book to do that with because of the slow burn. I feel though this could have been edited a bit tighter. The meat of the story happens after chapter 5 for me at least, and I think chapters 1 to 3 could have been tightened up personally, but again that's my opinion here. This wasn't just pacing or structure; it was a combination of things that caused this slow-moving beginning, and with kids, that's not easy to get them back to reading voluntarily, from what I've observed in my house. 


Since that critique encompasses many things, I'm going to leave it at that. The good news is it was my major issue, so I say we get on with the good stuff. 


The narrator Simone Stevens is a treasure. She had a great vocal tone for the story, made beautiful voices, and had a great pacing to her cadence. My son thought she was fantastic when he did stick around. Additionally, the production of the story was fantastic. There were ambient and secondary sounds like fire, crashing, doors shutting, thuds and thumps, all sorts of great things to enhance the audio presentation. I adored that. I think audio sounds should be in any audiobook because I feel like it enhances the story. 


Second, I love the ending of this. The thing about stories where a character can go in-between places is that there are time issues. But as this is a children's book and not a horror novel, it should end on a positive note but be logical in its whimsey. I love how this story came to a close and did just those things and made the story so fantastic. 


Lastly, the character development, story arcs, lore, and world-building are fantastic. The character of Masey, for example, is a well-done character that is used not only for guidance but also to show growth in herself and the characters around her. Fiona, another character, is handy and great, and even she has a decisive role to play in this story. Everything that was set up made the tale fun and unique and had some realism in its theme. The central theme I took home is where your family is, and it's worth fighting for. 


Thus, I give "The One Great Gnome" an 80 out of 100, which is a 4-star review on Goodreads, NetGalley, My blog, and The Reading Desk. If you are interested in a fun children's fantasy audiobook, this may be the perfect thing for you!