Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Reviews by Diayll

Mini Reviews Part 1: Blythewood, Salvage and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Okay it’s that time again, where I’m cleaning out my audiobooks and making room at home on my book shelves for new books!  Even though I’ve voiced this before it still holds true, I read WAAAAAAAY more books than I review. And I only include the books I review in my Goodreads Challenge, which may be the wrong way to do the challenge, but that’s the way I do it. In any case, I’ve decided to do a review round-up in a couple of different posts so you guys can see what I liked — or didn’t like — over the past several months.  So, here are my first set of reviews…and some of them are not so positive…




Private: Blythewood
Title: Blythewood
Author: Carol Goodman
Series: Blythewood #1
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Date: 10/8/2013
Genres: FantasyMagicYoung Adult
Pages: 496 Format: Audiobook
Source: Audiobook Purchase

Add It: Goodreads
Grab It: Amazon • Rating: DNF

Welcome to Blythewood. At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended?and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes. Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.



I really wanted to fall madly in love with Blythewood. Let’s see, it has all the parts of a great novel: magic, mystery, a secret school, eloquent writing. However…I found myself unable to connect with the main character, Avaline, found the beginning of the novel a bit to overly descriptive and just I don’t know –weird, and I could not get past the fact that the narrator annoyed me!  Nothing is worse than having high hopes for a book and having the narrator ruin it for you! She kept putting me to sleep. Literally. I listen to most of my audible purchases at work and I tell you, Leslie Bellair had me falling asleep at my desk. I was so uninterested in what she had to say. I just didn’t feel any urgency from her. When something bad happened such as the fire, it just happened. La-di-da… Oh and if I had to hear her say “the man in the Inverness cape” one more time!!!! Well, I’m not going to dwell on this too  much. But I’m willing to give this book another try later in the future only not as an audiobook.  The story sounds like it could be epic or at least interesting. From what I remember out of the fifteen chapters I managed to sit through…the story was going somewhere. I think.








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Private: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Title: Salvage
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Publisher: Greenwillow Books,Harper Collins
Date: 4/1/2014
Genres: Science FictionYA,Young Adult
Pages: 400 Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Add It: Goodreads
Grab It: Amazon • Rating: DNF

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.


M/G/W received this book for free from the above source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the reviewers opinion of the book nor the content of this review.




Salvage is another science fiction adventure I had high hopes for. Female centered science fiction? Heck yeah!  However, my hopes quickly deteriorated as the story progressed. The dialect was a major annoyance. Because I read so much fantasy and sci-fi I expected this would be my cup of tea. I expected grand and instead got meh. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t particularly good either.  I guess if I had no expectations and had more time to invest in the story I might have stuck with Salvage. But as we readers know if a book doesn’t grab you, interest you, make you care, then you won’t enjoy it. And I honestly didn’t enjoy the first seven chapters. Maybe it gets better once she’s off the ship? Maybe it gets better when we don’t have the strange dialect? I don’t  know.  Another thing I didn’t care for were the names of people. Llell,  Modrie Reller, Jerej, Balab, Parastrata Cerrec. Um, I’m all for unique names but if I can’t sound them out…it slows down my reading because I’m constantly trying to figure it out!







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Private: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date: 9/27/2011
Genres: ParanormalYAYoung Adult
Pages: 480 Format: Paperback

Add It: Goodreads
Grab It: Amazon • Rating:four-stars

Mara Dyer doesn’t know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and “strong, inventive tale” (Kirkus Reviews).Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.     It can.     She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.     There is.     She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.     She’s wrong.     After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined—and what’s very, very dangerous.     This fast-paced psychological—or is it paranormal?—thriller will leave you breathless for its sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer.




Mara Dyer…frak yeah (that’s my BSG reference for today)!  WHAT THE HECK IS THIS BOOK? AND WHY DO I LOVE IT?  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a long novel and I’m pretty sure nothing happens in half of it. But I could not stop reading!  Hodkin would give us just enough to keep readers interested and engaged. I’d be reading, and reading, and reading then suddenly BAM — crazy ish happened that would make you think Mara was either crazy or something else was going on.  I loved it! I originally put off reading these books because a) it was HYPED waaaay too much and b) I wanted to read it when the whole trilogy was out. However, you know me, I go shopping I see a good deal, I buy it. End of story. The first two books of the trilogy were cheap and I had a gift card so I bought them. Now usually I sit down to read a first chapter to discover which book I would read next. With Mara Dyer, I read chapter one, then two, then five, then ten. I could not put it down – devoured the entire novel in one day. Had too…it was that good. A total mind W-T-F.  I’m still so uncertain about what the novel is truly about and if it really is a paranormal story or if Mara is in fact, crazy. For these reasons, I immediately picked up book 2 and dived right in. I need answers dang it! I highly recommend it to those of you who like paranormal psychological mysteries with slow build up.


rate 4






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