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Listen Up! The Re-Read + Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

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Welcome to the first post of my new weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…

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THE RE-READ:

For many, to include myself, audiobooks are a learned pleasure. Figuring out how to listen attentively and appreciate the nuances of the narration can take a newbie some time. Listening to a book you’ve read previously is a great way to break into audiobooks. This is especially true if you loved the book, and it is narrated by a top-tier performer.

I started my love affair with audiobooks in this manner. I completed a “re-read” of the Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andrews and narrated by Renee Raudman. It took about two books for me to get into a groove, but once I hit my stride, I couldn’t get enough of the books in the audio format. It was nice because if I missed a scene or two, I generally knew what was happening. This allowed me to figure out how to better listen and determine which are key moments not to miss. Eventually, I was able to take these learned experiences into new-to-me books with great success.

Want to try and audiobook? See if your online library has one of your favorites and give it a go. Now, here is my audiobook review of a book I read and reviewed in 2014.

Burn for Me – Audiobook review

Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Audio Speed: 1.25x

My first audiobook review of 2015 is a re-read. I first read Burn for Me back in October 2014 as a digital ARC for a review. Since my review still holds many truths, I am not going to repeat it all. Here are a few key points I wish to reiterate about the story.

  • Burn for Me kicks off a brand new series. I classify The Hidden Legacy series firmly in the urban fantasy genre, with a slow building romance that I expect will take three or so books to come to fruition.
  • The modern-day world has an alternate history, one that saw the development of magical powers in humans. Not everyone has these powers, such as telekinetics and pyrokinetic, and modern society equates the strength of one’s abilities with power and social rank. It is unique, yet familiar enough that it comes together easily.
  • Several characters are introduced almost immediately, and the reader needs to pay attention because they all come back before the end of the book.
  • Burn for Me focuses on and is told from the first person perspective of Nevada Baylor. She manages and is the primary detective for her family’s investigative agency, which is a subsidiary of the powerful Montgomery House. When Montgomery instructs Nevada to find and detain the well-known pyrokinetic Adam Pierce, she realizes he’s setting her family up for failure, but there is little she can do. Unfortunately, the risks are elevated when Nevada realizes that Connor “Mad” Rogan is also interested in locating Adam. Mad Rogan is the most powerful and destructive magic user in modern times, and he is determined to use Nevada to find his mark.

I absolutely adored Burn for Me the second time around, and had I listened to it earlier, it would have made my Top 10 of 2014. The superb narration and fore-knowledge of the actions and events combined to create a captivating, gripping tale.

When I read the book the first time, my biggest complaint was my own confusion over events and the slow beginning of the story, with the last quarter of the book completely captivating me. Able to carry my enthusiasm for the end of the book into the “re-read” via audio, I found I was more emotionally attached and involved right from the get go. Couple this with Ms. Raudman’s near perfect narration, and I found myself entranced. Here are a few of my newly acquired observations:

  1. This book is actually very romantic and super sexy. From the first moment they meet, there is an amazing sexual chemistry between Rogan and Nevada. And when Nevada’s lust goes unchecked, the story is downright hot. Their love affair is far from beginning, but their romance started way back in the first few chapters of this book. I adore this couple and cannot wait to get more.
  2. The story is full of non-stop exciting action. I can certainly understand why I may have been confused when I read the book, but this time around, the action gripped a hold of me and didn’t let go until the last moments of the story. The narration provided vivid imagery, and I was utterly engrossed and enjoyed every moment. In audio format, I was better able to “slow down” and hear all of the details rather than rush through each scene.
  3. Humor makes a story, and Burn for Me is full of it! Whether it comes from Gramma’s chuckle-worth, giddy observations, or Nevada’s own wry view of the world around her, the humor carries the story around and through all the serious and deadly moments.

Finally, Ms. Raudman’s performance is top notch. This is the first time I listened to the same performer narrate a different series. I’ll admit that in the beginning, I was comparing voices to those from the Kate Daniels series. But as soon as the story picked up speed, Kate and company disappeared and this became Nevada’s show. Ms. Raudman nails the emotions and creates a tension that kept me biting my nails. Each character has his/her own unique voice, allowing me to easily distinguish each person as s/he speaks.

Overall, I highly recommend the Burn for Me audiobook. Both the story and narration are sublime.

Narration: A+
Story: A+

JENsignature

  • Melanie Simmons

    I loved the intro to this new series by one of my favorite audiobook teams. I’m a huge fan of Ilona Andrews and Renee Raudman, each series they do together has been golden and unique in its own way. Great review. 🙂

    • They do make a sublime team! I’ve not listened to the Innkeeper on audio, but I’ll have to try it now! The biggest problem with the series?! The books won’t come fast enough for me! 😉

      • Melanie Simmons

        That is a problem with really good authors, you want to push them to write more, but at the same time, you love them so you want them to be happy and have a life too. I guess we will just have to be patient. They put out more books per year than many authors. They had threeish (depends on how you count Clean Sweep and/or Sweep in Peace) plus a story in Night Shift. That is a lot.

      • Yes, Ilona Andrews puts out a lot annually – but they have so many great series and such, it’s hard to wait!

    • Jennifer @ The Book Nympho

      I love this team too but I found I can’t go from one series to a different one to close or I get confused about what character I’m listening to since Renee narrates all their books and all their series are similar. I have to put some distance between them. I’ve been wanting to continue with their Edge series on audio but I’ll have to listen to a few more audios before doing so.

      • I would have trouble more if I had listened back-to-back. As it was, I had about 5 months in between the two series, and I still was hearing other characters for the first little bit.

  • Jennifer @ The Book Nympho

    My first audiobook was the first Kate Daniels book. I had to start it over a couple of times to get into the book but I think it was because the world building was so complex I was missing stuff. But I got through it and it’s now an audio only series for me.

    Listening to a favorite book is a great tip for first timers! Great post and review.

    • Thanks Jennifer! I owe pretty much all of my tips and love of audio to you!

  • Jennifer Estep

    I’ve got this one on my TBR pile. Hoping to read it soon.

    • If you enjoyed the first Kate Daniels book, then I think you will like this. There is a lot of world building and the romance is slow. Like I said, when I read it I was confused, but the second time around, I loved it more!

  • I wish I had listened instead 😉

    • I’d strongly suggest it – maybe as a “reread” before the second book comes out (no release date at this time).

  • UnaReads

    I loved this book but found it was richer on the reread. I think because I was so eager and excited for the story, wanting to understand the world that i read it the first time too fast. The second time I savored it more. As for audiobooks, I am trying them out this year as a challenge (since you have gotten me hooked). For my first book of this year, I tried Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh, a book I’ve reread many times. Since I was trying out my library’s phone app for audiobooks, I thought this was a safe bet. It was like reading it for the first time – it was the same but different and I really enjoyed the different medium. I’m not working on Alice in Wonderland + Through the Looking Glass and enjoying it immensely. I’ve never read the book and I’m really enjoying the audio – it’s narrated by a male, but the voices are by both a man and woman’s. It’s great!

    • Yea! That is awesome Una!!

      And I completely agree with your assessment of reading Burn for Me the first time!

  • I can’t wait to read this one. I’ve got the print version and am so looking forward to it. That’s awesome it was better the second time 😀

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