Tag Archives: Audible Studios

Book Review of The Florentine Bridge, by Vanessa Carnevale

I won an MP3 copy of The Florentine Bridge, by Vanessa Carnevale through Goodreads.

Young Australian artist Mia Moretti has been cancer free for nine months. But her battle with the illness has taken its toll, leaving her depressed and tormented by overwhelming fears. What’s more, she can’t seem to paint anymore. Mia needs a fresh start so when a surprise opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it. With any luck, this trip will help her find whatever it is she needs to open her heart and start painting again.

What she doesn’t count on is meeting Luca, a handsome Italian mechanic. With his smile, his warmth and his inspirational outlook on all the good things life has to offer, he sweeps her off her feet. As Mia slowly lets down her walls and allows Luca in, her passion for life is reignited and her new perspective begins to inspire her art. But just when she’s ready to let go of her past, will a tragedy threaten her new life with Luca?

This was really sweet, with an uplifting theme and good writing. And if that’s all you’re looking for, and you’re not too concerned with details, grab it, because it is good. But details often catch me out and some of them irritated me with The Florentine Bridge. For example, Mia is supposed to be 19. And yes, she had a traumatic experience and might have matured a bit more than the average teen. But honestly she reads like a 30-year-old. Some of it is cultural. For example, she goes out and blithely orders wine with dinner. As an American reader that’s problematic, as the legal drinking age here is 21. Mia wouldn’t be able to drink in public. So this frequently pulled me out of the story. (Of course I understood she was in Italy, with different rules, it just always caught my attention.) But some of it wasn’t. Mia was still 19 and the classy dates she and Luka went on were not the dates of a 19-year-old. Almost nothing about Mia, except for her relationship with her parents, was teen-like.

Then there was the insta-love. Mia and Luka had a deep meaningful relationship from the moment they met. Some of it was explained, but not enough. This isn’t a fantasy of any sort, so I couldn’t figure out what their LOVE was based on so quickly.

Angèle Masters did an amazing job with the narration though. Yes, her accents slipped on occasion. But the characters were native and non-native speaking Italians, an Aussie, an American and a Brit, male and female. So, when I say her accent slipped on occasion, what I really mean is it’s amazing that her accent only slipped on occasion. There were a lot of different speakers to give voice to and she kept is all straight.


The Red Sword

Book Review of The Red Sword, by Michael Wallace

I received an Audible code for a copy of Michael Wallace‘s The Red Sword.

Description from Goodreads:
Markal, an apprentice wizard, is thrust unexpectedly to the head of his order when his master is decapitated by a gray-skinned assassin. The order’s walled gardens have the power to restore their dead master to life, but only if the apprentices can protect his body long enough for their sanctuary to work its magic.

When a barbarian warrior named Bronwyn invades the gardens wielding a soul-binding sword and accuses the order of harboring a powerful sorcerer, Markal thinks she is another assassin come to finish the job. But Bronwyn is a paladin, a holy warrior from across the mountains, and her presence is a harbinger of a greater threat than Markal had imagined, a necromancer with the power to command the dead.

Together, they must join forces before the necromancer destroys Markal’s order and overruns Bronwyn’s homeland.

Honestly not bad and the narrator, Rosemary Benson, did an excellent job, which really enhanced the story for me. There was quite a bit of humor in the way the apprentices interacted. Each had a distinct voice. I really appreciated that there was more than one male/female platonic friendships. And the writing is pretty good, though I would call this YA fiction despite the characters ages.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the story. I found a few aspects of it unbelievable and I would have like more explanation of the magic system. What’s up with all the bleeding, for example? But I only really had one major complaint. Or rather one, three pronged complaint. This is a bit of spoiler, be warned.

One of my favorite characters, and more to the point, an important character, the character on the cover died. This I could handle, except for three factors. One, it’s completely anticlimactic. She was basically just thrown away with no fanfare or importance. Her death was like three sentences in the background. This completely didn’t fit her importance in the story up to that point. Two, if you’re going to throw a character away as meaningless, I don’t think you can also put her on the cover of the book. Sorry. This annoyed me. Three, she was one of two female characters in the book (not counting the background servants). The book really did need her or at the very least another HER.