Etherworld | The Marvels | Wicked Games | Mini Reviews

Mini Book Reviews of Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, The Marvels by Brian Selznick and Wicked Games by Sean Olin.

Today’s grouping of mini-reviews sort of feels like I am breaking with pattern. These three books are all vastly different. Usually I seem to review all audiobooks or all young adult or all adult fiction, etc. Today we’re going with a young adult sci-fi audiobook, a middle grade book, and a contemporary young adult audiobook. Variety is kind of great though, and maybe like me, you like a whole lot of variety in your reading.

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Etherworld | The Marvels | Wicked Games | Mini ReviewsEtherworld by Claudia GabelCheryl Klam
Series: Elusion #2
Also in this series: Elusion
Narrator: Arielle DeLisle
Length: 8 Hours 18 Minutes
Published by Harper Collins on March 31st 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, General, Action & Adventure, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook, ARC, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780062122469

The mind-blowing action from Elusion, about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, continues as Regan goes deeper into the deceptive world. Full of mystery, romance, and intriguing technology, this Inception-inspired thriller is perfect for fans of dystopian and sci-fi novels such as Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Matched by Ally Condie, and Partials by Dan Wells.
Regan and her friend Josh now know the truth about Elusion—but they, along with Regan's dad and other uses of Elusion, are stuck beyond the firewall in bleak Etherworld. They must fight Elusion from within, but the longer they stay, the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world. And even if they do escape, the next battle to stop Elusion may be even more difficult. They'll face corporate cover-ups, personal betrayals, and the terrifying realization that the danger may have grown beyond anyone's control.

Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam is the final book in the Elusion duology. You can check out my review of Elusion by clicking here. I listened to Etherworld due to the fact that I have this thing for reading series in all the same formats. So, because I listened to Elusion I just HAD to listen to Etherworld. Thankfully Hoopla had a copy available, sometimes I go on there and to my dismay, not every book in a series is available via audiobook.

Etherworld picks up where Elusion leaves off. So maybe skim over this if you hate spoilers. Basically, Regan finds out the truth behind Orexis and her father’s death. Oh yeah, that her dad is still alive and he’s hanging out in Elusion basically. So, okay, Regan and Josh find Etherworld which is behind a firewall in Elusion. In Etherworld, you are safe from getting addicted to Elusion. While they are in Etherworld, it turns out other kids and Regan’s dad are there. Together they must all destroy Elusion before the masses get hooked on it.

Overall, this sequel kept me paying attention the whole way through. I actually found myself pretty invested in the different characters and their outcomes. I was rooting for Regan and Josh. I even was glad to see some characters have redemption. While science fiction is not always my favorite genre, these books certainly make it more interesting to me. The audiobook has the same narrator as the first in the duology. The narrator is Arielle DeLisle. I think she does a great job maintaining emotion and action in her narration. In all, if you want a quick duology to get you through your commute the Elusion series is not a bad choice to make.

 Other reviews of Etherworld by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam:

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I received this book for free from Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Etherworld | The Marvels | Wicked Games | Mini ReviewsThe Marvels by Brian Selznick
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Also by this author: Wonderstruck
Published by Scholastic Inc. on September 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Family, Multigenerational, Performing Arts, Theater, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Pages: 672
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780545922128

From the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck comes a breathtaking new voyage. In this magnificent reimagining of the form he originated, two stand-alone stories--the first in nearly 400 pages of continuous pictures, the second in prose--create a beguiling narrative puzzle. The journey begins at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage. Nearly a century later, runaway Joseph Jervis seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale's strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past. A gripping adventure and an intriguing mystery The Marvels is a loving tribute to the power of story.

I have yet to read a disappointing book by Brian Selznick. I found myself eagerly anticipating The Marvels, Selznick’s 2015 release. The anticipation was so high that Allison, of our wonderful team, obtained a copy for me at BEA 2015 because she is the greatest. Of course, because I am the worst or a major mood reader, I did not get around to reading it until 2016. For once though, this was a right book at the right time kind of scenario.

Selznick’s The Marvels opens with pictures. Or sketches. Or illustrations. Whatever the technical term is. These sketches last for nearly 400 pages as they tell the first story of the book. This first story begins with Billy Marvel. He’s a young boy who is at sea and his brother is preparing to put on a play. Unfortunately, the ship wrecks and Billy and his dog are the only ones who survive. Eventually Billy ends up working in the theater. The theater is his new home and so, he begins a family legacy where all the future generations of the Marvel family find acclaim on the stage. That is, until Leontes, who finds himself forbidden from the stage. The story then shifts to prose, set 100 years later where this kid Joseph runs away to his uncle’s house. FYI, he has never really met his Uncle before. So, his Uncle has quite the strange house and there are some secrets to parse out.

The connection between the illustrated story and the prose story is unexpected and mind blowing. I mean, it really speaks to these feelings we’ve all had as readers who find ourselves invested in fictional characters and their lives. I won’t say more because I do not want to spoil you. Trust, The Marvels is one book that readers of all ages are certain to enjoy. It’s a beautiful, magical book that absolutely exceeds expectations.

Other reviews of The Marvels by Brian Selznick:

Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of The Marvels by clicking below:

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Etherworld | The Marvels | Wicked Games | Mini ReviewsWicked Games by Sean Olin
Series: Wicked Games #1
Narrator: Kaleo Griffith
Length: 7 Hours 12 Minutes
Published by Harper Collins on June 10th 2014
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Horror, Social Themes, General, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook, ARC, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780062192394

Tainted love. Sexy secrets. A chilling revenge plot. It's all here in Wicked Games by Sean Olin, the first in a psychologically charged, suspenseful series set in a picturesque coastal Florida town called Dream Point, where dangerous mind games are played with abandon.
Lilah has spent the last four years by her boyfriend Carter's side, and everyone thinks their relationship is rock solid. But behind closed doors, things are beginning to crumble. Just as Lilah's intensifying mood swings are making Carter think about distancing himself from her, another girl enters the picture. Jules is beautiful, funny, smart, and artistic. Carter can't help but fall under her spell. But one stolen night of passion has consequences they could never imagine.
Fans of books packed with drama and doomed romance, like The Lying Game and Perfect Chemistry, will immediately be hooked by Wicked Games.

So I might be the odd one out, but OMG I LOVED WICKED GAMES by Sean Olin. Maybe it was my listening to the audiobook (shoutout Hoopla, ILY). Maybe it was that I had no clue going in what to expect. Either way, I feel like I am one going against the tide in how much I genuinely enjoyed listening to Wicked Games.

Wicked Games by Sean Olin centers around three characters – Carter, Lilah, and Jules. Carter and Lilah have been dating all through high school. They are basically the it couple at Dream Point, which is the Florida beach town where they live. However there are definite issues in the relationship. The book opens with Carter and Lilah going to a senior party together, only Lilah has some issues which result in her leaving the party. While Lilah is gone, Carter interacts with this free spirited girl named Jules and ends up hooking up with her. Eventually, Lilah finds out and so she decides to get revenge.

Okay, so there are some reviews I’ve read which call Carter honorable and someone who wants to do the right thing. First off, if he was so honorable he would not be cheating on his mentally unstable girlfriend. I don’t care how unhappy he is or how trapped he feels. Cheating is wrong and he’s a piece of garbage in my eyes for doing it. Jules, she is just caught up in a bad situation and well maybe she shouldn’t have hooked up with someone that she knows is in a relationship. Hell yes that makes her culpable, because she had knowledge. Not as culpable as Carter, but I would say the same amount of culpability as the driver of a getaway car. Now, as for Lilah, everyone paints her as the villain. Yes, the girl does some terrible things, things that absolutely cross the line. However, she is a girl done wrong and damn it if I don’t identify with her the most out of all these characters. Don’t even try to analyze what that says about me as a person, hahaha.

Anyways, I was just SO INVESTED in Wicked Games like to the point where I would even listen to it after getting out of the car just to see what would happen next. The narrator is new to me, Kaleo Griffith. He’s fantastic though. I would one hundred percent listen to another audiobook narrated by him. I think if you want a short audiobook with a lot of drama, LISTEN TO THIS BOOK. If your library is the greatest of all time and has Hoopla, you can borrow a copy from there.

Other reviews of Wicked Games by Sean Olin:

Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of Wicked Games by clicking below:

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Marvel looks like it’s SO beautiful and I’ve been wanting it since it came out, but— it’s kind of pricey. I am going to buy it sometime though because I think it would be perfect for me and my son to read together. Also, Wicked Games just sounds so me. I’m usually the odd one out when it comes to super high school catty books.
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