Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Restless Waters (Left Drowning #2) by Jessica Park [Audio Review]

A storm is coming, and with storms come restless waters.

Pulled from the depths of catastrophe and depression, Blythe McGuire has learned to escape from her past while embracing the future. A future now entwined with the Shepherd siblings.

With Chris, she shares a staggering romance that kicks heartbreak’s ass.

With Sabin, she shares an intense friendship, one that’s becoming more complicated than either had expected. A friendship now being put to the test because Sabin’s brutal past still haunts him. Because trauma is the gift that keeps on giving without mercy.

Now Sabin is the one left drowning and struggling to breathe, and his turmoil threatens to send all three into dark currents they cannot escape. Even after going through her own hell, saving Sabin will take much more than Blythe had anticipated. Their connection and their love could help, but getting him to reach for her hand could be Blythe’s biggest challenge ever.

Restless Waters is the second book in the Left Drowning series.  I’m going to go against the grain and say you don’t have to read the first book, Left Drowning, to understand Restless Waters. Why do you ask? Well, it’s been some time since I read the first book, but Jessica Park does such a great recap in Restless Waters, I got what was happening, but of course you don’t get the FULL feel of the book unless you read the full series.

I did the audio version of this book and I can honestly say Restless Waters was the most unique audio book I have listened to. I have listened to a few audio books that have pushed the boundaries, but this is the first one where music was incorporated into the story (for me at least).

This was not an easy book to listen to, and no, it’s not because of the narrator, the narrator was actually perfect and no, it wasn’t because of the singer and yes you read that right there was a singer, but the story was REALLY hard for me to embrace.

This is a tortured book, it’s painful and filled to the brim with angst, tension and guilt. It wouldn’t be a Jessica Park novel if it wasn’t. So this is for those that can handle that that want that, that EMBRACE that. Get my drift?

The story continues from Left Drowning and it’s mostly the story of Chris, Sabin and of course our Heroine, Blythe. I didn’t know anything about this book prior to picking it up so the beginning started kind of light, just about family and friends being with each other. Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems.

Everyone has past pains in this book. Chris and Sabin are brothers and have been abused by their father. Blythe is Chris’s girlfriend and they are madly in love with each other, but Blythe is concerned for Chris because of all the abuse he went through. Blythe and Sabin have this unique best friend / love for each other relationship that boarders unhealthy (again in my opinion) and somewhat co-dependent.

I liked Chris and Blythe’s relationship. I LOVED Chris. I love his protectiveness towards not only his girlfriend, but towards his family as well. I love that he does so much and ask for nothing in return. Sabin, I have mix feeling towards. This book is mainly about Sabin and his struggles. I could say he’s coming-to-age in away. He has all this anger towards his father, he has all these emotions against and towards Blythe that it gives me whip lash. Sabin’s feeling (platonic or not) is the main focus of the book and we don’t really UNDERSTAND him until he starts to unravel.

Blythe was also very difficult for me to get along with. Her hot and cold personality was unpleasant and her need to please Sabin made me feel sad for her. I just didn’t understand the relationship they had and that may be the reason why I missed key elements of the book.

Throughout the book we get to listen to Sabin sing and yes there is a male singer that sings. I kind of wished we had Sabin’s POV so we could listen to a male voice because I felt like the singing parts were kind of a tease. Overall, I enjoyed these parts.

I enjoyed the main narrator and I felt like she was the voice of Blythe and conveyed the main character’s emotions perfectly. She added to the story and like I said, I wished there was a male narrator.

As difficult as it was to listen to this book, it’s actually really beautiful. I respect hard books, the ones that have so much emotion, anger and problems. They had depth, feelings and so much that adds to the story. I liked how Jessica created tortured characters and kind of brought all these misfits together to find some kind of peace.  The characters may not have been my favorite, but I understand the meaning and plot of the book.

An AUDIO copy was provided

Read Restless Waters, Chapters 1-2


Left Drowning #1 REVIEW | AMAZON
Restless Waters #2 AMAZON

From Author Jessica Park
Gah! I am so excited for the release of the Restless Waters audiobook! It’s always exciting when a book I’ve written comes to life in a new form, but this project snowballed into something more beautiful than I could have imagined. I wasn’t sure I was even going to do an audiobook, but then I reconnected with my fabulous Left Drowning narrator, Arielle DeLisle. Once she was on board, my enthusiasm for creating this version of my book soared. She understands my characters as well as I do, and she’s the only person in the world I would entrust to deliver their voices. 

So, as thrilled as I was to have her attached to this project, there was one idea I had to present, and I wasn’t sure how it would go over with her...

Restless Waters includes lyrics from my friend and phenomenally talented musician, Troy. Beyond that, he actually wrote a song for me! Er, well, for the book. “Coward” is the powerful single he created, and everything about it reaches into my heart. More music from the book is available on his recently released EP, When The Lights Came, and he’ll also be releasing more music from the book soon! 

So, I couldn’t imagine having these lyrics narrated... I mean, it’s one thing to read the lyrics in the context of the book, because it’s sort of the equivalent of poetry, but I felt sure something would really be lost if they were read aloud. More than that, we had an opportunity to do something incredibly unique and dynamic. 

Because Arielle is a sassy rule breaker and a rebel, like I am, she agreed: We would ask Troy to record acoustic versions of his music to incorporate into the audiobook. 

And then Troy agreed. 

And then suddenly the three of us were working together seamlessly on this production! An indie trifecta, each of us bringing something different to this work, and all of us supporting and cheering on the other. It was an extraordinary experience.

Troy and I have been trying to work together for years (his former band, In Like Lions, is mentioned in Flat-Out Love!), and we finally got our chance. Troy is, without a doubt, the voice of Sabin. Nobody sings with Troy’s level of passion, emotion, depth, soul, and beauty. It was an honor to use his lyrics in the text of the book, but hearing his voice as Sabin’s in the audiobook is phenomenally moving, and I am so grateful for all the work he put in. Troy also narrates the chapter titles and opening lyrics, and I think it’s just perfect having him as Sabin doing those introductory pieces.

As far as the three of us know, an audiobook that incorporates music as the Restless Waters one does hasn’t been done before, so that’s another thrill for us! Listeners not only get to savor Arielle’s perfect narration (Man, does she capture these characters and all the ups and downs of the story!), but they get to hear what it would be like to be right there with Sabin as he sings and plays guitar. 

We are so proud of this audiobook and terribly excited for fans of the Left Drowning series to take a listen!

Jessica is the author of LEFT DROWNING, the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (and the companion piece FLAT-OUT MATT), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes.

Please visit her at and on Facebook at and Twitter @JessicaPark24

From narrator Arielle DeLisle

Restless Waters was a project I held very close to my heart. The timing of how it came together for me -- as a narrator and collaborator and fan of the prequel I'd recorded 2 years ago -- was truly a beautiful experience for me. It's one of my favorite projects I've worked on, ever. To say this was an intense recording experience would be an understatement! Not only was this thick with emotion and depth, which required a lot from me as a narrator, a challenge I absolutely loved, but it also is an exceptionally unique multimedia audiobook. I could not imagine a better suited team, all of us with our own personal connections to the work, and all driven toward the end-product being as great as we could make it. 

Working with Troy and his producer, Dante, to get just the right feel and timing to allow the story to unfold around and on top of the music was a beautiful enhancement to this already moving story. I have a background in commercial production and was able to facilitate this collaboration, and Jessica and I were on the same page -- if we break the rules of how audiobooks are produced, it has to have meaning and it has to be perfect. The script informs the narration, introducing the music adds dimension to the tone, and the blend of narration and music work together to create an atmosphere that you just don't get when it's only one piece or the other. I love what we've done and couldn't be happier with how it all came together.

Connect with Troy

Instagram (@iamtroymusic):
Twitter: (@iamtroymusic)

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