The Halves of Us by Sydney Paige Richardson Audiobook Tour and Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Twin sisters find themselves tied to family secrets and dangerous prophecies as the fate of their world hangs in the balance in author Sydney Paige Richardson’s “The Halves of Us”, the first in the Halves of Us Trilogy. 

The Synopsis

Twin Sisters: one destined to rule, one cursed to destroy.

Some say blood is thicker than water. But for twin sisters, Adie and Aura, their connection runs even deeper than blood.

After investigating a surprise attack carried out by dark souls controlled by the Wicked Willow, an evil  residing in a neighboring region, Aura uncovers a family secret: she is the fulfillment of a curse placed upon her family centuries ago.

While Aura is destined to destroy their planet, Thindoral, Adie is fated to follow in their mother’s footsteps and become Ruler, but even Adie’s path comes with revelations. Dangerous premonitions plague her dreams, all depicting Thindoral’s demise at the hand of her sister.

As darkness takes control of her mind, Aura must determine whether defying fate and time is the choice that will seal her destruction, or if self-sacrifice will save all she holds dear. Meanwhile, Adie is faced with an impossible decision: save her sister, or protect their world?

The Review

A beautifully written and spoken audiobook, author Sydney Paige Richardson has done a marvelous job crafting a YA fantasy world readers will want to immediately dive into. The concept of twin sisters and each having a dangerous journey with a deadly future looming over them both gave readers a strong relationship to hang onto from the get-go. 

Each girl’s journey to discovering their fate and destiny and the decisions they have to make to protect the world around them was a magnificent example of strong character growth. The author develops a powerful and easily-engaging mythology that has become the cornerstone of the YA Fantasy genre. Accompanied by a beautifully narrated audiobook that brought the protagonists to life perfectly, this book has done a marvelous job of drawing readers into the narrative.

The Verdict

A beautifully-written YA Fantasy world filled with action, suspense and dark secrets, author Sydney Paige Richardson’s “The Halves of Us” is a must-read. With a unique two protagonists, emotionally-impactful relationships that grow and change throughout the narrative, and a lovely narration that captures the magic and heart of the book, be sure to grab your copies of this important read today!

Rating: 10/10

Buy on 

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About the Author: Sydney Paige Richardson

Sydney wrote her first book, Girls, in the second grade, about her and her best friends in college [because college was super cool when you were 8]. They went on treasure hunts and fought bad guys with their super powers. Her second-grade teacher was so impressed with her, she laminated a cover and bound it. That will forever be the moment Sydney dreamed of holding a copy of her own book and placing it on a shelf.

Now all grown up, Sydney’s head still stays in the fantasy world, fashioning worlds where the power of a star can be harnessed and used for time travel, flying is just as easy as walking here on earth – and her best friends are fairies. Her characters are dark and lost individuals, but your love for them will grow when you realize not everything is black and white.

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About the Narrator: Rocky Taylor

Rocky hails from Washington State and frequently haunts the Oregon coast. She holds a BA from The Evergreen State College and has worked as a stagehand since 2008.  After years of bringing stories to life behind the scenes she has transitioned from backstage to behind the mic. An avid reader, traveler, and lover of humanity, she brings all of that to the world of story-telling. 

When not in her studio, she volunteers as a community mediator, loves partner dancing and like all Pacific Northwesterners, lives for beautiful summer days.

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Guest Post by Author Sydney Paige Richardson

  1. Favorite book covers

I almost feel like it’s cliché now to say don’t judge a book by its cover. Because we do. We can’t deny it. The literary world is filled with cover reveals and bookstagram features. Covers are really just an extension of the story – so in my opinion, it’s just as important. 

Example – you’re scrolling through Instagram and see an amazing bookstagram shot. It’s got the cover, surrounded by flickering black candles, bottled herbs, dried flowers, and a skull. The cover is just as creepy with twisted font with crimson light behind it – yeah I am going to stop, admire, like/heart, and read the premise – probably even add to my Goodreads or pre-order. 

What book covers have made me do this? Check out some of them below and let us know which cover lures you in.

This is book two in The Ascent series, and while the cover for book one (Iniquity) was amazing too – this cover was STUNNING. The yellow mixed with the blue, the twisted limbs around her, her hair floating – I am just so intrigued! The story was just as great, dark and keeping me on my toes. You can find book one, here. And you can find Adversity, here

Maybe I am a little biased with this cover, as I know the author and the publishing house but holy crap this cover is amazing. The colors, the chaos – it drew me in and this book did not disappoint. You can find it here

Clare at Sixteen (Clare Bleecker Book 1) by [Don Roff]

I can’t watch scary movies – but I can read the hell out of scary books. *shrugs* And this cover gave me chills, which made me want to snatch it right up. It’s not out until March 2021, but you can pre-order here

Leigh Bardugo is queen. And this cover is everything. Need I say more? 

When I first saw this cover, I knew I wanted it in my hands, on my shelf, and to read every word inside. It’s crazy when a cover does that. And this story – Sugalski’s storytelling ability– it’s everything. You can get it here

This one I purchased recently and is on my to be read stack by my bed. It caught me off guard for a minute – there are just a few colors: blue, white, black (maybe some grey). But the drawing was detailed, yet whimsical. The title seemed vague, but The Mirror Visitor verbiage got me. I have an obsession with mirrors in stories– they fascinate me. And something in me told me to snatch it up. I haven’t read it yet – but the cover remains on my mind. That just goes to show you how covers can catch someone’s eye. 

I don’t think I could have made this list without including Cinder. The cover is so classic to me, but at the same time brings something new to the table. Whoever made this cover is brilliant to merge those two together for this retelling. 

Okay, maybe I am a little biased on this one. But I can’t make this list without it. The Halves of Us is my first novel – and includes my pictures on the cover. I am a fine art photographer (you can see more of my work on Instagram and my website), and I sent these photos off to my publisher, not thinking they would use them for the cover, but maybe for advertisement. But when I got the cover and saw them on there – it was everything. Everything. Shayne at the Parliament House is an amazing book designer and I will forever be grateful she used my photos and created this STUNNING cover. 

I feel like I could’ve added about ten more covers to this – but I think this list covers some of my always favorites, some most recent favorites, and my little book baby, The Halves of Us. Please check out the audiobook – Rocky Taylor did an amazing job bringing Adie and Aura’s story to life. 

Author: Sydney Paige Richardson

Narrator: Rocky Taylor

Length: 11 hours 37 minutes

Series: The Halves of Us Trilogy, Book 1

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Sep. 3, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Twin Sisters: One destined to rule, one cursed to destroy. Some say blood is thicker than water. But for twin sisters, Adie and Aura, their connection runs even deeper than blood. After investigating a surprise attack carried out by dark souls controlled by the Wicked Willow, an evil residing in a neighboring region, Aura uncovers a family secret: She is the fulfillment of a curse placed upon her family centuries ago. While Aura is destined to destroy their planet, Thindoral, Adie is fated to follow in their mother’s footsteps and become Ruler, but even Adie’s path comes with revelations. Dangerous premonitions plague her dreams, all depicting Thindoral’s demise at the hand of her sister. As darkness takes control of her mind, Aura must determine whether defying fate and time is the choice that will seal her destruction, or if self-sacrifice will save all she holds dear. Meanwhile, Adie is faced with an impossible decision: Save her sister, or protect their world? Buy on Amazon
Sydney wrote her first book, Girls, in the second grade, about her and her best friends in college [because college was super cool when you were 8]. They went on treasure hunts and fought bad guys with their super powers. Her second-grade teacher was so impressed with her, she laminated a cover and bound it. That will forever be the moment Sydney dreamed of holding a copy of her own book and placing it on a shelf. Now all grown up, Sydney’s head still stays in the fantasy world, fashioning worlds where the power of a star can be harnessed and used for time travel, flying is just as easy as walking here on earth – and her best friends are fairies. Her characters are dark and lost individuals, but your love for them will grow when you realize not everything is black and white.
WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsInstagram
Rocky hails from Washington State and frequently haunts the Oregon coast. She holds a BA from The Evergreen State College and has worked as a stagehand since 2008. After years of bringing stories to life behind the scenes she has transitioned from backstage to behind the mic. An avid reader, traveler, and lover of humanity, she brings all of that to the world of story-telling. When not in her studio, she volunteers as a community mediator, loves partner dancing and like all Pacific Northwesterners, lives for beautiful summer days.
WebsiteInstagram
  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Sydney Paige Richardson. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Rocky Taylor
  • What makes The Halves of Us stand out as an audiobook?
    • The Halves of Us lends itself to audio particularly well. There are dream sequences, inner dialogue, recurring haunting whispers and a beautiful little lullaby woven through the whole book. All of those elements really added dimension to the story in audio form.
  • What was your favorite thing about narrating this book?
    • I had two favorite scenes to narrate in this book. One was a nightmare sequence where one of the characters is surrounded by dancing skeletons. The imagery and atmosphere was so vivid it was just so dang fun to do. The other was set in “The Room of Papers” where the characters go to learn their fate. Everything was looming and moving and very visual and active, you could picture and feel the changing environment. It’s a great stand alone scene, and it also captures some of the turmoil that is at the heart of the book. Also, Sydney writes particularly satisfying final sentences for each chapter.
  • What was your process for developing character voices?
    • Sydney sent me these wonderful character sheets with things like age, education level, which famous actor would play who, and some adjectives to describe each character. That was fantastically helpful. I started by watching youtube clips of all the actors she would cast, and then as I read through the manuscript I made notes on the character sheets. I also wrote down the first line of dialogue each character had, and when I finished reading through the manuscript, I organized the character sheets by how large of a role they had, and then by gender and age and went through my pile of character sheets saying that one line of dialogue out loud until I felt like it was them. I pinned all the character sheets and a map of their world to the walls of my studio.
  • What is your dream project?
    • I have so many narrator and author crushes. I’m also an Outlander fan, so in my dream world I would someday work with Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan and then we would all become best friends. I have an author crush on S.A. Chakraborty who is currently writing some lady pirate books. To be honest, I also kind of have a crush on the book I just finished narrating.
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • My uncle has a really great voice and reads aloud to my grandma nearly everyday. He really should narrate books. After thinking this for the umpteenth time, I realized that it was something I wanted to do. I have been a stagehand for years, so conveniently, I wasn’t afraid of setting up a microphone or audio interface. From there it was a lot of research and hard work.
  • How do you choose books?
    • I only audition for books that I think will be a good fit for me and that I will enjoy doing. Before I audition, I spend time researching the author and the book. I want to work with authors who take writing seriously, and I also want to see something about them as people on their website or their social media. My heart lies with sci-fi and fantasy.
  • What training do you have?
    • I am a mediator and a partner dancer. As a mediator I have spent a lot of time sitting with strangers trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on while they fight with each other. All of that time sitting with people at their best and worst has given me a deep empathy for and understanding of people and was also excellent training in character development. Dancing is so much about grounding, listening, connection, sensitivity, creativity and expression. Audiobook narration is kind of like an eleven hour and thirty-six minute dance with conflict thrown in. I also have an excellent coach who I am incredibly grateful for.
  • How closely do you work with authors?
    • Authors will sometimes spend years working on a book that I will produce in a matter of weeks, so I want there to be a line of communication open. I always ask if there is anything that doesn’t appear in the book that it is important for me to know and give them the chance to share anything else they think is important. Once I finish reading through the manuscript, I’ll ask whatever questions I have and then there is a passing of the creative baton and I produce the book. From there I spend some time desperately hoping that they’ll love it and then try to let go of attachment to anyone’s opinion and just know that I did my best.
  • Any funny anecdotes from inside the booth?
    • It turns out there are a lot of words I have read and never said out loud before, and it turns out that the way I have been saying them in my head and how you have been saying them are sometimes quite different. I was shocked to realize how you all have been pronouncing “beige.”
  • If you had five other lives, what would you do with them?
    • I would be a country singer, a train engineer, a marine mammalogist, a monitoring and evaluation specialist and a florist. I do like flowers.
  • Carry You by Ruelle and Flueurie – I chose this song because it reminded me of the sisters and their love for each other. They would do anything to ensure the other’s safety, including carrying them through the darkness.
  • In Reverence by David Tolk – has no words, but the music is what inspired me to finish the book and write the ending. I am in tears every time I listen to this song.
  • Heresy by Full Tilt – This song would definitely be the movie trailer soundtrack if The Halves of Us is made into a movie.
  • Cut by Plumb – This song reflects the descent of Aura into darkness.
  • Fall into Me – is the darkness talking to Aura. This song always gives me chills.
  • Head above Water by Avril – To me this song is about Adie trying to keep everything together as she watches her sister fall away, takes on her new roles, and deals with the night terrors.
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About authoranthonyavinablog

Anthony Avina, (Born March 1990), is an author, a journalist, and a blogger. Born in Southern California, he has battled through injuries, disabilities, moves back and forth across the country, and more, yet still maintains a creative voice that he hopes to use not only to entertain but to inspire hope in even the darkest situations. He writes short stories and novels in several genres, and is also a seasoned journalist for the online magazine, On Request Magazine, as well as the popular site TheGamer. Having grown up reading the books of Dean Koontz and Stephen King, they inspired him to write new and exciting stories that delved into the minds of richly developed characters. He constantly tries to write stories that have never been told before, and to paint a picture in your mind while you are reading the book, as if you could see every scene of the book as if it were a movie you were watching. His stories will get your imaginations working, and will also show that in spite of the most despairing and horrific situations, hope is never out of reach. He am always writing, and so there will never be a shortage of new stories for your reading pleasure. http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

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