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Lila Gustavus

Lila Gustavus

Cutchogue, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 22 ratings
  • 268 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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  • Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    Overall
    (2860)
    Performance
    (2074)
    Story
    (2098)

    Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit—and werewolves—in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

    Pamela I Greene says: "Amelia Peabody has competition"
    "A fun read to while away boring hours."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book was fun. Pure entertainment to while away boring and/or dull hours we all have here and there.

    I'll admit I have some mixed reactions to it and I was having a hard time deciding how to rate this novel. Some things just don't make sense. For example, Alexia's
    soullessness. It does give her that one supernatural (or rather, preternatural) power of taking away other supernaturals' powers by a single touch (sadly, no shape shifting or immortality involved) which is an interesting introduction to the paranormal genre. However, character-wise, Alexia couldn't be farther away from my idea of a soulless person (a psychopath comes to mind). I understand that to match the light and amusing tone of Soulless, Ms. Carriger couldn't make Alexia a completely evil woman, with no moral compass. But not a single, teeny tiny sinister trait? That's a little bit of a letdown. Sure, Ms. Tarabotti is stubborn, with an independent and untamed spirit, and with an alpha (of course, duh!!!) personality, but it is kind of mundane, if you ask me. For that alone, I wanted to give Soulless two stars.

    On the other hand, I truly enjoyed the light tone of the whole story. I liked the humor, I liked Alexia's and Lord Maccon's 'dance' around admitting their feelings and desire for each other (don't worry, I'm not really spoiling anything, as it's obvious from the beginning where their relationship is going). I also had fun with other characters, especially with Ms. Tarabotti's mother and half-sisters. You put them all in one room and you truly have a comedy of manners. Consequently, I did chuckle a few times and smiled almost all the time, while listening to Soulless. And the writing itself wasn't half bad either. It had a kind of a spring-in-its-step quality. For these reasons, I was ready to bump the rating up to four.

    In the end, after hoping that Alexia would suddenly do something deliciously evil and not getting it, I got stuck in the middle. I did like it enough to not consider it a waste of time but not enough, I'm afraid, to read the rest of Parasol Protectorate books (well, maybe if I find them during one of my frequent library sales excursions).

    P.S.

    The label attached to this book the most is 'steampunk'. Personally, I didn't notice many steampunk elements in Soulless. There was maybe one appearance of a dirigible delivering the queen of vampires' drone to Alexia. Not much that I can think of besides. Maybe because it's set in an alternate Victorian England? Definitely more fantasy than science-fiction, with werewolves and vampires taking the center stage.

    Narration

    I chose the audible version of Soulless and I'm glad of it. The narrator, Emily Gray, does a fantastic job conveying the sarcastic spark in Alexia and an overall humor of the story. She switches between characters and accents seamlessly. I never was confused as to which character was talking. Above all, Ms. Gray has a pleasant voice, breathes life into the novel and makes the listening experience worthwhile.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: Free Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 58 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, and others
    Overall
    (1199)
    Performance
    (1065)
    Story
    (1067)

    This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

    Susan says: "So much fun!"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Importance of Being Earnest: Free Performance the most enjoyable?

    The performing actors.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    They really all were crucial to the story and I just don't like to single out a favorite character in any of the books I read/listen to (seems to me a little bit like a child's play).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    This performance is the only way the play should be experienced to the full benefit of the reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8684)
    Performance
    (6252)
    Story
    (6287)

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    Liz says: "Not as good as the hype suggests"
    "I didn't know I was purchasing a romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Deborah Harkness and/or Jennifer Ikeda?

    No


    Has A Discovery of Witches turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I have been turned off romances of any kind for a very long time. The problem is The Discovery of Witches isn't marketed for what it really is: a banal paranormal romance with every cliche from a textbook for writing romances. It's silly, not intelligent and frankly I was offended by being sold on this title because of it's supposed and completely non-existent literary merits.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    N/A


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Discovery of Witches?

    Every scene featuring the super-woman witch heroine and her oh, so dangerously attractive vampire boyfriend.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5797)
    Performance
    (5146)
    Story
    (5139)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "If it weren't for Jim Dale, I wouldn't have finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Night Circus? What did you like least?

    The narrator, Jim Dale, who breathed some life into an otherwise dull and convoluted story.


    What could Erin Morgenstern have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Make it a little less complicated, jumping back and forth between the dates. Introduce fewer characters. Having so many characters without confusing a reader is a rare feat.


    Have you listened to any of Jim Dale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Of course the whole Harry Potter series. I suppose nothing compares to that one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori, Book One

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Lian Hearn
    • Narrated By Kevin Gray, Aiko Nakasone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5607)
    Performance
    (1794)
    Story
    (1794)

    A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy.

    Jody R. Nathan says: "Wonderful epic story"
    "I feel cheated out of my monthly credit!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Across the Nightingale Floor better?

    Nothing, it's irredeemable.


    Has Across the Nightingale Floor turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, because it doesn't belong in the genre it was categorized as. It's not fantasy, it has nothing to do with this wonderful genre.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone ?

    The narrators were innocent in this case, I'm sure they were trying to do the best they could with the material they were given.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't, I just couldn't stand this book. I have no idea what the people who gave this book five or four stars were thinking. I just have to wonder what kinds of books they read in general if they praise this dreadful story to high heavens. Across the Nightingale Floor is one of the most boring books I've read in a long, long time. The story was going absolutely nowhere, the plot was mundane and I felt as if my brain cells were slowly disappearing. And categorizing it as a fantasy is misleading. Placing a story in a made up country (uncannily resembling feudal Japan that really had nothing to do with an alternate world) does not a fantasy novel make. I've been reading fantasy books all my life, so I would know.
    I realize I'm being harsh but I am very upset and mislead by all the praise and high ratings I fell for. This book deserves three stars at best. Check that, it really only deserves two stars. I was feeling generous suggesting three.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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