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Christina

Librarian, writer, book nerd.

Member Since 2011

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 59 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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  • The Child Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brom
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (112)

    The award-winning artist Brom takes us on a haunting look at the true world of Peter Pan, in his first full-length novel. From modern day New York to the dying land of Faerie, The Child Thief reveals the world of Peter Pan through the eyes of an insecure runaway who is seduced by Peter’s charm. But any dreams of a fairy wonderland are quickly replaced by the reality of life and death survival as Peter’s recruits are forced into a lethal battle in which the line between good and evil is blurred.

    Lollielollielollie says: "Very well done."
    "Disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First of all, this book is way more violent than anything I read led on. I kept having to pull my earbuds out when it got too gory but then I couldn't tell when the gruesome bits were over. I'm not overly squeamish, either, but this proved too much for me.

    Also, in terms of performance, the narrator did something strange with his voice every time someone "screamed" or "cried" something, which happened about twice every chapter. I found it extremely distracting and it frequently pulled me out of the story.

    Overall, I don't think this is a bad read, it just isn't for me. But if you, like me, have an aversion to five minute descriptions of someone's intestines being ripped out or to narrators doing strange grunt/screams mid-chapter, it might be best to skip this one.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Holly Black
    • Narrated By Christine Lakin
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (140)

    One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from best-selling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

    FanB14 says: "Cold Yes, Warm, No"
    "My kind of vampires!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Finally, a return to dangerous vampires! While Holly Black's vampires are definitely still sexy, they're also downright scary. They murder and lie without a second thought. Their lives are both glamorous and blood-soaked. Coldtown reminded me of Anne Rice's vampires, decadent, sensuous creatures that were just as likely to slit your throat as kiss it.

    The characters, both human and vampire, were flawed but mostly understandable. Even the most vile, ruthless vampire had reasons that made some sort of twisted sense and while the main character was a little bit of an idiot, her fierce loyalty to her family and friends made it easy to overlook her less intelligent decisions.

    In a world of series books, I was also glad to see that this was a stand alone title. The ending is ambivalent enough to leave the reader wondering about the characters and the world is definitely rich enough to revisit but the story is still very clearly wrapped up.

    I would highly recommend this one to fans of Anne Rice and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes or anyone looking for a little more monster in their vampires.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Uglies: Uglies, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Scott Westerfeld
    • Narrated By Carine Montbertrand
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (798)
    Performance
    (548)
    Story
    (555)

    Tally Youngblood is quickly approaching her 16th birthday and the mandatory pretty-making surgery that accompanies it. But Tally isn't sure if she wants to be a placidly happy Pretty. When a top secret organization threatens her with remaining Ugly forever, she reluctantly spies on the rebels who have refused the surgery. They think it changes more than just looks and are working on a cure. But they need someone to become Pretty to test it out.

    Cather says: "Unexpectedly enjoyable"
    "Doesn't live up to the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Uglies? What did you like least?

    The idea behind Uglies is a good one: everyone undergoes a procedure at age 16 to become "Pretty" so that no one gets any unfair advantages from being naturally beautiful, sort of a cosmetic socialism. It is a sign of a good premise that I found myself thinking that the logic made sense. However, the execution, both of the society and the story, is less than impressive. The story ended up feeling slow and plodding with long periods of very little development. I had a hard time making myself care about the main character when it took her so long to accomplish anything.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The pacing of this book was way off, briefly racing and then becoming glacial for long stretches.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator had a voice that managed to be both nasal and flat at the same time. I had a hard time keeping track of which character was speaking and I patently disliked some characters purely because of how annoying they sounded in the narration.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Maybe, depending on how it was cast and how much action was added to the story. It would be very a very visually interesting film.


    Any additional comments?

    I have to mention that the addition of a love triangle really cheapened the story, in my opinion. The friendship between the two female protagonists was already interesting given their different views on the "Pretty" surgery and political ideas, there was no need to throw in a man for them to fight over. I'm pretty sick of that particular plot device and the implication that the only thing that makes a girl's life worth reading about is a love interest.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scowler

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Daniel Kraus
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister scrape by for a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father's physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.

    Christina says: "Bleak but thought-provoking teen horror"
    "Bleak but thought-provoking teen horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really, really wanted to like Scowler. The audiobook won the Odyssey award so I thought I'd give it a shot. It's hard to sum up how I felt about Scowler because I can recognize that it did some really great stuff and dealt with very big and important questions but I didn't enjoy reading (or listening to) it.

    The story follows Ry Burke and his family after a meteorite crashes on their farm. Through flashback, we learn that the family has been terrorized by patriarch Marvin Burke but that Marvin was incarcerated 9 years ago, leaving Ry, his mother, and younger sister Sarah to pick up the pieces and try to recover from the abuse they suffered. However, Marvin has escaped from prison and returned to the farm. As a child, Ry created three imaginary friends to help survive his experience with Marvin and now they're back, resurrected by both the presence of the meteorite and the menace Marvin presents.

    It's a good, although complicated, plotline but the story is EXTREMELY dark and very violent. Some of the tortures Krause invents for Marvin to carry out are downright haunting. Thankfully, we don't get too gruesome of a depiction of these tortures, the tone is almost clinical and detached. Still, there is plenty to leave the listener cringing in imagined pain and sympathy. But the subject matter is still very difficult, there is very little light for any of these characters and the result is extremely bleak and depressing. (WARNING: This book may also serve as a trigger for those who have experienced emotional or physical abuse.)

    The narrator, Kirby Heyborne, does an admirable job of representing all of the characters' voices, especially that of Ry's most horrible imaginary friend, Scowler. He builds suspense well without seeming cheesy or frantic. However, that didn't save the story for me.

    If you're looking for a thought-provoking horror story with plenty of depth and symbolism, this is probably the audiobook for you. However, if you don't want to read something so heavy or are squeamish about violence, it might be best to give this one a pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Adelle Waldman
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (86)

    Nate Piven is a rising star in Brooklyn’s literary scene. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice" and who holds her own in conversation with his friends. But when one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants.

    Christina says: "The Memoirs of a Self-Indulgent Intellectual Jerk"
    "The Memoirs of a Self-Indulgent Intellectual Jerk"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was very excited to start this book as I had read a number of positive reviews, both on this site (and Amazon and Goodreads) and in magazines. In fact, even after reading it I'm inclined to think that I missed something important because I can't understand how anyone could find this book enjoyable.

    Our narrator, Nate, is one of the most selfish, snobbish, unlikable narrators I've ever come across. I don't always have to like the narrator of a story (Dorian Gray anyone?) but listening to Nate complain about his life and his lack of respect for pretty much every woman in his life for eight and a half hours--or 250 pages--was like sitting next to someone on the train that just won't shut up. He was like a self-indulgent child that couldn't understand why everything in his life wasn't perfect and gets bored with everything that is. This was probably the point of the book, I realize. But for me to enjoy a book about someone like this, there has to be some redeeming quality in the narrator or some interesting secondary character. There was not.

    The plot of the book largely follows Nate's relationship with a new girl, Hannah. To give some background, he has a pretty dysfunctional romantic history. Though it's never explicitly stated, he doesn't seem to consider women his intellectual equals. For maybe the first month of their relationship, the story is very sweet. I found myself hoping that the point of the story was that people can change, that basic human kindness can be found in even the most unlikely of hosts. But then everything starts to deteriorate. I hated Nate for the way he treated Hannah--and women in general. I hated Hannah for being a smart woman and putting up with such a prick. The secondary characters are all caricatures--the Harvard playboy who only dates beautiful women, the bitter intellectual woman who is obsessed with marriage, the slutty damaged girl that every man is fascinated with, even the immigrant parents who came to America to give their son a better life. And I didn't care one way or another what happened to any of them.

    I was miserable almost the entire time I read this book. It seemed to be a dreary, hopeless look at the death of romance and human decency in favor of pseudo-intellectual snobbery. (The narrator repeatedly mentions wanting to date a girl who has read Svevo and other hipster-obscure authors.) If you're in the mood to read something that makes you hate relationships or want to feel very smart, this is probably the book for you. Otherwise, skip it.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Maria Semple
    • Narrated By Kathleen Wilhoite
    Overall
    (2272)
    Performance
    (2036)
    Story
    (2036)

    Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

    Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands.

    S says: "One of my top 10 listens of the year!"
    "Great, funny read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It took a little while for me to get used to the narrator, who has high-pitched, almost child-like voice. But she did a great job adjusting to the many different characters and viewpoints who tell the story. It's a funny read (or listen) that still manages to touch on some serious topics, such as family, mental health, and belonging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Gatsby

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By Jake Gyllenhaal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3022)
    Performance
    (2763)
    Story
    (2783)

    F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby....

    Darwin8u says: "Simple, Beautiful, and Exquisitely Textured"
    "Great New Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read Gatsby in high school for my American Lit class but with the recent release of a new movie adaptation, I wanted to reread the book so that the story would be fresh in my mind. Listening to the story is a very different experience from reading it. While reading it on the page, I was much more interested in the symbolism of the story (although that probably had more to do with the American Lit class and less to do with the format) but listening to it, I found myself lost in the glitz and glamor of the story and the characters. That said, I won't review the story itself as that has been done to death by people much more intelligent and qualified than me.

    The narration was brilliant. It took me a few minutes to get used to Gyllenhaal's voice but I think this was due to my familiarity with the story and the mental narrator I had invented and not to any fault of the narrator. Once I settled into the listen, I very much enjoyed Gyllenhaal's style of narration. As an actor, he does a nice job of separating character's voices and accents without sounding cheesy and his voice soothing without being boring.

    If you haven't read The Great Gatsby, you absolutely must. Love it or hate it, it's a classic. And whether or not you've read it before, I would recommend this version with Jake Gyllenhaal. His performance brought a freshness to a well-known work of literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Graceling

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Kristin Cashore
    • Narrated By David Baker, Chelsea Mixon, Zachary Exton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (717)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (463)

    Set in a world where some people are born with a Grace - a unique, sometimes uncanny, gift - this is the story of Katsa, whose Grace, demonstrated at an uncomfortably early age, is for killing. This makes her a perfect tool for her uncle, King Randa But Katsa chafes at the way she is being used - and even more at the injustices she sees around her.Then she meets Prince Po, who has a Grace to match hers...

    Kari says: "Outstanding first novel!"
    "Multi-actor narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't have anything against multiple voice narration when it's done well. For example, when narrators alternate as the point of view changes from chapter to chapter. However, I found it very distracting in this book as the voice often changed mid-sentence along with dialog. I had a hard time listening to it because I found that so annoying. Too bad because it's a pretty decent story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24186)
    Performance
    (18130)
    Story
    (18187)

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    "An Epic Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure why so many people complained about Roy Dotrice's narration, I thought he did a really good job. He's a bit gruff sounding but that works well with the story. I held out for a long time before reading this but I'm glad I did. Excellent world-building and lots of political intrigue.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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