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Melissa

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2005

91
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 349 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1796)
    Performance
    (958)
    Story
    (951)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

    Jim says: "An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
    "Perfection."
    Overall

    I find it difficult to believe that any person could give Lolita less than five stars, and the audio performance by Jeremy Irons is beyond masterful. Yes, this is a disturbing book - it is meant to be. Is it pro-pedophilia? Emphatically not. Any person who sticks with the book to the very bitter end comes to realize the true theme of Lolita, and feels the sadness of a lost chance at redemption.

    In my opinion, there has never been a more beautiful, touching, shocking, and profound work of fiction than Lolita. Jeremy Irons as the narrator is just the icing on the cake.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9888)
    Performance
    (8527)
    Story
    (8545)

    Dubbed the American Tolkien by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the number-one New York Times best-selling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series - as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

    James says: "Not as good as previous books"
    "Waah, I want Dany's old voice back!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Melisandre's, too, although her change in voice is a little easier to swallow. The rest of the voice changes were slight enough that I thought they could be excused. After all, it's probably been ten years or more since Mr. Dotrice visited Westeros to narrate audiobooks. He didn't do AFFC (alas) and it's been at least five years since that book came out, probably more. I'm trying to cut him some slack there, but Dany now having a wildling/Seaworth voice just isn't working for me.

    The fault isn't Mr. Dotrice's, but rather bad production. Somebody should have done an accent check with this many characters and such a long time gap between this book and Mr. Dotrice's previous work with the series. The producer needs to be taken to task for such an obvious and easily avoided error.

    If you are a hardcore fan of the previous audiobooks, as I am, I advise you to skip this one until or unless Random House does a re-release with the old accents more or less intact. In the meantime, buy the book in hard copy or ebook format. It's excellent, with new intrigues arising and plenty of Tyrion action, hooray! Plus the dragons got big while none of us were looking. It's worth reading, but for a fan, this particular production will only bring frustration.

    Are you listening, Random House Audio?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Carol Kaesuk Yoon
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Today, taxonomy is viewed by many as an outdated field, one nearly irrelevant to the rest of science and of even less interest to the rest of the world. Now, as Carol Kaesuk Yoon reminds us in Naming Nature, taxonomy is critically important, because it turns out to be much more than mere science. It is also the latest incarnation of a long-unrecognized human practice that has gone on across the globe, in every culture, in every language since before time: the deeply human act of ordering and naming the living world.

    Melissa says: "Enough with the fish already!"
    "Enough with the fish already!"
    Overall

    2.5 hours into this audiobook, I shut it off, never to listen again. The subject had me very excited -- I am fascinated by the act of naming -- but the book is confusingly written. It goes in circles, never seems to make any kind of narrative progress, and in two and a half hours/three chapters an a prologue, the stupid fish thing was brought up at least a dozen times. Too frustrating and meandering to continue listening.

    The narrator does a great job with her material, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sand Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Sarah Bryant
    • Narrated By Nicolette McKenzie
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (6)

    It is the time of the Crusades: the Islamic world is divided and the Franks have captured the Holy Land. As the mighty Saladin struggles to unite the warring clans of Arabia against the invaders, Khalidah, a young Bedouin woman, finds herself a pawn in a deadly plot involving her own tribe and the powerful Templar Knights. Faced with certain death, she runs away with a man she barely knows, towards adventure and the echoes of a past that somehow connect her to the Jinn.

    Deborah says: "A little History with your Mystery!"
    "Didn't hold my interest at all."
    Overall

    I normally love historical fiction set in the Middle East, but I couldn't even get to Part Two of Sand Daughter. It was slow-moving, and the writing wasn't unique enough to hold my interest despite the lagging pace. It opens with a character who is gone by the second chapter, and doesn't appear to have any bearing whatsoever on the story -- at least up until the point I stopped listening, which was near the halfway mark. I didn't like it, I'm sorry to say.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hart's Hope

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Carrington Macduffie
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    Enter the city of Hart's Hope, ruled by gods both powerful and indifferent, riddled with sorcery and revenge. The city was captured by a rebellious lord, Palicrovol, who overthrew the cruel king, Nasilee, hated by his people. Palicrovol, too, was cruel, as befitted a king. He took the true mantle of kinghood by forcing Asineth, now Queen by her father's death, to marry him, raping her to consummate the marriage.

    Melissa says: "Mesmerizing fantasy!"
    "Mesmerizing fantasy!"
    Overall

    I love Hart's Hope. It's a glory among fantasy. No, it's not clean and pretty and sweet and upbeat, as some people expect after reading some of Card's novels. It is, in fact, dark-dark-dark, and the ending is ambiguous.

    But it has one of the most intriguing story constructions you'll ever encounter, and a milieu so unique and deep, you'll never forget it.

    I warn you again: This is DARK fantasy. But with lyrical, soaring prose that hypnotizes you from the first word, it's worth reading -- or listening to. Get it. You won't regret it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32540)
    Performance
    (23866)
    Story
    (24190)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Finally, some GOOD YA genre fiction."
    Overall

    With all the media attention the very shoddily written Twilight series has been getting, I was starting to despair for the future of YA genre fic. Not to worry--Collins spins an excellent tale in The Hunger Games. Fans of dark science fiction will eat this book up like a steaming dish of lamb stew. It touches all the bases with action, intrigue, and deep character development. And none of this gooey, sparkly, teenage-girl-esque writing. It may be written for a younger generation, but any adult reader will find it to be a riveting story as well, with intelligent craftsmanship and a reliance on pacing, not on cheese.

    A rival with Libba Bray's series for the spot of Best YA Series Ever on my book shelf.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Wyrms

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Emily Janice Card
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (43)

    The sphere is alien in origin, but has been controlled by Man for millennia. A legend as old as the stars rules this constructed world: when the seventh seventh seventh human Heptarch is crowned, he will be the Kristos and will bring eternal salvation...or the destruction of the cosmos.

    Melissa says: "Card fans, don't miss this one!"
    "Card fans, don't miss this one!"
    Overall

    Wyrms is among the best and among the most obscure science fiction. Overshadowed by the "softer" (yet still brilliant) Ender's Game, in my opinion Wyrms really shows what Card is capable of when it comes to SF. This book is a perfect balance of soft and hard, with both the social and scientific issues of a colonized planet explored in Card's usual lyrical, dark manner.

    As usual for OSC, the plot is tight and fast-paced, the writing is gorgeously spare, and the characters are unforgettable. From the royal court of Heptem to the caves of Cranning, you will never forget this book once you've read it - or listened to it, as the case may be. This book has had a permanent place on my shelf for many years, and I was thrilled to see that it's finally been released as an audio book. It will have a permanent place in my audio library as well, along with Card's other masterworks.

    With her performance of Wyrms, Emily Card firmly establishes herself as a true equal to the other brilliant narrators Card audio fans know and love: Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle DeCuir, and Scott Brick. Ms. Card's reading and character voices are spot on and a delight to listen to.

    Even if you've never read or listened to an OSC book before, but are a fan of science fiction, do yourself a huge favor and spend the credit or the cash on this somewhat obscure title. You will not regret it.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • The Singer of All Songs: Book 1 of the Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Kate Constable
    • Narrated By Karen Ziemba
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Calwyn has lived all her life among the priestesses of Antaris, tending to her bees and dreaming of the mysterious world beyond the Wall. Then she discovers a man lying unconscious within the Wall, Darrow, who tells her of the fear and hatred that hold sway in the Outlands, where the magic arts of chantment are disappearing. They journey together to cities of golden stone and seas ruled by blood moons, gathering other chanters to them.

    Diana says: "Marvelous Special Sound Effects!!!"
    "The second time I couldn't finish it"
    Overall

    This is the second time that I've tried and failed to finish listening to this audio book. It's too bad, because I'm sure it's a fine story, but the background sound effects are so distracting that both times I've found myself unable to follow the story when they are at their heaviest. I'm a great consumer of audio books and have had this one in my library for over a year, but can't seem to care enough about the story to stick with it. I don't think it's the quality of writing that's turning me off - it's the constant noise distraction.

    Plus, the singing is incredibly discordant. It hurts my ears. It's not pleasant to listen to. My hope is that the producer either re-does this book without the background singing, or at the very least requires the singers to sing in the same key. As it is, the effect is like nails on a chalkboard.

    I'm planning on buying this book and reading it. I have a feeling it's a nice fantasy story, if slightly cliche, and I'd like to experience the book as the author intended it to be experienced. I'm afraid I can only give the audio version two stars.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Seventh Son: Tales of Alvin Maker, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Gabrielle de Cuir, Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1083)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (495)

    Born into an alternative frontier America where life is hard, and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with power, but he must learn to use his gift wisely. Dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

    Melissa says: "Great story, great reading"
    "Great story, great reading"
    Overall

    Seventh Son has always been one of my favorite books. I waited for a very long time for an unabridged audio version. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations, but the cast more than delivered. All the readers are so very talented. My only complaint is that Rev. Thrower sometimes lapses in and out of his Scottish accent, but it happens at appropriate enough times.

    Seventh Son is creative storytelling at its very best. As an "alternate history" of America, you can't beat this book for color and charm. The characters are thoroughly believable and sympathetic.

    Frontiersy magic-stories might be a departure for Card fans who are used to his sci-fi works, but give Seventh Son and its sequels a try anyhow. Card comes through with his usual brilliant characterization, real dialogue, and perfectly paced plot.

    27 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Titan: A Tale of Cataclysmic Discovery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Gabrielle De Cuir, Stephen Hoye, Amanda Karr, and others
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    Master storyteller Ben Bova continues his multi-volume "Grand Tour" saga chronicling humanity's exploration of near space with Titan, a fast-paced thriller focused on the first manned mission to the Solar System's most intriguing world. Skillfully blending high drama, passionate characters, and daring speculation with the latest discoveries from the current Cassini/Huygens probe of Saturn's moon, Bova has crafted a heart-stopping tale of epic adventure on mankind's next frontier.

    J. Carpenter says: "Great voice tallent wasted on a lame book"
    "Couldn't even finish it."
    Overall

    If this is one of Ben Bova's best works, I will skip the rest. I couldn't even get halfway through this book, I got so fed-up with all the focus on who was dating whom and who was wearing what to the ball and how much weight whomever had lost and how. At least the first half of the book is severly lacking in sci-fi elements. I got to the point where I didn't even care about the probe anymore, I was so sick of wading through all the high-school drama. Reads like Cosmopolitan magazine in space.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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