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Mark Faine

HUNTSVILLE, AL, US | Member Since 2012


  • Croak

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Gina Damico
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Fed up with her wild behavior, 16-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business. She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next.

    Marjorie says: "Love. Love. Love. Love."

    Yes, I know it is YA, but this is juvenile even for YA. It isn't so much fantasy about being a Grimm Reaper but a different kind of fantasy, the kind preteen and teens have about life as an adult: having a boyfriend, having cool friends that really make them feel like they belong to an exclusive group, and doing it all without parental supervision.

    This book had so much potential, the premise is great if not entirely original, the plot itself is actually okay, but it is ruined by the fact that nearly every character is is an obnoxious child. They never stop bickering and wise cracking and it really isn't ever cute or funny, just annoying.

    I really kept thinking they would all just suddenly grow out of it when things got serious, but no, they never did. This was a bad buy on my part and that's on me, but maybe I can save someone else the disappointment.

    I liked the narrator, some of the voices were irritating but I think that is because they were accurate representations of the characters.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Written in Red: A Novel of the Others

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Anne Bishop
    • Narrated By Alexandra Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut - a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard - a business district operated by the Others. Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job.

    Angela says: "WOW!!!!! JUST WOW!"
    "Excellent Debut for new Anne Bishop Series"
    If you could sum up Written in Red in three words, what would they be?

    Refreshing Uplifting Fantasy

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Meg, of course. She represents the best in people, even in a world where people have good reason to be fearful and distrustful. She is very pleasant but is not portrayed as being weak because of it. She is strong and a survivor without being jaded or cynical. I find this refreshing. In fact, just about everything about this book is refreshing.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    So many to choose from it is hard to decide, but probably the scene at the lake. Mostly because it may be one of the few times I was upset with Meg, her decisions didn't seem to make sense at the time so I had to have faith that she knew what she was doing. That is asking a lot of the reader, and when that reader is me, it would usually be asking too much, though not this time.

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

    A few with Sam and Meg and I don't know if you would call it "moving" but I was full of righteous rejoicing when the others took out their retribution on those that had harmed their own.

    Any additional comments?

    I considered this book only because another reviewer had made it clear that it was not a romance novel in disguise. It seems hard to find good fantasy these days that isn't anything more than pretense for a three way love triangle romance novel.That isn't to say there can be no romantic elements to a story. Anne Bishop did it just right in this book but I know so many times I've been tricked by the first book in a series only to fall for a bait-and-switch once the second book is released. Let's hope that isn't the case this time. I would love to listen to however many books she writes for this series as long as they maintain the tone and quality that she has established, and they don't devolve into romance novels for teen girls. Bishop's twist on the fey and their place in the world is different but different in the best way possible. "Refreshing" really is the single word needed to describe this book.The narrator was the perfect fit for this story. At first, I thought she was too calm or read to slowly but she was actually perfect. Her voice is so relaxing and calm it was the perfect fit for our Meg. Seriously, I could listen to her read the phone book.The only fault I had with this book was that though it was 18 hours long (which is a good length) it felt so much shorter since I was nearly always listening to it. However, it probably isn't fair to fault a book for eventually ending. Now, my problem is to find something to follow it that doesn't depress me with its inferiority by comparison. Any suggestions?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eona: The Last Dragoneye

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Alison Goodman
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country’s savior — but she has an even more dangerous secret .She cannot control her power. Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido.

    Brett says: "Really good."
    "Ruined by Romance"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I liked the concept of this book and it was refreshing to get away from the usual supernatural mythology and dystopian future settings and into the world of Chinese mythology. I'm really reviewing both books because if you've read both the problem is far more obvious and I think it is best to write reviews on all books in a series, if you've read them all.

    There seems to be a disturbing pattern in the fantasy genre, maybe especially for YA Fantasy. That is, the bait and switch - the first book is usually good enough to hook you and then before you know it the entire thing has devolved into a romance novel. I'll say it one more time for all the authors out there. If you want to write a romance novel then write one, and clearly mark it as such, and categorize it in Romance, not Fantasy.

    To be clear, I'm not saying there can be no romantic elements at all, there should be, however, in nearly every case the fantasy aspects of the book are merely pretense for what is clearly intended to be a romance novel at its core. I expect balance, a little romance, mostly intimated and slow-walked through the entire series, that would nice, forsaking the main story line, not so nice.

    I find it hard to find anything good to listen to anymore so I guess overall it filled the silence, which would make it time well spent, though it could have been so much more.

    If you’ve listened to books by Alison Goodman before, how does this one compare?

    Only the first book, which was vastly superior in every way.

    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I don't like the way she virtually yelled the word "Chapter" at the beginning of each chapter, kind of off putting. She also mispronounced a few words, the only one I can recall is dour, though I believe there were others.

    Did Eona inspire you to do anything?

    Be more vigilant in my attempts to avoid Romance novels in disguise as Fantasy. Maybe stop reading anything beyond the first book in a series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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