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J. Wesner

Audio book addict - completely taken with the YA Dystopia genre, although I also like a good biography or sci-fi novel, especially when it involves time travel . . .

Member Since 2013

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 24 ratings
  • 60 titles in library
  • 19 purchased in 2014
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  • Article 5

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Kristen Simmons
    • Narrated By Jenny Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (101)

    Kristen Simmons’ thrilling debut novel Article 5 is the first in an eagerly anticipated dystopian trilogy. In a world where soldiers have replaced police, arrests are made for minor infractions, and the Bill of Rights has been replaced with the Moral Statutes, 17-year-old Ember Miller longs for the days when things were different. But when her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 by the only boy Ember has ever loved, her peaceful, low-profile life is thrown into chaos.

    Staaj says: "Holds Its Own Against the many YA Dystopian Novels"
    "Great Story with Brainless Heroine!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I feel as if I have a love/hate relationship with this story. Not surprising, when you read all the reviews. People generally are on the "I love it!" side or the "This was a total waste of my time" side.

    On the positive side, the story was pretty good. Some true lovers of the genre were disappointed that everything wasn't explained. For example, the war wasn't explained. Was it a civil war? Were our borders breached? I'm not sure it mattered in the long run. There was a war, it was terrible (as are all wars), it's over now, and the FBR is in control as we start the story. The Articles, as well as martial law, were made clear.

    The pacing was good. There was a lot of action and suspense. It was predictable if you read this sort of thing all the time; there were no real surprises. There were some really creepy scenes, which added to the appeal of the book. It was nothing if not entertaining. This speaks to the writing, which was good. It wasn't overly flowery or poetic, which would have been inappropriate for this sort of plot. There was really nothing profound, either. And I didn't find it witty or funny or smart. These are things which would have made it better, but the book was still good without them. I think it just reflects that this author is young in her writing.

    I had some serious problems with the characters. First off - great name, Ember Miller. Love that name! And for someone with such a great name, you'd think she'd have a functioning brain cell! There were so many times I found myself yelling at her idiocy that I almost gave up. It was hard to like a main character who wasn't just badass stubborn, but just flat stupid. She did impulsive things, didn't really learn anything from her mistakes, and most of all, didn't change until the very end. She never apologized for her behavior, blaming Chase for everything. And the thing that bugged me the most was the way she held this idealistic expectation of the world even when time after time it proved to be a bad place. I wanted to smack her and yell "Duh! What did you THINK was going to happen?" What may have been planned as naivete came across as willful, spiteful, childish behavior. She was anything but sympathetic.

    I did like Chase. He was as likable as Ember was irritating. His PTSD was believable. He was honest. The only fault I think he had was his dogged determination to "just keep her safe." I think one of my favorite parts of the book was when [ they have the conversation on the road after getting away from the crazy lady in the trailer. He finally tells Ember that she's an idiot. (hide spoiler)] Emotionally, Chase did all the work. It might have been ok if she had at least appreciated it.

    The angst and tension between the characters really got on my nerves. Just when I thought they'd finally be honest and get somewhere in terms of trusting each other, they would retreat or make asses of themselves. And here's the thing: I had to keep reminding myself that these two were 17 and 19 years old. Ember's maturity level should have risen far before it did based on her circumstances. If she was supposed to have street smarts from growing up poor and avoiding the soldiers, then she should have had more common sense than to think she could trust people.

    In the end, Ember did redeem herself, so I suppose that also redeemed the story for me. It's ok to dislike a character in a story as long as the story is still good. I don't think Simmons wrote a bad story, or wrote a good story badly. She just wrote a really irritating character with no common sense. For me to have gotten as mad at her as I did tells me that Simmons did a good job. If I hadn't cared about Ember, then it would have been a badly written book.

    Jenny Ikeda does a great job with the narration. And all things considered, it's a good read. I'm looking forward to the sequel, since Ember has (hopefully) finally gotten a clue. It's about time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Never Fade: Darkest Minds, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Alexandra Bracken
    • Narrated By Amy McFadden
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (171)

    Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader", but she knows what she really is: a monster. When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind.

    Rhegan says: "Great Story, Great Narrator, Annoying character..."
    "Just as good as Darkest Minds"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For a middle book, this one blows that "middle book syndrome" idea right out of the water. Wow! Every bit as action packed and drama driven as the first book, Alexandra Bracken has delivered a whopper of a sequel. The audio by Amy McFadden is superb. Every voice was distinct, every emotion appropriate. I am getting spoiled by all these voice actors and highly impatient with those who just narrate. This book is amazing. Just get it and listen to it - you're welcome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unearthly

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Cynthia Hand
    • Narrated By Samantha Quan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (389)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (323)

    Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

    Arwen says: "Engaging and Warm-hearted!"
    "Fantastic story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a wonderful coming of age story. The whole angel thing, although undeniably a prominent backdrop, is really overall secondary to the character's growth as a person. Self-esteem, identity, friendship, love - they're all the themes of this story. It is well-worth the read. Samantha Quan is a great narrator. If you're into Young Adult fiction and have any qualms about angels or the supernatural, this book may change your mind.

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

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jennifer L. Armentrout
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (224)

    When 17-year-old Katy Swartz moved to West Virginia right before her senior year, she'd pretty much resigned herself to thick accents, dodgy Internet access, and a whole lot of boring, but then she spotted her hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up...until he opened his mouth. Daemon Black is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. It's hate at first sight, but when a stranger attacks her and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens. The hot guy next door? Well, he's an alien.

    Katheryne says: "Holy Alien Hotness"
    "Good story if you can get past the narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm undecided on Jennifer Armentrout. I would prefer that the main character here (Katie) had less of a potty mouth - but that said, the story is pretty good. I liked the type of aliens here. Daemon (pronounced Demon? Didn't care for that) was a rather infuriating character. This wasn't a story that went where you thought it would - so that's good.

    Justine Eyre was a very bad choice as a narrator. She has a bit of a whine, her voice is entirely too low, and she can't do a West Virginia accent at all. She was a terrible match for this story. And that's sad, because it definitely colored my impression of the book. This one is better read in print.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Requiem: Delirium Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Lauren Oliver
    • Narrated By Sarah Drew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (803)
    Performance
    (737)
    Story
    (735)

    This exciting finale to Lauren Olive's New York Times best-selling Delirium trilogy is a riveting blend of nonstop action and forbidden romance in a dystopian United States. Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven.

    Katheryne says: "Where there is love there is freedom..."
    "Wow."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Requiem the most enjoyable?

    Sarah Drew. She's amazing. She makes the story come alive.


    What other book might you compare Requiem to and why?

    Delirium and Pandemonium, the first two books in the series. There is no comparison I have found for this series; even though there are other dystopian romances out there, none of them have had the emotional charge this one does. I just finished it; I am exhausted.


    Which character – as performed by Sarah Drew – was your favorite?

    I loved Lena, but I also loved Alex. He was so complex. And I loved his voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yep. All 10 hours. I couldn't stop listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Get ready to be wrecked by the end. This is a true emotional roller coaster.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Easy

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Tammara Webber
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (625)
    Performance
    (583)
    Story
    (589)

    A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

    Rita says: "Didn't Want to Stop Listening"
    "Guilty Pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I don't think I'd change anything; it is a relatively shallow, formulaic romance novel. It's like junk food for my brain - like chocolate, which isn't good for you in large quantities, but sometimes is just SO yummy . . .


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Article 5 by Kristen Simmons


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I think probably the scene where Jacqueline comes to Lucas' house, and he's been asleep and is wearing glasses.


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

    Oh yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Let's not pretend this is great, deep literature. It is what it is. It has a slightly pointed message about date rape and self-defense. But mainly it's just your basic romance novel. It is not remarkable, but it is entertaining.

    And Tara Sands is a wonderful narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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