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Elizabeth

I read speculative fiction, YA, mysteries, entertaining nonfiction, & occasionally, heavier literature. I want it well written & literate.

Decatur, GA, United States | Member Since 2007

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 58 ratings
  • 476 titles in library
  • 67 purchased in 2014
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  • The Land of Laughs

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jonathan Carroll
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (295)

    Thomas Abbey is a man stuck in a rut. To kick-start his life, he takes a sabbatical to work on a biography of his favorite writer, the mysterious Marshall France. Although Abbey has been warned that France's daughter, Anna, has blocked all previous attempts at her father's biography, he is surprised to find her the soul of small-town hospitality and quite excited about Abbey's proposal. Even stranger than Anna's behavior, though, is the town itself. The people seem to know what their future holds - freak accidents and all - down to the hour.

    Daryl says: "It's Not You - It's Me"
    "Wonderfully imagined"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The reviewing format that audio has set up can be helpful, but in this case makes it difficult to say what I liked and disliked without "spoiling" this book. Because as with the other Jonathan Carroll book I read, "White Apples" I loved the book with reservations. What I loved was the amazing imagination at work here. My favorite sort of speculative fiction is a book that changes one thing about life as we know it, and plays with that concept. This book does that splendidly. I was enthralled. Which was a good thing, because as with "White Apples", I found the egocentric main character and very hard to empathize with. He treats the female characters as useful tools to be used and disgarded, with no real human attachment. Despite this,I would still recommend this book. It was a fascinating read.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Fuzzy Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4322)
    Performance
    (3813)
    Story
    (3814)

    In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesnt care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorps headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporations headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, thats not up for discussion.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Short, sweet, and satisfying storytelling."
    "Great, Rollicking Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Fuzzy Nation again? Why?

    Yes, because it is a fabulous roller coaster ride. Exciting and funny, this book begins with an apparently morally bankrupt character trying to weasel out of responsibility for an environmental disaster he has caused. By the books end you are cheering for him. Making that journey had me sitting up until three in the morning, listening in the dark.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jack Holloway, the main character is a sleaze bag. A wisecracking disbarred lawyer, who teaches his dog to detonate explosives. Will he do the right thing in the end? Read it and find out.


    What does Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi (Introduction) bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wheaton is a fine, interesting reader. I was particularly struck by his voicing of the alien creature, Papa. It was much, much better than the narrator's voice inside my head, and added so much to the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Many times I laughed out loud. Once I cried.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is based on a sixties novel, "Little Fuzzy". I was surprised when I went looking how to spell a character name to learn fans of the original novel seem to really hate this book. Not having read it, I have no way to compare. Perhaps Mr. Scalzi sacrifices some of the depth of the original for an exciting read? Maybe listening to a talented reader bring it to life makes it more than it would be in print? I only know I really, really enjoyed listening to it, as I did the other two Scalzi novels I have listened to., and I have just added another to my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Among Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (773)
    Performance
    (668)
    Story
    (669)

    Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

    Eoin says: "Subtle Character Piece"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Among Others?

    Talking about the most memorable moments would risk spoilers


    What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Finding out what Welsh sounds like when I can't travel there was wonderful, and greatly added to the story


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A fascinating journey with one of the most memorable of literary young people


    Any additional comments?

    Have you read Jo Walton? I just finished "Among Others" and am very excited to find she has written a bunch of other books. "Among Others" is set in South Wales. The main character is fifteen, and a survivor of something horrible in her past, something not explained at the beginning of the book. She also talks to fairies, but the reader is unsure if they are really there or the product of a traumatized mind. Her main character, Mor, is wonderful. She is fifteen, brilliant, troubled, geeky, and obsessed with Science Fiction (Meg from "Wrinkle in Time" combined with Holden Caulfield), and the SF part is wonderful because the story is a frame for lists, discussion, and debate about books that I read during my first love affair with the genre, as the book is set in 1979. I loved this book, but it had something in common with one of my other favorite books, "Swamplandia". I think the author was propelled by her fabulous characters, and fabulous world, and didn't know how to end her story, so the ending was somewhat abrupt, a tad deus ex machina. But I will forgive her that because it was a fabulous journey. I listened to this book, and found the reader, Katherine Kellgren, to be wonderful. I had no idea what a Welsh accent would sound like (my kids were enormously amused by my struggle with the language in "The Dark Is Rising" series) so I was fascinated with the lilt and nuance of the language, but the aural book was also frustrating because I so wanted a written record of all the books mentioned and discussed. I should have used the note taking and bookmarking features, but I was too anxious to find out what happens.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Royal Pain: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (2568)
    Performance
    (2229)
    Story
    (2212)

    The Queen of England has concocted a plan in which penniless aristocrat Lady Georgie is to entertain a Bavarian princess and conveniently place her in the playboy prince's path, in the hopes that he might finally marry.

    But queens never take money into account. Georgie has very little, which is why she moonlights as a maid-in-disguise.

    Coffee Lover says: "More Royal Fun!"
    "Fluff-y Fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to A Royal Pain the most enjoyable?

    Talented reader reading entertaining story with much sly humor .


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Will lady Georgiana survive penury, difficult relatives and friends, dead bodies in the bathtub, and murder attempts or be shipped off to a backwater to be lady in waiting to an aging royal? Time and an entertaining read will tell.


    What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful voicing of diverse characters


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Giggled repeatedly


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swamplandia!

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Karen Russell
    • Narrated By Arielle Sitrick, David Ackroyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (398)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (271)

    The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly number-one in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost.

    Suzn F says: "Sometimes Brilliant, Sometimes Disappointing"
    "Amazing, powerful, haunting, and funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Swamplandia!?

    The wonderful, screwy fabulous Bigtree family.Before circumstances send them spinning out of control, I wanted to be one of them, wrestling alligators, and running wild in the Florida everglades.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ava Bigtree of course. Precocious, funny, brave, the loss of her mother leaves her untethered and vulnerable to evil.


    What does Arielle Sitrick and David Ackroyd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators vividly capture the voices of Karen Russell's wonderful characters


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Unforgetable


    Any additional comments?

    This is a wonderful, wonderful book, one of my favorites of all time. Everyone should read it. That said, I thought that Russell didn't know how to end it. I found the last bit of the book weaker than the start, but it is still an a fabulously imagined world with characters that jump off the page, voices that will stay with you for the rest of your life. How can a book be side splittingly funny, and heartbreakingly tragic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bloody Jack

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By L.A. Meyer
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1615)
    Performance
    (1096)
    Story
    (1090)

    Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of 18th-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret.

    Terry says: "Sometimes it clicks"
    "Guilty, addictive pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Bloody Jack in three words, what would they be?

    Vivid, enthralling, and entertaining.


    What other book might you compare Bloody Jack to and why?

    Dicken's boys, David Copperfild and Oliver Twist because the heroine is an orphaned waif from the same era, but this book combines them with a penny dreadful novel: plot driven exciting heroic and over the top.


    Which character – as performed by Katherine Kellgren – was your favorite?

    Jackie Faber, of course. Jackie is audacious, fearless, funny, over the top, and a great hearted.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both.


    Any additional comments?

    Oh the reader! She is so very vivid in her reading, and characterization There are probably holes and rough parts to this novel, but who would notice, because we are busy being swept along by her memorable Jackie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The City & The City

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By China Mieville
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (902)
    Performance
    (477)
    Story
    (480)

    When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined. Borl must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own.

    James says: "Interesting Premise"
    "What a wonderful book!"
    Overall

    This book's main character would be right at home in a Henning Mankell or Elizabeth George noir detective novel, intense, brooding, and intelligent, it is clear that his work is the focus of his life. The book however, is very different from a classic detective novel because of the wonderful, intensely strange cities in which it is set. Without going into too much detail, which would spoil the lovely sense of discovery the reader experiences as initial confusion changes to awestruck fascination with this amazing imaginary city. The book is literate, exciting, and so amazingly creativeI I was sad to see it come to an end. and I immediately looked for everything else China Mieville has written. The reader, John Lee, also deserves kudos for bringing the book so vividly to life. First rate.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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