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Christine

Love books that paint pictures, authors that can construct worlds with depth and completeness, so that you feel like you can see behind the curtain. I also love characters that have complicated inner lives, ones that don't always know exactly how they feel about everything, or what they're going to do next.

St Paul, MN, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
276
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
22

  • Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (620)
    Performance
    (556)
    Story
    (550)

    Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences - the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling - will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest...

    Suzanna says: "Great Steampunk - worth a listen"
    "So this is steampunk..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not a qualified steampunk reader, so forgive me if I hit things with an obvious stick, but what fun! For those, like me, who are strangers to this universe: the science is wonky, steam powered and fantastical. History is not following the course that it did in our history books, so don't be alarmed by drastic departures. At times this seems like both an homage to and a parody of Victorian fantastic fiction, but with a thoroughly modern sensibility. I love that the male lead character is allowed to decide to be gentile and mannered and horrified by the behavior of the female lead character who is fierce and cunning, while at the same time fascinated by her. The role reversal seems natural and satisfying, both for the characters and for me, the reader.

    I see this so often in the youngsters my son knows: gentle boys and fierce girls. Perhaps that is why this kind of literature is so popular with their generation. This world is turned on its head, but in a way perhaps it is truer than the world we live in.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ghost Bride: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Yangsze Choo
    • Narrated By Yangsze Choo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (79)

    Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lims' handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

    Janice says: "Fell just a little short of my expectations"
    "Fantasy, Folklore and Fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a lovely book full of fun characters, and a fantastic journey drawn from folklore. Chinese folklore, very different from western folklore. I thoroughly enjoyed these unfamiliar vistas drawn from the Chinese traditions of the supernatural and the afterlife. The author did a great job of introducing the reader to the rules and the players.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Inquiry into Love and Death

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Simone St. James
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    After her ghost-hunting uncle Toby dies, Oxford student Jillian must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, terrifying events convince Jillian that an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the 200-year-old ghost that haunts the bay? And who besides the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death really an accident? And the arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers....

    Jacqueline says: "Old Fashioned Ghost Story ----"
    "I love this author."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this author. I love the way this author handles the supernatural, ghost as character almost, as well as a mystery, but still genuinely frightening without being unnecessarily gory. I love the way the character inhabits the setting, the way the supporting characters are revealed, how they're well realized people with inner workings of their own.

    I will be watching this author for more works. I hope audible is watching, too.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Island of Bones: Crowther and Westman, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Imogen Robertson
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    England, 1783: In Island of Bones, Crowther’s haunting past is at last revealed. For years he has pursued his forensic studies - and the occasional murder investigation - far from his family estate. But an ancient tomb there will reveal a wealth of secrets. When laborers discover an extra body inside, the lure of the mystery brings Crowther home at last. Fans of both historical fiction à la Anne Perry and the intricate forensics of Tess Gerritsen will be delighted by Robertson’s latest.

    Christine says: "This series is now on my favorites list"
    "This series is now on my favorites list"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like these characters. I appreciate that their relationship isn't predicated on teetering constantly on the edge of romance. I enjoy that they appreciate each other for their skills, for what each one brings to the investigation. I like that they have families and friends that continue to exist even when the story focus moves away from them. The author has created an interesting cast that is rather large, but she handles their numbers rather deftly (although I'm tempted at times to keep notes so I don't get confused - who was that? A trick I have to employ with Dickens.) Emotions ring true. People are imperfect and make mistakes. Even our heroes make mistakes, sometimes awful ones. Villains are seldom complete monsters, more often complex with real hurts and motivations of their own.

    The author seems to know a lot about the history of this time, and cares enough about it to be consistent, and to employ elements and events large and small in her story lines. I get an impression of a lot of research, of an encyclopedic command of the details. Characters have conversations studded with topics and terms showing real familiarity with period skills and news of the day, world events are pressing on their minds, they are plagued by the limits of period science and belief, they are completely creatures of the world that Robertson has recreated. It is a treat to spend some time in that world looking around corners, noticing the little treasures and delights scattered in your path all for the sake of atmosphere and immersion in the time period.

    I recommend this book without hesitation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Southern Gods

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By John Hornor Jacobs
    • Narrated By Eric G Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin' John Hastur. The mysterious blues man's dark, driving music - broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio statio - is said to make living men insane and dead men rise. Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil.

    John W. Patton says: "Big, Bold and Bright"
    "Great flawed attempt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd say Southern Gods is worth it for Lovecraftian Horror fans just for the first, really great half, which is a stunning ride, an idea brilliant in its conception and execution but lacking in its completion. The setting is cool, unusual, and nicely crafted, the idea is brilliant, the characters are interesting and pretty likeable for horror. But there's a point where the momentum suddenly stops. You seem to switch tracks into a secondary story, slower tempo, sodden mood. At that point, feel free to read something else. If you decide to slug it out to the final scene, you may not feel like your persistence was rewarded. I didn't. But the first half of the book - that was a gem. If the author could find a way to keep that kind of inventive, interesting scene and character thing going, with that feeling of tension and menace but at the snappy tempo of the first half of the book, he'd have something worth praise. As it is, I can recommend this book as an indication of an author to watch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bone Shop: A Marla Mason Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By T. A. Pratt
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (89)

    Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of Felport, a woman who's tangled with gods and monsters and come out on top (if a bit damaged in the process). Bone Shop tells the story of Marla's evolution from runaway to sorcerer's apprentice to mercenary magician and beyond. Fans of the urban fantasy series from Bantam Spectra that began with Blood Engines will find surprising secrets revealed about Marla's past, and new listeners can get to know the character from the very beginning.

    Dave says: "Top-Shelf Marla (and Pratt)!"
    "A great Marla prequel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As usual, this book is peopled with great characters, presided over by great flawed wonderful Marla. The world is a character in itself: hard, gritty and true; the author's conception of magic and its requirements both colorful and unique. We get to see Marla claw her way up from squalor to a kind of greatness, rising and falling on the way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Murder of Crows: A Sir Robert Carey Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By P. F. Chisholm
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    It’s September 1592, and the dark streets of London are full of people up to no good. The redoubtable Sergeant Dodd and that dashing Elizabethan gunslinger Sir Robert Carey are in London where Carey’s powerful father, Lord Henry Hunsdon, wants him to solve the mystery of a corpse that has washed up from the Thames River onto Her Majesty’s privy steps.

    Christine says: "Seems like a series but where are the other books?"
    "Seems like a series but where are the other books?"
    Overall

    The story is fun, the characters are the best part, and their relationships, to each other, to their families. They've clearly got a history. But where are the rest of these books? I finished this one, relishing picking up the next in the series (the title clearly indicated a series) but there's no more in the Audible library. Ack! Don't do this to me! I want to know what happens to these people next!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Company of Liars

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Karen Maitland
    • Narrated By David Thorpe
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (83)

    On this day of ill omen, plague makes its entrance. Within weeks, swathes of England will be darkened by death's shadow. While panic and suspicion flood the land, a small band of travelers comes together to outrun the breakdown in law and order. But when one of their number is found hanging from a tree, the chilling discovery confirms that something more sinister than plague is in their midst.

    Richard says: "A teller of tales"
    "I didn't see it coming-"
    Overall

    I have read a lot of historical novels, a lot of mysteries, and yet this one really surprised me, not something easily done anymore. The characters, became people I cared about as the story unfolded. I didn't pick this book right away, because the plague years were so dismal, so grindingly awful, I did not want to go there. When I finally picked this one up, I was surprised at how much the author had been able to do with this subject.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Spell Games: A Marla Mason Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By T. A. Pratt
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, T. A. Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (67)

    Mad sorcerers, psychic vampires, an army of vengeful demons, Marla Mason would rather face them all than a flesh-and-blood ghost from her dysfunctional family past: her con artist brother, Jason. As Felport's chief sorcerer, Marla would ordinarily consider it her duty to protect her town from such an unscrupulous ne'er-do-well. As his sister, things are a lot...trickier.

    Christine says: "Quite a ride"
    "Quite a ride"
    Overall

    After the first book in this series, I came back to audible and bought all the rest in one go. I have loved every book. The characters are amazingly well drawn and fun. You care about the plot, you care about the people, you even care about the weird magico-political system for gosh-sakes. I understand the reviewers who felt like this book left them hanging off a ledge. The cliff hangers at the end of this book are painful, I do feel left hanging, in part because the fate of characters I do care about is still in the balance. Do I feel like the story is incomplete? No. This was a natural break in the action, a natural completion of this set of events. Does it feel like the story could end here? Heck no. But the overarching story doesn't end, it is a series. I am willing to forgive Mr. Pratt for his cliffhanger, so long as he doesn't procrastinate writing the next one. Are you reading this, Mr. Pratt? Back to your typewriter!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Engines: A Marla Mason Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By T. A. Pratt
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, T. A. Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (264)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (125)

    Sorcerer Marla Mason, small-time guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla's life - and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla's only chance of survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere in San Francisco. But when she arrives there, Marla finds that the quest isn't going to be quite as cut-and-dried as she expected...

    Starr says: "The Title Explains It All"
    "Wow!"
    Overall

    This is a great book! The universe this author has created is varied, interesting and dangerous, and so are the characters. While some of the topics referred to are perhaps not appropriate for children, my teenager (who usually sneers at my audio books or asks if I can turn them off) was so hooked by this book he'd ask me to pause it when he left the room, and bugged me about looking for possible sequels.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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