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Alison

Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada | Member Since 2013

46
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 51 reviews
  • 51 ratings
  • 159 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hangman's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1338)
    Performance
    (1191)
    Story
    (1184)

    When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.

    goddess_of_pipework says: "Fascinating"
    "holy plot holes batman!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In general I love historical fiction and this book seemed like it would have lots going for it. But it failed in every aspect of it. The characters were flat, boring and cliche. The plot moved extremely slowly and 'clues' were gone over again and again and again and then again a few chapters later, in case you forgot. The whole book could have been half the length without losing anything. The translation was stilted, especially with idioms and phrases. For those who might be faint of heart, the descriptions of torture and killing is not extremely graphic but presented in a very matter-of-fact way. Probably not for everyone.

    My biggest problem with the book was continuity errors and plot holes. The editor of this book needs to be fired. Sometimes it's little things, like the main characters get covered in clay dust which they can't get off, and an hour later when one goes to town to get help, no one asks why they're all covered in dirt. When you find out who did it, I invite you to go back and read the initial descriptions of this character's physical characteristics and then read the big confrontation scene again. See the problem? Appalling.

    In the middle of the book, I thought I'd be giving this book maybe 3 stars and say that it was kind of ok for listening to in the car, but the completely frustrating plot hole at the end was the final turn of the thumb-screw for me. I confess: I hated this book. Would not recommend, will not buy the sequel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Glass Houses: Morganville Vampires, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Rachel Caine
    • Narrated By Cynthia Holloway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (877)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (582)

    Morganville, Texas, is a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad come out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows---one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

    Justin says: "Be Aware.."
    "nonsensical teenage blech"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alright, I buy these cheep teen paranormal romance novels when they go on sale, and I never go into them with high hopes. Yet they continue to disappoint. Putting aside the overall concept of the town run by vampires, it's just another bland series of events culminating in a predictable crisis brought on by the characters' own stupidity. Really, when you have a prodigy genius (who was accepted to Harvard, MIT, etc) as your main character, you kind of expect her to be a little bit brighter. I mean, at one point she suspects there might be vampires in the library, so breaks into the locked room, and then is SO surprised that there are vampires in there and doesn't know how to get away... Anyway, if you're looking for a teenage paranormal romance novel which features an odd group of friends who are combating supernatural forces without any parental supervision (and one of them is actually a ghost), then go read Maggie Steifvater's "The Raven Boys". It's about a million times better than this sorry excuse for a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Uneasy Lies the Crown: A Novel of Owain Glyndwr

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By N. Gemini Sasson
    • Narrated By Kyle McCarley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    This is the story of Owain Glyndwr, the last Welsh Prince of Wales. In the year 1399, Welsh nobleman Owain Glyndwr is living out a peaceful gentleman's life in the Dee Valley of Wales with his wife Margaret and their eleven children. But when Henry of Bolingbroke usurps the throne of England from his cousin Richard II, that tranquility is forever shattered. What starts as a feud with a neighboring English lord over a strip of land evolves into something greater - a fight for the very independence of Wales.

    Alison says: "dramatized history lesson"
    "dramatized history lesson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had high hopes for this book, it's in an era I love and Glyndwr is such a neat historical figure. It wasn't that this book was bad, so much as not really a novel. It follow the entire life and career for Glyndwr (and many of the other important figures associated with him) in the book by means of single chapter long snippets. Sometimes there's years and half a kingdom distance between the snippets, sometimes they follow more like novel chapters. Anyway, because it jumps around characters and covers so much of the man's life, I found it hard to really get a sense of character. The author tried to put in the character development and emotional conflicts, but it just didn't work for me. The narrator did a good job, but lots of the dialogue was spoken significantly quieter than the narrative bits, making listening kind of difficult.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lexicon

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Max Barry
    • Narrated By Heather Corrigan, Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (587)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (536)

    At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics - at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets": adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

    Tango says: "Fasten your seat belt..."
    "great premise + twisty plot = amazing!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Valcor. Vartex. Mannik. Wissik. Buy this book.

    Ok, it won't work on you, but what if, if you knew the right words, you could persuade anyone to do anything. That's the premise here. Specially trained Poets can manipulate just about anyone. But when a single word is discovered that could potentially destroy civilization, withstanding 'compromise' becomes the most important thing.

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought this book, I had optimism but so many books let me down. This wasn't one. Right from the get-go, this book gets you hooked and just keeps running. Usually, I can see where a book is going pretty early on, but this one just kept changing things up. Every time you think you have a handle on what's going to happen, everything changes. Good guys might be bad guys. Bad guys might be good guys, or they might be super evil guys. Barry keeps you guessing. It was great!

    Don't let the trite "she falls in love" in the plot synopsis make you think that this books is a fluffy thing about romance. It's more about Emily's consistent lack of ability to follow the rules. Sure love is one of those things, but I think the synopsis rather overstates it. This book is about so much more!

    As some of the other reviews have pointed out, the female narrator's Australian accent is a bit sad, but I try not to get too hung up on that kind of thing if the rest is quality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Affinity Bridge: A Newbury & Hobbes Investigation

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George Mann
    • Narrated By Simon Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (51)

    Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by unfamiliar inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, while ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen, and journalists.

    Doug says: "nowhere near as bad as reviewed"
    "typical steampunk"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was recommended to me by a friend, and it was definitely an enjoyable listen but doesn't really break any new ground. There's enough steampunk out there now that it uses all the cliches that we have come to expect: clever detective with adorable sidekick, Queen Victoria, allies at Scotland yard, dirigibles, killer automata, two seemingly different mysteries which are actually related, etc. etc. I'd say it's got more plot than say Gail Carriger but is less intense than Mark Hodder. I also liked the characters in this book better than the "Ministry of Peculiar Occurences" novels, although I'd say they are otherwise on a similar level. Actually, I recently read The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Hodder and it was interesting to see how Hodder and Mann handled the same elements: automata and zombies. The narrator was good, although his female voices were a little too high and over exaggerated sometimes. There were also a number of editing slip-ups, where the narrator stops suddenly, does some rather hilarious vocal exercises then carries on. Bottom line: standard steamed fare

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1194)
    Performance
    (544)
    Story
    (550)

    Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

    Scott says: "Scicen Fiction Can Be Literature"
    "intriguing concept but really slow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Explaining the parallel universe concept and outsider criticism of society seemed to be far more important to the author of this book than actual plot was. The assortment of characters were kind of interesting enough to get you through, but the whole thing left me wishing that there was more to the novel. It kind of reminded me of Brave New World, where the author has spent so much intellectual time on the backdrop that they don't have any effort left for making the characters do things. The only conflict in the novel which seems to have anything hanging on its outcome is the trial in the Neanderthal universe, and even that is so bogged down by repetition and talk of social order that it looses any weight.

    As always, Jonathan Davis is the world's greatest narrator. The novel seems determined to highlight Canada's multiculturalism, so there are tons of accents, which Davis does admirably. Ok, I won't lie, his French Canadian accent maybe leaves something to be desired, but he's so great at everything else that I'm not going to hold it against him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Living Dead in Dallas: Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    Overall
    (4431)
    Performance
    (2310)
    Story
    (2314)

    After an unfortunate incident, Sookie finds herself beholden to a group of Louisiana vampires. So she agrees to travel to Dallas with her undead boyfriend Bill and track down a missing vamp, but only if the vampires promise to let local humans go unharmed.

    Jessica says: "enjoyed it but was not in love with it"
    "two novellas for the price of one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was somewhat less enjoyable than the first one in the series, but it was still a good listen. There are basically two plots in the book, what happens in Dallas and what happens with the murder in BonTemps. I guess since there wasn't really enough plot in either to make a single book, they got kind of jammed together into one book. They're both in there, but neither really has much to do with the other.

    I would have given the story four stars, but the Dallas section of the plot kind of pissed me off in spots. For a psychic and a bunch of old, supposedly clever vampires the Sookie crew really makes some stupid decisions. You would think they know better. But, what are you going to go? :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Etiquette & Espionage: Finishing School, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Moira Quirk
    Overall
    (1138)
    Performance
    (1051)
    Story
    (1057)

    Fourteen-year old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. More interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea - and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy - Mrs. Temminnick is desperate her daughter become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

    But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish all right - but it's a different kind of finishing.

    Lynne Phelps says: "Fans of the Parasol Protectorate, Rejoice!"
    "fun but all style and not enough substance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like most (probably) I got this because I enjoy Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books. If you liked those books, you'll probably like this. It's an adorable kind of book. If you haven't read her adult books, I don't know what you'll think of this book. There is a lot about the England this book takes place in that isn't really explained (aka not explained at all), like any background whatsoever with regards to the supernatural.

    I couldn't give the plot more stars for two reasons. Firstly, the book really doesn't have much of a plot. Things just sort of happen as it becomes necessary for characters to do things rather than just exist. It's definitely more about meeting beloved characters that we know well as adults and setting the scene for future books than it is about the 'mystery' or whatever you'd like to label the plot here. Now, if you don't think too hard about anything and just happily go with the flow, then this lack of plot won't bother you. Just have low expectations.

    My second issue is with the intended audience. I imagine most readers will be (as mentioned) adults who liked her other books. But it's definitely intended for a young adult audience....or so it sort of seems. Now, Sephronia is young for most young adult heroines, and there isn't any romance whatsoever (which is just fine, the girl is 14!). That's all fine and well, but given what else is out there for teen readers, this book will probably come across as rather tame. Younger teens might like it, but vocabulary might be a concern for tweens.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4288)
    Performance
    (1974)
    Story
    (1998)

    Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

    Suzn F says: "I was not sure for a while then......."
    "disjointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had really high expectations for this novel, and there were tons of great reviews, so when it failed to live up to that, I was quite disappointed. The book is almost more a collection of novellas rather than a start to finish story of Elphaba's life. I guess what I didn't like was the disconnect between each of the parts. I just couldn't really see how each previous part shapes Elphaba into the person she is in the next part. For example, given the first section's description of her parents, I can't really see why she is the way she is at university. By the end of the book, I wasn't sure why she was doing anything that she was doing.

    Furthermore, parts of the overall plot weren't really that well explained. Now, it's been a while since I last read The Wizard of Oz, so maybe I ought to have given it a reread before I started this, but points like why is Nessa Rose considered to be 'wicked' aren't explained, and it just adds confusion to an already fractured plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angelfall: Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Susan Ee
    • Narrated By Caitlin Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1034)
    Performance
    (953)
    Story
    (962)

    It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her 17-year-old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel. Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival.

    Brooke says: "Creep-tastic!"
    "disappointing, even by cliched teen standards"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, this book has all the cliches that you've come to expect from teen paranormal romances: spunky heroine out to protect her sister, fatherless, having problems with her mother (who has psychological problems); older 'hero' who reluctantly helps the heroine and generally acts like an ass, who is considerably older than her; dystopian future. However, even going in with low standards, this book wasn't great. The entire premise was kind of disappointing. The whole 'apocalypse' thing is all fine and well but there's just no rationale behind any of the stuff that's going on. Maybe the best way to explain it is that the author seems to have some grand scheme in mind which explains why all the stuff that's happening is happening, but by the end of the book you still don't even really understand what the true conflict is, let alone how to solve anything. Maybe, if the entire angel political conflict (or its significance in terms of the apocalypse) and the whole children/monsters thing had been better explained, I might have given this book a better review.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Casino Royale

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (1279)
    Performance
    (747)
    Story
    (752)

    Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome, chillingly ruthless, and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming's tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called "Le Chiffre" by ruining him at the Baccarat table, forcing his Soviet spymasters to "retire" him. It seems that lady luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules.

    Pork C. Fish says: "Ouch!"
    "classic Bond"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All the things you love about James Bond without the crazy complicated tangents of the movie versions. Great narration. Not much more needs to be said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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