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Annie

Toronto | Member Since 2008

178
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 25 reviews
  • 359 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
31

  • Eve

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Anna Carey
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (336)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (305)

    Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose - and the horrifying fate that awaits her. Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive.

    Amanda says: "Loved It! But heartbroken! Must read!!!"
    "I just didn't care..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...about the characters, about their relationships, about anything.

    I could blame the fact that I had just finished listening to Veronica Roth's Divergent, which is a hard act to follow. That's a book that gets it right, and by the end you can't wait to hear what comes next. I was completely invested in each character and believed that the romance at the heart of it was genuine and deep. In the case of Eve, I didn't buy it. And I can't see myself buying any more of the series when it comes out.

    The problem, I believe, is that too much happens too quickly. The book is just six and a half hours long. I do like a book to get going quickly, but the first half hour of this book was ridiculously paced. If the author had taken a little more time to build things up, to give us layer after layer of rich detail, then the characters would have seemed more real and therefore their relationships more honest and ultimately, the stakes would be higher for the reader. I felt like the author was just following a blueprint for this sort of novel, but there was no heart at the centre of it. That's pretty bad for a book that is supposed to be about love.

    Also, the narration didn't do much for me. It wasn't terrible, but some of the voices really grated on me.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War

    • ABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
    Overall
    (2694)
    Performance
    (2547)
    Story
    (2552)

    World War Z: The Complete Edition is a new recording of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, featuring 21 additional Hollywood A-list actors and sci-fi fan favorites performing stories not included in the original edition. New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more!

    Kim Venatries says: "A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED"
    "Finally!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Now that the missing 4-5 minutes of Chapter 3 have been restored and my previous (very whiny, I admit) comments have been scrubbed, I can do a proper job of reviewing this long-awaited edition of World War Z.

    WWZ has a scope that is unlike any other zombie novel that I know of. It's true that we don't get to know any of the characters really well; the segments range from just a few minutes to an hour or so. But the overall effect of the dozens of different stories layered on top of one another--some political, some personal, many both--is to emphasize the world-wide nature of the crisis. I don't think any other zombie novel has accomplished this. I love that stories from around the world are lightly linked by repeated mentions of certain people, places, battles, policies, etc. I also love that the author has not spelled everything out for us or given us a full timeline. We get enough glimpses that we can put things together ourselves.

    If you are looking for a typical zombie novel, with a group of survivors on the run, this may not be for you. But haven't you read enough of those already? Give this one a try.

    As for performances, most are good. I admit that I don't have much of an ear for accents, but a few of them sound off, either wrong or just overdone. But the majority of the performances are solid and a few are stunning. The best of the lot, for me, are Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio, Frank Darabont as Roy Elliot, Alfred Molina as Terry Knox, Rob Reiner as "the Whacko", Becky Ann Baker as Christina Eliopolis, and Eamonn Walker as Xolelwa Azania.

    (Another reviewer suggests that the accent chosen for the character of Xolelwa Azania is not appropriate. Without giving anything away...isn't that the twist that makes the story so good?)

    4 of 5 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
    (781)
    Performance
    (717)
    Story
    (715)

    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..."
    "Beautiful Story, Beautiful Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the final minutes of Requiem, Lena notes that the Cureds are looking for certainty. They choose the procedure as a form of protection against the unknown. And while she understands the sadness and grief of change, of not being sure, she has chosen faith instead of knowing.

    It makes sense, then, that the book ends with uncertainty. What is more uncertain than loving someone? No, we don't get a whole lot of closure. But that's the point. Requiem would be a failure if it wrapped up everyone's lives in pretty little packages, and I would have been disappointed.

    This book is beautiful, haunting and poetic, like the two that came before. And Sarah Drew is magnificent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lost in the Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Yossi Ghinsberg
    • Narrated By Pat Young
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    Four travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare, and after weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth, the four backpackers split up into two groups. But when a terrible rafting accident separates him from his partner, Yossi is forced to survive for weeks alone against one of the wildest backdrops on the planet.

    Annie says: "An Okay Survival Story"
    "An Okay Survival Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love a great survival story, but this one is merely satisfactory.

    There's a lot of "this happened, and then this, and then that" in Ghinsberg's tale. He shares many icky details about parasites and infections (what happens to his feet is truly disturbing) that bring the ordeal to life. He doesn't spare his ego at all, describing one highly embarrassing injury (ouch!) and a couple of gross-out moments involving soiling himself. You really do feel for the guy, and his increasing frustration and despair is obvious. Almost everything goes against him, and even though we know he survived, it does seem doubtful at many points in the story.

    But ultimately, there's not much depth here. I like survival stories that have something to say about the human condition, and while Ghinsberg touches on topics like religion and talks about a special talisman given to him by a relative, it is "interesting" rather than "significant".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jane Eyrotica

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Charlotte Brontë, Karena Rose
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    An erotic retelling of a timeless literary classic. Jane Eyre has lived a sheltered, callous life. Orphaned at a young age and despised by her remaining family, she is shipped off to Lowood School and can only dream of tenderness and affection. Upon accepting a governess position at Thornfield Hall, a world of passion, desire, and sex explodes before her naive eyes in the form of the brooding, dashing master of the house: Mr. Rochester.

    Lia says: "I Enjoyed The Book"
    "Bland"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book looking for a fun, sexy, campy "romp". I wanted to imagine what those prim and proper characters from one of my favourite novels were REALLY up to, the bits Bronte wouldn't tell us. I wanted to see taboos broken. I wanted sex to explode off every page.

    What I got was a seriously abridged version of the classic with seven or eight sex scenes added in. That's less than one sex scene per hour. You cannot call that erotica. And the sex is so...bland. It's all male/female, for starters. And no threesomes, groups, etc. No voyeurism. No kink. Sure, a riding crop makes a token appearance (it doesn't really get used), and at once point Jane's hands are bound above her head with a bed curtain tie. Yawn.

    On the plus side, the reader was very good. She might be the only reason I finished the book.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Royale

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki (translator)
    • Narrated By Mark Dacascos
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (141)

    As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English-language audio for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world.

    TCL says: "Not for those with a weak stomach!"
    "Do you have a crush on anyone?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kids are being murdered in some pretty brutal ways, and yet they spend an awful lot of time discussing their crushes. I find this distracting and ridiculous.

    Also distracting is the bad writing. I cannot tell if it's the fault of the author or the translator, but this book contains grammatical errors, at least one confusion between meters and centimeters, and this horrible line: "For a moment, Yutaka fell silent, but then he answered immediately." You cannot have that "moment" and then an immediate answer. There are dozens more lines like this that made me laugh out loud and took me out of the story.

    I feel bad for the narrator. I cannot evaluate his performance fairly because the writing is stilted and unnatural. I suspect he did what he could.

    All of this is unfortunate because there is something interesting in this book. I was fascinated by ways the relationships between these kids unraveled because of distrust. And given what is revealed at the end about why the program exists, it makes perfect sense. Making people suspicious of one another has always been a key tactic of totalitarian states. But there is too much bad writing, and I could not enjoy the story.

    Note to those about to listen: You might want to find a list of characters online and print it out for reference. I am one of those people who has trouble with foreign names, and there are so many characters in this book and the names are sometimes so similar that I lost track a few times. I mean, there's one scene with Yukie, Yuka AND Yuko. I nearly lost my mind.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • While My Family Sleeps: An M-M-F Ménage

    • UNABRIDGED (47 mins)
    • By Alex Anders
    • Narrated By Alex Anders
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Izzie invites her gorgeous boyfriend, Tye, to her family's annual lake house vacation. After Tye disappears from their bed, Izzie finds him standing over her hot twin brother as he sleeps on the couch. Aroused by what she sees, Izzie hides in the shadows and watches as her masculine boyfriend vulnerably explores his secret desires with the hot, hung men in her family as they peacefully sleep. This story contains very explicit descriptions of erotic and sexual situations written for extreme genital arousal. Mature listeners only.

    Annie says: "I bought it because of the warning"
    "I bought it because of the warning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I mean, when you are promised "extreme genital arousal", what can you do?

    The thing about erotica is, I'm pretty particular about my tastes. I think most people are. I can appreciate widely varying styles in other genres, but not in erotica. I'm so particular, I usually write my own.

    While My Family Sleeps is not as hardcore as I would like. It also moved a little slow, with more rumination over the sex about to happen than actual sex. I guess some people like anticipation. Not me. And maybe there was too much worrying by the main character about whether or not he was cheating, gay, etc.

    Now, I loved the set up. The pseudo-incest (gawd, am I really going to submit this review??), the voyeurism, the bi-curious theme...this REALLY should have worked for me.

    There is no doubt that this is a well-written story. The author is talented and an okay reader, and some people will enjoy it. But I did not. I feel bad about that, but the fact is, my genitals remained...unaroused.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • 172 Hours on the Moon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Johan Harstad
    • Narrated By Casey Holloway
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    It's been more than 40 years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2 - a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world, and they have only one thing in common: They aren't especially interested in space travel.

    Linda B says: "Agree with other review - something missing"
    "Didn't Gel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For many of the reasons already stated here by other reviewers, this story was a disappointment. It never came together for me.

    First, these kids are going to the moon! THE MOON! Where is the sense of wonder? The writing is flat when it should be brimming with urgency. It's a pretty great subject, but it sounds like the author knows about as much as I do about the moon...which is to say, not much. Where are the details that bring such things to life for readers/listeners? Everything gets skimmed over. Months of training for the mission come down to a few paragraphs. The launch and subsequent landing on the moon get the same sparse treatment.

    (And yet the author wastes pages and pages telling us about the ex-girlfriend of one of our lucky space-traveling teens...for no reason I can see.)

    Second, there was too much "telling" and not enough "showing", and I never felt a connection to any of the characters because I could not get inside their heads.

    Also, it contains the most dismal excuse for a romance imaginable. It is almost as if the author realized that all YA novels MUST contain a love story (it's some kind of rule, apparently) and threw one in at the last minute.

    Finally, I disliked the narrator. She was okay when not trying to do accents, but it was the accents that really ruined the reading for me.

    The second half was marginally better than the first half. There were some creepy moments, and the ending was good (if predictable). But I'd give this one a pass if I were you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1133)
    Performance
    (985)
    Story
    (996)

    In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his life... and then walk a mile to a doctor's house for help? Who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends who vow to discover the truth of van Gogh's untimely death.

    Melinda says: "Is Nothing is Sacre'?"
    "Dirty Jokes and Fine Art"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At last, that year I spent studying art history pays off!

    Not that you need to know anything about art history to enjoy this book. The chapter guide is very helpful. Well, I discovered it just after I'd finished the book, but it LOOKS helpful. Have it handy while you listen.

    So, here is Moore doing what he does best, crafting a story that is intelligent and moving, but also bawdy and goofy. There's that mystery I mentioned, and some romance, lots of sex and other "vices", and thoughtful ruminations on the nature of inspiration and the sacrifices that must be made for art.

    The main character, baker/painter Lucien Lessard, is great, but it's Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who steals the show as Lucien's drunken horndog sidekick. We need another book about him!

    The narration is superb. I loved what Euan Morton did with Fool, and his performance here is just as lively.

    I can't give Sacr?? Bleu a full five stars for the story. I want to, but it doesn't quite equal Moore's masterpieces Lamb and Fool. There are some aspects of the story that don't quite gel, and maybe it gets a bit too complicated for its own good. But it's really, really close. I've already started listening to it for a second time.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (400)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (351)

    What happens when a young child is traumatized? How does terror affect a child's mind---and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses to their own parents' murders, children raised in closets and cages, the Branch Davidian children, and victims of family violence. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.

    Marilyn says: "Changed a Sixth-Grade Teacher's Life"
    "Heartbreaking Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this book over two days, and at the end of it I felt pretty depressed. The many stories of neglect, abuse and trauma were overwhelming, but I could not stop listening, and alternately felt anger, disbelief, sadness and hope.

    The brain science, I admit, went over my head in several places, but the ultimate message of the book (that relationships are the agents of change) rang true. The final hour or so is a plea for stronger communities, better support for families and education about children and their development, cooperation over competition, and a parenting style that allows kids to take risks, make decisions and experience the world.

    The authors' theory that solid relationships can go a long way to preventing problems, or fixing them once they've happened, makes a lot of sense to me. And I appreciate that while medications are sometimes necessary for these kids, they are by no means the most important part of their therapy. The authors also reject the notion that we are all slaves to our genes and that these kids turned out the way they did because they were programmed to do so. I feel there is some hope in these messages.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Pandemonium

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Lauren Oliver
    • Narrated By Sarah Drew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1144)
    Performance
    (1031)
    Story
    (1037)

    I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven taught me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her.I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame. Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bests eller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

    Emily - Audible says: "Remarkably Mature for YA"
    "Unexpected and Terrific!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did not even know Delirium was the first book in a trilogy until I spotted Pandemonium on the Audible front page a few days ago. What an unexpected thrill! I loved Delirium and really needed something good to listen to this week.

    To start, the narration is perfect. All the emotion and poetry of the book is there in Sarah Drew's performance.

    The structure of this story is different from the more straightforward one used in the first book. This one flips back and forth between "Then" (Lena's time in the Wilds) and "Now" (her adventures in New York as part of the Resistance). I think this helps keep the pacing even, spreading the romance over the entire book rather than squeezing it into the second half. It was not hard for me to keep track of where she was, and both narratives are equally compelling and heartbreaking.

    Bits of it dragged, though, especially Lena and Julian's long trek underground. And some of the plot developments were predictable, like the Resistance having a darker side. But these are minor quibbles.

    The ending was startling, though not unexpected. I cannot wait until the next book. Hope I'm not waiting too long!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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