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Annissa

Married. Mother. Student. Full-time job. 33 years old. Doctor Who fanatic. Not necessarily in that order.

Member Since 2012

63
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 86 ratings
  • 161 titles in library
  • 40 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
9

  • Doctor Who: The Winner Takes All: New Series Adventure 3

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Rayner
    • Narrated By Camille Coduri
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    Rose and the Doctor return to present-day Earth, and become intrigued by the latest craze the video game, Death to Mantodeans. Is it as harmless as it seems? And why are so many local people going on holiday and never returning? Meanwhile, on another world, an alien war is raging. The Quevvils need to find a new means of attacking the ruthless Mantodeans. Searching the galaxy for cunning, warlike but gullible allies, they find the ideal soldiers on Earth.

    Annissa says: "One of the best!"
    "One of the best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has quite possibly usurped "The Forever Trap" as my favorite Doctor Who novel. The story is solid, the characters are bang on, and Camille Coduri's narration is perfect. I was completely charmed by this book within the first ten minutes. It's as if Rayner knows these characters personally. You can easily envision them acting exactly as Rayner describes.

    I don't normally relisten to audiobooks, but this one is definitely going into rotation.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Dirty Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4337)
    Performance
    (1610)
    Story
    (1621)

    People start dropping dead around Charlie, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death.

    colleen says: "I loved it!"
    "Awful. Just awful."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was in the mood for something funny, so I did a search for Fiction / Humor and this one was at the top of the page. I was excited about it because I thought it would fill the "Dead Like Me"-shaped hole in my heart. Unfortunately, what I got was a huge list of one-note characters and ton of sophomoric humor. Literally every character in this book is a stereotype. The Russian neighbor says everything is "like bear." The Chinese neighbor speaks only in the present tense and eagerly eats the protagonist's dead pets. The lesbian sister steals the protagonist's tailored suits. The ex-cop employee is a meathead. The list goes on and on.

    Fisher Stevens does a decent job with the material. I couldn't help but think of him in his role in Short Circuit where he played a man from India (Stevens himself is white), but that's probably an unfair comparison. He's not responsible for the content of this book. However, his cadence was a bit off for an audiobook and he ended up sounding like Marc Summers narrating "Unwrapped." I can handle that for a one-hour documentary on how certain foods are made, but not for an audiobook.

    I listened to most of the book hoping that the plot would pay off. Souls are defined a bit differently in this story. In this book, people do not have souls, only personalities. However, souls look for vessels to inhabit and move from body to body. I was really curious to see how this would play out and hoped the book would discuss what this meant as far as people, as individuals, are concerned. However, after the part where the protagonist is humped by two four hundred-pound hellhounds that live in his apartment (because that's funny, I guess?), I no longer cared. This book is going back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Yes Please

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Amy Poehler
    • Narrated By Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, and others
    Overall
    (718)
    Performance
    (694)
    Story
    (694)

    Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you're invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler's Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents - Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

    Stacy Harp says: "Honest, Humorous and Coarse"
    "tbd"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Amy Poehler. I'd like to say I've liked her since watching The Upright Citizen's Brigade, but that would be lying. I merely found her interesting back when that show was on the air and I was forced to watch it because my boyfriend liked it. No, I've only really liked Amy Poehler since LiveJournal's 2012 Fandom March Madness event. Leslie Knope's stans were so enthusiastic that I almost changed my vote from my own beloved Donna Noble. Almost. I knew from what those people showed me that I had to check out a little show called "Parks and Recreation." "Yes Please" is perfect for people like me.

    A lot of people will compare this book to Tina Fey's "Bossypants," and I want to recommend not doing that. It's tempting because these are both books by very smart, very funny women who happen to be good friends. But these books are the life stories of these ladies, and as such, are going to be wildly different from each other.

    Poehler is very clear that she is not good at writing books, and honestly, she's right. This is not the cleanest, best written autobiography I've ever read. However, there's a lot of really good advice for just being a good person. As I write this, it is election day in the United States, and things seem very angry and very grim and this book was both a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine. Plus, there are sex tips. Bonus.

    The recording is fun. Poehler got several celebrities to do little cameos and the last chapter was read in front of a live audience. Four stars for her performance. Three stars for the story. If you're already a fan of Poehler, check it out. If not, you might want to move on to the next title in your wish list.

    0 of 0 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
    (3173)
    Performance
    (3004)
    Story
    (3009)

    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"
    "An Exploration and Criticism of Culture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before you read any further, you should know two things. One: I have never seen the movie. Two: I hate zombie stories. So it's surprising that I not only picked up "World War Z," but that I absolutely loved it.

    This story is told through a series of interviews conducted after the Zombie War. It was this format that I found so appealing. It gave human faces to the events in the book. This isn't a book about a guy saving the world. This is a book about people coping with the horror of a seemingly unstoppable pandemic and threat of annihilation. Even though you only get to spend a small amount of time with each character (there is no hero's journey here), they're all realistic and you care about what happens to them. Max Brooks was incredibly ambitious with this project and I was thoroughly impressed with his grasp of international history, culture, and politics.

    I would be remiss if I didn't mention the cast in this review. The talent they got for this project is amazing and each reader gives an excellent performance. This is the most impeccably performed book I've ever purchased on Audible.

    I see a lot of criticism from people who would have preferred not to know the outcome of the war as they began the story, and their complaints are valid. However, I found that the point of the book wasn't the survival of human beings. The point of the book was discovering how the world's cultures (histories, governments, economies, militaries, technologies) would help or hinder us against an enemy like the zombie plague. The exploration of this question is what makes this book so fascinating, so horrifying, and so satisfying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Eden: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chris Beckett
    • Narrated By Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (247)
    Story
    (244)

    On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest's lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say - and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

    Hollymobu says: "Hope to see a sequel soon"
    "Fascinating, but problematic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the story of the descendents of Tommy and Angela who were marooned on an alien planet in an unknown part of an unknown galaxy. The 500 descendents of Tommy and Angela have outgrown the little area of Eden they inhabit, but only one person is willing to face the challenge of spreading out across an unknown world.

    This was an interesting premise and the world building in this book is excellent. Everything from the source of the planet's warmth, to the lights on the living organisms, to the common birth defects in the Family Tree that never branches. It's these two points that made me give this a 3 star rating (if I were feeling less generous, that would be a 2 star rating). The rest of the book... not so great.

    Firstly, there is a language issue at the beginning of the book. The people in this story speak a different dialect of English that has evolved over the 160 or so years they've been on Eden. Certain "a" sounds are pronounced up in the sinuses which makes words like "lantern," "valley," and "family" sound like "lee-antern," "vee-alley," and "fee-amily." This was well-coordinated amongst the narrators so when you do finally get the hang of the lingo and accent, its not too difficult to follow the story. Still, it took at least 20 minutes for the words to begin to make sense as I was listening, and it still bothered me at least 3 hours into the recording.

    Secondly, the portrayal of women in this book is extremely problematic. The society on Eden is matriarchal, and yet the women just seem to be the administrators (when they're not busy procreating) while men do the actual leading. There are women leaders, but we don't really see them leading; we see them deposed. Additionally, the rules of their society state that men and women can only "slip" when the woman grants permission (and women in this book usually do the propositioning), but there are three rape scenes in this book. In the first, a woman makes a boy touch her and that is upsetting not just to the boy, but to his entire community and the woman who did it is ostracized. In the second, a girl is raped and just thinks to herself, "man, he must have been really upset!" and then there is no future mention of it. The third time, when the same girl is nearly raped, the incident is the catalyst for the big conflict in the book not because the girl is nearly raped, but because of what happens when that rape is interrupted.

    But let's go back to that procreation angle. The women do the vast majority of the propositioning in this book. But they don't do it because sex is fun, or because it's enjoyable, or because they like it. With the exception of the aforementioned rape scene, they do it because they want babies. They want the "baby juice." Grown women proposition 15 year old boys for the sake of procreation. This leads to some of the most awkward and unsexy sex scenes I've ever read. And that's before you're reminded for the umpteenth time that all of these people are very closely related.

    Thirdly, the characters are static. When I read a book, I expect the characters to learn and grow. That doesn't really happen. The protagonist remains handsome and arrogant. The antagonist remains ugly and belligerent. The main "love interest" (for lack of a better word) is the only character that changes, and her motivations for that change are never explained (see previous paragraph).

    Lastly, this book just stops. The dramatic structure is interrupted just before the climax. We have exposition, rising action, and then just when you think the climax is about to happen, the book ends.

    This is the first Chris Beckett book I've ever read, so I am unfamiliar with his personal beliefs. That said, I think that Dark Eden was meant not as a cohesive, stand-alone story, but as commentary on the Biblical Adam and Eve story. This would explain the static characters and the lack of any climax or resolution. It's an interesting thought exercise, but I feel this book would have been far more satisfying if it had used the creation story as inspiration rather than a source. This would have given him the opportunity to finish what he'd started, resolve the conflict, and let us know where the characters go from here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (48 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    Overall
    (302)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (102)

    Four of beloved author Neil Gaiman's delightfully scary, strange, and hilarious children's tales read by the author, now available unabridged.

    T says: "Great story and he is an excellent narrator, too"
    "Great for kids in the car..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...and when the kids come out of the car, it doesn't have to be all over.

    I was looking specifically for an audio version of "The Wolves in the Walls" but decided to go with this collection first because it was inexpensive and second because it had so much supplementary material. All of the stories are good and both my son and I love Neil Gaiman's reading voice. The surprise favorite part was the interview between Gaiman and his daughter at the very end.

    The only complaint I have is there is no space left between the end of a story and the title of the next, which leads to a very jarring segue from story to story since it sounds like the title is simply a continuation of the last sentence of the previous story. A two-second pause wouldn't have gone amiss here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Year of the Flood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1205)
    Performance
    (735)
    Story
    (737)

    The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life - has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life.

    Melinda says: "thought-provoking, engaging dystopic fiction"
    "Not for everyone"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I depend on reviews when deciding upon which book to buy next. The reviewers I follow have mixed opinions on this title and after listening, I understand why. This book is definitely not for everyone. The subject matter is extremely dreary and this book is not so much a continuation of "Oryx and Crake" than it is a supplement to it. That said, I found this book intensely interesting. Enjoyable? Maybe not, but it held my attention and now that I'm finished with it, I'm glad I took the time to listen.

    As I said above, this builds more on "Oryx and Crake" than continues it. "The Year of the Flood" contains stories of two new(ish) characters, Toby and Ren, and through them, an entire cast of characters outside the corporation compounds. In this, you get a better sense of the world in which Jimmy lived, as well as the people that were around him. Luckily, these people are all just as interesting as Jimmy. Some, even more so.

    The production values of this book are top-notch. I've enjoyed Bernadette Dunne's work in other novels, and she's even better here. Mark Bramhall is one of my favorites and my only criticism is that he doesn't have a larger role. Katie MacNichol holds her own among these other two narrators that I love. There's also music in this recording. Typically, music in audiobooks makes me cringe and while I can't say that any of the songs are going on my mp3 player, these aren't as cringe-inducing as the narrator simply reading the lyrics or half-heartedly singing them. The songs are well-produced, corny though they may be.

    With an author like Margaret Atwood, you know you're going to get a solidly constructed, beautifully written story, but I hesitate to recommend this book to everyone. This book is bleak and there is no comic relief. If you like apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fiction, you may enjoy this, but don't expect to feel especially joyful when you're finished.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Life After Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Fenella Woolgar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1406)
    Performance
    (1245)
    Story
    (1259)

    On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

    Diane says: "Life after life after life after life after life.."
    "Finally a look into the might-have-beens."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    We often take it for granted that we'll never know what might have been. If only we'd chosen a different path. If only that one thing had never happened. If only that one thing had actually happened... This book lets us see it, and it's interesting, and refreshing, and exciting. We know Ursula is experiencing life after life, but it appears that the people around her are as well. And that thought that everyone is blessed (doomed) to live again and again until they get it right is such a big idea that this book hasn't left me in the six weeks since I finished it.

    I really enjoyed this book. Granted, it took a while to get into because her lives in the beginning were so short. But after an hour or so, as her lives get longer and her choices and the choices of the people around her become more complicated, things get more interesting. What can she change? What can't she change? And are the people around her also experiencing this (for lack of a better word) déjà vu? (I think they are.)

    I found the book surprisingly easy to follow despite the number of times the book jumps around in the timeline, and I was so engrossed in it that paying attention was effortless. Fenella Woolgar narrated it excellently, especially considering all of the languages contained in the book.

    I would highly recommend this book, especially to those interested in what it was like to be a civilian in England or Germany during World War II.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shades of Earth: An Across the Universe Novel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Beth Revis
    • Narrated By Tara Carrozza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (128)

    Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh - to build a home - on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who - or what - else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But as each new discovery brings more danger, Amy and Elder will have to look inward to the very fabric of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet.

    Brian says: "Male reader in mid 40's"
    "A logical conclusion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's nothing surprising about this book, especially if you're familiar with past colonial expeditions on earth, specifically the British colonization of the New World. This book is clearly the weakest of the three. It's not bad, but it's not particularly good either. Predictable and in places a little annoying, this book might have been improved with different narrators. I found both performances way too flat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Authority: Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeff VanderMeer
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (96)

    For 30 years, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored expeditions into Area X - a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. After the 12th expedition, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (a.k.a. "Control") is the team's newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and more than two hundred hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves - and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve.

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn says: "Another surreal expedition into the uncanny"
    "Hopefully just a bridge to book 3"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely adored "Annihilation" and was really looking forward to "Authority." However, this book did not enthrall me in the same way "Annihilation" did. I'm viewing book 2 as a bridge to book 3, something that gives the necessary information to make book 3 make sense. It's possible that my high expectations caused "Authority" to feel like a let-down, but I genuinely did not find this book nearly as interesting as "Annihilation." However, I still wouldn't hesitate to recommend this series to my friends.

    As I mentioned before, there are important revelations in this book and it has some genuinely creepy moments. And despite my feelings of disappointment overall, I was still holding my breath in anticipation at the last moment of the book. This book isn't bad, not at all.

    A large portion of what I enjoyed about this book was Bronson Pinchot's narration. The man is a masterful reader. So good, in fact, that I may seek out his other audiobook work. I can't praise him enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (649)
    Story
    (651)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Sires says: "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    "Does what it says on the tin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a moderately enjoyable read. I must admit that it made my historian's heart beat a little bit faster to read about historians living and exploring historical events. However, the characters in the story never really came alive for me. Motivations and personalities never really seemed to gel and when I finished the book I still felt like I didn't know anyone in the book, not even the protagonist. I prefer character-driven stories, and this was very much action-oriented. Not bad, but not really my cup of tea, either. I also had difficulty understanding the time span of this book. What I thought had been a few months had actually been five years and I wonder if I wasn't paying attention or if the passage of time was really glossed over. That said, the story held my interest, even with little nitpicky criticisms I had about plot points, and I don't regret the purchase. However, it isn't likely I'll pick up Book 2 in this series.

    Zara Ramm did a good job narrating the book. While she did do accents, she didn't give characters distinctive voices. That, in addition to the aforementioned issues I had with characterization, plus the occasional nickname bandied about, made it difficult for me to tell some characters apart from one another.

    This is a fun read, but I would only recommend it to people who want to enjoy a little bit of bubble gum reading.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful

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