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Allison

I'm a middle school English teacher and mother of one teen girl. I tend to read paper copies of YA books and listen to books for adults.

Member Since 2008

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 205 ratings
  • 261 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Michael Scott
    • Narrated By Denis O'Hare
    Overall
    (2386)
    Performance
    (1247)
    Story
    (1270)

    Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest alchemist of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty. The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives, but only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

    Allison says: "High Fantasty in a modern world setting"
    "High Fantasty in a modern world setting"
    Overall

    Harry Potter fans would like this book, I think. There's the magic of Potter, but most of it takes place in present day California. Lots of action mixed with a mystery about the past. The narrator's ability to create different voices is amazing!

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10218)
    Performance
    (9349)
    Story
    (9370)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Audio version enhances the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a book that I'm sure I enjoyed more because of the awesome narration.There are may interesting characters throughout the book - each with a distinct voice that the narrator brings to life. I don't think I would have heard it as well in my head if I had read the paper version. The Russian accent of the best friend just made me immediately become attached to him.

    I didn't pick up the book for a long time because of the premise - the explosion at the Met. Museum and the character's tragic loss of his mother. However, that piece of his life takes up only about the first 20% of the book. We get to follow him from the age of 13 through his 20's, so there is a lot more to the story. One of my favorite books this year!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Afterworlds

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Scott Westerfeld
    • Narrated By Sheetal Sheth, Heather Lind
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. Woven into Darcy's personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love - until a new threat resurfaces....

    Heather says: "An adults opinion: Things you should know"
    "Good listen for teen wanna-be professional authors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book contains two stories written in a parallel structure. The one story tells of an aspiring teenage writer who has landed a publishing contract and decides to delay college for a year to move to NYC and start her career. It gives interesting glimpses into the reality of the YA publishing world. I liked this half of the book better than the other, but I am partial to realistic fiction. The characters are believable and likable.

    The 2nd story-within-the-story is the novel she is working on. It is a fantasy story about what happens to souls of the dead - in the "Afterworld." There are some connections between the main character of this story and the life of the teen author. It contains special powers and a forbidden romance (think Twilight, but less violent.)

    The book is divided into even chapters for one story / odd chapters for the other. That, plus the 2 narrators help you keep it straight in your head. I can't help but wonder how it looks in printed form - different fonts? I'll have to take a peek...

    Some mature language. Suitable for 7th grade and up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3565)
    Performance
    (3232)
    Story
    (3250)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Michael says: "Who or What defines Quality of Life?"
    "More than a romance book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although this book has several elements of a classic romance novel, it is much, much more. It deals with ethical issues surrounding quality of life and the controversial practice of assisted suicide. The author also shows the main character struggling with complex family relationships - brought about largely due to financial troubles. It's a story that grapples with how best to live your life, especially when life delivers the unexpected. I became attached to the characters and cared about the choices they made. Sensitive readers may need a few tissues along the way...

    0 of 0 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
    (1618)
    Performance
    (1099)
    Story
    (1093)

    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"
    "Bloody good fun!"
    Overall

    I love a spunky, independent, female character, so of course I immediately became attached to Mary "Jacky" Faber. I enjoyed listening to the narrator's street-English (Cockney?) accent for the main character. The author explored may issues that a disguised female would have aboard a ship filled with hundreds of male sailors. Plus, there are pirates! More action, adventure, and humor than The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I plan to listen to the sequels.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Along for the Ride

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sarah Dessen
    • Narrated By Rachel Botchan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (86)

    It's been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents' divorce - or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac.

    Julie says: "Not a romance story"
    "Not Just "Chick-Lit""
    Overall

    I've read several books by Sarah Dessen, and this one is my favorite so far. The main character, Auden, is smart, and I love intelligent female characters. She's decided to spend the summer between graduation from high school and her first year at college with her father in a beach resort town. This new location and the people who come into her life there make this summer one of change and transition for Auden. Usually a loner, she starts to reach out and make friends, including a boyfriend. She's forming new relationships with her stepmother and step sister. Most important, she's confronting her own feelings about her parents' divorce.
    This book has realistic characters and situations. It gets the reader to consider relationships among family members and friends, as well as how people can or cannot change.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mockingjay: The Final Book of The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28361)
    Performance
    (22091)
    Story
    (22313)

    Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

    GS says: "Conflicting Emotions"
    "A Satisfying Conclusion"
    Overall

    Of course, I won't say how it ends, but I will say that the ending made sense and definitely finished this story. I still like the complexity of Katniss's character. Even Peeta takes on some new, surprising characteristics. I felt that there was excessive violence in the middle of the book where one horrific scene followed another. At this point the violence seemed rather pointless - like the author was writing the book for people who like Grand Theft Auto video games or slasher movies. Otherwise, I would've given it a 4th star.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Room: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated By Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4647)
    Performance
    (2115)
    Story
    (2103)

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, but what she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

    Kathleen says: "A truly memorable read"
    "I Couldn't Put It Down"
    Overall

    I don't know which male narrator was the voice of 5-year-old Jack, but this little boy's voice was perfect for this book. I'm sure that I enjoyed the book more because of it. The author has a wonderful ear for words that kids will use to say things or think about things and an excellent sense for how young people view the world. I felt like I was truly seeing things through the eyes of a young boy. I also liked the mother's voice, but "Old Nick" didn't sound mean enough. I don't want to say much more for fear of spoiling the suspense. Don't miss this one!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18903)
    Performance
    (8743)
    Story
    (8774)

    Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered.

    David says: "irritatingly engrossing"
    "We learn more about the girl with the tattoo"
    Overall

    This book started slowly and with a gazillion characters / names that were difficult for me to keep track of. However, after the crime occurs, the story gets increasingly interesting. This book reveals a lot of background and history behind the most interesting title character.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27645)
    Performance
    (14234)
    Story
    (14288)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Wow!"
    Overall

    The best audio book I have listened to - both for the story and the narration. I couldn't put it down. I didn't want it to end. The characters will never leave me. I plan to give it as a gift to friends and family. It's that awesome!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Crossroads

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By J. J. Myers
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Zack, his dad, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father's hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since..

    John says: "Great story for listeners of all ages!"
    "The ONLY audiobook I couldn't finish"
    Overall

    I know this is a book for children, and some children love it. A seventh grade student of mine had recommended it to me. The characters are one dimensional - they are either good or evil. No in-between. The plot is simplistic (I know, I know - good for younger readers.) There is a lot of repetition of facts and stating the obvious. Truly, I think our young readers are smarter than this author gives them credit for.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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