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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

52
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 211 ratings
  • 269 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Mansfield Park

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Johanna Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (261)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (168)

    Fanny Price, a poor relation of the rich Bertrams, is reluctantly adopted into the family, to be brought up at Mansfield Park, where she is condescendingly treated. Only her cousin, Edmund, a young clergyman, appreciates her fine qualities. Fanny soon falls in love with him, but Edmund is, unfortunately, drawn to the shallow and worldly Mary Crawford.

    Youngna says: "Monotone narration."
    "The worst Austen I've encountered so far"
    Overall

    I've read only 4 by Jane Austen. I've liked 3. This story is very tedious and quite predictable. I dwelled forever on the choosing and practice of a play that never occured. The characters seemed flat - totally upright and intelligent or completely without morals. The story is filled with redundancies. I'd recommend the abridged version of this one - know the plot line and move on. Narration was also not as good as Juliet Stevensen (spelling?) I would often get confused as to who was speaking. Main character, Fannie, sounded like she had a head cold.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3077)
    Performance
    (2763)
    Story
    (2771)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
    "I had forgotten so much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It has been 30 years since I read and loved this book as a teenager. It's been on my re-read list for a while. I'm so glad that I got the audio version. Sissy Spacek has the perfect voice for Scout. I can't believe how much of the story I had forgotten. Now I remember why I loved this book the first time I read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold Tight

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1668)
    Performance
    (813)
    Story
    (803)

    Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their 16-year-old son, Adam, has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate, Spencer Hill they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: "Just stay quiet and all safe."

    Meanwhile, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death...and he wasn't alone.

    Ed says: "Will hold your interest till the end"
    "Overdramatic Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Do you remember the character J. Peterman on Seinfeld? Every word he said was accented. Each sentence was raised to the height of a melodramatic soap opera performance. That's how this entire book was narrated. Even sentences about mundane actions like driving the kids to school were read like a matter of life or death. I almost couldn't finish. Luckily Coben's characters, action, and plot lines made me have to keep going to find out what would happen next. The characters had many ethical dilemmas regarding modern technology that they had to grapple with. Questions that many of us may face ourselves. The book's story line is a bit dramatic, but I would rather have heard my own voice reading it to me from the pages.

    0 of 0 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
    (11978)
    Performance
    (10858)
    Story
    (10881)

    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
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    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....

    Allison says: "Good listen for teen wanna-be professional authors"
    "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.

    1 of 1 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
    (4383)
    Performance
    (3917)
    Story
    (3939)

    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.

    Bonny says: "Will & Louisa - each has what the other one needs"
    "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
    (1796)
    Performance
    (1252)
    Story
    (1250)

    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
    (196)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (91)

    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
    (29958)
    Performance
    (23496)
    Story
    (23717)

    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
    (4742)
    Performance
    (2209)
    Story
    (2198)

    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
    (19450)
    Performance
    (9232)
    Story
    (9265)

    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

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