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Alison

Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada | Member Since 2013

49
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 57 reviews
  • 57 ratings
  • 191 titles in library
  • 58 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • The Anatomist’s Apprentice: The Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Tessa Harris
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (330)
    Performance
    (290)
    Story
    (293)

    The death of Lord Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man - except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia. Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his unconventional methods only add to his outsider status. Against his better judgment, he agrees to examine Lord Edward’s corpse.

    Sires says: "Gruesome but Deftly Plotted"
    "meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was enjoyable if you didn't think too hard about anything that happened. Obviously the writer did a lot of excellent research and knows her subject matter (early forensic science) very well. My big problems with this book are: some continuity errors (aka the doctor is beaten almost to death, but ten pages later injuries don't bother him and is never mentioned again) and some of the motivations for character's actions are a bit stretched. The romance seems quite forced. By the end of the book, it almost feels like the author is throwing in extra stuff just to make the book longer, or in an effort to make the plot twistier, which isn't necessary. Anyway, fun enough if you're on a long drive, but don't expect excellence.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Scourge

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Roberto Calas
    • Narrated By Nico Evers-Swindell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (126)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (119)

    I have never seen plague bring a man back from the dead. Nor do I know of any sickness, in England or upon the continent, that gives its victims a taste for living flesh. So declares Sir Edward Dallingridge, a noble knight whose years defending England on the battlefield haven't prepared him to face an enemy as chilling - and relentless - as the living dead. But even as his countrymen flee in horror, Sir Edward rides straight into the unholy infestation. For his lady love lies trapped behind a hundred miles of fiendish terror, and nothing will keep him from her.

    Alison says: "Medieval zombies"
    "Medieval zombies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Medieval zombies. That's all you really need to know about this book. If you like zombie genre books, it's a different take, although it uses nearly all the same apocalypse cliches as a book set in the present would just with horses instead of cars. If you don't like zombie books, then what are you doing even reading reviews of the book?

    To be warned though, it ends kind of abruptly, or maybe not really having resolved things. So if you are the type to get really invested in characters, be prepared to buy the next book.

    I was going to give the book a fourth star for plot, but then I got to the last half hour or so of narration. At the end of the plot part of the book, the narrator embarks on a chapter by chapter self-important ego trip about all the historical research he did when he wrote the book. I made it about five minutes in and then called it quits on that front. A short note with some suggested reading for those interested in social/geographical/military aspects of the medieval period would have been sufficient. Reading reviews of the next book, it sounds like the author has switched (or maybe the narration is arranged differently) and these historical notes are read at the end of each chapter instead of the end of the whole book. If this is the case, I won't be getting the next one for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spider's Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jennifer Estep
    • Narrated By Lauren Fortgang
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2739)
    Performance
    (2108)
    Story
    (2115)

    They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

    Tony says: "Very Disappointed"
    "more of the same...only slower"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, if you're even considering purchasing this book, then I assume that you know what you're in for in the urban fantasy genre. So, yes, this book delivers everything that you expect it will. Bad-ass heroine with complicated back story, love interest, revenge, murder, etc. etc. etc. Nothing you haven't seen before, but arranged in such a way as to be sufficiently interesting. The reason I couldn't give this book more stars was how horribly horribly repetitive it was. It wasn't just that it reiterated plot points, and boy did it reiterate plot points! If you find yourself drifting off and thinking about something else for a few minutes, don't worry if you missed something, it will be repeated! Just when you think the book is about to end, it goes on. For another half an hour. Not only could the overall plot use some serious editing, but trivial things were repeated too. I'm pretty sure that I get where Gin stashes her knives about her person, you don't need to give me the exact same description every time she puts her clothes on. I get the three runes that represent her family members, you don't need to give me the entire spiel every time she looks at them. Really. I get it.

    The narrator did a good enough job, but she often phrased things oddly. Frequently she would put odd pauses in the middle of sentences so things come out sounding like: "...he pushed past me. Into the dimly lit room." It was odd, but at least she didn't do it all the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Scott Lynch
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (418)
    Performance
    (373)
    Story
    (372)

    They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count. Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich - they're the only ones worth stealing from - but the poor can go steal for themselves.

    Tracey says: "Very Entertaining!"
    "so elaborate and never boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is definitely one of my new favorite books, and one which I will be recommending to all my friends. It was a rare treat in a genre so overstuffed with cliches and boring, predictable books! Scott Lynch has created an elaborate city-scape, stuffed it with neat characters and interesting histories, mixed alchemy, magic and crime, AND woven together several plot threads without ever being boring or getting weighed down by the need to explain unnecessary things. A quick warning, this book isn't for the faint of heart, it's fairly gory in parts and, not to spoil things, but don't get too attached to any given character.

    The plot of the book moves along quickly, following a gang of con-artist criminals in a city somewhat reminiscent of Venice. Locke is a great hero, with tons of interesting backstory (which we get in very well placed 'interlude's) who also has a reasonable number of flaws. The plot was complex enough to keep you on your toes from start to finish. I see that there are two sequels. The book is certainly written with hints of other potential, future storylines, but they're neither blatant nor obviously added as afterthoughts. You could easily read this book and not need to read the rest. I'm on the fence about reading the next one. I always find that the first book is the best. I hate to tarnish my opinion of a series/author as the following books fail to live up to expectations, but I'll probably give them a try.

    The narrator was perfectly adequate. I'll admit that he'd narrated another book I've listened to that I didn't particularly enjoy, so my lack of enthusiasm for his performance is probably tainted by that other book. But he grew on me as the book went on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thirteenth Child

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Patricia C. Wrede
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (885)
    Performance
    (805)
    Story
    (806)

    Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild. With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    Erin - Audible says: "History, Magic, Teens, & Not An Inkling of Romance"
    "so boring I hardly made it through"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book sounded from the synopsis and the rave reviews like it was going to be so great, but partway through, I caught myself continuously checking the 'time remaining', first to see if I could figure out if/when actual plot might happen and eventually to see how much longer I was going to have to suffer. Basically, the book drags on and on without any change whatsoever to any of the characters (main or otherwise) or any important plot.

    I suppose it's trying to be a coming-of-age story about Eff, but as a character she doesn't grow at all. From the start of the novel (where she's the world's most precocious five year old...I mean really, has the author met many five year olds??) to the end (Eff is 18 then), neither her inner dialogue or her actions nor her interactions with others change in any way shape or form. Sure it's sort of about her getting over being a 13th child, but since she's the only one who gives a hoot about that fact after the first few chapters, it's hard to see it as a major influence in her life. Maybe if the bullying and whatnot had continued when they moved west, I could see it more, but it's mostly abandoned through the book.

    My other major problem with the book was the author's cavalier attitude towards background. There were a lot of weird historical changes that were completely unnecessary to the plot (like changing it from North America to North Columbia) and weren't explained in terms of including magic into history. Whenever I see this sort of thing in books, it just makes me think that the author was too lazy to do proper research and so just changed a few things in order to claim that any rational historical criticism can't apply. Frankly, I hadn't reviewed the plot summary before I started the book and for the first few chapters I had no idea if it was taking place in 1800 or 1950.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Alchemy of Stone

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ekaterina Sedia
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets - secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. This doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart - literally.

    Janice Budd says: "Steam Punk with a fizzle"
    "just not quite there"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book seemed to have lots of things going for it. Interesting premise, variety of different and intriguing characters, individual problems and civil unrest, a mix of fantasy and steam punk. But for some reason I still didn't really like it. I still have trouble pinpointing exactly what I didn't like.

    Maybe it was that the political background wasn't really explained that fully, and so it's hard to get emotionally invested in the conflict which drives the main plot. Lots of books I find get too wrapped up in explaining the intricate political and social system that they've created, so much so that it swamps the plot. But this one could definitely have had more context.

    Or, maybe it's that while almost all the characters have interesting back-stories they just don't seem to interact naturally. The conversations and interactions seem forced and stilted. Characters do things for reasons I don't understand. So, between not caring about the civil war and not understanding why the characters do what they do, it's sort of hard to care about what happens at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Monument 14

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Emmy Laybourne
    • Narrated By Todd Haberkorn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (112)

    In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world - as they know it - apart.

    colleen says: "Nice book"
    "modern-day Lord of the Flies (kind of)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once this book got going, I quite enjoyed it. The plot moves quickly and the characters are realistic enough. There are fourteen of them, but for the most part it isn't hard to keep track of who exactly is who (except some of the little kids, but it doesn't matter much). It's easy to draw parallels to Lord of the Flies, but it is a rather telling statement about people these days (not just kids) that they struggle to survive in a vast super store with food and supplies but without the internet. It just wouldn't have been realistic to say that these kids could have made it in the wilderness.

    Anyway, I was looking forward to giving this book a higher review, but then it ended. Just kind of ended in the middle of things. It sort of set itself up for an ending that would have done enough wrapping up without drawing it out or making it too 'happy ending' but then for some reason it doesn't. It almost seemed to me that the author maybe decided to write a sequel and so changed the ending to allow for that? In any case, the ending disappointed me, but not so much I wouldn't recommend it.

    0 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
    (909)
    Performance
    (604)
    Story
    (610)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (24)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    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
    (631)
    Performance
    (569)
    Story
    (575)

    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 1 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
    (80)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (52)

    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

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