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Alison

Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada | Member Since 2013

ratings
63
REVIEWS
63
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
59

  • Something More Than Night

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ian Tregillis
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (120)
    Story
    (121)

    Ian Tregillis's Something More Than Night is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas’s vision of Heaven. It’s a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God.

    Alison says: "part noir mystery, part philosophy class"
    "part noir mystery, part philosophy class"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really really enjoyed this book. It's a strange combination of genres, and I thought it was great. To say too much would be to give away the plot, but the synopsis isn't bad. The book is told from Bayliss in the first person and Molly in the third person, which was a little odd, but I didn't let it bother me much. The narrator was excellent for both. I also thought that the author did a superb job of making the two very different characters, completely distinct in how they told their parts of the story, a rare talent in an author!

    I imagine that reviews of this book will be very divided. If you want to sit back and listen to the poetry of a twisting, convoluted plot (which I'd advise requires if not a small knowledge of philosophy, then a dictionary (or google) on hand), then you'll love it. If you don't like super elaborate descriptions and metaphors then you'll probably find this book bloated in self-indulgent excess. So be forewarned. If you don't like the first twenty minutes or so, don't go on. If you loved it (like I did), sit back and enjoy!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tiger's Curse

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Colleen Houck
    • Narrated By Annika Boras, Sanjiv Jahveri
    Overall
    (678)
    Performance
    (592)
    Story
    (592)

    The last thing teenager Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing over the summer was meeting Ren, a mysterious white tiger and cursed Indian prince! When she learns she alone can break the Tiger's curse, Kelsey's life is turned upside-down. The unlikely duo journeys halfway around the world to piece together an Indian prophecy, find a way to free the man trapped by a centuries-old spell, and discover the path to their true destiny.

    F. DesBouillons says: "Great Book!!!"
    "teen romance meets India travel brochure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, it's a teen paranormal romance novel, that's all you really need to know about it. It's not particularly better or particularly worse than thousands of others out there. It's got everything you'd expect (teenage heroine without a family, who is shy, mousy and romantically inexperienced but is mysteriously necessary? check! supernatural hero who is ridiculously handsome, plagued by some terrible but not disfiguring curse, protective verging on misogynistic, waaaaay older than the heroine, devoted and loyal? check!) plus its got a neato setting in India.

    I try not to get too caught up in little plot things in books like this (you know, like how Keshan who has spent that last three hundred years as a tiger in the Indian jungle can speak fluent, modern Enlighsh?). On the other hand, these characters are so stupid, it really aggrevated me. I mean, they've spent hundreds of years trying to break the curse, and when they find out how to do that they completely don't think anything through. As soon as they get the prophesy they a) start off without considering that the whole 'five sacrifices' thing? and b) go immediately to get Keshan even though the prophesy says specifically that there will only be ONE transformation for ONE man. Smart characters would think about these things. That sort of thing is why I won't be getting any of the other books in this series. Besides, we all know how it ends anyway...

    The female narrator did a great job. Her accents weren't forced or inconsistent. The male narrator (who thankfully only did the prolgoue and epilogue) was absolutely terrible!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, and others
    Overall
    (783)
    Performance
    (702)
    Story
    (702)

    On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

    Stacy says: "What a beautiful book..."
    "I'm not sure what to make of it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There seems to be lots of great buzz and reviews about this book, so I had some high hopes going in. It wasn't that I was completely disappointed with the book, but I don't think it lived up to the hype.

    I've listened to the novel several times in an attempt to figure out what exactly I dislike about it, but I still can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the rather disjointed plot. Lots of things happen in the book that don't necessarily have much to do with any of the other things. The author mentions in her discussion of the book that it started as several short stories. You can tell. The storylines seemed jammed painfully together, resulting in some problems with timing (ie. look at the discrepancies in the passage of time in the Richard is first hired by the dragon chancellor and Michael Godwin's decision to take up swordsmanship).

    Maybe I didn't like that you never really understand what's going on. It's hard to get too worked up about political plotting and rivalries when you get absolutely no explanation of any of the government system or positions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Gene Wolfe fan and if there was ever an author who didn't feel the need to burden the narrative with explaining himself, its Wolfe, but Kushner's novel just didn't cut it for me.

    I didn't mind the multiple narrators so much as the stupid sound effects that accompany the narration. The addition of things like the sound of spoons stirring when characters are having tea, is so juvenile a technique that it takes away from the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Privilege of the Sword

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Barbara Rosenblat, Felicia Day, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (443)
    Story
    (446)

    Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrators and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents. In this exciting new "illuminated production", the author herself reads her own work, supported by a full cast.

    Ann says: "Austen-es​que tale (with swordfight​s!)"
    "more flawed than the first with none of the charm"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After the book is over, the author talks a bit about writing it and says that it took her a long time to write this book and she started and put it down quite a bit. It shows. The book tries to recapture the plotting and charming romance of the first but really can't pull it off.

    The plot is even more disjointed and incomplete than the first book. There are huge plot problems, like the super abrupt ending to the big conflict, and the complete irrelevance of Lucius and his lover to the entire plot. There are small plot problems, like why does Katherine think she's such good friends with Artemesia that she ought to leap to Artemesia's defense when they've only met twice and one of the times Artemesia laughed at her and won't answer any of her letters?

    I suppose it's supposed to be a 'tapestry' that shows all the things that go on in Riverside, but it just wasn't my thing. It seemed like just a list of all the ways women are oppressed in the city. I just wanted more.

    Leaving aside my general dislike of the whole multi-narrator premise, the production on this wasn't very good. The narration was so quiet I had to turn up the volume as loud as it would go, only to be frequently deafened by the stupid 'sword' sounds which marked breaks in the chapters. There are good narrators out there who can 'whisper' what characters say without actually lowering their voices to an indecipherable level.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dragonflight: Dragonriders of Pern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Anne McCaffrey
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1198)
    Performance
    (866)
    Story
    (887)

    On the beautiful planet Pern, colonized for centuries, Land Holders and Craftsmen have traditionally tithed food and supplies to the dragonweyrs to which they are bound. In times past, the mighty telepathic dragons and their riders were the only protection from the dreaded, life-threatening Thread. Now those times may be returning....

    Suzanne says: "Anne Fan...Still"
    "deus ex machina much??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So I somehow managed to make it this far in my life having never read any Anne McCaffery, so I thought I'd better remedy that. Well, they say ignorance is bliss. I was surprised and disappointed at this book. I realize that it's one of McCaffery's first novels, so I suppose that explains the rather juvenile quality of the book, but given her popularity I was expecting more.

    The characters were cliche and rather annoying. That is, the ones that I could tell apart. Even by the end of the book, I wasn't sure who was who with Falar and Fanor. As for the supposed romance between Falar/Fanor and whats-her-name it's very unbelievable.

    I had a roommate that always complained about the 3 terrible 't's of fantasy writing: telepathy, teleportation and time travel. Now I get why it bothered her so much. This book has all three and uses them to get out of every plot problem. The big crisis of the book is solved without any reference to ninety percent of the book preceding it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Colleen Gleason
    • Narrated By Jayne Entwistle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (114)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (105)

    Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you're the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And so, when two society girls go missing, there's no one more qualified to investigate. Now, the fierce Evaline and the logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, in order to navigate the advances of not just one, but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve a murder with only one clue: the strange Egyptian scarab.

    Wesley says: "Enjoyable but should have been labeled a teen book"
    "flat characters + plot holes = yuck"
    Overall
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    This book seems to promise a teen steam punk novel featuring two strong female characters. Well....it fails on just about every level. The characters are horrible in many ways. The plot fails on every level. Also, I get that having fictional characters as real people is a thing in steam punk, but if you're going to have Sherlock Holmes's neice, then why not have the other character be Mina Harker (from Dracula's) relation of some kind? Why have one 'historical' and one 'fictional' one?? Really, it's not a great book, and I definitely won't be buying any of the sequels.

    So to start off, the characters. Mina and Evelyn are useless, together and separately. Mina is a completely one dimensional character. I get that she's different because she's a Holmes, but the author is so busy with that, she ends up very uninteresting. Evelyn is just useless. She agrees to be a part of this secret team and then does absolutely nothing for days on end for no particular reason. Even if they have their own quirks, they're not exactly great roll models, since every time any young male character so much as looks at them they go all "fluttery" and blush and become completely useless. It's painful to read.

    Then there's the plot. It's supposed to be twisty, I suppose, but it's so cliche that it's almost painful to listen to. From the word go it's pretty obvious exactly what's going on and about to happen. The only mystery in the whole thing is the time travelling, and the mystery is: why is it in the book? The time travelling has absolutely nothing to do with the 'mystery' at hand. Nor does it provide any essentials to solving the mystery. It's really just thrown in there for no reason. Maybe it's important in the second book, but I'm not going to stick around and find out.

    I think the biggest failing of this book is that, while the plot isn't completely resolved by the end of the book, the big, lingering mystery (aka who is the Ankh) would be so easily solved if Mina was actually half as smart as she's supposed to be OR had the thought processes of a normal human being, she'd already know the answer. If she looked at the whole secret investigation business with any sort of suspicion she'd know that the Ankh was the one person who is continually referred to as the only person always one step ahead and who is mysteriously missing at important points of the story.

    Anyway, long story short: very disappointed :(

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Linda Lafferty
    • Narrated By Suzanne Cypress
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    In a gender reversal of Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights: Tales from a 1,001 Nights, Ottoman princess Esma Sultan seduces a different Christian lover each night, only to have him drowned in the morning. The Sultaness's true passion burns only for the Christian-born soldier charged with carrying out her brutal nightly death sentence: her drowning guard, Ivan Postivich.

    Alison says: "Terrible"
    "Terrible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I forced myself to finish this book all the way to the very end, in the sad hope that at some point the plot/characters would be explained and everything would make sense and come together. It didn't. Even given the low low expectations that I set for 'romance' books this one was bad. I'd say that the plot was lacking, but that implies there was something resembling a plot. It seemed early on that the book was going to be about how Ivan falls in love with Esma as she tells him how she came to murder all her lovers. Nope. Not to spoil things, but nothing is every explained. Why does the sultan murder all Esma's lovers? Why, if she feels as bad as she seems to, does she continue to take lovers knowing they are going to be murdered? The whole premise makes no sense. There is zero chemistry between the two main characters, mostly because they realistic characters in any way shape or form.

    Rather than filling up the ten hours with plot, the author has fallen into the historical fiction writing trap of describing irrelevant things that may or may not be interesting but have nothing really to do with the plot that she learned while doing research. Pointless descriptions and odd tangents fill up most of the time in this book.

    The only good thing about this book was the narrator, who did as good a job as she could with the material she was given.

    Bottom line: don't waste your money, not even if its on sale.

    1 of 1 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
    (147)
    Performance
    (134)
    Story
    (137)

    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.

    Tracie says: "An interesting new spin on a zombie apocolypse"
    "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
    (2821)
    Performance
    (2178)
    Story
    (2187)

    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.

    Brian Rygaard Jensen says: "How I got to loathe the story"
    "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
    (445)
    Performance
    (398)
    Story
    (395)

    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
    (1065)
    Performance
    (967)
    Story
    (971)

    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

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