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Carolina

Montreal, QC, Canada | Member Since 2013

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 32 ratings
  • 67 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
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  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3091)
    Performance
    (2716)
    Story
    (2743)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling"
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    Originally posted at: A Girl that Likes Books

    Why I read this book?

    Ever since the book came out I wanted to read it even though it got so many bad reviews from a lot of people. Having it available as an audio book gave me the option to give it a try, without getting the physical book.

    What's the book about?

    This book tells us how the lives of several inhabitants of Pagford after Barry Fairbrother, a member of the parish council dies.

    What about the main characters?

    This book has several main characters in my opinion; this "main lines" will tell the story of all at the same time. I found both Crystal and Suckhvinder as different as they are, they were very well written, and I could feel for them more than empathy. I had a bit more of a problem sympathising with any of the adults in the book, since they all seemed whiny and funny enough, behave as teenagers as much as the teens themselves. I found Samantha very entertaining, but even then, it didn't fully click.

    Final thoughts

    I believe that most of the people who were "disappointed" at this book it was because they were expecting something like Harry Potter...and this is so not that type of book.
    Now that we have established this, I will tell you that I actually quite enjoyed the book. For a book with so many characters it was easy to follow what was happening to whom. There is a lot of social critic without being a "soap box" book.

    Funny enough this book reminded me of Under the Dome, simply because of how a single event modifies so drastically everyone else in a tiny town. In a way the people of Pagford are also under a bubble, except that in this case is of their own construction.

    There were some very crude moments but this brought deeper "humanity" to the characters and by the end the felt quite tangible for me. The end was unexcpeted enough to surprise me, but not out of the blue in a way that would've ruined the whole dynamic of the book for me.

    I really enjoyed Tom Hollander as a narrator, his tone is very pleasant and although, as non native speaker, I'm more used to an American accent I had no trouble whatsoever following him.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Imago

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Octavia E. Butler
    • Narrated By Barrett Aldrich
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Human and Oankali have been mating since the aliens first came to Earth to rescue the few survivors of an annihilating nuclear war. The Oankali began a massive breeding project, guided by the ooloi, a sexless subspecies capable of manipulating DNA, in the hope of eventually creating a perfect starfaring race. Jodahs is supposed to be just another hybrid of human and Oankali, but as he begins his transformation to adulthood he finds himself becoming ooloi - the first ever born to a human mother.

    Miguel Rayah Gravelle says: "Fantastic end to a wonderful series!"
    "What an amazing trilogy!"
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    Originally posted at: A Girl That Likes Books

    First impression

    What an amazing trilogy. I am so glad this was my first contact with the work of Octavia E. Butler, because I completely loved every book and the series as a whole. In this book we encounter Jodahs, another son of Lilith and her Oankali family; a construct. For the first time, a construct that is turning into an ooloi, the first one to come from human parents. Once again, Butler explores how we deal with the unknown and the changes this brings to everyone including yourself.

    Final thoughts

    I think I have never encountered and author that makes me question what identity really is like Octavia E. Butler with this series. Not only to what a human is, but all those little labels that we gather through our lives: male, female, foreign, normal, etc. This third book is off course not exception, and it comes in the form of a coming-of-age for the main character, Jodhas, who as it turns out, won't be male or female, since the ooloi are neither. First we see its own struggle it has accepting what he is becoming and at the same trying to explain to others so they will not only understand this new step in the Oankali-Human relationship but also so they will accept it and hopefully embrace it.

    Once again, as in the rest of the series, the subject of xenophobia is discussed at large, except that in this book, is not just humans who are afraid, the Oankali don't know what to do with Jodhas, and fear what its presence might mean. I loved that she (Butler) shows so beautifully how the unknown is always scary, independent of our background, but that at the same time, we don't need to be afraid. Acceptance is always present in this trilogy, sometimes reluctantly, but always there.

    Jodhas has this ability to modify its appearance to make whoever is around more comfortable, to adapt to others and I found this extremely interesting, as it cannot help but do it, most of the time it wouldn't realize this was happening until someone else pointed this out. This is something so common in relationships, we change a bit, not to much that we lose ourselves, but enough to reflect our new situation. The problem of changing so much that our identity is lost is also addressed, but I don't want to discuss it too much, as I fear it might give some spoilers.

    I particularly enjoyed the feeling of family portrayed in the book. While sometimes it would seem like a more complicated structure, at the end it is always a net of support, with all of the members being woven together by love, expectations and belonging.

    The other thing that the trilogy addresses in an impressive way is sexuality, and what it might mean to a person (or to an Oankali). What it might mean to feel and identify as male, female, both or neither and how others that might be more accustomed to a more black-and-white perspective would respond to this perspective being challenged. I can only say that Octavia E. Butler was a genius being able to put herself in the skin of so many issues and most importantly being able to transmit these feelings in her writing.

    I would recommend this series to anyone seeking a brilliant sci-fi series with a lot of social subtext.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye, Sue Monk Kidd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7427)
    Performance
    (6713)
    Story
    (6717)

    From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

    Jan says: "Historical Fiction - beautifully quilted!"
    "Beautiful/Hard Story, great performances"
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    Originally posted at: A Girl that Likes Books

    First impression

    I had heard so many wonderful things about this book, ever since it came about, almost a year ago but hadn't gotten around to reading it. During the holidays, I had some extra time and had an extra credit on Audible, so I went for it.

    The story is told from 2 POVs: Sarah Grimcke, the daughter of a plantation owner in Charleston and Hetty "Handful" Grimcke, a slave for the family. The 2 girls grow together, very close on age, and the develop something close to a friendship. Both prisoners in very different ways, both trying to break free from the roles society has imposed on them. They grow up to be strong women still in each other's life, until the end and end up helping the other out in ways they didn't see coming.

    The role of Sarah Grimcke is based on a real character of the early abolitionist movement, and the author is very clear about the fact that there was a lot of fiction added to this story, the final product being a very emotional and touching story.

    Final thoughts

    I haven't read The Secret Life of Bees so this is my first contact with the author's style, but now I want to get my hands on her previous books. Speckled with historic facts, this novel takes the reader through the first steps of the abolition movement through the eyes of Sarah, who is not only fighting against slavery but also against the set ideas against women. On the other hand, Hatty represents the hardest conditions, being a slave AND a woman: the description of punishments, mistreatments and her life in general are heartbreaking, even more so when you think about the fact that this is perfectly realistic to how slaves were treated.

    The book is presented in several parts, all of them representing a couple of years of the girls/women story, beginning when they are merely 11 years old, up to their 40s/50s. The author makes a wonderful job at building their characters, showing how these changes with age and with the marking events they bath have to encounter. The constant contrast of where each one of the main characters were is probably one of the strongest assets of the book, in my own opinion.

    I don't know how much of the intensity I felt from both characters is due to the narrators, but for me, they were both very charged, full of emotion, particularly Hetty. The flow of the story made for a seamless narrative and so I got carried away with the story, so much that when it ended I stayed sitting in my chair for a couple of minutes savouring the conclusion of it.

    I cannot compare this book to any of her previous work, so I cannot suggest to anyone that they should start with this one; however I can say that if like me is your first approach to Sue Monk Kidd, is a good one, with well developed characters and interesting views of the 19th century USA. Both Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye do a wonderful job giving a voice to Sarah and Hetti.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ancillary Sword: The Imperial Radch series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Ann Leckie
    • Narrated By Adjoa Andoh
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (10)

    Breq - the soldier who used to be a spaceship - is serving the emperor she swore to destroy. She's been given her own warship, her own crew, and ordered to the only place in the galaxy she would have agreed to go: to Athoek Station, to protect the family of the lieutenant she murdered in cold blood. Athoek was annexed by the Empire some 600 years ago, and by now everyone is fully 'civilised'. Or should be - but everything is not as tranquil as it appears.

    John says: "Ultimately satisfying but slow"
    "Nice second part, Waiting for the third book!"
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    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    First impression

    After really loving the first book on the Imperial Radch series, Ancillary Justice, and seeing that I was not the only one (is there any price Leckie didn’t win?) it was a no brainer to continue with the series. It was hard to though, because as it turns out, the changed the narrator (First book was read by Celeste Ciulla and this one is Adjoa Andoh) and so several of the pronunciations, names, etc changed and for the first quarter of the book it was hard to fully engage. Once I was past this, the story was great. Leckie has a gift in building and sharing this new different cultural groups and the Radch universe can be very dark and very colorful at the same time.

    Final thoughts

    While the first book was intended to be obviously the introduction to the world and developed the revenge sentiment in Breq, this book went deeper into her as character, and that was great. I really appreciated the character growth and development not only for Breq, but for Seivarden and all the rest of the team in Mercy of Kalr.

    Breq is still the main voice in the story, but as she herself points out, she is missing her extra ancillaries, and while she still has the connection to Ship, there is a void on how she can “see” or perceive multiple events, compared to what she was in her past with Lieutenant Awn. Her getting accustomed to her new “unique” self was a very different part of the story, but one I really did enjoy, actually feeling her confusion and somewhat sadness to “just be one”.

    At first I disliked Lieutenant Tisarwat but by the end of it I was quite fond of her and I am hoping to see her again in Ancillary Mercy. While in this book the focus is settled in character development I feel there is still room for surprise from all the main characters.

    The book is set in Athoek Station, far away from the lord of the Radch, but certainly not far from political intrigue. In case you haven’t noticed, the Radch are very keen to maintaining or improving their social status and what is “proper” might change according to what is convenient. Not for Breq; in my own opinion she sticks to the parameters of being a Radchaai even better than any other character even if she despises a big deal of this façade based behaviour.

    As much as I liked the book and even if I wasn’t expecting the final twist (no spoilers, don’t worry) there was something missing and I can’t help but to think that this feeling comes from the struggle to engage with the story at the beginning, due to the change of narrator. While both narrators did a terrific job, I am used to a certain continuity of voices by now when I am listening to a series.

    This does not dissuade me from waiting anxiously for the next book. I still loved the whole world that Leckie has constructed for us, and contrary to some reviews I saw, I didn’t feel like the political critique was heavy or obscured the rest of the story; on the contrary I think that it is one of the sides I enjoy the most of the series. Let’s hope the trilogy closes with all the spirit and strength present in AJ.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Octavia E. Butler
    • Narrated By Aldrich Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (58)

    In this sequel to Dawn, Lilith Iyapo has given birth to what looks like a normal human boy named Akin. But Akin actually has five parents: a male and female human, a male and female Oankali, and a sexless Ooloi. The Oankali and Ooloi are part of an alien race that rescued humanity from a devastating nuclear war, but the price they exact is a high one the aliens are compelled to genetically merge their species with other races, drastically altering both in the process.

    Carolina says: "Great second part, Can't wait to finish the series"
    "Great second part, Can't wait to finish the series"
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    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    First impression

    After I finished Dawn I knew I had to continue the trilogy. The world that Butler built in for this story is full of complicated, rich characters, both human an alien. Xenogenesis explores the union or fusion of these two groups through the main character Akin, the first human-Oankali male construct. Butler continues to explore human nature, a contradiction in itself, this time seen from the eyes of someone that is not fully human, nor fully alien.

    Final thoughts

    Butler touches so many subject in such a swift, seamless manner that you don't realize you are thinking about social issues until you put the book (or headphones in my case) down and have this feeling of "wow"

    Lillith takes a secondary role in this installment; as I mentioned it is Akin who takes center stage trying to merge the two points of view: a very guttural, visceral one coming from his human side and partners, and a more logical, cold one from this Oankali side. He represents, to me at least, the struggles a lot of immigrant kids have during their life time, Of course, Akin's struggle and his definitions will affect the future of what is left from humanity and the future of the trade.

    Racism is also a constant subject so far in this trilogy; while Dawn dealt a bit more with sexism, in this case I felt this point was left aside, but not ignored. The rage against Lillith, the prejudices against her and whatever might come through her is still present, not only with those who actually met her, but her "legend" has grown, to a point that there is even talk of her being possessed. That said most of the women present in the rebel camps are delegated to secondary roles all the time and most of the men turn to "macho" behavior.

    Seeing Akin grow, not only physically but in his mind was so interesting. The approach of him being a teenager in both communities puts him in multiple situations where he was feeling frustrated and has to learn not only to be an adult but to express as one and be able to share and convince his piers of the changes he is bringing.

    I think that doing this trilogy in audio has given me the opportunity to identify the different Oankalis better and to sort of pin point their personalities; I've read several reviews mentioning that it is hard to differentiate between them.

    From a biologist point of view I think the concept of trade, the way the Oankali see it, is fascinating. The concept is mostly explained on the first book, but is always present during Adulthood Rites.

    I would totally recommend this series so far to anyone who loves SciFi and society construction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stories of Your Life and Others

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Ted Chiang
    • Narrated By Abby Craden, Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    This new edition of Ted Chiang's masterful first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, includes his first eight published stories. Combining the precision and scientific curiosity of Kim Stanley Robinson with Lorrie Moore's cool, clear love of language and narrative intricacy, this award-winning collection offers listeners the dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar.

    Carolina says: "Amazing collection of short stories"
    "Amazing collection of short stories"
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    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    This was the September pick for the Sword and Laser book club

    First impression

    I have to admit that I was reluctant at first to give this book a try. First because I haven't read a lot of short stories so I wasn't sure this collection would grab me. Second, I went with the Audio version because my library didn't have it and I decided just to go with my Audible credit. The only other collection of short stories I've read recently was METAtropolis (also in audio) and while I enjoyed it, it didn't amaze me. Let me tell you, Stories of Your Life and Others might be the book that convinced me to try short stories more often.

    Final thoughts

    The collection is fantastic, I wasn't even finished and I kept telling people they had to give it a try. While very different, the short stories flow nicely. The fact that this time there were all written by the same person is really evident, even though the voice on each story changes quite a bit changing point of views and even presenting one as a documentary.

    Goodreads describes the collection as multiple stories where the characters encounter sudden change. However, more than just sudden change, I believe that the common thread that this collection has is preconceptions and destroying or debunking them. From the concept of beauty to mathematics and even procreation, Chiang gives a new light to all of these subjects with touches of science fiction and even a bit of fantasy.

    All the worlds presented are beautifully constructed; at no point did I get the feeling that what was being presented made no sense in the respective universe, and this is extremely important to me. This is not to say that the elements that made these stories feel outside of our world weren't there. They are obviously there without making it feel overdone and so my mind entered each story smoothly.

    As might be expected, I liked some of the stories better than other, my favorites being Story of your Life and Others, which deals with the concept of language and physics, and Liking what you See, which deals with the concept and perception of beauty. Extra points for Understand not using the "we only use 10% of our brains" trope and actually going with something different.

    Both narrators did a terrific job. Only at Liking What you See do we get to hear them at almost the same time, but I think they were perfect choices all the way through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Better World: The Brilliance Saga, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Marcus Sakey
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (401)
    Story
    (398)

    The brilliants changed everything.

    Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we'd only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person's most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us.

    Charles says: "Disappointing"
    "I can only hope there is a third one of this saga!"
    Overall
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    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    First impression

    This is the second installment on the Brilliance Saga. I really enjoyed the first one (you can find my review here) and so it was a no brainer to get the second one. Sakey continues to tackle the subject of how society reacts to difference from the status quo, and since we were already introduce to the concept of brilliance, A Better World leans more towards the political part of the equation. How would science deal with a new phenomenon, how would the oppress minority counter react to such oppression, how would the government and the anti government institutions play their cards? All of these questions and more are discussed in this series and certainly with more depth in this second part. I can only hope there is a third one.

    Final thoughts

    First thing I have to commend from this book is how it tackles science. Sometimes books, particularly on science fiction, go into such an elaborated push of science or even worst, state things that are in no way possible; both situations are hard for me to digest, particularly when the deal with biology. I did not get that from this book. Every scientific explanation was well constructed and made sense in accordance with the world that was being built by the author, without being so overly complicated that would made me lose interest.

    Another thing that I really enjoyed was the multiple layers of every character. Every time I think I am starting to know the character and will be able to know what he/she is going to do another facet appears and it changes the result beautifully. They are very...human characters if you want, they are not all bad not all good. Characters that you were rooting for in the first book, you might want to slap them in this one and the other way around.
    And Sharon, she is a great character; she is a bad ass all the way through. The scenes of her commanding attacks, for example; she has an imposing, determined personality, but can also be very sweet and endearing at times.

    The rhythm of the book is good and I would say fast enough for an action book, without omitting details, or passing through them in a blur. Once again, enough detail to make it interesting, without making it into a dissertation. At times I will admit that I could do with a less description of people's intents through Nick's eyes, but at the same time, these scenes go so fast that they don't necessarily bother me, and it gives the book a movie feeling; I feel this would be a great series to make into a TV series or even a movie, and if I am not mistaken there is already talk of it happening.

    So with all this praise, why am I not giving it a full 5? There is still something missing but I haven't been able to pin point to what it is. At the end I get what I was expecting and it was very well delivered, but I can't say with certainty that I got more than that.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Octavia E. Butler
    • Narrated By Aldrich Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (165)

    In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is "awakened", she finds that she has been chosen to revive her fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever.

    Christopher says: "Creepy alien sex is suprisingly interesting..."
    "Amazing, a wonderful Sci-Fi! Super recomended"
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    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    Intelligence does aloud you to ignore the fact you dislike


    First impression

    When this was selected for the Sword and Laser I learned that my library only had the second book in the series. The premise seemed so unique and I really wanted to read a book by Octavia E. Buttler so I decided to get myself a copy through Audible. Now I am very happy I did since I want to be able to give it to people to listen too; I will be getting the rest of the trilogy too.

    Final thoughts

    The book works with the premise that human race has been almost annihilated from Earth, due to war. A few survivors have been "rescued" by an extraterrestrial species, called Oankali, who are described as being covered by tiny tentacles (I imagined their skin like an inside out version of the small intestine, but that's just me) with slight human appearance when approaching Lilith, the main character, at first. Lilith is a black woman who has been awaken several times before (she ignores how many) and she has been selected as the person who will train a new group of humans to be taken back to Earth.

    This book was absolutely amazing. I was afraid I was going to have a problem with the voice given to the Oankali since a lot of people were wondering about this on the Internet, but Aldrich Barrett made a great job, at least for me. Independent of the format that you are reading this book will touch a very big question: What exactly makes us human? Is it our bodies? Is it our culture? Can one be separated of the other?

    Such a unique book. It has a great main character, that not only questions her own humanity but puts into discussion how human relationships are built and their outcomes. The way she is treated by this alien race and then the way the other humans treated her for me was a questioning of the society we've grown accustomed to. It was interesting to see secondary characters that represented greed or fear to an extreme point and how this type of behaviours affected the construction of a whole new dynamic between individuals.

    I liked that, for a sci-fi, it wasn't "plagued" with terminology. Sure, we have the names of the different Oankali, but doors aren't call intramural passages for example, or worst, made up words without context. All is being explained to Lilith and through her to ours and yet it all feels so alien.

    Someone said that for him this book was racist and homophobic, which I feel obliged to counter here. Yes there are comments against Lilith being the leader, as she is a woman, but this comment came from another human and from my point of view, this was pout there precisely to point out how society still reacts like that with a woman on a position of power. The fact that the book has a sexist or an homophobic character, does not make the book sexist nor homophobic. The book deals with several "hard" subjects, such as race, sexism, rape just to name a few. But I think the author's intention was to start a discussion about them, show how this can appear and the consequences. I believe this book pushes a lot of buttons, but in a very good way. I have already recommended the book all over the place and can't wait to continue with the story, learn more about the Oankali and Lilith's outcome.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Brilliance

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Marcus Sakey
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1732)
    Performance
    (1534)
    Story
    (1542)

    In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in.

    Charles says: "Slow to Start"
    "Brilliant Thriller, can't wait for the sequel"
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    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    First impressions

    I remember hearing about this book through BookRiot, thinking, well it sounds like a fun concept. It remind me a bit of X-men sure, but I was still willing to give it a try. I was not disappointed.

    Final thoughts

    The premise of the book is that ever since the 80’s there has been more and more kids born called brilliants since they show particular heightened skills, in mathematics, pattern recognition and others. They are at first considered gifted, but as so happens often when something threatens a status quo, soon society starts fearing them and when a bloody attack by one of the brilliants activist, the fears seems to be well founded. Academies meant to educate brilliant kids only pop up all over and intend to form this kids to be “well behaved citizens” that will use their “gift” for their government…but they will be taken away from their families in the process, lose their original identities and learn to distrust other brilliants…all to protect our society as it is. The main character, Nick Cooper is a gifted agent, working for the government, trying to stop the bad guys. Until a particularly aggressive attack makes him go undercover to try to catch the most dangerous man alive.

    This was a very good thriller. Yes it took me almost a month to listen to it, but mostly because other books came up that I had to finish first (don’t they always?). Anyway, first of all, kudos to Luke Daniels, I believe he has an amazing voice for this type of books. Great voicing of very different characters.

    Now, the book itself was very entertaining. At first I was afraid that is was going to be a bit too much like X-Men and I think it is inevitable to have the stories compared if you are familiar with one another. However, Brilliance’s characters are mostly people who are good at reading a certain set of patterns that is already there. The way it was described made me think of people with Asperger Syndrome minus the social interaction difficulties (this mostly present with non-brilliants and due to rejection) or the nonverbal communication.

    The book touches, unsurprisingly, political behaviours towards minorities as well as taking some big twists to show that no one is who you might be led to believe they are. My favorite character was Shannon, she was such a bad-ass, sassy, sarcastic…a very memorable and enjoyable character.

    The pacing was fantastic, again, don’t be fooled by the fact that it took me so long to finish it; I don’t normally listen to audiobooks once I am at home with Alex, but the truth is that I just couldn’t not finish the book once it got to the last third, and so I spend hours on our bed, not talking to anyone, looking at the ceiling saying: oh wow, did not see that coming, ouch,…anyway. You get my point. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emerald Green: The Ruby Red Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Kerstin Gier
    • Narrated By Marisa Calin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (261)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (239)

    In Kerstin Gier's Emerald Green, Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is. She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And, she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

    Erin - Audible says: "The end!"
    "Final book, predictable but entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Originally posted at: A Girl that Likes Books

    First impressions

    I started reading this series mostly because Audible was having a sale on first of a series books. The premise of time travelling seemed appealing and so I went for it. The first installment, Ruby Red, was good enough, I liked the fact that Gwendolyn wasn't just a boy driven character, even though it was obvious that they were going to get together and hence I went for the second one.

    The second one, Sapphire Blue, was ok, but I think I fell more for Xemerus than the other characters. I did want to know what the whole mystery was, but the love part felt a bit forced, sadly enough.

    So here we are, at the end of the series, and I am giving it a round and final 4, even though I was a bit disappointed at certain points.

    Final thoughts

    Let us start with the things I liked, both in general and in the series.

    As I mentioned the premise of time travelling was appealing to me. The whole building of it around a secret society as well as the workings of the chronograph was nice additions, and I would've liked a bit more of background there. We didn't have it, the whole references to the "gene" and the need of blood for the chronograph to work are not explained, but maybe this is a better option than bad science.

    The descriptions of the dresses, and hence Madame Rossini, were delightful. If you follow my blog or my reviews, you probably know that I am a sucker for period dressing. If you didn't know that...well now you do.

    There were a couple of twists at the end of the series, a couple as in two major ones, at least from my point of view. I will not extend on this point since I do not want to give spoilers, but one of them was pretty obvious, and the other not so much, so I will give it a "meh" on plot twisting. Some people have complained about the ending, and it does feel like suddenly this was more than a trilogy, but then again it could just be that Gier likes her cliff-hangers, no?

    Now, the things I didn't like. It is a bit sad when you like the secondary characters more than you do the primary ones, or at least it seems like a lot of energy is invested in characters you never got to care for, and this was the case for me. Give me more Leslie! More Xemerus...Gwendolyn and Gideon felt flat a lot of times and I felt like the story could've been carried almost without them.

    As I mentioned their relationship suddenly happened and while this is a bit typical (not that is a good thing) when portraying teen love situations, it makes it even more "blah" since it has been overdone. But it gets point for not pushing on a love triangle.

    So I gave it a 4, mostly because as predictable as it was at times, it was enjoyable, it gave me exactly what I was expecting from it, no more and just a little bit less. I would recommend to someone looking for light series with fun secondary characters.

    Good job by Marisa Calin!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13422)
    Performance
    (12280)
    Story
    (12349)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    "Sweet story, but predictable outcome"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Originally published at: A Girl that Likes Books

    Sometimes people don't understand the promises they are making when they make them

    Why I read this book

    The trailer for the movie based on this book is all over the place and I have to admit, my curiosity got hold of me. What is it about this book that so many people are raving about?

    What the book is about

    This is a love story between 2 teenagers that encounter themselves through a support group for cancer survivors. Hazel has a rare cancer that has compromised her lungs and Augustus had osteosarcoma. Their relationship grows through the illness and through a book that has marked Hazel. They will both change each others with their first love.

    First impressions

    From the moment I thought about acquiring the book I told my boyfriend: apparently I will cry a lot with this book. However as I advanced in the book, while I encountered pretty sad moments, nothing moved me to tears. I couldn't help but think that the whole raving about "the feelings" in this book oversold it for me and I had way to higher expectations.

    Final thoughts

    Have you seen any of the videos from John Green? He has a very particular style and oh boy does it transfer to this book. I cannot say to his writing, since this is the first book from his that I've read, I think that is amazing, to be able to transfer yourself so well on paper...well, on audio in this case.

    The characters were very likable, which is not always the case, and good thing is, I felt that they would be likable even without the cancer. Hazel is smart albeit a bit of a Debby downer (yes, I know she has cancer) being, I suppose, the voice of tragedy somehow. And Augustus was very sweet and also smart...but sometimes overly optimistic, so the voice of comedy?...I think that the intention was to show the two extreme reactions to being sick so young. You could either take your eventual death and be very pragmatic about it or go the other way around and try to act like the illness is not there while taking profit of every single minute.

    The story builds up nicely, and I appreciated the fact that at the end Green talks about consulting with specialists to be as accurate as possible and admits that in some cases he took the liberty to ignore their advice in order to make a literary option instead of a scientific one.

    The descriptions of Amsterdam were lovely. How lucky for him to be able to get to know the city!

    It was a nice love story. It was a nice cancer story. But it was a predictable story. I don't think this was Green's fault. I think is the fault of the internet.

    I enjoyed Kate Rudd as a narrator; she was fun, very good inflections and voices.

    The dead are only visible in the terrible, littlest eye of memory

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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