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Crystal

Listener of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Intrigue (not romance), Historical Fiction and very eclectic in her literary wanderings.

TEMPE, AZ, United States | Member Since 2008

28
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 145 ratings
  • 348 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
2

  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18805)
    Performance
    (17002)
    Story
    (17144)

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "Teen Novel in the Spirit of Hunger Games"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a teen novel- that being said, I was fine with the gentle kisses and non-specific references and went with the flow.

    I found the entire premise of society being divided into almost personality types intriguing. Indeed, I found myself asking the same questions the lead character does about how/why this happened in the first place.

    The story does read a bit like a Boot Camp novel, with friendships kindled, enemies made and a hero finding her way.

    I still found good twists in the storyline and I listened to the entire book in one day.

    The reader is excellent; I have followed her through other series. She pulls the reader in, making the teen voice believable and a good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Origin: A Technothriller

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By J. A. Konrath
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    Overall
    (416)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (386)

    When linguist Andrew Dennison is yanked from his bed by the Secret Service and taken to a top secret facility in the desert, he has no idea he’s been brought there to translate the words of an ancient demon. He joins pretty but cold veterinarian Sun Jones, eccentric molecular biologist Dr. Frank Belgium, and a hodge-podge of religious, military, and science personnel to try and figure out if the creature is, indeed, Satan. But things quickly go bad, and very soon Andy isn’t just fighting for his life, but the lives of everyone on earth.

    Nathan says: "Awesome!"
    "Nothing Techno, All Dean R. Koontz Style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought that the idea of "Is it a Devil?" would be exciting. Nope. Just a theme to write up a lot of violence and not a lot of plot.

    It was mostly about the characters and the horrors that brought them to this point. The temptations that make people choose evil.

    In short, it was a morality play with lots of guts and blood.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Immortalists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Kyle Mills
    • Narrated By Benjamin L. Darcie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    It’s a question microbiologist Richard Draman thought he’d answered when he walked away from his career to focus on curing a genetic defect that is causing his daughter to age at a wildly accelerated rate. But now he and his wife Carly are being forced to come to terms with the fact that eight-year-old Susie’s time is running out. Then they receive an unexpected gift: startling new research into the fundamental secrets of life that could be the miracle they’ve been looking for. Then, Richard is arrested on a trumped-up charge....

    C. says: "Plain Old Thriller"
    "As Advertised, Action and a Little Bit Futurist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I grabbed this because of the title, I didn't think it was going to be an action and intrigue book, though I should have.

    Richard and Carly: Husband and Wife trying to save their Daughter, stumble onto an international cover up that could change the entire human race...but at a cost.

    Solid characters who are going through tremendous suffering and rising up to find the truth.
    I really felt the author understood the pain of loss.

    Some surprises, some I guessed. It was a solid, long drive kind of book, action packed and taking you in different directions. Also glad that there was no attempt to completely explain how the catalyst is produced.

    Thank you Kyle Mills for finally answering a question I posed to Robert Sawyer about his book Rollback- "what are cellular consequences of immortality?" (FYI, he refused to answer me)

    Reader was ok. I liked all the voices EXCEPT the child, who sounded like a puppet character from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shakespeare: The World as Stage

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (754)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (315)

    William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself.

    Charles L. Burkins says: "Too Little, Too Short"
    "Unexpected Findings in a Quality Bryson Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's not much that can shock me about Shakespeare theories. I have a BA in English Literature. I've read all the plays, sonnets, even the ones suspected to be by Shakespeare.

    It seemed an odd topic for beloved Bryson to tackle and I was curious about his angle on it. I was pleasantly surprised, "What do we really know about the bard?" he asks in the first chapter.

    This was a refreshing and lively investigation into what's real and what's dreamed about one man's life. Solid topics, using all types of research from court records to paintings, Bryson gives a new eye on an ages old mystery. In the process, we learn about how many things have simply been made up by well meaning researchers for the past four hundred years!

    I found myself wishing there was more. I loved it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Area 51

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Bob Mayer, Robert Doherty
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (500)
    Performance
    (439)
    Story
    (443)

    Deep in the Nevada desert is the most secure compound in the United States: Area 51. The most chilling experiment of all time is about to begin there. The president doesn't know about it. Just a few scientists and military personnel working for Majestic-12 do, and they are about to make a very big mistake.

    William says: "10 hours of setup for a sequel"
    "Brain Candy for Sci-Fi Lovers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're looking for deep conspiracy/alien cover up books stop here.
    This novel is very much what I call Brain Candy and it's action packed, low on accuracy and high on TV movie fun.

    It's fun, easy to listen and just as easy to walk away from too.

    The reader makes it better for certain.

    Hey, I had a busy day and I was looking for something to listen while working and this fit the bill.

    As other readers noted: the ending is a little to snappy and neat. I felt like the author rushed to resolve things and lost perspective. If there's a sequel, I'll think about picking it up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Days: The Dresden Files, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5935)
    Performance
    (5521)
    Story
    (5520)

    After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad - because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long.

    Ethan M. says: "Thwarts Every Expectation - In a Good Way"
    "Wow, I Didn't See THAT Coming!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dresden fans- you were wondering how on earth Harry would manage being his new job and still retain his humanity? Zap. Wow. Pow. In classic bumbling Harry style, it's not what you expect and takes 10 turns along the way. Comic moments break up the harder times and I did find myself laughing at some truly silly imagery.

    Highest praise always goes to James Marsters for his incredible characterizations- the ones I will always hear in my head now.

    Truly this novel doesn't stop for a minute. Action packed, twisting and the classic, "Why ME??" moments. Several background characters move to the front in this novel answering questions (well somewhat) that have been hanging around for 13 novels.

    I have nothing but positive things to say about this novel. I lived and breathed it all my waking hours until I finished it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spy Glass

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Maria V. Snyder
    • Narrated By Jennifer Van Dyck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (279)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (152)

    Opal Cowan has lost her powers. She can no longer create glass magic. More, she's immune to the effects of magic. Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had, powers that make a difference in the world. Until spying through the glass becomes her new power. Suddenly, the beautiful pieces she makes flash in the presence of magic. And then she discovers that someone has stolen some of her blood--and that finding it might let her regain her powers.

    Elizabeth says: "Satisfying conclusion to the Glass trilogy"
    "Opal's Glass Smashing Action and Twisting Plots"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In book three, which I assume completes this series, Opal is pulled in twenty directions at once. No powers? Immune to magic? Still making glass...our heroine is a lost puppy at the beginning, suffering PTSD and trying to handle family politics of a wedding. She brings it around in the novel, finding a better path no matter what anyone thinks of it.

    The beauty of her story this time, is that she does actually fail at things- there are no miracles for some of her failures. With no magic, she has to become clever!

    Her character is more realistic than some heroes. She is conflicted, makes monsterous mistakes and pushes and pulls her hearts and others too. Her honesty makes her real to the reader and I found myself both cheering her on and smacking her upside the head in the same chapter.

    Some characters in the novel I was grateful to have less of: Cade annoyed me with his "stay home with and be my wife." You KNOW Opal will never do that and he does too.
    The Magicians appear less in the book than previous ones and their politics have a hint of current events about them here in America.

    Yay and thank you Maria for bringing back Valek, my most beloved character in the series. He is true to himself and surprises us with his talents beyond spying.

    The narrator is always a good one and she keeps the story moving.

    It's a good listen and worth the time. Cheer Opal on, smack the Ipod off the shelf when she screws up, Opal needed to tell this tale.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Snuff

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1814)
    Performance
    (1605)
    Story
    (1616)

    Sam Vimes is on a well-deserved holiday. But for the commander of the City Watch, a vacation in the country is anything but relaxing. The balls, the teas, the muck - not to mention all that fresh air and birdsong - are more than a bit taxing on a cynical city-born and -bred copper. Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam - out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife) - must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done.

    Tim says: "Perfect Pratchett"
    "Terry's is Up to Snuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sir Terry brings back a beloved character, Samuel Vimes (insert various titles here) for a vacation in the country that is anything but relaxing. His family is growing and changing and he's trying to keep up with the times (or rather Sybil is). While lounging miserably at the country estate, Vimes finds himself inside a murder investigation, goblin trafficking and learning even more about poo than anyone thought possible.

    Meanwhile, the city watch is up to their classic tricks, introducing new characters and deputizing some old ones. There are hints within their chapters about future storylines, so pay attention!

    This book held itself up very well, being funny, entertaining and always with a twist. There's a political lesson in there too, one very much in line with current events (Planned? You bet).

    I kept saying that the Narrator Stephen Briggs was doing a remarkable voice for Veterinari and then I looked him to discover he plays the character in the movies. His voice work kept the pace moving and laughs coming.

    Downside? The title dumbfounded me until halfway through.

    Overall, a positively good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ill Wind: Weather Warden, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Rachel Caine
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (228)
    Story
    (229)

    Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she's trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she's resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life.... Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he's stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she's racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast.

    Yuriko says: "Good fun and fast listening"
    "Blows in Slowly but builds up to Tropical Storm"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    It's a good solid story in the modern world mixes with folklore stuff. I like the concept of Weather Wardens. I would like to hear more about other kinds of Wardens. The plot keeps pace and there's plenty of frolicking in between.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Narrator did well- voices solid, moved with pace of the action


    Any additional comments?

    I felt the ending was a bit of a let down. Huge build up and then...bam I almost missed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Year Zero: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Rob Reid
    • Narrated By John Hodgman
    Overall
    (1278)
    Performance
    (1168)
    Story
    (1166)

    Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it's a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news. The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity's music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang.

    Robert says: "Fantastic Performance by Hodgman"
    "A Parody about a Parrot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Surprising in it's originality, Year Zero (which I think is a rather boring title) is funny, sleek, modern and fine heir in the lineage of Douglas Adams.

    I imagine the author sitting in front of his computer saying, "What's the worst stereotypes in the world and how can I turn them all on their head?" Sleazy lawyers, evil music companies, super b*tchy bosses...it's all there and not at all in the ways you expect.

    The universe owes a big debt as humans appear to be the only planet to write noteworthy music. The aliens have come to pay their dues and more to the point, try to find a way out of paying royalties to the record companies. So naturally, they look up an attorney who has an unfortunate name identical to a has-been pop star. Intergalactic law is far more complex than either side bargained for. Where does the Parrot show up? You'll have to listen to find out.

    In the Hitchhikers Guide tradition, the aliens are anything but predictable, their actions are well...alien. The humans are flawed and enjoyable. The narrator did wonderful voices and that made it a fun listen.

    Yes, there are surprises. The first for me was how one would tackle an expose on the music industry...in fiction. Reid does it and does it well.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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