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Mel S.

Member Since 2013

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 34 ratings
  • 204 titles in library
  • 82 purchased in 2014
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  • Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5542)
    Performance
    (5106)
    Story
    (5102)

    Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

    AudioAddict says: "And I didn't think I liked fantasies..."
    "I fell in love with Royce and Hadrian!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Theft of Swords?

    I absolutely love Royce and Hadrian! I just find them to be so completely interesting, in how they interact with each other and with people around them. They have that really strong almost-brothers type of relationship, and their personalities complement each other so well that I just can't get enough!


    What other book might you compare Theft of Swords to and why?

    Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series shares the same light, psuedo-epic, adventure tones that makes it so much fun to read, and it seems I am a huge fan of thief partnerships. Both series also have larger intrigues that the protagonists get sucked into and have to deal with in unconventional ways.


    Which character – as performed by Tim Gerard Reynolds – was your favorite?

    It's always pretty close race between Royce and Hadrian, but I think I'm going to have to go with Royce for this book. I do admit, there are a couple of voices in this book that grate on me, but Reynolds has Royce and Hadrian down pat! Hadrian is idealistic, optimistic and basically more open, and Royce is suspicious, withdrawn, and curt, and you can hear it in how their voices are portrayed. I can't picture them sounding any other way.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oh yes! Taking breaks for sleep and work were awful, and I put my headphones back on at the earliest opportunities! And my "sleep breaks" were basically listening to the story until I fell asleep, so those weren't really voluntary...


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Altered Destiny

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Shawna Thomas
    • Narrated By Uma Incrocci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (67)

    Selia has run her family's tavern since she was 15 and can hunt and fight as the equal of any male. When she rescues a badly wounded man and nurses him back to health, she has no idea she's about to change not only her life, but also the destinies of two peoples….

    Racheal says: "Wow! It was perfect!"
    "Solid book with a good premise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found Altered Destiny to be a strange mix of predictable and intriguing. There are certain tropes, like the bad guy is unarguably a bad person, and some parts of the story were a bit predictable, but despite all of that, I couldn't stop listening. Selia is a strong, determined character, and I love her relationship with her brother. Then there's Jaden and the added complexity he brings to Selia's life. We get to watch them develop from cautious acquaintance, to grudging partner, to friend and ally, etc. It is an interesting dynamic to witness, and Shawna Thomas does a good job making it realistic.

    With regards to pacing, the beginning had a good pace, with a slower getting-to-know-the-world vibe that didn't FEEL slow at all. The last half of the book really takes off, and in places things even seem to happen too fast. There is so much packed into the last half that it is hard to put down. I appreciated that this book was a stand-alone, for while the end feels rushed, it works for the tone of the book. Plus, if it had been stretched out, it probably would have lost some of the pull I felt.

    The narrator didn't really have enough distinction between character voices for my taste, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless.

    Overall, this is a solid book with a good premise and characters and plot to keep you on your toes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Cross: Jane Yellowrock, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Faith Hunter
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    Overall
    (1937)
    Performance
    (1610)
    Story
    (1612)

    Jane Yellowrock is back on the prowl against the children of the night. The vampire council has hired skinwalker Yellowrock to hunt and kill one of their own who has broken sacred ancient rules - but Jane quickly realizes that in a community that is thousands of years old, loyalties run deep.

    Ducky says: "GO JANE!!! GO FAITH!! AND GO KHRISTINE!!"
    "It's starting to heat up"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In Skinwalker, the first book of the Jane Yellowrock series, Faith Hunter set the series off to a pretty good start. Blood Cross definitely feels like the series is just going to improve with each book. Again, I am not particularly overwhelmed with this series, but it is solid, entertaining, and enjoyable. It seems that each book is adding a layer of complexity to the world and the story (Skinwalker: about vampires, Blood Cross: vampires + witches, and it looks like book 3 will throw some weres into the mix), which not only drew me into the world a bit more, but mixes up the power and relationship dynamics of the characters more, which was both unexpected and appreciated. I am interested to see how the series develops.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skinwalker: Jane Yellowrock, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Faith Hunter
    • Narrated By Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3114)
    Performance
    (2651)
    Story
    (2657)

    Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she's been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie's Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who's killing other vamps.

    Mobilis says: "How refreshing"
    "Decent start to a promising series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Skinwalker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I found Skinwalker to be pretty average. I enjoyed the story, but compared to other similar urban fantasy series, this is not my favorite. I don't feel as drawn in to the plot or characters as I have in other books.


    If you’ve listened to books by Faith Hunter before, how does this one compare?

    I have listened to books 1 and 2 in the Jane Yellowrock series. I liked the second one a bit better, but mostly because going into that book we already have met most of the major players and don't need as much world building or exposition. Skinwalker is a decent entrance into the Jane Yellowrock world and sets the stage well for the stories to come after.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I like the interactions between Jane and Leo in this book. There is an interesting culture clash, where Jane is self sufficient and pretty modern, where as Leo, as the vampire leader of New Orleans, is used to a more archaic form of respect and standards. In general, watching how Jane navigates in the vampire world of New Orleans when their society is often at odds with her leads to snappy conversations and tension filled moments.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The God Delusion

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4709)
    Performance
    (2077)
    Story
    (2052)

    Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes.

    Rick Just says: "Dangerous Religion"
    "Definitely makes you think"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The God Delusion to be better than the print version?

    I am of a mixed opinion on this. I feel like the print and audio versions would work the best if used together. On the audio side, I liked how Dawkins and Ward switched narration back and force, making it really obvious when there was a quote from somebody else versus Dawkin's thoughts. Additionally, if I were reading this on my own, I probably would not finish it, as I generally find reading nonfiction not engaging, which is why I prefer nonfiction audio books. However, there are some longer, more complex thoughts that it is easy to get lost in mid-sentence, and in this regard, I think having the print book on hand so you can reference would make it much easier to review a sentence or reference a thought or philosophy discussed earlier in the book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book is well laid out, and presents a clear argument with lots of references, quotes, etc, to support Dawkins' observations and interpretations of religion. He systematically addresses many of the typical arguments for agnosticism and religious belief, focusing mostly on the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It points out a lot of double standards in religious faith systems and deconstructs arguments for religion and against atheism in a calm, logical manner. It never felt like an angry attack on religion, rather it is a well thought out, well researched presentation that makes it an interesting read. I really appreciated it as a religiously raised person currently questioning what I truly believe, but I think it will be eye opening even for those with staunch faith. It may not convince you to be an atheist, but it is worth examining why you believe what you believe, and if it stands up next to Dawkins' arguments.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are sections where Dawkins addresses religious notions pulled from the Bible, from moral standards to historical accuracy, etc. While I have never believed in the historical accuracy of the Bible, I never really looked at it objectively either. I always read Bible stories with the interpretations provided to me by my education in the Catholic school system, and it was difficult for me to separate myself from my prior knowledge. Listening to Dawkins dissect some of the famous stories for his arguments was like hearing them for the first time, and I was able to see the stories without the veneer of religious fanaticism giving me rose-tinted glasses. I found those dissections and the conclusions Dawkins derives from them to be particularly eye-opening and thought provoking.


    Any additional comments?

    This is definitely a useful resource for anyone questioning their stance on religion. It is not guaranteed that it will convince you to become an atheist, and it is useful to have another prospective and interpretation of the world and religious beliefs. I would also recommend it to fervent religious people as well, not as a criticism of their beliefs, but to listen to Dawkins' arguments and judge for yourself the merits of both your and his beliefs, rather than to judge his arguments without actually knowing what they are or why he believes them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Palace Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Patrick Weekes
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (202)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (186)

    Loch is seeking revenge. It would help if she wasn’t in jail. The plan: To steal a priceless elven manuscript that once belonged to her family, but is now in the hands of the most powerful man in the Republic. To do so, Loch - former soldier, former prisoner, and current fugitive - must assemble a crack team of magical misfits that includes a cynical illusionist, a shape shifting unicorn, a repentant death priestess, a talking magical war hammer, and a lad with seemingly no skills.

    Amazon Customer says: "Fun Fantasy Heist in a Well Thought-out World"
    "Everything you want in a fantasy heist"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Palace Job the most enjoyable?

    This was everything I could have wanted in a heist story: complex plots, an entertaining and hilarious criminal crew, and the justice-serving person trying to foil their plot. Plus, magic and a unicorn! It has the light and witty tone that I love in common heist movies and kept me guessing the whole book. It was brilliantly put together and I was taken completely off guard by how much I enjoyed it.


    What does Justine Eyre bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She really brings the characters to life. There are different accents and each person's attitudes really shine in her narration.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was laughing and smiling through the whole book. Even when their plans are falling apart, the characters are fun and sarcastic or just plain quirky and I loved their interactions with each other, especially when the crew was first put together. This book was so much fun, I can't say it enough!


    Any additional comments?

    In addition to really enjoying the characters, the heist component is really well executed. The plans were revealed in pieces, and there is a great mix of the crew manipulating the events around them in their favor and their plans being really screwed up, and often you can't tell which seeming obstacle is which until later. It definitely kept me on my toes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Naoki Higashida
    • Narrated By Tom Picasso
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (843)
    Performance
    (752)
    Story
    (753)

    Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, The Reason I Jumpis a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

    Janice says: "Cracking the code"
    "Autism FAQs answered by an autistic teen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is definitely worth listening to, even if it is just to understand that there is so much more going on under the surface of an autistic person than they show. The author points out several times how non-autistic people assume the childish reactions often exhibited by autistic people reflects a childish intellect, and that is not true.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Reason I Jump?

    There wasn't really a memorable "moment" but I really appreciated the Q and A format of this book, and I think it is a good approach. The narrator addresses 60 questions people tend/want to ask an autistic child but can't because the child can't adequately respond.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are several points in the book where the author reveals that autistic children are very aware of how uncomfortable they make non-autistic people. It is really heart-wrenching to hear that they often stand off by themselves not because they prefer to be alone but to spare other people from having to feel uncomfortable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Reckless Witch

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Debora Geary
    • Narrated By Martha Harmon Pardee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (386)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (359)

    With great power comes great responsibility. So says the tradition of witching. One teenage witch missed that lesson.... As a child, Sierra Brighton traveled the world. She swam with the baby whales, danced in storm funnels, and lived in complete magical freedom. And then Momma died and Sierra ended up in foster care, an unhappy and very secret witch.

    Fetched by Nell's spell, she'll no longer need to do magic on lonely beaches - but can Sierra learn to use her power safely? Or will her reckless blood put Witch Central at risk?

    Kathy says: "Orphaned Witch Needs a New Home"
    "I love the Sullivan brothers."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Which character – as performed by Martha Harmon Pardee – was your favorite?

    It is a hard choice between Jamie, Irvin, and Devon. But I think Jamie still edge's out in front. Jamie and Devon are 2 out of 3 identical triplets. Jamie has been a major player in books one and two, so we are already familiar with his charms, but I was unprepared for Devon to be just as charming. I think this is my favorite book out of the three so far, in part because we get to meet Devon. He's snarky and self-assured, has a great sense of humor, and he feels very real. You know what, I changed my mind, Devon was my favorite!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Extreme, no. It's not really that kind of book. I can always count on this series to make me laugh, and give me a case of the warm fuzzies. The laughs tend to sneak up on you, but they are pretty consistent throughout the book.


    Any additional comments?

    This is definitely a character driven novel. There is plot, and climactic action, but a lot of this book revolves around the family and how people in their lives grow, change, or simply interact. It is a light and fluffy story, and in that regard, it serves it's purpose well.

    My one complaint is the limitations of the narrator. Overall, she does a great job, there are just a few quirks that bother me. The main one is the voice she uses when a female character is having a vulnerable revelation in an inner monologue moment. It's like she can only express emotional vulnerability one way, and it is this kind of overly emotional wavery voice. It feels inauthentic to me, and she uses the same tone over and over again for those moments.
    The less pressing concern that might affect other people's enjoyment is there is a bit of a lack of diversity of the middle-age female characters. If they are older, younger, have a dialect, it's not an issue, but it can be hard to tell the women in their 20s to 40s apart sometimes. I don't think it is necessarily the narrators fault, as there are a bunch of women in that age range and there is only so much difference she can add to a non-accented American woman voice, but it is something to be aware of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Tony Danza
    • Narrated By Tony Danza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (595)
    Performance
    (533)
    Story
    (533)

    Long before he starred on some of television’s most beloved and long-running series such as Taxi and Who’s the Boss? and went on to distinguish himself in a variety of film and stage roles, Tony Danza was a walking contradiction: an indifferent student who dreamed of being a teacher. Inspiring a classroom of students was an aspiration he put aside for decades until one day it seemed that the most meaningful thing he could do was give his dream a shot. What followed was a year spent teaching 10th-grade English at Northeast High - Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3,600 students....

    Cheryl R Rowe says: "I may be a little biased, but ...."
    "Opens your eyes to teacher experience"
    Overall
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    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely! I found it really engaging, and it has an important message about the challenges facing teachers and the strength it takes to do their job.


    What other book might you compare I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had to and why?

    Maybe "The Freedom Writers Diary" but not really. Most books on a similar subject focus on a teacher who single-handedly provides life-saving changes in their students lives. Tony Danza's book doesn't paint him as an amazing, awe-inspiring character. It shows a more realistic portrayal of teacher struggles and mistakes, and takes into account the challenges imposed by internal and external forces on the teachers, the students, and the school as a whole. I really appreciated the fact that it wasn't a story of Danza coming into a school and saving everyone through his love for his kids and innovative ideas, rather it was a more ordinary tale that lots of teachers have and will experience.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wouldn't be opposed to it, but I wasn't driven to listen to it all at once. It would make a good podcast-like or serial story, where you get an hour or so at a time.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this story, and I feel like I gained a better appreciation for teacher struggles through having listened to this. People considering joining programs like Teach for America would find this an interesting and potentially helpful resource, as it deals with an inner city school, as well as the challenges facing first year teachers in particular. Anyone with a hand in regulating education or imposing things on schools and educators should listen to this, and recognize how often their interference is more of a hindrance than a help.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Modern Witch: A Modern Witch, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Debora Geary
    • Narrated By Martha Harmon Pardee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (968)
    Performance
    (875)
    Story
    (896)

    Lauren is downtown Chicago's youngest elite realtor. She's also a witch. She must be - the fetching spell for Witches' Chat isn't supposed to make mistakes. So says the woman who coded the spell, at least. The tall, dark, and handsome guy sent to assess her is a witch too (and no, that doesn't end the way you might think). What he finds in Lauren will change lives, mess with a perfectly good career, and require lots of ice cream therapy.

    ShySusan says: "Perfect antidote for vampire & zombie overdoses"
    "Clever mix of contemporary and fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up A Modern Witch in three words, what would they be?

    Witch Family Living


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is basically a contemporary novel, but instead of the protagonist being Joe/Joanne-normal, we are following the life of witches. These witches don't fight evil, or act evilly, they simply exist, following their own traditions while living and working like anyone else. It was a really interesting take on the subject, and it was extremely humorous and heartwarming.


    Which character – as performed by Martha Harmon Pardee – was your favorite?

    Jamie-he's fun and interesting, and you can't help but love how much he loves his family.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not in the sense that it was suspenseful or engrossing and I just had to know what happens, but listening to this story made me smile, and gave me a light feeling, so I definitely enjoyed listening to it and was disappointed when I had to turn it off.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By John Green, David Levithan
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews, Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1185)
    Performance
    (960)
    Story
    (970)

    One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

    FanB14 says: "Another John Green Hit"
    "The musical makes it worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from John Green and David Levithan and/or MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl ?

    Sure. The narration was definitely not my issue with this book, in fact it was the saving grace. And I loved the barbs and subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) humor woven through the story enough to keep me listening. I feel writing off the authors or narrators would be doing them a disservice, since my main issue was my lack of connection with the main characters, not with the way the book was written or narrated.


    What was most disappointing about John Green and David Levithan ’s story?

    I am not a fan of either Will Grayson. They were self-absorbed, whiny/petulant characters that I could not really connect with.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The musical was definitely my favorite. They actually sing some of the songs, and it is simply outstanding. The narrators really went for it, and it definitely pays off. By this point, the Wills have pulled their heads out of their asses to make them more or less likable too, which is a plus.


    Do you think Will Grayson, Will Grayson needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Everything is well wrapped up at the end, and other story would needlessly extend things.


    Any additional comments?

    My dislike of this book is irrevocably tied to my dislike of the Wills. If I were rating the last third of the book, my rating would definitely be higher, 3.5 or 4 stars. The humor and witty execution of the writing was a nice constant throughout the book that would often startle a laugh from me because it often caught me off guard. If you connect with either or both of the Wills, I imagine you will have a much more positive experience, but they simply did not resonate with me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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