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Melinda

Prince George, BC, Canada | Member Since 2010

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 137 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • The Year of the Flood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (1172)
    Performance
    (704)
    Story
    (706)

    The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life - has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life.

    Melinda says: "thought-provoking, engaging dystopic fiction"
    "thought-provoking, engaging dystopic fiction"
    Overall

    Very well-written and engaging narrative; I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. I would encourage readers/listeners to check out Oryx and Crake, Atwood's previous outing with these characters, first; Atwood has said that this is not the sequel to that novel, but rather takes place along a parallel timeline. This is true, but I still think it's best to read Oryx and Crake first.

    This novel really made me think about the state of our current social and environmental problems. Atwood is a bit scary in her prescience, actually.

    As a side note, I loved the publisher's choice to include performances of the hymns in the text version. They were spot-on.

    Highly recommended.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35364)
    Performance
    (26407)
    Story
    (26784)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "gripping and surprisingly thought provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story was not just gripping, but actually fairly thought provoking. The author makes some interesting observations about our culture's fascination with reality TV/celebrity, as well as some pointed (and, I thought, quite political!) commentary about greed, power, exploitation and oppression. The young female protagonist is refreshingly intelligent and independent. The Hunger Games doesn't have the most subtle story or writing style, but it's interesting and fast-paced, and the narrator does a decent job (though I had to suspend disbelief because to me, her adult voice doesn't match the first-person "voice" of the teenager in the book).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Gail Carriger
    • Narrated By Emily Gray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3151)
    Performance
    (2338)
    Story
    (2365)

    Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit—and werewolves—in Gail Carriger’s delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

    Pamela I Greene says: "Amelia Peabody has competition"
    "Light and enjoyable supernatural Victoriana"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not really a fan of vampire/werewolf stories, but I listened to this on recommendation of a friend who had read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was very light and fluffy, but I liked the characters and thought the relationship between the two main characters was believable. I am sure some of the details of Victorian England and the word choice and usage are a little inaccurate, but COME ON, it has vampires and werewolves in it. That probably isn't accurate either.

    One of the best things about this audiobook version is the excellent narrator. She did a good job of using a different voice for different characters without overdoing it--tough to do when one character is supposed to have a Scottish accent, no less.

    You shouldn't go into this expecting a meaty work of literature, but if you want to be entertained and you like Regency fiction (yes, I know this is not Regency era, it's Victorian, but it had a Georgette Heyer feel), then you might like this--as long as you don't mind suspending your disbelief regarding werewolves and vampires.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Through Black Spruce

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Joseph Boyden
    • Narrated By James Jenner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Joseph Boyden's first novel, Three Day Road, was a Today Show Book Club selection. Through Black Spruce is the exceptional follow-up to his acclaimed debut. Cree bush pilot Will Bird lies comatose in a hospital, while his wayward niece Annie arrives to sit in silent vigil by his side. Slowly their stories reveal two people previously separated by great distances, beaten and broken, and searching for some sense of where they belong in the world.

    Ruth says: "A pleasure to listen to"
    "Engaging story and effective narrators"
    Overall

    I found the story slow at the beginning, but it really picked up after several chapters and was worth sticking with. The two narrators do a good job of portraying Annie and her uncle, Will. There's a lot to think about in this novel: the traditional vs. the modern; the city vs. the wilderness; solitude vs. community and friendship; aboriginal vs. non-aboriginal culture. It's an entertaining but meaty listen/read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Graveyard Book

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Neil Gaiman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6594)
    Performance
    (3368)
    Story
    (3389)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Gaiman’s not just an award-winning author, but a narrator who earns rave reviews – and fields requests from other authors to perform their books, too! Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead....

    Guillermo says: "Masterful Fantasy for the Jaded Heart"
    "Entertaining and Well-Narrated"
    Overall

    I enjoyed listening to Neil Gaiman read his own novel. Sometimes having the author narrate his or her own work is the kiss of death for a book, but Mr. Gaiman is a lively and talented reader. This book is aimed at a slightly younger audience (although it is surprisingly morbid in parts) so it's not a particularly complex story, but it is well-paced, with an interesting overall concept (orphaned mortal child is raised by spirits in a graveyard). I'd recommend it for anyone who isn't too easily put off by mildly gory/scary bits and is looking for an entertaining, quick listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 31 Bond Street: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ellen Horan
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Though there are no witnesses and no clues, fingers point to Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed Burdells house and his servants. Rumored to be a black-hearted gold digger with designs on the doctors name and fortune, Emma is immediately put under house arrest during a murder investigation. A swift conviction is sure to catapult flamboyant district attorney Abraham Oakey Hall into the mayors seat.

    Melinda says: "not quite what I had hoped"
    "not quite what I had hoped"
    Overall

    The premise of this book looked intriguing--it's based on the true story of a gruesome murder in 19th century Manhattan. I was hoping it would be like Edith Wharton meets Law and Order, I guess. However, despite my anticipation, I never really did get into this book. It was just a touch too slow, and I found myself drifting off and thinking about other things while waiting for the story to pick up. I just did not find the characters compelling or well fleshed out; it was like the author was always keeping us at a distance from them and we were looking at tiny figures from far away, trying to figure out what they were up to. The exception was the lawyer, who was the only lively-ish character in the bunch. The other problem I had was with the narrator; he's a bit too breathless and dramatic for my taste. I have now learned my lesson: always listen to the preview clip. As an alternative to this book, I'd recommend Kate Summerhill's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher; I thought the writing and narration were much, much better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Kate Summerscale
    • Narrated By Christian Rhodska
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    It is midnight on 30th June 1860 and all is quiet in the Kent family house in Road, Wiltshire. The next morning they wake to find that their youngest son has been the victim of an unimaginably gruesome murder. Even worse, the guilty party is surely one of their number - the house was bolted from the inside. As Jack Whicher, the most celebrated detective of his day, arrives to track down the killer, the murder provokes national hysteria. This true story is the original Victorian whodunit.

    Margaret says: "The game is afoot..."
    "Well written & narrated true Victorian crime story"
    Overall

    I really enjoyed this one. The writing is excellent--well crafted prose, well researched story. The narration suits the book superbly. The story is a historical account of a child murder in a Victorian family and the detective, Mr. Whicher, who investigated the crime. It's not written like a novel; instead, the author uses primary sources such as newspaper articles, court reports/records, and personal journals to flesh out the story. I unreservedly recommend this to anyone who likes social history and is interested in the early days of Scotland Yard.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Never Let Me Go

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kazuo Ishiguro
    • Narrated By Emilia Fox
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (10)

    Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham, an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special and that their personal welfare was crucial. But for what reason were they really there? It is only years later that Kathy, now aged 31, finally allows herself to yield to the pull of memory.

    Amazon Customer says: "Thought-provoking stuff"
    "meditative, nostalgic, poignant"
    Overall

    It's hard to write much without giving away some important plot points. However, I will say that this book really drew me in with the narrator's first-person description of her days at an exclusive boarding school. There's a lot here that is similar to any tale of British boarding school days, but there are certainly some important differences.

    Thematically, the novel examines some interesting and thorny ethical issues. The writing is beautiful, although some might find the pacing a bit slow. I thought it worked well given that the narrator is piecing together old memories and in some ways just reminiscing and indulging in nostalgia.

    The reader, Emilia Fox, had a lovely voice. She does a great job as Kathy.

    I'd recommend this to anyone who liked The Remains of the Day (by the same author) or anyone who likes slow, meditative, literary writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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