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Steph

United States | Member Since 2012

77
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 66 reviews
  • 76 ratings
  • 282 titles in library
  • 53 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
7

  • Wool: Silo, #1; Wool, #1-5

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Amanda Sayle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1479)
    Performance
    (1362)
    Story
    (1377)

    In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Post-apocalyptic life in a silo"
    "Utilize whispersync if going audible. Great book!"
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    This book is wonderful. It's thought provoking and is not a predictable dystopian novel. I can see it appealing to a YA audience but I would categorize it as adult. There is minimal profanity and no sexual content. The narration is bad as many have commented and I understand that they use a different narrator for 'Shift.' ...I am grateful.

    The book is captivating and I will be reading the next book, 'Shift', by Hugh Howey. It explores a silo and its society after the world, the "up top," has been contaminated and made unlivable. What is intriguing about it is it takes place generations after anyone has any idea about what happend to the surface and elephants and green grass in books seem to be made up creations. The general population has no idea what happend before and it is designed to be that way. The book explores the human need to find out their history and the need to leave the silo. The book shows how these needs effect their society. It is forbidden to discuss going "up top" or to go outside. It's is very much a contained psychological experiment in the essence that you have an absolute control group. The difference is it isn't an experiment in the book. It is their reality. There are good twists and I highly recommend it.

    The use of whispersync for this book was very nice particularly because of the narration. I hadn't used whispersync before and found I liked it. It was cheap to pick up the audible portion after getting the book through amazon. I think it helped my review of the book. I started reading 'Wool', which was fortunate, because Amanda Sayle's ability to do additional character voices is lacking. She does fine on regular narration and Juliette's portion but her interpretation of male voices and some of the women is really bad and I think it would have led me to find some of the characters that I interpreted in my head as strong as juvenile. I utilzed whispersync for Julietts's portions and went back to the book if there was a lot of dialogue. I believe I might have abandoned the book if I hadn't. I would only get the audible version of this book if you choose to use whispersync. If you don't want to do whispersync I would read it and not listen to it.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Faithful Place: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3575)
    Performance
    (1969)
    Story
    (1972)

    New York Times best-selling author Tana French has won the prestigious Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards. As her third novel featuring the Dublin Murder Squad opens, 19-year-old Frank Mackey is waiting in vain for Rosie, who he’s supposed to run away to London with. But when she doesn’t show, Frank leaves Dublin without her—thinking never to return.

    Buffalogal says: "Incredible"
    "The seedy and addictive underbelly of Ireland"
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    I previously reviewed Tana French's "The Likeness" , and enjoyed it, but I developed a sick attachment for 'Faithful Place.' This is by far and away my favorite book of hers so far. When I finished it I immediately downloaded 'Into the Woods' craving and needing more. Each book in the Dublin Murder Squad series has an overlapping character in the books, but it is not necessary for them to be read in order. I am grateful, because technically I started with two, went to three and am now reading the first. I was concerned I missed a major plot point, but it appears I stumbled on a series where you can "choose your own adventure," or more accurately, choose your own timeline. 'Faithful Place' revolves around Frank Mackey and the gritty side of Dublin. The book throws him back into a family dynamic he ran from years ago. Frank is a grizzled undercover cop and handler. He's not the running type.

    Frank Mackey is 41, divorced, with a nine-year old girl he has worked hard to be able to see on weekends. His wife doesn't hate him but decided she and her daughter would no longer come in second to his job. Frank , in an aside, states she finally wised up and divorced him in a sardonic acknowledgement of his mistakes. Divorced by job, I wonder if that will one day become a category on divorce paperwork.

    His daughter knows her dad has an important job and accepts she can't always count on him. However, when his sister calls him telling him he has to come home on his first hard won weekend, it is with regret and shame he returns an angry and disappointed Holly to her mother. He hasn't been home, Faithful Place, in years. Jackie is the only sister he speaks to. He refused to go until he heard that they found Rosie Daly's suitcase. Rosie Daly, his first love who left him to pursue her dreams in England. They were supposed to go together and get married, but instead of finding Rosie at their meeting place he found a letter saying she was leaving without him. Now that her suitcase was found in a condemned house chimney he's questioning if his history of events is accurate. Everyone is jumping to conclusions. Frank waits for confirmation, but Rosie was murdered.

    Frank, who is very comfortable working in the grey, steps on the Murder Squads toes. He, himself, is technically a suspect, and despite the good faith it would earn him to play nice in the sandbox, he circumvents them and does his own investigation. No one in Faithful Place will talk to the Murder Squad but they might talk to one of their prodigal sons returned home. Frank's department head tacitly allows him to go off book in the guise of vacation time and people on the inside agree to help him, much to the annoyance of the Murder Squads lead, Scorcher. Bridges will be burned!

    I love this book. It's an instant favorite. If you like audible books, Tim Gerard Reynolds does a fabulous narration. He provided an Irish accent I could not have created in my head, and his character differentiation was superb. His narration matches Tana French's material and enhanced the experience for me. As a person who rereads books, I will always choose to listen to 'Faithful Place." I was sad to learn he didn't narrate 'Into the Woods." 'Faithful Place' is a book I insist you pick up if you enjoy mysteries, cop drama, Ireland, and the seedy underbelly. Yes, it really is that good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shift Omnibus Edition: Shift 1-3, Silo Saga

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1130)
    Performance
    (1038)
    Story
    (1045)

    In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech (CAN) outlined the hardware and software platform that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind had discovered the means for bringing about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened.

    Tango says: "Your ears are in for a real treat"
    "In the beginning it was political intrigue"
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    The minute I finished 'Wool' (Silo Saga #1) I snatched up 'Shift.' 'Wool' left a huge cliffhanger and I had to know what happened next. That is when I realized 'Shift' is the story of how the Silo came about. It was the answer to what caused the people in the Silo to live underground and what catastrophe had destroyed the topside of the earth. I was a bit disappointed but still very interested. I finished a fourth of the book before I realized I was forcing myself to read it. I simply wasn't in the frame of mind. I put it on my 'to-be-continued' shelf until I was ready to enjoy it instead of slog through it.

    Browsing audible I found that Tim Gerard Reynolds narrated the book. He's a fantastic narrator, so I got this version at a considerably cheaper rate, due to whispersync, as I already had the kindle version. I started listening to 'Shift' a little while ago. I still had difficulty connecting to this book. The writing is not to fault. Howey did a wonderful job, and Tim Gerard Reynolds narrated it very well.

    'Shift' is set in Washington D.C. We follow Donald, a newly appointed Senator for Georgia. He has a strong connection to powerful senior Senator Thurman, whom he grew up with. We find out that Donald was gifted the election by Thurman. Donald would not have won on his own and Thurman has his own agenda for him. Donald, his fellow friend and junior Senator Mitch, and several other new Georgia appointees are tasked to work on Thurman's secret legacy project. Very little information is given. Each person only knows about their section of it. Donald's true task is not to represent Georgia, he still has to do that of course, but he is to utilize his architectural skills, taking a design he created in College, and adapt it to be built underground. He is to develop the Silo.

    'Shift' details the Silo project and switches in between two periods of time: the time the Silo Project was built, and the time after where Donald and Thurman are woken from a cryogenic freeze periodically to deal with problems arising in the Silo.

    The story does not really have any redeeming characters. You have two women in Donald's life who are flat and one-dimensional. Helen, his wife, who lives in Georgia. You never learn much about her other than Donald loves her, she is jealous of Anna, she is a sounding board, and she takes care of their dog. Anna, is a past girlfriend of Donald's and is Thurman's daughter. They still have attraction to one another, and Donald constructs boundaries as Anna finds ways to tear them down. She is the IT intelligence behind the Silo project. We are supposed to feel for and like Donald, but I couldn't help but be irritated at his naiveté. He worked in Washington and grew up with Thurman as a child. It was hard for me to believe he hadn't developed some cynicism. The revelations should not have been so hard for him to figure out.

    There is value in this book, but you will not be getting your answers to the cliffhanger in 'Wool.' You will get a build up to it at the very end but expect that the cliffhanger from the first book won't be answered till the third. 'Shift' is interesting , you get answers to why the Silo's were developed. I would classify it more as political thriller than dystopian fiction. I am interested enough to move to the third, but I wasn't nearly as excited or drawn into this book as 'Wool.'

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Genevieve Valentine
    • Narrated By Susie Berneis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Jo, the firstborn, The General to her 11 sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of their father's townhouse and into cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their controlling father. Meanwhile, they continue to dance, until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn't seen in almost 10 years.

    Steph says: "Twelve Dancing Princesses and Speakeasy's!"
    "Twelve Dancing Princesses and Speakeasy's!"
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    This is historical fiction and a fairy tale retelling. Combine the prohibition era with 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses' and you get 'The Girls at the Kingfisher Club.' The roaring twenties is a perfect setting for this Grimm fairy tale. The reality of restriction and prohibition in the society of day leading to an overwhelming majority of citizens rebelling by drinking at the speakeasy's at night. Politicians and policemen frequented the speakeasy's while their political platforms railed against corruption and the vice of drink. Bootlegging alcohol across state lines was a booming trade, and the speakeasy that got raided was the one that didn't pay protection or a bribe. Now, add the state of women's rights. Previous to 1920 American women did not have the right to vote, and married women couldn't own property. They had no legal claim to money they earned, and were subject to the will of their husband, father, or nearest male relative. What better setting could you place a story about twelve princesses tightly controlled by their father who somehow wear out their shoes every night? This type of traditional father would never allow his daughters to go dancing. In his eyes, only disobedient lascivious women would engage in lewd behavior as dancing and drinking, and only a weak man can't control his women.

    Mr. Hamilton is nouveau riche. He married a woman of status. Being a driven and ambitious man he knew that if he had a son he could enter the upper echelons of society. His wife, however, only had daughters. Mrs. Hamilton was never without child until she died. She conceived and birthed twelve daughters. Her twelve daughters rarely got to see her and were confined to the upstairs rooms. Only Josephine, the eldest was announced. None of the daughters were introduced to society and most never met their father. Only two were ever let outside the house at a time with a nanny. They had a governesses but as more daughters were born their father dismissed her deciding that the girls were Josephine and the eldest girls responsibility to educate and care for. Precious rare occasions took place when Josephine was taken to a movie or the opera as a special treat arranged by their mother. It had to be and hidden from their father. There were a few books and sporadic presents at Christmas time when their father was feeling generous but otherwise the were to stay away from windows, not be seen, and be forgotten. Josephine or Jo was their father's emissary. She negotiated a $4 allowance once a month to buy clothing, shoes and any large concerns. Jo learned early not to anger their father for fear of abuse and what consequence it would have for her sisters. Several time she sent her sister Ella, the actress, to play the role of a foolish and demure young woman to obtain needs rather than go herself. She was factual tempted to challenge - something that guaranteed refusal from their father.

    The escape from their cage is dancing. Over years Jo's responsibility makes her seem like the nannies, and found she could escape with one of the girls for a few hours. They went to the movies, saw dancing, and fell in love. They practiced and made up steps until they grew the nerve for the oldest to leave, grab a cab, and go to the first club they heard of. They danced all night, but their were rules. You couldn't go if you were sick, if you were heart-sick, you could tell no one names or where they lived, if you got drunk you would be left, and they went home on Jo's orders. Over time they became know only as the princesses. They got a reputation for having tin hearts because they didn't dance for romance. Also, the princesses stuck together, if someone got handsy they had all the princesses to contend with.

    Their father decides its time for them to marry and creates heartache and fear. It isn't that the girls don't want to marry. The concern is for the kind of man their father will pick for them. No introduction to society is planned. They are still a secret. Instead a few girls at a time will host quiet dinner parties with men their father deems suitable. Considering their fathers controlling and traditional values the sisters don't have much hope for nice open-minded men. What kind of man would want a woman who had been closeted away and knows nothing of the world.

    This is a beautiful retelling. Valentine turned a tale about misbehaving cold-hearted young women on its head. It shows controlled, captive women struggling to find independence during the twenties when women just received the vote. Many women were breaking out of the sole role of being at home as mother and housekeeper. The story shows their need to be cold. Solidarity for the sisters was a necessity of survival. Valentine's writing is beautiful, but I found I didn't have the time to read as much as I wanted. When I saw it was available on audible I snapped it up. It's a fabulous way to enjoy the book. Susie Berneis is the narrator. I had read some critique of minimal character development of the sisters outside of Joe. Listening to Susie Berneis I didn't notice it as much. There are a few sisters who definitely do not get as much attention, but the narration made it feel natural. This is not a romance but does deal with gender roles and the dynamics in dating and marriage during the era. A few kisses are discussed perfunctorily, but nothing in any kind of detail.

    I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the roaring twenties, fairy tale retelling, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and the study of social dynamics during Prohibition in the twenties. Listen to this rather than reading it if you enjoy audible books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angelfall: Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Susan Ee
    • Narrated By Caitlin Davies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1030)
    Performance
    (951)
    Story
    (959)

    It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her 17-year-old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel. Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival.

    Brooke says: "Creep-tastic!"
    "Good YA! Bring on Doomsday!"
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    This is good YA. There is a lot of YA out there, and I enjoy it, I even enjoy some YA that's maybe...not great. I read the entire Divergent series despite having issues with it. I found it fun enough for light reading, but 'Angelfall' is fabulous YA. It made me remember why I like YA, why I enjoyed 'The Hunger Games' and Suzanne Collins so much. Susan Ee created a good young female for us to follow. She is strong, challenged, and doesn't look for someone to save her. This doesn't mean she's and idiot and won't accept it when available, but Penryn is a character I would want young adults to read.

    Angelfall is about Penryn, her paranoid schizophrenic mother, disabled seven-year old sister, and the angel Raphael. There are some other characters but these are the core. Angels have come to earth and have ravaged it. Power is unreliable, food is rare, civilization, houses, and cars have been abandoned in the three months after the Angel's arrival. How do you fight what humanity was led to believe is divine? These are not sweet cherubs. These are the warriors from the Bible. This is not dystopia: it is a Doomsday scenario.

    The book starts with Penryn and her family evacuating. They stumble upon Angels fighting each other. As a distraction to give her family the best lead possible she tosses the outnumbered angel its sword. His wings have been cut off but still fights off his attackers. Penryn's reward is a vengeful deserting angel plucking up her sister and taking her away. Penryn is responsible for her family and strikes up an uneasy alliance with the angel, Raphael, so she can save her sister. She leaves her mother to fend for herself. Susan Ee makes the point that at the end of the world the mentally unstable and paranoid are the most capable of surviving. I find this thought something repeatedly getting mulled over in the back in my mind.

    This book passes the Bechdel test. There are female characters that don't fit static stereotypical molds and exist outside their relationship to the men in their lives. Penryn is trained in multiple forms of martial arts and self defense. Her mother had a mental break and took out all their savings, due to her fears of the devil and demons, to enroll Penryn in every self-defense class she could find. This was the breaking point in her parents marriage. The money was to help Penryn's little sister with medical for her paralysis. Her father snapped and left, and Penryn became the head of the household. She took her lessons seriously being witness to her mothers episodes.

    She is a responsible young woman whether the position she has been put in is fair or not. Susan Ee, however, still represents her as a girl with the challenges that young girls encounter along with the ones that come with the end of the world. She is not an adult woman in the shape of a 17-year-old girl. This means there is still teenage language and written in a teenage voice. We are privy to her internal dialogue where she thinks about her awkward attraction but also acknowledges the reasons she can't act on it. What person hasn't had feelings they knew they couldn't act on? This is an important lesson for anyone to learn. That being said, while I love and am impressed with this book, if your expectation is for an adult book in the form of YA, this isn't it. This is YA fiction, enjoye it, but don't make it something it isn't

    There is a question of romance: a forbidden attraction between angel and daughter of man. Penryn and Raphael deal with feelings of awkward attraction. Let me rephrase, Penryn deals and Raphael may be showing signs of attraction. Raphael, however, isn't an ageless male paranormal that has a sudden epiphany that a teenage girl is the answer to his amorous desires and calls it love. In short, he is not an irresponsible predator...at least not yet. I praise Susan Ee for writing a responsible male character. Raphael is an accountable paranormal male instead of the love-struck vampire seen in a lot of YA. Put a pretty face on it, it doesn't change that a 100-year-old/eons old being is taking advantage of a teenager. ...Okay, I recognize I just went on a rant. I apologize. I will even admit I enjoy books that fall in this category. That doesn't mean I don't get uncomfortable or question what kind of problems we might be creating with the amount of literature published, geared to young adults, that makes having a relationship with older men not only acceptable but fascinating and tantalizing. (End of Rant)

    I recommend this for people who enjoy good YA or are considering taking a foray into YA. Start with the good stuff so you don't run from the genre screaming. I also have to say I enjoy Susan Ee's take on Angels. They are not stereotypical. I'm impressed at her realistic characters you like even as you acknowledge their flaws. Enjoy it, I'm going to go pick up the next book. I am worried. The third hasn't been written and after this book there will be no immediate gratification. Be aware before you start the series...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Line: Witching Savannah, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By J. D. Horn
    • Narrated By Shannon McManus
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (370)
    Story
    (369)

    To the uninitiated, Savannah shows only her bright face and genteel manner. Those who know her well, though, can see beyond her colonial trappings and small-city charm to a world where witchcraft is respected, Hoodoo is feared, and spirits linger. Mercy Taylor is all too familiar with the supernatural side of Savannah, being a member of the most powerful family of witches in the South. Despite being powerless herself, of course. Having grown up without magic of her own, in the shadow of her talented and charismatic twin sister, Mercy has always thought herself content.

    Robin in Vermont says: "Great new series!"
    "Savannah is perfect for witches and hoodoo"
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    J.D. Horn introduces us to the addicting series 'Witching Savannah' with 'The Line.' This book is set in Savannah, Georgia and the magic that lives there. Mercy is the daughter of a powerful family of society witches, but Savannah is also home to hoodoo root doctors and a bevy of ghosts. Residents are used to the unexpected and unexplainable.

    Mercy has a fraternal twin, Maizy. When they were born their mother died bringing Mercy into the world. Mercy barely survived and was born powerless but her beautiful, loving twin was born with an extraordinary amount. While Mercy felt the sting of neglect she also had freedom. Mercy was openly called 'The Disappointment,' and Maizy was showered with attention but also expectation. It would have been easy for Mercy to be jealous but she found all the love she needed in her twin.

    Minor romance drama leads Mercy to reach out to a dangerous, disdained, Root Doctor named Mother Jilo. Mercy has fallen in love with Maizy's boyfriend, but she is not looking for Jilo to have him fall in love with her. She wants Jilo to cast a spell on Mercy to fall in love with her best friend who she knows would make her happy. Jilo explains the basics of magic and power, something her family never bothered to do. Jilo can cast this but only with sacrifice...not guilt. Mercy sees the mistake but Jilo won't turn back warning her family and her trust in them is misplaced. The intrigue begins.

    The next day her evil Aunt Ginny dies. More accurately, she is murdered. Mercy had been summoned to Ginny, the families seat of power and anchor to The Line. As Mercy enters the room she sees her Aunt has just had her severed. Like a normal human, she doesn't call the police she screams drawing her family to the scene. The search for the culprit begins and opens doors to many family secrets and questions. Mercy learns her Aunt was an Anchor to The Line, a magical barrier created by thirteen witch families and held in place by thirteen witches to protect the world from demons. Demons that would enslave us. Ginny's seat of power is empty and the vacuum must be filled. The families descend.

    Horn has given us good YA fiction. It's loosely YA, as Mercy is twenty, but it is coming of age. The romance is minimal and secondary to learning to deal with your family as adults, and finding purpose and a place in the world. It just takes place in a beautiful gothic construction of Savannah with witches. It passes the Bechdel test, and it's a good mystery. I listened to an audible version narrated by Shannon McMannus. She has a beautiful southern accent that made me feel like I was in Savannah. She also did well with character differentiation. If you enjoy audible books this is a good series to listen to. It is lighter fare but well worth your time. I've picked up the second in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout: The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Mira Grant
    • Narrated By Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (308)

    Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies - and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this: Things can always get worse. Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that includesFeed and Deadline.

    Chris says: "Not with a bang but a whimper"
    "It wrapped it up but I'm left wanting"
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    This is the final installment in the Newsflesh Series started with "Feed." "Feed"is a genuinely fantastic book, and "Deadline"the next in the series was good with one hell of a cliffhanger, but "Blackout" was underwhelming. It makes me sad to say it.

    For people new to the series I will try to keep out spoilers. 'After the End Times' is a group of young bloggers who report and write about a future America where people have learned to live with the zombie virus. Parts of the world have been given over the dead because the areas are either not worth reclaiming or it would be too dangerous to do so. The virus that causes one to become a zombie is called Kellis-Amberlee. It is a scientific mistake of two different cures, one to cure cancer and the other to cure the common cold combining. They succeeded.no one had cold s or cancer but once you die everyone becomes one of the living dead. Our group never lived before there were zombies and accepts them as part of life.

    In the first book 'After the End Times' got an amazing opportunity to follow one of the republican parties political campaign but there was great cost that came with this opportunity. Conspiracies and death riddle the book and it's fascinating.

    The second book processes the loss 'After the End Time's' was dealt. They have fame but it has left a bitter taste. Through Deadline our main character, Shaun Mason, is the one who is left the most unstable. His relationship to his adopted sister, which is extremely close and dependant due to their upbringing, becomes only stranger. Old conspiracies get reopened. The initial villains may not be the only people responsible. Shaun is vengeful and on a mission to deliver retribution at all costs. We meet CDC characters and rogue mad scientists along the way. Some pieces felt slow but Grant's cliffhanger is a doozy and made me acquire "Blackout"immediately, despite the fact I was broke

    "Blackout" gave me closure and allowed me to revisit characters I'm attached to. It did wrap up the story and tie it together, but it lacked action. For a zombie book the actual zombies took the backseat. Part of the reason I like the series is it is intellectual and isn't just zombie attack after another mindless zombie attack, still, I felt a bit cheated on that front. There is a lot of character introspection, and discussion of if the media should always tell the truth. Are there times the damage they will cause mean they should keep quiet? Who should make those decisions, and does the public still have the right to know?

    My biggest complaint is with how the book resolved questions about Georgia, Shaun's sister, and Shaun and her relationship. It felt forced and sensationalist. Some would say it's sick or disturbing. I'm not in that camp. I just felt it could be handled in a more interesting and more likely way. The conspiracy wrap up takes even a zombie story into realms of impossibility it's hard for the reader to accept. I guess I'm saying having read the other two I could never have not read "Blackout," but I wanted more. I also truly believe Grant could have done better. I don't know if it was editing or the pressure of concluding the series but it was lukewarm. It it's more a 2.5

    Now that I feel I have torn this book and author apart I have to say "Feed" is still a favorite. I am not giving up on Mira Grant. I absolutely am going to read "Parasite." Grant is talented, and even if I didn't love this book I got to revisit characters I love and get closure, as I mentioned above.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Letter of Mary: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes: The Mary Russell Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (111)

    The third book in the Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes series. It is 1923. Mary Russell Holmes and her husband, the retired Sherlock Holmes, are enjoying the summer together on their Sussex estate when they are visited by an old friend, Miss Dorothy Ruskin, an archeologist just returned from Palestine.

    Steph says: "Sherlock, Mary Russell, & Mary Magdalene....what?"
    "Sherlock, Mary Russell, & Mary Magdalene....what?"
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    When I finished King’s second novel in this series, ‘A Monstrous Regiment of Women,’ I was left a bit uncomfortable and unhappy. King had always kept Mary and Sherlock’s relationship as a mentor and one of a guardian. At the end of that book Sherlock proposes. Their relationship while strained and questioning in the book hadn’t been romantic, but Mary had turned 21 and their relationship caused questions, especially when traveling together.

    My first response was that King was throwing in a needless romance and I was unhappy. Reading this series for me, however, is a family affair. My ever practical and precocious niece was put in the position where she had to educate her aunt(kindly of course.) She reminded me that I was judging the time of the book by present day values. I needed to remember that Sherlock and Mary could not continue working together without causing scandal and destroying Mary’s reputation. A marriage between a twenty-one year old woman and a fifty year old confirmed bachelor out of mutual respect rather than love was far more respectable than working alone together unchaperoned. My niece, of course, was absolutely correct. This, then thirteen year old is extremely smart, and her valuable insight allowed me to once again respect King’s skill and intelligence as a writer.

    This settled, I picked up ‘A Letter to Marry,’ with an audible sigh of contentment. This book starts with a visit from an elderly scholar and friend they had met in Palestine in book one. She gave a generous gift of a papyrus believed to have genuinely been written by Mary Magdalene. You can imagine how this would enrage and turn the academic community upside down if validated. Shortly, after their friend departs company she did in an automobile accident and dies. Foul play can not be ruled out, and Sherlock weedles Mary away from her research to investigate the cause of death.

    King did a wonderful job. I read mysteries frequently to escape. I’m not generally looking for an overly intelligent masterpiece but King is an exception to that rule. She provides an intelligent and exciting read. She creates a mystery I rarely guess the outcome of and a fabulously accurate piece of historical fiction as well. If you like Sherlock Holmes pick this up; if you enjoy pre WW II historical fiction pick this up; if you enjoy a fictionalized study of sociological gender roles and the human mind pick this up. I’m sounding like a broken record. I recommend you read it, but remember the series starts with ‘The Beekeepers Apprentice.’

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  • Deadline: The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mira Grant
    • Narrated By Chris Patton, Nell Geisslinger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (415)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (356)

    Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has. But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life....

    Matthew says: "A Punishing Book"
    "Oh the cliffhangers!"
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    I finished ‘Feed,’ the first of the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant, quickly, and did not wait at all to pick up ‘Deadline.’ Grant is a master of the cliff hanger. I simply had to know what happened next. ‘Deadline’ picks up right after ‘Feed’ and is narrated primarily by Shaun Mason, everyone’s favorite Irwin. He is a changed man. The events that took place after the end of the campaign left him and the staff of ‘After the End Times’ scarred. The events, however, left Shaun in worse shape than anyone else. He hears voices in his head and he answers them. Those closest to him deal with it, but it is unsettling to those outside of his insulated circle. Shaun is no longer a carefree, devil-may-care Irwin. He has changed his focus to helping Mahir with the administration of the site despite the general roar from the public wanting him to go back to poking dead things with sticks. It’s what they love him for.

    The plot of this book surrounds the CDC and their involvement, scientific methods, and potential conspiracies with the Kellis-Amberly virus(what causes humanity to become zombies). One day Doctor Kelly, Doc, shows up at Shaun’s headquarters in Oakland with information that Irwin’s don’t understand and the Newsies only are getting a glimmer of understanding before a full outbreak takes out Oakland, and ‘After the End Times’ headquarter. The assumption – it could only relate to what Doc knows, the timing of her visit, and knowing who has the power to cause this kind of incident.

    Shaun and his team go completely off grid in towns that have long since been abandoned by civilization and surrendered to the walking dead. There are several people who live this way, including scientists that work outside the rules of the CDC. Shaun and his team get to know the mad scientists as they unravel what is really going on.

    My rating is really more of a 3.5. The tale is more disjointed than ‘Feed.’ It does not flow as well, but it will still suck you in. It’s an intriguing book, but at times you will feel bored and other times not understand character motivation and involvement. Shaun is very changed, as I mentioned above, and it can be hard to completely sympathize with his anger, desire to stay crazy, and his lack of compassion for those surrounding him. A problem I’ve always had with characters is when they start acting like petulant children. Let me fair, however, Shaun has reason to act out.

    Mira Grant is great at providing some exceptional twists. Ones I refuse to give you and ruin the surprise. All I will say is George still has a part to play, and there is one deliciously large twist at the end that raised my evaluation of the book. If you loved ‘Feed’ continue to ‘Deadline’ accepting it will not be quite as good. If you were lukewarm on ‘Feed,’ I recommend stopping here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Feed: The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Mira Grant
    • Narrated By Paula Christensen, Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (919)
    Performance
    (718)
    Story
    (708)

    The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

    susan says: "I laughed, I cried..."
    "Delicious! But not craving human flesh yet"
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    Feed has been on my list to read for a while now. It was recommended to me after I read 'World War Z' and found I like zombie fiction. I have to say I have no idea why I waited so long. This is a delicious book! -That might be the wrong word for a book about zombies feeding on human flesh. For anyone who might be thinking it, no, I have not been bitten by any human like creatures or mammals over forty pounds. Paula Christensen and Jesse Bernstein do a good job of the narration. At first I found Shaun's narration a bit difficult to listen to. It grew on me because it fit his character so well.

    'Feed' is about a brother and sister, Georgia and Shawn Mason, who are just barely adults. They are bloggers in 2040. They learned this skill set from an opportunistic couple who adopted them as orphans from the zombie war of 2014. They did this partially to replace their own son they lost, and partially for publicity and ratings. The most affection they received was in public and from the extremely tight bond they developed with one another. The Mason siblings grew up in a world that lives with zombies. Zombies were not completely decimated after the break out because everyone carries the Kellis-Amberlee virus. Everyone who does die, short of a bullet to the brain, will turn into a zombie. At any moment an outbreak can occur and people live with that fear everyday. So, people live very sterile lives inside. Only the brave go out to grocery shop, go on a date, or drive anywhere. Bloggers fall in three categories: Newsies, Irwin's, and Fictional's. Irwin's go outside and partake in pre-rising behavior antagonizing the occasional zombie in the process, allowing society to live vicariously while sitting on their couch. Bloggers and news reporters are a brave breed in a society tightly controlled by fear of the zombie virus.

    A nice twist is that our blogging team, Shawn, Georgia, and Buffy, get chosen to follow a senator's campaign for the presidency. All sorts of sabotage, hidden agenda's, and zombie outbreaks make for an exciting read. I was hard pressed to set 'Feed' down and force myself to take care of terribly annoying, necessary things in my life such as work and eating. Ugh...

    This is an enjoyable read, but it is also well written with developed characters you attach to. This is not the goriest of zombie novels. It is more plot and character driven, but as I have said before, what is a zombie novel without some human flesh being eaten? The exciting news, if you haven't read this already, is that its a trilogy. There is a pretty big twist at the end and I refuse to give you the spoilers. Instead I am going to order you to pick this up and read it if you have any interest in zombies, good dystopian fiction, and political intrigue. I know I am assuming a lot by believing I can order you to do anything, but I'm doing it anyway. Happy reading to you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Road to Bedlam: The Courts of the Feyre, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mike Shevdon
    • Narrated By Nigel Carrington
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    The sequel to Sixty-One Nails. "There's been an accident. It's your daughter." But Alex isn't dead. She's been snatched because she came into her magical power early. Her father, Niall Petersen, must use his own wayward magic to track her down and save her from the madness of Bedlam. Mike Shevdon lives in Bedfordshire, England, with his wife and son, where he pursues the various masteries of weapons, technology, and cookery.

    Steph says: "Bedlam isn't just for the insane"
    "Bedlam isn't just for the insane"
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    Imagine you are Nial. He recently had his life completely turned upside down finding out he is Feyre/Fey/Fairie. He barely escaped with his life after being hunted by all the seven courts of the Feyre including 'The Untainted'. You think he should have earned a well deserved break, right? Our poor friend doesn't get off that easy. Nigel Carrington is the narrator and does a wonderful job distinguishing between the characters and has a lock on the dry humor and sarcasm necessary for this book.

    Nial just starts getting comfortable when the other shoe drops. He's training to be a warder. He's not great but he's also not an absolute disaster. He's settling in the cottage with Blackbird and has even found a way to get to see Alex, his daughter. Then Nial and his ex-wife get notified of a tragic accident at Alex's school. Three girls are dead including his daughter. He mourns, he is heartbroken,and has become despondent, but one day for no explainable reason he searches in the mirror for his daughter more out of hopeless grief than any real belief he will find her, but he hears her...

    Nial brings down a fury of weather freezing the summer day with frost for miles around the cottage in a pull for power to pursue Alex's location. He is crazed and only snaps back when he realizes he is hurting Blackbird. He has also brought attention to their hidden location not only to "The Untainted" but a human faction that would shut away and control Nial. This is what his Warder commander informs him of in a rush evacuation, but also tells Nial that this is who probably has his daughter. He forces Nial to confront the fact that the tragedy was likely caused by his daughter coming into her Feyre powers. Unfortunately, not all human/feyre that first exhibit their abilities get to do so in a safe way. What does humanity do with them? There are many psychiatric hospitals out there for the people who are crazy, can't fit in...and can be a danger to themselves and others.

    This is the story of a father in search of his daughter despite safety or the common good. The Untainted, the Feyre Court, and secret government agencies all play their part. Mike Shevdon does a wonderful job. This was a joy to read. It has the right mix of dry humor and intrigue. This was the delectable treat slipped in with other reads. I highly recommend it especially to anyone who likes intrigue, mystery and the Feyre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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