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  • 14
  • reviews
  • 46
  • helpful votes
  • 53
  • ratings
  • Spinning Silver

  • By: Naomi Novik
  • Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
  • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,583
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,487
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,477

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk - grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh - Miryem's fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Her best! For me, anyway.

  • By Episteme on 08-09-18

Mesmerizing and unpredictable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-03-18

This is a rich, original, and beautiful tale. Some listeners here have described it as dark, but don't let that put you off. It's not the kind of darkness that's grisly or depressing--it's more like the beauty of shadows, and the struggles of realistic hardship even in a (partially) fairy-tale world.

In Spinning Silver, darkness may come in the form of a fiery demon, but it can also come in the form of antisemitism, or the everyday crush of poverty. And similarly, light and joy may come in the form of a magical crown, but also in the form of familial love, or a simple act of kindness. And that mix of the magical and the mundane makes both sides more emotionally powerful.

Oh yeah, the story. It takes place in an Eastern European world of the past and is told in multiple voices, centering on three very different young women, each with her own kind of strength. It's a heck of a book. You won't be disappointed.

  • The Deathsniffer's Assistant

  • Faraday Files Series, Book 1
  • By: Kate McIntyre
  • Narrated by: Romy Nordlinger
  • Length: 15 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

After losing his parents in the Floating Castle Incident, the sensitive and mannered Chris Buckley has spent six years raising his magically talented little sister, Rosemary, on the savings that his once-wealthy family left behind. But that money is drying up, and Chris finds himself with no choice but to seek out work in Darrington City as it spirals into a depression. The only employer willing to consider his empty resume is Olivia Faraday, the manic Deathsniffer.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Deathsniffer

  • By Steph on 02-02-17

Kind of half-baked, alas

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-02-18

I love gaslamp fantasy. I was totally primed to enjoy this book, but it felt like a poorly realized first draft. It's not just the unedited feeling that comes from grammatical errors (past participles seem a particular point of confusion). It's that the world-building was half-baked.

First off, this is NOT "historical fantasy" as it has been labeled! It takes place in an imagined world that seems vaguely inspired by Victorian London. In fact, there seems no reason that it couldn't have just been an alternate London...except that making it a made-up world eliminates requirements for historical research and consistency about cultural mores. So we end up with, e.g., a world where it's scandalous for an unchaperoned woman to be left alone with a man -- but women routinely hold every category of job (even homicide detective) and curse like sailors. Such inconsistencies are left completely unexamined.

Then there's the violence and the cursing. Both are quite explicit, and pointlessly, awkwardly so. The bad language in particular feels unnatural and ill-timed, as if it's a costume that a more delicate book is putting on to look tough. It's kind of embarrassing.

And above all, there's the fact that the "deathsniffer" is supposed to be a brilliant detective but seems like a bumbling amateur, hurling insults at suspects rather than questioning them and not pursuing obvious lines of inquiry.

Maybe I'm being too tough on this well-meaning book. I'm sorry. But as I said, I'm an easy-to-please reader of the genre, and it just didn't please me.

  • The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane

  • By: Drea Damara
  • Narrated by: Helene McCardle
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

Sarah Allister just wants a normal life running her bookshop and daydreaming about Henry, the handsome deliveryman - in spite of the 300-year curse that rules her existence, along with the other shop owners on Blinney Lane, a niche shopping district in historical Salem.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Frequent word usage errors made it a tough listen

  • By Amazon Customer on 12-19-15

Frequent word usage errors made it a tough listen

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-19-15

What disappointed you about The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane?

I hate to give a well-meaning book such a low rating, but it appears no editor ever looked at this manuscript. It was hard to get lost in the story because the writing was so riddled with errors. The author thinks "droll" means "dull and dreary" (and she loves the word and uses it repeatedly). A "worrisome person" is apparently someone who worries a lot. "Machismo" is an adjective. Someone "likely would have *went* insane." Etc., Etc.

The concept and plot were intriguing enough, but the characters never came alive for me at all. Perhaps a compelling narrator could have overcome the writing flaws, but the narrator seemed to read everything in the same mildly stern tone regardless of the emotion of the scene. She also frequently stressed the wrong words in sentences, obscuring the meaning.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Truth According to Us

  • A Novel
  • By: Annie Barrows
  • Narrated by: Ann Marie Lee, Tara Sands, Julia Whelan, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 517
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 471
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 470

In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck's father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not the Potato Peel Pie Society...

  • By Jan on 06-15-15

Surprisingly hard to care about

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-17-15

I loved the author's previous book, but I found it very hard to get wrapped up in this one. It just wasn't convincing on an emotional level. The "irresistibly charming rogue" wasn't given any charm, so he was simply a jerk. The "whip-smart twelve year old" seemed like a much younger child, and rather clueless. The "big reveal" was completely obvious from the start. And the pacing dragged for long stretches.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Finding Angel

  • Toch Island Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Kat Heckenbach
  • Narrated by: Jeanne Whitehouse
  • Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

Angel lives with a loving foster family, but dreams of a land that exists only in the pages of a fantasy novel. Until she meets Gregor, whose magic Talent saves her life and revives lost memories. She follows Gregor to her homeland...a world unlike any she has imagined, where she travels a path of self-discovery that leads directly to her role in an ancient Prophecy...and to the madman who set her fate in motion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful voice

  • By Toothless in Texas on 11-01-14

An appealing tale, but emotions don't ring true

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-10-13

A foster child with no memory of her origins learns she's from another magical world. That's always an irresistible premise, and I did get caught up in the story. But the characters' relationships and emotional reactions to each other kept ringing false. Close bonds of trust and affection would seemingly pop up in an instant, while genuine tragedies seemed to only merit an "oh no, what a shame!" I just didn't believe in the characters, and so I found it hard to really care about the book.

  • Ultraviolet

  • By: R. J. Anderson
  • Narrated by: Justine Eyre
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Sixteen-year-old Alison wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she's confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated into nothing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By AmazonQueenBee on 06-08-15

A thoroughly original take on teen paranormals

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-10-13

A YA paranormal romance that mostly takes place in a mental hospital? Yes, this is definitely no Twilight wannabe (nor is it a violent dystopian fable, hurrah!) Ultraviolet is the story of a girl who may or may not be crazy, but definitely thinks in different ways than those around her. And she may or may not be a murderer, but even her own memories can't answer that question clearly.

I appreciated the freshness of the story, and the nuanced approach. This is not a book where people simply line up on sides of good vs. evil, or even sane vs. insane. The reader is very solid and lets you get swept up in the story.

  • Mythology 101

  • Mythology, Book 1
  • By: Jody Lynn Nye
  • Narrated by: Kevin Free
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

Meet Keith Doyle - weirdo, business major, nerd, and believer in myths. To his joy - and horror - Keith has just discovered a village of elves in the university library. And when the library is threatened with demolition, Keith and the elves join forces to save it.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Bureaucracy: The Fairy Tale? Seriously?

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-08-13

Bureaucracy: The Fairy Tale? Seriously?

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-13

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This book couldn't quite decide what it was. A fantasy about fairy-tale elves come to life? A satire of bureaucracy in government, education and labor unions? A lighthearted romance? As a result, none of it worked for me. The magic was mired in details of -- I kid you not -- trying to file estimated taxes and secure mortgages given the challenge of elves having no social security numbers. If that bureaucracy had been played for laughs it might have made for a good satire, but alas, it was all tiresomely serious.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most: the details of creating a scavenger-elf civilization: Least: a tie between the unconvincing romances and the endless bureaucracy.

What three words best describe Kevin Free’s performance?

Well-meaning; bouncy; makes every female character high-pitched and breathy.

Any additional comments?

I listened to more than three-quarters of this book, thinking all the while that surely things were finally about to get interesting. Unfortunately, it never happened for me.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Discovery of Witches

  • A Novel
  • By: Deborah Harkness
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda
  • Length: 23 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,722
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,148
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,188

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A most terrific & non-typical treatment of Witches

  • By Neal on 04-17-14

An interesting story that needed a forceful editor

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-11-11

There's much to love in this story: intriguing mysteries across time, a fresh scientific take on a subject that's usually far from science, and strong supporting characters. Whenever the plot was churning and the focus was on magic, research or history, I was swept up in the story.

The weak point, alas, was the protagonists. They're just not terribly interesting, and the level of attention lavished on their romance and the most mundane details of their life throws the book's rhythm way off. You get the exact same painstaking deliberation over the lead lady's choice of what sweater or yoga pants to wear -- page after page after page -- as over a brewing global supernatural war.

Also, listeners should be aware that this is very much the start of a series, not a stand-alone novel.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

  • By: Howard Pyle
  • Narrated by: Christopher Cazenove
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 596
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 531
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 532

Here are the beloved adventures of the mischievous hero Robin Hood and his brave and merry band of outlaws, who forged a chivalrous code to protect the oppressed and despoil the oppressors. Follow along as Robin makes his breathtaking escapes from his archenemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham, while classic characters like Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, and Little John create one hilarious escapade after another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A splendid reading of the classic!

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-10-11

A splendid reading of the classic!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-11

Howard Pyle was the writer who put together stray tales of the English outlaw and created the narrative of Robin Hood we know today. His original novel is still great fun -- it took my kids (ages 9 & 10) a little while to get used to the language, but then they absolutely loved it. They've been acting out scenes and cracking themselves up. The narrator of this edition, Christopher Cazenove, is spot-on perfect for the material, too.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • A Spy in the House

  • The Agency 1
  • By: Y. S. Lee
  • Narrated by: Justine Eyre
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 141
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107

In Victorian England, orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of 12, she’s rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is a cover for the Agency — an elite, top secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results — and at 17, Mary’s about to join their ranks.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • yes, it's YA-but credible for genre for any age

  • By connie on 02-25-11

Decent, but not especially engaging

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-11

This is a young-adult mystery with a splash of romance, set in 19th-century London. (You should definitely consider it YA, not a "kid's book" -- tons of references to prostitution, opium, extramarital affairs, etc.) It's perfectly decent listening, but I didn't find myself especially wrapped up in either the characters or the story, and the period details/language weren't very persuasive. The reader, too, was simply fine. Not something that lingers in your mind.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful