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Ashley J. Casteel

Carlsbad, CA United States
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 8
  • helpful votes
  • 61
  • ratings
  • Children of Blood and Bone

  • By: Tomi Adeyemi
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,729
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,091
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,075

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie's Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully Written

  • By Samantha on 03-09-18

Firmly in the Young Adult category

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

Reviewed: 02-07-19

Occasionally a really wonderful adult book gets categorized as YA because the protagonist is young - this is not the case here. I really wanted to love this book, and I think, had I picked it up when I was maybe 15 I would have. But I just can't say I did now. The best part of the whole experience was the narrator’s accent - I absolutely loved her voice. The writing was just OK, the characters were pretty one-dimensional with weirdly inconsistent in behavior. It felt very repetitive, predictable, and formulaic. I know I'm being critical - but I had high expectations. Is it a great accomplishment for a young author? Absolutely. Is it wonderful to get more diversity in our fantasy characters? HELL yes. Is the book all that special... Not really honestly. Pick it up for a younger person who's just starting to get into reading - they’ll probably like it. But if you're an adult and seasoned vet of the genre, this is a pass.

  • The Winter of the Witch

  • A Novel
  • By: Katherine Arden
  • Narrated by: Kathleen Gati
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 914
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 864
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 863

The Winternight Trilogy introduced an unforgettable heroine, Vasilisa Petrovna, a girl determined to forge her own path in a world that would rather lock her away. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse. Now, Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers - and for someone to blame.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A rare perspective on myth

  • By Benjamin Cook on 03-19-19

Decent end to a great series

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

Reviewed: 01-30-19

While I've greatly enjoyed this series I have to say this last book is also in last place as my favorite. Its not bad but it felt weaker to me overall than the other 2. The first half dragged, some of the points that should have been really emotionally engaging fell kinda flat, and some points felt overplayed. I like at the end the author explained why the book ended at the point it did, but I felt the journey to get there was a little forced feeling.

The first book was a beautiful faire tail, the second was wonderful high adventure, and this third one was a little too much politics.

Still worth reading for sure but not the best of the 3.

1 of 1 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 30,180
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,091
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,115

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 feast for the mind and imagination

  • By Barbara on 02-21-11

boring

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

Reviewed: 01-02-19

I love fantasy, and witches, and the like - but this was basically Twilight except the characters are adults instead of teens - which almost makes it worse. The main character is boring and her love affair with the vampire is also boring... and the book, strangely, spend a lot of time describing her clothes... I don't know this just isn't for me.

  • The Stone Sky

  • By: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 14 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,153
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,674
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,661

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter, Nassun, and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe. For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This review is for the entire series

  • By Jesslyn H on 09-05-17

Beautiful and emotional

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

Reviewed: 09-12-17

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely, this is one of the best series I've read in a long time. The characters are real and complex, the magic is original and well thought out, the world is tragically relatable and understandable.

What did you like best about this story?

I LOVE that there are diverse, strong, beautiful women in this story who aren't perfect and their not just there to be the love interest of some dude - this is a rampant problem in fantasy and it was a HUGE breath of fresh air to get developed, believable female characters. It's also lovely to have a diversity of colors!

Have you listened to any of Robin Miles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I enjoyed her narration quite a lot. I thought she did a fantastic job. Her delivery struck all the right cords.

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

There were several, I cried many times while listening to these books - they were moving in all the right ways, but one moment that stands out is when Essun is getting read to go to Core Point and Hoa tells her she doesn't get to pick how her loved ones love her back. Oh man I had to pause and leak for a bit. Hit me right in the feels... and what happens after that... beautiful and heartbreaking.

Any additional comments?

I will admit that the first book took me a LONG time to 'get into' but I'm so glad I kept listening. These books are amazing. I'd been getting really board and frustrated with reading the same old thing again and again with different names/titles and this was JUST what I wanted. I will definitely be looking for more by Jemisin.

  • The Fifth Season

  • The Broken Earth, Book 1
  • By: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,275
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,179

This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great, red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal and long-dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the Earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ORIGINAL AND MOVING, EXCELLENT!

  • By Fantasy on 12-01-15

painfully slow start turned out pretty good

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

Reviewed: 05-18-17

Where does The Fifth Season rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

So the start of this story took me a LONG time to get though - I almost stopped listening, it took probably 3 hours before it really caught my attention. I think the hardest part is 'learn by immersion' bit ... many things about this world are never outright explained or aren't explained till late in the story so getting into at first is a bit frustrating.

Once the characters were established though I did quite like it. I'm definitely interested in the rest of the series.

As far as ranking vs other audio books of this genera that I really love (Stormlight, King Killer, Earthsea, etc.) I'd say it's pretty decent. Also refreshing to have a-typical female characters.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Fifth Season?

There are some truly sad parts of this book but I can appreciate how they are presented. I don't want to list a specific moment - too much spoiler.

Have you listened to any of Robin Miles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not but I enjoyed her a lot. Though she did a great job.

Any additional comments?

Definitely worth the listen but be prepared to possibly struggle with the beginning.

  • The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

  • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
  • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,869
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,713
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,644

After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT

  • By ambER on 04-20-17

Beautiful and Disturbing

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

Reviewed: 04-20-17

Any additional comments?

This was a hard one for me to rate - I think the pros were beautiful, it was emotionally honest, and well written .... but it was also very disturbing. I'm giving it full marks because it was good but good doesn't mean I liked it - if that makes sense.... I certainly didn't feel happy when I finished. True dystopia with unsettling roots in reality / history.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The White Mage Omnibus: Books 1-3

  • By: Ben Hale
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 32 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,508
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,280
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,275

The Last Oracle, book one: Forced into hiding, the mages of Lumineia have been forgotten. In their absence the world has become known by another name: Earth. The humans have flourished with time, unaware that The Last Oracle is destined to unite them. At her touch magic will be unbound and known again as truth. But an ancient war harbors a deadly secret. Draeken, the Lord of Chaos, had a second apprentice, one who became trapped with the defeated fiends.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW

  • By Corey Wicks on 10-30-15

Very HP but still pretty good

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

Reviewed: 11-22-16

It was a little off putting how many elements of this story felt directly lifted from Harry Potter (and not just in that it's magic at a school) -- but overall the characters are quite enjoyable and I liked it for the most part. It's certainly no King Killer Chronicle or Stormlight saga but still worth reading!

Be aware that there are 2 more books in addition to this 3-book set; I was confused for a moment when this audiobook ended and thought "was that it?!?" - the fact that I'm willing to spend 2 more credits to get to the end is telling that even if a bit flawed, it's still worth the listen IMO.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • By: Alan Dean Foster
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,074
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,283

More than 30 years ago, Star Wars burst onto the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Now the next adventures in this blockbuster saga are poised to captivate old and new fans alike - beginning with the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And alongside the cinematic debut comes the thrilling novel adaptation by New York Times best-selling science fiction master Alan Dean Foster.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Adds a bit to the Movie

  • By Brad on 12-22-15

Book /of/ the movie, not /based on/ the movie.

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

Reviewed: 01-18-16

What would have made Star Wars: The Force Awakens better?

When I got this audio book I was hoping that it would add some depth to the story behind the movie but honestly minus a few non-consequential sequences the book was literally just the movie. I really enjoyed the Force Awakens movie, which is why I wanted to read the book, but I think had I read this book first I would have liked it a whole lot less.

Would you be willing to try another book from Alan Dean Foster? Why or why not?

No. I thought the writing was mediocre at best. Most the time I felt like I was listening to someone read a thesaurus; the word choices were so strange and awkward. The third person omniscient writing was painful; all over the place, no consistency, and rarely added anything meaningful. There were also times where the author tried to convey tidbits from the movies but they came out super weird and drawn out like the moment when Ray is trying to get Fin to pass her the right tool? Ya that was in the book and was super long and awkward. The sense of urgency is totally lost in how long he spends overly describing things.

What didn’t you like about Marc Thompson’s performance?

I thought it was WAY over-dramatic, to the point of being obnoxious. I like it when the dialog has good inflection but the way the narrative was read was ridiculous. I also found that the inflection didn't always match the emotion of the writing either which just took me out of the story altogether.

What character would you cut from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

I wouldn't cut any characters... I wanted to know /more/ about the existing characters but I don't feel like I took anything away from the book that I didn't get (and better) from the movie.

Any additional comments?

I love Star Wars and I've read several SW books that I did like... this was not one of them.

  • Outlander

  • Outlander, Book 1
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,891
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47,604
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47,444

Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Time Travel VS Romance Quandary

  • By Sara on 09-10-14

Awful and a waist of time.

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

Reviewed: 08-28-14

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I have no idea how anyone could like this book as much as they report to.

What could Diana Gabaldon have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Remove the abuse. Make Clair's emotional reactions more believable. GET TO THE POINT.

Have you listened to any of Davina Porter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't but her reading is quite good, I had no issues with the narration.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I liked the idea behind it... the time travel and the rugged men in kilts, but after the 'marriage' this book took a horrible turn for the worst in my mind.

Any additional comments?

I found this to be really quite offensive. The romance is abusive at best. Clair is all over the damn place with her reactions to things; and RAPE IS NOT SEXY.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Heir to Sevenwaters

  • Sevenwaters, Book 4
  • By: Juliet Marillier
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 460
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 421
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 428

The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest and a new heir has been born. But the family's joy turns to despair when the baby is taken, and something unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her newborn brother, Clodagh must enter the shadowy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Least fav of series so far

  • By Ashley J. Casteel on 05-25-14

Least fav of series so far

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

Reviewed: 05-25-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I'd only recommend this one if you were reading the whole series, but not the book by itself. I really love the Sevenwaters series, having read the first 3 years ago, but I found this one to be a little overly predictable. The self doubt and pining after men got to be a little much after a while. The book isn't bad, but compared to the others I thought it was a bit lame.

Would you be willing to try another book from Juliet Marillier? Why or why not?

Yes, I plan on finishing the series, though I hope the next one is more interesting.

Have you listened to any of Rosalyn Landor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I thought the performance was really quite good! I loved her accent and finally understood how to say the names. I did however think the editing was a little poor? There were times when she re-read something she had messed up and it wasn't edited out. Also there were like no pauses between transitions which was pretty confusing at times.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Only if it was the whole series.

Any additional comments?

Overall not a bad book, though so far the worst of the series in my opinion. Still looking forward to reading more of Sevenwaters.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful