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Crystal

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  • The Final Spark

  • Michael Vey, Book 7
  • By: Richard Paul Evans
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 936
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 848
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 843

The final book in the Michael Vey series opens with the Electroclan facing a devastating loss: Michael is missing. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends, and now he's gone. What is next for them and the revolution? The battle on the island of Hades ended with a devastating explosion that left the island a smoking ruin and much of Hatch's army dead. However, Hatch survived, and while his plans have certainly suffered a setback, he's more determined than ever to bring the world's governments under his control.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great!!

  • By Richard Fisher on 09-13-17

Dissapointing Ending

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

Reviewed: 01-28-18

Relatively pointless wrap-up to a long series I wouldn't have stuck with if I'd know. The final solution was so simple it literally just required the main characters waiting until it was ready. This means the final book is literally a time killer, jumping about and spending far to much time with non-essential POVs to pad the run time. Disappointing.

  • Stranger Things Have Happened

  • By: Jeff Strand
  • Narrated by: Kyle McCarley
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Harry Houdini. Penn and Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian the Third. Okay, so Marcus isn't a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Unfortunately Absurdist

  • By Crystal on 08-08-17

Unfortunately Absurdist

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

Reviewed: 08-08-17

This was a novel premise and I was instantly intrigued.

Unfortunately, the book focused on absurdist and nonsense humor instead of character or plot development.

This book could have benefited from some genuine sincerity and investment in the stage magic premise that made it so appealing.

I was left annoyed and very disappointed.

I can’t really recommend Stranger Things Have Happened because I can’t imagine who the audience for it could be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dreamfall

  • By: Amy Plum
  • Narrated by: Maria Cabezas, Dan Bittner, Tom Phelan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

Seven teenagers who suffer from debilitating insomnia agree to take part in an experimental new procedure to cure it because they think it can't get any worse. But they couldn't be more wrong. When the lab equipment malfunctions, the patients are plunged into a terrifying dream world where their worst nightmares have come to life - and they have no memory of how they got there.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OTHER REVIEWERS ARE SPOILING PLOT POINTS

  • By josh on 06-03-17

Cliffhanger Book, Not Worth Finishing

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

Reviewed: 08-08-17

This book ends about halfway through a thin story - it’s not worth starting and definitely not worth finishing.

As the blurb clearly explains, teenagers in a sleep experiment end up in a nightmare world.
The characters do not remember this though and they spend the poorly plotted book slowly remembering what was explained to us in chapter one.

I guess I’m supposed to buy the sequel to actually get the plot I was promised? Pass.

Sure I think the inept author was attempting a twist or two but if you can’t immediately pick them from the clunky sign posting and convenient delay devices….well maybe you’re young enough to be even moderately impressed by the juvenile ‘horror’ she attempts.

Strongly do not recommend.

  • TimeRiders: The Infinity Cage (Book 9)

  • By: Alex Scarrow
  • Narrated by: Trevor White
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of TimeRiders: The Infinity Cage written by Alex Scarrow. Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. But all three have been given a second chance - to work for an agency that no one knows exists. Its purpose: to prevent time travel destroying history . . .

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Devastatingly Disappointing.

  • By Crystal on 12-01-14

Devastatingly Disappointing.

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

Reviewed: 12-01-14

To say I was highly anticipating the series finale of Timeriders would be an understatement.

I haven’t been as invested in a lengthy series since Harry Potter. I’ve been glowingly positive about every entry, even those a little lighter on the action and heavier on the overall story arc which comes to its conclusion here.

To say I am disappointed with the series finale of Timeriders would also be an understatement.

I am nothing short of devastated by this limp, uneventful and ultimately pointless wrap-up to a series I’ve repeatedly praised for being fresh, exciting, clever and unique.

I’m so let down, not only by where the author took the series but how weakly the Infinity Cage was executed it has tainted the whole series for me.

Given that the first 4-7 books focus more on standalone adventures (which were simply excellent) I would honestly recommend people only read those.

If your curiosity is genuinely piqued by the hints and clues dropped about the Timeriders’ origins throughout the series…still don’t bother finishing the series because this wrap-up is ultimately unsatisfying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

  • By: A. S. King
  • Narrated by: Christine Lakin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 52

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last - a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story, Shame About Glory

  • By Crystal on 11-20-14

Great Story, Shame About Glory

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

Reviewed: 11-20-14

I never fully warmed to Glory O’Brian. I found her heartless and I don’t give characters with a ‘tragic’ past a pass on being unpleasant, especially when they go out of their way to be so.

Perhaps I came to understand her or at least sympathise a little but I failed to connect with Glory.

As a result the framing story – newly graduated Glory O’Brien facing an uncertain future - failed to grip me.

What did get me hook, line and sinker though was Glory’s own story – "The History of the Future". Apparently stricken with sudden physic abilities Glory begin to document the horrific future she sees for her, her friends and her country.

It is this ‘plot’, unravelled from her snatches of physic vision,that had me fascinated and captivated. This is a unique take on how the United States could crumble – one I haven’t read before in the myriad of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction currently clogging the shelves.

The book raised terrifying and thought provoking ideas that I wanted to immediately discuss with friends and that hands down makes the book worth recommending for me.

As a woman, I enjoyed the feminist themes and ideas but I don’t think you have to be female to enjoy this. The issues raised can be appreciated by anyone who wants something more than a hot guy/hot girl romance from their YA literature.

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is expertly crafted so I think you'll have a hard time not being drawn if you give it a try!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Chasing Power

  • By: Sarah Beth Durst
  • Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind-things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers - and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again… which would mean grave danger for them both. When she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel - a boy with the ability to teleport - he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Promising but failed to engage.

  • By Crystal on 11-10-14

Promising but failed to engage.

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

Reviewed: 11-10-14

I mistakenly expected a story about superpowers and I liked the idea of blending that with more mythical quest sort of story.

Chasing Power was actually based around magic and magical abilities and while I enjoyed the Deep South voodoo elements, I generally don’t enjoy books about witchcraft.

The premise was still interesting though and the characters had lots of potential.

Unfortunately, Kayla and the rest of the cast ultimately failed to engage me enough to get through the messy third act.

Chasing Power descended into anti-climactic melodrama with inconsequential villains that left me checking the time remaining.

Chasing Power wasn’t terrible but it will be forgettable.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Don't Let Go

  • Don't Turn Around, Book 3
  • By: Michelle Gagnon
  • Narrated by: Merritt Hicks
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

After a devastating loss, Noa Torson is out of options. On the run with a few other survivors, Noa is up against immeasurable obstacles. Not only is her failing health becoming more of a problem, but the corporation's insidious plans are quickly coming to fruition. And no matter where Peter and Noa try to hide, they are inevitably found. The group is outnumbered, outsmarted, and outrun. But they are not giving up.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing ending to a squandered premise

  • By Crystal on 09-14-14

Disappointing ending to a squandered premise

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

Reviewed: 09-14-14

I honestly don’t know why I persisted with this series.

After a great debut, the second entry in the trilogy was lacklustre but I’m nothing if not loyal to a series that I start.

Unfortunately my devotion wasn’t rewarded with a stellar wrap up to the trilogy.

Don’t Let Go continued with a ho-hum fugitive tale that had the characters constantly moving but the plot left standing still. This entry managed to be even less dynamic though, because the POV characters were together for most of the story this time.

Most disappointing is the utterly anti-climactic ending. The villains, new and old, ultimately present no real challenge for the protagonists. Honestly, the story could have been resolved in a similar fashion back in book one, so fruitless were the efforts of ‘heroes’ in books two and three.

This review feels very harsh but as I’ve paid for and sat through three books in nearly as many years, I think my scorn is justified.

I don’t recommend Don’t Let Go, nor the Don’t Turn Around series to anyone.

  • Random

  • By: Tom Leveen
  • Narrated by: Tara Sands
  • Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line. He asks for a single thing - one reason not to kill himself. The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story with a captivating end.

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-22-15

Interesting take on a tough topic.

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

Reviewed: 09-14-14

Tom Leveen doesn't shy away from serious and modern teen issues in his books which is one of the reasons I both enjoy and respect his work.

Random pulled out the big guns - online bullying and teenage suicide - and as always, Leevan took a unique and thoughtful approach the serious material.

I recommend his work to anyone wanting to look at great modern teen literature grounded in the real world.

Unfortunately, though, Random wasn't a particularly great read on its own merits. Don't get me wrong, it's better than 90% of the post-apocalyptic- vampire-love-triangle stories currently packing out the YA genre but felt incomplete.

I have to mark Random down more for what wasn't on the page than what was. Frankly, I wish it could have been longer, fuller, more detailed and with more resolution.

No, there would have been no easy answers but I think the poignancy was undercut by having to keep the main character on a narrow arc and having the climax hinge on a punchy ‘twist’.

Anyone wanting a YA read on real-world social issues should definitely check out Random but this isn’t a life changing read (and keep an eye on Tom Leveen because his breakout novel has to be just around the corner!)

  • One Man Guy

  • By: Michael Barakiva
  • Narrated by: Michael Chernus
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 225
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 224

When Ethan gets Alek to cut school and go to a Rufus Wainwright concert in New York City’s Central Park, Alek embarks on his first adventure outside the confines of his suburban New Jersey existence. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend - he's barely ever had a girlfriend - but maybe it’s time to think again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very YA, cute and sweet

  • By Riva on 04-16-15

Touching and Engaging

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

Reviewed: 09-14-14

One Man Guy is an incredibly sweet and touching coming-of-age and coming-out story.

It was beautifully written and well-crafted but the absolute highlight was exploration of the Armenian-American culture clash Alek constantly struggles with.

The lush descriptions of the favoured Eastern European delicacies had me drooling and the prose had an incredible sense of place be it suburban New Jersey, eclectic downtown Manhattan or the seeming infinite journey between the two.

Alek coming to terms with his coming out was honest and heartfelt so I think it will appeal to anyone without a particular interest in LGBT literature.

I highly recommended for all readers! I just wish it was longer!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Almost Tall

  • By: Vestal McIntyre
  • Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie
  • Length: 1 hr and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 2

In Almost Tall, 14-year-old Dinah finds herself plucked from her provincial midwestern ballet class and dropped in her uncle’s glittering New York penthouse. What starts out as a lonely summer quickly becomes a whirl of cocktails and haute couture under the mercurial attention of her uncle’s bombastic and insecure partner, Eddie. With remarkable poise, she struggles against a city that seems determined to turn innocence into cynicism and the young into “strangers to youth.”

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Uncomfortable and Unenjoyable

  • By Crystal on 09-14-14

Uncomfortable and Unenjoyable

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

Reviewed: 09-14-14

I’m really sorry if you’re reading this hoping for some insight because I am at an utter loss about how to review Almost Tall.

I just have no idea what the heck I am supposed to take away from this exceedingly brief, albeit well written prose.

Yes, I hesitate to even call Almost Tall a ‘story’. Nothing really seems to happen but I’m certain the author is trying make some kind of point that is just lost.

There is some truly great character set up – I want to give absolute credit to the author for that. In fact, the great character seems tragically wasted.

Finally, I have to address the homosexual content. I cannot be sure, since the authors’ intentions are so muddled on every level, but homosexuality and homosexual relationships seem to be a target for criticism, cynicism and even revulsion in Almost Tall.

The idea that the author would take this view point is utterly offensive.

But did he? Or did he mean to?

Who can tell!?

All I know is that I was left feeling vaguely offended and uncomfortable making Almost Tall an unenjoyable read that I do not recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful