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  • Thunderhead

  • Arc of a Scythe
  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3,982
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,730
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,716

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times best seller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just Shut Up

  • By B.A. Wilson on 09-04-18

A painful formality

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

Reviewed: 11-21-18

So a new main character is added to this book and he provides wonderfully refreshing insight into the world that is NOT so immediately connected to the scythedom. Greyson is a surprisingly wonderful character, and in fleshing out the world we get to see all the things we liked about book 1 done even better!
However everything we didn't like about book 1 is so much worse.
Rowen wants to be The Punisher, but gets caught up in his own hubris and becomes the very thing he hates. The problem with this is that we pretty much know exactly what's coming his way from the first time we see him, but we spend hours flouting his character flaws, giving him friendly warnings of the futility and consequences of his actions, and adding to the stakes for his failure. This is more of a mid-point growth opportunity for Rowen, but every stage felt painful, forced, and left me less and less empathetic to him, because he is fundamentally a different character in this book than the character I fell in love with in book 1.


Lets not get me wrong, book 2 is probably worth reading if only for Greyson, but the more we see of the world outside of the tiny perspective we were offered in book 1, the less believable the scythedom becomes. And when you start questioning the very fabric of the premise, there's no coming back in a book like this.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Scythe

  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,353
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,891
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,885

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: Humanity has conquered all those things and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life - and they are commanded to do so in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe - a role that neither wants. These teens must master the "art" of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best book I have read this year.

  • By Jonathan Purcell on 10-15-17

Good books shouldnt make you feel unending anxiety

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

Reviewed: 11-21-18

Don't get me wrong, my overall impression of this book is good and components of the story were great, but the entire time I read this book I felt agitated. While I am happy I read the book, I did not enjoy the experience of reading "Scythe." The book is all tension. Tension is necessary, but the reader is left with a desperate need of moments of relief. Instead near-genocidal stakes and rampant mistrust are just continuously stacked atop of a teetering pile of legitimately overwhelming issues. It's the sort of book that forces you to finish as a sunk cost - the climax might payout enough to trudge through the stressful themes of the book. As to the ending? Meh. It gets the job done, but seems youthfully heavy on the wish fulfillment, but is cut off far too abruptly for us to have any time to revel in the triumph of our protagonists.

Necessary good note:
The one thing that I will always love this book for is its subversion of the oppressive super AI overlord trope. The AI presented to us is a wonderfully refreshing, well-intentioned regulator that just does its best for the sake of humans. I love it!

All in all, the sequel really falls apart so I wouldn't recommend this book or series, but I predict Neal Shusterman will deliver something amazing in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Spinning Silver

  • By: Naomi Novik
  • Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
  • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,535
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,382
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,369

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. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • One of my favorite authors. Only 1 small complaint

  • By R. W. Olsen on 11-30-18

"Spinning Silver" is pure gold!

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

So pretty much everything Naomi Novik writes is wonderful, but this may be her best work yet!
The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, and despite the diverging and re-converging story-lines, we are given seemless transitions between related plot threads all working towards a fulfilling conclusion!
So, the world too is full of healthy development that gives a sense of spectacle while simultaneously building motivations and establishing one of the best non-human races and all the culture that goes with that. Never once do we get a lengthy exposition dump that breaks our immersion - all these fascinating sceneries and characters are threaded with life within moments of entering the story.
Oh, and lets take a moment to fawn over that introduction! Our heroine starts out taking on the role of a tragic protagonist. Very few books can pull this off, because the reader must both agree with the decisions that the protagonist is making while acknowledging the eventual devastating consequences of (in this case) embracing her icy disposition. But the protagonist is able to break free from the trappings of tragedy by growing into a fairy tale hero - one that embodies values bigger than oneself - and the parallel emotional growth seen in Miriam is both gradual and uplifting. And while a less ambitious author would have given us the quaint ending that our heroines sought for themselves, instead we are given all the glory and satisfaction of a fairy tale ending without needing it be said "happy ever after."

So the narrator was on point. She only really used one voice, but it worked well for everyone. However, this occasionally makes it hard to figure out who is talking directly after a POV switch. I feel like a longer pause between alternating POV's or just reading chapter titles would have fixed this issue. Regardless, its a minute complaint compared to the masterpiece I was presented with!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded)

  • 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
  • By: John Medina
  • Narrated by: John Medina
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 761
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 682
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 676

In the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule - what scientists know for sure about how our brains work - and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • On my second read

  • By AJ on 09-16-15

My favorite book of all time.

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

I've religiously read this book several times, so when i found out it had an audiobook version I was hyped as all heck. Honestly, no idea why I was so hyped. It's still the exact same book. Regardless its hands down my favorite book of all time and reading this has had an extremely positive impact on my life! How many books can you say that about?

  • Everything Trump Touches Dies

  • By: Rick Wilson
  • Narrated by: Rick Wilson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,700
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,534
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,522

In Everything Trump Touches Dies, political campaign strategist and commentator Rick Wilson brings his darkly funny humor and biting analysis to the absurdity of American politics in the age of Trump. Wilson mercilessly exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the Republican Party he served for decades, and to the conservative movement that has abandoned its principles for the worst president in American history. No left-winger, Wilson is a lifelong conservative who delivers his withering critique of Trump from the right.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gives me hope

  • By Greb on 09-17-18

Talking sense and talking trash in perfect sync!

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

Let's be real, you're here to hear a well-spoken man bash trump. He does so both eloquently and sensibly while remaining entertaining. He definitely has some strong republican views, but as a democrat I found myself respecting his version of republicanism - one that doesn't kowtow to hatred, fear-mongering, and a general sense of nothing-matters-but-the-votes. Definitely worth a listen. Its both enjoyable and thought provoking.

35 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • 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 7,852
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,328
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,309

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

Cool voice and African twist yet still mediocre.

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

Reviewed: 08-14-18

I feel this book is largely sold on its African alternative to typically medieval European centric fantasy. Quite frankly this is a refreshing new setting for what is a promising but ultimately mediocre book. Unfortunately the characters are unsubtle and shallow plot delivery vehicles and while the narrator is fitting for the style, her singular shared voice for every character quickly depletes any novelty of her appropriate accent. But still, the overarching plot is reasonably cool and the world itself is a marvel to behold - so contextualize any criticism by remembering this is a slightly above average fantasy novel. Let's dig in.
Main character is fun. She's impulsive but in a righteous way. She also bears grudges, and is just about incapable of letting them go due to her rage at the world around her. This is a good character design, except that its only consistent so long as the author doesn't want to create some forced, tacky drama. Minor spoiler: Main character drops her grudges at the drop of a hat due to hormones so that the author can have the one reasonable straight-man character uncharacteristically raise hella drama over her romantic interest. 2 people being inconsistent simultaneously? I think not, it's actually 3 - let's not forget the romantic interest himself who joins the plot device bandwagon.
Pretty much the moment our heroes set off on their heroes' journey, they flicker back and forth between the worst bits of their personalities that are consistent (irrational hatred, jealousy, recklessness) and whatever nonsense actions they need to take to progress the story to our next event. The beginning sets up a diverse cast of wonderfully fleshed out characters for us to enjoy. It's almost a shame they were characterized so well, since we have to watch it all crumble away.

Also, generally narrators aren't a big deal as to whether a book should be enjoyable, but we are given a trade of actual talent for just anyone who has an African accent. There is utterly no range or depth to any given character. Everything is homogeneous. At first you'll love the uniqueness, but as our crew meets quite the number of new people and every last one of them sounds alike you'll notice that the splendor and depth of this wonderful world of many characters loses something vital. There can be no fresh new encounters with new characters when your narrator has no fresh new intonations to distinguish them.

Mostly I'm just griping about my own suspension of disbelief being shattered in a book that had tons of potential. Children of Blood and Bone is still a solid book. I don't recommend it, but I'm quite sure that a niche audience will love it.

  • The Brothers Cabal

  • Johannes Cabal, Book 4
  • By: Jonathan L. Howard
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
  • Length: 13 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 589
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 589

Horst, the most affable vampire one is ever likely to meet, is resurrected by an occult conspiracy that wants him as a general in a monstrous army. Their plan is to create a country of horrors, a supernatural homeland. As Horst sees the lengths to which they are prepared to go and the evil they cultivate, he realizes that he cannot fight them alone. What he really needs on his side is a sarcastic, amoral, heavily armed necromancer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I can never get enough!

  • By Mauricio on 12-27-14

The best so far - Beating an already high standard

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

The Johannes Cabal series works magic in this book. Specifically, Horst is the greatest thing to happen in a Johannes Cabal book now that Johannes has his soul back. The two brothers serve to perfectly foil each other and give life and levity to the otherwise sullen and dry tones of the series. In general, Johannes has a very dim outlook on other humans and the joke has always been on them - for being incompetent or unintelligent. This book finally adds the final ingredient we need - and Horst is the perfect character to flip the joke formula back on Johannes for being too cold and cynical.

Point is: The brothers work incredibly well together. The book feels like all the other books have been building up to get to these moments. 5/5 stars on all accounts.

  • The Crystal Bridge

  • The Lost Shards, Volume 1
  • By: Charlie Pulsipher
  • Narrated by: Keith Michaelson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 144

The Egg followed Kaden home from the hospital. This glowing shell only he can see transports him across the emptiness between universes to distant worlds, but he's afraid to use it. This strange Egg may have saved Kaden's life once, but it failed to save anyone else he cares about. Aren's sight reaches deep into the souls around her, seeing more than she wants in her friends and teachers at school. When she turns her gaze on Kaden, his Egg responds by sending them spiraling across space and time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just Right

  • By R. J. Thorne on 08-26-15

Way too many POV's

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

Honestly, the content of this book is pretty solid, however in a 9 hour book we have 5 POV characters. That's only 2 hours per character, and just when any 1 character's story hits a climactic moment the author has a DAN-BROWN style tendency to immediately call the chapter over and switch POV's.

I'm sure this is totally fine for many readers, but From a 9 hour YA book I want a nice simple read where i'm not constantly trying to keep up with where I am much less what's going on.

  • Johannes Cabal the Detective

  • By: Jonathan L. Howard
  • Narrated by: Robin Sachs
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,005
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 859
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 859

In this genre-twisting novel, infamous necromancer Johannes Cabal, after beating the Devil and being reunited with his soul, leads us on another raucous journey in a little-known corner of the world. This time he’s on the run from the local government.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Decent Successor to the First

  • By Ambrose on 10-08-12

Still Unsure going into book 2 - Glad I did!

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

Reviewed: 07-17-18

So with any book that has an actively villainous MC, I was unsure how much I could connect to the characters of this book. The first book definitely had fun adventures with a well-written dry sarcasm, but ultimately my failure to ever cheer for the prevailing protagonist left me discontent with Book 1 as a whole. Well, this book solves that problem entirely, and despite his unscrupulous charisma I found myself fully on board and engaged!

I fully recommend this book - and so far this series!

  • Son of a Liche

  • The Dark Profit Saga, Book 2
  • By: J. Zachary Pike
  • Narrated by: Doug Tisdale Jr.
  • Length: 20 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 842
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 804
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 803

Still bruised and heartbroken from their last calamitous quest, Gorm Ingerson and his band of washed-up heroes try to make amends for the orcs they accidentally betrayed. But justice is put on hold when an old foe marches to the city gates. Gorm is horrified to discover a liche pitching the frightened city-dwellers on the merits of the undead lifestyle...at the head of a corpse army. To save the city from high-pressure sales tactics and an inevitable siege, the dwarf warrior and his misfit band hatch a harebrained scheme that lands them at the top of the king’s kill list.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book

  • By Kristi Brownfield on 05-14-18

Lost the magic. Still good though.

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

Reviewed: 07-01-18

As preface I thought that Orconomics was a 5/5 and was great. It simultaneously expanded characters, built the world, and gave us fun and engaging pacing. It also built up to a fantastic conclusion that merged an emotional climax with a badass physical climax.
Son of a Liche is funnier than orconomics, but it lives up to none of the same high standards I mentioned in my first paragraph. The world has changed significantly since the end of the first book, but remains static and unexplored from page 1 to the end. The characters undergo dramatic events and relationships experience tension, but none of them really grow besides Jenn. The final climax had absolutely no tension behind it. Never once were we concerned for our heroes' safety, instead the book leaned on humor to advance even this most telling scene.
So dont get me wrong - the book set out to do something and it did it. I'm pretty sure the author decided he couldnt live up to the 1st book's greatness and decided to change the tone so that the book was different. Better in some ways and worse in others. But uh, the first book gave an awesome epilogue promising us weathered adventurers on a path of vengeance and righteousness that would change the world through cunning and determination. We skipped right into the parts where their determination was at its lowest and everyone moped about. Even the ending failed to deliver because no one really got what they wanted. (Except maybe jenn?) Instead the book almost flouts this as a joke in the reader's face and expects us to laugh and feel resolved. I guess that's the theme from this book: No substance but we'll try our best to make up for them with cheap laughs.

Once again the book isnt bad. Hell its even good. I suppose I'm being harsh because i'm judging it from the standards I set from Orconomics. So while i'd say I'm disappointed, a more fair scale would probably weigh this book as above average.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful