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Marla Balla

South Gulf Cove, Florida
  • 42
  • reviews
  • 50
  • helpful votes
  • 295
  • ratings
  • All the Ever Afters

  • The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother
  • By: Danielle Teller
  • Narrated by: Jane Copland
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous re-imagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s "evil" stepmother. We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we? As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of the Story

  • By Michael on 06-04-18

Excellent fairy tale historical fiction

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

Reviewed: 01-13-19

I initially thought this book would have fairy tale elements such as magic and godmothers. As I progressed, I found I wasn’t disappointed at the absence of the supernatural. Oh, there is certainly a godmother and I actually cursed her out loud because her character was so well written. All the characters were! It really is much like Wicked- except instead of the wicked witch of the west, you have “Cinderella” and the “wicked” stepmother/daughters. The author did an amazing job of flipping this tale on its head and making me believe that this story could have happened! She will completely change your mind about Cinderella being the demure victim and make you re-think all the fairy tales of your childhood. If you like reading historical fiction- you will enjoy this. A truly wonderful tale.

  • You're Going to Mars!

  • By: Rob Dircks
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 872
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 817
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 816

Living and slaving in Fill City One, you get used to the smell. We call it the Everpresent Stink. But every once in a while, on a spring day with a breeze, it clears away enough to remind us that there is something more out there. Most Fillers' wildest dreams would be just to get past the walls and live in the mainland. But my dream? It’s a little bigger. I’m going to Mars.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Author nails it again!

  • By @newhaven265 on 11-14-18

Yes yes yes!!!!

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

Reviewed: 01-13-19

What a fun, interesting and wonderful story. I would liken it to Hunger Games in space. I’m sure the aerospace science is no where near reality so it’s not a how-to for rocket surgeons but for us regular folk, it’s such an entertaining book. I enjoyed every second. Completely worth buying full price. A story for all ages and especially for those who love space fiction. Only the tail end of the book is actually set in space while the rest is set in a dystopian near future. Absolutely fantastic!!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Child Thief

  • By: Brom
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 638
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 579
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 582

The award-winning artist Brom takes us on a haunting look at the true world of Peter Pan, in his first full-length novel. From modern day New York to the dying land of Faerie, The Child Thief reveals the world of Peter Pan through the eyes of an insecure runaway who is seduced by Peter’s charm. But any dreams of a fairy wonderland are quickly replaced by the reality of life and death survival as Peter’s recruits are forced into a lethal battle in which the line between good and evil is blurred.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very well done.

  • By Elijah on 01-08-13

Disregard any bad reviews...this is awesome

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

I think a lot of the bad reviews were based on the fact that the reviewer thought it was a children’s book. Because I’m familiar with Brom’s other work - I knew better!

If you are interested in various Celtic myths/legends and having them all mixed into a dark and epic tale- you will love this book.

I have zero complaints- it was perfect from start to finish. The story, the characters and the performance was done so well. Yes it’s violent- but no more so than the other books I’ve read. All the monsters, creatures and “gods” were so fascinating and the way they interacted with the human aspects was fun and fresh. I’m going back to search for more Brom books....I own around 700 books but only write reviews for the really good titles. I’ve written 5 star reviews for both Brom titles I’ve read so far.

  • Scabs: The Gemini Exception

  • By: Eric A. Shelman
  • Narrated by: Eric A. Shelman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 157

A strange phenomenon occurs out of nowhere: an omnipresent light that engulfs the entire planet. Humanity is forever changed by the light. NOAA and NASA are mystified. People soon face a new threat; even the smallest, most insignificant injury will no longer heal. Doctors cannot stop it. The sick do not die. They change. They are Scabs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very good!

  • By Pete's mom on 10-09-15

Awesome! Something new in the genre

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

Reviewed: 10-02-18

This was an all-around awesome book. I have absolutely no complaints about it. It was exciting, interesting and I didn’t roll my eyes once! If you love the zombie/apocalypse genre you will love this.

  • Annihilation

  • Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Jeff VanderMeer
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 6 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,613
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4,265
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,265

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, bad narrator

  • By Julian P. on 01-26-16

I just couldn’t enjoy this

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

Reviewed: 07-05-18

Perhaps it’s because I don’t enjoy hearing a story told via the internal monologue of the characters- but I did not once engage with this book. The ponderous thoughts of the main character were dull and turned what could have been an enjoyable plot into just words words words...the end. I was waiting to hear some action and interaction between the characters and the strange world but it was all disjointed and dull. It simply was not my cup of tea.

  • Unwind

  • By: Neal Shusterman
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,656
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,245

Conner's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It won me over completely

  • By SoCalBonnie on 02-17-10

Amazing beautiful

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

Reviewed: 06-18-18

This book touched me. I literally wept during the harvesting chapter. The characters are so real and the emotions you feel during the reading leave you emotionally exhausted at the end. No matter your world views, you will love the story. Full of perfectly balanced action and dialog, you will feel like you just experienced it all personally.

This is the type of story that you listen through to the end and enjoy every single word. Some may complain about political slants and such but it’s simply a sci-fi story about human nature. It reminds me a little of “The Handmaids Tale” in it’s dystopian setting.

It actually makes me want to go out in the world and try to fight for those whose power has been taken from them. If this book doesn’t make you want to be a better person, you probably aren’t that great to begin with.

Now I must choke down this lump in my throat and try to find another book that will measure up to this one.

  • 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 4,004
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,751
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,737

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

Wow! A blockbuster book

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

Reviewed: 06-17-18

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a blockbuster book if there is, then this is it.

The first book was incredible and you must read it first to understand the concept of the storyline. This second installment was just outstanding. It had an amazing, action-packed and riveting storyline that ended with a cliffhanger that had me gnashing my teeth for more.

I don’t think I have stated this before in any of my other reviews but I daresay that this is one of the best books I’ve read all year.

Bravo Mr. Shusterman - if all your books are this great- I’ll be purchasing them all tonight.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Awakening

  • The Hunt Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: J. D. Demers
  • Narrated by: Joshua Story
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 588
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 547
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 547

After a contagion engulfs humanity, zombies rise to feast on the few survivors that are left. But they are not the worst monsters to come from this plague. There is hope, though: Christian Hunt is immune. But how many lives will it take to bring his gift to what's left of mankind?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awakening is Phenomenal!

  • By Tracy P. on 02-04-19

Finally found another good ZA series

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

Reviewed: 05-21-18

I thought I had exhausted all the good zompoc books until finding this. It’s a perfect blend of action and storyline. It flows so well and there were no boring or rambling sections. I just thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking for the next book in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Pangaea: Exiles

  • By: Jeff Brackett
  • Narrated by: Jamie Cutler
  • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

Tried and convicted for his crimes, Sean Barrow is sent into temporal exile - banished to a time so far before recorded history that there is no chance that he, or any other criminal sent back, has any chance of altering history. Now Barrow must find a way to survive more than 200 million years in the past in a world populated by monstrous creatures that would rend him limb from limb if they got the chance. And that's just his fellow prisoners. The dinosaurs are almost as bad. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Glad I went for it!

  • By Marla Balla on 04-12-18

Glad I went for it!

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

Reviewed: 04-12-18

I usually don’t purchase books without an extensive review history but I love this genre and this book did not disappoint. The flow of the story was perfect. The characters, action and the storyline kept me hooked throughout. I’m hoping for a sequel!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Book of Lost Things

  • By: John Connolly
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,035
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,776
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,774

High in his attic bedroom, 12-year-old David mourns the loss of his mother. He is angry and he is alone, with only the books on his shelf for company.But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother, he finds that the real world and the fantasy world have begun to meld. The Crooked Man has come, with his mocking smile and his enigmatic words: "Welcome, your majesty. All hail the new king."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • For Those Who Enjoy Playing with Fairytales

  • By alison on 01-06-13

A fantastic epic voyage

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

Reviewed: 01-31-18

This is a truly wonderful story told with such imagery and depth. The narrator is perfectly suited for the telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and so will you.