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Adrienne Hood

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A Closed and Common Orbit audiobook cover art
  • A Closed and Common Orbit

  • Wayfarers Series, Book 2
  • By: Becky Chambers
  • Narrated by: Rachel Dulude
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,510
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,404
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,403

Embark on an exciting, adventurous, and dangerous journey through the galaxy with the motley crew of the spaceship Wayfarer in this fun and heart-warming space opera - the sequel to the acclaimed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • No drive in the story

  • By Siri B. L. Søberg on 02-22-17

Hopeful, Character-Driven Sci-Fi

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

This book cemented me as a huge fan of Becky Chamber's work. Her writing reminds me a bit of Star Trek's tone, in that even though there are some significant problems the characters face and plenty of dark issues still in the universe, the overall feeling for the future is hopeful and positive.

A Closed and Common Orbit tells the story of two distinct, but intricately linked characters, and what humanity means to them. It picks up almost immediately where the previous book left off, but this one is nearly independent from its predecessor. You probably could listen to it without having read the first one, but you'd be missing some context, and knowing some of how this universe works helps enrich the second book, in my opinion.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing more of Pepper. She was a character from the first book who was present only briefly, but left a lasting impact. I appreciated the way her personality and history were fleshed out, even if it was heartbreaking at times. Sidra, meanwhile, challenged me as a listener, as parts of her characterization simultaneously resonated deeply with me, while aspects were immeasurably frustrating due to my inability to relate.

Rachel Dulude did a nice job with all the voices. I never had trouble understanding who was talking, despite what I imagine must have been challenging for her, as several of the characters are supposed to be distinctly computerized/mechanical sounding.

All-in-all, this is a book I loved and would recommend enthusiastically to those who love science fiction, character studies, and are looking for something that will make them smile. My preorder of the third book in the series, Record of a Spaceborn Few, recently arrived, and I look forward for when that is available on audible as well!

  • Crazy Rich Asians

  • By: Kevin Kwan
  • Narrated by: Lynn Chen
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,978
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,333
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,279

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 1st Chapter, can't stand narration AND I'm asian!

  • By Acct68member on 12-06-17

Fun Bit of Escapism

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

I will start by saying that for main characters, Rachel and Nick are boring. They're nice, they're good people, and they have very little personality outside of that.

HOWEVER! The rest of the cast of characters more than makes up for the happy, but dull couple, and are what makes Crazy Rich Asians so entertaining. This book was totally escapism for me - the people in the story and their problems are not ones I related to, but nonetheless I was totally engrossed in their glamorous lifestyles and petty feuds. All the scheming and scandals were entertaining, and I listened to this book as often as I could, for as long as I could, in order to get more.

The ending was a bit ho-hum, a bit too tidy considering how messy the rest of the story had been, and I'm told by friends who've already started on the second book in the series that it isn't as good, so that's slightly disappointing. If you're looking for some mindless fun or ridiculous drama, this book is a great pick. I'll definitely be picking up the second one to see for myself how it measures up.

  • Mistress of the Art of Death

  • A Novel
  • By: Ariana Franklin
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 13 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,499
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 763
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 760

In medieval England, four children have been murdered, and the townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors. The doctor chosen to investigate is a woman, Adelia. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, she must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she's assisted by Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend - or the fiend for whom they are searching.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • good story wonderfully set

  • By Jami E. Nettles on 02-17-07

Interesting Setting for a Murder Mystery

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

I'm a big fan of mysteries, and thoroughly enjoyed the setting of this particular whodunit. Mistress of the Art of Death provided an interesting look into a time when science was moving forward, but superstition still reigned prominently.

My only complaints are that Adelia is a bit of a "not like other women" character and the romance plot, while minor, seemed to develop from nowhere. The former I can forgive a bit because as a woman doctor in the Middle Ages, she *isn't* like other women, and Ariana Franklin did a nice job of challenging Adelia's disdain (or perhaps lack of understanding is a better term) for the other women she encountered by showing they were often tough and independent in their own way. The romance... well... it is what it is, I suppose, and fortunately does not detract from the story, but rather simply seems out of place in a book so focused on characters' motivations and purpose, as the crux of Adelia's feelings seem to be "I don't know why, but I'm in love." I liked the character she falls for, so I didn't mind too much, but the book would not feel as though it were missing anything if that particular story line had been omitted.

I had a good time trying to guess who the killer was, and was right at one point, though I second guessed and had talked myself out of it by the time the reveal came. The twists and clues come often enough to hold the reader's interest, and the cultural roadblocks Adelia encounters are aggravating. Rosalyn Landor does a nice job with the narration and I was totally immersed in the story as she read. All in all, another I would highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Imaro

  • By: Charles Saunders
  • Narrated by: Mirron Willis
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51

Saunders' novel fuses the narrative style of fantasy fiction with a pre-colonial, alternate Africa. Inspired by and directly addresses the alienation of growing up an African American fan of science fiction and fantasy, which to this day remains a very ethnically homogonous genre. It addresses this both structurally (via its unique setting) and thematically (via its alienated, tribeless hero-protagonist). The tribal tensions and histories presented in this fantasy novel reflect actual African tribal histories and tensions, and provide a unique perspective to current and recent conflicts in Africa, particularly the Rwandan genocide and the ongoing conflict in The Sudan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not a token, not a sidekick, he's the HERO.

  • By Steven L Stringfellow on 09-24-16

Immersive African High Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

Imaro was nothing short of awe-inducing. Mirron Willis as narrator gives this tale a gravitas that helps elevate it to the realm of myth. Coupled with Charles Saunders' rich descriptions, listening to this book left me feeling as though I'd indulged in the written equivalent of decadent cake. It was like hearing a recounting of an ancient legend - the landscape is sweeping and the hero appropriately epic.

I have loved science fiction and fantasy since I was a child. As I grew, I began to lean more heavily towards sci-fi, not only because I am deeply passionate about science and technology, but also because the genre ultimately felt more diverse, which is something intimately important to me. I still enjoy the concept of magic as an adult now, and have been actively seeking out fantasy works that break from the tried-and-true Old World European-inspired settings. Imaro does not disappoint as a high fantasy work set in an African-influenced world.

I quickly became emotionally invested in this story. The protagonist, after whom the book is titled, has a life full of pain as an outsider no matter where he goes, but he has such an unfailing determination, one can't help but hope that *this time* something good will happen, or *this time* he's found his place. There are forces at work, however, that seem hell-bent on preventing Imaro from finding peace, and my heart ached for him many times. The book ends on a cliffhanger to which I eagerly await the resolution. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys grand fantasy and is looking for something different from the genre's usual settings.

  • Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

  • By: Diana Rowland
  • Narrated by: Allison McLemore
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,961
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,756
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,755

Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she’s beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that’s right—the zombie mafia. Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower—and maybe a brain smoothie as well—in order to get through it without falling apart.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A seameless continuation to a great series!

  • By Lupdilup on 07-22-12

You Can't Keep a Zombie Down

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

The second installment in the White Trash Zombie series seems to explore how many times you can kick Angel when she's down. Fortunately for both her and the reader, she knows exactly what and who she is, and that's not someone who takes things lying down. Her resilience and growing self-appreciation are endearing, and one can't help but root for her as she fights to keep the good things in her life.

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues expands Angel's story from murder mystery to multi-layered conspiracy plot. While that may sound absurd, it IS a series about a zombie just trying to make her way in the world, so ramping up the intricacies feels like a natural progression, and the details, far-fetched as they may be, make for an engaging and intriguing tale. There's a lot of set up in this one for future books, and while there was enough resolved to leave me satisfied, the breadcrumbs were such that I sped through it in two afternoons, and will quickly be moving on to the third book.

Allison McLemore does a good job narrating once again. While she doesn't stand out enough to be among my favorites, I have no complaints about her narration this time around, and would happily listen to more from her.

  • NPCs

  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,068
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,447
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,440

What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters? In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable if you manage your expectations

  • By Miachi on 01-23-15

An Homage to Tabletop RPGs

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

As a huge tabletop RPG (and specifically D&D) fan, I probably came into this book with a heavy bias towards liking it. NPCs exceeded my already piqued expectations, however, and my partner and I frequently laughed aloud as we listened during our carpool. We even had occasions where we had to pause the book because we couldn't hear over our laughter.

Drew Hayes deftly takes familiar aspects of fantasy-themed tabletop RPGs and presents them from the point of view of the NPCs. The plot was engaging and it was fun watching the protagonists start as reluctant participants determined to save their home and families and grow into heroes. There was a lot of gamer humor, so I think if you haven't played D&D or a tabletop or video game with similar class system, you might miss some of the jokes.

Roger Wayne truly gives life to all the characters, from the (often obnoxious) "real world" players, to the protagonists, to the various other personalities they encounter along the way.

I look forward to the next book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Split the Party

  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth Series #2
  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,234
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,923
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,921

Fleeing from a vengeful king has sent the former NPCs across Solium's borders, into the kingdom of Alcatham. As wanted fugitives, they head to the small farming village of Briarwillow, hoping to blend in, lay low, and avoid trouble at all costs. Unfortunately, Briarwillow has problems all its own, and its troubles quickly become theirs. If they hope to survive long enough to escape, they'll have to tackle an all-but-forgotten mystery buried at the town's border as well as seek the wisdom of a mysterious group of mages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great follow up!

  • By M. D. Baines on 05-13-16

Added Depth to an Already Fun Adventure

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

After we finished NPCs (the first book in the Spells, Swords, & Stealth series), Split the Party was an immediate purchase. It did not disappoint either, as it built upon the world and characters laid out previously and continued to flesh them out.

The story this time follows our band of former NPCs as they investigate a mysterious illness in the town of Briarwillow, only to find out a much more nefarious plot is at work. They have no choice but to split up in order to overcome the new obstacles before them, making them vulnerable, yet determined.

While I enjoy the interactions of the party when they are together, I do feel that Thistle tends to dominate those scenes as his cunning and worldly knowledge surpass those of the other characters. Splitting the group up gave the reader a chance to get to know some of the others better, which really elevates the story from Thistle & Co. to a true ensemble piece. I particularly enjoyed Grumpf's plotline as he tries to expand his powers as a wizard, and am intrigued to see where the series takes Gabrielle, as it seems to be setting up a complex narrative for her. I will admit, initially I found Timascore dull and did not think he brought anything to the party, but ultimately his caring heart ended up being more charming than I expected, and I am absolutely taken with Mr. Peppers. I look forward to seeing more of all the characters in the next book, including the "real world" people who think they're only playing a tabletop game.

Finally, once again Roger Wayne does a wonderful narration, truly making each character unique, no matter how brief their appearance. He has firmly cemented himself among my favorite readers.

All in all, I believe if you enjoyed the first book, Split the Party is unequivocally worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Disillusioned

  • Land of Dis, Book 3
  • By: Robert Kroese
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 103

The Battle of Brandsveid brought together every king and nobleman in the land in an epic struggle for the future of the Land of Dis, as the armies of the Six Kingdoms united against the monstrous army of Lord Brand. It was the event Vergil, a knight in the service of the Order of Avaress, had waited for his entire life. Unfortunately, he slept through it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good, not Great

  • By Rickey on 05-12-16

A Poor Allegory for Race Relations

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

Reviewed: 05-23-17

The books in the Dis series decrease in entertainment value with each installment. Disenchanted was great - lots of humor and fun adventure - and was followed up by Distopia, about which I had my complaints, but still overall found it engaging enough when it was funny. Disillusioned, however, lacks even the humor of its predecessors and feels completely disjointed from the series.

The characters were under-developed and thus uninteresting, and the plot was ridiculous, though not in the amusing way of the first book. Vergil is a fish out of water as a medieval knight suddenly thrust into an industrial era. Through his obstinate bigotry towards the "lesser" races in Dis and his general bumbling, he manages to cause all of the conflict in the book, and while neither of the protagonists in books 1 and 2 were written to be loveable heroes, I at least did not have to listen to hours of racism with them.

As an allegory for real society, the book falls flat due to the "lesson" on racism reading as though it was written by someone who thinks they understand a complex issue in which they believe they are not a participant. The racism demonstrated in the story is absurd not because it is antiquated behavior, but because it sounds as though the author has never talked to anyone who has actually been on the receiving end of racial prejudice.

I recommend skipping this one.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Distopia

  • Land of Dis, Book 2
  • By: Robert Kroese
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 174
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 163

Set a thousand years (give or take) before the events of Disenchanted, Distopia tells the story of Wyngalf the Bold, the legendary hero renowned for ridding the land of Dis of the scourge of dragons. The story begins as Wyngalf, a young missionary for an obscure religious sect, arrives in the port city of Skuldred. Desperate to prove his worth to his superiors, Wyngalf finds himself drafted into leading a missionary voyage across the sea to the semilegendary land of Dis.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good listen, though not as funny as the first

  • By Jasmine Wahlberg on 10-26-17

Another Entertaining Tale of Dis

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

Reviewed: 03-17-17

I loved "Disenchanted," the first book in the Land of Dis series, and I wanted to love this one equally as much. Unfortunately, while still entertaining and at times exceedingly amusing, I don't think "Distopia" lives up to its predecessor. I quite enjoyed Evena and Tobalt, and even found the dragon, Vern, was a delight every time he made an appearance, but I simply couldn't get into the character of Wyngalf. In the first book, the protagonist, Boric, was often aggravating, but his willingness to partake in the adventure was at least redeeming, considering the audience is being asked to invest in his story. In this one, Wyngalf is simply... aggravating. I don't have a lot of patience for reluctant heroes who resist taking personal responsibility, and so his nay-saying and self pity quickly became obnoxious. Fortunately, he ultimately had little choice in the matter, and forces beyond his control kept the story moving because otherwise if it had been his choice, this book would have been a whole lot of nothing.

The story was still quite humorous, the overall plot interesting enough, and Phil Gigante's narration phenomenal, that I generally feel positively towards the book. I only wish the main character was marginally less unpleasant. In the end I'd still recommend this one, if for no other reason than listening to Phil Gigante is always a treat, with the strong caveat that the main character kinda sucks at being a hero.

[spoiler below]

Also, I HATED that Wyngalf and Evena end up together in the end - he made such a point early in the book about describing her as a child, that I was supremely disturbed when he later decides "oh, I guess I'm into her." Even if she's 16-18 (I can't remember if it said exactly how old she was beyond "a teenager") and acts mature enough to set out on her own, the switch from an adult looking down on a child to an adult interested in a romantic partner was unsettling for me, especially considering the book takes place over the course of less than two weeks. Of course, there really aren't any other women in the story, so if you want your hero to get a happily ever after with a love interest, the options are pretty limited in this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Midnight Taxi Tango

  • Bone Street Rumba, Book 2
  • By: Daniel José Older
  • Narrated by: Daniel José Older
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105

The streets of New York are hungry tonight...Carlos Delacruz straddles the line between the living and the not-so alive. As an agent for the Council of the Dead, he eliminates New York's ghostlier problems. This time it's a string of gruesome paranormal accidents in Brooklyn's Von King Park that has already taken the lives of several locals - and is bound to take more. The incidents in the park have put Kia on edge. When she first met Carlos, he was the weird guy who came to Baba Eddie's botánica, where she worked.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Terrific new voice(s) in urban fantasy

  • By Paula on 01-09-16

More Supernatural Fun from Daniel José Older

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

Reviewed: 03-17-17

I would absolutely recommend "Midnight Taxi Tango" to urban fantasy/horror fans, though I would advise reading the previous book, "Half-Resurrection Blues," first as while this one CAN stand on its own, there's significant context regarding Carlos, his behavior, and state of mind that's gained by reading the series in order.

Older's writing always paints a vivid picture, and this is no more apparent than when he describes the vile creatures in his stories. With a thoroughly creepy menace, it's easy to feel concern for the fate of the protagonists, and it was difficult to stop listening each time I had to turn off the book for another task or sleep. While I really like Carlos and want to know more about the mystery of his life and death, the female characters really shine and captured my attention in this one. Kia, Reza, and Sasha (though her appearance is limited) are all fierce, emotionally complex, and all-around fascinating individuals. Kia in particular is easy to love. This story is a perfect expansion of an already rich and vibrant world, combining Brooklyn with the supernatural.

Once again, the author narrates the story - something which I thoroughly enjoy. While he doesn't use the range of tones or accents that other narrators do, Older still gives each speaker their own unique voice and brings to life the lyricism in the writing in a way that I'm not sure another could. All in all, I think this book is well worth the listen.