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Ninetailedkat

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A Court of Thorns and Roses audiobook cover art

Main character not believable

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

Reviewed: 08-15-19

With all the positive reviews I was looking forward to reading this book. Sadly, it did not live up to all the hype and once again I just don't understand how people seem to be so free with their 5 star reviews.

Although the narrator was very good the book really needed some editing and better character development. I went back to see if this was the author's first book and frankly was shocked to see that it wasn't. I would be more forgiving on my review if this had been a first book.

I actually like reading YA books and do hold them to a slightly different standard than "regular" books for adults. But all the ones I really like hold my interest, develop characters and story so that I care what happens even if the plots are generally more simplistic. This was not one of those books. This book had several problems that just became too much for me to rate highly. I saw one book description on Amazon that claimed this "was perfect for George R.R. Martin fans" which is a blatant overstatement. To compare this book to GOT descriptive narrative, nuance, political intrigue etc. is ludicrous. This book is not on that level at all. The amazon description goes on to say it is a " sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!" Oh Please!

As other people who did not give this book 5 stars have mentioned, the pace is incredibly slow the first 50-70% of the book. Too much time is spent on development and it is very repetitive. I felt the characters were one dimensional, superficial and wooden. I could not care for Tamlin or his fox friend. Rhys was the most interesting for me. So what about the sexy? Well - very YA so I guess I will give that some slack, since it wasn't super descriptive and many things were hinted at or glossed over like an old Harlequin romance. There is no in your face super descriptive love scenes- they are all very tame.

And what to do about Feyre....She alternated between tough girl, idiot and whiny brat. She did incredibly stupid things when specifically told not to, was overly dramatic in her thoughts and constantly waffled in nearly everything she did or thought in any given situation. And she wasn't real quick on the uptake if you know what I mean - it took her FOREVER to realize simple things, which to me isn't something you want a "hero" to be like. If I could suggest one thing to this author it would be to pay attention to how many phrases Feyre repeats verbatim again, and again and again. She just wasn't believable as a heroine to me.

At the end it seemed like there was an attempt at a cliff hanger moment involving Rhys, but if it was indeed a cliff hanger A) it was terribly written as one and seemed like a weak afterthought and B) although Rhys was probably my favorite character, I don't care enough to read any more books in this series unless the writing is very different in later books. I just feel it could have been so much better.

Hi Bob! audiobook cover art

Not as advertised

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

Reviewed: 12-31-18

I do not think this really had an accurate description before I downloaded it, and think it was somewhat misrepresented. This was interesting from a standpoint of listening to Bob Newhart talk about general stuff regarding his career with some comedian friends. This isn't really a funny kind of book, more just conversation snippets. So - if you like Bob Newhart you would probably like this, but don't purchase if you are specifically looking for laughs, or his comedy routines they won't be in here. I got this for free as an audible member on a monthly "free choice" selection.

The Way of Kings audiobook cover art

good beginning of a series

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

Reviewed: 05-18-18

. It took awhile to get into this book for me mainly because of the narration. I really did not care for either narrator at first. The guy grew on me but I really still don't like the person who is doing the female roles. Great fantasy novel.

Other than that, this is a first book in the series so there is a lot of set up, but as time went on I definitely enjoyed the buildup and there were definitely some surprises, treachery and some unanswered questions! I had not read the Wheel of Time series, which I understand this author helped finish, but I know many people really liked those books. I can say very unbiased that I really enjoyed this author and this story. I hope the next books in the series are as good or even better and look forward to seeing what happens to the characters, especially Kaladin and his wind sprin, members of Bridge 4 and Dalinar Kholin.

Spoonbenders audiobook cover art

not what I expected

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

Reviewed: 11-13-17

I purchased this book a long time ago and finally got around to listening. The narrator does a good job with the voices. A story about a con man who ends up marrying the love of his life, a woman with legitimate extraordinary powers, and their life with children who are also gifted. The story takes place in a time when psychics/ concept of "abilities of the mind" were in the process of being studied by scientists and the government or alternatively being debunked by professional skeptics. The story begins with the kids all grown up and the Telemachus name trashed by a fateful appearance on the Mike Douglas show. Teddy the con man father, has lost his wife some years ago due to an illness and has clearly checked out from real parenting. The oldest daughter Irene, was left to basically raise the family. The current situation finds the family still in turmoil with the grown children still struggling to live with their gifts - gifts that have proved questionable at best in a world full of regular people and are at worst a curse. Maddy, Teddy's grandson, suddenly discovers he also has powers and in so doing sets the stage for an adventure that ultimately tests the familial bonds and what is really important in their lives.

Illuminae audiobook cover art

YA novel with surprising twists

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

Reviewed: 09-26-17

Good Sci Fi novel exploring the complexities of human emotion and the interaction with Aidan, artificial intelligence of the space ship Alexander. Complete with angst over teen romance forced to grow up quickly when a disaster brought on by an evil corporation takes place..good stuff for a YA novel. I was surprised at a couple of plot twists although I will say there is one aspect of the ending with Kady, a main character, I feel needs to be answered in some way in the second book. If it isn't, I will feel like the author ignored a huge problematic event for me as it relates to her relationship with Ezra.

Good narration with the most narrators I have heard doing one book. Unique way of story telling that is very report or ships log like...it makes more sense at the end of the first book why it is done that way. I found it pretty effective to tell the story. My only complaint is the report and/ or transmission numbers/designations( which are of course spoken since I am listening to this on audio) got a bit tiresome to listen to as time went on. If you were reading it, I am pretty sure you would kind of skip over it to get to the actual dialog the transmissions contained.

I do plan to read the second book at some point.

Darkness Dawns audiobook cover art

Preachy vampire romance with beta male lover - yuk

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

Reviewed: 09-13-17

I read a fair number of supernatural romance books but I would not waste your time with this one. The series came recommended to me and I decided to listen to it through audible. Interestingly when I began the story recently, it showed up on my kindle one hour into the story. At first I didn't remember that I had tried to listen to this book over a year ago. I restarted it from the beginning and it became pretty obvious to me why I must have stopped, said to heck with it and removed it from my device.

I stuck it out this time mainly because I couldn’t believe how bad it was, even for a guilty pleasure escapist kind of read. Trust me there are much better series out there. What made it so bad for me
?
I found the heroine, Sarah, to be prissy and preachy with the author’s obvious personal views on display. Environmentally vegan ways of living are ridiculously placed within this story, along with a few attempts at “scientific sounding explanations” and social justice warrior moments for stuff that was laughable.

Not only does Sarah live out in some remote area where she comes in contact with some men staking out an individual (Roland) on her property, the petite woman manages to hit two vampires with a shovel hard enough to knock them out and rescue him. It is never really explained why the group just happens to be on or near her property. While she is trying to rescue Roland, he says he has to get out of the sun because he has a disease that makes him really photosensitive. I can’t remember what she called it in the book, but although there are actual disease conditions that do cause extreme sensitivity to light, I honestly don’t think she ever used a real example but goes to the trouble of remarking how she knows about some kids who have this disease and how they have to go to field trips at night to playgrounds or some such thing since they can’t be out in the sun. Why not do a little research and maybe throw in Porphyria or Gunther’s disease as an explanation and give yourself some credibility? These are diseases that have genetic components and are believed to be responsible for the vampire legend in the first place. King Charles III and maybe even Vlad Tepes were thought by some sources to have suffered from this syndrome.

The vocabulary, grammar and dialog make it clear she knows how to use a thesaurus and can write a proper sentence but the verbal interaction between characters is then bogged down, stilted and un-realistic.

The lack of fast action/forward motion of storyline is a problem for me in this book – it should move much quicker given the lack of detail behind the characters.

The lack of appropriate swearing –yes you heard me right -is also a problem for me. I am sorry but if you are going to go into detail about certain sexual situations or foreplay, I find it very unrealistic if slang and/ or some porn terms aren’t used including the word fuck. The sex scenes were lacking – weirdly clinical in some parts. If this was meant to light a fire in somebody I would say it put water on the fire instead!!!

A chase scene where the Sarah is trying to get away from a battle between the immortals and vampires is ridiculous. Sarah jumps into her get-away-car that happens to be a (brace yourself) Prius because her only other choice would be a geo metro. I mean seriously, are you kidding me? Is it a wonder that the “bad” vampires can catch her?

While Roland in recuperating in her house we find out that he is an immortal which is like a vampire but because Roland was “gifted” with some talent before he was exposed to the vampire virus, it acted on his body in a different way. The immortals are hypothesized to be a different species from humans because they have extra chromosomes. Now it wasn’t good enough for the author to give them say 10 extra chromosomes that simply just wouldn’t do. She had to say 7000 total chromosomes. That is not a typo. You may all think this is a picky point but if you are going to come up with some attempt at pseudo-science as an explanation I still think you should pick a more reasonable number that just fits with your story to make it plausible. Even if you are hinting that these guys are actually aliens this just doesn’t work for me.

The author’s perfect man or immortal in this case, strikes me as a very beta, metro-sexual male which frankly does not appeal to me at all when I read these kinds of books. I can go find that anywhere on my own. The men can be pretty, they can be gentle to their woman, they can be a lot of things but what they can’t be in a book like this is listed below.

Roland (and by the way did I mention I hate the names this author picked for her characters) is an organic vegan/vegetarian, tea-totaling, environmentally conscious immortal who makes salad from organic lettuce; somehow serves Sarah’s favorite dish (eggplant Parmesan); uses environmentally friendly dish soap; rinses his cat’s cat food can, removes the label and puts it in recycling, eats ice cream that just happens to also be the Sarah’s favorite, “banana nut soy cream”. OMG – REALLY????!!!! I am not making this stuff up. I almost gave up on the book again at this point, but felt I had to go on to see how much more you could possibly wussify a vampire.

So here you go. The author makes the dinner scene worse by using the table conversation as a platform to actually lecture the readers on how eating animals is gross. By citing references from the Bible in response to whether or not vampires/immortals are damned for drinking blood Sarah states “There are a lot of commandments regarding diet in the bible. So if you two are damned for drinking blood then anyone eating rabbit, pork, meat with blood in it, shell fish, things that swarm, scavenger birds or birds of prey is damned too.” When asked by Roland if she eats any of those things herself, she wrinkles her nose and says, “No, if you ask me that crap just isn’t healthy which is probably why it was banned in the first place. Pigs eat their own feces, tend to carry more diseases and parasites; rabbits eat their own feces too, so –yuk; shell fish are the vacuum cleaners of the ocean and can accumulate high levels of toxins – no thanks; scavenger birds eat road kill, again – yuk and I’ve never seen the appeal of eating chocolate covered ants or roaches. …As far as I know I don’t eat meat with blood in it. I don’t eat red meat so no rare, bloody steaks and any fowl I prepare is organic, boiled or baked until meat is so tender it falls off the bone. I assume any blood that might be in it is cooked away.” Hate to burst your bubble lady, but small amounts of blood will always be there and just congeal so you are eating blood in a different cooked form is all. Bible restrictions outside of religious reasons were mainly to guard against disease and parasitism before modern farming practices were available. Especially in the case of the close association with domestic animals and humans of ancient times, people were much more exposed to zoonotic diseases, some of which could prove fatal as in the case of trichinosis, etc.

As if that isn’t bad enough this then leads the author to create a way for the vampires to actually avoid consuming blood through their digestive tracts. This is accomplished by having their fangs act like hypodermic needles carrying the blood directly into their veins. Oh and just to complete the picture, drinking tea is Ok but alcohol is toxic to vampires and Sarah herself never touches the stuff.

Roland’s back story was LAME!! Basically he was gifted and bullied back in medieval times or whenever he was born. He was then betrayed by his brother and set up to be killed by a vampire. He was turned against his will, but ended up becoming an immortal vs. vampire due to his gifts. What makes a person supposedly gifted isn’t fully explained here. Since Roland’s been around for 900 years he really should have a better idea about his own race’s history after all this time with his access to resources and other immortals. Instead the author somehow uses this moment to get on another high horse and make an analogy about how Roland was treated when he was young to how this would be a hate crime today and lawyers wouldn’t let this kind of thing happen. Even if you feel the need to bring your views into what you write or make political statements, you either need to write a different kind of book OR at least figure out a better way to work it into a story line.
But wait there’s more. When considering having sex with him although she has a rule of no sex with strangers, Sarah states, “That little practical voice that usually stayed her when tempted, taunted her by pointing out that since he was immortal she didn’t have to worry about STDs and this was a safe time in her cycle which meant no pregnancy fears either. What the hell was she waiting for?”

Is this supposed to be writing that is going to get me all hot and bothered? It is SOOOO robotic or something. You should have heard it on audio – it was ridiculous. Now, I don’t know about you, but NO one talks like this in their head. No one says “this is a safe time in my cycle” using those words. There were virtually no swear words during sex scenes, everything was just too prim and proper. If I was Roland, I would not have been able to get an erection.

It never got better and frankly I could not care less about ANY of these characters. The author made an attempt at insinuating there is some big, dark, deep secret that the oldest immortal in the group was still keeping to himself so if there are other books in the series I imagine that is explained. The book ends with the inevitable turning of Sarah who somehow is found to be one of the gifted ones, but we don’t know how she is gifted unless I missed it skipping through my audio book. I will admit to skipping through the last 1/3 as I couldn’t take any more!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Covet audiobook cover art

Interesting twist on the 7 deadly sins as a series

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

Reviewed: 09-06-17

started to read this series several years ago and for some reason dropped the ball. I just finished listening to Covet, the first book in the series, on audio so I could get back into the story. If I could give it 3.5 stars I would. For those of you who don't know me, I rarely give 4 stars, much less 5, but this was a good entertaining read for me.

The premise is that God is getting tired of the inevitable back and forth between good vs. evil and basically wants an end to the great experiment of humans and free will one way or the other. "Both sides" agree to the terms of 7 souls influenced by the 7 deadly sins that can be saved or damned depending on how they handle their individual cross roads. One human is picked who has the chance to save humanity and heaven as we know it or conversely, if he fails, evil shall inherit everything including mastery over angels and heaven. Enter Jim Heron, a man whose internal good and evil influences are so evenly balanced, both sides find him an acceptable player in the final game between God and the Devil. Needless to say Jim himself has to avoid some pitfalls, and find out who he can trust. Fallen angels, Adrian and Eddie, will help when they can but must follow the rules while Divina, a shape shifting demon, does everything in her power to seduce Jim, his friends and his targets to the dark side and influence the outcome of the contest.

If you are a fan of JR's Black Dagger Brotherhood books, one of the things that made those books better for me over other vampire romance stories is the overall story arc between the Scribe Virgin and the Omega (good vs. evil) and the gritty nature of the dialog etc. at least earlier in the series. These books are similar in that the dialog is good and the story line unique in many ways. Fans of JR Ward will most likely like these books but I think because the books are not dealing with vampires and vampire romance, this subject matter might appeal to others as well. There was a lot less romance/sex and more supernatural story at least in the first book. Sex scenes were still pretty good. Horror/paranormal aspect also good but a bit slow to develop in this first book for me - but in the interest of full disclosure I find there is a fair amount of set up in any first book of a series. The narrator on this audio book was reasonably good, but could have been a little better. It won't stop me from getting others in the series if the same guy is narrating, just a personal preference.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay audiobook cover art

Pre-WWII America and the Golden Age of Comics

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

Reviewed: 09-06-17


I took a few days to write my review because I think many of you out there who don’t normally read this kind of thing would enjoy it. I hope this encourages you to do so. After thinking about my review I ended up giving it more stars.

This is a story about a Jewish immigrant who comes to stay with his cousin in Brooklyn, NY. Both boys are artists and have the dream of making it big in the emerging world of comic books. The story takes place during pre-WWII era in NYC, and centers around three main characters Joe 19, Sammy 17 and a little later Rosa, also a graphic artist.

Joseph is a classically trained artist, who studied in Prague and is also an accomplished magician and escape artist. Joseph’s family spent great sums of money to try to get him out of Europe as the Nazis were beginning to crack down on travel in the country. He literally undergoes a “great escape” scenario after his legitimate travel plans are foiled in order to make it to America. One of Joseph’s constant driving forces throughout the book is to use his talents to bring the plight of the Jews in Europe to the attention of everyone else in America through his graphic art and development of The Escapist comic book hero.

Sammy is the American born cousin, with dreams to make it big in this emerging comic business. Sammy lives alone with his mother. His father was a traveling strong man who basically abandoned the family as he toured the Vaudeville circuit. Sammy took ill as a child and was left with residual physical damage. In many ways he is the classic 90 pound weakling found in ads at the back of the comics of the time. Although Sammy is a passible artist, his real talent is his story telling and entrepreneurialism. Together he and Joseph create the Escapist and help develop the new business of Empire Comics during the golden age of comics.

What makes the story so unique is that it not only coves the WWII Jewish experience in a very unusual and interesting way, but also weaves in many real celebrities and events of the time surrounding the comic book industry, including Senate hearings on the corruption of youth by graphic art and the fact most of the artists behind these popular comics were cheated out of money that should have rightly been theirs. Many events are based on the lives of actual comic creators like Stan Lee, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Will Eisner, Jerry Siegel and Jim Steranko to name a few. Several other historical figures are mentioned like Orson Wells and Houdini, Al Smith, Salvador Dali and Fredric Wertham. The book spans a great deal of time from about 1939ish shortly after the debut of Superman to 1954 when the Senate hearings on Juvenile Delinquency were taking place which drastically affected some comics, especially those of the crime and horror genre.

This book was highly acclaimed. With a little research I found there are study guides for the book to discuss its many themes found including fantasy vs. reality, escapism represented on many levels and even how much of an escape artist anyone has to become in order to survive the world. I think because I was listening to this book in audio form, I had not really considered these viewpoints. I plan to read it again in hard copy and pay more attention to these themes and the quotes that support them. I think it would make for good book club discussions. The audio book was very well done by the way – great narration.

The story development is a little slow without a lot of actual action, so some of you may have a problem with the pacing, even though I think the story itself will make up for it. It is implied through a certain character’s development that homosexuality in this time period forces people to be in the closet. Although historically accurate, I really don’t think it had to be mentioned to have this story told. It fit the theme I guess, but sometimes I think authors feel they have to include certain social issues within their work to be relevant to today’s readers. I would be interested to find out if this aspect of the story was referring to a specific historical reference within the comic artist community of the time and plan to do a little more research.

A few other side notes I think are worth mentioning. Dark Horse Comics actually published two series of the Escapist comic based on this book and at one point a movie was considered. Although the movie may be on permanent hold, a TV miniseries with HBO was proposed back in 2011. I would love to see either if they ever come to fruition.

Royally Screwed audiobook cover art

Royal Lounge Lizard

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

Reviewed: 09-06-17

Although I did like the book for what it was, there are so many other books from this genre I would recommend to people first, I felt I could not go up to 3 stars. I will give this author another chance since she was highly recommended, but even as a guilty pleasure romance with reasonable sex scenes it was a bit TOO formulaic and unbelievable as to how the main character Nicholas would act as a royal at the end. And I can't believe I am going to say this, but can a romance have too many sex scenes or dialog with overt sexual innuendo? Yes it can!!!

I wasn't offended or anything,it just seemed too contrived most of the time and I feel there should have been more real dialog moments, action or something and not had Nicholas always acting like a smarmy lounge lizard. You would think from his thoughts about Olivia the guy was one never-ending horn dog. There could have been more balance there between story and romance scenes, something that really would make me care about this story or couple more. Overall premise has been done to death with a prince charming rescue which I guess no surprise, but there were several funny moments as Nicholas reflects on the absurdity of his own royal lifestyle that were quite entertaining.

This is the first in the series of 3 books I think, and you can certainly see who is next on the list to be matched up. I am more curious about these future pairings than the Nicholas and Olivia because I feel they may lend themselves to more realistic interaction.

This was an audio book selection and overall I felt the narration was pretty darn good. There was both a male and female narrator which was a bonus and I might listen to other books they narrated based on this performance.

I couldn't stop thinking however, when the male narrator was speaking, if he's like "I can't believe I am saying this stuff out loud!" I mean really, don't any of you out there wonder if some of these guys narrating romance/erotica books for women are laughing internally or shaking their heads at what women are wanting to hear/read in a romance book? It just cracks me up!! One of these days I am going to get my husband to read some scenes in a supernatural romance book I think is particularly good just to see what he thinks. (If I ever get up the guts!!!)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Handmaid's Tale audiobook cover art

Be Careful What You Wish For

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

Reviewed: 07-27-17

I can't remember why this caught my eye, but I am glad I read this book. I have never read anything by this author before, and it was a good experience. I actually listened to the audio version narrated by Claire Danes and I would highly recommend her as I feel she really caught the essence of Offred, the main character of the novel.

The language and writing were fantastic, descriptive and rich. I loved how the author began the story in the middle of this dystopian world where women are subjugated by a religion of some sort that has taken over after destruction of the Congress and the President. In addition there is some undisclosed virus or disease that has made many of the men and women infertile. Basically all rights are taken away from women under the new regime and over time women are relegated to various roles in the new society based on their ability to breed and conform to the New Order. These include the Marthas, the Wives and the Handmaids among others. The Handmaids are the ones with breeding potential and therefore highly sought after by the upper class (or should I say the ones in power in the regime) in an effort to have children.

The story covers Offred's life as she is assigned to one of the ruling families for the purpose of breeding by the Commander. The wife is sterile and must rely on the handmaid to provide a child from the husband which she will raise and call her own. Any handmaids that don't produce children run the risk of being sent off to"the Colonies" if the union proves sterile, even though it is probably the fault of the Commander"s inability to to produce offspring that is the real problem. Interestingly, Offred recounts stories of how life was "before" and we get glimpses of what events transpired to get her to this point. I also found the ending to be unique in that scholars from a period much later hold a seminar on Offred's account of her life on tape. In some way this reminded me of the Diary of Ann Frank.

Two things I found especially interesting were that this book was written in 1985 during what some would call the height of the women's movement in many ways. Clearly the author was warning that all strides that women made and/or were making could easily be taken away through abrupt political and social change. When I listened to the book, I did not know it was written back in 1985. I felt at the time this was a story of a society taken over by a religion that devalued women's role in society and felt honestly that it was a comment on Muslim extremist viewpoints melded with native religions in America. Imagine my surprise to find the author had actually conceived of this as an extreme Christian value system. Looking back, I can see how some one might have imagined that an extreme value system, in this case tel-evangelical, could have led to this story, but I think it is more timeless than that and still applies to other religious sects today throughout the world.

The book's philosophy seemed to originate as a way to protect and provide for the sanctity of women and the female role in society. Men were often thought of as little better than rapists waiting to happen. So isn't it wonderful we have this society that now values the women's role in society and the home, where nothing ever bad will happen to you if you're female, obey the rules and know your place!!! I see so many parallels today how women in their quest to be equal also promote the vilification of everything male. They push for rules and laws to "protect" themselves from male influence, to the point that they don't even see how this could totally back fire and end up with this type of scenario. One only has to look at how women have been told by the media again and again about the "rape culture" in our society - a "culture" that I think is alarmist and overblown and totally screws over the majority of the male population. Can you imagine how women would react if something similar was said about their gender? They would totally lose their sh*&!!!

Anyway, good book for a future book club for me. Lots of discussion points. Great writing.