LISTENER

@Scattered_Laura

NEATH, United Kingdom
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 58
  • helpful votes
  • 45
  • ratings
  • The Blinding Light

  • By: Renae Kaye
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Young
  • Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Jake Manning's smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it he can't hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it's prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake's so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude...and blind man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable!

  • By Book addict on 13-09-18

Nice, but thin.

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

Reviewed: 11-01-16

I chose this on a whim and it was nice enough to listen to as background noise, but it lacked conflict. Not much here to sink your teeth into, but if you're after a light and sweet romance with no angst, this'll keep you chipper.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Retribution Falls

  • By: Chris Wooding
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 296
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 277

Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Basically a steampunk Firefly :)

  • By Beccameriel on 26-06-13

Brilliant! Now where can I get the rest?!

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

Reviewed: 18-01-15

I absolutely loved this. Comparisons to "Firefly" are not unfounded, but it's similar in the best ways possible. Rupert Degas' performance is, as always, remarkable. I was gutted when I finished the book only to find that the rest in the series aren't available on Audible! C'mon, audibots! Let's be having the rest!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Into the Wild

  • By: Jon Krakauer
  • Narrated by: Philip Franklin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 323
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Inspiring and cautionary.

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 17-09-12

Inspiring and cautionary.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-09-12

Krakauer's narrative of McCandless' last months is a piecing together of letters, postcards, interviews and notes scrawled in the margin of a book about edible plants. Despite the somewhat scattered threads, Krakauer manages to sew together a tale which is both incredibly inspiring and sadly cautionary.



Readers of this book will, I imagine, fall into one of two camps. One group will see McCandless as an ungrateful fool who didn't make the most of the privileged situation into which he was born. Yes, he gave his money to charity, but it could be argued that someone with McCandless' brains and education could have made more of a difference to the world around him if he had used his idealism and tenacity (and that $25,000) to benefit others instead of indulging his desires to be an intrepid explorer.



The other camp will admire McCandless' daring willingness to live a life less ordinary. He wanted to do something so he did it. He wanted a different kind of life and wished for a different kind of world, and did all he could to make these things a reality. That's a noble ideal, right? Brave even. But also, yes, undoubtedly selfish and somewhat foolhardy.



I find myself with a foot in each of the camps. I understand McCandless' thinking. He was looking for an adventure, for a new and more poignant existence in some untamed part of the world. Unfortunately, he was looking for the sort of adventure that just isn't possible now.



He could have chosen a better adventure. He should have taken measures to ensure that his need for change wouldn't have hurt those who cared about him. But he was also willing to "be the change". In my mind, that made him special.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • A Monster Calls

  • By: Patrick Ness
  • Narrated by: Jason Isaacs
  • Length: 3 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 262
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 227
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming.... This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful, touching and poignant.

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 09-07-12

Beautiful, touching and poignant.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-07-12

This was a really touching story. Connor was a great lad and his situation was heartbreaking. His mother, who battles cancer throughout the narrative, was a brave and touching character. Connor's grandmother seemed cold and cruel at times, but was simply a woman trying to remain strong in the face of the inevitability that she would soon have to bury her daughter. Ness subverts expectations with this narrative. He highlights the often sad conclusions of so many real-life narratives, a theme that is all the more poignant given Siobhan Dowd's own untimely death due to breast cancer.

The eponymous Monster of the book was also a subversion of common conceptions. He wasn't scary in a conventional way. Even Connor wasn't scared of him at first. He didn't eat babies or terrorise villagers. He was scary because he made Connor face up to the unfairness of reality and made him see how frightening the truth can be. Sometimes the scariest thing about tragedy is how happy it can make us when it's over...

I enjoyed the tales told by the Monster as I've always enjoyed the sometimes dark-morality of fairy tales. Ness' monster captured this tone and atmosphere superbly. Yesterday I mentioned Stephen King's knack for capturing the perfect tone for dark bedtime stories and I have to repeat this praise for Ness today!

Overall, this was a moving story. It is impressive that such a short tale can have such depth and beauty, and it is also impossible to forget the circumstances that saw it being written. However, great stories live for a long time. It is a touching tribute to the imagination of a strong writer that this tale was given life by the incredible Patrick Ness. His skills breathed life into a tale that might have otherwise been left to dust.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Swan Song

  • By: Robert McCammon
  • Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
  • Length: 34 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 783
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607

Facing down an unprecedented malevolent enemy, the government responds with a nuclear attack. America as it was is gone forever, and now every citizen - from the President of the United States to the homeless on the streets of New York City - will fight for survival. In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth's last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More of an Opera than a Song!

  • By Simon on 07-09-15

A brilliant, post-apocalyptic adventure tale!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-07-12

How is it that this book has been off my radar for so long!? Seriously. I love epic, post-apocalyptic tales of survival and so this book should have been on my list from the moment of its release. Okay... maybe not that far back as I was two years old when it was originally released. No. This book was so good that even then I should have had it on my wishlist.

This book is a must read if you are a fan of Stephen King's The Stand or Justin Cronin's The Passage. I happen to be a huge fan of both and Swan Song is a bit like the love-child of these works.

It has a whole bunch in common with The Stand. The survivors of the apocalypse (which takes the form of a nuclear strike instead of a government-engineered plague) fall into two camps of Good vs Evil. There's a "dark man" figure who is decidedly evocative of King's Randall Flagg, and there are many religious undercurrents to the narrative.

King's work was first published in '78 so it pre-dates Swan Song. Even though the argument could be made that McCammon's work is derivative, I actually don't care. I see it more as one great piece of fiction inspiring another. While King's work is definitely superior, McCammon's story is still a wonderful read. Whole bunches of books have been inspired by great predecessors, and just because they don't measure up to them, doesn't mean they can't be great in their own right.

I guess there was a lot about this book which reminded me of other books, and I know that's not necessarily a good thing. However, in this case I honestly enjoyed every aspect of the book. The situation was gripping, the characters were realistic and the premise was epic. This is one of those books that I'd recommend to people after they'd read and loved The Stand. It's not as good as that, but it's damned decent as a follow-up read! A fab not-so-little read!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Insurgent

  • Divergent, Book 2
  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53

One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An amazing sequel!

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 28-05-12

An amazing sequel!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-05-12

INSURGENT LIVED UP TO MY EVERY HOPE!

The dystopia in which Tris lives becomes even more vivid in Insurgent. The politics and power-struggles are more fierce, the themes of control and rebellion are more poignant. I loved the direction that this book took.

Tris and Four's relationship hit some speed--bumps in this book, which is common in sequels. However, I'm glad that this remained a background conflict. Both Divergent and Insurgent keep the love interest as a pleasant aside, instead of making it the heart and soul of the story.

I particularly loved the exploration of each faction in this book. While we saw a lot of the Abnegation and Dauntless factions in the first book, there were more situations involving Amity, Erudite and also The Factionless in Insurgent. I also really enjoyed how much more we learned about Tobias/Four's family.

In my opinion, the book had only two teeny-tiny little drawbacks. Nothing so big that I'm going to give this any less than five stars! The first was that Tris kept shutting Tobias out. I always find it irksome in books when characters don;t just talk about things which are blatantly going to cause trouble. Still, it did up the conflict. The second thing was something which always annoys me about sequels...

You know when you watch a TV show which ends on a big cliffhanger and then you have to wait a week for the second part? Well, before part two airs there's always a catch up, right? A quick 'n' dirty thirty-second recap which just refreshes the ol' noggin. Well, the older I get and the more books I read, the more I think all series books should have a paragraph or two at the start which reminds people like me what the hell is going on! Like I said, I'm not gonna take a star off because I get confused easily! He he.

All in all, this rocked. I can't wait for book three to come out. The ending of this book promises BIG things and it's going to be an agonising wait!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Snow Child

  • By: Eowyn Ivey
  • Narrated by: Debra Monk
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 334
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 213

A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start for themselves in a homestead 'at the world's edge' in the raw Alaska wilderness. But as the days grow shorter, Jack is losing his battle to clear the land, and Mabel can no longer contain her grief for the baby she lost many years before. The evening the first snow falls, their mood unaccountably changes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A lovely haunting story with gentle narration

  • By S. Bradshaw on 06-03-12

Beautiful but slow...

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-05-12

This is a difficult book to review as it's simply not the kind of book which I would usually be enthusiastic about. You might wonder why I picked it as my Audible download of the month, in that case, right? Well, the blurb intrigued me and the cover enchanted me. I had hopes of a haunting narrative, evocative of old, dark fairy tales. What I got was something different.

Ivey creates a phenomenally beautiful sense of place and it is evident that she is intimately familiar with the Alaskan wilderness she describes. The detail given to the surroundings was definitely my favourite aspect of the story. However, I felt that the characters weren't nearly as vivid. I have a suspicion that Ivey did this deliberately as the lack of colour given to either Jack or Mabel was indicative of their ailing relationship.

This is one of those books which is going to get four or five stars from a whole bunch of reviewers. It's beautifully written... but in my opinion, it was also slow. Actually, it goes further than that; I think it was dull.

I am definitely in the minority. This book has an average Goodreads rating of 4.06 out of 5 and it is highly praised in the reader reviews there. It is described as “gorgeous” and “magic” and “heartbreakingly beautiful”. While I do agree with these sentiments on some level, I prefer books with a bit more pace and action.

This is a nice book, it's just not my cup of tea. Therefore, I'm going to give The Snow Child three stars.

  • Drowning Instinct

  • By: Ilsa J. Bick
  • Narrated by: Kathleen McInerney
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.) Jenna Lord's first 16 years were not exactly a fairy tale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother - until he shipped off to Iraq. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • must have

  • By Caroline on 05-08-15

Painfully clever!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-12

I liked the book - I'm going to give it plenty of stars - but I liked it because of how brilliantly Bick's writing draws you in. I didn't like the story, I'll admit that, but I'm not sure you're meant to. I think it's one of those books where you read (or listen) in wide eyed horror. I found myself grimacing over much of the narration because I found it dark. But the really dark thing about the story is that, sometimes, I found myself rooting for them!

I think this is going to be a controversial book because of the YA audience. People will assume that young adults won't have the intelligence or the sophistication to understand that Jenna's narrative is biased. Maybe they'll see this book's message as one of hope for their own schoolgirl crushes or an endorsement for the old cliché that love can conquer all. In a way, this is true... but I think that any audience, young adult or not, has its dopes.

  • The Waiting Room

  • By: F. G. Cottam
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 428
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 258
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 257

The waiting room stands on a crumbling railway platform at the edge of a retired rock star’s vast estate. Abandoned to dereliction and isolated by a moat of thorny wilderness, it used to be a playground for his children. Until strange music and the terrifying spectre of a leering soldier frightened them away. Julian Creed is TV’s most popular ghost hunter. Only his small production team knows he is a complete fake who doesn’t even believe in the paranormal. Until he spends one night in the waiting room.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A clever, subtly scary read

  • By Jonathan Mills on 06-07-11

Review: "The Waiting Room" by F.G. Cottam

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-12

This is one of those books which I used to tide me over until my Audible credit arrives tomorrow. It was enjoyable enough, but I've already forgotten half of the characters' names. I likes the Wilfred Owen references as I'm a fan of his poetry...but later on in the book his ghostly echoes become heavy-handed and end up taking you out of the creepy suspense of the tale. It wasn't a total loss. I think I paid £5.99 for this on sale and it was worth that. If I had spent my monthly credit on it though, I think I would have been disappointed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Ashes

  • Ashes Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Ilsa J. Bick
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom, a young soldier, and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it's now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Review: "Ashes" by Ilsa J Bick

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 05-04-12

Review: "Ashes" by Ilsa J Bick

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-12

When I first picked up this book I did so because I'd seen a few good reviews of it around and about and I was enjoying the fab little trend of dystopian fiction that is still running its course in YA at the moment. However, my hopes weren't huge because I'm one of those despicable human beings who judges books by their covers. This cover was just a bit...is “80s” the right term?...for me.

Well give me a sturdy slap on the wrist, I must learn to obey old clichés as this was a book that I should not have judged by its cover. And I should not have expected it to fit into the sometimes (though not always) sanguine niche that YA can be. Don't bite, I said it can be!

For me, Ashes was a book that provided plenty of the darkness and grit that its title suggested. When an EMP causes all electronics to faulter and also interferes with the teeny tiny electrical pulses in the brains of humans, a whole heap of...poop...hits the fan! Only the very young and very old survive intact...save for a few exceptions such as Alex, the protagonist. Others survive, but as maddened inhumane creatures, similar to the "sickos" in Charlie Higson's The Enemy series, or the raging "infected" in 28 Days Later.

The idea of the masses succumbing to a force that leaves them insane and blood thirsty is not new. The dystopian premise of technology falling down around our ears is not new either. So what about this book made me love it as much as I did? It was a combination of things really. I loved Alex as the protagonist. She goes to the mountains to bury her past and to admit that, due to a brain tumor, she has no future. Instead it is her tumor and the treatments she's had for it that saves her from the EMP and allows her to begin her story. These are things you find out in the first pages so I don't think I'm spoiling anything for you.

I'm thoroughly looking forward to the sequel to this (already on my Goodreads Wishlist) and finding out how Bick tortures her protagonist further.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful