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Laura

Neath, United Kingdom
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 7
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  • A Need So Beautiful

  • By: Suzanne Young
  • Narrated by: Hannah Smith
  • Length: 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    0 out of 5 stars 0
  • Story
    0 out of 5 stars 0

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need - a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Angelic Writing

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 11-10-11

A Heartbreaker. Bring on the Sequel!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-08-11

I was bored to death of angels. So much so that I've been deliberately avoiding any titles pertaining to them. However, I was drawn to A Need So Beautiful despite the blurb I'm glad that I was! I really enjoyed this audiobook.

Charlotte was a great character who I both loved and hated at times. I loved her strength and her commitment to her friends. I loved how hard she fought against a fate that was beyond her control. I loved her humour and her narrative voice.

I disliked the fact that she never just confided in her (rather drool-worthy) boyfriend, Harlin. You know when you watch a horror movie and the main character keeps making daft decisions and you sit on the edge of the couch, yelling, "Just go to the bloody police!"? This book was like that, except I was muttering "Just TELL him!" instead.

Now. Let us take a moment to consider Harlin properly: Cover him in chocolate sauce and let's not worry about using a spoon. That is all.

Charlotte's best friend, Sarah, was another matter. She played the role of the spoilt-little-rich-girl who kept trying to make daddy love her by acting like a complete and utter bint. I admired the fact that Charlotte stood by her best friend, despite her many, many flaws, but I got really annoyed that she put up with so much selfish crap from her. [Teeny Spoiler: At one point, Charlotte gets hit by a car and takes a deserved day of school. Sarah is annoyed at her for not being there for her as she's paying the price for giving a school loud-mouth oral! Sarah makes a lot of stupid boy-shaped mistakes that I simply could not respect or sympathise with.]

This book is a bit of a heartbreaker; I actually cried at the end! You will follow the story wishing and hoping and praying that Charlotte's inevitable fate is somehow not as inevitable as it seems. Even though the audiobook was less than eight hours long, I really felt for Charlotte. Suzanne Young's writing creates empathy and really drags you in to the conflicts of her narrative.

  • The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

  • By: Kody Keplinger
  • Narrated by: Ellen Grafton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 76

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this book!

  • By Shauna on 07-04-13

Beauty can be found in the flaws of this great YA

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-08-11

I truly liked The Duff. I enjoyed how the characters were flawed. I liked how the subject matter was not dumbed down for the YA audience. I think that most of all, I loved how Keplinger breathed some new life into the now horribly clichéd idea of the love triangle. Bianca was a pain in the ass at times and the narrator's voice exacerbated this as far as I was concerned. Wesley was a womanising git who will remind you of "those" boys in school. You know who I mean? The boys who wore to much boy-scented aftershave, walked with a swagger and never had anything nice to say to any girl who hadn't been on birth control since they were still in footsy-pyjamas!? Then there was Toby. He was so nice that it was almost annoying. I knew that I should want Toby to swoop in and save the day with all of his gentle, unsure geekiness, but I didn't! Wesley and Bianca's banter was hilarious. They both used each other but in doing so, they found equals. They challenged and changed each other.

I liked the friendship between Bianca and her best pals. This friendship was also flawed but sweet. Bianca's family irritated me. Her mother escaped through work; her father escaped through booze... is it any wonder that Bianca searches for her own ways to escape?

With all of the irritations and imperfections, I still loved this book. The language is coarse but the sexual subject matter is not glamorised. Bianca feels dirty and ashamed of herself after her nights with Wesley, but still, this is a book which I doubt many parents would be comfortable with younger teens reading.

  • The Help

  • By: Kathryn Stockett
  • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,207
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,439
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,432

Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Aibileen is a black maid raising her 17th white child. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is the sassiest woman in Mississippi: a wonderful cook with a gossip's tongue. Graduate Skeeter returns from college with ambitions, but her mother will not be happy until she's married. Although world's apart, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny's lives converge over a clandestine project that will change the town of Jackson forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Relished every minute

  • By Sara on 22-03-10

One of the BEST books I've read in a long time.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-11

The novel is set in 1962, after Ms Parks decided she deserved to sit wherever she damn well pleased on that bus... but the white population of Mississippi begs to differ, (you’ll see what I mean…).

The first narrative voice belongs to Aibileen. Hers is a calm, godly voice, under which lies years of sadness, resentment, feelings of insignificance and above all, fear.

The second narrative voice is that of Minny. How I loved this woman! At first I thought that perhaps she was something of a stereotype: she's sassy, a great cook, proud, boisterous and she just can't keep a lid on her sarcasm. Her narrative cracked me up and saddened me at the same time. It's just so unfair that such a bright and vivid character should be so subjugated by the brain-dead harem of ninnies who run the town.

These white ladies are led by the vicious Miss Hilly, an antagonist who I thoroughly enjoyed hating. Still, I loved despising her.

The third narrative is that of Skeeter. She is a young, white college graduate who has achieved a lot for a woman of her time, but she has not achieved anything important, at least not as far as society is concerned. Instead of moping about her lot, Skeeter gets the idea to write down the stories of "The Help" of the town.

It's important to say that when the stories do start to spill out, not all of them are terrible. Plenty of the maids talk about the great kindnesses that their employers showed them. The book conveys the idea that the world in which it is set is a changing one. Not everyone is stuck in the terrible dark age of segregation. White people aren't demonized and black people aren't deified. The villain of the text is ignorance and narrow-mindedness. The hero of the piece is the bravery of the women to break their silences and just try to make a difference.

  • Mockingjay: Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3

  • The Final Book of The Hunger Games
  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,937
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,976
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,990

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena live, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Game Over... but do they live happily ever after?

  • By Laura on 15-06-11

Game Over... but do they live happily ever after?

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-11

Katniss Everdeen is still fighting for her life. The Rebels have taken up their weapons in a seemingly useless war against the Capitol and its leader, the maniacal President Snow. Katniss has been used as a catalyst for war, manipulated into becoming The Mockingjay: a figurehead of political resistance, by another would-be-totalitarian leader, when all she ever wanted was to protect those she loves and live out a relatively peaceful existence.

However, the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy offers anything but peace. This is, by far, the most harrowing of the series. The book has received criticism from some for being "too dark", but surely Suzanne Collins needed to be dark in order to deal with the subjects of political oppression, identity crises, PTSD and familial loss? She affords her YA audience the respect of not "dumbing down" the messages of her series.

District 12 is gone. Katniss' best friend, Gale, is slowly becoming as ruthless in his methods as any of the game-makers ever were. And Peeta is gone, his mind "hijacked" by the Capitol so that now whenever he looks at Katniss, he feels the overwhelming urge to kill her. Katniss is slowly losing everything she has and everything she is to the war. And there's more to lose.

If you're looking for happy endings then I can't say that this is a book/series for you. After losing so much, fighting so much and both feeling and causing so much pain, how could Katniss get a fairytale "happily ever after"? She's fighting a war and thus there are inevitable casualties... some of them heart-wrenching.

If, however, you're looking for a great read with characters whose plight will keep you gripped, writing which echoes the dystiopia it weaves, and a heroine who is pretty darn cool, then I can't recommend The Hunger Games Trilogy enough!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Hunger Games: Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 1

  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,509
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,850
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,860

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, robotic reading.

  • By Rhiannon on 15-05-12

Let the games begin.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-11

The first book of the series introduces Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant heroine of the trilogy, and the cold, authoritative society in which she exists. I liked Katniss as a protagonist. She's a strong, tomboyish sort of figure who is a fighter. Growing up under the rigid control of the Capitol has turned Katniss into a girl who has learned to depend on her own wits and instincts for the survival of herself and her family.

One of the most disturbing facets of our heroine's personality, is the fact that killing really doesn't seem to be particularly difficult for her. I found this aspect of her difficult to warm to. Yes, she has learned to hunt in order to be the provider for her family, but there is little refection on what a huge leap there is between snaring a rabbit or shooting a stag, in comparison with taking the life of another person.

Entering the Arena with Katniss is Peeta, a boy who once saved her life through an act of selfless generosity in a world where such kindness is rare. Peeta is a far more likeable character than Katniss at times. As well as being the least selfish of the characters, he is also warmer, cleverer and wilier. It is his wisdom which prompts his pre-game strategies which he hopes will keep both himself and Katniss alive. I don't want to get overly-spoilerific, so I won't say more.

What I will say is that this is a book which will appeal to both female and male readers. There is both the brutality involved in the Games, and a complicated love-triangle (between Katniss, her best friend Gale, and Peeta) which begins in this book and which is sustained well throughout the series. It's not a soppy sort of romance, as such a thing would be incongruous within the austere darkness of war and oppression, but it is touching.

I loved the first book in this trilogy. In The Hunger Games, a cold and bitter world is created through cleverly spartan prose. Katniss' voice is captured in a first-person narrative which will leave you breathless.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Personal Demons

  • By: Lisa Desrochers
  • Narrated by: Michael Nathanson, Sara Barnett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance - even her closest friends - and it seems her senior year will be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him. What she doesn't know is that Luc works in Acquisitions--for Hell--and she possesses a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A "Hell" of a book! Pun intended.

  • By Laura on 15-06-11

A "Hell" of a book! Pun intended.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-06-11

The book is divided into two distinct narrative voices, those of Luc and Frannie. Michael Nathanson narrated Luc's narratives and Sara Barnett voiced Frannie's. At first I thought they had cast too young a voice for Frannie, but Barnett's expression and emotional clarity quickly won me over. She made DesRochers' writing take on an extra dimension. Michael Nathanson's narration was actually kind of swoon-worthy. I think I could listen to that guy read the phonebook and I'd be quite content.


Luc is a demon and his job is to tag Frannie's soul for Hell. He has lived for thousands of years and was born in Hell itself. He is not a good guy. However, when Luc meets Frannie, something about her changes him and eventually he has to choose between being damned to torture in the Lake of Fire for all of eternity, or walking away from Frannie and letting her seek comfort in the arms (not to mention wings) of her angel protector, Gabe.


So, Luc or Gabe? It seems like an easy choice, right? Both want her, both end up loving her, but whereas Luc needs to damn Frannie to Hell, Gabe can offer her Heaven. It should be easy, but DesRochers works the narrative so that you can't help but want all the wrong things for Frannie, even though the result of her choosing Luc seems like a damnable mistake.


I found myself completely enthralled in Frannie's confusion and, as a reader, I didn't know what I wanted for her! The two male leads, Gabe and Luc left me feeling off balance and I therefore empathised with our heroine. However, she seemed a little flakey at times and I just wished she'd make a decision and stop basking in the attention. Then again, if I had the likes of Luc and Gabe lusting after me (though I suppose only Luc is capable of lust...it being a sin and all), I'm not sure I'd want to cut either of them loose either.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful