I've gotten drawn into this series well enough that I'm most of the way through Book 3, but by the end of this, Book 2, I was feeling a little like I wanted 80-something hours of my life back. I do enjoy most of the story lines, but I find the plot arch so brutal in its scope, I am not sure I can hold out for another 4 books or whatever to find out if whichever of these characters finally survive will get any kind of justice in the end.
The good characters generally have horrid lives that only get worse and worse (with occasional moments of hope that are often soon dashed!), while the bad characters rarely get any sort of just rewards. And in a normal novel, you only have to wait 10-20 hours or so to know the ending, but this saga is so vast, you will not get any such satisfaction. You will wait years to know for sure if the poor characters you've come to love will suffer anything but awful fates, and while I'd like to believe--since this is pop fiction--that the author won't let us down in the end, I am not so sure after seeing several central and beloved characters killed to serve the larger plot.
I know people are wild about this series in general, but as a non-fantasy reader I'm not sure if these are genre-transcending books. More like, they're good fantasy books that appeal to fantasy readers more than they will appeal to a general audience. I bought the books after reading so many positive reviews, and after several recommendations from friends. Speaking as a non-fantasy reader, I do really enjoy that there's not a great deal of magic or non-human characters in the stories, while there is enough to create an interesting atmosphere. The world-building is very skillfully done.
However I don't know if I have the fortitude for much more bloodshed, beheadings, and killing off of characters who never get to see any kind of justice for all their suffering.
Because of the combination of excellent story-telling and perfect narration, this book stands out in the over 500 I have in my Audible library as a favorite. Hearn's imagined version of Feudal Japan is a fascinating setting for this action-packed epic. I normally like less action-oriented books, but this one was so well told, and the characters so exciting to follow, I was hooked the entire time. My husband also loved the story, and he's not even a reader. I am thrilled that my son is finally old enough to enjoy this book, and I just started him on it last night. He was hooked right away.
This is perhaps the most perfectly cast audiobook I've ever heard. I was seriously bummed in the later books when the narration changed, but for this book, the voices are sublime. They totally fit the parts, and I normally am not a huge fan of multi-reader books, but this one is perfection.
YES! While listening to this in the car with my husband, we would make up places to drive to, sit in the parked car long after we'd reached our destination, and eagerly await our next listening session.
The content is very similar to The Happiness Project, without being too repetitive. I listened to one book right after the other and enjoyed both pretty equally. The both provide inspiration and motivation to tackle self-improvement projects, while also being excellent reminders to keep our lives and thoughts focused on the positive. In Happier at Home, Rubin's resolutions are focused on home life, which is especially useful for anyone who has a family and wants to find more balance.
I wish the author or someone with a similar sardonic take on the content had read this book, as she did The Happiness Project. The narrator Kathe Mazur over-dramatized the book, reading it as if it were a juicy secret she was whispering to a friend, and her tone was too saccharine for my taste. As a result, the author sometimes comes across sounding annoying, while I know from having listened to her previous book that her own tone when reading has the right level of self-deprecation to let you know she understands when she's not being her most admirable self.
I especially cringed at Mazur's children's voices, which were just...AWFUL. So sickly sweet I had to wonder if she's ever actually met a normal child.
She's a talented reader--I just really dislike what she did with this book.
It's hard to imagine at time when one has the urge to curl up and listen to a book that is so relentlessly sad as this one. It's well-written though, and there is enough plot to keep the story moving. I gave it 4 stars because it's a compelling story, but without saying too much and ruining the "surprise" elements for others, I at times felt emotionally manipulated by the brutally sad events. Still, worth a listen if you are not looking for a chipper, light-hearted story.
I can't imagine how this book got so many good reviews. I listened for about two hours before giving up in disgust. It reads like an infomercial for Napoleon Hill books and audio. Worthless content.
BTW this is the first totally negative review I've ever written. I feel like I wasted my money on this audiobook.
This book has transformed the way I live, eat, and feel. I can't thank Dr. Fuhrman enough for that. I was not overweight and didn't have any major health problems when I started reading the book and following the author's suggestions. I had 15 pounds to lose to get down to the lower end of my ideal range. I had long suffered from the side effects of blood sugar swings--sluggishness, mood changes, and headaches.I started out as a cheese-loving, meating-eating, junk food addict, so I spent a month doing the Eat to Live program at about 50%. I felt so good when I was sticking to the diet that I decided I could definitely do it all the way. My headaches went away, I stopped feeling sluggish after meals, and I didn't experience those horrible blood sugar crash mood swings. After 3 weeks of mostly following the program (with occasional cheats like a beer on Friday night, etc), I've lost 5 pounds. Much more important though is that I feel better than ever. I have a steady stream of energy all day and I never get that horrible overly full feeling that comes from overeating addictive types of foods. Most of my junk food cravings have vanished. It was definitely hard at first, but the longer I eat this way, the more I find myself craving healthy foods. I've even started feeling repulsed by the idea of eating meat, which is a very unexpected side effect.I usually have a very large green smoothie for breakfast, some kind of bean soup for lunch, and then dinners vary. Fruit for snacks, occasional handful of raw nuts, etc. I put the flax seeds in my morning smoothie to be ground up and to make sure I remember to eat them every day.I will continue with this mostly vegan diet for the rest of my life, based on how good I have felt since making the switch. I've even stopped craving cheese, which is something I never would have believed before starting the program.
The hardest part has probably been learning a whole new repertoire of dinners to make, but it's been fun too. I bought the cookbook Veganomicon, and all the recipes I've tried in it have been delicious. For people unsure about their ability to switch to eating this way, I say give it a try for two meals a day for a while and see how it goes. Or try it all the way but keep it simple--having a huge salad for dinner requires little creativity or effort and will fill you up until bedtime.
I was struggling with a major career decision when I listened to this book, and it gave me the exact advice I needed to stop struggling and make the right choice. I found this book filled with great advice and useful ideas. Will definitely listen to it again soon so that I can take notes and recall things I've forgotten.
Once you get past the first few chapters, which were a bit of tedious overview about why you need this book and why people procrastinate, the actual meat of the book is priceless. His techniques for overcoming procrastination are transformative and immediately useful. He doesn't offer the usual list of tips and tricks that are so redundant in this genre of book. Instead, he prescribes a way of managing one's time and thought processes that can change anyone from being an unproductive shlub into a happy and productive person. I feel like a new and improved person after applying his techniques.
I love his way of explaining the psychology that leads to procrastination, the time management techniques, the unschedule, and the techniques for getting into a flow state fast.
It might have been good to hire a professional narrator. I appreciated hearing directly from the author, but his voice was a bit grating at first until I got used to it, and he did a lot of inhaling that was distracting at times.
I was thrilled to have immediately useful ways to make myself more productive while enjoying my leisure time without guilt--and it all works!
If there were an actual story worth reading--that would be a start. I usually avoid celebrity novels, but I was in the mood for something funny, having read and listened to David Sedaris over and over again one too many times, and this did NOT fit the bill.
This felt like someone handed Fey a book contract and a hefty advance, and then she had to come up with something to fill the pages with. Fey is an interesting and lovely woman, but a few hundred pages about her life is a bit much, at least as this book is written. The highlights could have been covered in a magazine article or two. Her humor is present, but it feels pretty forced at times. She is clearly more suited to writing for TV than in book form.
Tina Fey's reading of the book was pretty good. She has an appealing voice, and I love her work on 30 Rock so it reminded me of the show.
I'd have cut most of the book.
There were certainly some funny moments, and I enjoyed getting some insight on Fey. The stories about her dad were fascinating. However, most of the book was totally unmemorable.
I rarely write reviews, but only half way through this book I've already used and applied some of the techniques it suggests, to great success when relating to others. Some of the information is obvious, but it still helps to hear it analyzed to understand why such techniques work with people. Other strategies for dealing effectively with people are not so obvious, and the author does a great job of explaining them clearly and giving concrete examples that make it easy to go out into the world and immediately try what he suggests.
His ideas are universally useful, whether you're dealing with a stranger you've just met, a colleague, a client, a student, a friend, a family member, a child, or your spouse. I've found some of his techniques incredibly helpful in making my relationship with my spouse more satisfying, which is a nice bonus since I bought the book hoping it could help me deal more effectively with some highly oppositional and dysfunctional students I work with as a special ed high school teacher.
I can't say enough good things about this audio. Buy it! You'll be glad!
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