I really, really love Tom Robbins. I've read everything he's written multiple times. This collection is sloppy. It reads like the house keeper was sweeping up and quickly published whatever ended up in the dust pan.
If someone had told me that they wanted to recommend a book to me that had romance, gore/horror, sci-fi, and mobster mystery, with just a hint of spirituality, where the main character was a mathematician, I'd probably pass. But if any author can put all those pieces together in a great story, it's Dan Simmons.
I haven't loved everything that Simmons has written, but this book gets an A+, I loved everything about it.
The romance between Jeremy, the main character, and his wife is beautiful and heart warming. The set-up that leads to all the action is masterful, one shocking moment rolls right into the next and it's all oddly believable.
Simmons alternates between present and past between chapters and it works. I looked forward to picking up on the story between chapters and it added to the suspense in the middle of hair-raising situations.
The pacing was great, and it was super easy to follow along with everything, which is a feat in itself considering just how much happens in this story.
The narrator was flawless. I've never heard Boyett before. He disappeared perfectly, never detracting from the story. I especially loved any scene where the characters were whispering. He's just really good.
There was an annoying technical error in the first two chapters of the 2nd half of the book--it seemed like almost an entire chapter was duplicated. Hopefully that's something that Audible will fix, so by the time you are reading this, it won't be there.
I highly recommend this book.
The writing of this book is beautiful. The style is almost poetic without being tedious. The descriptions of smells and facial expressions and room decor and cooking techniques are so specific yet so well done that it really takes you there. I can picture the table in the front of Haji's restaurant and the smells as he walks by street vendors.
This story is driven by food and cooking. If you are a fan of cooking and/or the cooking channel on tv, you'll love this book. Note that the first review of this book is by Anthony Bourdain, a famous tv "chef."
There is more to the story than just cooking, which is what makes the story very good. The characters are likable and multi-dimensional and well developed. I was very invested in what happened to Haji, and his mentors and his family.
When reading reviews for this book, it's some of the pieces that people rave about that make the story flawed for me. I also had to remind myself that this was not a true story, but that wasn't a positive for me. It felt like a true story during the last quarter of the book because not much happened. It felt like the author had to record facts that weren't actually interesting.
Also, occasionally, the food references went too far for me. There is one action scene where Haji's life is slightly in danger and he stops to describe the smell of the food that the homeless people are cooking while he's running for his life--that seemed odd to me,
I also wish that the author would have put more energy into the development of Haji's friend towards the end of the book. He becomes a big part of the end of the book and of Haji's life and there wasn't enough detail about him for me to care as much as I wanted to.
The narrator was great. He struggled sometimes with the voice and accent of the French lady in comparison to the French men and then leaping back to an East Indian accent, but he did an admirable job at it.
I recommend this book.
Starting off this book, I said "oh noooooo" to myself. The Tortoise and the Hare has been done, it's not clever, every essayist has re-done that story. Novak's version wasn't great, I was dreading the rest of this book. Then he surprised me. The stories not only got better, they kept getting better. I loved this book.
Novak's stories are full of just really smart humor. It is a glimpse into the mind of a super observant guy who then has the talent to turn his observations into approachable, clever, and funny stories. I don't think I've ever used the word poignant before, but many of these stories are. They are deep and thoughtful while being witty and modern. I found myself thinking about several of the stories and telling people about them. His stories about John Grisham and Elvis (both fictional) were just awesome, and I also really loved "Missed Connection," "Outran the Rain," and "Confucius."
It's not just that the stories are great. They rhythm of the stories are masterful. There's no tedium or predictability that often come with essays or short story collections. The order they are put in allows the reader (listener) to laugh out loud, and be surprised, and look forward to the next story, and wish for more--it was really smartly done.
I know us "listeners" of books are in the minority, but in this case, we win the prize. The narration of this book makes it just that much better. Mindy Kaling, Rain Wilson, and Jenna Fischer are such a treat, and Novak's narration brings the stories to life even more.
This story was witty and quippy, fast-paced and quite funny. I laughed out loud within the first 10 minutes of listening and thought "this is going to be a great ride." The way the characters unfolded was so good. The story telling was smooth and interesting with Banks jumping from present to past.
I loved the main characters and all of his side-kicks. I could really visualize the little town he lived in and his crazy house and the bar he frequented. I was completely invested in everything about the story.
I loved the snippets of the song lyrics peppered throughout the story. I would stop and sometimes rewind and listen to them again.
Then, Banks started to wrap up the story, and things fell apart for me. The ending was cliche, and predictable, though I didn't expect it because the book was so good. I didn't expect the ending to be that bad, so I guess it wasn't entirely predictable. It was a lame attempt to make you really like Weir,D (the main character) in the end when I already liked him. The wrap-up and the ending just really did not do justice to the rest of the book. It felt hurried and uninspired.
The narration was great. When I very first turned the book on, it took me a couple minutes to understand what he was saying his accent was so thick. But then I got used to it and the accent just added to the charm. His voices and distinction between characters were really great.
If you keep expectations a little low for the ending, I recommend this book.
The first half of this book was great. Leah tells her story well, adding details that make it interesting and make you really root for her. As she makes her way out on her own, you can see the mistakes she's about to make and you want to help her. It's a great roller coaster ride as you grow up with her.
After about 2/3's of the book though, it fell apart for me. I just didn't care anymore about how she became more and more pathetic. In one scene with her and her dad, I completing agreed with everything her dad said to her, and I think the reader (listener) was supposed to be appalled by it.
I think I might have sympathized with her more if she'd told more of her story than just the sex. She became very one-dimensional and that dimension was a simpering, shallow sycophant. If she'd talked more about her job, how and why she got a promotion, or describe the neighborhoods she lived in, anything to add another facet then just sex.
The narrator didn't help with the "simpering" part. I was so tired of her whining that I almost didn't finish the book. I saw that I had only one hour left and I decided to push through. But by the ending, I truly didn't care at all what happened to her. I know it sounds harsh, but I was disappointed, especially since I'd been so drawn in by the first half of her story.
I do not recommend this book.
Too often, books written based on a true story include too much hyperbole in turning the main character into a hero that did nothing wrong. This story is raw, and honest, and believable, and really well told.
The best part about this story is that it's true. No really, it's true. As you join Simpson in this tale, you'll find yourself saying "no way," but wow, it really happened.
The end of this story wrapped it up so well for me. I won't spoil anything in case you don't already know what happens, but I'll say, that any questions I had were answered by the end.
Whether you are a skier, a hiker, a mountaineer, or just love a great story about human strength and endurance, you'll love this story.
Sometimes a book is so great that I don't feel worthy to review it. I don't have the words to describe how amazing this story is, but to make sure as many people as possible enjoy it, I'll try.
I LOVED Bingo. He's edgy, and dirt-on-the-floor real, and so smart, and funny. Sometimes he's funny on purpose, and sometimes he's funny because he's so smart but yet knows so little.
The story is perfectly paced and is a human, emotional story that also keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Often it's the characters around the main character that actual make a story great. In this case, it's how Bingo relates to each one that makes the story so rich. His descriptions and perceptions of people around him give an insight that cuts straight to their soul. You get an intimate view of the other characters while being barely introduced. It's very powerful.
The last quarter of the book was exhausting. I held my breath, and didn't want it to end, and then really wanted to know how it ended, and dreaded the ending, and cheered, and laughed out loud. I sat holding perfectly still and cherished every word of the last chapter. Seriously, it's that good, it's that special.
I loved the narrator after he spoke 2 words. Macon is perfect. His accent is enchanting, and I especially loved his voice for the priest.
Stop what you are doing and buy this book.
Don't judge Lee Child or Jack Reacher by this short story. Normally, I think Child can do no wrong, but this story is disjointed, the action isn't believable, and as I think every reviewer is going to comment on, it has a weird sex scene, I mean, ick. Also, he's 16 in this story and his relationship with the older woman almost got weird.
The ending was also really odd and not satisfying.
I've enjoyed the two other short stories I've listened to by Child. I loved the one where Reacher was even younger. Listen to the other ones instead of this one,
Sometimes just a little bit is what you are in the mood for. You know, when you don't want the whole cinnamon roll, you just want the best part, the soft gooey center. That's how this Reacher short story is, it's the best of Reacher just bite size.
This short story is great, really great. It is Reacher in all his glory, great action, great attitude, and as usual, he's smarter than everyone around him. He's the great reluctant hero.
Thank you Dick Hill, your narration was perfect as always.
Make sure you don't use a credit for this since the price is only around $2.
Of all of Harper's series, "Naked" is by far my favorite. There is a depth of characters in these stories that make them so much fun to follow.
I love all the layers of the main character. I love that she cooks, I love her constant combat with her role as a leader and I love her relationship with her family.
In her new adventure, Harper adds the clash of the present with the past. Which direction does she want to go?
Harper manages to keep the story lines familiar like an old friend, while keeping it so fresh. There are a lot of books out there these days with similar concepts, NO one does it like Harper. All the others feel like there are trying to copy Harper, none of them do it so well.
I love that the narrator was recognized by Harper. She really does make it even more fun.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Yes, though, you will enjoy this book more if you start from the beginning, just so you don't miss out on anything
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