Just when I thought I knew the characters and knew where the story was going, it would take a hairpin turn--and it did that several times. I decided to just hold on for the ride and I really enjoyed it. Dig deep for your suspended disbelief for this one. It's a kick. It's a fun listen.
I'm late in my love of Koontz. I've been devouring his books for just the last few months. It felt like discovering a diamond mine in my back yard. Phantoms, Lightning, and A Bad Place were all just amazing. So I was excited about a new release by him.
Funhouse in not the quality of the other Koontzes I've listened to.
The book started out strong. I loved the first couple chapters. It was creepy and I was instantly invested and excited for the ride.
The two girl characters who were the main characters in the 2nd half of the book were annoying. They were young and dumb and uninteresting, so I didn't care what happened to them.
The action and the bad guys were interesting. The development of the story was good. I believed in the "evilness" of the bad guy. He carried the story well.
There was either too much editing, or the writing was lazy, because there were big details and big moments missing. There was no wrap up in the end of what happened to the characters. The story was missing those big, satisfying moments where all is revealed and everyone faces off.
The ending was disappointing due to that lack of wrap-up.
I didn't like the narration from the start. She was slow, whiny, and amateurish. I think she made the annoying characters even more annoying. I was glad it was over so I wouldn't have to hear her voice any longer.
This review is harsh for a book I still give 3 stars. The harshness comes because of my high expectations and disappointment because I love Koontz so much. If this book had been by a new, unknown author, I still would have given it 3 stars, but I wouldn't have been more forgiving with the flaws.
I loved Grandma Gatewood. She's quirky and ornery and stronger than maybe any other character I've ever known. She suffers gracefully and graciously, which of course makes her perfect for the Appalachian trial. I was inspired by her strength on many levels.
The story only gets four stars because I felt like Montgomery didn't completely do her justice. I felt like this story just scratched the surface of her and what she experienced. There was too much "filler" in the story about the politics of the time, and other topics that didn't belong in this story. I wished there was a lot more detail about her.
The narrator was perfect. Lawlor gives a lightness to the story that highlights the quirkiness of Grandma Gatewood and of the situations she gets herself in.
I've already recommended this book to several of my friends.
Be incredible? Really? I wish ALL the characters of this book would have taken that advice. The first part of the story is good. Meeting Teresa, the mom who has cancer is great. The characters around her and her relationships are great. But I lost interest during the rest of the 3/4 of the book.
If you are like me, you are interested in this book because you loved Wild. Strayed's style is in here. It's in here in the shocking, raw things that the characters do because they are flawed and because of their grief. I liked those moments. Where this book failed though was redeeming those characters and making them likable. In Wild, Cheryl obviously is super likable and does things and shares things that made me like her including and because of her flaws--I liked her because of her complete-ness.
The characters in Torch were selfish and narcissistic and shallow and single faceted in their flawed-ness. I had no reason to cheer for them, they were just kind of lame.
The end of the story was the worst part. It just fizzled as the characters continued to have things happen to them and as they just stumbled through their mediocrity.
I also did not like Cheryl as the narrator. She had an annoying lilt in the way she finished each sentence that got tedious.
I hope Strayed writes more books. Fiction or non-fiction, I'll read (listen to) it, because I like her style and I think she'll only grow as a writer.
I don't recommend this book.
I really enjoyed this book, but I had to alter my expectations away from "horror." I was bracing for a scary story based on the description and some of the early reviews. I was picturing IT, The Shining, etc. It's classic Stephen King, but it's more in the line of the Green Mile, or 11.22.63 style.
The story is great. I became interested and totally invested almost right away. King is a master story teller which is why I can enjoy his books no matter which way they go. The character development of the main character Jamie was deep, extensive, and very interesting. I liked him and even more, liked his relationships and interactions with all the other characters. That's what drives this story is the people. I was interested in what happened to them without wavering, and was interested right up until the end.
Pastor Jacobs is a great antagonist. He is a great vehicle for the creepiness. He has the hubris, and the lack of humanity that kept me on the edge of my seat. He remained unpredictable which helped create a great pace to the story and kept me guessing.
Why only 4 stars? I love the book, but it could have had more. It could have been creepier, Jacobs could have been a little more evil, or there could have been a side-kick to Jacobs that could have been really evil that would have created a little more action.
The ending was good. It was worthy of the rest of the story and worthy of the characters. I enjoyed the ending.
I loved Morse as the narrator. I've already looked at other books he narrates for, I like him enough to seek him out. While I was listening, I took note that Morse's voice for Jacobs was perfect. He made him sound overly patient, a little patronizing, and a little edgy, he really brought Jacobs to life for me.
I would recommend this book.
This is a story that truly "unfolds." There are tons of layers that reveal themselves that made me more and more invested as I got to know Ruddy and Alan and Katie.
Just when I thought that I knew how the story was going to go, a small twist or a new fact was revealed that delighted me and kept me super interested.
The writing is great. The author, Cameron, is funny without feeling like he's trying very hard. The chuckles in this book are subtle and surprising which makes them even more fun.
The action in the story drives the pace really well. A TON happens to Ruddy, there are several stories woven together at the same time, but it is all done smoothly, and believably, and in a self-effacing, funny, natural sort of way. I'll say it again, the writing is great.
The character development, especially of Ruddy is really well done. That's another aspect that unfolds really well--I got to know him more and more as the story went on.
Why only four stars? I felt like Cameron could have pushed it just a little bit more. It could have been a little funnier, a little faster. It's really 4 1/2 stars, it just wasn't quite, quite perfect. On the other hand, maybe it was perfect, because it left me wanting more. I'm assuming there is a next book based on the title, and I'm really looking forward to a sequel.
The narrator is great. George Wilson does the funny, tongue in cheek, sardonic books so well. He is a perfect choice for this book.
I recommend this book.
Remember John Grisham? Remember the books that shot him to #1 over and over again? The Client, The Firm, etc? Gray Mountain is a pathetic shadow of one of his good earlier stories.
I kept waiting for the action to start. The beginning was great, loved meeting her parents and having her get fired, and getting the internship--all the parts that were written in the publishers description of the book. But after that, nothing happened. I was patient for hours as the story developed, but there was no climax. There was no one and nothing to cheer for, there was no John Grisham moment! The story is set in Appalachia, filled with colorful characters, but none of them really did anything. The stage was set, and then nothing happened.
The main character, Samantha, wasn't developed to the level you would expect in a 12 hour story. What she eats or doesn't eat is not enough for me to care about her as a character. What details were developed left her simpering and weak and a victim, when she was supposed to be the "heroine" of the story. Everything happened TO her, she didn't actually do anything. In the end, I just didn't care.
I know John Grisham isn't high literature, but I think it is fair to expect a level of entertainment from him and to hold him to the standards of his past books. I was very disappointed.
As for the narrator, yeah, she was terrible. She spoke way too slowly, which didn't help the fact that there was no action. She made me feel like she was reading to a group of 1st graders at a library. She also didn't change her voice for men vs. women so I sometimes couldn't tell who was saying what.
It's a John Grisham, so lots of people will still read/listen to it. But at least go in with much lowered expectations.
I do not recommend this book.
This was my first John Twelve Hawks. Before I chose it, I read reviews from his other books and reviews for this book. He is loved and has many loyal followers, so I was looking forward to Spark.
The main character, Jacob Underwood, was the problem for me with this story. As the description says, he's a man with a brain injury that gives him perfect characteristics to be an assassin. He thinks he is dead so he feels nothing, no empathy, no sense of something being beautiful vs. being ugly, and no concept of the future. The problem with that premise is that there is no reason to care about him one way or the other as a reader. There is no character development because he doesn't have any personality. I wanted to care about Jacob, as he did is job, as he experienced the world around him, like traveling to foreign countries, and as he met the people he's supposed to murder, but there was nothing there. I didn't get to experience any feelings, any sensations, any change of heart because he has no feelings, senses, or heart.
The whole premise is interesting, but it needed another facet introduced, like he needed a handler, or he needed to have ONE part of his conscience work, so there would be something I could latch on to and care about.
The pace of the story, the action, the other characters, and the general idea of the book were good, but not enough to make it a great book.
There were all sorts of deep, thought provoking ideas around are we alive, what defines "alive," and how are we different than non-sapient beings. But again, that wasn't enough to carry the book.
Scott Brick as the narrator was a good choice, or maybe he was a bad choice, I couldn't tell. He did a nice job of interpreting the lack of emotion and sensations, but it got tedious. A couple times I wondered if I would like the story better if I read it instead of listened to it because the narrator really highlighted to stark-ness of the story.
The ending set up the possibility of a continuation of the story. I will not be getting the sequel if one comes out.
Bummer, I wanted to like it, but I do not recommend this book.
I loved this book.
"How to Build a Girl" has it all. The character development, the relationship development, and the pace of the story are perfectly done.
The main character Dolly/Johanna is beautifully developed. I was completely invested in her, in every decision she made, and in everything she did. I rooted for her and cringed and held my breath and laughed out loud a lot.
The surprising, and best part of this book is how much I laughed, the writing is clever and really funny. As Johanna/Dolly developed I thought that the story would get more serious, as most funny movies go, they aren't funny by the end because all the problems get ironed out. But Moran's writing was so good, it was consistently interesting and clever right up until the end.
The ending was great, really great, and worthy of the rest of the book and how the characters were developed.
The couple things I would say as a review:
1. I wished it was longer. A couple moments felt overly edited, I'd wanted more color, description, follow-up that weren't there.
2. This is a very Rated R book. I was never offended, but I certainly gasped and cringed more than once. This book is gritty and raw and naughty which is part of what makes it great.
The narrator was great, she seemed perfect for the part, her accents and voices were perfect.
I highly recommend this book.
Let me start by saying that I like Lena Dunham. I like her series and I love that she has made it all happen without being anywhere near the typical Hollywood woman.
This book exceeded my expectations. I loved it. I have a new level of respect for her. She's funny, truly laugh-out-loud funny, insightful, self-effacing, and a gifted writer.
Her honesty about her own pain, trials, and mistakes is refreshing and is what makes this book great. Bold, often shockingly honest statements and moments seems to be her style in her show, and it is pervasive in this book.
The 6 1/2 hours flew by as I listened, I couldn't believe it was over. I immediately started it again. I felt an immersion while listening to her that I don't think I've ever felt before with another author or memoir. I cheered for her, but more often, I laughed-out-loud while thinking "oh, hon, I'm sorry." I really admire her for her bravery, her boldness, and for the way she has turned her "flaws" into her greatest strengths.
I loved her as the narrator. Anyone else narrating would have not done the content justice.
I've told several people about this book already and will continue to recommend it.
The premise of this book was great and there was some good things to like. Unfortunately, there were some major flaws.
There were too many stories and too many characters and it made for a disjointed final product. There wouldn't have been too many stories if they joined better and if there was enough of a main character. Instead I was left waiting for the different characters' paths to cross and getting more and more bored with a couple of the stories as I realized that they weren't going to even be key to the actual plot.
There also were several moments that I perceived as important, that I kept waiting for the author to come back to and address or close the loop on and that never happened.
I enjoyed the "main" character and her daughter and their story. Their character development was good and I cared about what happened to them. They drove the action and they were believable and fun to follow. Unfortunately there were too many things around their story that diluted the book until it wasn't enjoyable.
The ending wasn't very good. It just was too unbelievable and didn't go with the rest of the story.
I didn't think I would like the multiple narrators, but I did. They made the story a little more enjoyable.
I do not recommend.
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