but good if you’re a Harry Bosch fan.
Not happy with the first story “Christmas Even.” It was unfinished. Harry knows who did it and how, but he hasn’t proved it.
“Fathers Day” was complete. Harry investigates and interrogates in a smart way. It was good. “Angle of Investigation” was also good.
In general I don’t like short stories. These are a way to pass the time, but not enough time to get into them. I would not recommend this unless you’ve already read all of the full length Harry Bosch novels and want more of him.
Sadly I have problems with the narrator. I used to love him, but he has changed. He has trouble pronouncing certain sounds like K and S. It’s stressful to hear him talk. I wonder if he has ill-fitting false teeth. Other than that he is good with acting and tone of voice.
Genre: crime mystery
But the audiobook narrator’s breaths and swallowing were a problem.
I loved Mattie, the 14-year-old-girl who had the brains, attitude, and actions of an adult. I laughed several times. I loved the dialogue. It was special and different from what I’m used to. I think it was accurate for how folks talked back then and there. One thing odd was that the author used “said I” or “said he” after quotes. I’ve never read books done that way. It was uncomfortable, but I went with it. For those who want happy endings, this works.
Amazon reviewer arunan said it well. Mattie's just a really strong character and in the end, the title "True Grit" is as much about her as it is about her tough guy guardian, Rooster Cogburn.
Donna Tartt did a fabulous job. I can’t imagine any actress doing it better. But SHE HAD A BIG PROBLEM. I kept hearing her breathing, swallowing, and mouth noises. She needed to use a better microphone or have those noises removed during the editing process. Such a shame because she did a great job otherwise.
Narrative mode: 1st person Mattie.
Genre: western historical fiction.
I was also annoyed with hearing the audiobook narrator’s breaths.
The premise of Juliette being a courtesan, the why, and her actions were ridiculous. Her actions did not fit her motivations – a violation of writing rules. I describe it in Spoilers below.
There were some plot events that could have been interesting, but they were not developed. Instead most of the story is internal angst and pondering. She tells him something false and then is angsty and hurt because he believes it. He is angsty and hurt because he believes it.
There is child abuse and a disturbing scene killing a puppy. I don’t mind bad parents being the bad guys, but this was too troubling for me.
Juliette is married to abusive man Oliver. She pretends to have affairs with other men so Oliver will divorce her. He does. That’s the only part that made sense to me. The rest does not. Now Juliette’s dream is to fall in love, get married, and have children. But her actions don’t fit her motivations. She tells the world that she is a courtesan so that she can be free to attend parties and have fun. Then she falls in love with Wil. She wants to marry him, but she won’t be honest with him. She knows he is troubled about her being a courtesan, so why does she continue lying and telling him she is a courtesan? Then when he does not propose marriage, she is furious, angry, and angsty and runs away so he can’t find her.
Frequently during the book he is cold and distant and calls her a whore or courtesan. And then she has all this hurt because of it, but she never corrects him.
A man attacks Juliette. The gardener hears her screams and comes to save her. The attacker runs away. Now there is a big mystery about who the attacker was. Juliette could not describe him because he was behind her. So why didn’t they ask the gardener to describe the attacker? Soon after that, Juliette goes somewhere alone and is attacked again. I’m willing to accept occasional stupidity, but not on top of all this other stuff.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR - Lucy Rivers:
I didn’t notice them at first, but later in the book I could hear the narrator’s BREATHS. They were annoying and distracting. She needs to use a different microphone, or do something in the editing process to remove the breaths. Other than that she was good.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: regency romance.
During the book was interesting, but depressing ending.
Jamie is telling us (in first person narrative) about his life from age 6 to old age. He met Reverend Charles at age 6 and their paths crossed several times during Jamie’s life. Charles is a minister who invents electricity that heals people. Jamie and Charles like each other and have a connection. When Jamie is sad about his brother’s injury, Charles cures the brother. Later, Charles becomes famous healing people in religious gatherings.
Because I saw the Horror label, I thought I’d see an evil creature doing bad things during the book. That did not happen. Instead for about 98% of the book there are suspicions but no obvious horror.
Most of the book is watching Jamie’s life – who he meets, how he lives, things he does. It was good because Stephen King writes good characters and dialogue and events. Frequent topics are aging, disease, death, and religion. My favorite part was Jamie’s early years, his first love, learning to play guitar, and joining a band. Less interesting was Jamie’s heroin addiction.
My feeling at the end of the book? What a depressing story. This is not for me. Something awful is revealed -- but it is creative. Would I recommend this book? I don’t know. I enjoyed watching Jamie’s life, but the ending ruined it. I’d want a different ending.
I don’t like 1st person narratives. It feels like I have to politely listen to somebody talk. I would have preferred close 3rd person.
David Morse sounded like he was tired and depressed. He does good voices and good emotional interpretations, but the overall feel was monotone. But maybe he was trying to sound depressed to fit the depressing ending.
Narrative mode: 1st person Jamie.
Genre: fiction with some horror.
But I wanted more relationship time together.
Julie moves in with a dysfunctional family during her first year at college. I loved how she improved their lives and they were good for her. I wanted to be in her shoes. This is my nerdiness showing but I was so excited when Erin the mother gave her user name and password to Julie, so Julie could have access to the Harvard Library! (Erin taught at Harvard.) I love libraries! Back to the story. I loved the Flat Finn cardboard idea and the things happening with that. (Creative) I liked the dialogue. I liked the mix of characters.
I’m not sure I can put my finger on it, but the last half was a little draggy. Then, the big separation was a downer with angsty stuff. At that point I did not care for Julie’s actions. She was too rigid and unforgiving. I wish the author skipped the separation and spent that time developing the romantic relationship. I would have loved seeing the couple spend time together as a couple and hold each other and kiss each other on purpose. Because their relationship didn’t develop much, the ending felt too quick. I wanted fuller feelings at the end. But overall it was a good story.
I’m so happy that this was written in 3rd person. Thank you author. I don’t like 1st person.
Some reviewers complained that they guessed the secret before Julie did. That didn’t bother me. It’s not mandatory to keep readers in the dark. Another thought: You’ll need to suspend disbelief the way everyone lied about something. But it made the story better so I was ok with it.
Julia Whelan was excellent.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: contemporary romance, less angst New Adult.
While I was reading this book I thought reading books like this is what makes life worth living. Oh I wish I could find more books like this -- exciting, inspirational, struggles, pain, perseverance, heroes.
My favorite quote: Joe’s girlfriend was angry about something done to Joe and said to him “I just don’t understand why you don’t get angry.” Joe said “It takes energy to get angry. It eats you up inside. I can’t waste my energy like that and expect to get ahead. When they left, it took everything I had in me just to survive. Now I have to stay focused. I’ve just got to take care of it myself.”
MY ONE COMPLAINT:
There are pictures in the physical book, but NO PICTURES for audiobook buyers. To the author and publisher: Please include pictures in a PDF file for audio buyers to download.
Fred Hermann was fabulous – clear voice, good interpretations. He reads like he’s interested in what he’s reading. He should do more books.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: nonfiction, sports history.
It’s short. 31 minutes. I liked learning about Woody’s past. He was not a good student. He did not like to read books. But he read some solely for the purpose of dating - because the women he dated liked to talk about books. I would have liked a longer interview.
I had a few chuckles but no laugh-out-louds. Sometimes my mind wandered. I like his weird mind. Woody Allen has a strange relationship with food. Several times he mentioned something odd with food. Many of the vignettes did not have endings. He just sort of stopped.
Woody Allen narrated this. It was better than his narration of some of his earlier works. In those he spoke too fast, not pausing enough for ideas to settle and for a laugh.
Genre: humorous thoughts.
It’s no fun to root for good guys who keep losing.
Nine people are trapped in a closed area. Escaped prisoner Jeb has a gun and uses it to take food and water from the others for himself and Mickey. Garrett and the good guys try to ambush and fight Jeb and Mickey, but they repeatedly lose until the end. The reasons they lost were bad luck, incompetence, lack of smart planning, and some heroine stupidity. Some of these are mentioned in Spoilers below.
Garrett sneaks up on Jeb but his crowbar accidentally makes a noise which alerts Jeb, who starts shooting. Garrett sets a trap, but it’s not well done. Lauren screams in surprise, but Garrett thinks she’s in danger so he abandons his ambush to go to her. Garrett tells Lauren to tie Mickey. She uses tape. Garrett says Mickey will get out of the tape, but he does not tell her to redo it with rope. Mickey gets out. Lauren is stupid and gets too close to Mickey and he grabs her.
I was also frustrated with Owen. He is helping the good guys, but they don’t like him because they think he is a hate monger. He should have told them one sentence. “He got his Nazi tattoos because it was the only way to survive in prison.” But no. He lets the good guys think he’s a white supremacist. And he’s not. I felt this was an excuse for conflict and it did not fit Owen’s motivations. Owen was my favorite character. He had been a victim of his environment. He was a good guy. He did good things for others even when against his own interest.
The set up was good for some exciting suspense. The character definitions were good. But what the author had the characters do was not. I’d prefer my hero have better skills.
There were a few brief sex scenes, not much detail. There was one attempted rape, stopped before he unzipped.
There’s not much relationship development between Garrett and Lauren. It was sexual lust amidst survival disaster. I thought Lauren got mad at Garrett for unfair reasons, so I didn’t like her as much. There was a happy ending for them.
Piper Goodeve was good.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: romantic suspense.
Story lines were not finished.
I felt like Grisham wanted to educate people about problems in Appalachia - maybe to get support to change laws and get help for problems. So he wrote a novel about a lawyer who goes to Appalachia to work in a free legal aid clinic. Most of the book is sad stories about people who are hurting and come to the lawyers for help. The worst problems are black lung disease caused by coal mining. Coal companies won’t pay workers’ claims. The companies drag things out in the legal system for years before paying any benefits to sick workers. There are also cancers from coal related pollution. Instead of traditional underground mining, coal companies do strip mining which is like a rape of the land and destroys water sources.
I love Grisham because he makes characters so alive, and he does that here. But it was not a fun read. One main character gets killed but the rest are ok at the end, which made the ending sort of happy. There were two major court cases that were not finished, in Spoiler below.
One case finished, but it was going to be appealed. The other case had important evidence that caused a lot of suspense with bad guys trying to get it. That trial had not begun when the book was finished.
I was disappointed that a murder was not solved. Was the author in a rush to finish this book? The only reason I did not give it 2 stars was because I did not wish it would be over. I just wanted more so it would be complete.
Catherine Taber did a good job. She had a quiet serious tone to her voice which fit the sad serious material. She did men well. Some female narrators lower their voice in a way that makes men sound weird. This narrator did not do that.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: legal fiction with a little suspense.
A lot of good action and suspense. But audiobook narrator’s BREATHS hurt the book.
Neat characters. I loved the Earl Swagger tough-guy-soldier fighting mobsters. He uses automatic guns and rifles. Great use of land around him during fights. I had some problems with it, but I still enjoyed it.
One part made me mad. I kind of don’t want to trust this author. Becker the prosecuting attorney hires a dozen soldiers headed by Earl and D.A. Becker wants them to raid gambling casinos owned by the mob. The first two raids are a success. A bunch of mobsters get killed plus three innocent bystanders. So Becker now says keep doing what you are doing but you can’t use automatic weapons or wear bullet proof vests. WHAT??? The mobsters use automatic weapons. In my opinion Earl should have walked away. It was a stupid request. If Becker doesn’t want them to raid anymore, just stop. Don’t ask these guys to fight with their hands tied and get killed. It reminded me of the Vietnam War - same thing happened to our soldiers there.
Some readers might be sensitive to the child abuse. Earl’s dad severely and repeatedly beat Earl’s younger brother who killed himself. There’s some back story about this.
Eric G. Dove was fantastic. He did all voices well. Even women. They did not sound like effeminate gay guys. How can a man do women so well? I’d love to give him a 5 for performance, but I’m trying to get some attention for the microphone problem below which is why I gave it a low rating.
Mr. Dove used a microphone that picked up his BREATHS. They were annoying and distracting. Many times I had to tell myself “try not to listen to the breaths.” Narrators: PLEASE listen to the recording of yourself and if you hear your breaths, use a different microphone - or stand farther away from it.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: action suspense thriller.
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