Survivor meets Gladiator - not bad. It's a novel of teens for teens but the teen angst is kept to a tolerable minimum. The series would be extraordinary if written for adults, but some concessions are required to make it age-appropriate for the target audience. Despite the horrific world in which the story is set, the author still manages to romanticize some aspects of it, and the lead character sometimes displays a level of stupidity that can't quite be explained away by her youth and inexperience as we are supposed to believe. The same story written for older readers could probably be made a little more realistic in these areas, but even in its current form it is thought provoking and impossible to put down.
It was an interesting idea with potential to make a light, funny story, but the execution was just bad. The male love interest mostly treated the main character like a child, but then she did spend a lot of time acting like one. Several words were wrong ("a millennia"), don't know if misspoken or miswritten, but it seems that editing was lacking somewhere. And if you have delicate ears do not get this book. I'm fine with a bit of swearing in a book if it is part of a well-developed character's personality, or even if it just adds humor, but there was a lot of gratuitous swearing in this book that added nothing. I am also not bothered by sex scenes in books, but again, this was over the top. Such scenes were few, and I can't decide if they were made more or less tolerable by the narrator reading them in a tone she also could use to describe a tranquil bit of scenery, but if you don't enjoy hearing about slick, swollen, throbbing body parts ad nauseam, you may want to skip this one. The only positive thing I can say is that the plot was interesting enough to keep me listening until I was far enough into the story to want to see it through to the bitter end, even if I did spend the last several minutes just wanting it to be over.
Decent fantasy story, narrator has a few minor issues like making any male with a southern accent sound like he's 65 years old but overall wasn't bad. At least she narrates like a normal person talks and doesn't feel the need to precisely enunciate every single letter of every word like some do. It isn't great literature, but it's an interesting story that moves at a good pace, and that's all I was looking for. My biggest pet peeve is that the main character always referred to her love interest as a "boy," as in "the boy I like" or "the boy I kissed," even though they were both fully adult twenty-something college graduates instead of sixth graders. It just sounded childish. Maybe it was supposed to be her feminist answer to women her age being called "girls" by men; maybe it was some linguistic fad from recent years that I missed (I'm forty-something, not twenty-something). Either way, it was annoying, but not enough to ruin the book.
I liked the idea of the book - mysteries set in a mystery bookstore in a town famous for bookstores - well enough to overlook my dislike of the lead character in the first book and listen to the second. I still cannot warm to the woman and I find it difficult to even articulate why. She dates a reporter but gets annoyed if he does anything that remotely intersects with her life to get a story, even though the biggest story in town took place in her store. When presented a cake made by a professional pastry chef who baked it just for her as a kindness, rather than think what wonderful friends she has, she silently laments that no one understands how she doesn't consider cake to be comfort food. However she isn't overtly bitchy or whiny, and despite these irritations and many others, the mystery was interesting enough that I never considered not finishing the book. It just didn't leave me itching to get the next one in the series.
The lead character is a doormat and not very bright in some ways, making her less likable to me than she should be. However the setting is so pleasant I want to read more. Hopefully the lead will grow a spine and brain at some point in the series.
In addition to odd pronunciations of some words, the narrator does a terrible job with voices, makes characters sound like poorly-done caricatures. Her rendition of the protagonist makes her sound like a pretentious biddy twice the age the story indicates. Much of the humor is lost in the narrator's poor delivery. I feel like the book would have been far more entertaining if I had picked up the print version.
Story made for a decent light and fluffy read but the narration was terrible. Pauses too long, pace too slow, didn't flow naturally the way a person would talk. Also too nasal, even for a good southern accent. I put it on 2X just to get through the book more quickly and found that the faster pace actually made the narration better. The narration made it difficult to gauge the quality of the story, but it had some scenes that I think would have been funny had they been read correctly, and it held my interest enough to make me want to check out the next one -- in print.
Good, mildly complex mystery story with good characters. I am from Georgia and felt like I have met most of the characters in the book. The narration lacks a little to be desired, however. The narrator has a pleasant voice, and a few of her characters were almost dead-on, almost exactly how I would expect the voice and accent of that person to sound. Mostly, though, she spoke too slowly and enunciated too precisely to sound like any normal person anywhere, southern or otherwise. I don't know if this was the fault of the narrator or the director, but it was very annoying. Not annoying enough to prevent me from enjoying the listen, but I would've enjoyed it a lot more if the narration had been better.
Characters were good with a likable protagonist. Pace was not fast but not plodding, and it was predictable but not in a way that detracts from the story. It is not difficult to guess how the story is going to end, but the journey to that end is very satisfying.
A decent story, but the narration is a distraction. Ms. Sands is not without talent, but her style doesn't fit this type of story. She speaks in a throaty almost-whisper that trails off at the end of each sentence, sometimes to the point that I had a hard time understanding the last word. Her accent sounds genuine and she doesn't overdramatize (an annoying habit of some narrators), but the low, gravelly softness of her voice made it sound like she was going for some sort of languid, ultra-sexy sound even when there was nothing languid or sexy about what was happening in the book. The end result is that the book had a heavier feel that I was looking for and that the reviews I read by people who had read the print version indicated. Granted, there are some heavy themes in the book, but even Oscar's antics seemed almost depressing when described by this narrator. It did get slightly better as the book progressed, but overall I found the voice so distracting that I sometimes lost track of the story.
Otherwise, it was a good story, and the descriptions of vintage clothing, witchcraft, and San Francisco were excellent. I would like to continue the series, but I might switch to the print version.
The overall feel of the book. Sort of dreamy and pleasant. Makes you want to settle in a pretty little seaside town and work in the cafe. The story was decent enough to keep me interested, but the setting was the star of the show.
Yes, to the ones who like a dreamy romantic read.
Almost anyone. The narrator had a nice voice and would be great for children's stories, but the way she handled what was supposed to be normal adult dialog was sorely lacking. I constantly found myself thinking, "who the *$%& talks like that??" The voice of the main character sounded downright child-like at times, enough to be a little creepy during some of the "love" scenes. While the audio book was great for passing the time while driving or doing housework, the narration left me wishing I had read the print version.
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