So this is steampunk!
PURE was exactly the right book at exactly the right time. I had just come off of a string of heavy, serious books, and I needed a little YA "pallet cleanser" and this was great!
Don't get me wrong, "clean" is not a word I would use to describe PURE. In fact, this is one of the grittiest books I have read in this genre. Extremely visual, PURE transports readers to a dystopian world unlike anything I have ever read before. It's dark. It's raw. It's tough. And so is our girl, Pressia.
Completely original, with twists and turns readers won't see coming, this is a must-read.
A note on the audio production: It was very well done. I was a bit worried that having FOUR narrators was going to be more of a dramatic reproduction, like a radio play, rather than a novel. It was not. Each narrator took on a character's perspective, reading their chapters. The only time this got a little kooky was when Pressia was talking to Bradwell and then Partridge was talking to Bradwell, they each had their own "voice" for Bradwell. (does that make sense?) It did not take me long to get used to this, as there is not a huge cast of characters, so the writing kept the character straight for me instead of the narrators.
I'm really looking forward to diving into the next book in the trilogy, FUSE.
If you're a fan of dystopian YA like The Hunger Games, Ashfall, Legend, Blood Red Road, or Divergent, you must add PURE to your bookshelf.
Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood friends, who drifted apart in high school. Larry went on a date with a girl to a drive-in movie, but the girl did not return home and was never heard from again. Larry was never arrested, as there was no proof. Silas moved away shortly after and the two did not speak again until years later. The years between were hard and solitary for Larry, "Scary Larry" the locals called him. He was once again under suspicion when another girl went missing. Silas, constable of their small hometown, and was called in to investigate when Larry Ott was discovered with a severe gunshot wound that left him in a coma. What happened to Larry, and the real story of what happened to the girl recently missing, as well as the one missing from all those years ago slowly unravels in this riveting narrative.
A little slow to start, Tom Franklin's narrative voice gradually pulls the reader into the story, which gets the heart pounding about 3/4 of the way in. Some categorize Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter as a thriller, but it's more of a subtle roar than a loud scream.
Even though Larry Ott spends almost the entire book in a coma, his story comes to the reader through Silas's detective work and his own memories of the past, peeling apart their story one layer at a time.
A note on the audiobook. I read this book with my book club, and a few readers did not catch on at first as to which characters in the novel were black and which were white. Since racial tension is palpable in Mississippi, even in present day, I'm afraid they may have missed a significant source of drama. I had the benefit of Kevin Kenerly's superb narration, whose accent and diction left no doubt in the listeners' minds. He gave each character his/her own voice, tone, accent, and it really allowed me to immerse myself in the story. This may sound strange, but Kevin Kenerly was able to make a character's stature grow larger just by the deep tone of voice he gave him. When I heard his Silas/32 voice, I immediately imagined CC Sebathia (NY Yankee pitcher) who stands at 6'7", and has a serious but kind face. There is one scene in the book that sent chills up my spine, highlighting the perfect marriage between author and narrator. All in all, a terrific audio!
A smart, memorable novel that slowly draws readers in and delivers a satisfying end.
Prior to the publication of Mindy Kaling's book, I did not know her as anything other than Kelly Kapoor on The Office, one of the funniest shows on TV. Even still, I didn't realize the large role she has played in the show's success. She is the "quadruple threat" in Television: actress, writer, director and producer. The new show, The Mindy Project, is her new baby.
IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? is Mindy's story so far. She talks about her relatively normal upbringing, her childhood as a chubby kid, the adolescent who was obsessed with all things comedy, the student at Dartmouth, and the wide-eyed talented anti-ingenue.
She has a self-depricating humor similar to that of Tina Fey, but edgier and all her own. I'm sure being compared to Tina Fey and Amy Pohler is very cool, but she has her own brand of hilariousness, which comes out shining in her book.
Her chapter titles include: "I Am Not An Athlete," "The Exact Level of Fame I Want," and, my personal favorite, "Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities." For almost eight years, Mindy lived with her best girl friends, and their relationships had their own Code of Conduct, including the right and responsibility, "If our phone conversation gets disconnected there's no need to call back. I get it. You get it. We take forever getting off the phone anyway. This was a blessing." (This happens to me and my sister all the time, and it's understood, no call-back needed!) But my personal favorite Best Friend Right and Responsibility, "I will hate and re-like people for you. But you can't get mad at me if I can't keep track." (In my world, this is the equivalent of Friending and Un-Friending someone on Facebook for my best friends. Yes, I have done that, purely out of love. If I have un-friended you on Facebook, chances are high you have wronged my BFF in some way.)
I'm already a huge fan of memoirs and bios narrated by their celebrity authors - Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Carrie Fisher, you get the idea. So, when I saw Mindy Kaling's book, I knew it would have to be audio for me, but I didn't know when. The when became easy. I had just read a string of really good, heavy books, and I was reading a print YA. I was ready for an audio that would offer me something light and funny - Hello, Mindy!
She's the perfect narrator. Her voice is funny and natural, and not at all annoying. Some actresses have a great voice for dialogue, but alone on an audiobook for 5 hours is not ideal. My only wish is now I want to hear her sing, and there is no singing on the audiobook. Mindy also has appearances on her audiobook by Michael Schur, a writer/producer/director on The Office, SNL, and Parks and Rec, as well as BJ Novak, another actor/writer/producer on The Office and The Mindy Project.
I feel like I'm friends with Mindy now. It's a really good thing I'm not in danger of bumping into her on the street, because she would definitely think I was a stalker by my comfort level.
I highly recommend this audiobook. It's quick, it's funny, and it will give you an appreciation for the comedy genius that is Mindy Kaling.
Adriana Trigiani's words + Mario Cantone's voice = perfect together in this entertaining audio book!
If you are like me and only really know of Mario Cantone from Sex and the City, you will be as pleasantly surprised as I to find out just how talented this man is! The VOICES! It was so easy to forget that there was only one person reading this book - there could have easily been 10 people in that studio!
I feel like I spent a few days with my nose pressed up against the window of B's well decorated house in New Jersey. Adriana Trigiani has a way of opening up her heart and allowing her readers unrestricted access to her fictional families - the di Crespis are no exception.
Bartolomeo de Crespi is an interior decorator, and Adriana Trigiani doesn't allow her readers to pass a wall, a chandelier, or a swatch of fabric without bringing it to life - from the beautiful textiles of the legendary fabric houses of New York City to the frescoes of Italy all the way to the tacky plastic sofa covers of south Jersey. More important than the decor, Adriana has a way of decorating her books with characters that are so alive and colorful, one can't help but feel like one of the family.
A paranormal YA that doesn't take itself too seriously!
I listened to the audio version of Paranormalcy, and I was really worried that the teenager-y voice was going to grind on my nerves, but it didn't. Not at all! In fact, since I'm not a teen of the 2k generation, I would not have had the right sarcastic tone that the reader, Emily Eiden, brought to Evie.
Kiersten White brought the perfect balance of sarcastic wit and fun first love with dangerous monsters, death and destruction. Especially at the very beginning of the book, Evie reminded me of an updated Buffy - coming from me, that's a huge compliment!
This was a lighter read for those of us who usually gravitate toward the heavier, dark prophecy type paranormal series. It was a nice break.
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