At the end of Stephen King's 11/23/63, the author thanked Jack Finney for writing the Time and Again, the classic of the genre. That planted the seed in my head to check out the audiobook. Stephen King was right. I liked 11/23/63, but it does not compare to the great Finney novel. I have read Time and Again twice, and loved the audiobook just as much as I enjoyed reading and rereading that novel. This story makes New York City in the 1880's totally come alive. I felt transported in a way that no other time travel story has done. Si Morley is the man who travels back from 1970. He is an artist, and describes 19th century NYC as only an artist can do. This novel is also a mystery and love story, and has an action-adventure element to it. The only weakness with this story is the very flimsy science that this time travel experiment is based on. Don't let that ruin this otherwise amazing and wondrous novel. I have listened to many audiobooks in the past few years, and Time and Again may be my very favorite. I already know that this will be one I will listen to again. The reader is great. It's a first person narrative, and the voice fits perfectly with the narrator, Si. He also sounds like he is from 1970. One other good feature - there are few details from modern life, and the "present" could be 2012 as well as 1970. The author clearly wanted to write a novel that would not be dated in a few years. He succeeded.
I really enjoyed this biography of Thomas Jefferson. After a recent visit to Monticello, I wanted to know more about Jefferson. This book was well researched and well written. It succeeded most in capturing the politics of the times, and Jefferson's role in them. This book dealt forthrightly with Jefferson's relationship with a slave, with whom he fathered many children. After listening to and reading this, I feel I understand much more about the early days of my country. My one criticism - this overemphasizes the politics, and does not capture the man as personally. It falls short of McCullough's John Adams, which succeeds in both. That said, in the final part of the book, after Jefferson retires to Monticello, I finally did feel the emotional connection to the man I had been looking for. I found the parallels of politics in the age of Jefferson and now to be powerful. While the author did not spell that out, I saw so many issues of Jefferson's day to be still big issues now. That was very cool. Overall, I strongly recommend that 4.5 star bio.
I was drawn to this story of an ex-hitman for the mob. I liked the novel from the start. Frankie, the retired hitman is funny and sympathetic. The story revolves around a plot to kill him, and then much of the novel is a flashback of Frankie's life. The present is much more interesting than the past, and even though I was 3/4 of the way through thus novel, I found I just didn't care enough to finish it. This was well written and narrated. It's a who-dunnit with a sense of humor. Just not for me.
I enjoyed this mystery / courtroom drama. The main character, Cope, is a DA trying a fraternity rape case. At the same time, people connected to the case are looking Cope's past for skeletons, and the murder of his sister at summer camp with him 20 years ago comes to light again. The novel did a good job moving between the stories. I found myself caring about the main character, and engaged in the plot. This novel fell short in two ways for me. One, I did not love Scott Brick's narration. I have enjoyed him in the past, but Brick is best when the book is a first person narrative from start to end. This switches off from Cope at times, and the narrator's voice does not change enough from character to character. He also overdid the emotion at times. Still, he has an engaging voice and is easy to listen to. My other criticism is the ending. It was so far fetched that the ending was just too much. Until the ending, though, I was enjoying this quite a bit, and I rate this as an above average mystery.
I enjoyed this set of short stories about American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I liked the variety, with so many different slices of military life. This was neither pro-military nor anti-military. It was about people, and the different ways war affects them. Some stories were very good, some good, and the rest were okay or forgettable. The best ones make this worth book listening to. The stories were mostly first person narratives, and while the narrator was very good, it was hard adjusting to different characters when the voice was the same. I think having different narrators for each story would have improved the book a lot. Based on the reviews, I expected almost all the stories to be great, and so too many left me wanting more, thus my 3 star rating. The two or three best stories make this a 3.5 book to me. Worth checking out if the subject interests you.
This British mystery is narrated by three women, not all in the same time sequence, as one of the narrators is the woman who has disappeared, and at the center of the mystery. I picked with this up after reading the favorable comparison to "Gone Girl." I read and really enjoyed "Gone Girl." This novel, sadly, is no "Gone Girl," though it strives to be. This novel had an interesting plot and was well paced. The problem is that none of the three sad and insecure female narrators was either sympathetic or interesting (also true of the men in this novel). One is a divorced, sad, depressed alcoholic. The second is a married woman driven to adulterous affairs. The third narrator is married to the first's husband, after a long term extramarital affair. She has a young child and is obsessed with her superiority to her husband's first husband. I stayed with this novel to the end, curious to see "whodunnit" (one of the women? the husband of two of the narrators? the therapist? the husband of the woman who disappeared?). While this story effectively keeps the reader guessing, my lack of interest in any of the characters prevented me from being drawn in. The suspenseful ending was the one hour that did somewhat grab me, but that was not enough for me to recommend this novel. I'd rate it a mediocre 2.5 stars. The three narrators were all very good.
This is a sweet, sometimes fairytale-like coming-of-age story in Nazi occupied France. Marie-Laure is the main character. She is a blind girl who moves with her father to a coastal town to live with her great uncle during World War 2. The novel alternates short chapters with Werner, a young German boy who love electronics and is singled out as a boy who can help the Nazi cause with his electronic genius. This story runs through the duration of the war. It is a story of survival and sweetness, and rebellions large and small. I liked it quite a bit, especially the ending (no spoilers here). Only one part of the novel did not work for me. There is a myth about a precious gem which protects the holder from death, but brings bad luck to loved ones. I felt that this detracted from the novel which had enough magic anyway without this fairy tale aspect. Seeing the world through the ears of Marie Laure was the best part of this quality novel. I really enjoyed the lives of both of these characters who faced different challenges to survive. I guessed that their fates were somehow intertwines, and that made for fun reading. The narrator was very good.
I like mysteries, and I like historical fiction, and this novel seemed like a great combination of both, with some witchcraft thrown in. There were engaging parts of this tale of a witchcraft trial in a small southern settlement in 1699. I liked the two main characters, a magistrate and his curious, smart, and precocious clerk. My problem was that there were not 30 hours of material in this story to keep it engaging the whole time. There were times I asked myself if I liked it enough to stick with it for another 20 hours. It barely passed that test. The novel did pick up near the end, even if it descended more into true pop fiction. In short, I give this a mixed review. I did stay with the whole thing, which says a lot. Still, it could have been a lot better 20 hour novel with better editing. The slow pace, though, was in keeping with the times, and the reader was quite good.
The start of this novel grabbed me. I liked the two main characters in this mystery - a disabled vet turned private detective (Strike) and his office temp woman (Robin). But as the story went on, it became just one interview after another, as Strike tried to see if the celebrity suicide was in fact a murder. Not much happened, and the personalities of the main characters took a back seat. Halfway done, I decided that I'd rather find something to listen to that would engage me more. I did like the writing, but my mind began to wander, making it harder to appreciate the nuances of testimony and evidence. I expect that there are many who like this kind of old fashioned novel, but it was not enough to keep my attention.
I loved The Emperor's Blades. I liked The Providence of Fire. I should say that I rarely read fantasy, but coming of age stores are one of my favorite genres. That's likely why I preferred the first novel. The second is a much more complex story, and the plot was cool and the writing once again amazing. I actually wish that I had read this instead of listened. I don't have a great auditory memory. I would have liked to more easily flip back to reread parts. This was my problem with later books in The Game of Throne series, which I suppose means that Staveley is in good company. While I liked this novel, real fantasy buffs will probably love it. I look forward to volume 3, and plan to read that.
This continues one of the great series in American history. LBJ is one of the most interesting and complex characters in US history, and Robert Caro is one of the great writers of nonfiction. This combination cannot be beat. The earlier books are great, but this book stands on its own as well. There is a lot on the Kennedy brothers (Jack and Bobby) which I enjoyed as well. The book covers Johnson's years running for VP with Kennedy, his years a vice president, and the first few months of his presidency. This held my attention like an engaging novel. I learned a lot too. I cannot speak highly enough about Robert Caro and his LBJ series.
This is a fairly long book, and for the first time, I read the ebook version, and tried Whisper Sync to switch back and forth between audio and reading. The narrator was great, and the synching was all automatic! I did need to download the Audible app on my iPhone, and listen through that and not iTunes. When I switched devices, within 5 seconds, I was asked if I wanted to go forward to the spot the other device was at. This book was equally compelling reading or listening.
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