Most of this story kept my interest, with some parts dragging on a bit. It's a Holocaust tale with a twist. The main character at first seems to be Sage, a scarred and sad young women still grieving over the death of her mother. She befriends an old man (Josef), who tells her that he was an SS officer in Nazi Germany, and he want forgiveness and help in killing himself. I was drawn into these characters and their stories over the first third of the novel. Sage contacts the FBI. The second third of the novel is mostly told through the voices of Minke and Anna. Minke is Sage's grandmother and a Holocaust survivor. Minke's tale seems pretty generic, if you have read a lot about the Holocaust, which I have. Eventually, Minke's story did draw me in, but Anna's never did. It really dragged on. The final third of the novel connected all these different characters and stories, and picked up again. The ending of the novel seemed much too far fetched to me, and I did not believe Sage would act the way she did. I think it was just Judy Picoult trying to be clever and surprise the reader. She did surprise me but lost me in the process. I give this three stars because I was engaged by about 70% of this novel.
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.
I loved this novel. It was as suspenseful and addictive as those first seasons of 24, the TV series. This is the story of a plot by a right wing element of the military to kill the president and vice president, and covertly take over the US government. Is it realistic? No. A conspiracy could not get that big without a leak somewhere, but if you suspend your belief a bit and sit back to enjoy the ride, you might have a blast. I did. I really could not stop listening! I have given almost no 5 star ratings to novels of this genre. I bought this on a whim, and it was so much fun. Much of it takes place on Air Force One, as the president's pilot pulls out all stops in his effort to save the president. Of course, the president (a woman) and the pilot have a past. I'll say no more. I enjoyed this from the first second to the last. One caution - I was shocked at how bad the reader seemed at first with his stilted pronunciation and old man voices. I thought I'd quit soon, but the novel sucked me in so fast, and at one point, I started to like what the reader brought to the book. It all worked for me.
This novel grabbed me from the start, and I loved it right to the end. A working class 20-something English woman becomes caretaker for a wealthy quadriplegic young man. This story is filled with interesting and believable characters, and touches your heart throughout. There are small twists and turns which I won't say too much about, for fear of being a spoiler. While this feels like a story that will draw more female listeners and readers, I think men and women will both like this. It is both a feel-good and sad story. I liked Moyes's One Plus One, yet liked this even more. This was my favorite audio-novel in quite a while.
I listened to this to learn more about my senator. I expected more equal parts memoir and politics, but it was almost all politics, especially after the first couple hours. The most fascinating part was the battle for financial reform after the economic collapse during the Bush years. Everyone knows that politics and and money are deeply connected, and this book made that connection so clear. I admire Elizabeth Warren for the battle she fought to level the playing field. That said, she repeated her same message again and again, making parts of this feel repetitive. And while I believe that her empathy for the "little people" is real, I wanted to hear more of her ideas on the ways to tackle many of the country's problems. Elizabeth Warren's voice was too much at times. What works for a revved up 20 campaign talk can get tiresome for a full book. I am still glad I listened to this.
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