I had heard so much buzz about this book, I expected to love it or at least laugh out loud at moments. Billy Lynn is ok. Fountain wants us to believe that Billy Lynn is really struggling with returning to Iraq after coming back to the US on leave after a significant skirmish victory. The problem is that there really never seemed to be a question as to whether or not he would return with his squad; just that he is getting some pressure from his sister to act a certain way. That said, the main conflict was not believable for me. What was more intriguing was 19 year old Billy's observations of successful businessmen and what it took for them to succeed. This seemed to provide impetuous for Billy, perhaps for the first time, to think about his long term future, not just day by day living. Billy Lynn is not a bad book; I just think that it was overhyped.
I loved Sycamore Row and did not want it to end. Grisham is a skilled story teller who delivers both a compelling plot and raw, relatable emotions in Sycamore Row. If you like Grisham or other well written mysteries, you will certainly enjoy this book.
....you can't look away. I feel so incredibly normal after listening to Miller's tale of life with two hoarding parents. She draws a clear picture in the listener's mind of the filth and chaos amidst which she lived as a child and the impact that situation had on her as she became an adult. Though the book is relatively short, it is just the right length to keep your interest.
One of the very best Michael Connelly books I have listened to. The character development and plot twists and turns kept me listening into the wee hours of the night. I love his Lincoln Lawyer series as I find them the most interesting of Connelly's books.
I really enjoyed Lookaway, Lookaway. I should put in the caveat that I am from NC, so it was fun hearing about so many places familiar to me. That aside, Barnhardt does a great job with character development and tells the story through an interesting method. For the first few hours, I thought it was going to be all sorority and debutante fluff, but then the novel took a sharp left turn and never looked back. The matriach, Jerene Jarvis Johnson, is incredibly well drawn. Hats off to Barnhardt for his clever story line that always kept me surprised.
It was so intriguing listening to alcoholic Hildy's story which all seems so reasonable, then hearing what actually happened from the non-inebreated supporting cast of this novel. Leary does an excellent job drawing the character of Hildy and letting us love her while still seeing her bumps and bruises. Well done!
I was intrigued to learn more about the orphan trains of the early 20th century after reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity. The Orphan Train is compelling, though at times heart breaking, as you learn how the older children on these trains were often viewed as free labor vs new members of adopting families. The story centers around a nine year old Irish girl who is shipped from NYC to the midwest in search of a new home after her family is killed in a fire. The story felt a bit forced and certainly was not the quality of Moriarity's tale, but overall it was a good listen - 3.8.
Carl Hiaasen is what he is - a rollicking writer of fun fluff set in southern Florida. If you want a light read that does not command your unerring attention, this is a good choice. There were definitely scenes that made me laugh out loud.
The Art Forger tells the story of the recovery of a painting (perhaps) from the famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. The main character - the art forger - is well drawn. Shapiro did a good job creating a character who is nice, though a bit simpering, but is able to tamp down her morals for money. Usually characters who do this are drawn to be sinister so we do not like them. This was a pretty realistic depiction of the choices perfectly nice people make when weighing options. The story itself I found to be just average. An interesting companion is the non-fiction book Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures which is written by the FBI agent who worked on the Gardner Heist.
I retitled this book "The Insufferables" because I just found the characters cloying. The fact that they name themselves The Interestings really shows their level of self absorption. The storyline was ok, but I'm not recommending it to my friends.
I loved this autobiography! Penny Marshall is very entertaining and drew great mental pictures of her upbringing in the Bronx. It was fun learning about the depth of her career and all the other kids from her neighborhood who made it big in entertainment. Penny's voice is, well, Penny's voice but the naturalness of her accent is part of the charm of her story. This book is filled with fun anecdotes and self-effacing introspection (more of the former.) I zipped through it.
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