Bronx, NY, United States
Books are supposed to transport you to another world and or time, books are to leave you in a sense of awe and make you feel the raw emotion in that moment. That is what books are supposed to do and in the world of modern literature, a lot of books only give you part of it. While listening The Help, I was not only transported to another time but I also felt the struggles of the different characters, from the quick witted, fiery Milly, to the regal Aibileen and the rebellious Skeeter resonated with you. You even could not help root for the minor characters in the book. The only shortcoming in the book stems from the fact that you simply wanted to hear more. It was not that anything was lacking, but you get so enthralled with the story yourself you cannot help but wish there was another maid to hear from or another chapter to listen to or another DA meeting.
The movie does not do the book justice, even though the movie in itself was simply a good watch, the Audiobook was downright excellent. The narrators embodied the characters so well and they gave you a good visual impression of the book era and world that the book took place in. I regret that the movie missed such pivotal parts in the movie like the discovery of Milly, the dynamics of the relationship between Skeeter and her boyfriend in the book and a number of important scenes that characterized Aibileen and Skeeter's friendship. The stories of some of the minor maids got a bit 'watered down' as a result of a need to have commercial appeal in the movies while in the book the relationship was identified quite clearly.
Every portion of the book is a must listen and even the very last portion of the book (the section where the author speaks about her life, the book itself and how the book came to be) was also a very poignant part in the story.
Without a doubt one of the most excellent Audiobooks that I have had the pleasure of listening to!
It is one thing to read in the papers about the often times nameless and faceless individuals that are killed due to senseless killings in the Middle East due to the Taliban. It is also so easy to take for granted the simple pleasures and privileges that a peaceful and relatively liberal society brings. "I Am Malala" is one of those books that makes you not only thankful for the little privileges that you have but also admire the power that is the human spirit as well.
The story is the story of Malala. While I might not see this as a piece that was written extraordinarily well with fancy words or whatever, it's content is without a doubt what sets it apart. The book could use some editing and a thesaurus at points however when one thinks that it was written by a young woman, you get to appreciate the writing style for what it is. As much as I think living in the time and place she lived in forced her to mature beyond her years, I also despite that she was/is an extraordinary young woman to have created this. The depth in the book is truly inspiring and eye opening as well. The fight she fought for the right for education is something I think very few could do.I found myself torn between both respecting and being disappointed in her father at parts of the book because it is nothing short of miraculous that Malala was able to survive what she went through (past of it due to her father's ambition to an extent). It clearly is something that shaped and built her though and there is no doubt in my mind that her father cared and still does care for her greatly.
The narration is what I expected it to be. It would have been vastly disappointing if the narration was not even at least bearable; fortunately it was not only bearable but done very well. The narration did well to compliment the excellent content in the book and left a memorable impact on me.
Overall, this book was one of the highlights of my 2013 reading list. It stood out to me in a positive and put faces to a tragedy that is going on right at this very moment. For anyone who finds themselves complacent and downright unappreciative for the privilege that it is to be able to learn freely.... this book should be read. The ability and privilege to learn should never be taken for granted.
I must say, this was pretty much a very interesting one. Whilst going through Tufo's work you find that there are two very distinct sides to his write.... The witty, sarcastic, slightly neurotic side that we have come to get used to with Mike Talbot (zombie fallout version) and his gang. There is also this side; a very dark and twisted Mark Tufo who creates books such as these... One thing that combines all Mark Tufo novels I have ever come across is that they're good....
The story itself is an interesting take on the Mike Talbot story. The alternate reality that has been created here provides interesting questions regarding life after death. It gives a more tangible face to death in a sense. You find yourself empathizing with Mike throughout most of the boo, essentially just wanting him to catch a break. The ending is somewhat bitter sweet but also rather fitting when you take into consideration the whole story.
Yeah it hits rock bottom right here no doubt.... I do get that a lot of people like this book but why I don't know.... Maybe it was because there were a couple interesting characters or maybe it's because they just link all books related to the wonderful world of magic.
Again, like the first book, I like the concept; in fact the concept of the book in and of itself allows for the book to have a whole lot of potential. That however can not take away from the shoddy story itself. Sadly there wasn't any real growth between the first and the second story in terms of writing style (not from my vantage point at least).
I found a number of disturbing concepts in this book that I just am flabbergasted that the author and their editor allowed to go on in this book. I was telling a friend of mine about the book and their take is that way too much was going on in the book and I agreed wholeheartedly.
For one.... If you have made it this far you know that the main character is 'supposedly' the sister of another main character (and I put that in quotations because I can't possibly see this being the case by the end of the book series). The disturbing part about this is that they are in love.... And we are not talking about the platonic type here.... I am talking about the 'I swoon every time I see you/I want to kiss you so much/you smell like sweet lavender and the heavens part/awkward and wanting staring' type of love. Oh and yes.... they know or at least believe without a semblance of a doubt that they are brother and sister. I mean I know they didn't know they were brother and sister but seriously, they only knew each other for what I can only think is a week (2 the max) before they found out they were related, I am thinking that there is no way you can be THAT in love with someone that the whole idea of them being your blood sibling doesn't nip the whole I-want-your-body feeling they are harboring.
Disturbing fact two.... So we have a Alec in this book. I don't have an issue with him being gay, bi, confused or whatever. That being said the dude is 17 I think and is romantically involved with a warlock that's older than his mom, dad and grandparents' ages combined... No kidding.
Disturbing fact three.... This is the second most grievous aspect of the book for me. Simon. This dude is in love with the main female character who he's been friends with for years. Understandable of course but the thing that got me *major spoiler alert by the way* home boy gets turned into a vampire. By the end of the novel he somehow becomes able to walk in the sunlight (he doesn't sparkle though thankfully). Apparently this spares him from having to tell his mother that he is a souless, blood-sucking demon who will likely remain ageless and dash all of her hopes of having grandchildren (of the human variety at least) from him.
Disturbing fact four.... Well this wasn't too disturbing but moreso annoying. The uselessness of practically every adult character in the novel. This wasn't as the level of the first book but I still find it hard to believe that the adult characters can be as misguided and just plain as inept as most of them appeared to be by the end of the novel.
Now that I have gone through the disturbing facts; lets talk about the narration. The narration here is at best, forgettable and at worse jarring to the senses.
So yeah.... I am glad I listened to the first and the 2nd book before I wrote this review because whilst this book left a bitter taste in my mouth.... the 2nd book left me downright gagging. But yeah, this review isn't about the 2nd book.... It's about the horror that was the first book.
Let me start off by saying I am a big fan of fantasy literature... It's more than likely my most preferred type of book to read. I also really like the concept of this book. I actually found myself more intrigued about the 'world' they were living in within the confines of the book than the actual story itself. This goes to show how much potential this book had. In fact one of the main reasons I went to the second book in this series was because I was fascinated by the world they were living in.
The story though.... The story.... was just upsetting to me. I am hardly too gung ho about the whole 'fated' lover thing, I mean not that I am completely grossed out by the thought of being in love but at 15, 16 or 17.... But that's just one thing, the writing is far from a work of art, it sounds like something a high school student would write (an above average high school student but a high school student none the less). I'm confused as to how and why the adult characters in this book can be so utterly irrelevant (except maybe for one or two adult characters in the book). The 'twist' in or near the end... Sadly I saw it coming... I was hoping the author wouldn't go there... but the author went there.... and it was and is disturbing.
The narration leaves much to be desired. It wasn't the worse that I have ever heard but it's right up there.... or maybe I should say down there.... either way it's not good.
I went through this title quickly (as in less than one day quickly) which simply means that it was good enough to keep me interested for the entire length of the book. I actually didn't expect it to be as good as it was (having just completed the let down that is Allegiant) but I was pleasantly surprised. It had interesting characters, awesome plot twists and even a seemingly well thought out storyline.
In this title the government seems to be at it again in yet another futuristic world. We have two genius kids who are pit against each other due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. The author doesn't shy away from death which I appreciate (I always find it way too coincidental when I read books like these and no one of somewhat importance dies in the book). The characters all seem to be rather interesting as they currently are and the book leaves a whole lot of room for growth in them which will be particularly interesting to see. Another nice thing about this title is the action. When it started to pick up... It really picked up.... Fast and furious action which was actually of the believable nature more often than not.
The only disconcerting thing I find is their love at first sight thing that seemed to permeate the fated meeting between Day and June. I get they would be automatically intrigued (at least) by each other if only for the mere fact that they both probably are of genius IQ proportions (like things such as those either have the effect of bonding or repulsing you), but they seemed to have fallen head over heels for each other pretty quickly.
I liked the narration when the Steven Kaplan (the male narrator) was doing it.... I had to get used to Mariel Stern (the female narrator) which I am pretty sure shouldn't be the case; midway through the book I really didn't mind her much. They did a credible job at getting the story across which I am pretty psyched about.
I must say, all in all I am interested and intend to blaze through all these books.... Yup..... I'm interested.
I have been experiencing Zombie Fallout withdrawal, I know that there are other Mark Tufo books and all of them scratches that itch of Tufo-ism I have needed but none compare to the epicness of Zombie Fallout with Mike, his family, BT + Tommy facing a Zombie Apocalypse and all that it entails.
I am a scientist at heart, a theoretical Chemist to be exact so I express myself well in the form of equation. I will use an equation to describe the narration:
Sean Runnette + Mark Tufo = Perfection!
That's just it.... Absolute PERFECTION. I don't know what fate put this author and this narrator together but to the powers that be... Thank you!
Now this book is just plain exciting... There are so many moments that you are at the edge of your seat... And if you are a true fan of the art of Tufo-ism then you find a couple references to other books in the Talbot Universe (Callis Rose reference the most obvious there) which is always a trip. You have that dry sarcasm teeming from Mike Talbot, the mismatched thought processes of Trip along with his poor wife who is just perpetually confused by her husband, the downright brutish nature of BT, the crafty and hard to kill Mrs. Denou.... With the death of Eliza, Mike has to find a new quest and the quest here is simply to find a cure for his son and his best friend. This book was the nice combination of action as well as plot development.
The book put me in a rather peculiar conundrum.... One where I couldn't help but make my way through this title, and also definitely not wanting it to end. It ended all too soon for me.... There will be more though. Thankfully there will be more! So my only problem with this title is..... I have to wait for book 8.
So this is one of those rare titles that you best listen to on a weekend when you have NOTHING better to do with your time. Why? The book is so exceptionally enthralling that you will find yourself immediately drawn into the story if you are even remotely a fan of literature of this kind. The narration was faultless and the story was tragic but honest and done so well. Absolutely superb.
I think this book has the potential to polarize an audience. I say this because the topics the book touches... topics such as high school, suicide and date rape... all these topics are highly sensitive. These also are topics that some are not comfortable talking about and are in general very 'heavy' emotions to deal with. The book comes off as that, heavy.... riddled with feelings and emotions... That being said the somewhat heavy tone lends to making each portion of this book seem meaningful in some way. You know a book is great when it feels organic in a sense and unforced which was exactly what this was.You knew the outcome of the novel, the tragic end of the girl who left the tapes, and yet you find yourself engrossed in the novel from beginning to end.
I agree that this book is tragic and if you are looking for a happy ending then you will miss out here. I mean yes, there is some amounts of closure and the main character here does find some sort of redemption in the end but there can be no true happy ending in a book where one of the main characters commits suicide. What appeals most me though in this book is the honesty.... it's tragic, it sucks but it's also true and it needs to be told. It also helps that the book is written so beautifully with the phrasing, the pauses, the choice of words being just plain immaculate.
It's the sort of book that makes you want to be a bit nicer to people for the mere reason that you never know what they are going through and you never know if maybe they are teetering at the edge of their breaking point. It makes you want to ask someone "how are you" and actually mean it.... Sharing a kind word with someone just for the mere fact that you can just in case.
The book had that ability to bring me back to some not so nice moments in my own life maybe not as bad as what Hannah went through but bad in its own right (I think everyone goes through something like this at one point or another) and it made me thankful for it not 'snowballing' as it did with Hannah because really, who knows how different I would have been now?
When I finished the book and told a certain someone about it, they told me I shouldn't 'gush' about it in my review.... Well.... I am gushing and I believe this book was absolutely worth every moment of gushing. I mean I went through this book cover to cover in one sitting.... For a usual busy body like me doing 1 million things at once that truly is a task for a book to accomplish.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a sobering and honest title. To break up the monotony of sci-fi or action or romance or fantasy or whatever you're accustomed to. To delve in the mind of someone who simply was pushed too much... Where a series of unfortunate occurrences snowballed into something tragic... Something, that if you take the time out to reflect on and really allow to marinate within you can actually make you a better person after you finish it....
I'm judging this book harshly based mostly on two facts: the potential it had and the actual story. Normally I give the performance a greater rating but the great performance could not wash the taste of disappointment from my mouth. Maybe it's because I set myself up with these huge expectations based on the potential I saw in the books prior to this one but then this one...
The narration was great as I stated above, makes it absolutely bearable to listen to the book... Both Emma (who spoke as Tris) and Aaron (the voice of Four) really did awesome jobs at truly giving these characters a voice and even a body in a sense. The pacing wasn't rushed; the tones were great.... there really isn't much that can be taken away from the narration here. A star is removed from narration because even though it's great, a 5 star narration can only be achieved by a combination of great narration WITH a great story... The story let this down.
Now on to the story..... *glares viciously* This book reminded me of another book I had high hopes for which just fizzled.... fizzled into annoyance. Let me start with the MAJOR bone I had to pick with this book.... CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.... Yes... The major characters grew but every single one of them (and yes I get they should be damaged and scarred or whatever) became way too absorbed in their past and way TOO damaged. I also found them hypocritical, just so amazing hypocritical. I don't want to ruin the story so I won't actually say what happened but you will know what I am talking about when you actually going through it. The author seemed to have been trying hard to NOT be like The Hunger Games and ended up just being completely unbelievable to me (the government would/could not let it go like that if you ask me). The writer wanted to end it bitter-sweet and a bit tragic but by the end of the novel I had gotten so annoyed with the characters I saw the ending downright fitting (albeit unbelievable in a sense, again... you don't mess with a government branch and the government just sits passively by after the fact). The major problem with the trilogy.... it lacked direction.... I came away from this book feeling that the author had no idea how to end this book, she started the trilogy not knowing how to end the trilogy and for the sake of ending it at the trilogy rushed it and butchered what could have been a great novel. I absolutely HATE when this happens.... The good about this book is that it had some really good writing, in terms of the use of words. It also had some really nice quote worthy moments, quotes mostly about human nature that even though a bit cliché but absolutely resounding.
The book had potential but completely failed in realizing its potential if you ask me. A strong first book, an exciting second book and this... this was just upsetting to me.
I was so disappointed about this book, so EPICALLY disappointed. I am a big fan of books in general and I am an even bigger fan of fantasy books. I love the George R. R. Martin (despite his sadistic way of killing off characters). Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, etc. and after reading book one and book two of the Eragon series despite seeing some gaps in his story I saw growth and I thought to myself "This guy really will be great...." but then.... the travesty of book 3 came and then to add fuel to the fire book 4 came which did not in any way shape or form redeem the book for me.
The narration wasn't bad and I actually gave him an extra star for keeping me engaged throughout the scope of this really long book. I almost was going to call it pointless as well but that would have been too harsh besides, I leave that particular description to the third book. He did his accents well and simply worked with what was handed to him to the best of his abilities. I tip my hat to this dude for doing such a good job.
Now the story.... *clenches jaw purposely* Here is my contention.... The main antagonist's death... for someone so incredibly evil.... his death was just downright anticlimactic if you ask me. And then the lead up to the death was just plain annoying. I still stand by the thought (even more so than ever) that the third book served no purpose whatsoever and if the author had combined the 3rd and 4th book (whilst cutting out the useless fodder) this series would not have been such a let down. In fact the main reason this book gets such a negative review from me is because the series on a whole had so much potential. The books went like this for me:
Book 1.... Good
Book 2.... Excellent
Book 3.... Ok... Completely Irrelevant
Book 4.... *Annoyed* I can't believe I invested time and energy in this series.
I have never been this dissatisfied with an antagonist's since I listened to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I have yet to get the sour taste out of my mouth where that book is concerned). It didn't help that even after the story ended there was even more added fodder that don't get me wrong was great to know but was an OBVIOUS ploy to potentially add some more to this story in the future if the author so desires (I hope beyond hope he just lets this die unless he seriously improves his writing style). Oh by the way, I saw so many similarities to other things in other timeless fantasy works like Star Wars and LoTR that I found it a bit disturbing to be honest. I am however going to pretend that this was all a coincidence and not drop the rating down another star.
My ultimate belief is that this book should have been a trilogy and nothing more. The really wished and believed this book would have been great but in the word of another reviewer it was simply 'sizzle... sputter... *poof*'.
Now this is a book that is just being drawn out WAY too long if you ask me. This particular title in the book I found almost irrelevant and listening to the final one in the series before writing this review basically confirms to me that the author was simply bidding for time or had no idea how to continue with the book. I truly think that this book in particular was the author's desire to either stall for time to think of what else to do with the book or simply milk it for all it's worth. My take on it.... It was a combination of both and this was absolutely positively no worth it....
The narration in this book which normally for me is pretty good but seeing that the story for me was just a whole bunch of useless fodder got downright annoying to me after a while. He did the best he could do considering of course, but irrespective of his wonderful inflections and great tone if the story itself is annoying you chances are some of that will seep over to the narration.
As for the story itself, normally I would say that this book sets up well for the final book in the series however there wasn't much added to this book for me to say "Yes! This was completely and utterly necessary", instead I kept hoping they would get on with the story. Yes there were some interesting battles and whatnot but hardly impressive or noteworthy enough in the grand scheme of things to think that it required a book for itself. I found myself, at the end of the book, feeling unfulfilled.
I am still trying to figure out how or why this book was as long as it was and (in my mind) so irrelevant. I can hardly remember most of the happenings in this book and were you to ask me to give you a play by play of this particular book I couldn't (which is just plain sad if you ask anyone who knows me).
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