This might actually be my favorite book ever. Every word Collins writes has a purpose; either to progress the story, paint a picture of the world or develop the characters. I've never cared for characters more. My own emotions ebb and flow as the plot develops. I loved every second of it. If I have any criticism it is that the narrator could never be taken for a 16 year old girl. She performs well, but sounds like a much older woman (maybe in her mid 50s?) It was so distracting that it took me more than half the book to stop noticing the disconnect. Don't let this discourage you though. The story more than makes up for it and eventually you will stop thinking about it.
I love when you stumble upon an educational book that is just as entertaining as it is informative. Before this book I never would have thought neurons and brain chemistry would be so much fun to read about. I laughed out loud several times but more importantly I learned how my baby's brain is developing, why she does the crazy things she does, and I received lots of practical parenting advice that I could put into effect same day.
Author John Medina, a parent himself, understands what we want for our kids...to be smart and to be happy. He breaks down both citing extensive research studies and applying them to real-life parenting practices. He is specific, not just reminding us how to be more empathetic parents, but how we can actually shape the conversations we have with our kids for the best results.
The production quality is poor compared to most (maybe all) of the books I have but don't let it dissuade you from downloading. John Medina's voice and mannerisms sound an awful lot like comedian Lewis Black but not as extreme. For me, it added to the entertainment value. He is definitely not a trained narrator but I found him so likable it didn't matter. I gave the performance 3 stars only for the poor sound production.
After I finished the Hunger Games I immediately started the second book. I was worried that the story would be slow, after the heart-stopping suspense of the first book, but Collins did it again. Katniss, Peeta and Gale feel like family to me now and the villain, President Snow is absolutely loathsome. I think about the book whenever I'm not reading it. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book series (not even Harry Potter) more than this. I can't wait to start book 3.
This book was a wonderful surprise. I stumbled upon it had no idea of the treat I was in for. A Discovery of Witches has the heart fluttering paranormal romance that I love in a vampire novel but is written for more sophisticated reader. Harkness writes beautifully. The plot slows quite a bit in the middle, as Harkness develops the relationship between the main characters. While some may find this to drag, it does give the reader the sense that this is a real relationship. Similar Vampire books leave the reader hardly able to believe the intensity of the relationship, but not so here. I felt completely invested in all the characters, even the secondary and supporting characters. Harkness really understands the intricacies of the world she created.
The narration was right on. I believed the narrator was Diana every second. When she did the voice of 500+ year old French vampire, I believed it. A vary tallented narrator. If you like vampire/witch novels as much as I do, you'll be thrilled to discover A Discovery of Witches.
Part detective novel, part paranormal thriller, Nightfall took the best from both genres and kept me interested from beginning to end. The book is paced well and pulled me into the plot immediately. The subject matter is dark but not overly gruesome. There were a few points when I felt Jack's dialog with secondary characters became a little too repetitive. While the story is unique, many of Jack's "creepy" experiences are things I've seen in horror movies many times over. Regardless, the book was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it. Definitely don't judge the book by the name. "Nightfall" had virtually nothing to do with the story at all. I can think of a dozen better titles.
The narration is excellent and easy to listen to. Within minutes you understand exactly what Jack is all about. Even the female voices are well done and never seem strange or out of place coming from this narrator.
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