Member Since 2013
I found myself rooting for Auggie in this story. Auggie has a severe facial deformity and is about to go from homeschooling to the 5th grade in a real school. This book reminded me of the right ways to treat people who are different from us. It reiterated the lesson you learn as a child from your parents, to not stare and not treat people differently just because they are different than we are. This was a beautiful story about all the obstacles Auggie faces and how he overcomes them in the end. I enjoyed listening to the many character's perspectives in the book and glad that it wasn't just told from Auggie's voice. Also, I enjoyed having 3 narrators as it enhanced the listening experience. Even though this is a young adult book, I think readers and listeners of all ages would enjoy this story.
This book teeters on the edge of being chick-lit. The plot and character development were more complex than what you might expect to find in typical "chick-lit", but the story is mainly centered around and about women and they choices they make and the consequences that they have to deal with. To be honest, it does get a bit dramatic, in an engrossing and want-to-keep-listening kind of way. I also think that the book is going to appeal to mainly women which in a sense does make the book "chick-lit".
I finished this book a few days ago, but I keep thinking about the story. While I wanted to give the book 4 stars, it's lingering effect on me is prompting me to give it 5. This book deals with 3 Australian women. It was a bit confusing in the beginning to keep them all straight, but once I got ahold of the reins of Tess, Rachel and Cecelia… I was hooked. I felt sympathetic to these 3 characters. Bad things had happened to them, things that were out of their control and they had to figure out how to handle their situations. As the story progresses, their lives become entangled with each other. While some of the book was predictable, other parts surprised me and caught me off guard. I felt like it was easy to relate to many of the characters even if I could not relate to the predicaments that they were in. Moriarty builds interesting relationships with the characters. I especially liked Tess's and Felicity's so-called friendship and Cecilia's and John Paul's marital interactions. Caroline Lee was a perfect narrator for this book and I loved how she played Ester's lisp and her Australian accent is very nice to listen to. The epilogue was genius on Moriarty's part. I really appreciated how she "finished" the book and I think I may have listened to it twice. On a side note, I don't care for the cover art. I think it is too girly and tacky. With all of that said, I enjoyed this book enough to go right out and buy another of her books, "What Alice Forgot."
As I think about what to write about this book, I am a bit confused. It covers many different facets of life. It talks about bullying, Buddhist nuns, the Japanese culture, the American culture, quantum physics, time, WWII kamikaze pilots, etc. When I read this list, I have to say that it doesn't sound too appealing, it sounds like Ruth Ozeki is trying to put too many elements into her book. BUT that is not what I found at all. This book was beautiful, sad and also uplifting. The book switches between the 2 main narrators, Nao and Ruth. Nao is an Japanese teenager living in Japan after spending many years living in California. Ruth is Ruth, the author of this book, who lives in Canada. Ruth definitely reveals some of her true self in this book, but to what extent I am not sure. Ruth finds herself connected to Nao's story/life after finding a lunchbox washed up on the shore. I enjoyed Nao's narration more, but Ozeki was able to braid both narrations together in a smooth way. I found myself getting emotionally invested in Nao and her life, especially when she goes to visit her great-grandmother Jiko, a buddhist nun, at her temple. At that point, I was also emotionally invested in Jiko too. Jiko was my favorite character in this book and that isn't because I have a soft spot for grandmothers. She was funny, insightful and mystical, the way all buddhist nuns should be when they are 104 years old. One of the best parts about this book was the narration. Ozeki should always narrate her own books and, frankly, some other author's books as well. She was awesome. My only compliant about the book was that it contained too much science talk about time and space and particles. The book dragged a bit in those parts, but not enough for me to lose my interest in finding out how Nao's life and Ruth's life panned out in the end.
This was my book club's read this month and I have to say that I wasn't too eager to read this. I thought it sounded kind of silly and thought it wouldn't be my type of book. What a nice surprise to find out that I was wrong. I thought this book was awesome. It was unique and whimsical. The story takes place in France in the 1980s. If you read the book's description you'll see that President Francois Mitterrand leaves his black felt hat in a Parisian brasserie. Daniel Mercier, an accountant, who happens to be eating dinner at a table next to Mitterrand notices the hat. Being a bit starstruck, Daniel Mercier picks it up and keeps it for himself. This action completely changes Daniel Mercier's life. I don't want to spoil such a cool story, so I will just say that the hat takes the reader on an interesting journey. For such a short book, Laurain knows how to paint descriptions of characters, food, smells, etc., in such a intelligent and concise way that I haven't encountered before. He describes things perfectly and then he moves along. The narration was spot on and I really enjoyed listening to all the French words and accents. It was an added bonus that I feel that the reader would miss out on by just reading the book. Suffice it to say, I will be looking out for more books from Antoine Laurain in the future.
The title, "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," sums the book up perfectly. This story is about a family being broken apart in the most unusual way. The story is narrated by Rosemary, and her view of how this tragedy affected herself and the other members of the family. Fowler is able to write this story as if the story had happened to her, as if she were Rosemary. I checked more than once to make sure that this wasn't a memoir because she made it seem so believable from the 1st person narrative. I don't want to reveal much more of the story because I think it might be more enjoyable the less the reader knows about it to begin with. This is a beautiful and sad story, one that pulled at my heartstrings. The book does start off in a strange place, in the middle of the story, but don't let that put you off because it doesn't take long for her to go back to the beginning of all that happened. I also really appreciated the ending. Book endings can be funny business sometimes and I feel that this one was just about right. This story resonated with me and is one of my better reads/listens of the year. I would have no problem recommending it to anyone.
This book was an easy listen. It had juicy drama that unfolded throughout the book. I appreciated this somewhat soap opera, light beach read. I didn't read it on the beach though, but it was perfect for a long plane ride in which I was somewhat exhausted and didn't have the concentration for a more complicated book. The 1930's New England setting was a nice backdrop for this story. At a time when life appeared to be more conservative, many risque events were taking place. The book is about best friends and love interests and family and the skeletons in their closets. I found myself gasping out loud more than once at what was taking place. The narrator does a fine job with the female voices, but I thought she was pretty mediocre with the male voices. Also, I didn't "love" Nick, the main character, Lily's, love interest. He was too much of a goody-two-shoes and somewhat boring, although he did sound very good-looking. This book is what some might call "chick-lit" and will probably appeal more to women than to men. This genre isn't usually my thing, but I found myself wanting to listen when I wasn't listening to get to the bottom of the story. On a side note, they must have lit up at least 2000 cigarettes in this book. At a certain point, I felt that it was a little bit unnecessary and it started to bug me. All in all, I would recommend this to others, mainly women, and I think it would be a good book club read/discussion.
For some reason I was under the impression that this was going to be a science fiction novel, but it is not that at all… it is a contemporary novel. This worked out for me because I tend to like the latter genre more anyway. This story is about Sunny and Maxon. They are a unique married couple who were also close childhood friends, so they have had a long history together. Maxon is a scientist going to the moon to start a robot colony there… he also seems to be maybe have Asperger's or some other type of autism. Sunny is pregnant at this time and they have a toddler called Bubber who also has autistic tendencies. The story goes back and forth between their present life and their past. I enjoyed the story when Sunny "narrated" more than when Maxon did. Maxon is a bit too robotic and scientific for me. I found myself losing my attention span when it was the "Maxon" parts. "Sunny's" parts were much more interesting and spontaneous to listen to. I felt that this story was about how we hide behind who we really are. How humans put up barriers and facades to fit in to what they think is "normal" society. This book is also about breaking down those barriers and being who we really are in the midst of all this "normalcy". I have to say that the book got better as it went on and I did really enjoy the story, but it took time to grow on me. Joshilyn Jackson was only an ok narrator and this took away from the overall listening experience. Thus, the 3 star rating.
I have been hesitant to read Neil Gaiman even though he gets rave reviews. Fantasy is not my favorite type of genre or my second favorite or even my third favorite. So, when this book came out and it was short, I knew this was my initiation book into the world of Neil Gaiman. This book is written so beautifully. I was swept away at the writing style and the superb narration. The first half of the book was a 5 star listen, hands down. Gaiman did a great job introducing and building up the characters while laying the foundation of the story. The second half was a 4 star listen, only because this was the more fantastical part of the novel and while I could still appreciate it, it wasn't the first half. I loved this book because even though it was told through the eyes of a 7 year old boy, it still came across as an adult fictional book. This book makes you remember what it was like to be a child, all the safe and fun parts and all the scary parts. As an adult, it made me appreciate all of those experiences, but also made me feel like they were so far away. All the imagination surrounding the Hempstock women, our protagonist's neighbors, is quirky and charming. I also give props to all the quotes on the love of books, the kitty cats and the British slang. This is a book that I would listen to again.
I haven't read much Stephen King considering how much he's written and how popular he is and how much I read. I've read the The Shining, Carrie, and I tried and failed with making it through Lisey's Story. None of those books were that memorable for me. So, I have to say that I haven't really been too impressed with King… until now. Joyland was a little gem of a listen. It is a mystery, sure, but it also much more than that. It is a unique coming of age story. Devin Jones, the main protagonist, is a likable enough character and the narrator, Michael Kelly, enhances this. The story is told through the old eyes of Devin Jones as he reminisces back to the 1970's when he was a heartbroken college kid that decided to work at Joyland, an amusement park, for the summer. That summer changes his life forever. I felt that for a short-ish book, it had a lot of depth, meaning that I felt like the characters were well developed. I did plenty of giggling, gasping and a few tears fell as I listened to the story unfold. The cursing and the sex scene gave the book a bit of an edge that was appreciated. Also, there were twists and turns to the story that I didn't see coming and that always makes things a bit more interesting. This was a great summertime read/listen.
This book is about Hildy Good. She's a 60-something mother, grandma and divorcee. Her daughters stage an intervention because they think she is an alcoholic, although Hildy doesn't see it that way, but she goes to rehab anyway. The book starts after she has finished rehab. This book is about Hildy's "secret" relationship with alcohol and with her friends and family. It is also about the residents of her small New England town, Wendover. She has lived there all her life and has an intimate knowledge about the town itself and what goes on there. I thought Hildy was a riot… I liked how she was brutally honest with the reader/listener even though she mostly put on a facade for friends and family. Her brutal honesty had me laughing out loud several times. Hildy's interaction and past with Frank Getchell, long time friend and town's garbage man were some of my favorite parts of the book. There were many different emotions within this book, ranging from laugh-out-loud funny to soberingly sad moments. The narration was superb. Mary Beth Hurt was Hildy. She doesn't have a beautiful voice, I even cringed a bit when she sang, but I loved it anyway. I guess you can say that Hurt's voice is memorable and charming when it comes to playing Hildy Good.
I enjoyed this audiobook narrated by Colin Firth. He has a lovely man voice with lovely British accent that one can listen to for a long time. I have a feeling though that I would not have enjoyed the book nearly as much if I had read it. The narration definitely added a star for me. The plot itself is interesting, but there is a lot of tediousness that goes on with Sarah's internal struggle with love and god and her morals. She calls herself a bitch and a fake and a phony and sometimes I felt she was just that and sometimes I felt sorry for her. It wasn't easy to love the characters, but I felt that Greene created interesting characters that are flawed in a way that is timeless. Human beings are always going to struggle with their religious and non-religious beliefs and love is always going to bring pain and pleasure. Infidelity will always exist as will the need to emotionally connect with others. Greene's take on these themes are enhanced by Firth's performance. Overall, I feel like this short book is worth giving a listen.
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