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This installment of the Bloody Jack series is one of the most creative I have read. The girls of the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls are thrust into a situation where they must rely solely on their wits and each other. New alliances are formed, previously unknown skills are mastered, and more is leaned about Jacky's life on the streets of London as an orphan. Warning #1: You will laugh out loud many times throughout this book. Warning #2: You will probably cry, too. Warning #3: If you love to hate Clarissa Worthington Howe, look out!
If you are unfamiliar with the original story of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, you can still enjoy this audiobook immensely. If you know that story, you will enjoy this one by Seth Grahame-Smith even more.
I can't imagine what creative genius would inspire an author to insert the presence of zombies (known as "unmentionables" in this story) into a classic look at British social class and family scandal, but the result is funny and entertaining.
As if Mrs. Bennett doesn't have enough problems trying to find suitable husbands for her five daughters, Mr. Bennett only seems to care about their training in the "deadly arts," and making them the most respected and reliable defenders of the shire from the "unfortunate dead."
Not only does Lady Katherine DeBerg (sp?) think Elizabeth Bennett is not of a suitable class to marry her nephew Mr. Darcy, but the lady is jealous of Elizabeth's fighting skills and concerned that her own reputation as the most skilled fighter in England may be in jeopardy. Mr. Darcy, for his part, appreciates Elizabeth as much for her well muscled, katana wielding arms as for her pleasant face.
How can Elizabeth possibly keep the secret that her friend is slowly becoming a zombie? And how do others not notice it? All the while, Elizabeth must navigate the choppy waters of rumors, matchmaking, meddling, social scandals, courting and love.
The classic, witty british style of Austen's original story is preserved here, and somehow the presence of zombies and zombie fighters seems right at home in 19th century England. As a matter of fact, the modern material written by Grahame-Smith is not the focal point of the story, indeed it simply adds a new--and humorous-- facet of conflict to a traditional favorite.
Listeners are certainly in for a treat with Katherine Kellgren's reading of this story. She is a master of the art, and is a favorite of this reviewer. I would probably listen to an audio version of the phonebook if Kellgren was reading it. Yes, she is *that* good. If you love her reading of this story, you should check out the "Bloody Jack" series as well, where Kellgren truly shines.
God's nightgown! This is now in my top ten books ever, and Scarlett O'Hara is in my top three favorite heroines! In Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell creates some of the deepest, most real characters I've ever met in fiction. Scarlett becomes so genuine that the reader will not be surprised by her actions or reactions to events. This is not because she is boring or predictable, but more like "Well, of course Scarlett would do something like that!" One of my favorite aspects of this book is the dialogue. The conversations can go on at length and still be engaging--I guess it's just like real life. As a matter of fact, the dialogue is such a strength of this book that the only reason I gave the "story" rating 4 stars instead of 5 is because I wish there were more dialogue. And the reader is a joy to listen to. She does a lovely job with Scarlett, but I was most surprised by the way she brings Rhett's character to life. He actually sounds like a lovable scoundrel!
Another favorite aspect of the book is listening to Scarlett's internal thoughts, struggles and conflicts. The way she makes decisions and justifies them make her a very three dimensional, believable and dynamic character. One of the things she says to herself often is probably the best summary of her overall character: "I won't think about that right now. I'll think about it tomorrow."
Aside from the character development, I was impressed with the way Margaret Mitchell conveyed the absolute devastation of the war and its aftermath on the south. The looting and destruction (by both sides), the death toll, the starvation and desperation and fear of the people are heart wrenching.
I do not want to give away too much plot, because fans of the film will encounter many surprises that did not appear in the film, some of them minor and some substantial. Fans of the film will also enjoy the fuller roles of characters like Gerald O'Hara, Frank Kennedy, Aunt Pitty Pat, the Atlanta neighbors (the Meads, the Merriweathers, etc.), Big Sam and others. Ashley Wilkes is a more real, more flawed and conflicted man. And who can resist Rhett Butler, who somehow is just as charming and dashing in the novel as he is on screen. By the way, listening to this book gives me a greater appreciation for the film (is that even possible?). The way the characters are portrayed on screen is SO faithful to the way they are written by the author in the book--Scarlett is just as shrewd and selfish, Melanie is just as selfless, Rhett is just as roguish--it is really a compliment to the actors and director. In other words, these are the characters you expect, just fuller, more developed, more flawed and more likeable at the same time.
The one thing that is more prevalent in the book than in the film is the attitude toward blacks, both as slaves and as freed people. It was occasionally jarring to me (as a modern [white] reader) to see how the attitudes (positive and negative) of the past were portrayed, both of southerners and northerners. Sometimes the scenes are heartwarming, such as when Scarlett is offended and brought to tears listening to "yankee" women speak disparagingly of blacks in front of Uncle Peter, a former slave (now hired hand) that Scarlett describes as "one of our family." Scarlett's love, devotion and respect for characters like Mammy, Pork and Big Sam are prevalent throughout the book. But sometimes it appears as negative stereotype, such as Scarlett's view of freedmen work crews at her lumber mill as unreliable and lazy. Of course this is a work of fiction and not a history text, but I am sure it reflects the author's life experience of the early 20th century. All that being said, I did not find it so shocking that it ruined the story for me. As much as we see things differently today, and would disagree with some of it, it does add complexity and realism to the story.
Overall, this is one of the best character-driven novels ever written, and it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular stories of all time. Any fan of historical fiction owes it to himself to read (listen to) this novel.
Just when you were wondering if anyone would ever be able to explain economcis in a non-boring, non-confusing and non-completely irrelevant way, along comes this book to make sense of it all.
Why can't all teachers just explain stuff this way? This is no textbook, this book is about how we can learn the "theory" of economics from examining *real*life*situations,* with easy-to-grasp explanations. Want to know how rent control affects housing shortages? It's in here. Don't understand why "price gouging" is not always a bad thing? It's in here. Been wondering why the Soviet government that tried to provide everything for its citizens ended up depriving them instead? It's in here.
No previous training or knowledge of economics is necessary to greatly benefit form this book. In fact, author Sowell has written this specifically for ordinary citizens with ordinary questions and concerns.
Why do we even need to know this stuff? Well, it affects us every single day. You will realize that within the first chapter, as Sowell uses everyday, real-life examples to illustrate economic principles (If there is a scarcity of milk this year, should we use it to make cheese, butter or ice cream?). We've all heard of supply and demand, but as you learn the difference between "scarcity" and "shortage," the difference between "price" and "cost," and how they relate to each other, you will never look at shopping, buying and selling (everything from groceries to real estate) the same again.
The principles explained in this book became so clear to me that I found myself using examples from the book to "re-teach" my husband after my listening sessions. I will likely listen again in the future.
Please give this a listen, and be grateful for authors like Sowell who can take a "boring" subject and make it both relevant and enjoyable. I can see the first lightbulb appearing above your head now, just for considering it!
If you could take one of the best dramas of all time, the genius of Shakespeare's tragic characters, and some exciting historical elements, and imagine it as a "screenplay" of sorts, you could easily end up with something like this novel. For those who love the plot twists of Shakespeare but are exasperated with "Elizabethan English" written in iambic pentameter (what?!), this book is the perfect solution. Authors Hartley and Hewson take the best parts of the classic story and infuse them with a modern tempo and exciting language,
Many characters, especially Lady Macbeth but also many minor characters, are far more detailed in this version of Macbeth. The dialogue is tense and realistic, the characters flawed and gritty, and the actions scenes vivid and electric. Even the three witches each get their own personalities and back stories. Whether you are a fan of Shakespeare, or just a fan of good historical drama, this book will not disappoint. I am even inspired to go back and re-read the play, knowing I will have a much deeper understanding after having listened to this novel!
If you are looking for adventure, romance or great historical detail, you will probably not find them here. There is not even that much dialogue. BUT--those are not the only attributes of a good story, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this in the end. What this story does very well is give an intimate view of the gritty side of life from the perspective of an underprivileged girl (well, homeless vagrant, really) who gets plucked from her warm dungpile and is thrust into the role of apprentice to a very stern, cold and critical midwife. I found myself pitying the situation of the apprentice, even while the character herself is grateful for this unexpected boon in her life--regular meals and a clean place to sleep. The crushing comments of the midwife seem purposely cruel, and the apprentice's self-esteem is just about non-existent. The events of the book seem almost depressing--until the very end, and then the wisdom of the midwife and her methods slaps you in the face, leaving you with a greater appreciation for the characters, and for the historical perspective through which this story is told.
If you liked stories like "The Girl With the Pearl Earring," you will probably enjoy this book.
In this seventh book of the Bloody Jack series, listeners will not be disappointed. More crazy luck and unpredictable situations abound. Jacky's new "job" involves salvaging gold from a famous shipwreck, and Jacky is the only "member" of the British Royal Navy who will "volunteer" and can get the job done right . . . almost. Plus, you will find out who her pirate friends are, i.e. those who think of Jacky in a romantic way (men, I swear!), and her pirate enemies, i.e. those who wish her dead, and attempt to make it true. And, Jacky saves the day--again--[sigh] for the Royal Navy. Do they ever get tired of being shown up by a girl? Plus there's cock fighting! And, Jacky and Jaimy are closer than ever to being married, but wait--not so fast!
Did I mention Jacky is reasonably fluent in Spanish? Did I mention she expands her growing circle of admirers (and haters)? Did I mention the cock fighting?
The only reason I give this four stars for story and overall is because I am comparing it to the other books in the series, and a couple of the others are definitely my favorites. So, while this is not my favorite book in the series, it is still an excellent listen, and superbly read by Katherine Kellgren. If I could give TEN stars for performance, I would!
By the way, if you are already a fan of this series, check out the free Audible download of reader Katherine Kellgren interviewing author L.A. Meyer. Lots of insight and fascinating facts!
There is a reason that the classic Atlas Shrugged has remained one of the best selling books for over 50 years: it is simply a phenomenal tale, before its time in many ways, and filled with fascinating characters and unpredictable plot elements. Scott Brick is not my favorite reader, but he does a reliable job in telling this complex story. This audio version remains one of my favorite listens ever, and my husband and I have both listened to it several times. It is an undertaking, to be sure, at 63 hours, but there is so much story to be told that you will relish every hour.
I will not give any spoilers to listeners who have not read the book, but suffice it to say that the events of Atlas Shrugged sound as if they are taken from current headlines; you will have a hard time believing that this was written more than half a century ago. The American economy is in shambles, the government repeatedly tries to fix it with legislation that only compounds the problems, the few remaining productive sectors of the economy are villified as being "greedy," and forced to hand over all they earn for the "good of society," and successful businessmen are disappearing, leaving their once profitable companies to be looted by beaurocrats. One man's dramatic solution does indeed leave you wondering "Who is John Galt?"
Enjoy this marvelous classic! You will never look at society, government and the economy in the same light again.
Did you think you were going to get the fifth book in this series with the same old characters, no matter how much you love them? Think again.
Jacky stays one step ahead of the law--pretty much--as she traverses the United States on her way to New Orleans. She and Jaimy both meet distinctly unforgettable characters, and reunite with some old friends. I guarantee, within the first few minutes of meeting Mike Fink, you will have a mental image of him you will never forget! (I kind of hope we see him again in future books, although I am sure Jacky would be happy to have seen the last of him.) Many, many thanks to Katherine Kellgren and Louis A. Meyer for creating such amazing characters. There are many close calls for Jacky, both pleasant and (very) unpleasant. You may be able to guess at the nature of some of them [cough], but others will take you completely by surprise!
My daughter, after having read "Bloody Jack," was interested in reading more about Jacky, and by the middle of this book, she was hooked. Being a somewhat "slow" reader of conventional books, she loves the Audible versions. We go around mimicking "Jacky" phrases in our best impression of reader Katherine Kellgren's voice. I don't know how I could fathom reading (or listening) to another Bloody Jack book without hearing it in her voice!
Without giving too much away, the new character Amy Trevelyan is one of my daughter's favorite characters--plus the lovely sheepdog, Millie!
WARNING #1: If you have read/listened to "Bloody Jack" and are considering this book, you will probably be hopelessly hooked on the series. ENJOY!
WARNING #2: This book is definitely for ages 12+. Many scenes, while not being too graphic, are definitely not for younger kids.
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