First it is important to know that the characters is this book are not at all like Kerry Greenwood's books featuring Phryne Fisher which I also enjoy, and for very different reasons than I like Earthly Delights. I loved the narrator for Earthly Delights, Louise Siversen's voice is low and soothing. I also enjoyed the characters. These are beautiful people whose beauty has more to do with intelligence, tolerance, and a determination to be cheerful in the face of petty annoyances, and rotten problems, without being insipid. They live in an old fashioned apartment building, called Insula after similar buildings in ancient Rome (the ancient originals more like tenements than this elegant building.Corinna has given up a very profitable career as an accountant, as well as a "profitable" husband and big house to move into Insula, and take the bakery on the first floor. Waking at four in the morning to bake fresh bread to fill orders for stores and restaurants and bake muffins for people on their way to work, is for her heaven. She tells us that she will never wear a kitten heel again. Being a very large person we can be happy for her. While she has her share of insecurities she is not confused about her ability to run a small business, and trust her own judgment. Her friends are fortunate in her friendship, and heaven help those she sees as enemies. Corinna needs all the good sense she owns when her before dawn work day isn interrupted by a young woman expiring of an overdose on a heating grate outside her shop door. Corinna calls medics, keeps the victim alive, and is roundly cursed for "stealing the young lady's high". However, from this rather nasty beginning Corinna meets strong Daniel, acquires a ragged assistant, and deals with a slander campaign that effects all of the occupants of the building.
Although the story is character driven, the world Kerry Greenwood describes is consistent from beginning to end. The listener/reader is not jerked out of the story by a character or plot point inconsistent with earlier descriptions. I liked the description of St. Kilda. Living in the eastern United States, I doubt my dream of visiting the city where these characters live will ever be in my budget, but after reading Kerry Greenwood's books I certainly wish it were.
There are several. I love the garden upon the roof of the apartment building with its fish pool, benches and arbors, and its contrasts with the soup run, to make sure the homeless get one hot meal a day. Both of these scenes involve Daniel, whom the reader only knows as a dark mysterious stranger for a good bit of the book.
Obviously Corinna is the most memorable because this is her story. I expect though the favorite character will depend upon the reader. My daughter's favorite of course is Daniel a man so beautiful that Corinna can't believe he wants to be with her. My favorite is the retired professor who listens with silence and empathy to those who tell him their problems. Of course loving realistic magic, I also like the the owner of Sybil's Cave. When Corinna needs practical help, she is always willing to help. Not all of her help involves spells.
This story is a cozy mystery, it deserves the name more than most. The Corinna Chapman stories act upon me like a soothing cup of tea, OK, more like a glass of white wine. I am going to buy as many of these audiobooks as they produce and save them for days when traffic is bad, people are cranky, and I have to do boring mindless tasks.
Cat in an Alien X-Ray is bending a bit under the weight of the twenty-four books before it.
A strand of the plot which stretches over years is unwoven and then rewoven to remake the pattern of the lives of the four main characters Midnight Louis, Temple Barr freelance public relations expert, Max Kinsella, stage magician and undercover operative, and Matt Devine former catholic priest and very much faithful practicing catholic. Of course the plot device of people presumed dead, only to turn up later is not new to this group of books. Max's mentor both as a magician and undercover agent is declared dead and later survives into a later book, only to die permanently in a still later book. Max himself is horrendously injured, thought dead, and fights his way back to a semblance of his former self by the beginning of this book.
But it is not the plot, thickening as it may be that has me coming back, book after book.It is the characters, the odd puns, the nods and winks to old Las Vegas legends, and amazing neon covered buildings long gone and not at all forgotten.
The characters which blend into a rainbow of comic relief include Temple's apartment in the Circle Ritz, a completely round column of a building which survived the fifties. Louis thinks it looks like a hockey puck. Electra Lark, the landlady and justice of the peace, holds weddings in the chapel there. The congregation includes soft form sculptures of famous Las Vegas characters including Elvis. She thinks weddings should be well attended.
I have to admit I began this series in the middle with the three abridged audiobooks, Cat on a Hyacinth Hunt, Cat in an Indigo Mood, and Cat in a Jeweled Jump Suit, and then went to the beginning, caught up and read the books in order to this, the latest book.
I got those three books on cassette in probably 1993 and if it were not for Robert Forster's gravely voice, a pitch perfect film noir gangster 's voice from the thirties I may not have become interested in this series at all. When these audiobooks became available on audible I bought them and listened to them again. The new narrators for these last two books are good, but no one except maybe Bogey or Cagney can do thirties noir like Robert Forster. Incidentally the abridged books actually benefited from the abridgment.
Midnight Louie, short, dark and dangerous, all 19 feline pounds of him is still body guarding his roommate Miss Temple. He still keeps his retractable shivs sharp, and members of Midnight Inc. Detective Agency in line, even if they are as independent as cats. Louie's human counterparts are not as consistent in holding up their end of the story.
Louie, fortunately for his Miss Temple, is forgiving, because not everyone can have built in weapons and an ankle eye view of crime scenes
So I suppose this is more a review of the series than of this book specifically. But the series does culminate in this book. Still I am afraid if I had not become invested in Temple and Midnight Louie I may not have enjoyed this book as a stand alone, although it does fine on its on, even all of the many Master Criminals, including a renegade IRA agent, the Synth a cabal of master magicians, old time Mafia left overs, and the odd con man or two are introduce and explained. But never fear Midnight Louis's alley cat wits, can handle them all.
I bought this abridged version because I remembered and enjoyed the original version narrated by Anna Fields. Sometimes a truly skilled abridged version of a story can even tighten the original, and I enjoy Jennifer Van Dyke so I thought I would like to listen to an old favorite.
The cuts in this abridgment were not surgical. It was accomplished by cutting out a subplot, and therefore removing one of the main characters of the amputated secondary story. This leaves Molly and Kevin, the main characters, reacting to the ghosts of the missing parts. It still works. Susan Elizabeth Philips writes great stories, and even the surface parts of this story are engrossing, Still, it takes more than a suspension of disbelief to help the reader understand why Molly is so loved by her family, without letting the reader see her complete interactions with Kevin's mom and her nieces and nephews. Getting to know the remarkable woman Kevin's mom is that makes it worth the effort Kevin puts forth to get over reasonable childhood resentments. I listened to this with friends on a drive that took four hours and kept trying to explain that these people were not really a train wreck. We didn't turn it back on for the trip back. Still even watered down Susan Elizabeth Phillips is worth some time.
Yes. Like most people I enjoy reading, and am often startled that the narrators do not sound like the "voices in my head" that my imagination conjures when I read. When I began listening to this I was expecting SCHOLARLY bass. But Holter Graham fits the era of the Kennedy administration, who were very young in comparison to the politicians of the time, and presented themselves as youthful and idealistic. Once I adjusted to the narration I loved it.
There were several moments: that the stories of Joe Kennedy's heavy hand was not a myth, that Jack Kennedy was always in pain and struggling with health issues while presenting his comparative youth as an asset thus presenting himself as athletic and energetic, the moment when I realized that it is impossible to tell if John Fitzgerald Kennedy was idealistic or just practical.
Holter Graham does an excellent job of the different voices in Hunting Ground and Cry Wolf. He moves from Native American male, middle eastern male, middle America female beautifully without pulling the listener from the book and thinking "wow he's really good at that". And more importantly the listener doesn't think "meh, no one sounds like that". This book is obviously very different from those novels, and he handles straightforward narration well.
This is a biography of someone who has been written about more than any politician in recent years, so there was nothing so new that would rise to laughter or tears. It would be a rare person that didn't know exactly how tragically this ends.
The important thing to know about this book is that it covers the early years of Kennedy's life, which allows the reader to see that there is a consistency in Kennedy's presentation of himself both as an "Irish mucker" in prep school, and an astute observer of national and international issues while still an undergraduate at Harvard. Unlike some books that boost sales by concentrating only on the days before, during and following the asasination, or even just the presidency, this one shows the reader how the core people loyal to Kennedy and he to them, became a team. Still I agree with earlier reviewers that at the end of the book we don't really know what Kennedy was like, which is John Kennedy's own criteria for a good biography. But the book is worth reading because it places all aspects of his life in context.
On the very surface this is a light historical romance with a predictable plot and stereotypical characters. And yet, like everything M. C. Beaton writes each character has a twist that takes the reader by surprise and sometimes a laugh. This is part of a series of books based on an ex-housekeeper, gifted with an inheritance, which she uses to travel around England. In her wonderings she deftly, finds jobs for the jobless, homes for the homeless, and love for the loveless. There is no snappy banter, sex beyond a brush of lips, or even a dawn meeting with pistols, or at least not the standard duel. There is an
underlying thread of reality that makes the whole thing just a little unusual.
Standard historical romances come close.
Helen Lisanti is an excellent narrator. She manages to change characters without overpowering the story with so much acting that she pulls the listener out of the story. I enjoyed listening to her.
I laughed at a point that was one coincidence to many.
Just that I am glad M.C. Beaton chose to give up a career in journalism to write novels with some very very dry wit, hidden among the standard plots.
Ivan Vorpatril is a survivor. Born in the middle of a military coup, hours after his father was killed in front of his very pregnant aristocratic mother, he was swaddled in borrowed blankets and smuggled out of the war zone as part of a refugee family. Although he has grown into a gorgeous "hunk", he has continued to survive through protective coloring. I thought in the first books his character was only included in the Vorkosigan stories as a foil for his cousin Miles, the physically challenged genius, who accidentally founded a whole Army at seventeen years old. Ivan's name in these stories is often followed by "you idiot".It hasn't stopped his relatives for asking for his reluctant help though.. So I LOVE IT, that Ivan is now the hero in this book, without any tricks such as having him turn from a Clark Kent to Superman. Ivan is still the very ordinary young man who has avoided becoming a focus for a coup in his own times, not by becoming a super warrior on a planet of warriors, but by being an average, guy, just not understanding all of the plots and underplots swirling around him. His over achieving relatives sometimes wonder if he is doing it on purpose, and shake their heads and think not, unless he began fading into the background at five. Hard to do when your are taller, and stronger than everyone else around, even at five. These warrior types should have spent more time around five year olds. The little people are very much personalities even at five. Sorry, I feel as if I've watched, a favorite child grow up and become successful. Lois MacMaster Bujold is a great writer to make her characters that real.
I enjoyed watching Ivan come into his own.
Grover Gardner is one of those magnificent performer's who sounds as though he is someone you've met. No matter what part of the country your from.
I enjoyed the whole book, but the last few pages were made me laugh aloud.
I hope there will be more stories about the Vor world. This author doesn't leave the reader with cliff hangers, like old fashioned B movies or soap operas. She doesn't have to. Her books are so interesting, that although each book is ended with a logical and satisfying conclusion, her world is full of such interesting people that I hope to meet them as often as possible.
This is a light romantic comedy and a good companion for a boring drive.
Like many of Jennifer Crusie's stories, this book is about two people physically attracted to each other, who enjoy conversations and time spent together, but whose goals and life styles are not just different but clash sharply. I enjoy reading about the way these people learn to appreciate the other person's point of view, compromise on some issues, and agree to disagree on other issues.
As another reviewer stated, Tess Newhart is annoying. But she is also interesting. With apologies to Jane Austen, Tess is something like Austen's Emma. Even Miss Austen said that Emma was someone "whom no-one but myself will much like". These young women want the best for their friends, and they think they know best. Emma wants her friend to marry a prosperous socially well placed man. Tess wants to get her friend away from a socially prominent wealthy lawyer. Unlike Emma and Mr. Knightly, however, one of the differences Tess and Nick have is that while they both like sex, Tess thinks spontaneity is essential. Although Nick doesn't require that a meeting for sex be penciled onto his calendar with his other appointments, beds are still better than the tops of grand pianos, dining tables, and two seater sport cars.
I have to agree with the previous reviewer, Heyer abridged is a shadow of the real thing: and I think it is nostalgia for the original book that makes me like this so much, mentally adding the depths of character that were washed out with the abridgment. I am not sorry I bought this, the narrator is terrific, but if they find an unabridged version I will buy that as well.
Cocaine Blues is the first book in the Phryne Fisher series, but one of the last to be published on audible. Which may be a good thing, because the series gets blazingly better as it progresses. The series is interesting because it addresses a wide range of people and ideas grinding against each other, but the best of whom cheerfully flow through Phryne's dining room, parlor, and (yes) sometimes her bedroom. I never appreciated, until I began this series the amazing social changes that took place in a very short time between the beginning of the 1900s to the end of the roaring twenties. F. Scott Fitzgerald's Bernice did more than just bob her hair.
Phryne Fisher is a young woman living on the edge of a world changing from the Victorian ideas of women as angels in the home, to the young women who drive ambulances in World War I and are thus allowed/forced to do and see things that even five years earlier would be unthinkable for most females. Phryne herself goes from a child in Australian poverty being called "hey you", to a young woman in England called the Hon. Miss Fisher. Her reasons for returning to Australia would make Agatha Christies proud. As the series goes along we find that she has a very good time in spite of any curves life throws her. The books are well researched as to historical accuracy, and I can't wait to see how Kerry Greenwood goes from the roaring twenties to a very angry thirties, and what Phryne will do next.
Tanya Huff greatly expands the concept of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, to say nothing of seventh sons, horned gods and very intelligent dragons Also the next time I go to a second hand store I will be very careful where I put my hands. In this emporium enchantment is to be taken literally.
I will buy and listen to any book with Tanya Huff's name, and I am so gland I chose this one.
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