I greatly enjoyed all of the family dynamics, but I really liked the portions of the book with adolescent Scottie and her father, Matt. I felt author Hemmings really captured the painful change from innocent childhood and super-sexualized teen years, and what a struggle it is for fathers to suddenly see their young girls become budding young women.
Jonathan Davis was a smart, wry narrator -- it made perfect sense that the character he voiced (the protagonist, Matt King) would be played by George Clooney in the film adaptation. This was the first audiobook voiced by Jonathan Davis that I've heard.
Heartbroken in Hawaii -- cheesy, right? But that pretty much sums it up.
Addictive, twisted, SMART.
There are, honestly, SO MANY. It's a great disservice to reveal one here, because you want to experience this story spoiler-free, if at all possible.
Probably the reveal of the anniversary gift at the end of the annual treasure hunt that Amy organizes for Nick the day she goes missing -- read it, you'll know why!
DEFINITELY. Just when you think you have a handle on this story... Maybe you have finally decided which narrator (Nick or Amy) you're "rooting for," Flynn flips your entire perspective. You think you've solved the crime, Flynn leads you off the path into the tangled forest of "truth." And she does this throughout the entire book.
I think many readers have expressed disappointment in the ending (myself included), because it doesn't feel like "justice is served." Also, the roller coaster ride leading up to the ending is SO GREAT, that the ending is really underwhelming when compared to the fantastic reveals and twists throughout the story. Adjust your expectations accordingly! Still, it is definitely worth a listen -- I couldn't stop. I devoured this book over 2 days, with the narration speed set on "2x". I can't remember the last time a suspense novel or mystery had me guessing for so long.
The Battle Continues...
Johanna Mason is a fantastic addition to Collins's already memorable and richly developed cast of characters. She's a brutal, lawless version of Katniss, without the self-doubt and guilt of taking action. Johanna also gets some of the best one-liners: she has no "filter," she speaks the uncensored truth.
Other than The Hunger Games, I hadn't listened to any of McCormick's other performances. I think she is an excellent narrator, with a clear voice and an "understated" performance that never turns the story into a melodrama. She serves the story well; she made me cry with her performance in the first book!
Well, with the enormous success of the first film adaptation of The Hunger Games, it's inevitable a sequel will follow. The tagline could be, "A Return to the Arena ... A Return to Arms." Something dramatic that references both the 75th Annual Quarter Quell as well as the political turmoil in Panem.
I agree with the other reviewers that the forced love triangle between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale in the beginning of the book is probably the weakest part of the story. Still, it is a brief plot point, and danger from The Capitol looms ever closer -- I eagerly await the conclusion, Mockingjay.
Absolutely. This is a no-holds-barred, down-and-dirty look behind the glossy, phony exterior of politics and media "spin." I think, regardless of party affiliation, you will find this a fascinating listen. This is also not a dull or rehashed "politics" book -- it's more about the flaws of human nature, media manipulation, and mass perception.
I thought the book's treatment of former Senator and current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to be fair and surprisingly sensitive. A quote from a potential female voter hit especially close to home: "I want a female President, just not her." Clinton is an intelligent, savvy politician, who seemed to be punished in 2008 by the media at large for her marriage to former president Bill Clinton and the fact that she wasn't a traditionally "girly girl" in skirts and mascara, like former Governor Palin.
Dennis Boutsikaris is a great narrator. I largely "read" audiobooks, because I love reading, but I'm a commuter by car, and I regret not having the time to visually commit to paper books or e-books. Audiobooks is the best way for me, and Boutsikaris has a clear, pleasant voice that really "drives" the story.
Definitely. The story never "lags." Admittedly, it is focused heavier on the struggle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for Democratic presidential candidacy, but the book also spends a decent amount of time exploring the McCain campaign and the choice of Sarah Palin for potential Republican VP. I didn't know much about John Edwards's personal life prior to this book (he is not presented very sympathetically), and that was very eye-opening for me.
It doesn't matter how you voted -- there's a lot to like in this book.
I enjoy funny women and their memoirs, but this isn't the strongest I've ever read. I preferred Jane Lynch's Happy Accidents and even Tina Fey's Bossypants. There is something pleasantly "free-form" and "stream of consciousness" about Dratch's writing, but it makes for an overall mixed bag of a book. The audiobook, narrated by Dratch, is funny and she speaks to the listener as though they were a friend -- breaking into different voices and really intensifying her own punchlines. This is what I loved best about Girl Walks Into a Bar..., having the actress literally bring her words to life in your ears.
To make the story more enjoyable, I would have focused more on her UCB/improv training days, her SNL experiences, and even her auditioning stories -- arguably, the most entertaining and interesting parts of the book, though Dratch repeats, "This isn't a showbiz memoir." The bulk, then, is about mommyhood and babies and "Oh, can't new moms be full of themselves?" which felt tired and not as humorous or engaging. I also can't help feeling the "30+ New York City gal dating horror stories" have also been told better, on countless Sex and the City episodes and columns in Glamour magazine. So, while maybe Dratch didn't set out to write a showbiz memoir, maybe she could have written a "comedian's life" memoir in the style of Steve Martin's Born Standing Up.
I found her UCB/Improv stories to be the most engaging -- how her brain worked on stage improvising, how the team dynamic worked in the improv world, the joy of making other comedians laugh, etc.
Starring Rachel Dratch as Rachel Dratch -- And Not a Crude Caricature of a Butch Lesbian! -- a role she often laments she plays.
Worth a listen, especially if you're into funny women.
It was nice to finally have closure to the emotional roller coaster of The Hunger Games Trilogy. The pace of the story (particularly *POSSIBLY MINOR SPOILERS* the siege of The Capitol and the events that occur within) felt a bit rushed -- maybe Suzanne Collins was pressured by the publisher or, as other readers have speculated, she was busy assisting the film adaptation. Still, it was a satisfying conclusion to me. Pieces fell into place, though war is never without losses.
I really enjoyed Carolyn McCormick's performance. She has a very pleasant voice for narration, yet still brings a lot of emotion to her reading. Best of all, her performance enhances the story being told -- sometimes, the narrator can distract from the story (attempting accents, providing unnecessary emphasis to particular words, etc.), but McCormick gave a professional and even reading that benefited the words written.
YES, definitely. The strongest point of Collins's Hunger Games Trilogy has always been her interesting characters and how they fight to survive -- and I needed to know how it all ended.
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