The Newlyweds is the story of a mail order bride who meets her husband online and ends up in the U.S., where she has a difficult time adjusting to the culture. All in all, it was an OK experience but it was hard to relate to Amina and her decisions at the end.
House Rules is the story of a boy with Asberger's Syndrome and the effects it has on everyone in his family. I learned a lot--and the story kept my interest until the end. I kept saying throughout "wait, why don't you just explain..." but the answer was obvious: because he has Asberger's and he wouldn't do that. The missteps he makes as an amateur crimesolver is completely engrossing, and I kept hoping that it would work out to a happy conclusion at the end. It did, of course, but I couldn't help wondering if the legal system would really resolve things so quickly--a point I can't resolve, since I'm not an attorney and won't spend the time finding out. Multiple narrators made the story even more interesting. All in all, I really loved the way the plot came together.
Wait a minute. You find your grandmother's diary, and you're so afraid to read what it says that you convince some guy you just met to read it with you? And even when you really want to keep reading, you restrain yourself until he comes over again so you can read the next part? And when you know one of your grandmother's friends owns a restaurant downtown, you just can't go until the guy can come along with you? I just don't think that's what a real person would do. It made Chelsea seem to me pretty spineless and without the curiosity that would drive anyone else to sit down with the diary and read it through the night. All this quivering over what the diary could possibly tell her next just seemed fake and a way to draw out the story more. I really couldn't think of one person I know personally who would react the way Chelsea did to any of the circumstances in the plot.
I love Nicholas Sparks' books, so I knew I would enjoy this one. Rebecca Lowman does a fantastic job as narrator--just the right tone and pace. At points, the story seemed to get a little bogged down, and I found myself skipping over parts. At the end, though, I had to think--wait, wait, I have to go back. All those parts that seemed so slow and that seemed to have little to do with the love story that was unfolding were clues that I nearly missed--so don't be tempted to skip over anything. The ending really caught me off guard!
The story of a mom who can't give up on her missing daughter was one that caught my attention from the beginning. Narrator Joyce Bean did a good job on this. My only complaint is that the story is resolved too quickly. The whys are answered over lots of pages and all of a sudden, here's the end. It's almost as if an editor decided the book was getting too long and had the conclusion down to a few pages.
Gone Girl is on the New York Times best sellers list, so I figured I couldn't go wrong in purchasing it. Right off the bat, Kirby Heyborne irritated me as the narrator of the story. His pronunciation of some of the words and even his voice in general did not seem to fit. I eventually got used to him--except when he threw in the occasional pronunciation that made me aware of him again--but I think a different narrator would have done a better job. Julia Whelan was fine in her part of the narration. The story in general starts slow--slow enough that I had to make a decision to keep going, since I did pay for the book. Once the wife goes missing, I was hooked and ended up listening to the whole thing in two days. The ending made for a good plot, I guess, but it wasn't very satisfying. I'll try not to give the whole thing away, but by the end, the reader really doesn't know how much about the story or about the marriage at all, like you thought you did throughout. I was left feeling not sure whether I liked the book or not.
I haven't read anything by Peter Clines, so I was depending on the reviews of this book when I made the purchase. The story started out very tame. A guy needs a cheaper apartment and goes with the recommendation of a stranger to find his next place. The old building is weird--all the floorplans are different, etc. etc.--and he wants to know more about it. And then the story builds to a fever pitch that gripped me until the end. It reminded me very much of Stephen King's The Tommyknockers, which begins when the main character finds a shiny piece of metal protruding out of the ground in the woods. She starts digging it up and so launches a series of events that keeps the reader turning pages. I couldn't guess where Clines was going with the plot, so I had to keep reading. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and just the kind of story I love! I'll be looking for more of his books.
I love Preston & Child and have read everything they've written as a writing team, especially the Pendergast books. I so looked forward to this one! However, it seems to me that Pendergast is nearly on his last leg as a character. The story was OK but not nearly as engaging as the earlier books. Rene Auberjonois did a fine job as narrator.
I bought The Hobbit to listen to on a 13-hour flight. However, the British narrator was so difficult to understand over the jet noise that I had to stop shortly after the story began. Not the writer's fault--I've read a lot of Tolkien's work--but it simply took too much effort to sort out what was being said. I haven't gotten back to it.
The story kept me wanting to read more. Just when I thought everything might be resolved, another wrinkle was thrown in. Kevin Collins, the narrator, only added to the experience, and he was completely believable. I bought Beautiful Creatures because I've been watching the previews for the upcoming movie and thought it might be good to listen to on the way to and from work. What happened was that I got so caught up that I kept my bluetooth earpiece in even after I got home. I listened to the whole thing in two days. Well worth the price I paid!
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