This is not one of my favorite Vorkosigan novels, but as always, Bujold's writing is so excellent and funny and her characters so humorous and well-drawn, that it is entertaining all the way through. Miles and his decorative cousin Ivan are sent to Cetaganda, their own planet's long time enemy, as representatives of the royal family to the funeral of the Cetagandian Empress.
It is supposed to be a strictly diplomatic mission- just show up, stand where you're told, drop off the ceremonial gift and don't embarrass us! But of course things start to go wrong almost from the start and pretty soon Miles finds a mystery on his hands that he cannot resist looking into and is talking Ivan into covering for him... and wacky hi-jinks ensue!
This is one of the lighter of the Vorkosigan books. In many ways Bujold's writing is at its best when drawing light and hope out of horrible and tragic circumstances. But in between some of the 'heavier' events of Miles' life, it is nice to take a little break and this book not only accomplishes that, but also serves the longer plot arc of the entire series- something Bujold is also very good at. There are small references back to events in this book that show up later in the series and will provoke a chuckle or a 'ha!' from those in the know :)
Anyway, it's a Vorkosigan novel, which already means it's probably better written, funnier and more likely to grab and keep you wanting more than about 90% of the science fiction out there :)
One of my favorite books. I'm not even going to try to recap the story, but I will say that Sissy Spacek's narration is absolutely perfect. She brings a total honesty and directness to the story that illuminates each chapter. This is a great way to experience this American classic.
I love all of Barbara Hambly's books, but I have to admit to an extra soft spot for this stand-alone. Mixing ancient Chinese magic with 1920s Hollywood, a kind and brave English war widow who becomes a companion to her Hollywood vamp movie star sister in law, some Pekingese dogs and too many more details to mention here, Bride of the Rat God is funny, clever and an entertaining read for people who like fantasy or for those who don't normally read it.
The main characters are all really engaging, the system of magic is interesting and most importantly, (as with all her other books, mystery,fantasy, whatever) Hambly's writing is very detail-oriented and her fascination with the early history of Hollywood, silent films and the time and places she writes about shine through. The book is filled with historical research inserted so seamlessly into the story that it adds verisimilitude and charm to every section.
The narration and accents were very well done and did not disappoint for a book which I had read many times. This is a fun trip through old Hollywood, Chinatown with some magic and honestly scary bits along the way as well. I recommend it highly!
A lot of this book takes place in Chicago in the 1990s and I was in my 20s then and there, so I really appreciate the author's absolute command of that scene. The world Claire and Henry inhabit there is totally congruent with my memories. The two narrators do a beautiful job of handling their strange co-existence and bring great charm and incredible sympathy to both characters and their unique situation. This is a beautifully realized version of the book and I recommend it highly, whether you have read the book or not.
This book is a story of unexpected love, a love that comes along gradually and later in life to Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, a widow whose husband ran the local village shop. The way their friendship unfolds, the common interest in books, small kindnesses, and finally a blossoming attraction and romance is completely compelling. The viewpoints of those around them, ranging from awkward discomfort to absolute horror at the impropriety of it all can be both funny and sad, but is always believable. You will find yourself rooting for the prim and proper Major and the kind and brave Mrs. Ali. I enjoyed this book tremendously and the narration, both accents and just the attitude of different characters was excellent.
This is such a wonderful series to read and the audio version is superlative. Andrew Naiper's narration is authentic, his accents are excellent and his characterization is totally believable. I am thrilled to finally be able to get this author's work in audio form. Her understanding of history and ability to narrate historical events in a way that makes them exciting and relevant while including fictional characters that catch your imagination and keep you listening/reading through long series and then going back to read them again makes Dorothy Dunnett the greatest author of historical fiction, IMO. I was fortunate enough to meet her in person before she passed away, and she was personally gracious and charming as well as being a fascinating speaker.
HOWEVER, I have to note that the first book in the series is NOT available on Audible. This is the second book of the series and although the quality of the writing, performance and production is so high that I think even a new listener could enjoy it, you will definitely not have the whole story of Lymond or the other characters in the book and their relationships to one another. I hope Audible will have the first book soon, because I would hate for anyone to get discouraged and not continue with this extraordinary series because they were a little lost from having to start with the second book.
Not only is Tina Fey hilarious, but she is also really, really smart. Every bit of this book is filled with humor and intelligence. But she also comes across as kind, thoughtful, and I think she is probably a really good boss. Listen to this book and the hours will fly by!
The narration is very good in the book and the appeal that the reader gave to the different characters kept my interest more than the story did. The author is not a bad writer- she does well with dialog and has some interesting ideas. But the actual story was lacking for me. Many things that were supposed to be big 'reveals' were so blatantly obvious from the beginning that it was just annoying to sit through. This book takes place immediately after the first one, but what I had hoped were just 'first novel' mistakes kept happening here. Tris continues to do things that are so just dumb, that I lost interest in her as a character. It isn't a terrible book, but I think it could have been a much better one.
This story of a Welsh coal mining family and the village they live in is lyrically written and beautifully narrated. It is not a fast book, it is a book you listen to carefully, for the sake of the language. It is an old-fashioned book, that allows you to listen to someone remembering a time long gone and a way of life that has disappeared. The Morgan family is loving and loyal and tries hard to stay true to themselves and the ideals they were raised with, even as the world is changing around them and their small village becomes a place that is filled with bitterness and poverty. But if you just listen to the melody of the language and let the story flow, I believe that this book will stay with you and move you more than you may realize at first. I loved reading it years ago and I loved listening to it as well. If you are looking for a slower-paced listen and want to savor the language and writing, give it a try!
I was afraid the book might be too much of a 'downer' but the nuance of the story is very balanced. A young woman who is bright and funny but without any formal education and who can't really seem to think of a future for herself becomes a caretaker and companion to a young man who is a quadriplegic. Although I felt great sympathy for Will (the young man) the character's personality is very well defined and forceful and I found myself really relating to the character as a person and not just as a 'disability character' set up for the purpose of the story. The voices are very well done, and a few chapters are briefly told from a different character's perspective- Will's mother, who appears cold and distant to the other characters, and also his male nurse. These glimpses into how the main characters and their situations are seen by others were enlightening to me and really rounded out my perception of the story as a whole. But mostly I just really enjoyed these people's lives and was completely drawn into what was happening to them and wanting to know how the book would end.
The narration was excellent and made me feel as if I really knew the main characters. The descriptions of the just everyday difficulties of Will's life really made me examine my own life and how I react to people with disabilities, as well as just thinking about some issues I had not previously given much thought to.
I've seen some reviews here that complained that Will is made a 'token' character- the guy in the wheelchair- because none of the chapters are told from his point of view. I have to disagree completely with this. For me, this was a key part to the understanding of the story and Will's entire situation- the main crux of the book is can Will live- does he want to live- while having to largely participate only vicariously in what was once a very active life in every way. Sexually, physically, etc. he no longer has access to the things he once did. IMO, the author tells the story through other people's perceptions in order to school the reader somewhat- I found myself trying very hard to understand Will's perspective, in part BECAUSE he never speaks in first person. That said, the character of Will is very complete and his speech, personality, etc. shine through. I had no trouble at all coming to know him or realizing his charisma or frustration through the third person perspective. Just as Will, the character, ultimately keeps much of his illness and inner emotions private from his fellow book characters, those things are also private from the reader. I felt it added to my understanding and did not detract from the book or my involvement with it.
The narrator seemed to get Zelda Fitzgerald's 'voice' spot-on. I am very familiar with many writers and artists from this time period, and Zelda Fitzgerald is often dismissed as a sort of appendage to her husband, or as someone who held him back. While both of these things are at least partially true, this book helps to give a much more nuanced portrait, not only of Zelda herself, but also of her husband and the world they lived in. It made Zelda not just sympathetic and likable, but also really gave me some insight into the qualities that made her so irresistible to her husband and the generation she came to help represent.
Zelda! Scott doesn't come off at his best here, I've always thought Hemmingway sounded like a jerk, and although all of these Jazz Age people are very well-drawn, it is a book about Zelda, after all, and her perspective is really interesting. There was a lot more to her than I had realized.
If you enjoy reading authors of the 1920s or that period in history, you may already be familiar with many of the characters here and I think you will find a fascinating interpretation here of their personalities. If you have only heard a little about Zelda Fitzgerald, as the famous flapper married to the brilliant and troubled Scott, you will find a much deeper portrait of her as a person. Either way, it is a charming and engrossing listen.
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