Cumberland, MD, United States | Member Since 2010
If you enjoy visiting a mystical and magical world you will enjoy Tigana. I don't understand others comments about the narrator. I find his performances contribute to my listening enjoyment.
Truths are not as they appear - even to those closest to us.
John Searles crafted an entertaining novel - presented as a paranormal mystery with pro-religious overtones. But things are not always as they first appear. Searles uses Help for the Haunted to expose the fact that we not only keep secrets from those we love and those we don't, but we often keep them from ourselves. At the very end, you have to decide for yourself what is fact and what is not.
Sylvie, the smart, young teenage daughter of Sylvester and Rose, is dragged from bed in the middle of a snowy night by her parents to meet their older daughter, also named Rose. Sylvie's parents are murdered at the church and Sylvie is assaulted. Sylvie then tells us the stories of her family, their work, and travels. These stories are woven in between Sylvie's stories as a ward of her older sister and their treatment from those in the community.
Sylvie learns the prime murder suspect has a rock solid alibi for the time the murders were committed. Sylvie searches for the truth about the deaths of her parents and learns about their lives along the way. She also learns secrets about them, her sister and plenty of others before finding her parent's murderer. The story moves along quite steadily and had me finding reasons to keep listening past the end of several chapters. While not all the questions are answered, there is enough of a conclusion to make reading Help for the Haunted satisfying.
Some reviewers here have complained about the narrator. I completely disagree with their unfavorable comments about Emma Galvin, the narrator of Help for the Haunted. I enjoy listening to her performance of this book and others. She is very appropriate for narrating a story from the young female perspective, especially someone with a world as upset as Sylvie's.
Super-human Epics take control and enslave the populace with terror. A small boy (David) witnesses an Epic kill his father and obliterate an entire city. Fast forward 10 years and the boy has survived the orphanage/factory system that has educated and sustained him. Now, he hunts Epics and teams up with a small group of 'Reckoners' dedicated to eliminating Epics. David's done his homework and planning and convinces the Reckoners to go after the most powerful Epic of all - the one who killed David's father. Oh, don't forget there is also a well-written sweetheart story artfully woven into all this plotting and fighting. What's not to love? It has fast-paced action scenes and wonderfully quirky conversations which let you catch your breath without have to pause the recording. David, I'm looking to hearing more of your battles with Epics.
The Bone Season creates an interesting future London where a tear in dimensions has allowed super-spirits to enter our realm and take control of natural human clairvoyants. This creates an underworld for ‘voyants’ in London who must evade capture and death or banishments for having unnatural talents. (London, of course is the setting for so many ‘unnatural’ occurrences, aliens, cybermen, etc., that I wonder if there isn’t something in the water - - maybe Stonehenge is to blame.) Our hero is a dream walker, a rare voyant who has the ability to walk through other’s dreamscape and learn secrets that the underworld gangs use to their advantage. When she is cornered by the conscripted voyants who are charged with rounding up the unnaturals she kills one of them and scrambles the brain of the second, exposing her talents to the super-spirits who want to acquire her abilities. She is eventually captured and then claimed by a high ranking super-spirit who rarely ever deals with humans.
I have to admit that I started this book a couple of times and listened for maybe two chapters before I set it aside. Eventually I came back faced with a long Thanksgiving week drive. I hit play to give it another chance and glad that I did. This book got better as it went along and I concentrated on the world Ms. Shannon created. It is probably something that I will listen to again, perhaps several times to get a full appreciation for the characters and story. There are plenty of interesting characters and delicious plot lines to experience in the Bone Season. The author has done well in crafting them together. Pay very close attention throughout the entire book to truly enjoy The Bone Season.
Another in the young heroine leads the rebellion breed of young adult novels. Not a strong of character development or plot as Hunger Games or Divergent but an enjoyable listening experience. Kitty has just turned legal age and must be tested for assignment to one of the six classes of citizens in future America. Her disappointing upbringing in an orphanage in Washington D.C. leads to a less than satisfactory class and work assignment in a distant city away from her slightly younger lover interest. After seeking an alternate life style on the edges of society she is recruited by the heads of the country to serve as a replacement for a deceased third in line successor to the throne. To tell you more would spoil the enjoyment of Pawn.
The story makes several half-hearted stabs at making social commentary about the divisions which separate the ‘haves’ and the ‘haves not’ of the country and the abuses which corrupts those with absolute power. The author inflicts no particular judgment allowing the reader to decide for themselves the proper level of outrage they wish to assign to any particular atrocities exposed through Kitty’s assumption of the secretly deceased niece’s life.
Pawn is a perfectly adequate expenditure of a credit and may just be the start of as entertaining series of novels. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Allegiant concludes the trilogy about a girl who made changes - changes to herself. her family, and the world she inhabits. Those who are giving poor ratings are likely looking for popcorn ending and complaining when the get a steak dinner. It is worthy of the investment to read Allegiant even though the conclusion is not what most readers likely expect. I hope it is the story Ms. Roth wanted to tell because she did so with style and dignity for Tris Pryor - putting Tris's story above easy fortune.
Great stories and characters challenge us to be better than we currently are. They should force us to realize time is short and heroes are few. The story of Tris Pryor should get us to question the changes going on us and, more importantly, the lack of change heading towards the better. Tris stands for questioning and acting against the status quo. Tris is a hero, even before the start of Allegiant. Although she may not 'officially' be thought of as one at the end, the change she brings forth is indeed heroic in so many unstated ways. Take time to think about the story beyond the words on the page. Contemplate what this diminutive teenage character accomplishes from the time she walks home from school wondering which faction to choose until the final confrontation with David in the laboratory. Recognize Tris's sacrifices for people who knew her and the thousands of others who never had that privilege. Let go of your on selfish expectation and see the change in you the author is trying to develop today, so that a Tris in the future doesn't have to end like the one in Allegiant.
Expect to be moved by Allegiant instead of handed another formulaic and marketable conclusion. Congratulations Ms. Roth, for choosing to be Divergent. Emma Galvin will forever be the voice of Tris Pryor - an accomplishment for which she should be proud.
The Rook is a wonderful book. Just enough strangeness and mystery to keep you wanting to hear more and not needing to make crib notes about which dastardly evil entity Rook Thomas is facing.
The Rook starts out with someone waking up with amnesia and finding they have a sudden choice to make, assume their old life or abandon it and start totally over. Fortunately Ms. Myfanwy Thomas, decides to resume her existing life after her memory was rebooted and takes us all along on an enjoyable journey. We discover the many wonders and challenges she faces as a domestic section chief of a secret 'government' agency charged with protecting Brittan from abnormals. It is a challenging task with some great twists and turns O'Mally deftly switches between monsters du jour and the letters from her old self helping to teach Myfanwy about whom she was/is, the life she led, and how it all helps her face this day's challenges.
Daniel O'Malley has written a solid first novel and a great foundation that could support one or a half dozen more. The pacing of The Rook kept me enjoying every passing minute, especially with the detours of the letters from ‘Me’ to ‘You,’ Myfanwy's prior and post memory reboot alter egos. O'Mally moves these passages along and, although they suddenly leave one story arc, I don't remember ever wishing he would just hurry up and get back to the main plot.
Whoever selected Susan Duerden to narrate this book is an absolute genius. She is a perfect Myfanwy Thomas and has such an ability to bring each of O'Malley's characters solidly to life (even the slimly / barely alive ones)! I am looking forward to enjoying the work of each of these artists again and again (including an instant replay of The Rook).
The Redeemer is another great installment in the Harry Hole series. Listening to this book answers some confusion that I had in later books. The Redeemer has plenty of Nesbo trademark detail. twists and turns that make the series so enjoyable. If you're a Hole fan, or just enjoy an interesting police procedural, this is a worthwhile way to spend a credit!
Joe Hill has written an amazing story about a young Victoria with a talent to use her bicycle to find lost things. Unfortunately, Vic finds some things she really isn't looking for. Vic meets many memorable and well developed characters as she puts a child abductor in jail. I don't want to say too much about the story because I'm afraid that I'll spoil your enjoyment of allowing the story to unfold for you. Let me say that this is a riveting story. When you're finished I think you'll understand why I'm not giving out too many details.
Now, let me say that Kate Mulgrew is every bit as amazing and awesome as Joe Hill's story. If you don't care for the story, listening to Kate Mulgrew's performance alone is worth the credit. Bravo Ms. Mulgrew, bravo.
NOS4A2 is a great experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Maybe not your first or second choice in fiction tonight but it is an interesting one. Our story starts with a corporate aquisition of an American manufacturing company. We follow Geogre Breal, a displaced executive from the acquired company move to Boston and work for Electronic Technologies Inc., a firm run by a controlling founder, John Lowell. Mr. Lowell has many problems on his hands including a German competitor who is positioned to eat his lunch, an estranged daughter and a girlfriend with an agenda. Breal is brought into to make ETI more profitable and ends up fighting to keep the company in business. Stone Lion is an interesting book that doesn't necessarily compell you to keep reading hour after hour, but eagerly awaits your return and rewards you with an palette of well developed characters and a fully crafted story of challenges, successes and failures. You'll want to finish Stone Lion but you can take your time and savor some fiction without a murder, sex scene or a lot of foul language - something of a rarity today. Take a break from all of the back biting and violence found in a lot of today's fiction and enjoy a book that challenges it's characters, shows how they grow and develop and doesn't insult you (unless you are or work for an aggressive German Corporation trying to dominate the world of photoelectric micro-switchs).
Sara J. Henry's second book is another solid novel set in the Lake Placid region of New York. It is a simple then complicated and back to simple type of a story beginning with the discovery of a body in a frozen lake. By coincidence, fate of just plain dumb luck, Troy is there when a mans body is found and recovered from the frozen lake. She knows the person and shares her house with his girlfriend and begins writing a story for the local newspaper. I'll leave the rest of the story for you to discover and enjoy on your own. It is often touching, frightening, emotional and smart all within a single chapter. Some of our friends from Learning to Swim are back, in very minor - but not forgotten - roles.
Part of my enjoyment of this series is Ms. Henry's spot-on description of the area and the people who inhabit this cold, remote place. They are indeed a hardy people who care about one another and do silly things like cut blocks of ice out of the lake to build and castle in the dead of winter. Occasionally, she takes a little literary license with some of the locations or behavior of the characters, but having many friends who live there, I believe she respects them and what it is they stand for. It is not an easy place to live, but some of the happiest people I know live there and the surrounding 50 miles. Sara has lived it and, if her writing about it is any indication, loves the tri-lakes especially those that call it home.
I feel I must comment about the Narrator. I did not care for Abby Craden's portrayal of Troy. It was like she was telling the story in a whisper, like it was a secret. This is not how this character tells her story. I found this style/approach troublesome. I hope Suzanne Toren returns as Troy Chance giving us the strength and confidence the author has given her.
Certainly a worth while listen/read indeed!
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