Redondo Beach, CA, United States | Member Since 2012
Like most book lovers I NEVER, EVER see the movie before reading the book. NEVER! Until now.
A week before I started reading this book I went to see the movie with the ladies from my book club. This book was selected as our November book of the month. The theme of the month was "Book to Movie", so of course we had to see the movie together.
FYI, this is not going to be a review about the movie at all.
The story of Solomon Northup starts out giving the reader a sense of the life he lead as a born-free African American living in the North with a wife and three children. Solomon was a musician and very well respected in his community by Whites and Blacks alike. After accepting a temporary job to play with a traveling "circus" Solomon is mislead and drugged by his employers in captivity. This is were the book gets...sad...upsetting...frustrating...speechless!
Solomon gives the readers an overview of his twelve long agonizing years as a plantation worker who's life and family mean nothing at all to his overseers and Masters. Solomon unlike many of his fellow slaves could read and write and if anyone knew it, would mean his death.
Could you image? First being kidnapped then having your name changed? Sold into slavery with all of its brutality, hunger, and misery? Despite all of that Solomon keep a small glimmer of hope throughout it all.
At times I had to remind myself this is non-fiction. This is the real deal 100%.
I loved his writing style and the way the author described his environment. But there were a few places where I felt the descriptive writing was not needed. But overall it was a eye-opening read.
I feel this book should be a must read for ALL American High School students at the junior and senior level. This a must read for everyone.
Audiobook: 7 hours and 51 minutes
Narrator: Louis Gossett
Again, I have found myself reading and listening to a book to help me get through it faster. I have to say, I found myself listening more than reading on this one. The audiobook is narrated by Louis Gossett Jr. a wonderful actor and now a great narrator. He did a marvelous job. The book is written in a more formal English and as I was listening to his voice read, he made it seem like poetry at times.
This book was on my radar because everyone and their mama read it, reviewed it and completed the series. So it was kind of on my TBR list, but not really since I am trying to stay away from the YA hype books. But since the book club selected it as the January Book of the Month my reason for reading it changed.
The story of 16 year old Beatrice Prior takes place in a post-war Chicago were society has been divided into 5 groups based on individual characteristics. The characteristic based groups determine what they eat, wear, where they sleep, how they should or should not think as well as careers. Now it's Beatrice's time to be tested to see where she fits in and to pick which group she will be with for the rest of her life. With or without her family?
I know the YA formula and I don't understand it. The formula is a young girl, two boy interest, zero parents, all equal life threatening situations and love. When I was 16 years old I had one boyfriend, two parents involved and zero life threatening situation and love. Hmmm... Where do they get this from?
With that being said I really liked this book. I thought the idea of factions and how they came to be was well though tout and written. I would have liked the author the give more detail about the history of each faction but since it's YA I think I understand why she didn't. If I was 16 and read this I would be a Divergent fangirl 100%. I would wear my faction color everyday and I would not even think anything of writing my faction symbol on my jeans, notebooks, backpack and postering my room with Four's posters.
One thing I really loved was how the author makes all the character diverse without telling you their race. She is excellent at this and I wish other authors did this as well.
The narrator of the audiobook was good too! With so much emotion running in and out of this book she did a great job.
The main reason I gave this book only 4 stars is basically for the absent parents yet again. Beatrice's mom was a really interesting character and the author didn't develop her at all. But outside of that the book is a good read that will hook you in and hold you to the end.
For the month of December my book club selected this book and it's our second book in two years by Mary Higgins Clark. Needless to say that makes it my second time reading a book by her.
The story of a group of co-workers winning the lottery right before Christmas was quite cute. The author set them in a small town were everyone knows everyone and everyone's business was very picturesque in a small town way. I love the mystery element they brought in and how the characters slowly but not too slowly started to put the pieces together.
But when I tell you this is a light read I am not joking. In my opinion there are a few too many characters in this book for how light it is. It seemed like a few of them could have been left out and it would not have effected the storyline at all.
I am not a big readers of this series and I found it just ok as a stand alone. Their were a few mentions of things that happened in another book but overall you could get in and out of it without knowing all the back story.
The narrator and co-author Carol Higgins Clark did a good job of reading her work. I know that sounds strange but I am not a fan of authors reading their own work. Most of them don't act the part and just read the words. For me the better the acting in an audiobook the better the story.
Overall, this was a perfect holiday book and I am happy it was light-hearted.
I thought this was a really interesting and well thought out audiobook. I was impressed with the narrators voice. This is my first Star Force audiobook/book and I might get into this series (one day) if it is as good as this one. 100% sci-fi.
This is the second book in the Parable series by Octavia Butler. I purchased a copy of this book from Audible.com to read and review for A More Diverse Universe blog tour (November 15 - 17th) As you can see I am just now getting to posting my review. I read the first book in January of this year as a book club book of the month selection. (Review here)
In the first book, Lauren Olamina leaves her burning town and home to find a safe place to live and expand her new belief system called Earth Seed.
In this book (I will try and not spoil it for you) Lauren's community has grown and is thriving. She has married and gives birth to a baby girl. All of this is happening in their small community, Acorn as the rest of the United States is completely falling apart. People are migrating to Alaska (the new promise land) due to climate changes. Political leaders who are extreme right-wing Christians create fanaticals who are burning non-believers a la Salem Witch Hunts. There are ramped lack of trials in court system. Slavery is back in and children are being bought and sold into the sex trade.
This book is bleak to say the least. I was not really expecting it to be a feel good book after reading the first one. I knew things would get worse. I could see it coming. But the reason I liked this book so much is the bleakness. I know that makes no sense at all but it was. I think Octavia Butler shows her deep foresight into our future without really making things up. People are not super humans. People are not flying. She shows us as we are and what will happen if we stay on the course we are on now. It is smartly written with very probable situations and the author really put thought into all the details of our future.
I thought it was perfect to have the chapters read by different voices. Lauren, her husband and daughter each write a chapter or have passages from their journals that tell their side of events. Each narrator did an excellent job.
Due to the bleak nature of this book I would not recommend it to readers with a weak stomach and who are looking for a happy love story.
But do read this one.
I have read Anne Rice's Gothic Vampire Chronicles from start to finish. And I was hooked. The writing was poetic and it charmed me from the first page. I have to say this didn't have the same power for me as I was expecting from her.
The story of a young reporter, Reuben coming to tour an old mansion in Northern California for the purpose of writing an glowing article to help Merchant sell it seems to full of "Say what?!" moments.
Ok. Get this! He is from a wealthy family and is more or less a lost soul. He is a junior reporter trying to find himself when he gets this assignment. Merchant is the niece of the long lost home owner and is much older. Of course they would end up in bed right? Exactly, "Say what?" Just like that! The book is full of moments I kept saying that to myself along with "Are you kidding me?"
What would you do if you see a wolf like man standing a few feet taller than you in the wood? Run? Scream? What about let him "take you"? Yessss! You heard me! They have sex. No "Hi. How are you?" or "What are you?" or "Who are you?" And when he changes back to regular Reuben she is cool with that too! She has zero, I mean ZERO freak out! Can we please say it together?
SAY WHAT!!!?? (God I need a gif for that one.)
Anyways, I love Anne Rice and I have followed her from Gothic Vampires to the story of Jesus. Loved them both. The Song of Seraphim's series which I read this year was just so-so for me.
I think I am not really feeling the old Anne is back. She has all the elements mixed up kinda. Since she found God she has included characters on a deep spiritual quest or awakening and it somehow takes away from the book.
But that being said there are too, too many "Say What?" moments in this book for me. (ie, Reuben takes a long time to figure out that he is a werewolf that got it from a bite. I knew minutes into it. Not weeks.)
I was really into this one. I love the storyline and the characters were well written. The only issue I had was the title. What does it have to do with the story?
This is the second book in the Whodunnit? series. I did a bit of looking around and it seems like it is the last book as of the time of this review. I listened to the audiobook of the first Whodunnit? Murder in Mystery Manor in October of this year. I gave it top stars. 5 out of 5.
In this second audiobook, Giles the perfect English butler finds himself in yet another evil plot to kill off 8 people in a game of life and death. But this time it is taking place on a small tropical island. Giles is forced by an anonymous killer to assist the contestants in playing the game to save his own life and the lives of the other resort staff members.
Don't worry there will not be any spoilers here at all.
In this second book, Giles mentions several time this is the third time he has gone through this situation. Say what?! This is book two. What third time? In book one that was the first time. Did I miss something. I have looked and this IS book TWO! Why would the author write that if there wasn't a third time. I knocked one whole star for that. Totally confusing!
The narrator was AMAZING and carried the story extremely well. I think I was just not into this one. I know this might seems silly to say but this audiobook seemed darker than the first one. I know there are people dropping dead in every single chapter but still. There was a deep depression throughout this book that the other book did not have.
The first book seemed like a game. More like the CLUE game board and this one was more or less like a horror story. Not funny at all! And yes there are moments when the author makes a joke or two. This one was not really my cup of tea.
It was just ok. There was a good set up and and good flow but a completely mediocre ending. I was just excepting a better ending with the storyline and all. Oh well!
If this book was not a selection from my book club for the month of September, I don't think I would have ever read it. I never heard of it until it was nominated.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the story of a young girl, Frances Nolan growing up in Brooklyn, New York at the turn of the century. The story takes a glimpse into a poor family of four surviving on the income of the mother and alcoholic father. What they lacked in money they make up for in pride, dignity, imagination and love. This is a wonderfully written story that takes the American Dream and shows us what it meant to this family.
I thought the book started off kind off slow and I really did not get into the characters until they were older, half way through the book. I had a small connection to Frances when she goes to the public library and the reader gets to find out why she loves it so much. I had the same feeling about Redondo Beach Public Library when I was a kid. But there was something about the book that just did not click with me until the end.
The book highlights the negative relationship women had with each other. Women were out to take men from each other, to brand other women whores, fight over jobs and at jobs, belittle the children, and they are always out for themselves until the midwife is called. Then they all come circling the wagons and help out in the bringing of a new child into the world. It was odd the amount off dislike, hate and fighting going on in this book. The kids are fighting with each other at school and in the streets. It is a constant fight for the highest rank in the lowest ranked neighborhood. I think that is the only thing that had me not 100% engulfed in the book.
I loved the new things I learned. Mostly, I learned about real life in the 1900's about the way people really lived and thought, about the clothing the poor men wore and the food they ate. As I was reading the book, I had to get a cup of coffee a few times and had to fight the urge to buy a sugar bun. Ahh! Just thinking about it now is making my mouth water.
The ending was perfect and just the way a great story should end. Don't worry I won't tell.
Audiobook: 15 hours and 2 minutes
Kate Burton (Narrator)
The narrator for this audiobook, Kate Burton did an excellent job and really pulled it off. She nailed the various accents in the small Brooklyn neighborhood. She had to perform the German, Jewish, Irish and New York Brooklyn accent (male and female) and keep France's voice age appropriate for the right age in the book. I think she did a great job of narrating this book.
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