I didn't like much about this book. The premise is not believable. The characters are mostly shallow and predictable. By the end of the book, I found the main character (Gabby) mostly just annoying in a cloying sort of way. The narration was OK. But just OK.
Good heavens, no!
About an hour and a half into this, I was almost laughing and thinking, "This had to have been written by a 16-year-old boy with a lively imagination."
It starts with the coincidence of the storyteller's installation of two freezers, solar panels and storage batteries in his house. The house is in a new housing development in which the streets don't even have names, but the house is - ready for this? - surrounded by a 10 foot stone wall. TEN feet. Uh huh.
The main - and only - character starts hearing about an epidemic in Russia that is either West Nile Virus or a mysterious hemorrhagic fever like Ebola ... or both. The author doesn't seem to know what either is so they are used interchangeably and as if nobody else knows the difference either.
Almost from the first few minutes of the book, with no character development at all, civilization begins to break down and what follows in the story is simplistic, childish and poorly written that nothing could persuade me to devote any more time to this.
The narration was OK. He only has one voice to do and he mostly does that breathlessly. All emotions have only one expression. But I can't blame him because the story is so thin and the characters - such as they are - have the depth of potato chips.
This is just so bad. I'm giving it back to Audible.
Where to start? It's been quite a while since I read a Kinsey Milhone story but I had enjoyed them so when this showed up as a bargain, I jumped on it. Turns out that it was inexpensive for a reason.
Pros: It's fun to read a book set in 1988 and realize she didn't even have a computer! She bought a low-mileage 3yo Toyota for $3,500! She had a typewriter and filed paper! That part is fun.
Cons: Everything else.
1. The narrator is pretty bad. She has limited range and most of any variation she uses will "fade" if a dialogue lasts for a while and both characters will end up sounding like her Kinsey Milhone, And I didn't like her Kinsey at all. Too hard edged. I thought Ms. Kaye's timing was fairly poor as well so that Kinsey's "snap" was missing. She was just flat.
2. The editing! Oh sweet mother Mary and all the saints, this book needed an editor SO badly! I have to ask if Grafton was paid by the word. I can handle a lot of detail but the further I got in this book, the more obvious and grating the detail became. Would you like to know how many departments the hospital has phone numbers for? Kinsey will not only tell you, but she will name every one of them for you before she tells you she found and dialed the number for the critical care unit! The book is full of that kind of stuff and *that* is just the stuff that does absolutely NOthing to advance the plot, add atmosphere or enhance the character. It's just details seemingly for the sake of details.
3. More editing! I am 12 hours into a 14 and 1/2 hour reading and I want to scream at the snails pace of this story! No, that's wrong. Snails move faster!
4. The plot is becoming sillier by the minute and we are about to be treated to a plot twist that is so coincidental that the only thing that could be worse is if the author had said, "And then I took out my magic wand and..."
I suppose I'll finish it. But I may not. It's just not good at all.
Oh, and Henry has lost his personality. I can't tell if it's because of the narration or because Kaye phoned this in. Dietz showed up and it was BORING! What?!? Really?
I liked what I learned about Mozart. Most interesting material. I would have liked Professor Greenberg to dial back his presentation about 30%.
He seems to be "chewing the scenery" in his apparent desire to bring the characters to life ... and to make his points. I was particularly distracted and often put off by his tendency to dramatize the reading of Mozart's correspondence - both from him and to him - in such a way as to almost make caricatures of the writers. It bordered on childish. There were many letters he read that I thought, had he read them rather than "performed" them, the meanings might not have been what he seemed to want us to believe they were.
Overall, I'm glad I listened to this course and will likely listen to others from Greenberg on the Great Masters, but this was a bit disappointing.
I had to struggle to stay with this book for quite a while. The author takes quite a long time to build the stories of the various characters and my struggle was mostly with the narrator whose voice I found terribly grating and whose narration I found less than stellar. The harshness of her voiuce was distracting most of the time and her characters were not easy to keep track of.
Having said that, I'm very glad I stuck it out because I did eventually get caught up in the building drama in spite of the seemingly mundane setting. As the characters began to take on depth and become "real" and recognizable, I began to appreciate the skill of the author in building tension. And when the denouement finally "hit," I gasped.
I really liked this book. It sparked curiosity, humor, fright, sadness, anger and frustration and I really came to care about the characters. It was of "Gone Girl" caliber, in my opinion. I have to wonder what a spectacular experience it might have been if the narration had been better.
I'd still recommend it, however. Be patient while you get to know the characters and eventually, you'll be completely hooked.
Maisie Dobbs is an investigator in London in 1930. There is nothing predictable about her. She's a fascinating, complicated, multi-dimensional character whose depth continues to grow as I get acquainted. The new narrator took a bit of getting used to, but I find I like her performance just fine (although I found her anglicized pronunciation of the Frenchman Maurice Blanche's name to be distracting, reduced to Morris Blanch.)
The Dobbs stories contain a bit of mysticism and this is the darkest so far in the series as Maisie and her contemporaries continue to deal with the aftermath of WW I. I have developed a new appreciation for the scope of that terrible conflict as a result of this series. In spite of its darkness and the serious nature of her investigations related to finding out about two lost airmen in France, the story is not a "downer." It's more "realistic" ... with some spooky stuff.
The resolution will strain your credulity a little bit, but I can deal with that for the sake of a really good story... and this is a really good story.
I liked "Pardonable Lies" a great deal and I am not hesitating to purchase and download book 4 in the series.
Normally, a Great Courses audible course is a treat I indulge in when I am on the treadmill. Today I was on the treadmill and started this course. Although I've been listening to or watching Great Courses for years - many dozens of them - It is the first Great Masters course I've tried. I became so thoroughly engaged that I couldn't stop listening. For the rest of my day off, while I went to the market, folded laundry, finished Christmas gift wrapping and did some holiday baking I listened. While I made our dinner I listened. When I normally would sit down in the afternoon and read for a couple of hours, I listened instead. I finished it in one day.
This is a fascinating. engaging, amazing story. I have always rather like Beethoven's music, but I had no idea about his life. What an amazing character! And Professor Greenburg really brought him to life and brought him into MY life. He made the man seem as real to me as John Lennon or Annie Lennox.
The Professor is passionate about music and I learned a fair amount about how Beethoven impacted the history of western music. I will seek out some of Beethoven's work and listen with more interest and appreciation thanks to this course.
I got this book on one of Audibles sales and then bought and listened to the next three. I thoroughly enjoyed them all, but this is the one that roped me in.
I enjoyed the great gobs of fascinating history we got to learn about in such an entertaining manner, but I really loved the exciting, cheeky, brave and fascinating adventures of the Historians of St. Mary's. But I especially loved the amazing Max - she of the red hair, great courage and smart ass.
There is also violence and sarcasm and some rough language, so it's not "just chick lit."
Ms. Rahm did a fairly good job. She could have used a bit more distinction among the voices, but I didn't lose the thread, so she must have been OK. She handled the British barbs with great skill, so the humor often drew an out-loud chuckle from me (which only got me odd looks once - while I was sitting in a waiting room waiting to get a mammogram.)
Thoroughly enjoyable first book.
So, this was THE novel of mid-20th century, eh? Well... it beats me why.
Perhaps I'm insufficiently "existentialist" or perhaps I am bored by sociopaths, but this one really left me cold (get it?) The main character is perhaps one of the flattest, least appealing, least sympathetic characters I've ever encountered and that is compounded by an essentially plotless, repetitive, pointless "story" that seemed to have almost nothing of value to say... about anything.
At just over 3 and 1/2 hours, it certainly barely qualifies as a novel and, while the narrator did an OK job, I recognize that the poor sod had very little to work with!
Like Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" and that ghastly piece of drek, "Wicked", this appears to be one of those books that get rave reviews and leave me scratching my head in puzzlement.
I liked this book a lot. I like all of the Virgin River books, but this and "Virgin River Christmas" are my two favorites in the VR series. I'm not sure what it is about Paige and Preacher and their story that captivated me, but they truly did. Preacher Middleton (John) is a archetype - well, pretty much all Carr's VR characters are! But he's a skillfully drawn archetype - the gentle giant who falls for the tiny helpless woman and rescues her.
But, of course, this is VR, so the women are rarely actually helpless or stand idly by being rescued. Paige's courage and strength also rescue Preacher from the aloneness that suited him -- until it didn't.
Yes, it's a romance, but Carr doesn't write just love and lust. She also writes as much as possible about real people in real situations and how they meet their challenges.
And along the way you'll meet more of Virgin River's quirky cast of residents and fall a little bit more in love with the little town. The book carries Jack and Melinda's story forward as well because, of course, it all starts with them.
It must also be said that Therese Plummer is as much a part of Virgin River as Jack's Bar. She doesn't have a wide range of voices, but something about her narration takes me into the characters in a way that just reading cannot do. I have read several of them, and they just don't "come alive" for me the way Plummer brings them to life when I listen to her read them.
This isn't heavy reading, but it's great story-telling. Enjoy.
The narrator (OMG, the Narrator!!)
The horrible, pointless ending.
Where to start?
Her little-girl voice made the protagonist (Samantha) sound like a petulant teenager, rather than a highly educated, young, up-and-coming attorney from a top-tier law firm.
Ms. Tabor has no male voices at all. In fact, other than her rural twang, she has almost no variety to the voices she does have.
It was often difficult to tell who was speaking. Her manner of reading sucked all "life" from the story.
She lacks the ability to convey emotion so she seemed more to be reading a corporate policy manual than a novel.
This is not John Grisham-quality work at all. The protagonist has all the depth of a soda cracker.. and is just about that interesting - when she isn't simply annoying. In fact, none of the main characters had all that much depth with the possible exception of the Gray brothers ... sorta.
The entire plot seems to be mostly a vehicle for discussing the evils of coal companies without Grisham having put any appreciable effort into actually telling a story.
There is almost no courtroom time in this Grisham at all. He sort of tiptoes up to it... and then simply goes around it.
And finally, having spent 16+ hours listening to this 14 hour reading (I had to go back and re-listen in some parts because of the poor narration) the book simply ended. Plunk. Important plot lines were left hanging because the protagonist made a rather lame and not very solid decision and the book was over. And there was I going, "What ...?!?"
It stuns me to say this, but I'm giving Audible back a John Grisham novel. That's amazing.
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