Taina Rodrigues (the reader) was spot on for the voices and personalities in the story.
Emma, by Jane Austin. Okay, not the obvious comparison, but Mr. and Mrs. Ali are playing matchmaker with various levels of success in their business and personal lives. There are funny, quirky and heartbreaking scenes, so that we found ourselves rooting for the group of protagonists, even when they made silly choices.
While her tempo was slow, she made the characters distinct but not over-the-top. her phrasing for the dialogue was also very good and brought out the individual personalities.
We listened to it while in the car on a road trip, so we pretty much heard it all at once.
Kristin Chen's story is an enjoyable coming-of-age or finding-my-true-self kind of book. It's not earth shattering, but the right amount of personal input from the author to make you believe and care about Gretchen and her family. Chen creates a Gretchen as protagonist in which readers can find a connection. Sometimes that connection was a little too close to home and I wanted reach into the story to whisper to Gretchen: "How can you say/do that! Don't you see..." The supporting cast reinforces the relief between the two worlds (California and Singapore) Gretchen navigates. The ending maybe a little predictable, but I think that is the point of the story: Gretchen finds her way into a choice that makes sense for her and the person she has, and wishes, to become. May we all find that.
It was easy to listen to Nancy Wu's narration. This book uses different English voices (Californian American, 'good' Singaporean English, Australian English) as well as Singlish, and Chinese. I can't say how authentic Wu's interpretation of each are, but she did a good job of making them palatable to my American ear. I wish Wu had done a little research for the lyrics excerpted. I get it that a narrator may not be able to sing lyrics, but she could have gotten the phrasing and syllable emphasis correct and mimic a little of the tonal qualities of the songs. It was very distracting that she read them in monotone and with completely different phrasing. All in all I would listen to another narration by Nancy Wu, as long as there were no lyrics or poems.
Alethea Kontis spins a fantastic web of fairy tales into this retelling of the Frog Prince.
Papa's story about the cat that gave a wish to the little girl was so funny that we listened twice before listening to the rest of the story.
Yes! Katherine Kellgren was up to her superb reputation as a top reader.
Can't wait for the squeal with Saturday's story.
I already have! Susan Duerden's performance was spellbinding.
The best part of the story was how Franny Billingsly wove the landscape into the story, allowing it to intimately definer her characters.
Rose. although she is not the main character, her relationship with Briony shapes the story and humanizes their story.
I particularly liked how Briony finally realizes how she and Rose are alike when Rose speaks up in the courtroom. The dynamic of Briony as the defender and Rose as the protected is finally turned on its head. Rose only sees her role as necessary and matter of fact, but this moment is completely life and character changing for Briony. This is the part of the story where Rose is the hero. Fantastic.
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