I was swept up in this one... I became very invested once it became clear just how smart and tough and courageous Eveline was. I knew she had it in her to face whatever happened and to cope with her less-than-ideal situation.
I had confidence that they'd fall in love, especially once Graeme realized her deafness and they could move past the whole is-she-daft? issue. I was concerned about the Montgomery clansmen's abuses, and foresaw the trouble that lay ahead for her, and I was proud of how she meant to work to earn their respect and acceptance. But I was also on edge about what things could go wrong, and so when tensions built and danger arose I was not surprised. But I was still so worried the hatred from the feud would blind them and let all hell break loose.
My biggest worry was that of them being betrayed, and of the families attacking first and asking questions later. My fiancé will attest to the anxiety I felt and my determination to see the resolution before I could go to sleep. I did have some slight disappointment with the climactic action scene (though it had me holding my breath up until then). I hadn't anticipated the final family scenes and they made for a glad conclusion.
I just loved Rory, and the other Montgomery brothers grew on me. Though, I have not determined yet if I want to read the next books in the series that follow those siblings.
Narration was quite good, though not quite what I'd call exceptional. There were at least a few spots where it was difficult to tell who was speaking in dialogue due to a voice mix-up, and even hard to tell sometimes when Graeme or Eveline were thinking versus actually speaking, as distinction was barely if ever made in the reading style, or because an aloud thought followed immediately on the heels on an inner-voiced thought. But most characters' voices were differentiated most of the time, accents were appropriate, and her male intonations were adequate.
The overall theme of warring families united by forced marriage is by no means original, but I liked Banks' treatment of it here. All that said, I think this is probably the best children-of-enemies romances I've read to date.
This was the most fun I've had listening to an audiobook in a long time!
It was entertaining historical fiction with a steampunk/supernatural bent, with a theme of girls behaving like boys and having adventures while at a school of both manners and intelligence training.
Quite a lot of wonderfully creative names, including my new favorite mechanical sausage dog (disguised as a ladies formal dress reticule, bound to be the latest fashion) : the adorable Bumbersnoot. The school is chock full of interesting characters, I loved the friendships that developed with Vièv and Soap especially. They were great company for fun and for break-ins to restricted areas. I think they handled themselves wonderfully, for 13-year-olds, in a race to save the day and to recover a piece of highly sought after technology. It was a well done plot, unfolding piece by piece in the puzzle until the "final showdown" for all the marbles.
I was happy for Sophronia to have found comrades in mischief and a productive outlet for her talents, no matter what her mother thinks of them. =P
Narration was great - several varied voices for dialogue, all appropriately gendered with proper dialects. Only a few minor instances of voice mix-ups, but the speaker was known from context, so did not present a problem.
From a proper curtsy and quadrille to the finer points of poison and secret message passing, I think I shall like to read more in the series, I can't imagine what new escapades may be in store aboard the giant airship campus. Brilliant writing, a lot of fun, even if I'm not part the target audience -teenage girls. I laughed out loud often (awkward on public transportation) and didn't want to put it down.
I think this is one of the best regency romances I've read yet. It wasn't melodramatic and there weren't any ridiculous villains. The plot developed their relationship at a reasonable pace, from sharp-tongued adversaries à la Taming of the Shrew to their outings, building up to their realizations of falling in love.
One thing I especially liked was that they didn't go to bed together early on, as happens in so many books with arranged marriages or scandals and whatnot only to have them build a relationship and fall in love later. And it didn't take one bit away from the heat and tension of the book - for one thing there was the serial she read which added some adult content. But also the author I thought crafted the scenes of them getting to know each other and built up to their passionate kiss with plenty of heat to tide over until they made love. I also appreciated Linden's use of language - the suggestive and explicit sections were tasteful, never struck me as crass in any way.
A great adventure with a good-hearted rake. Highly enjoyable.
The one bad thing I must say though, this narrator was sub-par at best. One of the worst dialogue-ists I have ever had to keep re listening to in order to understand. The basic narration was fine, but you could barely tell any character voices apart, and even when you could it was rarely consistent. There were instances were males and females in conversations swapped or even shared the same tone, leaving the reader to fend for themselves. Even worse, sometimes the rhythm and pauses were mis-done, causing phrases to run into each other that were separate thoughts and sections, even jumping to entirely new scenes with no discernible break in her reading. It felt off balance until you realized she must have started a new paragraph without even taking a beat or a breath when she finished a prior sentence. I still liked the story, but they need to record a better edition.
This was pretty good. Sequel in the same line as "you are not so smart" which i read a year or so ago. This one went beyond the typical pysch 101 level, and I found it more interesting. All about the unconscious biases and coping mechanisms our brains use to get us through the day, dealing with topics from de-individuation (and crowd anonymity) to group dynamics, confidence and optimism... A lot about how we edit and adjust our memories and aspects of how we define ourselves and others in order to cope and keep our beliefs consistent. We all tend to think we are above average, and we are prone to ignorance of the states/beliefs of others.
It was very well presented and accessible. I like the idea that the author reveals your own mind's bag of tricks you may not have known you had, and mentions ways of sometimes getting around them. It's funny, just how many many of our own lies we fall for, but now I know a little bit more about it, and if I care to take that extra moment to consider things, I can take that into account and adjust my perspective, and improve my understanding of myself and others.
We are not as objective, perceptive, or smart as we think we are!
Good narration, no issues.
Will likely revisit when I need a little reality check or popular psychology fix.
I feel pretty "eh" about this book. I had actually never heard of this ex- basketball star slash Senator before. There was some interesting history about how policies and the state of affairs has evolved over our country's life, but sometimes he would just go on and on about financial markets and bad debt or something in a way that let my attention wander, to say the least.
I could see what he was getting at overall, and I agree with some of the goals and reforms he suggests are necessary (taxes), but we have some different ideas as to how. He spent a while in a later chapter talking about how the political climate has more polarized since his time of service and how politics has become more combative and how collaboration is endangered on the Hill if not extinct. This I could tell you just from my knowledge of politics during my lifetime, not surprising.
I was amused at some of the characterizations he used to illustrate the different platforms / ideologies of the two major parties. I cracked up when he made the claim that logical and fact-based arguments were at the core of Democrats' speech whereas Republicans use the language of emotion and conviction. In the twenty or so years that I have tuned in to such things, I have nearly always found it to be just the opposite.
However, he hit the nail on the head when he said the liberal mentality is one of communal caring, and conservatives are all about individual responsibility. And that distinction exactly describes the difference between what he and I think. But beliefs aside, his aims I think are in the right direction. Gotta fix taxes, get out of the "nation-building" business, and prepare for the next battles being fought economically and technologically. And I was interested, though skeptical, about the practicability of some of the third-party things he discussed.
Unfortunately, the narration was sub-par. Bradley narrated the intro and conclusion himself, which was fine (I can't criticize him, though I just didn't care for the sound of his voice), but the pro who did the middle five and a half hours or so was just not up to my standards. He droned on, and had no variety whatsoever in his intonation - just used the same prosody line after line, whether appropriate or not - it made it hard to keep focused, because his reading just didn't keep my interest or attention. At one point I even imagined the Peanuts' teacher...
I only got this cause it was on sale, and I think I'm returning it, as I feel no real desire to even rewind to listen to the bits that I nodded off for...
There are so many things to be said of this book that it is difficult to know where to begin. I had little idea of what I was in for, expecting a historical fiction mystery... But this was so much more than a colonial caper.
The prose was phenomenal. By the end of just the first chapter I had been gripped by the tone and imagery. It was heavy, verbose, and oh so vivid.
This book is not for the weak of heart or stomach - the author spared no detail nor gruesome reality that was life in the early American colonies. Scenes were painted so thoroughly, and were so often vile that I felt ill just from the reading... Awful filth and rats and unspeakable conditions. And that's not to mention the regularly occurring accounts of graphic crime, gore, and unsavory sexual acts. Very well written very revolting things. And that's before even considering the injustices being wrought.
I thanked heaven for a sane and wise creature like Mrs. Nettles, she was the spot of sunlight in a town driven mad by superstition and horror. The terrible injustice, and outright ignorance and bias incensed me, and I was angry and indignant for days as Matthew sought the truth, only to be condemned as bewitched for considering another solution. I was appalled by the injustices, though I imagine them all too realistic to be pure fiction.
McCammon is a masterful and artful author with a gift for laying bare the full range of the human condition. It was quite a twisted tale, and though I writhed and gasped through the suspense and each new discovery, I am satisfied with the resolutions as they came about. Thankful even, that things turned out the way they did. I of course had my theories along the way, some in tune with Matthew's, some not... but without any spoilers, I can say that just the right amount of red herrings were laid and revealed, and I was stumped by many of them, though I can say with pride that I did guess one big component ahead of the plot (I was tipped off to it when Matthew was reviewing details in the testimony). But even after that, there was so much new information and action constantly unfolding that it was an adventure just to keep up and I had trouble putting the book down at bedtime for several nights in a row.
This was honestly one of the most harrowing reads I have ever undertaken, and its depth, truth, and adventure still have me dazed and weighted down.
I've given it four stars instead of five only because I cannot like the disturbed feeling it has left me with, but praise it for having done that so well.
The narration was pretty good too. Ballerini was capable of lending proper accents and emotions. My only negative comment was that a few scenes of discussion were confusing when several men were together and his voice failed to switch characters adequately to indicate the speakers. But it didn't happen often, and the few times that it did I was able to sort out with a quick rewind.
An impressive work. I have never read its equal in historical fiction / dark and suspenseful crime solving. Some of those vivid and graphic scenes will stay with me for a long time to come...
I am ambivalent about this book. As it turns out, it was much more in depth science than I was in the mood for. Not that that's bad, it robustly covered every branch of physical science as it came into play- everything from astrophysics and geology to chemistry and microbiology... The author did include some "attention keepers" and amusing anecdotes peppered throughout, but if the subject matter isn't your cup of tea, it is not worth the read.
If you are not opposed to discussions that get down into the chemical makeup of obscure minerals and the theories on evolution of early microbes, then by all means give this a shot. Proportionally, my interests were in the first and final thirds on the genesis and most recent history of the planet. Even during those though, I still found myself zoning out and having to backtrack.
I nodded off not once, but twice during his chapter on the plate tectonics, something which, though being a little dry, I studied with interest in high school, and certainly it had never put me to sleep before. The mood picked up when he finally hit the Cambrian period and the trilobites (clearly a passion of his). Unfortunately he lost me entirely in the final chapter and epilogue when he digressed from the future of the planet into environmentalist preaching... say what you will about the climate change debate, that is not what I wanted to hear about here.
The narrator was adequate but not at all engaging. I gave it three stars across the board because I neither liked it nor disliked it. Maybe if I'm more in the mood for mineralogical history some day in the future, this will be worth revisiting.
Anyway, a solid nonfiction book, trove of wide ranging science on all things Earth, and worth it if you can keep focused on it.
A good bio, but I took longer to listen to it than I usually do with books of comparable length. Stross showed the private workaholic inventor's journey from telegraph operator to celebrity nearly overnight, and how his temperament and celebrity would influence his work and the world at the turn of the century and beyond. While he did do a lot of work and began innumerable projects, I think his lab assistants and employees did not get nearly enough credit for their contributions.
I think his own stubbornness and confidence in his own opinions and powers were his downfall when it came to the business side of his many operations. If he hadn't been so set on his phonograph being purposed exclusively how he wished, he could have capitalized on the public interest early and run away with the market - but his disdain for the public's "lower minded" wants and his inflexibility lead to others taking over the market when the time was ripe, and he again failed to adjust with the advent of radio entertainment. I think a lot of his perceptions and narrow-minded opinions when it came to all things audio was due to his partial and increasing deafness (an aspect that was totally new to me, though I had some cursory familiarity with his general bio). But he had his way, he made every decision and things were done how he wanted them to be done.
It still strikes me as amazing how much credit the press gave him, and how big a public figure he became -and stayed- despite his overestimates of his achievements and their release dates. Especially when it came to his work on incandescent light and rolling out his utility service in NYC. I liked the sections on the kinetoscope's development and on his friendship with Ford. What a world it was for them... And so true, as the author pointed out in the final passages, that he lived at an ideal time for all of the developments to take place and to receive the recognition that he did. Industries were born from his work, and everyone knew it was his work, whereas today most people don't think twice or care to know who developed and advanced the technology we use every day - just as I would not have known whose patents were involved in the iPod in my hand even though his total patent count rivals Edison's...
Very well read by Mr. Gardner. He had an animated tone, and really brought the scenes in the lab and late 19th century to life. No dry non-fiction droning here. I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the inventor.
Well, if there were other books by Emily Bronte I can't say I wouldn't try it, but as this was her only published novel, we will never know. The narrators were satisfying enough that I wouldn't avoid other books they've read, but nor were they exceptional enough for me to seek them out for their voices alone.
I liked the use of two narrators for this work, as it help set off Bronte's structure, though the narration as a whole wasn't without it's flaws. I recall when I read a hard copy in high school, I was often bewildered to remember who was talking, and this solved that issue to an extent, by giving our narrator Lockwood the voice of Page, and his storyteller Nellie the voice of Merlington. The trouble still arose within Nellie's tales because Merlington hardly used any variation in her narration to distinguish between dialogue and narration within Nellie's story and Nellie outside of the flashbacks (so that when Nellie would switch from retelling speech to someone or commentary in the past to suddenly addressing Lockwood in the present, it could sound as if he were in the scene in the past). The issue eased up when Nellie's story began to catch up with the present day of Lockwood's visit.
I feel absolutely no need for a furthering of the saga. Leave those poor folks in peace and take me no more to those depressing moors.
A classic, and well written, but tragic and awful tale of the inhabitants of the Heights. It took me so long to get through because it continuously depressed me with each new development Nellie regaled upon Mr. Lockwood. The epitome of the Gothic style, the original tragic soap opera.
Never have I come across a more tortured and cruel soul in literature than that of Heathcliff, and while I can comprehend the sources of his motives, I have no sympathy for this anti-hero.
It was hard to understand some of the thick accents like Joseph's but otherwise was gripping and heart wrenching... I nearly gave up hope before the end... Such ghastly episodes and doomed creatures... and though a masterpiece of fiction, I hardly think I will have the inclination to revisit such dark pages again anytime in the near future. True, the last 20 mins or so made me feel a little better for the two young folks, but still... Unsettling is the only word for it.
This was a wonderful cozy style amateur sleuth mystery.
The main character -cookie baker turned investigator- Hannah was immediately likable. She had a great attitude, and I liked both her internal sarcastic and flippant commentary and her reminders to be more tactful, and I appreciated her intelligence and the logical way she went about trying to follow up all of her leads.
Plot-wise, there were one or two things I picked up on earlier than Hannah (like Danielle's situation) but she caught up, and she always tried to do the right thing and help people when she could (like getting Tracy's old things to Luanne). I also realized the true identity of the murderer a step ahead of her, but she was biased a bit about her suspect, so I forgave her oversight. And of course the Eureka moment wouldn't have been nearly as suspenseful or well/satisfyingly played out if she'd come to the correct conclusion earlier. With Hannah doing all the sleuthing and legwork that she did, I wonder how Bill is going to get on during future investigations...
Great supporting cast of friends, family, and other townspeople ... Norman was entertaining, as were "the mothers" (though thank heavens my mom isn't of the matchmaking persuasion). Her shop assistant and friend Lisa sounds like a godsend, the kindest and hardest working young woman you'll ever meet. I wasn't sure about Hannah's sister Andrea but she grew on me, and her daughter was adorable. And I have high hopes for the new detective in town.
And I can't forget to mention the cookies! I loved all the cookies. I've bookmarked and copied out the recipes and can't wait to bake them -the chocolate covered cherry delights especially, they sounded to-die-for. My mouth is watering just thinking about them...
The narration was great. Suzanne Toren had the perfect tone for Hannah - sometimes she sounded like a no nonsense Catherine Hepburn type, which I thought was perfect. She did manage varied voices for most of the cast, though a few of the younger females sounded a bit too high and airy for my liking. For the male voices she didn't do anything too rough or growl-y sounding, she lowered her tone a little, but aside from knowing who was speaking, they didn't have a distinct masculine quality- but that's fine by me. I'd rather have it sound natural and distinct and less male sounding than to have to grit my teeth through a poor attempt at a deep or gruff tone that just sounds constipated or always angry (which I have heard female narrators do to the heroes of novels)... It was well done, no glaring inconsistencies in dialogue or other narration or editing issues.
I look forward to the next installment (both for the great story and characters, and for the recipes)!
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