I would maybe recommend it if a friend were looking for light reading and didn't mind the soap opera drama that the main character is constantly turning her life into (not to mention that this particular installment actually revolves around the set of a primetime soap opera). I enjoyed the first book, but as i keep reading further in the series, Maddie's little moments, crazy ideas, and melodramatic reactions to things, and continual misunderstanding of her love interest Ramirez, have been driving me more and more nuts, so I'm not sure how much more I can take. I may try book 4 before i lose patience with her.Maddie and her cast of friends are, if nothing else, certainly a delightful little escape from the usual mystery novel, which are often more dark and procedural.
One of the craziest characters I've come across in any series is Mrs. Rosenblat, a ridiculously-dressed friend of Maddie's mother, who says she communicates with the other world through a spirit guide, and is always warning Maddie about the color of her aura. She is very well performed, and always makes me laugh. Shaffer's voicing makes her really come to life as a character.
Because I tend to do most of my listening on my way to and from work (combination hoofing it and bus), I usually don't get in more than an hour or two of a book a day. But the style of this series is a really easy listen, and often fast-paced. The first book kept me hooked for as long as I could, to the point of continuing to listen while at work, and I finished it in only 2 days. This one took me a couple more days, but it could easily be a one or two day listen over a weekend to entertain during chores and such.
Another delightful volume in the adventures of the Emerson clan. Some returning characters, and some new colorful additions pepper this season's mystery at Luxor and the Valley of the Kings with new challenges.
I quite enjoyed the additional point of views added by the narratives of "Manuscript H"; they added a new dimension to the story, both in terms of the development of the mystery as well as of the lives and relationships of the children - who are not such young children anymore. Ramses once again goes out and about incognito. I enjoyed the "all for one and one for all" collaboration they start in secret on board the dahabiya, and the foreshadowing about their futures.
I was most amused by how Amelia took to Ms. Jones, and how Cyrus did even more so. And I hope Miss Dolly gets what she deserves, spoiled ninny of a girl. I think the antics of the Cat Sekhmet were one of my favorite amusements throughout (R.I.P. Bastet).
Barbara Rosenblat narrated beautifully as always. She really brings a liveliness to the story, and gives unique voice to each of the varied characters (Cyrus is one of my favorite voices by her). Her slight adjustments to the children's maturing voices was expertly done.
I highly recommend the series and I look forward to reading the next installment.
This was a lovely story, and I enjoyed it one one level, even though I didn't really appreciate every aspect of it. I didn't realize when I purchased it, but it is very much rooted in faith - it plays a role in the lives and actions of each of the characters. As I was not raised a churchgoer, nor have I read most of the bible, and I have never considered myself a believer, much of the meaning and impact of their faith was lost on me.
But I do like hearing about stories connected through history, and people whose lives which would otherwise not have touched each other but that they shared in the life of the dress. Their stories gave glimpses into some very different eras in history - different times and societies, but in which people (and love) have pretty much remained the same over the decades. Emily's story in particular interested me, such a bold independent and intelligent woman not only bucking the prejudices of her time but fighting for love.
The path of the dress between her and Charlotte was also an incredible tale, though a little less heard. I am glad Charlotte found new family in the women she connected with and was able to discover more of her own past. Her love story in the present held less interest for me, aside from how it drove her investigation, as I felt I knew how it would turn out.
Again, probably better appreciated overall by someone who shares the characters' faith. It was a little hard for me to swallow the "god told me to leave the trunk there for you" and when they felt "His divine influence"... foreign concepts, which I do not understand or believe in. But I looked past that to appreciate the unveiling of history and the long-past love stories woven in the gold threads of the dress.
The narration was fine, but not remarkable. It was better than plain reading aloud, and she tried to differentiate characters (difficult because many had the same southern accent), but her character voices were not always consistent. Some of the women were hard to tell apart, and I actually found one place where Emily was referred to as Charlotte, which totally confused me and I had to re-listen to figure out which century I was in. Aside from that, I'm glad there were clear announcements of the names of whose perspective we were in, or it would have totally lost me.
Nice story, and I got it on sale, so not a wasted purchase, but not a likely re-read for me.
I don't recall how this title came my way, but I'm glad it did. I have never been a big fan of fantasy, but after trying the Dresden files, found that that style of part urban fantasy and part mystery thriller worked for me. The trouble I have is with worlds and beings entirely separate from what I know, when an author drops you into the unfamiliar and starts off running with it without introducing the world - this, on the other hand wove the world of Faerie and its denizens into modern San Francisco, and did enough explaining and introduction of the fae that were come across for me not to get lost. Left some of it very mysterious though, and sometimes I wished for more background info. The challenge of changeling existence was a semi-familiar concept, so throw in her private investigating (and a quest for revenge), and her attitude and you get me hooked.
This book was also a lot like Dresden in that she got pulled into the action without entirely consenting, but would do anything to help a friend, was pretty much forced to be reactionary the whole way through, takes risks with powerful and scary beings, has a sardonic and cynical attitude and smart mouth to match (I laughed out loud a lot, even during high tension scenes at her remarks, everything from her waking up with a deadpan "oh good, not dead" or "talking usually indicates consciousness", to her blunt and sometimes sarcastic observations about the traditions of faerie and the different fae races, and myriad charming smart-ass lines), and it all boils down to a showdown with the bad guy.
While I liked Toby and her liege lord the Duke and his Duchess, I think my favorite characters were the legendary sea witch/demon (whose name after hearing I couldn't even try to spell but just looked it up: the Luidaeg) and most of all the rose goblin. The adorable purring walking feline-rosebush. Useful as long as you don't take your eyes off them.
The one issue I took in all of this story was just how much she kept going after taking a beating and even getting shot (with iron no less). Even with a little healing help as she went along, it seemed to me she must have incredible endurance to keep on her feet and running from the bad guys as long as she did... It just seemed like as much as she was commenting on her own blood loss and pain, that it didn't have as much impact as it should have had.
The narration was great. There were multiple accents (some tinged with a nice Irish lilt in the fae courts) for the numerous voices, all kept consistently, never a doubt who was speaking. And her delivery was spot-on, matching the attitude of Toby all the way. I am familiar with Gaelic words and phonetics, and it was nice to hear them spoken smoothly (for those NOT familiar with them, that would be one definite advantage of listening to the audiobook rather than only reading off the page).
Definitely set itself up to be a series, which I will look into getting if I find myself in the mood for more fae tales mixed into my cache of whodunits.
Yes, I found it very entertaining
Only things I have read like it are other stories by Wodehouse
The wonderful accents and life he brings the colorful characters. The dialogue timing is great, executed for maximum grave/humorous effect.
There were many moments that brought laughter, but were not "moving" per se.
I think poor Bertie would be spared very much distress if all of the women throughout these stories didn't delude themselves into thinking he was in love with them (remarkable for them to imagine, they are very silly women to my mind) ....and immediately attach themselves to him when their usual love affairs go awry. So many quickly formed and broken engagements in his circle of acquaintance... :P
First off, I have to say this audiobook is the only one if its kind I have ever listened to. Neil Gaiman cannot be compared to any other writer I have yet read. And not only that, he narrates his own work. Amazingly.
This story has left me in an odd state of mind though. He brought forth the whole range of real human emotions throughout the story. At times it made me smile at the quaint and charming moments, like when the boy curled up in the Wee-Willie-Winkie nightdress with the black kitten on his pillow, or enjoyed a meal in the farmhouse kitchen. At other times it had me gasping in disgust/horror, like either of the too vivid scenes in the bathroom. Sometimes I was just left in bewilderment, at the other-worldly events transpiring for which little or no explanation is hazarded. And still other times it had me on the edge of my seat in terror, at the attempts of Ursula to imprison the boy, and at the decent of the Hunger Birds.
And all these, woven masterfully together in a story that transcended time and dimensions - sometimes altering them, along with the concept of reality, right before the eyes... So artful, imaginative, and yet haunting. A unique effect, and an incomparable story.
Fantasy is not my genre. I usually steer clear (preferring historical fiction). But I had listened to the free excerpt of this book when I read a short story by Gaiman nearly a year ago, and it seemed grounded in the real world, so I felt comfortable enough to give it a shot, even knowing the author's proclivity to evoke Lovecraft-esque beings or inexplicable worlds... Now I realize that of course, I had heard just the opening intro to the boy's life, and had not yet gotten to the chewy and bizarre center, as it were... And yet I'm not left feeling too horror-stricken, by the fantastical beings or events, more in awe and still trying to let it sink in... wondering if I will remember it the same, or if the second moon over the back of the house was just a trick of the light. ;)
Because it was not to my usual tastes, and I don't know that I will find myself reading it again, I rated it less than 5-stars, but it was very good, supremely well-written and narrated. Better suited to someone who enjoys this kind of story than myself. But I was more than impressed by the imagery, the portrayal of each character, and the light shed on our ideas of humanity, understanding, and reality.
Treasure of a book. And brought to life so naturally by the author's own voice. I may try more of Gaiman's works, if I find that I'm in the right sort of mood.
Wow...what a thriller. I don't think I've ever been made so nervous in a murder mystery before. And I had little clue the entire way through, until something mentioned in passing by the police in the penultimate chapter perked up my suspicions- but even then I hadn't put it all together (I had really stopped trying very hard to figure it out once the doctor was found... just waiting it out until the unveil at that point). Sent shivers down my spine nearly the whole 6 hours. That nursery rhyme was well selected; I still feel a little haunted by it... The constant murder countdown, one by one slowly and inevitably...
Dan Stevens, hats off to you! If I hadn't known better, I could have thought there was a full cast reading this, rather than a single person supplying over a dozen voices. Stevens is one of the only male narrators I have heard able to voice multiple female characters so well and consistently, without trouble distinguishing between them or sounding too high-pitched or forced. Masterfully done, seamless character transitions, and fantastically carried out the emotion of every scene -not just of individuals, but the atmosphere. From the initial curiosity and disbelief, to the suspicion and weariness, he made it palpable, as if you were right there on the island with them... It was one of the most marvelous performances I have ever heard, rivaled only by Stevens' own narration of Murder on the Orient Express. If I could give him more than 5 stars, I would!
A wonderful chilling suspense mystery. Gotta love the timing of a thunderstorm as I read the last chapters... A great read, which I will gladly revisit in future, especially since my heartbeat has returned to normal now...
It had been a few years since I read this Austen novel. I always enjoy her works, and find this one unique- she often addresses the reader directly during the narrative, commenting on society or proprieties in a way I find most amusing. These, and a few quotes from Henry Tilney, are the source of some of my favorite tidbits and doses of wisdom from Austen.
The wild imagination of the heroine, though sometimes ridiculous and beyond belief, is very entertaining, and she does at least learn from her folly. I find the episode (and later explanation) of the laundry bills the most smile-worthy. The attention, or rather the lack thereof by Mrs. Allen (with regard to the activities and society being kept) still offends and alarms me, though it was corrected by Catherine's own feelings and Mr. Allen's eventual input before she was led astray. The Thorpes never cease to vex me... John's actions on so many occasions were not only rude and self serving but very much without any regard for their effect on her, not to mention Isabella's bad influence and improper conduct. They are unapologetic fortune-hunting upstarts. Anyway, I was very glad that Catherine found herself more in the society of the irreproachable Tilney siblings, and able to face the challenges of their father the General. Very happy and satisfactory endings for all who deserved them, Austen never lets me down.
The narration was proficient, though less than remarkable. A notch above simply reading aloud, but without quite the quality of a performance. Male voices were a bit limited, but satisfactory; only one or two instances of dialogue became quite confusing at the abbey, where during a discussion she failed to switch between the proper voices for several lines, giving Henry Catherine's voice and her his a few moments later. But it merited only one quick re-listen to sort it out, and there were no egregious flaws in the reading otherwise.
A delightful novel, and as Henry Tilney approves of reading them, so I most certainly shall continue to find pleasure in doing so, lest I be found to be intolerably stupid.
Melodramatic, thy name is Laura Landon. This book was that from the first, not just in characters' backgrounds but also in style and narration. Not always bad, but I found it tiring at times. I had read one other book by Landon before, Silent Revenge - which I returned in great disappointment, unable to handle the outrageous melodrama and overly evil antagonist. I already had this title in my library, so I thought I'd give the author another chance. This one was better, but not by much. It was nearly as melodramatic, and almost more predictable.
She was really redundant about the problems and fears of the main characters. The hero has demons and is terrified of his wife dying. I get it. No need to hammer that in every other chapter -with the same language no less- over and over. And I saw the final "twist" and danger coming miles and miles away, from the first ball attended. Ah well, I did at least like that Grace always held her head high and had the courage to do anything needed, from protecting her sisters and herself, and getting through to Vincent. I can't stand helpless heroines, so this novel beat 'Silent Revenge' on that count. The intimate scenes weren't the best I've heard, some of the lead ups were good, but I just didn't always care much for the authors word choice in the language describing their desire -these phrases were also used again and again with little variation.
Overall, I didn't dislike it outright, but wouldn't listen again. The narrator was inconsistent more often than not, both when switching between narrative and dialogue as well as between characters' voices in dialogue. Even between Grace and Vincent, who you ought to be able to keep straight by gender alone, but that certainly wasn't the case several times. Additionally, when Vincent had his own voice it was always angry and strained (and while his character was often those things, sometimes it was just godawful and inappropriately emoted), so that he talked like he was constantly constipated and in pain. The other incidental male voices of the butler and brothers in law were fine, so I cannot account for the terrible voicing of the hero.
Considering returning the title. I felt like wading through the melodrama and gritting my teeth through the narration wasn't worth it to get to the inevitable and very predictable happily ever after. I will not likely read Landon again. I don't have high hopes for other narrations by Coomes, but I won't write her off without another chance.
I've previously read this book a few times, but this was my first listen. I always enjoy Austen, and this was no exception. Emma entertains me with her matchmaking attempts and blindness to the realities of the feelings of those involved, as well as in the minute descriptions of such varied characters as the audacious Mrs. Elton, the insipid Miss Bates, the lively Frank Churchill, and invalid Mr. Woodhouse. Even when Emma finds herself in a muddle or having done wrong, she instantly repents of any mistake and endeavors to correct it. I've found my self occasionally annoyed with her naivete, but on my first read-through, I missed some helpful social cues too, so how can I blame her for not seeing all correctly? Then I remember that no lasting harm is done, and enjoy the story. She has merit enough, and good intentions, for me to forgive any folly. It's also amusing to reflect, that while I did not experience quite the class distinctions in my community as existed then, the social world and courtship, er, dating, is much the same for young people today as it was as Austen depicted it for Emma and company almost 200 hundred years ago. (recalling unrequited crushes, and nudging certain college friends together...) Though, piano fortes are not so often given as gifts to secret lovers these days I think - one of my favorite little points of this story. On the whole, a beautiful portrait of a charming cast of characters and, more generally, of early 19th century English country life.
This narrator was a wonderful voice for Austen, with the proper energy and cadence, though her range of character voices was small. A few women had distinct voices (a few were made distinct by speech style, rather than sound); there were only one or two distinct male voices; but regardless, it was never difficult to follow who was speaking given those few and help from context. The one difficulty I had was occasionally in telling the difference between Emma speaking aloud or in her own head. By no means did this narrative style detract from the story-telling. She had a proper and classy British accent, which I found more than once to remind me of Julie Andrews', very pleasant to the ear.
A delightful read, with a most satisfactory conclusion for all.
Honestly, I didn't like the first few chapters at all, and so had a bit of a hard time continuing to read after the first half hour. Once in the middle of the battle at Stirling and her being whisked to safety I got a bit more engrossed. I hardly had occasion to put it down for more than a few minutes after their marriage. The premise was a bit trite, but I liked that for once the girl knew how to defend herself. The plot was pretty predictable, both in regards to their relationship, as well as the conflicts and potential conflicts with their families and scorned betrotheds. But that predictability didn't take away from the enjoyment. And there were more than enough steamy seduction scenes peppered throughout- most were very specific graphically, but never crude. Frankly worded and hot, but tasteful.
At first the narrator's affected male voices made me grit my teeth, but they smoothed a little, and I got more accustomed to Magnus' voice. The range of female voices was fine, and otherwise was a good performance, cadence-wise and no lack of clarity of dialogue. I always enjoy good Scottish accents.
Overall, a good listen, but not the most original or fantastic Scottish romance I've ever read...
Report Inappropriate Content