A fantastic read. Never before have I learned so much about botany or cocktails. A great introduction to either subject, be your interest in new recipes, gardening tips, or histories of brewing. This had it all and more, in an easily digestible manner and fun tone, as if to be best enjoyed over the very cocktails filling the pages (...er audio files?). I bookmarked so many fun stories, great sounding liqueurs, and recipes I'd like to try! Strongly considering adding a hard copy to my library so as to have that info more readily at hand. That is, in case I ever become the wonderful home gardening cocktail party hosting person this has inspired me to want to become. One day, if I ever have a space accommodating to such practices, that is. Anyway, it shall be wonderful to order something from a bartender and know the story of its genesis, and might make for great bar trivia!
My only criticism of this audiobook was a quirk of the narrator's pronunciations- her d's seemed overly pronounced; also bugged me that orange was pronounced throughout as "are-anj".
Now I kinda want a Jack Rose or a slough gin fizz...
I had previously attempted to read this once or twice, but had been put off of it early on by the ill treatment of Fanny by all but Edmond. Even this time it gave me unease, but I was determined to finish reading it in order to be satisfied of a happy ending at last. The poor girl, to grow up first nearly ignored in her own impoverished home, and then ripped from it to live in a grand house with overbearing aunts and uncle - who to my mind did her great disservice and mistreatment and I can hardly comprehend how good-natured and accepting of her inferior lot Fanny was - and with cousins who abused her and gave her no thought except that she was so inferior, and judged her so wrongly by any account. It was not Fanny's fault she had never been taught geography or to speak French, and yet this perceived ignorance became innate stupidity to the girl's minds...
Thank goodness Edmond took notice of her and became a source for at least some happiness. It broke my heart that she remained his confidant when he fell for another woman, and she could not give her full confidence or opinions to him. That he was blinded to her greater-than-fraternal feeling I had little doubt or surprise, as she'd never show it, but she bore more distress on that account than such a kind and soft person ever should. She was stronger than any of them imagined.
**slight spoilers in this paragraph**
I was even more pained at the family's disapproval and even disdain at her refusing Mr. Crawford and without even bothering to comprehend why. I was more than impressed by her staying true to her principles and morals in the face of such pressure and the strife caused. Again I was impressed by her fortitude when confronted with the home and lifestyle of her parents, and trying to cope with the change it brought in her own activities. I am glad she was able to be of use to her sister Susan, I'd have been sad if that end had bot been provided for. Of Fanny's cousins, no less resulted for them than expected, and the faults of the spoiled unprincipled girls I think we'll deserved their fates. And the same for the Crawford siblings. I was happy at last for Edmond and for Fanny.
**end of slight spoilers**
Austen never ceases to depict so wonderfully so many different characters in her portraits of society. The frivolous and the insipid are just as much attended to and detailed by her pen as the noble and happy individuals, making up just as an important part of the gatherings - for there could hardly be as much truth without them, nor as much appreciation for the quick-witted and gracious without the indolent and dull. And she always incorporates beautiful scenes of the wonderful country parks and villages. Retired and peaceful woods and estates, always coming into contrast with the bustle and greater vice in London, and the darkness and lack of vegetation (so missed by Fanny when spring came to Portsmouth) in the city. But no matter the hardships of situation or degree of trying relatives, Austen did not disappoint me in bring about the well deserved happiness for her most reserved and most deserving heroine.
Wanda McCaddon narrated very well. Most main characters had distinct voices, and the were seldom inconsistent or confused in dialogue. A few male voices now and then became similar and hard to differentiate by sound alone, but that's not to be unexpected -and there were rather more male characters about the place than usual during the theatrical fiasco. In general though it was well done, and her emotions, especially in the letters and Fanny's thoughts were well conveyed.
I quite enjoyed it.
What an adventure! I'm not one for fantasy novels, but this one kept me listening long enough that I needed to see how it all turned out. My usual trouble stems from being plopped into unfamiliar realms with unknown forms of magic and beings and not being given any proper introduction, explanation, description, etc... That was the case here, but what kept me listening past the first chapter was the attitude of Eli in the introductory scene -escaping from the dungeon and his blithe observation that you shouldn't pin your hopes on a gullible door... While this whole world and the idea of the spirits and wizards took me a bit longer to come around to, I immediately knew I'd enjoy Eli's take on things. He provided a magnificent dose of lightheartedness to the epic tendencies of the fantastical and dangerous mission. And too add to that, when we were introduced to Miranda the spiritualist - I immediately admired for her good character and good sense. Her righteousness was occasionally a little overdone, but I like a girl who sticks to her principles. And I thanked the author for using her to explain (to the servant librarian girl and thus me) about her magic, her court, and their code of ethics. Gotta love me some explainin. And I was intrigued about the different uses of wizard powers, and Miranda's confusion when she couldn't figure out how in the world Eli pulled off the things he did. And then came the appreciation of both of their methods when drawn out in stark contrast with Reynaud's. Add in Eli's interesting and mysterious traveling companions, and a giant ghost hound, and I became wrapped up in wanting to know more.
So, aside from my taking to the principle characters, some of the action was none too shabby either, and it entertained me, though it was somewhat predictable. Of course things get dicey when ransom exchanges, multiple bounty hunters and banished princes are involved. Handy to have the goodwill of the countryside indeed! I'm tempted to make pleasant small-talk and flirt with the trees when I'm next out and about in the wilderness, just in case I may ever need a favor from them... =P Not to give any spoilers, the plot of course thickens and complications compound, forcing alliances in order to fight the inevitable battle against a great evil in a massive showdown that tests everyone's strength and will. It was a hell of a fight, but well fought. I'd have been disappointed if it had turned out any differently.
The narration by Daniels was fantastic. Each character had a unique voice, which were consistent and identifiable. I don't recall a single instance where any voices were accidentally swapped in dialogue. The emotions were on point, and I enjoyed the casual, even flippant tone often employed to match Eli. The swordsman Corianno had a Spanish sound to his voice, which combined with his quest for a fight with another swordsman (though for different motives), brought Inigo Montoya promptly to mind. Only I wasn't really rooting for him - though it would have been interesting to know a little more about him. And Daniels did very decent female voices, which I often find to be the downfall of all but a select few male narrators I've listened to in the past. I thought Miranda's was properly feminine, strong and noble, without any forced higher pitch or unnatural sound. Very well narrated indeed.
A light fantasy adventure. Epic and yet sometimes silly. It was good as a stand-alone, but clearly set up to be a series. Some things were definitely left unexplored or unexplained, so I'd hope that ground is covered in future books. I have yet to decide whether I will continue to read them though. Some of the fantastic runs up against the boarders of what I can handle.
This was a very long book, rather longer than my usual audiobook undertakings. It covered anything and everything you could think of relative to the life of the great inventor and overambitious thinker who most people have never heard of despite the numerous technological advances he made which we rely upon today. I had heard of him previously numerous times, via both fact and fiction. For one, I have studied physics, and if nothing else, he has a unit of measurement named after him. Second, I grew up near Colorado Springs and the sites where he did his experiments at Pike's Peak. My fictional knowledge of him came from the movie The Prestige and the tv series Warehouse 13, both of which drew on his advanced technological work and mad-scientist/wizard persona. I break my review up here based on the three parts which audible parsed, just for more ease.
Part one covered his childhood through 1894, when he was really starting to make it big, and so far so good. The intro on the history of his homeland and culture was a bit tedious and beyond my interest, and I have never learned about the goings on of those empires and people's before, so it was hard to keep track of unfamiliar and alike-sounding names and unknown regions on a map. But there were interesting stories of his family, his days growing up and at university; he had quite the series of trials trying to support himself, even once in America. I began to root for him to get his first footholds and recognition then, but already saw the signs of his faults (i.e. major lack of fiscal responsibility, and poor contract making) which I foresaw hurting him more and more as he went. I hadn't realized he spent a short time actually working for Edison before their philosophies clashed... which lead into the discussion of the major AC vs DC argument and professional competition between Edison and Westinghouse. I knew there had been one, but had not nearly a clue to what extent and cause... Seems to me Westinghouse had better business sense and foresight while Edison just had better PR. Anyway, the section on the Chicago Worlds Fair was great, painted a magical picture of all of the fantastic new technologies and extravagance of the era. Now onto more of his work in New York on wireless communication and harnessing the power of Niagara Falls.
Part 2 has went from a high to taking a terrible turn. Great research and progress and then a fire took out the lab. I loved hearing about his work in Colorado Springs. The lightning storm sounded incredible (though I don't recall anything quite of that magnitude while I lived by Pike's Peak). I had such high hopes once he got financial backing from Morgan, but it seems to me he sealed his own fate by squandering- no, not exactly squandering, but re-appropriating the funds towards loftier goals which they could not reach, rather than producing the promised tangible results. I can easily see why Morgan was displeased. I think if Tesla had perhaps done as arranged, and made commercial advances with his oscillators and lamps from the get-go that would have opened the door for his further development of the telegraphy station... Both by those proceeds and the continued confidence of investors. As it was he just dug himself into a hole. Which lead to withheld further investments, strained relations and a deeper hole. And not to mention the rest of the field making their little advances by pirating his work. So many blows... This five year span just saw things go further and further downhill for him financially, with a finally of his friend's murder and his own mental collapse. Sad. I think some of his ideas really would have revolutionized things, as he said, had he been but able to implement them then. Oh, and why he seems to adverse to paying rent to anyone, and consequently finds himself further in debt is beyond me...
The final section took me longer to finish reading... primarily because it was kind of depressing. Tesla had such over-ambition and no way to fund it. His investors all left or didn't have interest in his preferred projects, what successes he did have were pirated and any proceeds lost to competitors and litigation costs, and to top it off several of his friends and past associates passed away in the '20s. And he still seemed to think very little of failing to pay rent. Self-destructive to say the least. I was intrigued by the mysteries of his last several years, the death ray project, and supposed relationships with characters leading up to and during the world war that may lead to questions of his allegiance. And I really don't understand the whole pigeon obsession, especially in someone so health-conscious. It is unfortunate, and only too believable that someone of his genius and caliber was by turns disbelieved and then shut down and buried by his contemporary scientific and industrial societies. Just to think, how much further advanced could technology have become that much sooner, if only he'd been taken seriously and his work recognized earlier. I am glad he was eventually recognized in some ways, even if most have been posthumous, and his eccentric character and 'mad scientist' persona live on in our culture, even if most of the general population are ignorant of his significant contributions to the power generation and communication systems we still use today, not to mention his work in aeronautics and even early AI. I didn't care so much for some of the psychological analysis speculated in later chapters, though I've never cared much for Freudian theory in any context. And I'm not sure why people seem to be so curious or astounded by his apparent/declared asexuality/celibacy. For a man with so much scientific ambition, whose work constituted his whole life and whose habits hardly left room for a companion let alone a romantic one, I am not at all surprised that such a person never entered into the picture. And if any kind of friend or helper did manifest (such as his Wycliffe foreman or the young man in his later years who helped him), they were very much under-appreciated and overworked in their services.
The narration was perfect for a biography. Adapted appropriate alternate voices for quotes and correspondence, keeping those individuals distinct and consistent, so I could always tell if it was in Tesla's narrative or a phrase from a letter from the Johnson's etc, separate from the general text. Simon Vance has a lovely tone, and expert execution, so that even non-fiction is does not come off sounding dry.
Sad that such a life is not more generally known nor his genius more widely celebrated.
A good cozy mystery. I was horrified by the nature of Annabelle's fall and death, but it was an all-too-believable story in the end. The drips and drops of coffee trivia and prep tips were nice, would even be useful if I had the budget for such things - alas, Claire would be appalled by my Folgers consumption. The Village Blend atmosphere was as cozy as the mystery, and I liked the sound of the antiques and decor of the place. Way better than your average Starbucks (which is sadly mostly all there is around me).
Claire's relationships with Lt. Quinn, her ex Matteo, and Madame were great. The way she took on the investigation herself, interviewing people etc, was believable. At once both inexperienced and determined, she was attentive and effective enough to connect with people to get the info she needed. Or to find it with the help of Matteo and a little lie or two to open doors (literally). She certainly had guts to face suspects and burglars all across the city, from the Waldorf ballroom to the bars of Christopher St. It was pretty light throughout, and pretty predictable, though I may still have held my breath when she was closing up alone at night - knowing that whomever had been there to cause harm before had managed not to leave a sign of forced entry, so not even the locked doors felt secure enough for me. Thank goodness for Java (the cat and the drink)!
The narration by Gibel was okay. She tried to create different voices for characters, but they were often inconsistent. Aside from Madame and the Jamaican dance teacher, whose voices were distinct enough to be kept apart from all others, most characters' sounds were mixed up in dialogue several times. I was really confused when it happened between Claire and Quinn, as well as between her and Matteo. I would have thought some editing could have caught more of that kind of thing. But the attitude she gave Claire I thought was spot on, and the emotions were done well.
A decent read for snuggling up with on a lazy Sunday, and worth it at the sale price I got. I could tell it set itself up to be a series, which I might find worth it to look for at the library if my current collection of mysteries needs a 'light and cozy' supplement down the line.
It had been some years since I read this, and it was a longer book than I remembered. It's title is most apt as a description of the two sisters. While I did find reproach and worry over Marianne's imprudence and open affections, I was always comforted by the constancy of Cl. Brandon. Eleanor's situation rather excited more anxiety and compassion from me, not only for her suffering it alone for so long, but for the meanness of Lucy and the unfeelingness of her friends and relations about herself and Edward. I adored Mrs. Jennings for her kindness and looking after the girls, but her nature towards teasing them and for gossip did grate on my nerves. So fortunate to have her and the Middletons and Palmers though, when their own brother and his in-laws treated them so coldly. Austen is a master at painting portraits of the different sorts of society in town and in the country, of the selfish and greedy social elitists to the warm and humble, the noble and deserving. It is a great depiction of the era in England, and the kinds of situations individuals lived with before the time of greater legal/financial independence for women. As many books as I read about such times and circumstances, it still boggles my mind that my sex's only option in the hopes for a stable livelihood was to marry well/wealthy.
This narration wasn't fantastic, but it was read with great conveyance of emotions. Many of the women had little to distinguish their voices in dialogue, but context usually helped, and their speech style if not the actual sound could make some distinction (Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Jennings style being VERY different from Fanny or Mrs. Ferrers). The same went for most of the men - while given a sound different from the ladies, they often had to be told apart by their conduct of speech rather than a vocal contrast by the narrator.
A wonderful read. I am always charmed by Austen.
This was pretty entertaining. Lots of stories and trivia about some of the worst products, foods, ad campaigns, political moves, policies, and to top it off -celebrity baby names. I didn't particularly care for some of the sports content in the later chapters, but a few of the mentions did give me childhood flashbacks. The entertainment industry section was pretty funny - failed tv shows and movie flops, from Cop Rock to Godfather 3 and others. I was entertained by the long lists of microwaveable and fried foods and some of the terrible product launches that had to be retracted.
Some of the stories (like the evolution and failures of the Yugo, certain game consoles, and laser disks) were long and detailed histories. Other topics were given shorter blurbs, or even just listed anecdotes without giving full detail. In any case, they were all wonderfully bad ideas that just had to make you wonder -how did this get marketed/made public?
The narration wasn't remarkable, nor was the content demanding that. His tone had an appropriate sarcastic tone when called for, and delivered a lot of the lines about our biggest goofs (prohibition, Esperanto, New Coke ... ) in a deadpan and with an understood "can you believe somebody really invented the ___?" I mean, I would hardly want to try a segue after hearing its company owner died when he drove his over a cliff, nor will I have an apatite for the Krispy Kreme burger anytime soon.
A fun, if short, interlude in ridiculous mistakes of all kinds.
This was fantastic. I get a kick out of the unusual perspective on a mystery - burglar/crime writer obliged to aide in an art theft and solve a murder in order to clear his name of said crimes. Loved the tid-bits and insight on security and his other commentary throughout. Not only were there some interesting and colorful character portraits, the city was nicely portrayed too - having now been there and seen many of the sights described, it was easier to follow his progress through the streets and landmarks, but even those which were not familiar to me were brought to life, from Montmartre to the wasteland banlieu.
A great tangle of mysteries too, burglary turned art theft, turned murder... all kinds of trouble. I had not seen the twists at the end coming, though, in retrospect I might have caught one or two of I'd paid a bit closer attention, but by the time he discovered the forgery, I was just enjoying the ride. I think his relationship with his agent Victoria has got to be the most unique I've ever read of, and I was entertained that she morphed her role willingly from listener/counselor to being an active participant in helping Charlie pull off parts of his scheme. I don't know that he needs her as a full time sidekick, but I hope she keeps her role as a resource for him.
Narration was fantastic. English and French accents mostly this time, both male and female voices were done well, and dialogue was always consistent. Vance's tone and rhythm matched that of Charlie's voice and attitude very well, to my mind.
I look forward to the next adventure and new city!
This was intense... I liked it better than the first book in the series- while the murders were more violent, they were without the graphic sexual component of Naked in Death's crimes.
I love the repartee between Dallas and Roarke (their, ahem, intimate scenes are a little more, um, vivid and vigorous than is to my usual reading taste, but are never crude and the writing is good). I only wish Dallas didn't immediately get her dander up when his name pops up in relation to anyone/thing in a case - she is immediately on the defensive about it and weary of his every tie and involvement, ready to both think the worst and shield him and/or her from it becoming public knowledge... Frankly, I think she overreacts. And while I can understand her emotional baggage causing some of the issues, I was a little bit in disbelief about their sudden split and re-connecting circumstances, if she was having that much trouble, believing something like that if she (admitted that she) loved him and needed him, that that made her less independent and strong and therefore lowered her self esteem and degraded her ability to do her job. Thus far she has never defined herself by anything but how well she does her job, so it's a big hurdle, and i think somehow they flew over it really fast while she's still working it out in her head... I'm glad she's talking to the department psychologist more though (both case and no-case related).
I also love Dallas' working relationships, with Feeney and the Commander. I share her distaste for the media. This was a good mystery, and solid procedural, going through the evidence and suspects and revisiting the scenes. Oddly enough, I had picked out the murderer by the second death - almost fingering them on a hunch, but my suspicions were confirmed by the circumstances and aftermath of victim number three. I was glad Dallas caught onto the same clue I did there, even if it took a while for it to come to light. I liked Officer Peabody too, I got a kick out of her no-nonsense demeanor and how she got on with Dallas as they continued to investigate together.
Narration was good. Only had one or two spots with voice-swap confusion, and those were in heated dialogue. Ericksen gives just the right tone and cadence to match Lt Dallas' demeanor and the narrative style.
Can't wait to see where the next book takes Eve and Roarke. ^_^
This book felt sweet and dreamy for the most part. Natural when a lot of the interactions are about, with, or in some manner revolve around fairies and a quaint village in Ireland. I loved the music and magic of the place and the fairy tales. And I can sympathize a little bit with Jude, following the sensible path and doing what was expected of her all the time... That's pretty much how I felt through college and I got burned out. Granted, I didn't get as far down the path as her, nor did I make such a big break with my life or have to cross an ocean to do it. But it gives me hope that I'll find myself and my purpose one day too, like she did, and maybe it'll get to include travel to the magical Emerald Isle. ^_^
That being said, I was glad to progress from her analytical psychological belief that she was going nuts and imagining fairies and ghosts because of a mental breakdown on to her just accepting that they were there and living more contentedly with her work and dreams.
I liked the ever-present story of Lady Gwen and her Prince - though knowing the story, and knowing that HE knew the story, I wanted to smack Aiden upside the head for not realizing he was making the same mistakes.
The village was wonderful, and I felt like I could be right at home there, and enjoy a pint and laughs with the likes of Brenna and Darcy and dancing with old Mr. O'Rielly ... Such warmth and joy in their lives. I think one of my favorite parts was the girls' night in at the cottage.
The narration was good - I love the accents. She did have different voices for everyone, but they weren't all very distinct or consistent beyond the central few. I relied on context and names to tell apart some of the women in dialogue. The audio-editors did this weird echoey thing with the mic for the sounds of Jude's computer journal voice and the voice of the Fairy Price. It certainly made them distinct and recognizable, but was a little jarring.
A cozy tale, of finding yourself, friendship, and love, and even some fantasy, which I am sure to revisit.
I liked the baking talk and all the interesting people around, but was less gripped by the actual mystery and investigation.
This book was a little out of my usual way in some respects. On the surface I was interested by the baker turned amateur sleuth by circumstance, who meets a mysterious tall-dark-and-handsome and finds trouble in the streets... Loved the scenes in the bakery, she often made me hungry with talk of breads and muffins (and I agree with her, none of that crumbly health stuff, yick) and company with her and the cats was warm. I wish there was some kind of appendix with the recipes, cause i'd love to try some of the things she talked about baking...
I liked the cast of characters around the bakery and apt building. Daniel was mysterious, knew there was something concealed, a little bit dark, but not worrisome in any way. And I was glad for Jason to get back on his feet. I was amused by Corinna's nickname for Sgt White - I don't think I'd ever heard the name Lepedoptre spoken aloud before. Her friend the witch, the gardener, and professor were great additions. I got a few laughs out of her shop assistants, and her description of the squalor which the tech-guys lived in. So many kinds of people in different walks of life passed through the pages- some content, some in a busy blur, and some that break your heart and make you question your faith in humanity and the world... It was a beautiful portrait of so many kinds of life all together in one city.
And then came the darker things ... I don't mind goths, like she says, folks who take so much trouble in their costuming are generally not much trouble. But I don't go in for the likes of the Bloodlines club. Gives me the shivers, and when in comes to vampires, well, I'd rather avoid all those who are not Spike and Angel, frankly.
It was quite the quick climax (excuse me) for the slow action building up, and because of the uncertain atmosphere of the club, it took a minute for the results to register in my mind and the pieces to fall into place - it took her self-termed Agatha Christie finish gathering everyone on the roof for the unveil to explain and connect a few more dots for me.
Entertaining enough, partly due to novelty, but also on its own merits. Plenty of fun pop culture references (and notes to self NOT to watch those horror movies mentioned). It wasn't just another silly amateur detective story or cozy mystery (and like I said, i didn't find her investigation particularly gripping or compelling), though it had those elements; it was also a novel of real lives, real people (it was those portraits and relationships which made up more of the actual story), their tragedies and their day to day activities - which were briefly interrupted by crime - and how those people come together and help each other. And the cats too.
Narration was pretty good - the characters all had distinguishable voices, though a few times they were not switched consistently in dialogue. Her pace was often quick and sentences were rushed together -but sometimes it was clearly meant to be so, following Corrie's trains of thought or a disjointed succession of events in her day. Sometimes, though, I got the feeling that that quick cadence rolled over into sections of narrative and dialogue which might have ideally been a bit slower and more naturally paced.
Good overall, a little unique, a little like a lot of other amateur detective stories, and now I need I little bit - er, a lot - of those muffins and olive bread...
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