I am a huge historical fiction fan. I am also a huge mystery/thriller fan. So, I was very excited about how this book started out. I really didn't know much about it in advance, and the first hour or so of listening I thought I had hit the jackpot. With about 4 hours to go, I just want it to be over. The art/history/religion aspects are very interesting (if a little -lot- slanted), but they are repeated ad nauseum to the point of near torture. The characters are so incredibly boring and flat, and the narrator's version of a female French accent is just horrible. In fact, most of the character voices are a bit over the top, but his normal reading voice is pleasant enough. Giving the author some benefit of the doubt (some people do seem to like this book), it's not that the book is so horrible (if you have a 5th grade reading level, or a short-term memory problem)....I just really don't care how it ends, I really don't care about any of the characters, and that seems kind of important, especially in a "mystery".
Two hours into this book I was still waiting for something about dog training. Then it just went on with a lot of stories about her own dogs and her encounters with celebrity dogs for what seemed like forever. Heavy on reward/treat reinforcement. Heavily critical of other methods, which I found to be a bit of a turn-off regardless of whether I thought she was right. After listening to her bash her family for the first hour or so of the book, and then go on to bash other trainers/training methods, it just seemed to be a lot of "me! me! me!" Seems to me that if a person has confidence in their technique it should stand alone without having to drag down the competition. As for airing the family's dirty laundry - that had nothing whatsoever to do with dog training, so I don't know what that was supposed to be about, except perhaps to garner sympathy. Didn't work on me. Just made me a little uncomfortable. It may be a better hard copy, where you can just flip past all the filler and drama, and focus on the method, but it wasn't a worthwhile purchase for me at all. Not well written, an abundance of irrelevant material, no new techniques; unless you have no experience with dog obedience at all, you've probably heard/tried all of this before.
I went into this title expecting it to be a challenge, and it was that. But oh what a wonderful challenge!! Anyone who has ever said "you are what your read" would be telling the truth having read Les Miserables, because having finished it I truly believe it has become a part of who I am. One thing is for certain, when Victor Hugo sets out to make a point he definitely makes one, whether you want to wait for it to finally be over with or not! And just when you think you cannot bear for him to continue, he stops and returns back to the story, weaves it together perfectly, and you feel a sublime sense of awareness at having listened and understood exactly what he is trying to convey. While spinning on a point until it is driven into the ground, describing multiple complex details of dozens and dozens of characters that you are certain you will never be able to retain, like the composer of the most intricate symphony, the result is magnificent, and the characters are alive in your heart and mind. Initially I thought the narration had a somewhat "high school documentary" tone to it, but as it progressed it became enchanting, and although I do not speak French so I do not know if his pronunciations were correct, I thought it was beautifully done. Some of the recording/play quality was a little off, and there was a point where a whole "chapter" was repeated (when Cosette goes to the well at night), and another where a "chapter" heading was repeated, but other than that it was very clear and well done. Definitely time well spent! Some day I will try to tackle the double-length unabridged version to get more of the "thoughts of the day" from Hugo.
This is the story of a woman struggling against the expectations of everyone in her life who is supposed to care for her; her grandmother, the man she wanted her to marry so she would have a "good life" but without love, and the man she ran off with to make a "better life" and what she thought was love, which turned out to be yet another disappointment. It is a bittersweet story, beautifully written with memorable, full-bodied, thought-provoking characters, and expertly read by Ruby Dee. I was pleasantly surprised from beginning to end. If you have a long, tedious project, pop this one in and you will be finished with both before you know it. Definitely recommend!
I do not know if Stanek narrated this himself to save money, but he read it as if he was being charged by the minute for studio time. Once he calmed down it was not as bad, but still not good. The story itself wasn not bad, but it was written like a formula, as if he had read a book on "how to write espionage". It seemed very poorly planned, and never really came together well. Things seemed to be left hanging, and the main character seemed to be the only one who knew what was going on, but the author never explained it to the reader...or his narration was just so distracting that I did not pick it up. Overall, I did not get anything out of this book, but I am not going to listen to it again to get what I missed. Hopefully if he is planning another installment (this being "A Scott Evers Thriller", I assume he is) he will get someone to read for him, and he will manage to complete a thought in his writing. I would not recommend this book.
Excellent excellent story, very well read. The characters are fabulously developed, the writing is enchanting. I didn't make it to bed before 1 a.m. once I popped on the headphones. My only "issue" with the writing is the saturation of figurative phrasing. However, given that this is a story being "told", I suppose this is how a person who would be telling rather than writing their story would behave, so while it got to be a bit thick, I can understand why Golden chose to write that way, and it didn't get in the way of the story or the characters so it is only a minor issue. It is not a "girly" type of story either, so guys...dig in and enjoy!!
I have now enjoyed parts 1 and 2, and starting part 3. I did not get the sense of "male-bashing" that some readers complained about. I am missing the characters since finishing part 2, and look forward to "visiting" them again in the 3rd book. The writing is beautiful, and the reading is wonderful. Aiko Nakasone seems to be a little slow and stilted at first, but with listening it is so suitable for the story and the characters that it ads to the telling of the story rather than distracting from it. Both narrators are excellent.
If you need nonstop action to hold your interest, this is not the book for you. This is not a book "about" magic in the sense that there are a lot of magical things happening. It is the best writing I have experienced in a very long time, and it is read beautifully. The characters are very well developed. The story may sometimes seem to be disjointed, but that is part of its charm, and everything comes together in a very clever and creative way that kept my attention. It is not to be compared with any particular genre, or (insultingly) any other author, it is altogether wonderful and unique. I would recommend Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell without hesitation to anyone who loves to read for the pure enjoyment of good writing.
Ludlum should never ever ever be abridged. Don't bother with any of his titles until they are UNabridged or you will definitely be disappointed by his better titles, and wonder how the lesser were ever published in the first place. If you think you will get a better handle on the storyline by watching the movies, again a mistake, as they are not even close to the skilled intricacy with which he weaves a story, builds a character, twists plots, subplots, conspiracies. Can't be crammed into a 90 minute movie, or a 2-1/2 hour book. Nice try, but big waste of money. He is not an author for the easily distracted, so plan to commit your attention, and enjoy (unabridged!) when they decide to carry his early better titles. Later writings got a little tedious and contrived, but still better than most "copycats".
I admit I purchased this, my first audiobook, mostly out of curiousity after hearing about the author in a review. I am not typically a fantasy reader, although I do try to keep my book choices varied. After listening to the preview, I was not particularly optimistic, but decided to give it a try anyway. While Paolini's inexperience is apparent in some places, I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed overall. I have seen this book compared to (or accused of stealing from) Tolkien, and that is unfair, setting the bar way too high. I have also seen it compared to Harry Potter, also unfair, and setting the bar way too low (I found the writing in that book to be incredibly amteurish even for a "children's" book, and wasn't able to get past the first few chapters). Eragon is overall well written, easy to follow, and holds your attention. The narration was very good. If I had one tiny criticism, it would be that sometime the dragon's voice was a bit muppet-like, which could be a little distracting. I will be following up with the next installment by this young author, and hope he will venture out of the fantasy genre when this story is complete. I would also say this is not a story for "children". I'd give it a PG-13, unless you skip over the sacked village scene.
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