Santa Rosa, CA, United States | Member Since 2015
When I listened to the preview of this book, I worried that I would not enjoy the strong Chinese dialect of the reader as she portrays dialect of a Chinese American young woman but, as I listenened, I grew to love the sound and thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese dialect along with the interesting interpretations of American slang and Chinese slang. This was an inspiring story of the love between a mother and her daughter and the courage of these two Chinese immigrants to succeed. Through the experience of the young girl, Kim, the reader learns of the poverty and the hardships that face these immigrants. It was a fantastic story of courage, love, dedication, and the difficult challenges that face young women.
I enjoyed this book, both for the literary quality and the reading. While listening, I was frequently lost in my visions of Burma; traversing the mountainsides with Tin Win. This love story enters into the realm of "too good to be true" but in an endearing and thought-provoking manner. The story teaches about the power of love and dedication. This is not a story about gorgeous people living perfect lives. No, this book is more a study of love existing admidst hardship, about friendship, and about how we humans change over time often being required to make difficult choices that change the course of our lives. The story line does stretch the imagination but it works. It's beautiful and inspirational. I do recommend this book.
David Nicholls novel, "Us", was an inside look at a marriage written from the male perspective. Douglas, the husband and protagonist, is a man working hard to save his long-term marriage. The author was able to bring me so close to the husband that I longed to talk with him and tell him to stop trying so hard and stop letting Connie make all the decisions. I felt sad for him as he tried too hard to please his beloved wife and sad for the wife that she could not see her husband for the gem that he was. This was a book of angst and frustration; often moving too slowly for my taste. My favorite part of the book was watching Douglas work towards rekindling his relationship with his son and watching him make some hard-won changes in himself towards the end of the novel. As a marital portrayal, the novel is a fairly accurate picture of what could and/or does go on in some marriages. The listening experience was improved through the clarity of voice provided by David Haig. This novel would be an interesting read for a book group that was ready to discuss male/female roles in marriage; other than that, I am not sure I would recommend this due to the long and tedious story line. The listening experience was improved through the clarity of voice provided by David Haig.
I have enjoyed many of Ann Tyler's novels and thoroughly enjoyed this one. This was not a funny and lyrical story like "Acciddental Tourist" but more of an in depth study of a family over several generations. As ever, though, Ms. Tyler's characters are lively and quirky. Family relationships are explored with humour, integrity and light. The reader experiences the complexities of sibling relationships, the bond created by marital ups and downs, the parental struggles while raising children, and the difficulties involved in having that one child who is "different", whose life never follows an understandable path and who is perplexing at all times and turns. I especially enjoyed the clever way which Ms. Tyler was able to bring the reader into first the parents experiences and then into the experiences of the siblings and how the siblings loved and accepted each other despite their many frustrations and differences. I do recommend this book for the reader who enjoys reading about families' quirks and loyalties and about the nuances of love over a lifetime. What I enjoy about this novel is how it normalizes family experiences, brings the reader behind closed doors, and affords the reader (the listener in this instance) the shared humanity of family; all this done with an air of lightness and pleasure. If you are looking for a great storyline, this is not your book; otherwise, I recommend this novel! The narrator is perfect at bringing all the characters to life.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I got lost in the story and found A.J. (the bookstore owner) to have clever, biting observations about life. I enjoyed experiencing A.J.'s changes over a decade of his lifetime. I was afraid that the book would be too trite and cliche'd but the story was engaging and the characters so lively that I never experienced a less than delightful moment of listening. Because A.J. owns a bookstore and his life is about books, there are many references comparing life experiences to various authors and book titles. He reminds the readers about finding companionship in a good book, about traveling to other times and places in a good book, and about the importance of asking a new friend, "what is your favorite book?" I had moments where I just broke out laughing while listening. I know some reviewers have remarked that this book should be regarded as "chick lit" (since A.J.'s relationship development does traverse the novel) but I see this novel also in the category of "literary fiction". The language is precise, the prose is well developed, and the story is different; refreshing. The narrator brings to life the personalities of all the characters and speaks clearly and consistently throughout. I highly recommend this novel.
I have a mixed review of this novel. I do enjoy historical fiction and was fascinated to learn about the coal mines in Pennsylvania during the early 60's. I knew nothing about the fires in the mines nor about the land sinking into the tunnels left behind from the mines. This novel was written primarily from the viewpoint of a young girl growing up in the early 60s in a coal-mining town of Pennsylvania. The family dynamics were well developed and the child's relationship with her father, the miner, were believable and did draw me into the child's world. I do agree that this is more of a "young adult" novel than it is an adult literary experience. The historical aspects were not explained or explored as much as I would have appreciated following the interest developed at the start of the book regarding the fires raging in the mining tunnels and the ensuing problems to the land. The author chose a topic, place and period of time that were ripe for good story telling, and although she did a good job transporting the reader into the family and the experiences of the early adolescent protagonist; she fails to develop the historical aspects and the story complexity which could have moved this book out of the Young Adult category and into Adult Historical Fiction category. I do recommend this book for a reader interested in "light" historical fiction combined with a family study written from a young girl's perspective.
After reading many raving reviews about this mystery, I gave it a listen. Unfortunately, I found the story to be maddeningly slow. It reminded me of watching a bad television mystery; predictable and lacking any character depth. I wanted to like this book but, from start to finish, it lacked in development of the characters, lacked in developing the investigative inquiry, and just, overall, lacked imagination. I do not recommend.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the first of book of this series, "Raven Black". Perhaps because I enjoyed the first book so much, I expected too much of this novel but I don't think so. The narrator, Kenny Blyth, presented such a thick brogue that I found myself wishing he would enunciate more clearly. I could not understand many of the words that he spoke. I found the mystery itself to be rather slow moving with the most interesting part of the story being the dynamics between the female detective and her male counterpart in contrast to the solving of the mystery. In summary, if you have listened to the first novel of the series and you enjoyed it, don't expect to have the same experience with this one. Also, it is important to note that this is a five book series with only Book 1 and Book 5 available. Perhaps that is also why this mystery was so unsatisfying.
This mystery was a pleasure to experience. The narrator, Gordon Griffin, was able to enunciate clearly while continuing to express the Scottish brogue in a convincing, lyrical manner. The accent added to the Scottish characters and helped escort me to the Island of Shetland, Scotland, where the novel took place. Ann Cleeves' was able to beautifully create her characters whom I easily imagined in the the Scottish Island's tiny community. The mystery was well developed allowing for the characters to be developed, the suspicions to build and the curiosity to remain piqued throughout. I describe this novel as a contemporary and quaint classic mystery set in an unusual but beautiful part of the world. By the end of this listening, I was anxious to look for the next book in the series.
I enjoyed this "who dunnit" mystery. The narration was well done though possibly over dramatized at times. I liked the ideas the author was able to create. Ms. Hawkins utilized alholic memory problems and the daily experiences of the main character while also incorporating the thoughts and experiences of two other involved parties to keep the reader guessing throughout. There was a small amount of tedium in the middle where I felt that the different voices were dragging-on a bit but, by the end, I understood why the author presented the material the way that she did. I found this book to be equally as entertaining as "Gone Girl" and also would describe it as being in the same genre. I would recommend this book.
This novel is compelling in its ability to describe the experiences of one young man who lived to tell the tale of the loss of his homeland and his journey through the dessert as one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan". The protagonist is able to relay his story with humility and humor while providing the reader with a glimpse of the suffering, hardships and adventures of a remarkable young man coming of age while traveling the dessert with hundreds of other boys (and some girls) and then while living in a refugee camp. I knew almost nothing about the civil war in Sudan until listening to this book and, therefore, there is no background knowledge required to experience and to learn from this study. Not only was David Eggers able to draw me into the "story" but the author was also able to provide a rendition of this young man's harrowing journeys while providing the reader with chances to laugh and cry and experience interesting characters of all types. There is boyhood adventure, romance, humor, loss, joy, and sadness all while providing a glimpse into the life of the refugees that have worked so hard to adapt to life away from their homelands. This particular young man comes to the U.S.A. and the author has very creatively set the stage so that the reader can begin to understand the differences between the two worlds of these refugees. To top off this deeply interesting book, the narration is top-notch. Listening to the voice of Dion Graham further added to my experience of "knowing" the main character. Mr. Graham reads this novel/biography as though he is telling the story of his own life. It's just beautiful. I learned so much about contemporary Sudan as well as about the ability of humans to persevere, find humor, and meaning through the toughest of times. Each and every minute of this listen will be worth your time. I highly recommend.
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