Santa Rosa, CA, United States | Member Since 2015
I have read many of Jodi Picoult's novels. This one ranked not as good as her first novel but certainly better than many given the difficult subject matter. As a story, I thought it was pretty good and held my interest but did get a bit fantastical. As a Holocaust study, I would say that it was a good way for a teen-ager to learn about the atrocities and magnitude of the crimes against mankind which took place in WWII. Also, the novel presented some important questions and food for thought about justice and forgiveness in an interesting manner. Overall, it held my interest but might be better suited for a teenage audience.
This novel is a sequel to "Finding Nouf". It is a mystery novel set in contemporary Saudi utilizing a female forensic scientist and a male detective. What I enjoyed about this novel was learning more about the characters whom I had become attached to in Book 1. I had become involved with the protaginists' lives to the extent that I wanted more and got it. I appreciated the development of the male protagonist's attitudes about love, relationship and religion. I enjoyed learning more about Saudi culture while gaining another veiled glimpse into the many different ways that Muslims live and adapt to their interpretations of the Koran in modern society. The male protagonist struggles with many questions in his quest to remain true to his religion while feeling the pull of relationship towards an independent non-traditional woman. The mystery portion of the book kept my interest most of the way through the book. The down side of this novel was the disappointing conclusion to the mystery. It was a slow, downward spiral leading to a less than satisfying conclusion. This novel dragged a little in the second half but particularly in the last one-fourth. Overall, the book provided additional education about Saudi/Muslim culture while providing interesting plot lines and characters. The narration was well-suited to the characters. Zoe's writing style is easy to understand and follow allowing it to be potentially enjoyed and experienced by any age group from teens through adulthood. For the cultural experience and the story, I recommend this book.
I recommend this murder mystery. The setting is contemporary Saudi, Arabia which is a unique backdrop for a mystery. The story provides an interesting glimpse into Saudi culture including male/female roles within the Muslim faith. One of the main characters is a woman who is a forensic scientist and through her character as well as through the male protagonist, the reader is allowed to explore a bit of the inner conflict which arises out of the Muslim beliefs of both the young men and young women. Both main characters are thoughtful, intelligent adults who face several ethical dilemmas throughout the novel. The murder mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing until close to the end of the book. In addition, the reader had a steady and pleasing voice. Overall, between the murder mystery, the culture and the psychological/religious considerations, the book is well done. It's not an edge-of-the seat mystery, but more a steadily paced, light-weight, murder mystery with some interesting twists. Thumbs up.
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.
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