I liked the idea of a 1960's coming-of-age story mixed with a mystery. The problem is that this novel did not succeed in either of those areas. Very little happened in the first half of the novel. References to Brillcream, Risk, and Gunsmoke were not enough to make that golden era of childhood come alive, and I am from that generation! The characters and world were not interesting enough for that to work without more plot. Frank is the 13 year-old protagonist, who lives with a younger brother who stutters (and gets bullied), an older sister, and his parents, a minister, and a mother unhappy being the wife of a minister. The big mystery occurs halfway through the novel, when a major character disappears. The story picked up at that point. It moved from a 2-star to a 3-star book then. A good reader helped, too. This novel felt like something I had read many times in the past. I might have liked it more had it seemed fresher to me. Ultimately, it did provide a pleasant way to pass the time, but not much more.
I like mysteries, and I like historical fiction, and this novel seemed like a great combination of both, with some witchcraft thrown in. There were engaging parts of this tale of a witchcraft trial in a small southern settlement in 1699. I liked the two main characters, a magistrate and his curious, smart, and precocious clerk. My problem was that there were not 30 hours of material in this story to keep it engaging the whole time. There were times I asked myself if I liked it enough to stick with it for another 20 hours. It barely passed that test. The novel did pick up near the end, even if it descended more into true pop fiction. In short, I give this a mixed review. I did stay with the whole thing, which says a lot. Still, it could have been a lot better 20 hour novel with better editing. The slow pace, though, was in keeping with the times, and the reader was quite good.
The start of this novel grabbed me. I liked the two main characters in this mystery - a disabled vet turned private detective (Strike) and his office temp woman (Robin). But as the story went on, it became just one interview after another, as Strike tried to see if the celebrity suicide was in fact a murder. Not much happened, and the personalities of the main characters took a back seat. Halfway done, I decided that I'd rather find something to listen to that would engage me more. I did like the writing, but my mind began to wander, making it harder to appreciate the nuances of testimony and evidence. I expect that there are many who like this kind of old fashioned novel, but it was not enough to keep my attention.
I loved The Emperor's Blades. I liked The Providence of Fire. I should say that I rarely read fantasy, but coming of age stores are one of my favorite genres. That's likely why I preferred the first novel. The second is a much more complex story, and the plot was cool and the writing once again amazing. I actually wish that I had read this instead of listened. I don't have a great auditory memory. I would have liked to more easily flip back to reread parts. This was my problem with later books in The Game of Throne series, which I suppose means that Staveley is in good company. While I liked this novel, real fantasy buffs will probably love it. I look forward to volume 3, and plan to read that.
This continues one of the great series in American history. LBJ is one of the most interesting and complex characters in US history, and Robert Caro is one of the great writers of nonfiction. This combination cannot be beat. The earlier books are great, but this book stands on its own as well. There is a lot on the Kennedy brothers (Jack and Bobby) which I enjoyed as well. The book covers Johnson's years running for VP with Kennedy, his years a vice president, and the first few months of his presidency. This held my attention like an engaging novel. I learned a lot too. I cannot speak highly enough about Robert Caro and his LBJ series.
This is a fairly long book, and for the first time, I read the ebook version, and tried Whisper Sync to switch back and forth between audio and reading. The narrator was great, and the synching was all automatic! I did need to download the Audible app on my iPhone, and listen through that and not iTunes. When I switched devices, within 5 seconds, I was asked if I wanted to go forward to the spot the other device was at. This book was equally compelling reading or listening.
I loved this novel. It was as suspenseful and addictive as those first seasons of 24, the TV series. This is the story of a plot by a right wing element of the military to kill the president and vice president, and covertly take over the US government. Is it realistic? No. A conspiracy could not get that big without a leak somewhere, but if you suspend your belief a bit and sit back to enjoy the ride, you might have a blast. I did. I really could not stop listening! I have given almost no 5 star ratings to novels of this genre. I bought this on a whim, and it was so much fun. Much of it takes place on Air Force One, as the president's pilot pulls out all stops in his effort to save the president. Of course, the president (a woman) and the pilot have a past. I'll say no more. I enjoyed this from the first second to the last. One caution - I was shocked at how bad the reader seemed at first with his stilted pronunciation and old man voices. I thought I'd quit soon, but the novel sucked me in so fast, and at one point, I started to like what the reader brought to the book. It all worked for me.
This novel grabbed me from the start, and I loved it right to the end. A working class 20-something English woman becomes caretaker for a wealthy quadriplegic young man. This story is filled with interesting and believable characters, and touches your heart throughout. There are small twists and turns which I won't say too much about, for fear of being a spoiler. While this feels like a story that will draw more female listeners and readers, I think men and women will both like this. It is both a feel-good and sad story. I liked Moyes's One Plus One, yet liked this even more. This was my favorite audio-novel in quite a while.
I listened to this to learn more about my senator. I expected more equal parts memoir and politics, but it was almost all politics, especially after the first couple hours. The most fascinating part was the battle for financial reform after the economic collapse during the Bush years. Everyone knows that politics and and money are deeply connected, and this book made that connection so clear. I admire Elizabeth Warren for the battle she fought to level the playing field. That said, she repeated her same message again and again, making parts of this feel repetitive. And while I believe that her empathy for the "little people" is real, I wanted to hear more of her ideas on the ways to tackle many of the country's problems. Elizabeth Warren's voice was too much at times. What works for a revved up 20 campaign talk can get tiresome for a full book. I am still glad I listened to this.
This police story features two women trying to make it as police officers in Atlanta in the 1970's. A big part of this was about their hurdles in that all-male world of police. I was okay with that, but virtually every male officer we meet is a chauvinistic lout. I could buy that (even as a guy). The women were too naive with a total lack of confidence. Even that I bought, but those women were stupid too often, with me the reader frustrated with their obtuseness. Of course they grow on the job over a very short period of time. It was very predictable. The characters lacked depth and nuance. It is also a book that will appeal more to women, I think. As a guy, I sometimes felt like I was eavesdropping where I was not supposed to be. With all those criticisms, I still gave this three stars because it was a fun engaging cop story where I was rooting for the good guys to beat the bad guys. The writing is good for this genre, and the action sequences are pretty gripping, even if I know where things are going.
I got this book because I have enjoyed many Stephen King novels, and this story seemed similar. The first 15 minutes were great, and then I quickly grew bored. What makes many Stephen King books so good is the way the reader cares about everyday people before the creepiness and supernatural kick in. Thirty years ago, I may have liked this, but I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had read this before, and I quit halfway through the first part. The novel was too long for me to wait and hope it picked up. Maybe it did, but I didn't care to wait.
This novel had the feel of a true life gritty memoir. It's about trying to fit in during tough high school years. It focuses on three misfit friends and a girlfriend of one. The protagonist deals with the guilt of surviving the death of a brother. Running track is his outlet. The time and place rang true, and as a guy who grew up in the same era, I can say that the author had the language of the times right. There is not too much of a plot line (making it more artsy...), with some themes running through it. You will probably guess the main theme early one, but I won't be a spoiler. The story never engaged me as a whole, yet I enjoyed many parts, and stayed to the end of this short novel.
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