I absolutely love Royce and Hadrian! I just find them to be so completely interesting, in how they interact with each other and with people around them. They have that really strong almost-brothers type of relationship, and their personalities complement each other so well that I just can't get enough!
Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series shares the same light, psuedo-epic, adventure tones that makes it so much fun to read, and it seems I am a huge fan of thief partnerships. Both series also have larger intrigues that the protagonists get sucked into and have to deal with in unconventional ways.
It's always pretty close race between Royce and Hadrian, but I think I'm going to have to go with Royce for this book. I do admit, there are a couple of voices in this book that grate on me, but Reynolds has Royce and Hadrian down pat! Hadrian is idealistic, optimistic and basically more open, and Royce is suspicious, withdrawn, and curt, and you can hear it in how their voices are portrayed. I can't picture them sounding any other way.
Oh yes! Taking breaks for sleep and work were awful, and I put my headphones back on at the earliest opportunities! And my "sleep breaks" were basically listening to the story until I fell asleep, so those weren't really voluntary...
For me, this was the weakest book in the series so far, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I really like Rune and Carling as characters and the plot of trying to save Carling from her degenerating fade outs was really interesting, but the romance parts of this story felt heavy-handed and forced. I had almost decided not to continue with the series, but Thea Harrison has a gift for introducing really interesting characters that will star in her next book, and the Oracle Grace looks to be a real winner to me. If you liked the previous books, you will likely enjoy this installment, but I was not as impressed with this book overall.
I found Altered Destiny to be a strange mix of predictable and intriguing. There are certain tropes, like the bad guy is unarguably a bad person, and some parts of the story were a bit predictable, but despite all of that, I couldn't stop listening. Selia is a strong, determined character, and I love her relationship with her brother. Then there's Jaden and the added complexity he brings to Selia's life. We get to watch them develop from cautious acquaintance, to grudging partner, to friend and ally, etc. It is an interesting dynamic to witness, and Shawna Thomas does a good job making it realistic.
With regards to pacing, the beginning had a good pace, with a slower getting-to-know-the-world vibe that didn't FEEL slow at all. The last half of the book really takes off, and in places things even seem to happen too fast. There is so much packed into the last half that it is hard to put down. I appreciated that this book was a stand-alone, for while the end feels rushed, it works for the tone of the book. Plus, if it had been stretched out, it probably would have lost some of the pull I felt.
The narrator didn't really have enough distinction between character voices for my taste, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless.
Overall, this is a solid book with a good premise and characters and plot to keep you on your toes.
In Skinwalker, the first book of the Jane Yellowrock series, Faith Hunter set the series off to a pretty good start. Blood Cross definitely feels like the series is just going to improve with each book. Again, I am not particularly overwhelmed with this series, but it is solid, entertaining, and enjoyable. It seems that each book is adding a layer of complexity to the world and the story (Skinwalker: about vampires, Blood Cross: vampires + witches, and it looks like book 3 will throw some weres into the mix), which not only drew me into the world a bit more, but mixes up the power and relationship dynamics of the characters more, which was both unexpected and appreciated. I am interested to see how the series develops.
I found Skinwalker to be pretty average. I enjoyed the story, but compared to other similar urban fantasy series, this is not my favorite. I don't feel as drawn in to the plot or characters as I have in other books.
I have listened to books 1 and 2 in the Jane Yellowrock series. I liked the second one a bit better, but mostly because going into that book we already have met most of the major players and don't need as much world building or exposition. Skinwalker is a decent entrance into the Jane Yellowrock world and sets the stage well for the stories to come after.
I like the interactions between Jane and Leo in this book. There is an interesting culture clash, where Jane is self sufficient and pretty modern, where as Leo, as the vampire leader of New Orleans, is used to a more archaic form of respect and standards. In general, watching how Jane navigates in the vampire world of New Orleans when their society is often at odds with her leads to snappy conversations and tension filled moments.
I am of a mixed opinion on this. I feel like the print and audio versions would work the best if used together. On the audio side, I liked how Dawkins and Ward switched narration back and force, making it really obvious when there was a quote from somebody else versus Dawkin's thoughts. Additionally, if I were reading this on my own, I probably would not finish it, as I generally find reading nonfiction not engaging, which is why I prefer nonfiction audio books. However, there are some longer, more complex thoughts that it is easy to get lost in mid-sentence, and in this regard, I think having the print book on hand so you can reference would make it much easier to review a sentence or reference a thought or philosophy discussed earlier in the book.
The book is well laid out, and presents a clear argument with lots of references, quotes, etc, to support Dawkins' observations and interpretations of religion. He systematically addresses many of the typical arguments for agnosticism and religious belief, focusing mostly on the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It points out a lot of double standards in religious faith systems and deconstructs arguments for religion and against atheism in a calm, logical manner. It never felt like an angry attack on religion, rather it is a well thought out, well researched presentation that makes it an interesting read. I really appreciated it as a religiously raised person currently questioning what I truly believe, but I think it will be eye opening even for those with staunch faith. It may not convince you to be an atheist, but it is worth examining why you believe what you believe, and if it stands up next to Dawkins' arguments.
There are sections where Dawkins addresses religious notions pulled from the Bible, from moral standards to historical accuracy, etc. While I have never believed in the historical accuracy of the Bible, I never really looked at it objectively either. I always read Bible stories with the interpretations provided to me by my education in the Catholic school system, and it was difficult for me to separate myself from my prior knowledge. Listening to Dawkins dissect some of the famous stories for his arguments was like hearing them for the first time, and I was able to see the stories without the veneer of religious fanaticism giving me rose-tinted glasses. I found those dissections and the conclusions Dawkins derives from them to be particularly eye-opening and thought provoking.
This is definitely a useful resource for anyone questioning their stance on religion. It is not guaranteed that it will convince you to become an atheist, and it is useful to have another prospective and interpretation of the world and religious beliefs. I would also recommend it to fervent religious people as well, not as a criticism of their beliefs, but to listen to Dawkins' arguments and judge for yourself the merits of both your and his beliefs, rather than to judge his arguments without actually knowing what they are or why he believes them.
This was everything I could have wanted in a heist story: complex plots, an entertaining and hilarious criminal crew, and the justice-serving person trying to foil their plot. Plus, magic and a unicorn! It has the light and witty tone that I love in common heist movies and kept me guessing the whole book. It was brilliantly put together and I was taken completely off guard by how much I enjoyed it.
She really brings the characters to life. There are different accents and each person's attitudes really shine in her narration.
I was laughing and smiling through the whole book. Even when their plans are falling apart, the characters are fun and sarcastic or just plain quirky and I loved their interactions with each other, especially when the crew was first put together. This book was so much fun, I can't say it enough!
In addition to really enjoying the characters, the heist component is really well executed. The plans were revealed in pieces, and there is a great mix of the crew manipulating the events around them in their favor and their plans being really screwed up, and often you can't tell which seeming obstacle is which until later. It definitely kept me on my toes.
This is definitely worth listening to, even if it is just to understand that there is so much more going on under the surface of an autistic person than they show. The author points out several times how non-autistic people assume the childish reactions often exhibited by autistic people reflects a childish intellect, and that is not true.
There wasn't really a memorable "moment" but I really appreciated the Q and A format of this book, and I think it is a good approach. The narrator addresses 60 questions people tend/want to ask an autistic child but can't because the child can't adequately respond.
There are several points in the book where the author reveals that autistic children are very aware of how uncomfortable they make non-autistic people. It is really heart-wrenching to hear that they often stand off by themselves not because they prefer to be alone but to spare other people from having to feel uncomfortable.
It is a hard choice between Jamie, Irvin, and Devon. But I think Jamie still edge's out in front. Jamie and Devon are 2 out of 3 identical triplets. Jamie has been a major player in books one and two, so we are already familiar with his charms, but I was unprepared for Devon to be just as charming. I think this is my favorite book out of the three so far, in part because we get to meet Devon. He's snarky and self-assured, has a great sense of humor, and he feels very real. You know what, I changed my mind, Devon was my favorite!
Extreme, no. It's not really that kind of book. I can always count on this series to make me laugh, and give me a case of the warm fuzzies. The laughs tend to sneak up on you, but they are pretty consistent throughout the book.
This is definitely a character driven novel. There is plot, and climactic action, but a lot of this book revolves around the family and how people in their lives grow, change, or simply interact. It is a light and fluffy story, and in that regard, it serves it's purpose well.
My one complaint is the limitations of the narrator. Overall, she does a great job, there are just a few quirks that bother me. The main one is the voice she uses when a female character is having a vulnerable revelation in an inner monologue moment. It's like she can only express emotional vulnerability one way, and it is this kind of overly emotional wavery voice. It feels inauthentic to me, and she uses the same tone over and over again for those moments.
The less pressing concern that might affect other people's enjoyment is there is a bit of a lack of diversity of the middle-age female characters. If they are older, younger, have a dialect, it's not an issue, but it can be hard to tell the women in their 20s to 40s apart sometimes. I don't think it is necessarily the narrators fault, as there are a bunch of women in that age range and there is only so much difference she can add to a non-accented American woman voice, but it is something to be aware of.
Definitely! I found it really engaging, and it has an important message about the challenges facing teachers and the strength it takes to do their job.
Maybe "The Freedom Writers Diary" but not really. Most books on a similar subject focus on a teacher who single-handedly provides life-saving changes in their students lives. Tony Danza's book doesn't paint him as an amazing, awe-inspiring character. It shows a more realistic portrayal of teacher struggles and mistakes, and takes into account the challenges imposed by internal and external forces on the teachers, the students, and the school as a whole. I really appreciated the fact that it wasn't a story of Danza coming into a school and saving everyone through his love for his kids and innovative ideas, rather it was a more ordinary tale that lots of teachers have and will experience.
I wouldn't be opposed to it, but I wasn't driven to listen to it all at once. It would make a good podcast-like or serial story, where you get an hour or so at a time.
I really enjoyed this story, and I feel like I gained a better appreciation for teacher struggles through having listened to this. People considering joining programs like Teach for America would find this an interesting and potentially helpful resource, as it deals with an inner city school, as well as the challenges facing first year teachers in particular. Anyone with a hand in regulating education or imposing things on schools and educators should listen to this, and recognize how often their interference is more of a hindrance than a help.
Witch Family Living
This is basically a contemporary novel, but instead of the protagonist being Joe/Joanne-normal, we are following the life of witches. These witches don't fight evil, or act evilly, they simply exist, following their own traditions while living and working like anyone else. It was a really interesting take on the subject, and it was extremely humorous and heartwarming.
Jamie-he's fun and interesting, and you can't help but love how much he loves his family.
Not in the sense that it was suspenseful or engrossing and I just had to know what happens, but listening to this story made me smile, and gave me a light feeling, so I definitely enjoyed listening to it and was disappointed when I had to turn it off.
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