I had planned to write to encourage any adult who likes Joan Aiken, E.Nesbit, Monty Python (the videos), & T.Pratchett to try this superior series. It's not particularly like any of their works - well maybe Aiken's "Serial Garden" - but plays to the same part of the brain through its overall sense of the absurd and superior wordplay. Not sure how it would plan with most YA readers, but seems great for the 7-12 year old set - and their parents - since it works extremely well at both levels.
I'm afraid to give any details because almost anything I would say would be a spoiler - just trust me that by piling hackneyed formula upon formula, and throwing into this in a set of totally recognizable stereotypical characters, and a great deal of slowly unfolding - and growing as it unfolds - mystery, the author creates an amazing and extremely amusing jumble. The reader is perfect - ordinarily I prefer deeper-voiced narrators, but I can't imagine this book without her rendition of the heroine's thought processes and the wonderful "voices" of the children themselves. Can't wait for the next one in the series!
After reading Safe House, which I highly recommend, I decided to check into whatever else Chris Ewan had written. This Good Thief series looked a bit too cute, and the reviews just a bit too glowing, but I'm very glad that those things didn't stop me. To some extent this was a "cozy" but not in the bad sense of the word - no gratuitous violence or blaring sex (Safe House is a bit more raw); a plot that moves along and keeps to the point, twists and all; characters which, although without depth, are clearly delineated; and a bonus - the hero's problems with his "day job" book. Definitely worth it when on sale; maybe a bit steep at a credit price, but I'm finding myself sorely tested to move on through the series. If you like Westlake's early Dortmunder books, or the BBC's Charles Paris programs, I suggest you go ahead and give this a try. Or if you liked this, try them.
This book sounded like it would be exciting and, in a dark sort of way, fun. When I look back many years to when I was getting out of college into an uncertain future, I think the idea of a harmless, low-budget, kidnap for ransom career may have had a lot of appeal (well yeah, the fact that it was the era of Easy Rider and Bonnie & Clyde may have had something to do with it). I love the Hit Man series, Donald Westlake, even Dexter, and thought that this would be much of the same.. However, I gave it over an hour and found the main characters disorganized, boring, unattractive, and prone to make stupid choices. There seemed to be a backstory that when the action starts they may have already worked a number of their scams - it was hard to imagine how. I'm not going to return it - it was cheap - and maybe I'll try again, but there is so much better out there, that I probably won't waste my time.
I very much enjoy Michael Connelly's Mickey Haller books, which are better than most in the "working lawyer" genre. Although the "tough but soulful PI Lit" genre is not my first choice, I got hooked by the good reviews (and the sales price). However, it was a waste of my time - huge sections of misdirection leading nowhere but giving the hero a lot of opportunity to regret, atone, soul-search, whatever. There are a lot better fish in the sea.
I found Connie Willis because Bellflower was on sale; moved on to To Say Nothing of the Dog - enjoying them both very much - they are definitely in my "2nd listen" category mainly because of their sharp descriptions and quirky characters.
Blackout and All Clear had several interesting characters, suspenseful situations, and a sense of being well-researched which made up for them being somewhat repetitious and a bit too long.
As to Doomsday Book, as I said, go find Mr. Neilson's review. Or trust me and don't waste your credit.
...and then it got its grips in me. If you are a fan of Robert Goddard (many of whose books have mysteriously gone missing from the Audible web site), Charles Todd, Jeffrey Archer, or any of the other, mainly British, writers who feature somewhat flawed and frequently clueless-at-times protagonists; suspension-of-disbelieve-requiring coincidences; and great descriptive writing, give Suspect a chance. A good mystery has you looking over your shoulder.... a great one has you looking over your life.
With so many fine British readers available, including Ian Carmichael who has read several of the LPW books as well as portrayed Lord Peter on BBC radio and BBC/PBS TV, why was a woman ever chosen as the reader? Maybe the $2.95 Kindle price deal had something to do with it? Nadia May is a fine reader, but try as she might, she really was out of her depth in a book with predominantly male characters, and try as I might, it was a struggle to continue to listen all the way to the end.
In spite of Lord Peter's affected manner and the at times jarringly dated attitudes reflected in the books, there is a reason why people are still reading Sayers. If you have never read the LPW books and enjoy Christie, Tey or Marsh, or if you last read them years ago, I recommend you read this one in print only and start your audible experience with a male reader, preferably Carmichael.
I'm really good at making analogies - at times very far-fetched ones - check my other reviews if you don't believe me. And this book, although nicely written with some vaguely interesting characters and just a whiff of south Florida atmosphere, Is NOT A BIT LIKE even the dullest Hiaasen, and even less like Dorsey's inspired madness. I got it in a really cheap Whispersync deal, and I got what I paid for, Be warned.
First, I agree with another reviewer that maybe this just isn't my sort of book. It had a lot in common with Distant Hours and Secret Keeper in that it was beautifully written and obviously a labor of love for the author, but like them it was far too long, and the majority of the characters a depressing and unhappy bunch, with largely self-inflicted unhappy lives.
The performances were very good, except that at times Kirby Horne as Kel sounded very much like Kirby Horne as Nick in Gone Girl - another depressing character. He should be careful not to get typecast.
Having said all this, I did finish it - mainly hoping it would get better - had to put it on 2x speed and 4th level of multitasking to do so.
it suddenly hit me that the fact I'm enjoying the book is that in spite of the many differences of time, space, and age, Jacky is in many ways a great deal like Stephanie Plum. In trouble, in love, doing the right things while not always doing the correct things, and just generally making you read on to see what calamity will befall her next. This wasn't apparent in BJ1 and although I enjoyed parts of it I wasn't sure I would continue on with the series, but I'm glad I did.
Although I read and enjoy YA books, I don't have a feel for the YA market - and am not really sure that if I had a YA at home I would want her to take up Jacky as a model. But I do recommend the books, or at least this one, to Evanovich fans.
Although I enjoyed some of the concepts in the prequel, Avogadro, there was far too much amateurish chat about the West Coast computer tech lifestyle - at times it sounded like a coffee shop commercial - and not really a lot of A.I. concepts that haven't been covered before. if A.I.A. had not been priced at $1.99, I would not have bought it.
What a great surprise! Started the book on a Friday night and walked around with the earphones glued to my ears for a day '"watching" a great movie. The plot is contrived, the characters derivative (although it was fun to "cast" them), many of the situations are improbable, and there is a great deal of destruction (duh, is does have "apocalypse" in the title). Not one of the great futuristic novels, but a great deal of fun.
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