Adults as well as kids can enjoy this amusing book, especially if you remember 1968. The classic struggles of 7th grade are set against a changing world background. But some things, like the power of Shakespeare and of friendship are constant.
It's astounding to me that Jo Walton can write fantasy (Among Others), faux Victoriana (Tooth and Claw), and then turn around and write a country house murder/political thriller with the added twist of being set in an alternate Britain that made peace with Hitler. The ordinariness of the beginning adds to the scariness of creeping totalitarianism. And although the setting is the 1940's, the debate about restricting liberties to protect the country from terrorism is very relevant. Both narrators were very good, which I can't always say. I immediately started listening to the sequel.
I've read all the Molly Murphy books in print so this was my first audio of the series. I thought the narration was fine, though the story was mainly a lot of name-dropping and cameos by famous artists. I happen to enjoy reading anything that takes place in Paris, so that didn't bother me, but some things were pretty far-fetched. For instance, learning French as a schoolgirl some years before does not mean one can carry on complex conversations with natives. I'm sure I'll keep reading the series, but in print where it's faster and I can skim over the background material. But if you've been following the whole series on audio, you probably will like this. Daniel isn't around to get in the way for once.
This is a bit like Into the Woods, showing you what happens behind or after the "happily ever after" of fairy tales. Bronson Pinchot's narration is what really makes it special and adds to the humor.
In A Cat Was Involved, I was confused by Chet and Bernie meeting when Bernie already has an ex-wife, whereas other books conflicted with that. This story clarifies the time line of Bernie's personal life. Not much suspense in this one, but nothing cheers me up more than hearing Jim Frangione as Chet.
This book has some interesting comments on race and class in America and Africa and other cultural differences. The main characters have flaws as well as strengths. However, some parts drag on much longer than needed, and the American scenes are rather predictable and even like soap opera.
It's great to find out that Chet didn't flunk out of canine school just because " a cat was involved". As usual, he was solving a mystery. The wonderful chemistry between Bernie and Chet is established. But in this story, on the day he meets Chet, Bernie refers to his ex-wife. In all the other books, it's clear that Chet was around in the "Leda Days" and when Charlie was little. So I guess it's just that Chet's memory is a little confused. Maybe his first experience of Slim Jims crowded out everything else!
I chose this because of all the enthusiastic reviews and I was disappointed. I think it must be that book lovers are so starved for books about books that they rated this highly. Otherwise it's a typical mass market chick lit book, with all the tropes - a precocious child who acts like no real child would, tough characters with hearts of gold, a charming small town which magically contains romantic partners for everyone and way too many tragedies for probability. I have no objection to chick lit and even romance, though I prefer more laughs and less tearjerking. I just thought I was getting something more here.
I know there's a division of opinions about Scott Brick. I thought he was fine, but he does have a distinctive manner and a little of him goes a long way. Sometimes when I love a narrator, I'll look up other books done by him or her, but I'm not in a hurry to hear more by him. On the other hand, I won't necessarily avoid him either.
This was a real page-turner, but I was forced to slow down to the pace of the audio. I kept trying to sneak in time to listen during holiday family events! It was a challenge for the narrator because there are multiple female characters and she differentiated them without being over the top. There are some plot points that keep you guessing, some serious issues but also a lot of humor.
Sarah Waters as usual gives plenty of period detail with a background of unknown menace. But every part of the book could have been much shorter. At one point near the end, the main character thinks about how boring life is when things drag on and on. I shouted out "Yes!" to my iPod, as that's how I was feeling about the book. The narration was good, that's what kept me going, and there was some suspense about various incidents, it's just that it took forever to resolve each one. And I didn't need to know quite so much about housekeeping in 1920!
This is a book about books, about magic, and about the magic of reading itself. Books are the brightest part of life for the young heroine, and are also her doorway to connecting with other people. The narrator is the incomparable Katherine Kellgren, who gets a whole new accent to voice, Welsh, which she does terrifically. I so wanted to meet this young lady and share her enthusiasm for the joy of reading.
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