The reader's beautiful diction and voice made the listening experience a treat, and, as always, Alexander McCall Smith's writing is a dream. The way he opens characters' hearts; the way he gently exposes their foibles. Both human frailty and generosity of spirit leak off every page. He is without a doubt my favourite contemporary male author.
The characters are richly nuanced. How can one not be intrigued by Irene, the pushy and opinionated mother, or by Dr. Fairbairn, the pompous poseur? Bertie's situation is so unfortunate that I wished I could rescue him. By the end of the book, I longed to hang out with Domenica and Angus.
His Bertie is wonderfu. How is it that a man with such a deep, rich voice can carry off the role of a child or a woman? Despite the number of characters, I was never confused as to who was speaking. He didn't overdo the characterization; it was just right. Robert Ian Mackenzie's performance is wonderful throughout, and I am sure the direction contributed to the making of this great recording.
It's too hard to choose. It's a toss up between Domenica and Angus. Definitely not Bruce, though I tend to agree with him that Chardonnay is overrated. Could I take Bertie out for an icecream and some rugby?
I listened while on my daily walk, and I will admit to the occasional snort of laughter or gasp at Bruce's pomposity. I'm sure the neighbours think I'm a wee bit loopy.
So much fun
This story was action packed.
It's hard to pick a favourite; the conflict builds and the climax is so much geeky retro fun. No spoilers here though!
I probably don't qualify as a certified geek, but I still enjoyed this book. It's a perfect selection for gamers and people who love Japanese monster movies and anime.
I'd reread Moonrise, but I don't think I'd listen to it again. This is the first time I haven't been bowled over by the talent of the narrators. (I usually gush. See my review of Colin Firth's reading of The End of the Affair and how I raved about the Amelia Peabody mysteries.) I have tremendous admiration for artists who can pull off multiple regional accents and characters of both genders--without sounding like a parody.
This book tips its hat to the Gothic classic, Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. While not in the same league as Rebecca, Moonrise didn't disappoint. Setting is all important in a Gothic novel, and the eponymous historic Victorian house nestled in Highlands, North Carolina provided the perfect spooky backdrop for a mystery. The nocturnal gardens in particular added a bit of eeriness to the story.
I enjoyed listening to Letters from Skye, narrated by Elle Newlands, the actor who performed Willa McPhee in Moonrise. She has a very pleasant accent (Scottish, I assume) and a lot of talent. I had a hard time understanding what she was doing in a southern story, though. If the locals of Highlands have a brogue, why didn't Duff, Willa's beau?
I enjoyed the descriptions of the place. Of course all the people and their tangled webs of deceit and intrigue were interesting, but I hold that setting is what makes Gothic gothic.
The other trait of the Gothic genre is a fiery ending. This finale was spectacular, but it wasn't quite in keeping with my idea of the genre.
The characters were wonderful. Mary Doria Russell created multi-dimensional people and made me not only care for them, but also wish they were in my life.
This is my first tentative foray into speculative fiction so I don't have much to compare it to. I NEVER imagined I would enjoy science fiction so much. The characters' depth was similar to those in The Prince of Tides--these are people I who will stay with me.
There were so many poignant scenes. The best was probably the moment of contact, when Father Emilio was overwhelmed with the sense that his whole life had led to that moment , and he finally experienced God.
I laughed, I cried, I gasped. I will need at least a week to recover from the horrific events that unfold in the final chapters. And I am already pining for my "friends."
If you steer away from science fiction because it's "not your thing," I encourage you to try this one. The writing is beautiful and smart--there's plenty to stimulate almost any reader. Physics, chemistry, astronomy, anatomy, medicine, linguistics, anthropology, Latin, psychology, faith...all wrapped up in some very clever storytelling. Honestly--don't skip over this one just because it looks like it's about aliens and other worlds.
Yes. Kate Rudd did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. The verbal mannerisms of the young characters were spot-on. On the other hand, the characters discuss big ideas--philosophy and religion and the meaning of life, and a physical copy of the book would allow for easier study. For example, several poems were referenced, and I'd love to look them up. A print version would be more convenient in that instance.
Well, I'm guessing Gus is everyone's favourite. He is, as he puts it, "charismatic."
This is my first experience with Kate Rudd, but I will be watching out for her.
Well, that's a silly question given the book deals with dying teenagers and star-crossed love. "Moving" is to be expected. "Surprising" --that is what is interesting about this book--the surprising bits, but I can't comment on the many gasp-worthy moments or I would risk spoiling it for you...
Yes, yes: it's a tear jerker. I'd advise you not to avoid it because of the sad topic. There is so much to think about and celebrate in this beautiful book.
The audio was fantastic, but this is the kind of book I'd like to take a highlighter to and underscore a few of Bergman's wonderful turns of phrase.
I liked the disfigured vet in the story "Saving Face."
None stands out. They were all stellar.
Because it is short stories, it is suited to listening in small installments.
If you think you don't like short stories, try this book. It may just change your mind.
I had high hopes for the book--so many of my favourite themes were promised; few, however, were delivered. The book's greatest lack was forward momentum. Lagging behind that was succinctness.
Her style is not to my liking, so no.
Beth Chalmers has a talent for bringing characters to life. Her skill at regional accents and her dramatisation made it easy to picture the people. Unfortunately, some of her characters were grating. The sister of the protagonist, in particular, set my teeth on edge. I turned down the volume whenever her particular character was talking.
Time and time again, the motives behind even simple actions were stated and explained, giving the impression the author had little respect for her readers' intelligence. When I found myself involuntarily rolling my eyes and groaning aloud, I realised it was time to call it quits. On the positive side, I came away with a deeper appreciation of what critics and writing coaches mean when they use the descriptor "overwritten."
I had to give up on this one after several hours of listening, and it came down to a simple matter of trust. I lost all faith in the author's ability to get to the point.
This is one of those books that appeal to a specific listener. If I know my friend has a fondness of fairytales and enjoys rather warped retellings, I'd suggest this book.
The ending was satisfying in its resolution, but it was perhaps a little too "tidy" for a book that was "out there."
His agility with regional accents from the UK is admirable.
David's delicate state after his mother's death was heartbreaking and disturbing. John Connolly did a great job engendering pity for the boy's plight, particularly in the scene at the psychiatrist's office when David has a meltdown.
The Crooked Man stands out as a particularly menacing bad guy. Towards the end of the story, the author pushed a little too hard with an overabundance of gory details and sickening anecdotes about the character's misdeeds. My finger hovered over the fast-forward button because the gratuitous detail became irritating. We already got it: he's a really bad dude.
The Book of Lost Things portrays the healing power of stories and books.
Learning about carpet design and getting a detailed peek into a world I knew nothing of was a privilege. The descriptions of the food, the customs, and clothing were fascinating.
The author, Anita Amirrezvani, artfully spins a plot that sucks the reader in. The conflict is gripping as the protagonist's fate unfolds. Adding to the pleasure of the story are the sumptuous details about the era. The bathing rituals of women. the banquets, the intricate patterns of rugs, the silk finery of the rich and powerful colour in a culture and time that is faint in the minds of many western readers.
The main character, an unnamed girl, was brought to life. Shohreh Aghdashloo's husky voice is compelling, and once I adjusted to her lush accent, I was totally entranced by her reading. I believe she must be a native speaker of Farsi, so it was a treat to hear the proper pronunciation of words and places. In particular, the exclamations of surprise and delight--"Voy!" stuck with me.
I am surprised that none of the reviews I read prior to reading the book mentioned that a solid portion of the book was about the main character's sexual awakening. Discussing this in too much detail would spoil the plot, which is probably the reason for this oversight. Indeed, I squirmed as I read about the initial sexual situation she found herself in. To my western mindset and sensibilities, it smacked of child abuse--she was a 15-year-old and the man was older. Her lack of power--the total inability to dissent--troubled me. That she wasn't repelled by what was happening to her was hard for me to accept. I don't, however, see this as a problem with the writing; it was more of a "TILT" due to cultural constructs.
The Blood of Flowers is as rich with detail as it is thick with tension. A satisfying resolution makes it an enjoyable and educational experience.
This audio book tops my list of favourite titles.
I love books about books, and this one creates the perfect literary cocktail: Put a literary mystery in a quirky bookstore, add a shady secret society and an appreciation of a font; shake well and splice the whole shebang with liberal splashes of current technology. It is creamy, cool, word-nerdy fun.
The character of Mr Penumbra was wonderfully rendered. Somehow, Ari Fliakos managed to capture a believable mysteriousness.
Mr Penumbra, of course. --My new crush.
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