Oil City, PA
"Bleak" popped up in the handful of reviews I read, but seemingly acceptably so since the idea of slavery and life in a plantation is, well, bleak.
But the string of tragedies and the soapy drama artificially created by an unending series of crossing letters, mixed messages, and assumptions, has me willing to, and in fact, is forcing me to abandon the book at its "climax" because there can be no resolution that will not be frustrating and annoying. I was literally shouting and raising my arms in the car in response to plot twists, and not in the way I might have with a well written suspense.
I wouldn't have hated this book if the blog posts and secret clubs stuck strictly to the "Gossip Girl"/"Cruel Intentions" form, which are enjoyable in their own right. But swinging this to the mother's perspective looking in to her daughter's world, and the constant twists and turns and unexpected events, elevated Reconstructing Amelia to a compelling mystery with lessons to be learned. Maybe a bit far-fetched that Kate would do so much sleuthing on her own, but the odd-couple pairing of she and Lou worked for me in the end. Narrator does fine work characters ranging in age, gender, and background, even if the British and Brooklyn accents are somewhat jarring.
With the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg last month, and my relatively close proximity to the battlegrounds, I was interested in knowing more about that battle in particular, but the Civil War in general. Having recently read more novelized versions of historical events, I went in search of fiction rather than textbook. The Killer Angels delivered, preserving fact and context, but presenting it in a story-like way that made the events feel much more personal, as it should. Narration was very adept, especially given the various perspectives that are presented in this book.
I like to think that positive reviews would have led me to this book anyway, but the leaked news that JK Rowling is Robert Galbraith made the purchase a no-brainer. I tried to tune-out that fact as I listened, but it became difficult for all the right reasons - Rowling's descriptive storytelling that brought Hogwart's to life did the same for this modern day trip around London to solve one of the best mysteries I have enjoyed - in print or on screen - in a long time.
I am looking forward to a continuing series featuring Cormoran Strike (and hope that Robin comes along for the ride!) and I hope that Robert Glenister continues to serve as the narrator. He did excellent work with the various British accents and brought Rowling's characters to life.
Initial draw to this Claire Danes narrated novel was undercut by Audible's insistence to keep putting this title on sale! In my mind it said something about the listening value. Obviously that's not how Audible prices (all) of its titles. When it finally landed in my library in a BOGO sale, it was a favorite listen. As Margaret Atwood herself protested, this is less science fiction than it is social science fiction or speculative fiction.
The subject matter and 1980s women's perspective is just as relevant and poignant today and Claire Danes does excellent work with the compelling material. My 4 star rating on the story is only because I like a neat and tidy ending, but, without spoiling anything, I can accept that such a resolution would mess with the could-be-ness of the plot.
Bottom line, don't let the fire sale pricing discourage you - just thank Audible for the great pricing on a great listen!
I had heard that this book is a "must read", and as a granddaughter of two WWII vets, thought I would pick it up one day to get a better connection to their experiences (also having had a great uncle survive the Bataan Death March). What point me over the top in selecting this for my next audiobook was learning that Edward Herrmann - Richard Gilmore, to me - would provide the narration.
Fittingly, I completed the last minutes of the book during my Memorial Day travels. The story shocked me, impressed me, and educated me. It is a very personal yet universal story of surviving the odds.
Loneliness has never seemed so appealing, if being lonely means finding family in unexpected ways. I was pleasantly surprised to pick this title then recognize the narration of Kel's portion is Kirby Heyborne, whose narration brought something special to Gone Girl. All in all an unexpectedly compelling combination of plot and examination of self esteem and family.
Like Gillian Flynn's other novel, Gone Girl, I was left wondering how in the world she even conceived of his dark and twisted plot, but she dolls out the darkness in gradual doses you almost get comfortable with what could come next. The narration is so matter of fact, it almost makes it creepier.
Not a student of the jazz age or even early 20th century literature, I was fascinated by the colorful lives of the many individuals in Zelda's circle, most especially her own and F. Scott. An entertaining blend of history, literature, and the trappings of mental illness, the narration captured the superficial but creative and captivating mind of Zelda Fitzgerald. Makes me want to return to the Great Gatsby and other short stories. Maybe even introduce myself to Ernest Hemingway. Who knew of the intersection between these famous figures?
I wanted to like this story. Finn Dunbar is a likeable guy - a guy you might meet at a bar and be excited to "add" on facebook and enjoy occasional witty exchange with - but get into a deeper conversation and you'd learn he's just "meh". Why? Well, the author tries too hard to be superficial and blase, and his style of writing dialogue - "I say....; Ian says...; Phoebe says..." in short bursts is just bland. This also greatly troubled the performance - despite a crisp and clear voice, the narrator could not introduce much variation to the characters because they were so flatly written. Out of a recent mass consumption of audiobooks, this one completely failed to serve its purpose - keep me entertained during one hour commutes. Instead, I caught myself daydreaming and constantly having to back up the story, if I even cared enough at the moment to even fill in the gaps of the weak plot. Sorry.
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