Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.
This sounded like it would be WAY more fun than it was. There were three things going on in this book. First was the present day story of Claire and her struggle against being ostracized by much of the art community. Second, we get flashbacks to three years ago and the relationship which was the cause of her ostracism, and third, we are read letters about Degas from the late 1800's by the founder of the Gardner Museum. While the story kept me listening, the romance was irritating and unconvincing, the friendships not really understandable, the characters unlikable (the only one I liked was the lawyer from Jake's), and so many other irritants I can't talk about without giving away too much of the story. I kept asking, "Why are they doing this now BEFORE checking out Claire's claim about this incredibly interesting thing that ANYONE would be dying to check out?!" Part of my irritation at this book was the narrator. While I loved Xe Sands reading of "Euphoria," I don't think she was the right person to narrate this book. Her men's voices were just awful, each one sounding mostly the same and like they had just gotten out of bed, were still extremely tired and thought far too highly of themselves. It didn't matter what they said, they were truly cringeworthy. I wish I had listened earlier so I could have returned it.
Reclusive literary legend M. M. "Mimi" Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme, she's flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies - with a few stipulations: no Ivy Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Quirky, sweet Frank, rational, low-drama Alice, sad and prickly Mimi, now-you see-me-now-you-don't Xander, and the solid Mr. Vargas all contribute to an unstoppable listen! While set in the modern day, it has that old-fashioned Hollywood feel to it. It also has a great story-line. There's a bit of mystery over Frank's father, there's suspense over the book Mimi is (or isn't) writing, there's that OMG! moment when you think all is lost, there's not too much romance to make me roll my eyes, and there's the perfect kind of ending that is just enough tied up to let you know what you need to know, but lets you fill in the rest for yourself. I think I got this on sale, but even if I'd have paid a full credit, I would consider it well spent! Great narration by Tavia Gilbert, as well. She had different voices for all the characters and they all worked!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it's another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect. But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Yes, this was a bit too neat, and our world is in no way as ideal as the one Poppy lives in, but that's what I liked about it. I think these stories that showcase maturity and kindness, as well as the struggle people have with being mature and kind and open to seeing things from a different perspective are what we need to normalize difference. The book does a fantastic job of showing the beauty of an imperfect but loving family and how they all fell apart and then rallied to bring it back together. The book sort of has five coming-of-age stories in one because we get to see how all the children in the family grow up and change after Poppy arrives. Narration was okay. I didn't like some of the voices, but appreciated the effort.
To most of us, learning something 'the hard way' implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head and will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.
I bought this book both in the hard copy and audible (because the hard copy was such tiny print), and listened while I read. This was a hard slog. If you read the jacket cover, you have all the information you need to apply what this book has to offer. If you like having things elaborated on, then yes, read the book, but know that it is going to be long and repetitive. While there are some inspirational stories, most of it has to do with sports or music professionals. There are some examples of college students using this for study, but for the most part, being someone now focused on elementary education, there wasn't a whole lot that I felt was applicable to that arena. Also, being someone who is a lifelong learner, I feel that the jacket cover information was enough, so long as you really read it and take it in. Not sure it was worth the purchase of either one, let alone both, but there were a couple of quotes that hit home.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Pulitzer Prize, Biography, 2016. Barbarian Days is William Finnegan's memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life.
I have to give up on this book. Not caring about every aspect of a wave makes this one a bore to me. It just seemed repetitive talking about waves and fear and courage and all the different boards and positions and places and curves and speed and blah blah blah. The rest of the story about the travels and the writing and the girls just wasn't enough to hold me. Also, I am never a fan of an author reading their own material. Halfway through, I just can't do anymore. I'll keep it, as my husband might like it someday.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning.
I never would have read this but that it was Fredrik Backman. I have loved his other books, and since I was reassured that it wasn't really much of a sports books by other reviewers, I thought, "okay!" Well, it really IS a book about sports, hockey in particular. But it gives us the human side of it. It helps those of us who have zero interest in competitive sports some understanding of why it is that some people are so crazy obsessed with it. It gets us in to the heads of the characters: the players, the spectators, the friends, the parents, the coaches, etc., and it shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. And it's Fredrik Backman, so it's packed with wisdom. Narrator was perfect!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch...until she commits suicide, leaving her husband, Brady, and teenage daughter, Eve, heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives?
This was a great listen. It's packed with wisdom for a contented life. I wish this book had been available and that I had read it when I was a young mother. Even now, I'm glad I read it. For as depressing as the plot seems, it's an uplifting book.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey—mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia’s own backyard.
This series is so much fun. Flavia is such a smart, cheeky little thing and she and her sisters have some of the most entertaining name-calling exchanges!
"Oh, there you are, you odious little prawn." "How dare you call me a prawn, you stupid sausage?" "My sister could be a most unpleasant porpoise when she felt like it."
And the imagery, metaphors, and similes!
“I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers for instance or oatmeal. Then when the fugitive word was least expecting it I would suddenly turn the full blaze of my attention back onto it catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak off again into the darkness."
This is the third book in the series and I intend to keep listening so long as Jayne Entwistle is the narrator. She's the perfect Flavia!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sebastien Ranes’s single mom and her feckless boyfriend can’t be bothered to take care of a stuttering 12-year-old. Banished to live with his grandmother on the far side of the country, the boy can barely understand a bus schedule when he gets dumped at the Greyhound station in Stockton, California. Given $35 and a one-way ticket to Altoona, Pennsylvania, Sebastien must cross the country - alone, without a clue how to fend for himself. Filled with youthful anger and naïveté, Sebastien heads out into the "Morning in America" of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s.
I finished it; that says something. But I have to admit, it was a bit boring and repetitive. The kid just keeps getting on a bus and off a bus and eating in the cafes in between, and for whatever reason, his luck completely changes (even though everything that could go wrong on a bus trip did go wrong). He finds a friend and gets money for food and other purchases along the way, and everyone (except that one creepy guy) is nice to him, with one lady even leaving her lipstick all over his face (apparently in gratefulness to him for staring at her chest?). While there were some interesting bits of wisdom shared by Marcus (the new friend) and some maturing of Sebastian along the way, my final feeling about this book is "meh." The narrator had some really annoying voices. He made Sebastian sound like a whiner and all of the other voices were some caricature of a Hee Haw character.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful
Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother's happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author's celebrated New York Times best seller) returns to visit her siblings after 17 years of absence.
I've really enjoyed the Strout books I've read/listened to (The Burgess Boys, Olive Kitteredge, and My Name is Lucy Barton) and this one was just as good. Her writing is quiet and gentle, and the characters are almost mundanely human, but there's always a reason she tells you that mundane stuff. She connects it to the bigger stuff of life. She has a way of exposing the human heart, making you wince, and then drawing you back in in amazement at the person's strength or resilience. Sometimes the dialogue is pretty lame, but again, that just adds to the authenticity of the characters. No witty banter here. I especially liked that these were connected short stories, so it was like a little treasure hunt to listen and discover where each one was going to fit in!
7 of 11 people found this review helpful