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review 2017-10-24 03:44
The Rebuilding Year (The Rebuilding Year #1) (Audiobook)
The Rebuilding Year - Kaje Harper,Kaje Harper,Gomez Pugh

My review for the book is here (spoilers in the link, so beware):

 

http://linda78.booklikes.com/post/972976/the-rebuilding-year-the-rebuilding-year-1

 

So this'll just be for the narration. 

 

I was introduced to Gomez Pugh with the PsyCop audios, like nearly most others were, and I loved them! With the exception of Jacob's voice, he was perfection for that series and for Vic, so I had high hopes when I saw this book would be narrated by him. I know he's done other books besides PsyCop but this was my first experience of him doing new material. And it did not live up to expectations.

 

Technically, he's as good as ever. He's clear, precise and easy to follow, and there's no confusion about POV. Performance wise, he doesn't differentiate between voices very much, and for the first half of the book at least he's doing Jacob's voice for John. He finally settles into it and gives John his own voice, and it does improve from there. But this isn't the performance I've come to expect from him from PsyCop. 

 

A good solid reading, but somewhat lacking performance = 3 stars from me.

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review 2017-10-21 03:11
The Mayor of Casterbridge ★★★☆☆
The Mayor of Casterbridge - Thomas Hardy

I once knew an essentially selfish man who thought of everything, even the people he loved, in terms of what they could do for him. And when he didn’t benefit, he could be angry and resentful and hurtful. He knew better, and he often regretted it and apologized and resolved to do better, but he never really learned how to be anything other than selfish. Even when apologizing and trying to make amends, deep down, it was about himself and his perception of himself, not about the hurt that he caused to others. Such a person is hard to love. They burn through relationships, taking and taking and taking, until even the kindest and most giving person is eventually sucked dry.

 

So, yeah.

 

…also, I don’t think Hardy liked women much, if this novel is anything to go on. 

 

 

Audiobook version, via Audible. Excellent performance by Pamela Garelick.

 

Previous Updates:

10/18/17 36% 

10/20/17 89%

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review 2017-10-18 05:55
Review: Wed to a Spy (All the Queen's Spies #1) by Sharon Cullen
Wed to a Spy: An All the Queen's Spies Novel - Sharon Cullen

Simon and Aimee are pretty much set to spy on each other and before they knew it, they are married. I am a super fan of the marriage of convenience and forced marriage genre so I was happy that I had the chance to read this story. Sadly it was not what I expected, not in the romance sense anyway. 

The romance between Aimee and Simon was too forced. I get that they had to marry because it was an order by the queen but their relationship was only beginning to simmer when the story was over. Clearly, there was a mutual attraction at the start of their marriage and what supposedly was a fondness for each other but where was that fondness even coming from as they were strangers? Simon sounded like a real character with personal commitments and frustrations. Aimee in comparison sounded like a lost puppy looking for a new owner. 

There are lost of intrigue since the story takes place at court so there is suspense and drama. If anything that intrigue was the most engrossing aspect of the story. When one of the characters at court is murdered, Simon and Aimee had to learn to trust each other in order to survive the rebellion that takes place at the castle. All of this happens in a relative short period of time and while interesting it still lacked that WOW effect that I would have loved to find in a novel about spies. It wasn’t a terrible read but it definitely needed more, specially in the romantic department.

** I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***
 

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review 2017-10-18 04:58
Review: With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins
With This Christmas Ring - Manda Collins

Sweet yet emotional and passionate story. Tie-in for both of the author’s Studies in Scandal and Lords of Anarchy however it can definitely be read as a stand alone. 

The last person Merry wanted to see was her former fiancé however she was willing to do everything within her power to give her dead friend’s child the family she deserved. Alex never understood the reason Merry jilted him and when she appeared at his door seeking his cousin, he knew that was the perfect opportunity to find answers and perhaps ask for a second chance at love. 

I very much liked that the story started with Merry as a take-charge, brave, and intelligent woman however as the story progressed her attitude sort of changed and she started to sound meek, or perhaps insecure, and that gave me a"what-happened-to-her?" kind of sense. It wasn’t too bad but it still took away from the overall enjoyment of the story. 
Her chemistry with Alex was nonetheless well-balanced. He was sweet, honorable, and passionate. He was a man of his word who respected family and friends immensely, particularly his grandmother given that she was the one who had taken care of him since he was a child. He never pushed Merry to do anything she didn’t want and allowed her time to think and answer all of his questions. I think both their characters were well rounded in the sense that we get to understand what got them to be where they are and how much they deserved their HEA. 
I’m not so sure what to think about the villains, though. One of the arcs sounded inconclusive and even implausible and the other one, well, I’m still wondering about that one. Still, the main romantic arc was what made this story worth my time and I do recommend it to anyone looking for a Christmas romantic story. 

** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

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review 2017-10-16 02:32
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ★★★☆☆
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: 50th Anniversary Edition - Ken Kesey,John C. O'Reilly

I can see why some people praise this book so highly, and I can see how it was such a hit at the time it was published, even without the iconic movie starring the always-crazy Jack Nicholson. The imagery is compelling, as is the unreliable voice of the (?) paranoid schizophrenic narrator through which we experience the events. It works well as a rather heavy-handed political/social allegory, but I found myself unable to get past the unapologetic racism and misogyny presented as a fun way to break from societal norms and expectations.

 

I was much more interested in the audio “extra” at the end of the story: an NPR interview by Terry Gross of the author, who explains the origins of the story, his first-hand experiences as a subject of the CIA’s LSD experiments conducted on students in the 1960’s and as an aide in a psychiatric hospital.

 

Audiobook via Audible. The author’s unpolished reading of his own work really fits the story.

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