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review 2015-02-19 14:30
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I think I need to warn you that I’m crazy about this book, so there probably will be an overuse of the word love! I’ll try to be as coherent as possible, but I don’t know how else to express my feelings about this book.

 

Let’s just start by saying this is pure awesomeness! This book is like no other I’ve ever read before. It’s so original! The premise is pretty cool, but it could’ve still gone wrong in the execution. Thankfully, it didn’t. Ernest Cline is simply brilliant!

 

If you don’t know already this book is basically about the greatest video game that has ever existed. It’s a virtual reality simulation where everything is possible. Things just happen to get more exciting when its creator dies and starts a huge contest that will award the winner everything he owned! I’m talking about millions people! Who wouldn’t want a part of that?! Although I think I would lack the determination to follow through with the contest

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Anyway, even if this book is about video games, and 80’s pop culture (which I wasn’t a part of) I could still relate to it in every aspect. You do NOT have to be a gamer to love this book. The sole idea of a virtual reality simulation, and all you can do with it, is amazing in itself. But it was also fun to meet all these eccentric nerdy characters! Seriously, each of them had unique traits you would love, and even if they acted in ways I didn’t approve sometimes I could always understand where it came from, so I could absolutely relate to their situations.

 

The thrill of the game caught up with me from chapter one. Seriously! Halfway through the first chapter I wanted to scream in excitement. It’s impossible not to root for these characters to win the contest, and the way the story is narrated you almost feel you’re there with them playing the game. It was also fun to learn so much about 80’s pop culture. Not only video games, which was very interesting because there were so many things I didn’t know about them, but also movies and music. Being a cinema fan, I could recognise some of the movie titles, but that’s it. So, even if I knew nothing about everything they were talking about, because I feel I should warn you this book evolves around 80’s pop culture knowledge, I was able to enjoy every bit of it since it was thoroughly explained. Every reference has a purpose, so you can’t get lost in all the data. It’s pretty cool how the author manages to mix all this information and wove into the story.

 

The only downside of this book is that at some points I felt like the chapters that were devoted to explain all of the information Parzival had to learn in order to play this game were too long. It took something away from the excitement. Nevertheless, this book has plenty of excitement in it, so maybe it was a good thing to have some cool down chapters. I was so into the story that I just had to finish the book and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. I just needed to know!

 

I loved how the characters interacted with each other, how nerdy they all were, I enjoyed James Halliday’s eccentricity, and I even loved how hateful Sorrento was. He’s one of those characters you love to hate.

 

I think have extended enough, but I would like to say that you should definitely give this book a chance. Your inner geek will absolutely be able to relate to this beautiful story. You don’t even have to be a sci fi fan.

 

NARRATION

 

Will Wheaton did a pretty good job with this book. I easily forgot I was listening to him and began picturing the characters. His pacing was great! His tone and voice inflections were perfect for the book. He did some excellent male voices, but he fell short with his female voices. Art3mis’ voice was decent, but his old lady voice really sucks. Thankfully the old lady I’m referring to (Parzival’s neighbour) doesn’t make much of an appearance so it wasn’t much of a problem. I also loved how he did Daito and Shoto. I think he nailed that Japanese accent.

 

Overall, I think he did an outstanding performance and that the book is worth listening to. I can’t compare it to the reading experience, but I have a feeling that listening to it, can maybe increase the excitement of this story.

Source: touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/02/ready-player-one-by-ernest-cline.html
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review 2015-01-31 14:00
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Landline - Rainbow Rowell,Rebecca Lowman

It has taken me longer than usual to sit down to write this review, because I don’t seem to know how to put in words what I feel about this book. I would have to say that Rainbow Rowell does not cease to impress me. I have loved both her adult novels so far because they are very real. She has the kind of magic that can turn simple everyday things into a wonderful story highlighting the beauty that life is. You don’t have to go and live an adventure (although I love those too) to experience true joy and I feel like she captures this marvellously.

 

This time around the main focus is marriage. I’m not a marriage lady, as you may know, but I do have meaningful relationships in my life, as assume all of you have, and all the lessons Georgie learns throughout the book are applicable to those as well.

 

I have always felt that love is decision you make every day to stick by a person’s side. Of course it all starts with a fuzzy feeling, let’s say, in your heart, but true love is a decision. Georgie seems to learn this the hard way thanks to a magic telephone that allows her to realize all the mistakes she’d made in her relationship with her husband, which was mainly that she took him for granted. Her priority was work, and she was very good at it, but her decision was always work and never her husband.

 

It was really a fun journey she goes through and I was a bit nervous along the way to see if she was able to make things right. I loved Neil. He is the perfect lovable husband any working woman would want. I have always been a sucker for good guys, and he is the ultimate good guy ever. He was very real too. With flaws and everything, but he clearly had his priorities in order which I very much appreciated. I did not care much for Georgie’s mum, because she kept telling her daughter his husband left her, which he hadn’t. I didn’t feel she was very supportive.

 

The same could be said about Seth. He was clearly a great writing partner. He was funny and charming, but he didn’t want to let go of Georgie and he seemed to not know where his place was. They had some mixed priorities in y opinion.

 

Overall, it was an excellent story that moved me. I loved the combinations of characters, and how the story was switching back and forward between their past and present. It really worked great. I also loved the touch of magic that was added through the phone. I’ve read some reviews that said they didn’t care much for it, but I thought it added something extra that was pretty cool.

 

NARRATION

 

The first time I heard Rebecca Lowman narrated a book I didn’t like her that much, so I was a bit worried my apprehensions with her narration would show again. Thankfully, I was pleased to discover I really enjoyed her narration this time around. I don’t know if she was a more suitable narrator for an adult book or if her pacing just sped up and got better. Bottom line, I liked her narration very much. She did some excellent male voices; the only problem was that I felt all her male characters were the same. Such problem didn’t exist with female characters.

Source: touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/landline-by-rainbow-rowell.html
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review 2015-01-16 14:00
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Rose Under Fire - Elizabeth Wein

I waited a while before writing this review in hopes I’ll have a better idea of how to express my feelings. As it turns out, I don’t. I was expecting a heart wrenching beautiful and historically accurate story, based on what I experienced with Code Name Verity, but I was still blown away by it. They were as good, I’m even tempted to admit I enjoyed this one better, but it is still so fresh in my heart I feel a bit biased saying that, but they were still so different from each other. They are definitely two different stories, with a common theme and some shared characters.

 

I was ecstatic to see Maddie and Jamie (I’m sorry if I didn’t get the spelling of their names right, but I listened to the audiobook, so I didn’t get the chance to read it) again and to see they were well and happy. It was just a glimpse because they are not the centre of this story, but I was glad to get it. I wasn’t surprised, though, to learn a bit about them and how they were coping with Julie’s decease, yet I was not expecting to run into Engel again, and trust me, you’ll find her in the most unexpected place. When it finally dawned on me it was her, I was agape! It was awesome that Rose’s path crossed with her’s in such a way. Masterful, even.

 

Speaking of masterful, this story totally sneaked up on me. I thought it would go straight to the action, like Code Name Verity where we learn straight ahead that Julie had been imprisoned. Not this time around. I didn’t read the synopsis beforehand so I didn’t know what would happen, and I really didn’t know what to expect, but this story was slowly showing its deep layers. Plus, it was great to see how Rose had changed after experiencing the hardships the war brought on her.

 

I loved the fact that Rose was a poet, and I loved every one of the poems she wrote at camp. I also didn’t miss the subtlety of her last name being Justice. I loved that instead of putting the focus in one friendship, we got the focus on a wonderful group of people. But most of all, even if the author was careful in portraying the horrors that went on in a Concentration Camp, I loved that the main centre of attention was solidarity, love and the strength of human race. I hate what happened during WWII, but it wasn’t only a show of our worst features as humanity, if you look careful enough you’ll also be able to see it was also a demonstration of our best features and strengths.

 

I also enjoyed very much that the story wasn’t set in a Jewish Concentration Camp, which, as it turned out, were a bit different from the prisoner’s camp as the one Rose was in (I won’t even dare try to spell that). I liked that because they did exist, but we barely know about them, at least me. So many different types of people ended up there and their experiences were somewhat different. They deserved the spotlight.

 

It turned out I had lots to say about this book, but I would love to end it with a mention to Elodie. I loved that character and I got so little of her. I would love to have her side of the story. She was indeed remarkable, and if I ever end up marrying a French guy and have a daughter, I shall name her Elodie.

 

To sum up, this author is brilliant and the narrator was marvellous! They brought together a story to life. A beautiful heart warming, heart wrenching story of hope, solidarity, love and bravery in the most unexpected places. This book will live with me forever. It accurately captures the horror and the small rays of beauty within German Concentration Camps.

 

Narration

 

I don’t want to make this review longer, so I’ll just add a short note on Sasha Pick’s narrator. She is unbelievably amazing! She has an excellent pacing, she’s a wonderful singer, I loved listening to her read poetry, and how she made all the voices with their respective accents. She was so good at it too. Brilliant choice. I’ll be looking out for more of her audiobooks.

Source: touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/rose-under-fire.html
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review 2015-01-07 16:00
A Good Marriage by Mr. King
A Good Marriage - Stephen King

This was a short novel, so I decided it was best if I did a mini review.

 

Mr. King doesn’t cease to amaze. I wonder what it feels like to be in his head. Anyhow, I went into this book not knowing what to expect, and it was better that way. I loved how Mr. King truly captures the complexities of the human mind. I mean, I felt like I was following Darcy’s train of thought right as it was happening. It is easy to relate to her struggle, and Mr. King nails it perfectly.

 

To provide some context, Darcy was pretty happy with her marriage until one day she discovers something really nasty. I’m talking about horrific proportions here and her world just goes spinning down a rabbit hole. I loved that the story was progressive. First we have a denying Darcy that doesn’t want to know her husband’s secret, which in retrospect would’ve been much better; we really don’t need to know everything about our spouses. But at last, it was inevitable to look. I don’t think that I would’ve struggled so much, I’m too curious.

 

You can tell she was a very smart woman, and I think she played all her cards well. I don’t know if I would’ve done the same, but I certainly respect her decision.

 

You could feel she was broken and I simply loved how Mr King managed to pull this story off.

 

In short, it was thrilling and compelling, and I just had to keep listening to know how things would unravel. It did not disappoint. It is a classic horror that could happen in any household, and what is scarier is the question Mr King poses about how well you know the person you’ve been living with.

 

Jessica Hecht's narration was impeccable. She set the perfect tone for the story and her pacing was great. She added a particular element that I think you could've missed when just reading, which added so much to Darcy's character. It was mainly the struggle in her voice. You could feel she was a broken woman trying to put herself together. She is desperate, yet determined, all thanks to an excellent performance. Let's just say, she brought Darcy alive in a way the imagination would've been short.

Source: touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-good-marriage-by-stephen-king.html
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review 2014-11-26 14:00
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

This is an audiobook review.

 

I’d heard this book was amazing, so I was very excited to listen to it, but I was definitely not prepared to love it so much. I think I was a bit sceptic of all the hype, but let me tell you it is well deserved.

 

These characters are so rich. They are lovely girls and an even better team. I loved learning about them and getting to know them. This story is a rather crude portray of World War II, and even if it isn’t too descriptive we know some of the characters endure terrible torture and have to face adverse circumstances. They are scared and in great danger the whole time, but it was refreshing to see how brave these girls are. Brave in a very real way and not in the fantasy type of heroine I also love. I’m not sure how old they are, but I guessed they were around 18-20 years old? So they were mature enough to make the decisions they did, but still young enough to allow us to feel the injustice of war.

 

The most beautiful thing about this story though, is that it focuses on these two friends Maddie and Julie/Queenie. It is one of the greatest love stories I’ve read about, but not in the romantic kind of love, but rather in the friendship transcends every barrier kind of love. They knew each other so well, and they were so smart. They each had their unique personality and it was fun to see how they combined so well.

 

As far as the storytelling goes, I most appreciated that everything connects. This story was so carefully woven. Every single detail of the story is relevant, and once we get both sides of it, I mean Maddie and Julie’s version of what is happening to them, it all comes together nicely, and let me tell you, it takes up a different shape than the one we were expecting. I love stories that can surprise me!

 

The historical part was excellently done as well. In the audiobook version, the author does a little debriefing of what is historically accurate and what not, but it is extraordinary the amount of research and detail she put into her work. I must say that everything felt plausible and I wasn’t bothered by any historical inaccuracy because you have to be too much of an expert on the subject to know. So as far as I’m concerned, this story was very well researched and fit together perfectly, plot wise and historical wise.

 

The narration was fabulous! This is one of the cases where the audiobook definitely enhances the reading experience by adding something extra. Both of the narrators are very talented, and I liked that we had two, one for each point of view, because it really helped to differentiate the girls from each other and they felt as unique as they were.

 

I loved to listen to the different accents; it was so pleasant to the ears. I’m by no means an expert but the Scottish accent was really well done, and even the French words were pronounced flawlessly. I tend to struggle when listening to a British person speak, because I’m not used to the accent, but had no trouble with these narrators, so I really enjoyed their sweet narrations with no trouble at all. Every voice was distinctive and the story really came to life.

 

In sum, I’m in love with this story. I can’t wait to listen to the companion novel, and anything else this author has or will write. She has incredible talent as a storyteller and a power to move the reader’s heart.

Source: touchofbookmadness.blogspot.com/2014/11/code-name-verity.html
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