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review 2017-03-23 18:11
#Audiobook Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Etched in Bone: A Novel of the Others - -Penguin Audio-,Anne Bishop,Alexandra Harris

Etched in Bone is the fifth and final book in the utterly amazing, wholly original The Others series by Anne Bishop. The story picks up just after the conclusion of powerful events of the previous book, and is the culmination of everything learned since Meg arrived in the Lakeside Courtyard way back in the first book. 

 

Etched in Bone deals with the limited transportation and food shortages created when the Elders culled many humans and took back human-controlled towns. The new living situation brings out a different kind of human "predator,” and the Elders must determine how much human they want to keep in the world. Having two Elders observe the Lakeside Courtyard places Simon in a precarious situation; he must allow a dangerous human (Officer Montgomery’s shady brother, Jimmy) to stay in near the Courtyard so the Elders can figure out what makes him a bad type of human (and therefore they will be able to destroy those humans that are a threat). Simon, along with the other Terra Indigine and some of the more astute humans like Burke and Monty, recognize that the fate of all humankind depends on what happens in Lakeside. This sets up a number of situations that endanger the lives and wellbeing of many of the Lakeside Courtyard residents, weaving a sense of urgency around the moments of everyday living.

 

Like all the previous books in the series, readers (listeners) are privy to an unpleasant series of events that unfold over the course of Etched in Bone and witness how the Terra Indigine react. Although is it evident where the story is headed, it's still gripping. This time around, I liked how well the Others and humans worked together, but I also like that the Lakeside residents are now able to recognize a human predator. The introduction of Monty’s mother, Twyla, adds a missing human/pack grandmother component. She is able to understand the ways of the the Others and put her own way of handling a situation into their framework. Her presence is calming, knowing that she is able to handle the craziness with a firm but caring hand.

 

Additionally, Etched in Bone progresses the unique relationship between Simon and Meg. By now, it is evident to all, expect Simon and Meg, that the pair are in love. Because love between a human and Other hasn’t existed before, and due to Meg’s abusive history, the couple’s dilemmas are different than expected. I absolutely love that Simon gets advice on how to navigate his relationship with Meg through "kissy books!” 

 

After messing with the speed over the course of the series, the narration works best for me at 1.25x speed, and I will freely admit that I am now a huge fan of Ms. Harris’s performance in the series. I've grown to love every voice Ms. Harris performs, each as familiar as the characters themselves. The narrator continues to keep the joy and nativity of Meg, and the gruff predator of Simon. She nails the creep factor of mooch Jimmy, the whine of Jimmy's wife, and the confidence of Burke and Kowalski. 

 

Etched in Bone is another wonderful story in The Others series. The characters have grown so much, and I adore all the Courtyard residents. I've come to think of them as friends and have such an interest in seeing them succeed. I loved just listening to the day-to-day details and life of the Lakeside Courtyard, along with the new experiences for Meg, the Others, the Elders, and everyone in the mixed community. The author ended the series with many (if not all) of the outstanding details wrapped up, yet not completely finalized. After finishing Etched in Bone, I am hopeful for the future of the people/creatures of this interesting world (and really want more!).

 

My Rating: A- 

Narration: A-

 

Series: A-

 

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House Audio

 

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review 2017-03-22 17:19
Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig
Death Before Decaf: A Java Jive Mystery - Caroline Fardig

This was a cute listen on audio and kept me distracted during my mind-numbing drive to and from work. It reminded me a wee bit of the earlier Stephanie Plum novels but without the complete OTT zaniness.

 

Juliette recently had to push the reset button on her life after her ex broke her heart and devastated her financially, forcing her to close her café. She’s accepted a management position at the café where she worked during her college years. It’s owned by her old friend and long-time crush, Pete, who recently inherited the business and isn’t interested in keeping his wayward employees in line.

 

Juliette comes in and immediately lets her “Red-Headed She Devil” persona take over. Her new employees are not impressed, nor very threatened by her screaming and carrying on over their slackerly ways and keep doing whatever they please. She yells at one guy twice (and he totally deserves it), in front of tons of witnesses, and when she later finds him dead in a dumpster she is horrified to learn that she is a person of interest in the investigation. Sheesh, I am soooo glad I am not a manager of insolent café employees!

 

 

Anyway, the ineptitude of the local investigation team urges Juliette to do some sleuthing. This leads her into all sorts of trouble. She’s the type to jump first and never really think about it later. She’s feisty, hot-tempered and impulsive. That last quality gets her into many dangerous situations. Lucky for her, she has two sexy men who come to her rescue when things get out of control. Yep, it’s the dreaded love triangle which is better than the dreaded love-eye , I guess, but we won’t talk about that . . . This bugged me but not enough to ruin the book.

 

It’s an entertaining little mystery, nothing too taxing on the brain and has a nice dash of sarcasm and sexy.

 

Narration Notes: The version I read was narrated by Callie Beaulieu. She does a good job with the characters and you always know who is speaking but she does a dreadful Italian accent. The kind of Italian accent you might hear in a Super Mario game. I don’t know if this was on-purpose to get some laughs or if it was simply dreadful. Either way, I laughed. Fortunately, the Italian student is only a minor walk-on character.

 

*I was sent a copy of this book from Tantor Media. Thanks Tantor, hope you don’t regret it!

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review 2017-03-22 02:33
Theft of Swords
Theft of Swords - Michael J. Sullivan,Tim Gerard Reynolds

One of my friends described this series as fantasy-lite and boy is it ever. Hadrian and Royce are fun protags, but the stories are on the thin side. 

 

I didn't realize this volume has two different stories, so I was getting annoyed at how quickly the first story appeared to be resolving itself. But even after realizing what was going on, the writing and resolution of the first story is still too reliant on villain monologues. The story didn't take any unexpected twists and the characters don't have much depth. The second story was somewhat better in construction and the way it was paced. The fantasy elements are slow to be integrated, maybe to ease the reader into the world? Though I'm not sure why a fantasy fan would need such easing. (Ok, GRRM is on the feet-dragging side of this too, but his characters and their various relationships are complex and complicated, and the world they live in feels real. And even when the villains reveal things, you can't be sure they're telling the truth.)

 

The narrator has that fantasy-type voice which works well with the narration, but he doesn't have much range on the voices. A lot of the characters start sounding the same after awhile.

 

These are decent stories and fun, but I can't say I'm tempted to continue. I did pick up The Crown Tower during Audible's last sale, so I'll try that one next and see if some of these issues get improved upon or not. 

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review 2017-03-21 01:44
Being Mortal
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End - Atul Gawande,Robert Petkoff

 

 

Atul Gawande takes on the uncomfortable topics of old age and terminal illness, discussing ways in which medical approaches to these areas have resulted in less-than-optimal experiences for people facing them.  In the case of care of the aged, nursing homes grew out of the basic hospital setting, and out of that has grown a culture of safety and institutional routine take precedence over quality of life and preferences of residents.  With end-of-life, there is always something more that can be done--treatments, procedures--but the outcomes and trade-offs for the patients might be untenable.

 

Gawande explores alternatives that take into account retaining quality of life and helping the elderly and dying identify what matters the most to them and to design the best approaches to their living situations and care.  His examples include interactions with patients, friends, and his own father.  In his process, he recounts learning better ways to communicate with patients, especially in the difficult conversations no one wants to have but that can make all the difference.

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review 2017-03-21 00:26
A Nice Audiobook Retelling
When Beauty Tamed the Beast [ WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST ] by James, Eloisa ( Author) on Feb, 01, 2011 Mass Market Paperbound - Eloisa James

April 2012

Audio- wonderful tale of love lust and anger. The beast is a young Doctor with daddy issues and a physical injury that left him with a bad leg. He roars around yelling at all and happy with none. The beauty is of course a beauty that was used for her looks and tossed out of the Ton because of pregnancy rumors. She is shipped off the the beast in an arranged marriage to give him an heir and her a husband to save her from ruin.
Their tale is filled with anger, snarky humor, lust and stubbornness. They are beautiful together, even at the worst. The supporting characters fit well and bring laughter to the right moments. We all know the tale of beauty and the beast, and still there are many surprises here. Not to be missed for a romantic, historical fairy tale.
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