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review 2018-12-11 01:15
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley (audiobook)
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley,Jayne Entwistle

Series: Flavia de Luce #8

 

Flavia is back from Canada and up to her old tricks by discovering a dead body while on an innocent errand. She really has all the luck, doesn't she? I have to say that Flavia probably deserves her little cousin Undine, who at one point assaults her by swinging across the room or hall or whatever on a rope imitating Tarzan. This mystery mostly proceeds by Flavia questioning various people by posing as someone older than she is (about twelve now) rather than focusing on a lot of chemistry. So there's less of her gushing, basically.

 

I think I'll count this towards the Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21) book for 24 Festive Tasks since although there are references to a lack of decorations for Christmas because her father is ill and snow on the ground and some solstice traditions, it hasn't quite gotten to Christmas yet (unless I missed it).

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review 2018-12-10 05:51
Days Without End (Audiobook)
Days Without End - Sebastian Barry,Aidan A. Kelly

Narration: 5 stars

Story: 3.5 stars

Final rating: 4 stars

 

It was my week for strange stories. This isn't even a story in the traditional sense. This reads more like a rambling memoir but with language so intimate and lush that I could easily forget that I was only really getting broad brushstrokes for the bulk of the story. This is mostly a summation of a young man's life as he figures out some hard-won truths.

 

Told from the POV of Thomas McNulty, an Irish immigrant, as we follow him and his friend turned lover John Cole across America in the mid-1800s. Survivors of the famine, they come to America with nothing, practically starved to death, and start to figure out how to survive from one day to the next, whether that's playacting as girls in a stage show or joining the Army to fight in the Indian Wars and eventually the Civil War.

 

This book doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of this time period in American history, nor does it give us safely and comfortably progressive-minded MCs to filter that reality through. Thomas and John Cole might not be outright hateful of anyone but they don't stop to ask why they're being given the orders they're given nor do they spend much time if any contemplating the morality of the slaughter of the First Peoples. Not at first. As Thomas notes at one point, no soldier fully understands the war he fights in; he only knows his one part in it. 

 

I was most interested in Thomas's and John's non-Army days, while they were living together and eventually with their adopted daughter Winona, a Sioux orphan, but those parts were sparse safe harbors in between all the violence and war of those times. The ending, such as it was, is more open-ended than anything else. 

I would have preferred a reunion between Thomas, John and Winona instead of just Thomas looking forward to it.

(spoiler show)

 

The narration by Aiden Kelly was truly amazing. He captures Thomas's bewildered voice perfectly and truly makes this oddly mesmerizing story come to life. 

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review 2018-12-10 03:59
Not merry nor funny...
Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris 

 

I was looking for something to listen during the Holidays and this was recommended to me. I tried, I really did but half way in and more than merry this was compendium of bitterness and bad jokes. I know it supposed to be "dark" humor, and believe me, I can appreciate dark humor but this one never hit the mark. Definitely not for me

 

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review 2018-12-10 01:23
Touching, emotional story for me.
The Line Below - Ali Dean

The story touched me on many levels. The drive to succeed, the drive to make family happy, and the loyalty all made Shay real, and I loved how she learned to do what was best. Jett was a wonderful character as he taught Shay to do more for herself. The chemistry between these two was hot and steamy. There were times I had tears in my eyes when their relationship almost derailed. I highly recommend this story. The narration by Stacey Glemboski brought life to these characters, and I enjoyed listening to her tell the tale.

I received a copy of the audiobook as a gift, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-12-10 00:48
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley,Robert Petkoff

Disclaimer:  I am giving this book a "Goodreads" two stars; not an "Amazon" two stars.  This is a "this was fair" two stars.

 

Seven passengers, one bodyguard, and three airline crew members are on a private flight from Martha's Vineyard to New York City, when the airplane crashes into the ocean.  Somehow two of the people on the airplane survive:  an artist named Scott Burroughs, and JJ, the four-year-old son of David Bateman, who runs ALC News, a cable station that appears to be a thinly veiled version of Fox News.  Against the odds, Scott is able to swim about ten miles to the shore of Montauk, Long Island, with JJ on his back, rescuing both of them.

 

Scott immediately becomes part of the 24-hour news cycle, with most reporters wishing to know more about the "hero" story.  Going against the grain is one of the talking heads at Bateman's network, Bill Cunningham.  Cunningham has recently come under fire for obtaining illegal recordings of various high-profile people's phone conversations, and he is not chastened.  Cunningham goes into tinfoil hat mode, insisting that his friend David was most definitely probably murdered as part of an elaborate conspiracy, and who was this Scott guy anyway, and who cares if he saved JJ Bateman's life, even dogs can be trained to save lives.  Or maybe it's because Ben Kipling, David Bateman's friend and a fellow passenger on the flight, was about to be indicted for laundering money from "non-friendly" nations.

 

The narrative moves back and forth in time, filling in the backstories of the various people on the plane, which also include David's wife Maggie; a former preschool teacher; their nine-year-old daughter Rachel (who had been kidnapped at age two, hence the bodyguard); Ben Kipling's wife Sarah; the Israeli bodyguard, Gil Baruch; the pilot James Melody; co-pilot Charles Busch; and flight attendant Emma Lightner.

 

The plot held my interest, and I wanted to find out why the airplane went down.  But once it wrapped up, it seemed the author was rushing.  When the book ended, I said out loud, "that's IT?"  It felt as though it should have had at least one more chapter.

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