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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-19 05:34
The Lost World
The Lost World: A Novel (Audio) - Michael Crichton,Scott Brick

Sequel to Jurassic Park. This audio version is also narrated by Scott Brick. Despite being streamed across Overdrive courtesy of the library, it was still broken up into CD sections and announced the change of CDs and repeated the last line of the previous CD section before continuing with the narration - overall, distracting.

 

I admittedly listened to this mostly while lying in my sick bed and didn't pay it the same close attention as I did the first one. I'm not sure if Scott Brick's individual character voices were less distinct in this adaptation or if I was not aware enough to pick out the subtle differences. As I am already biased in favor of the story, I only mentally docked a half star for the (perceived) performance.

 

One thing that occurs to me about the story in general though: is Sarah's father actually the vet, Dr. Harding, in the original Jurassic Park? And, if so, WTF, Malcolm? That one, seemingly inconsequential, teasing hint is still bugging me. Plot holes, plot holes...

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review 2017-02-18 08:25
Review: The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life - Francine Jay

Quick review for a somewhat quick read. I'd probably give this read 2.5 stars overall. I read this over the course of a few days in audiobook form, and I'll admit that I didn't care for it despite having some practically useful ideas. I decided to read this for exploring methods of minimalist living and retention, since that seems to be a pervading topic when it comes to productivity and organization. The text itself has useful ideas if you haven't read very many delcuttering/minimalism guides, but the narrative itself is cumbersome in its narration. Simple and key to remember ideas often get lost in explanations that go on much longer than necessary. I found it too superfluous in its communications. As the narrative went on, I honestly didn't like many of the suggestions the book gives to approach a minimalist lifestyle (a.k.a. "Participate in sports that require less stuff." Yes, this was an actual suggestion in this book among other methodologies.) It's interesting that a key idea of this narrative communicated learning to control your stuff, not allowing your stuff to control you and what you want to do, but yet ideas like that give the opposite impression.

I would take this guide with a grain of salt, and it may be better just to use this for what is useful to the person reading it and to supplement other guides on organization and minimalist living. The figuring out what to keep sections were good, but its overarching useful mantras are taken over by redundancy and counter-intuitive suggestions.

Overall score: 2.5/5 stars.

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review 2017-02-18 08:14
Review: Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil - Melina Marchetta

Quick review for a progressive read. It's hard to describe my reactions to this novel, because, on one hand, this is quite apt to Melina Marchetta's style of writing - strong characterizations, compelling family-centered stories, and emotional revelations on the topics she touches upon (particularly with respect to race, violence, prejudice, etc.) I enjoyed the journey this novel took me on for the most part, even as it handed down its revelations progressively rather than in one felt swoop like the magnitude of the crime(s) this book centers upon.

It took me quite a while to get into this novel, and there's a large cast of characters within this narrative to keep track of. Hence why the pacing feels like it crawls in sections of the novel, but on the whole of things, this is a powerful novel with more of a focus on the people who are caught within these tragedies/mysteries.

Bish is a suspended inspector whose daughter is among the victims of a bus bombing. Although his daughter isn't hurt, Bish learns that a young woman whom he'd encountered many years before is at the center of suspects surrounding the bus bombing: Violette LeBrac. His journey to not only find Violette but determine who was behind the bombing takes him to many places and uncovers many difficult situations in Bish's own past. Other major characters include Bee, Bish's daughter, Violette, who struggles to maintain her own innocence despite the fact her mother and other members of her family were charged in a bombing that took several lives years before; Noor LeBrac, Violette's mother and a complex character in her own right - reluctant to help Bish, but it's clear she cares for her daughter and family greatly.

I wish the presentation of the novel had been more smooth for transition and consistency in narrative voices. The stories in this novel were powerful and impactful, ones that definitely stood out to me long after I finished the novel, but there were times when the narrative threw me out for the sheer length of time and amount of stories packed into the narrative itself.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

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review 2017-02-15 00:49
Nothing like Tremblay reading Calmes in your ear...
Chevalier - Mary Calmes

FOUR HEARTS--You know what enhances a Calmesian experience?

Greg Tremblay reading Calmes in your ear!

It's a team that just works!

Like toast and butter...



Margarine (or a substitute for you healthy types)


Like peanut butter and jelly...

 

 

 

 

 

Not that one you perv (who are we kidding?)

 

Chevalier is a sequel I never thought would ever happen! The novella starts months after Romanus ends. Mason and Luc are going strong, still in love and still haven't moved in together.

 

Oh, what's an Calmes alpha to do?

 

I found myself smiling when Luc alpha-ed and let Mason see the inevitable. And just when I got excited, Calmes threw a loop in the form of gargoyle history! We meet Mason's long lost family, discover his origins, find there is more than the chasse in Kentucky. There's a ruling class and you won't believe who is on top.

 

The gargoyle world Calmes created isn't one I expected. It wasn't as paranormal heavy. It was more mythology and history based, a history/ slightly urban fantasy web weaved. The mystery of what exactly a Romanus is and what a Romanus does carried the plot while we meet Mason's birth family, the Moreaus. (Who I find to be deplorable) Mason and Luc's bond gets tested BUT it only gets stronger because their love is 100% and won't change for anything or anyone.

 

The Moreaus believe in class differences (i.e. Luc is nothing more than a warrior and should never be with a Romanus) The same argument from book #1. The lengths the Moreaus, and gargoyles who think like them, went to keep the classes different and treated Luc differently was pathetic. But Mary Calmes combats that with Romanus powers. (When we find out what a Romanus is, it's classic Mary Calmes hero)

 

Here the narration and story were evenly matched. I think my favorite parts were listening to Tremblay read Calmes dialogue, which can get a little ho-hum. Just because it really reads every day life. I mean, how many times can we read about normal domestic squabbles without getting a little bored. Tremblay has a way of breathing life, drawing me in.

 

Maybe making me feel like I'm the neighbor listening into Mason and Luc argue about moving in together.

 

Or a spectator to their passionate making up over the silliest of fights.

 

And Tremblay's accents were everything. As per usual. (Loved his gargoyles)

 

Did I have gripes? Minor ones - the final 'test' made no sense and was a little easy. Also, if the Moreaus had all the cash and power, how was it they just found Mason? And even after finding him, the father's reaction...it was a little false.

 

The good most certainly outweighed my minor quibbles. Mason and Luc lit up the pages with their chemistry. And it wasn't sex-a-palooza either! (Granted, we get more sex scenes than book #1, it doesn't start until way later as the mystery unfolds) I loved learning the history (I'm a history nerd, I'll confess) And the ending of this novella let me more satisfied with the couple and their standing in the world. They're definitely equals, stronger and ready to face whatever heads their way.

 

Yummy!! Calmes cracky goodness!

 

Ahhh!! MC + GT = a happy PBJ me!



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-02-14 23:08
Food: A Love Story
Food: A Love Story - Jim Gaffigan

This was my first exposure to the comedy of Jim Gaffigan.  I went with audio because I figured it would come the closest to seeing him live; he's the narrator, so you experience this book presumably the way it was intended to be delivered.

 

It was good.  At no point did I ever want to fast forward, or yell at him through my car speakers.  I found almost all of it amusing, and there were some great one liners, but other than one out-loud chuckle, most of the humour remained at the amusing level.

 

If asked about my favourite bit, I'd definitely say it's the part where he talks about McDonalds, and how everybody has their own McDonalds, whether it's Star Magazine, or the hidden stash of chocolate, or the Ben and Jerry's in the freezer, we all have a McDonalds equivalent.  This had me talking back to my dashboard: "Yeah, that's right, I never thought of it like that - we do all have our own McDonalds!".  

 

The narration was... ok.  I don't think anyone could have done it better - but there was, especially at the beginning, a bit of stiffness; a sense that he hadn't seen the material for some time before he started recording the narration.  Sometimes, he really got into it and then the narration was great; the listener got a good idea of how great he'd be in a live show.

 

I'm glad I listened to it; it was entertaining.  If Gaffigan were ever to make it this far on tour, I definitely pony up the money to see him live.

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