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review 2017-11-29 06:54
The Moonstone
The Moonstone - Ronald Pickup,Sean Barrett,David Timson,Wilkie Collins,Dale Brown,Jonathan Oliver,John Foley,Fenella Woolgar,Joe Marsh,Jamie Parker

What can I say other than the book is worth the hype?  


I wasn't sure at the start; I listened to the audiobook version - which was excellently done - and Gabriel Betteredge's opening narrative is... trying.  I loved his character the best and the narrator who played his part played it to the hilt, which meant it felt like there was an amiable, loveable, old man telling me a story by taking the longest possible route.  I was charmed, while at the same time wanting to prod him along, and honestly, if I had to hear much more about Robinson Crusoe I might have started pulling out my own hair.


Once we get past Betteredge's ramblings (which take up the first 40% of the book), the story moves along much quicker and the story becomes far more interesting, as the twist at the midway point was riveting.  I only ever listen to audio while I'm in the car, because I'm so easily distracted, but I found myself carrying my phone and portable speaker out to the garden to listen to The Moonstone while I weeded, and found 3.5 hours disappeared in a blink.  I got so close to the end today by the time I got home, I came straight in and grabbed my print edition so I could finish it. 


I guessed who the villain was at the start, but then the twist came in and I had NO idea where he was going with the mystery; subtle misdirections were everywhere in the narratives and so, while I never really gave up my notions of who was guilty, I was entirely ready to believe I had the wrong end of the stick until the end. 


The Moonstone is excellent and I highly recommend it; it's not a light, breezy read to be done in one or two settings, but it does reward the reader's commitment at the end.  


Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.


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review 2017-11-26 20:42
The Lost City of the Monkey God
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story - Douglas Preston

Should a bunch of middle aged men invite me on an expedition into the South American jungle, I will politely say "no, thank you". Chances are that these men are complete idiots, not being aware of the fact that everything in the jungle might kill you. Plus they are lugging so many people into the jungle with all the snakes, spiders, tropical diseases and what not, I had to shake my head several times because of the stupidity of these people.


So this audiobook was a mixed bag for me. I liked the parts about the history of Honduras and the banana trade, the tropical diseases and the fer-de-lance snake. The rest of the book didn´t capture my attention quite as much. I´m simply not interested in archaeology and anthropolgy, so there were whole parts of the book I was incredibly bored by.


The Lost City of the Monkey God is not my favorite work of non-fiction.



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review 2017-10-27 05:54
(Audiobook) Burnt Offerings
Burnt Offerings: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Robert Marasco,R.C. Bray

I happened upon this nearly a year ago while browsing through books narrated by R.C. Bray at audible. He's one of my favorite narrators, and I wanted to listen to more of his work. I thought the synopsis sounded interesting, so I used a precious, precious credit and purchased it.


Flash forward to October 2017, and me needing to find some books to help me finish out my BL Halloween Bingo categories. I wanted another audiobook, and I suddenly remembered this one.


What an excellent decision that turn out to be. This book was scary. It had a sort of slow burn feel to it, and the tension and the horror just kept ratcheting up until it's almost suffocating.


For me, the most horrific scenes were those that happened in or around the pool...and that chauffeur.







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review 2017-10-19 03:18
(Audiobook) The Turn of the Screw
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James,Richard Armitage,Emma Thompson

aka Words, Words Everywhere.


I've read my share of VIctorian Era writing, so I am quite familiar with just how wordy it can be. But this...this was beyond. Honestly, had I been reading this as opposed to listening to it I'd have DNF'd it for sure. Even with the superb narration, there were a few times I had to back up to listen to a passage again.


As for the story itself...it was okay. I like--and yet also find it quite maddening--that the story is left open to interpretation. And I'm not quite sure just what I think actually happened just yet. I waffled back and forth while reading the book, but have no firm thoughts as of now.


Anyway, 2 stars for the story itself, and the extra star is for Emma Thompson's excellent narration.



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review 2017-10-15 19:37
(Audiobook) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

I've listened to this every year since I got it--four years now. Tom Mison is what makes this book for me. His narration is absolutely delightful.


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