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review 2018-09-23 20:34
(Audiobook) Dracula - BBC Radio Dramatization
Dracula - Bram Stoker,Tom Hiddleston,David Suchet

As I mentioned in a previous update, this is an adaptation of Dracula that is much changed and much whittled down. The very bare bones of the original story are still here, but a lot is left out.


That being said, it's still an enjoyable listen, and the cast all give excellent performances.


However, if you're a Dracula purist, you might want to pass this one by.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-23 19:20
Final Bingo Square: Grave or Graveyard
Dracula - Bram Stoker,Tom Hiddleston,David Suchet
The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe

Changed my mind (yet again) and switched books for my final bingo square, as I'm not sure I'll be in much of a mind to finish my previous choice for "Grave or Graveyard," Umberto Eco's Cemetery of Prague.


So I switched to the 2016 BBC audio adaptation of Dracula, starring David Suchet in the title role and Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Harker; combined for good measure with Edgar Allan Poe's Cask of Amontillado: Dracula for the crucial Whitby graveyard scenes (and the fact that Whitby Abbey actually inspired the whole novel, which has drawn the goth scene to the town, which in turn has given rise to plans for a mock Whitby graveyard so as to restore some respect to the real place); and The Cask of Amontillado for the fact that ... well, one ironically-named Fortunato does end up in a grave of a very particular sort at the end of the kind of story only Poe could have come up with.


The Dracula adaptation is an abridged one; David Suchet makes for a great Dracula, but not all of the book's profoundly somber atmosphere translates well here – I couldn't help being reminded of some of the camp movie additions of yesteryear.


Poe's Cask of Amontillado OTOH is one of my favorite short stories (by Poe, as well as overall); it's a concise, perfectly-executed piece of mounting tension and dread, laced with irony and merciless resolve.


Anyway, so that concludes my bingo reads – wrap-up post coming separately.  Thanks to Moonlight Murder and Obsidian Blue ... I've had a blast!


Whitby Abbey and Graveyard (photos mine)

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review 2015-12-13 20:20
Crimson Peak: Official Movie Novelization
Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization - Nancy Holder

Movie novelizations are often more miss than hit with me, but every once in awhile, you come across one that enhances the movie it is based on.


This is one of those times. I absolutely loved this book.


The writing had a very lovely, Gothic feel to it, and the use of multiple POV's also pleased me.  


The movie is so visually stunning, and just...ugh, so beautiful, and the novelization only adds to it by expanding on things that were hinted at or implied in the movie. It makes for a very rich story indeed.  I'm especially glad it confirmed my thoughts on Sir Thomas' thoughts/motivations, especially by the end of the movie/book. I'd been afraid I'd been letting my love for Tom Hiddleston cloud my judgement.


Anyway, if you loved the movie, then you should enjoy the book. If you've not seen the movie, but are a fan of Gothic romances, I'd say, you might want to give this book a try.

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review 2015-09-05 22:31
Octopussy and The Living Daylights and Other Stories (James Bond Series - Book 14)
Octopussy and The Living Daylights, and Other Stories (James Bond series, Book 14) - Ian Fleming

My foray into the world of audiobooks continues.


3.5 stars for the stories and the extra 1.5 stars for the excellent narration.


I've not ever been what one could call a James Bond fan. I'm not a James Bond hater, either. I had no strong feelings about the character/books/movies one way or the other. This was based on my trying to watch assorted Bond movies when I was younger and not being able to get into them. Therefore, I never attempted to read any of the books, assuming I wouldn't like them.


Flash forward to me discovering audiobooks narrated by actors whose voices I find appealing and I end up owning a copy of this book narrated (mostly) by Tom Hiddleston, and I find my opinion has changed somewhat.


It consists of several short stories:


  • Octopussy
  • The Property of a Lady
  • The Living Daylights
  • 007 in New York


It also has an interview with Tom Hiddleston.


I'd have to say my favorite of the lot was Octopussy, but The Living Daylights is right up there with it. I enjoyed all the stories enough that I am considering trying out at least one more in audiobook format. Though, having looked at the lengths of some of the other novels, I'm feeling a bit cheated that the one Hiddleston narrates clocks in at just under four hours.


Speaking of Tom Hiddleston...I won't go into how his voice affects me--anyone who's known me any length of time knows that. But I will give him major kudos for his narration. The voices he gives the characters are all distinctive and his narration flows smoothly. He also did a great job with various different accents, and never fell into sterotypical, disrespectful sounding accents. And his ohmygosh, his voice, y'all askadsgdjslaldjsha. *coughs* Sorry, it just slipped out.


The final story is narrated by Lucy Fleming, and she does a fine job with the extremely short, 007 in New York.


All in all, I was very pleased with this collection. I only wish it had been longer.


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review 2015-09-05 19:34
The Night Manager
Night Manager - John le Carré

Disclaimer: I only read this book because they're making a TV version, and Tom Hiddleston is going to play the protagonist.


With that out of the way, I have to say, I struggled mightily with this book.


The plot--man infiltrates criminal organization to seek revenge on the man who heads said organization—should have made for a compelling novel, but it just...didn't. In my opinion, of course.


Overall it was plodding and slow, and could never really hold my attention for very long. I could easily put it down for days, ok, months at a time.


The bureaucratic side of things was too confusing; there were far too many government figures—all of whom had little character development—to keep straight. Burr being the exception.


It took way entirely too long to get Pine infiltrated into Roper's organization. I get that they needed to set up an intricate criminal background for him, but it took too much time. I'd have rather seen him get into Roper's organization much earlier. I think it was over a third of the way in before he finally got in with him.


I also felt too much of the novel was focused on Pine's manpain in regards to women. He wanted revenge on Roper for Sophie's murder, and that's why agreed to infiltrate his organization. I get that. I do. But instead of making it out to be wanting revenge because he felt responsible/guilty for Sophie's death, as he passed on copies of documents she gave him to British intelligence, and Roper has spies everywhere, I felt the author was wanting me to believe he was in love or at least could have fallen in love with Sophie, and I just couldn't. Had more time been spent with her and Pine in the earlier parts of the book (maybe by cutting out some of the 'criminal background setup' I mentioned earlier), then perhaps. Therefore, I felt the revenge motive to be a bit...lacking.


And then there's Jed. Jed is Roper's mistress. Gorgeous. Leggy. Blonde. And, of course, Pine is going to fall for her. And for me, there were far too many passages of Pine's internal thoughts about Jed, his feelings for her, hating himself for having feelings for her, because he's not even sure he likes her most of the time. Needless to say feelings the two had for each other never rang true to me.


All of the characters, Pine and Roper included, needed more fleshing out. I couldn't connect to any of them, really.


I don't know. This book just didn't work for me.


That being said, I didn't loathe the book, and there were some enjoyable parts. With some retooling and a lot of the fat trimmed, I can see where this could be adapted successfully for the small screen. Can't wait to see how it all plays out there.

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