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review 2020-05-05 04:25
Audiobook Catch-Up Quick Takes on Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, Jefferson Mays (Narrator); Heartless by Gail Carriger, Emily Gray (Narrator); Demon Born Magic by Jayne Faith, Amy Landon (Narrator); Stardust by Neil Gaiman; Dumplin' by Julie Murphy, E
Funny, You Don't Look Autistic - Michael McCreary
Paradise Valley: A Novel (Highway Quartet) - C.J. Box
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Heartless - Gail Carriger
Caliban's War - James S.A. Corey

The point of these quick takes post to catch up on my "To Write About" stack—emphasizing pithiness, not thoroughness. This is a little longer than most of these that I do, I just wanted to get caught up on my Library Book Audiobooks (I'm so thankful that I can get audio downloads from my library right now—I'd be lost without them!)

Caliban's War

Caliban's War

by James S.A. Corey, Jefferson Mays (Narrator)
Series: The Expanse, #2
Unabridged Audiobook, 21 hrs.
Hachette Audio, 2017
Read: April 6-14, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
90% of the reason I'm doing this in a Quick Take post is because if I don't cover it in a paragraph or two, I'll take 15 pages (or the equivalent). I'm kicking myself so hard for not jumping on each installment of this series as soon as it was published (although, if I did, I would be missing out on the audiobooks). I read the first book shortly after publication, but missed the release of this bookso before I realized it I was two novels and over a thousand pages behind, and I just couldn't find the time to catch up.

Anyway, this might not have been the right time to listen to a novel about an unexpected, largely unknown, biological enemy of all humanity and the inexplicable reactions of several governments to itthrough the eyes of people living in fairly enclosed spaces. Still, it's gripping, imaginative, wonderfully told and very compelling. I can't wait to see what's next (although, I'm pretty apprehensive of it, too). I loved the new characters and hope they stick around.
4 Stars





by Gail Carriger, Emily Gray (Narrator)
Series: The Parasol Protectorate, #4
Unabridged Audiobook, 11 hrs,, 19 mins
Hachette Audio, 2011
Read: April 1-3, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
I think I'm about over this series, but maybe it was just this novel. Alexia seemed to run around oblivious to what was going on for almost the entire booksure, it's kind of explained by the effect "the infant inconvenience" is having on her mind, but I don't totally buy that. (maybe that's my maleness talking). The first couple of chapters and the little bit at the end with the newborn were the highlights for methe climactic battle sequence was fun, I just didn't like how we got there. Still, it was a fun listen and I enjoy the characters. I hope the series finale is better.


That said, Emily Gray is a delight. I seriously cannot listen to her enough.
3 Stars


Demon Born Magics

Demon Born Magic

by Jayne Faith, Amy Landon (Narrator)
Series: Ella Grey, #4
Unabridged Audiobook, 8 hrs., and 52 mins.
Tantor Audio, 2017
Read: April 24-27, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
Ella now knows where her brother is, but she's been cut off from her power, so she can't move on it. Due to her lack of power (and some other stuffincluding a total and inexplicable lack of due process), she loses her job. She and Damien start a private consulting business, make a Faustian deal and will deal with the consequences over most of this book and the next. Along the way, Ella learns why her brother is off the grid.

The luster has really worn off this series for me. I think it's possible that Faith will stick the landing and I'll be happy with the set as a whole, but I think she's squandered a good start. If there was more than one book left, I'm not sure I'd bother.
3 Stars




by Neil Gaiman
Unabridged Audiobook, 6 hrs., 23 mins
HarperAudio, 2006
Read: April 28-29, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
I remember being disappointed when I read the book a few years ago, because the movie version (that I love) was such a lousy adaptation. The text eventually won me over, but it took a long time. This is backward, I realize, but what are you going to do?

Anyway, I came into this audiobook with low expectations, but I wasn't in the mood to spend money on an audiobook and everything I wanted from the library was checked out. Listening to Gaiman's always fun, so I gave this a whirl. Between Gaiman, low expectations, knowing it's not the movie, and a story that's really good when you give it a chance, I had a great time.

It's a fairy tale that isn't. Gaiman draws on every convention, every trope and uses them the way a child uses a play-doh set.
4 Stars



by Julie Murphy, Eileen Stevens (Narrator)
Series: Dumplin', #1
Unabridged Audiobook, 9 hrs., 45 mins.
HarperAudio, 2015
Read: April 29-30, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
This was just cute. Another "don't make me spend money on audiobooks while I wait for holds to become available" listen. A YA story about a fat girl (her words, not mine) who joins her small-town beauty pagent, and the scandal that ensues. It's almost entirely predictable, but Murphy's style makes it feel fresh, and you just don't care about the predictability. Steven's narration is spot-on, too. I had a lot of fun with this.
3 Stars


Funny, You Don't Look Autistic

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum

by Michael McCreary
Unabridged Audiobook, 3 hrs., 37 mins
Annick Press, 2019
Read: March 31, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
McCreary was five when he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but it had challenged him and his parents far before then. In this short memoir, he talks about growing up with ASD and finding his place in performing and comedy. This wasn't as funny as you might hope from a comedian's memoir, but given that the focus of it was on the way he got through life and learning his craft while learning how to live in a neurotypical world, it'd be hard to be funny. Still, there was a light-heartedness to the entire book that made it pretty appealing.


I had plenty of fun listening to this, and gained some insight (much needed, I expect) into ASD. I think the hard copy might be a bit better because there are charts, graphs, etc. he mentions throughout (yes, there are pdf versions available on the publisher's site, but who listens to an audiobook when they can stop and look at a pdf?).
3.5 Stars


Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley

by C. J. Box, Christina Delaine (Narrator)
Series: The Highway Quartet, #4
Unabridged Audiobook, 10 hrs., 6 mins
Recorded Books, 2017
Read: March 26-30, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

(the official blurb)
Here we go. Cassie Dewell vs. The Lizard King: The Final Battle. Kyle Westergaard comes along for the ride, toobecause we can't have a Highway novel without a young person's perspective. A lot of other characters from the entire series make appearances (important ones), too.

This was a solidhorrifying, but solidconclusion to this arc. And it does set up a way for things to continue beyond this point.

I'm really glad that I started this series (it, too, started with a "don't make me spend money on audiobooks while I wait for holds to become available" listen)
3.5 Stars


2020 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/05/04/audiobook-catch-up-quick-takes-on-calibans-war-by-james-s-a-corey-jefferson-mays-narrator-heartless-by-gail-carriger-emily-gray-narrator-demon-born-magic-by-jayne-faith-amy-landon-narrato
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review 2019-08-11 03:21
DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy
DUMPLIN’ by Judy Murphy
This book is not PC. A teenage girl is called Dumplin’ by her mother who constantly reminds her how fat she is and how pretty she would be if she just lost some weight.
Dumplin’ and her friends decide to enter the beauty contest Dumplin’s mother runs and had won many years before. Hilarity runs rampant as the young women (one fat, one disabled, one perhaps autistic and one gay) prepare their talent acts and wardrobes.
This could have been awful. It was not. It becomes a sensitive and empathetic tale of young women learning to love themselves and accept others. Oh, and there is also a gentle love story.
This would be great book for a mother/parent book club.
4 of 5 stars


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text 2019-05-20 16:15
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 372 pages.
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

Okay, I lied. I went to the library. This will be my stay-cation read. 

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text 2019-03-14 00:25
Rethinking . . .
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

I got "Dumplin'" from my local public library recently because people raved about how fun both the book and the TV movie were. And I always read the book first . . .

Yes, the novel was quite fun. But it was also a bit disappointing, because the characters were all (or mostly) just a little bit too good to be true. And I think I'm not in a personal place right now to be much enchanted by a novel that is about not much more than the social problems of American (Texan, even!) teenagers. I've got my own problems and am pretty "over it." 


But I saw Murphy's follow-up, "Puddin," in the Target yesterday, and I couldn't resist - I read the flap copy.

It's a sequel.

It's a sequel featuring the relentlessly optimistic, probably clueless, sweet, overprotected, chubby girl and bullying target, Millie. It also features the one character in "Dumplin'" I pretty much loathed, the one-dimensional bitch, Callie (who, apparently, gets a last name in the sequel). 


A book for Millie. That, I might have to read. 



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review 2018-05-18 18:30
Sei wer du bist
DUMPLIN': GO BIG OR GO HOME - Claudia Adjei,Julie Murphy

Willowdean hat sich immer wohlgefühlt. Zwar ist sie dick, hat sich davon aber niemals einschüchtern lassen. Auch wenn sie ihre Mutter stets liebevoll Dumplin' - Knödel - nennt, ihr Leibesumfang hat ihr nie etwas ausgemacht. Doch dann lernt sie den attraktiven Bo kennen und zum ersten Mal wäre es ihr lieber schlank zu sein. 

Dumplin' alias Will ist ein dicker Teenager, der sich nie daran gestört hat etwas voluminöser zu sein. Sie hat sich nie für ihren Körper geschämt und war damit zufrieden. Als der hübsche Bo heimlich um sie wirbt, wird Will bewusst, dass sie sich doch nicht so wohlfühlt. Liegt es an ihr? Sind die anderen bzw. die Gesellschaft daran schuld? Um sich und der Welt zu beweisen, dass Schönheit relativ ist, beschließt sie am  „Miss Teen Blue Bonnet“-Schönheitswettbewerb teilzunehmen. Und zieht damit einen Rattenschwanz hinter sich her ...

Dumplin' erzählt ihre Geschichte direkt an den Leser gewandt. Anhand der Ich-Perspektive lernt man das dralle Mädchen kennen und schließt sie sofort ins Herz. Sie ist ein interessanter Charakter, der mit sich und ihren Vorstellungen von sich kämpft. Dabei kommt sie nicht ohne Ecken und Kanten aus, weil sie auch verletzend sein kann. Beispielsweise indem sie ihrer besten (und schlanken!) Freundin verwehrt, sich ebenfalls zur Wahl der "Miss Teen Blue Bonnet" zu stellen.

Ich habe Willowdeans Entschlusskraft bewundert. Sie hat sich bewusst dazu entschieden, sie selbst zu sein und sich für niemanden zu verbiegen. Das fällt ihr zwar manchmal schwer, dennoch hält sie daran fest.

Eine weitere wichtige Rolle nimmt Willowdeans Mutter ein. Diese hat selbst einmal die Krone der "Miss Teen Blue Bonnet" getragen und ihr Leben seither dem Schönheitswettbewerb als Obfrau verschrieben. Sie richtet ihn jährlich aus und hat darin sozusagen ihren Zweck gefunden.

Die Handlung ist alles andere als Klischee. Es ist jetzt nicht so, dass Willowdean abzunehmen beginnt und als strahlender Schwan am Ende mit dem Schönheitswettbewerb-Krönchen eine Runde über den See plätschert. Es geht eher darum, dass jeder mit sich selbst unzufrieden ist und wir Akzeptanz von anderen aber auch von uns selbst brauchen, um glücklich zu sein. So spielen viele weitere Nebenfiguren in die Handlung rein, die allesamt durch offensichtliche Makel - seien es ein kürzeres Bein, ein Pferdegebiss oder auch das Leben als Transvestit - vor allem ihre individuelle Perfektion hervorheben. Die klare Botschaft ist für mich: Egal, wie du aussiehst, wer du bist oder woher du kommst, zuerst musst du dich selbst lieben bevor du es anderen zugestehen kannst. 

Der Handlungsverlauf war schön, gut und logisch aufgebaut. Einzig, manchmal ist es mir ein bisschen zu lasch vorgekommen. Eine Prise mehr Action hätte der Geschichte meiner Ansicht nach gut getan. 

Stilistisch und dramaturgisch fand ich die Geschichte allerdings einwandfrei. Man begleitet Will, wie sie zu sich selbst findet, folgt ihren Gedankengängen und setzt sich mit ihren Ängsten, Wünschen und Sorgen auseinander. Sie lernt, sich selbst zu akzeptieren, auch wenn es ihr meistens Probleme bereitet. Außerdem erkennt sie, dass auch alle anderen nicht komplett zufrieden mit sich sind. 

Für mich ist „Dumplin': Go Big or Go Home“ eine schöne Geschichte für zwischendurch, die Äußerlichkeiten thematisiert, die in Wirklichkeit nicht wichtig sind, und die wohl häufig überbewertet werden. 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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