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review 2017-03-01 14:53
#Audiobook Review: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight: A Novel - Darynda Jones,-Macmillan Audio-,Lorelei King

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight continues the journey of the Grim Reaper, powerful god, human P.I., Charley Davidson as she tries to protect her daughter and save the world. Charley and husband (son of Satan and also a god) Reyes are fresh from their last adventure and ready to find the second malevolent god that is walking the earthly plane. Confused? That means you haven’t read this series and truly need to start at the beginning! This eleventh title builds directly upon the events from the previous books.

 

Those who follow my reviews know I have a love-hate relationship with the Charley Davidson series. At its best, the books are full of amazing humor, witty banter, interesting stories, intelligent plots, and fun times. However, too often the books get bogged down by an over abundance of confusing storylines, contradictions and left turns from previously stated “facts,” and worst of all… an utter lack in character growth, most notably in the relationship and communications skills between Charley and Reyes. I am happy to report that by-in-large, many of my issues were minimal this time around; however there were still little annoyances here and there, which at this point in the series (book 11!!), added up and bothered me to no end! Let me start with the good…

 

I absolutely LOVED the opening as Charley relays her current issues to a very confused psychiatrist. The scene is shared in true Charley fashion — full of her ADD thought process — and it genuinely had me laughing out loud. More importantly, the listener relearned the most important recent events from the previous book in a manner that was sharing rather than telling. As the book progresses, the author does a great job staying focused on a few related issues. The primary story revolves around Reyes’s adoptive parents, the Fosters, and we finally get the whole truth of why they kidnapped Reyes, only to turn him over to the malicious Earl Walker. This story has been a longtime coming and was completely satisfying. Additionally, the book spends time focusing on the larger story arc surrounding their daughter, Beep, and the prophesied end of the world. We learn more about Jehovah and Charley’s past. Again, this is a well-written storyline.

 

What didn’t work… once again we find Charley and Reyes keeping secrets. ENOUGH! They literally just had a conversation about and wonderful agreement in the previous book (only days ago chronologically) not to keep secrets and to communicate. Charley even tosses that in the face of Reyes. But he continually walked away in anger rather than work on expressing himself. While the secretiveness wasn’t nearly as bad as in prior stories, I had no forgiveness because this is the eleventh book and it’s time to move past this particular character flaw. 

 

Additionally, I was extremely frustrated with Reyes 180-about-face when it came to Charley dying. In previous books, he obsessively worried that the human part of Charley would die, and she’d only exist on the celestial plane. In Eleventh Grave in Moonlight he suddenly has no concerns and constantly tells Charley she cannot die. What the heck? To me, this is a huge inconsistency. Add in Ubie’s attempts to keep Charley “out of danger” which were too similar to what her dad pulled on her back in the beginning of the series, and I dropped my rating a whole letter grade.

 

While some weren’t happy with the semi-cliff-hangerish ending, I was okay with it. Maybe because I’d been warned to look out for a harsh ending. Maybe because it is very similar to a certain TV show from the 2000’s about a vampire slayer which turned out okay. I don’t know, but it didn’t break the book for me (thank you Una for your heads up on this!).

 

The narration was flawless as usual. Lorelei King could read the phone book and I’d love it. Her talents go beyond words. She is consistent across the board, creating and maintaining unique and fitting voices for every character. She nails Charley’s ADD and often sarcastic conversations. I love how she puts me right inside Charley’s mind.

 

In the end, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight was a mostly enjoyable listen, although I had a few issues. I absolutely loved the storylines. I found Ms. Jones’s writing to be much tighter this time around. However, I was frustrated with a few small things, which added up in the long run. Even with the issues, the stories were so good that I look forward to listening to the twelfth book and discovering what happens next for Charley and Reyes.


My Rating: B-

Narration: A

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review 2017-02-19 14:42
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Grapes Of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) ... The Grapes Of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) - Margaret Tarner,John Steinbeck

I’ve struggled with the thought of putting my ideas about The Grapes of Wrath down on paper because, what on earth can I say about such a great book? And what insights could I possibly give that haven’t already been said? I doubt I can excel in either regard, but I’ll relate some of my thoughts.

 

I’ve wanted to read something by John Steinbeck for a while now. I was planning to try Of Mice and Men, but my friend recommended this. I didn’t know much about it and went in more-or-less completely blind which enhanced its effect.

 

For anyone who doesn’t know, Grapes of Wrath concerns the Joads, a family who have been run off their farm and are forced to go to California in search of work. They have a flier advertising work fruit picking and believe securing this job will provide for them exponentially. The whole family then begins the journey south. Most of the novel charts this journey with a portion at the end depicting their time in California.

 

Even though I didn’t feel a great bond with any of the Joads, I felt intimately acquainted with their struggles. Their story charted the changing climate towards greed that we are all familiar with. Grapes of Wrath shows how that pendant to greed strips away humanity. It depicts how one set of men’s desires have devastating consequences on anothers needs.

 

The Joads were at once insightful and naïve. When any outsider tried to tell them about the conditions in California they would meet, they refused to believe it. Of course these claims did have a mounting effect on the Joad’s and a main reason they wouldn’t accept what they were being told is that this future was inescapable for them regardless.

When discussing naivety I can’t fail to mention Rose of Sharon. She really got to me when she believed that stupid hag at the government camp, but then that heart-breaking ending hit and she completely redeemed herself.

 

As I said, the Joad’s were also very insightful in regards to human behaviour. For example this piece of wisdom from Ma Joad was something I really connected with.

 

If you’re in trouble or hurt or need-go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help-the only ones.

 

This book will always stay with me, not as a warning to what humanity can become, because they’ve already reached it, but as an example of the devastating effects greed can have.

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review 2017-02-16 16:13
Behind Closed Doors - B.A. Paris
Behind Closed Doors - B. A. Paris,Georgia Maguire,Macmillan Audio

This is not a suspense book because you know everything pretty much from the beginning. It's not very realistic either, because there were quite a few far-fetched situations. It was also hard to believe Grace was such a great actress that no one, except for one single person noticed that something fishy was going on. Also, the story and the ending were nothing new, to be honest, but this book was still a good old thriller. I felt terrified from the moment I started listening and I was very close to stop listening because the emotions this book was generating in me were making me feel very anxious. Georgia Maguire does an excellent job at reading this book with just the correct amount of fear and despair, so she added a lot to the mix. I could feel the hopelessness Grace was feeling and I was honestly scared thinking about how many normal people you meet on the street may be like Jack or how many women are like Grace.
So even though technically it may not be a great book, it had me grabbed from the beginning and I could not put it down until I finished it. What an experience. Four stars!

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text 2017-02-09 22:58
Reading progress update: I've read 64%.
The Grapes Of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) ... The Grapes Of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) - Margaret Tarner,John Steinbeck

So depressing, but so good.

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text 2017-02-02 13:37
Reading progress update: I've read 28%.
The Grapes Of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) ... The Grapes Of Wrath (Macmillan Readers) - Margaret Tarner,John Steinbeck

Even though not much has happened I'm completely captivated by this. I just wish I had more time to read it.

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