Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Artemis

Artemis (Unabridged)

Rating: 4 Stars
Date Started: 26 November 2017
Date Finished: 29 November 2017
Length: 9 hours
Genre: Science Fiction

I was dreading reading this because I read a couple of reviews by people who I generally agree with. I loved The Martian, and didn’t want to taint that by reading a book that left me less than satisfied by the same author. However, I won a signed copy from work, and then I also got a delayed notice from Netgalley that it’s been added to my shelf. Then it was calling to me on audio and I took it as a sign that I should just read the damn thing. I decided to listen to it, because Rosario Dawson was the narrator and I LOVE her.

And I’m so glad I did! Ok fine, it’s not the brilliant piece of work that The Martian was, but it was still freaking good! I’m just speculating, but maybe those reviewers who were disappointed had waaaay too high expectations…
Jaz Bashara did indeed channel an element of Mark Whatney, but she was still her own character and someone that I totally enjoyed reading about. She’s a bit crude and has a dirty sense of humor, but I totally get that because I do to… surprise surprise, women can also like potty humor!
One of the reviewers said that she was pegged as the town tramp, but I honestly didn’t get that. She came off more as someone who owns her own sexuality and doesn’t give a damn who approves and who doesn’t… the rude things that some people alluded to came off as mostly jealousy or petty rudeness. I do wonder about that condom though…
Okay fine, so there were a bunch of interesting stuff that got thrown in that didn’t end up going anywhere, but at the end of the day it wasn’t that big of a disappointment to me. And I liked the excitement of the plot that was a little weird but it was exciting and it worked! It made sense in context and I wasn’t going to overanalyze the reasons or the science or why we had to learn everything about welding… it’s a book, for crying out loud! It’s supposed to exploit every last bit of action it can, and damnit I enjoyed this to the max!
Maybe the reason I really loved it more is because of the performance of Rosario Dawson. I’m not going to pretend like I know if she did the different accents right, but in my head she was absolutely stunning. She had just the right intonations to create the right kind of atmosphere, and when she did the action or high stakes scenes, it was so compelling that it completely pulled me in. Also, I was able to more-or-less zone out the too technical bits without completely missing out on anything.
In conclusion, this isn’t another shot at The Martian, so if you’re going to read it, go in without that expectation. You’ll definitely enjoy it more. Also, listen to the audiobook if you can, it’s 100% worth it.
Advertisements
Book Review, Stephen King

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties

34466922

Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 20 October 2017
Date Finished: 28 October 2017
Pages: 702
Genre: Horror

There’s just something about Stephen (and I guess Owen) King’s writing that I love. I know a lot of people will say that this book dragged on too long and there was a lot of pointlessness in it, but I truly loved every single bit of it. Even the seemingly pointless bits. It added another layer to the world created in this epic that made it feel even more real. Admittedly, it was damned difficult to keep up with all the characters, but at the end of the day each one played their part.

I had an interesting experience reading this book. In general, I frown upon authors using cheap tricks to manipulate the reader’s feelings. There were a lot of things that happened in this book that I would normally consider “cheap tricks”. However let’s look at this in context. This books is making an open statement of pretty much everything that is wrong in this world today. And a lot of that is centered around abuse towards women and minorities. So while I would normally roll my eyes when an author kills a beloved character to prove a point or further the plot, when it was done in this book, it went a little deeper than the surface. Because everything that happened in this book are things that are happening for real all over the world.

I’ve had my fair share of abuse from men, yet I still consider myself lucky because it could have been worse. You hear stories often enough to make you feel like that one boyfriend you had that left a couple of bruises wasn’t the worst you could have ended up with. And hey at least you got away. Even as a mom of a beautiful son who I love with my whole heart, I found myself wondering if I would have voted to come back to this world if I had an opportunity like the women in Our Place?

Sadly, I think there will probably be Stephen King fans who don’t agree with the opinions expressed in this book. He’ll most likely lose a few readers and there might even be an attempt at a “boycot” on his books. Yes, there were cliche’s in abundance and some truly foul characters normally played by men, and this will probably piss off a lot of people and start the shouting of not all men!!! But you know what? Enough men to make this book leave me with a knot in my throat.

Getting past the underlying agenda, the story itself is actually pretty freaking good. I loved Evie and I even found myself feeling sorry for Frank while at the same time I felt like knocking his head against something hard. That’s one thing I can always say about SK’s characters. They’re so rich and unique, they feel real in a way that a lot of fictional characters don’t. I’m pretty sure in another lifetime King would’ve been a pretty decent shrink… or maybe a profiler… which probably more his style.

Bottom line, this book was a great story with a lot of relevant subtext. If you can’t handle that then don’t read it.

Book Review

Book Review: The Chalk Man

35356382

Rating: 3 Stars
Date Started: 30 October 2017
Date Finished: 5 November 2017
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery Thriller

I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed in this book. Maybe it’s because I read the reviews before reading the book, and they left me expecting more. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have the expectation of it being “the best book of the year”.

Unfortunately, this fell far short of the best book of the year for me, but it was still an okay read. It had a good start, but I feel like I kind of lost steam halfway through. There was too much internal monologuing going on and not enough of anything actually happening.

The plot itself was pretty thin and not terribly interesting. I never found myself desperate to know what would happen next. The characters were a bit flat and generic, and the silly nicknames that the MC came up with and insisted calling them the whole time grated on my nerves after a while.

The overall writing was good enough to keep me reading though, and at the end it was satisfying to get to the conclusion. I guessed one of the twists only about 5 minutes before I actually read it, but the author also took some easy outs that felt a bit like cheating. I’m not judging though… I can only imagine how difficult it must be to write a novel. I think the author will probably only get better the more she writes, and I’ll look out for more of her work.

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

35670337

Rating: 5 Stars
Date Started: 30 October 2017
Date Finished: 31 October 2017
Pages: 513  |   Duration: 10:45:48
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure, Romance, M/M

That moment when you enjoy a m/m romance about 1000 times more than you ever thought you would…

This book will definitely be going on my favorites of the year list! I listened to the audio version and I think that was the absolute best decision I could have made. The narrator was brilliant and of course I’m putty in your hands if you have a British accent. Naturally I had to find out more (stalk) him, and it turns out he’s the actor who played Tom Riddle in Harry Potter 2… also he’s gorgeous!

Other than the narrator though, I loved the writing and the flow of the book. If I had to use one word to describe it, it would be FUN! I lost count of the times I had to pause because I was giggling too much… I got a fair amount of weird looks for laughing at nothing too!

I realize that at least 60% of the things happening in this book is unrealistic and would have played out a whole different way if it had happened in real life, but I don’t think the point of this book was to be historically accurate or taken too seriously. I’d even say the whole plot was only slightly better than “meh”… I took it as a fun adventure that touched on some touchy subjects, but was mainly focused on the characters and the relationships in the book.

Talking about characters, I loved them all. Monty was a selfish and pompous ass, but OMG he was funny and witty and… vibrant. Percy was caring and sweet and you can completely understand why Monty falls in love with him, even though they’re polar opposites and besides the fact that he thinks he’s gorgeous. Felicity is a badass bitch that refuses to let society put out her flame. I mean I’m pretty sure [book:The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy|35430702] is going to be her adventure, that’s how awesome she is. She’s flawless and Monty would be completely dead without her. Honestly he really is a bit useless… but maybe just because he’s been told that so much that he started believing it? He’s fabulous though.

The other characters were also different degrees of lovable and interesting, with the pirates and Captain Scipio being my favorites… I’ve always had a fascination with pirates (even before Pirates of the Caribbean) and I really hope they feature prominently in the next book! Considering the title I think it’s a safe bet 😁

 

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Career of Evil

25735012

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Arrrrrgggghhhh! How you wanna go and end the book like that! OMG no, come on!

some-time-later
Ok, I’ve come down from that ending (which still pisses me off) and think I can manage a coherent review now.

There was a lot going on in this book, and we learned a lot more about Robin and Strike than the trickles of information from the previous books. Their relationship shifted slightly and we finally had acknowledgement of the sexual tension between them, although we’re still left without any relief or hope that anything will ever happen.

I enjoyed learning more about the 3 suspects that the duo investigated, although they were despicable to the last. The brief chapters we got from the killers point of view was also no fun, and it made me feel okay about the prospect of being single for the foreseeable future. I know it’s fiction, but sadly, it’s firmly grounded in fact.

The investigation was tedious, with a lot of time spent on surveillance… which I guess is a good approximation of the actual profession and highlights that being an investigator isn’t all chasing criminals and catching killers. It was also pretty obvious from at least halfway through who the killer was… although I had some weird dreams last night where I woke up convinced that it was in fact Matthew…

On the subject of Matthew… what didn’t make sense to me is that we see this picture of Robin as a strong character, but that doesn’t reflect in her relationship with Matthew. Obviously there should be more, things that we don’t see that explains the love Robin feels for this character that is so obviously written to be the cliché’d douchebag boyfriend, but instead we’re left with this picture of the last person on earth someone like Robin would like. It doesn’t make sense and it feels like a cheap trick used by the author to direct the reader a specific way.

Specifically, we seem to be pushed to root for more between Robin and Strike, which is obviously the main relationship here… but surely there are other ways to create the will they/won’t they undertone than to create this awesome female character that is supposed to be strong and smart and incredible — then you saddle her with an insufferable Ken doll as a boyfriend and a backstory to “explain” her motivations.

And that’s another thing… this book focused a lot on various sensitive subjects… mostly about some of the abuse and prejudice women are subjected to. There are some graphic scenes of violence that will most definitely trigger unhappy memories in each and every woman who reads this book. The main theme is misogyny and the power men hold over women. Even Strike can be an insufferable sexist pig.

I want to ask why Robin had to be given that particular history, but on the other hand it’s a common enough occurrence that it’s completely plausible. People will say that it’s unnecessary and a dirty trick used to make Robin a martyr, but I don’t feel that. I think Rowling gave Robin that experience to show readers who might not know how something like that can affect your life, but it doesn’t define you and you can still be a hero even if someone made you a victim too. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The guy who narrated this book (and the previous ones in the series) was amazing. He had exactly the right tone and accent for each character and brought them to vivid life in my mind. The action sequences were done so well that I almost hyperventilated, and his natural English accent was extremely drool-inducing.

So in conclusion, even though I felt like Rowling was using trickery to try and manipulate me, I still think this was the best of the series so for. And even though that ending was infuriating, it left me salivating for the next one… which doesn’t even have an expected publication date yet!

P.S. I love the casting 😀

View all my reviews

Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: The Orphan’s Tale

34233478

4 Stars

This book is going to break some people’s hearts… the story itself was bittersweet and so reminiscent of the time it’s set in. I wasn’t alive back then, but I’ve read enough WWII stories to get a feel for the era, and it seems to me that all the death and despair was interspersed with hope and life. People just trying to live and find happiness… yet so scared to grasp it because everything was so fragile.

Noa stole my heart. She’s the kind of quiet and unassuming character that creeps up on you and before you know it you’re invested in her happiness. Sure, she had her flaws, but she felt more real for them. And her greatness completely outshone them anyway. For all her youth, she had more courage and conviction than most anyone else. Definitely more than Astrid.

I disliked Astrid from the start as a hypocrite and a bitch, and honestly, even after everything I still think that of her. She set such high standards for others, but who the hell was she anyway to demand such things? She was judgemental of Noa from the start without bothering to try and look further, and yet she still expected complete honesty and respect from her without deserving it in the least. She wasn’t even the strong woman the author tried to make her out to be! Her whole life revolved around other people, and as soon as she was left alone she crumbled… Whereas when the same happened to Noa, her star shone brighter than ever.

And then there was Herr Neuhoff. A background character that didn’t get the attention he deserved. In fact, I’d say he’s slightly more of a hero than Noa. His courage and selflessness was disappointingly shunted to a post script. He never asked for anything while giving everything, and while people were maybe thankful, I still don’t think a big enough deal was made of him. Among all the hate and scorn of the time, it always brings me hope to know that there were really people like Herr Neuhoff, who risked it all by doing what they knew were right.

I think I’m upset at the ending of the book, so I won’t say more about that because it would probably give away the plot without me having to say anything. I will say this though, life (even in fiction) doesn’t always make sense, and people don’t always get what they deserve.

Book Review

Book Review: Within the Sanctuary of Wings

29939027

4 Stars

I feel kind of sad saying goodbye to Lady Trent… I’ve grown quite fond of her. She was a kick-ass woman who refused to accept the sexism of her time and worked relentlessly to pursue her passion and fight for her rights. By all accounts she’s pretty awesome, though she has the kind of luck that you have to wonder if it’s maybe a little unrealistic… even for a fantasy series.

This last adventure wasn’t the most exciting, but it was certainly the biggest discovery and it had it’s moments. It had a little of the “running out of steam” feel most series get after a while, and even the drawings were only so-so. While I’d probably still read another one if it came to it, I’m glad Marie Brennan knew to end it when it was time. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as dragging out a good series so much that it turns bad…

That’s not saying I didn’t enjoy it though…

It’s difficult to review this one without giving too much away, and honestly I don’t feel lus to try right now, so I’ll just go with it was a good ending to a good series. Maybe nothing spectacular about it that’ll have people talking about it for ever like Harry Potter. But it’s definitely a series I’ll recommend to other readers… and I might even reread it again in the future.