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Tag Archives: Audiobooks

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Wedding Night: 1 Treasure Box
Publisher: Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 13 hours and 13 minutes (464 pages,) ASIN: B00CAZKFJ4

Lottie is convinced that the man she has been dating for four years is going to ask her to become his wife. Fliss, the older and wiser sister, is going through a divorce. However, things do not go as expected, so when Lottie ends up engaged to an old flame, someone she has not seen in fifteen years, Fliss does everything she can to stop the marriage from becoming official

Madeleine Wickham is the author of this book written under the pen name of Sophie Kinsella. She has written numerous books under this name, including the  Shopaholic novels.  Please see my other reviews at Sophie Kinsella reviews. All of these novels including Wedding Night are considered chick lit. The story is told in the first person narrative alternating between two sisters. 

Wedding Night combines and interweaves two story lines and is told in the alternating voice of these two sisters, showing their different perspectives.  I l

iked Lottie’s character, but I found Fliss annoying at times. The story had no suspense or sense of mystery and I knew after the first third of the book what was going to happen. I also found the story unrealistic and trying. Especially all the scenes concerning Lottie and Ben’s wedding night experience. Although I think the biggest flaw in the book was the lack of romance.

There were a few funny scenes in this book, but overall I found it rather lackluster and disappointing. I did finish the book, but I could only rate it as okay. Not good, not bad, just okay. Overall, I was disappointed because it was not what I had come to expect from this author.

To Purchase: “Wedding Night” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Art of Choosing: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Hachette Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 10 hours and 36 minutes, ASIN: B003D7S8W4

What is the science and psychology behind making choices, and why do we do what we do? The Art of Choosing looks at what drives our choices and Ms. Iyendar backs up her claims with research. She discusses freedom and control and how these affect what we choose.  In Chapter one, part two Ms. Iyengar says, “When we speak of choice, what we mean is the ability to exercise control over ourselves and our environment. In order to choose, we must first perceive that control is possible.”

Ms. Iyengar has written numerous essays, but The Art of Choosing is her first book. It is non-fiction and it analyzes how people make choices. It was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2010.

The Art of Choosing is supported by research and surveys with some surprising results. It was insightful to learn how cultural upbringing affects choices. Ms. Iyengar tests children of different backgrounds and those with an Asian upbringing were motivated if they felt their mother made the choice for them, whereas Anglo-American students felt the exact opposite. The same results were observed within factories in these different regions. Ms. Iyengar included research that was done on animals, which I felt uncomfortable reading, but the results cannot be disputed. The information is related in an interesting manner that includes stories, facts and draws the reader in through some well placed questions.

I recommend this book as a good read that provides some fascinating information. Although, I am not too sure what benefit I received other than entertainment.

To Purchase: “The Art of Choosing” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Winter of the World by Ken Follett

This entry is part 2 of 1 in the series The Century Trilogy
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Winter of the World: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Two of the Century Triology
Publisher: Penguin Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 31 hours and 48 minute (818 pages,) ASIN: B009CMO4JU

Five different families living in separate countries are each trying to live with, and against, the fascism that seems to be gaining strength.  It is 1933 in Berlin and Hitler along with his Nazis regime are brutally taking over Germany. The Red Army is infiltrating Germany and working with citizens who despise Hitler’s tactics but are afraid to speak out.  This story follows the next generation of families from The Fall of Giants as the Second World War breaks out.

Ken Follet has written numerous novels in the suspense and historical fiction genres. His most famous work is Pillars of the Earth, which was produced as a mini-series in 2010. The Century Trilogy is a series that starts in 1911 and the first two books span both World Wars. The final book, with a working title of Edge of Eternity is not yet released but will conclude with the final events in the 20th century and it is expected to be released in late 2014. These books are historical fiction and follow the lives of five interrelated families. The stories are told in a third person narrative from different characters within each of the families.

Winter of the World gives a detailed description of the brutality of WW2, but it also shows how people can make a difference and can fight against injustice. It is an inspiring tale of integrity and shows the importance of making the right decision, rather than the easy one. The historical tale told through the eyes of the participants was fascinating and really well done. It covered the Spanish Revolution, the rise and fall of Nazism, several key events within the Second World War, even the threat of British Fascism, and the beginning of the cold war.

I enjoyed this story more than The Fall of Giants because the characters were already established and many of them grew and developed as the tale unfolded. I recommend this book as a very good read although I did find it a long book and at times it dragged a bit. I am looking forwarding to the release of the final book in the series. I am curious to see where Mr. Follett goes with the final installment of this trilogy.

 

To Purchase: “Winter of the World” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

This entry is part 7 of 4 in the series Outlander
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of An Echo in the Bone: 1 treasure Box
Seventh Book in the Outlander Series
Publisher: Recorded Books, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 45 hours and 58 minutes, ASIN: B002RCJ9LA

The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776 and Jamie Frazer is fighting on the side of the Rebels, but his son William is an English solder. Jamie’s greatest fear at the Battle of Sartoga, where they are both fighting on opposite sides, is that he will shoot his own son. An Echo in the Bone continues the adventures of Clare and Jamie Fraser and starts in 1776 in America. The book follows several separate storylines and moves between 1776 and 1980.

There are currently seven books in the Outlander series and book eight, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is expected to be released in the fall of 2013. These books are all considered historical fiction, but they also include some of romance. The majority of the story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, a English woman, Clare, who has time traveled over 200 years into the past. The story moves back and forth through time depending on the characters and at times is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of some of the other main characters including Jamie, Claire’s husband; Brianna, Claire’s daughter; Roger, Brianna’s husband; and William, Jamie’s son.

There are three plotlines running simultaneously in 1776, one revolves around Clare, Jamie and Ian as they deal with the repercussions of the American Revolution; another follows Lord John, and his stepson, William, who also happens to be Jamie’s secret illegitimate son; another follows a couple of new characters, the Quaker Doctor Denzell Hunter and his pretty sister Rachel. When the story moves to the 1980s, it revolves around Brianna, Roger and their two small children who all live in Lallybrock, Scotland.

The book was really slow, particularly the first half and spent far too much time on Sir John and William. I found all the prose concerning Sir John rather boring, as well as the first half of the book when William was on his own. I enjoyed the scenes with Claire and Jamie as well as everything that occurred in present day. I also liked the new characters who were introduced, the Hunters. Not much really occurred to more the plot forward, but I am curious to find out what will happen to Brianna and her family.

Additionally, the book did not have an ending, did not have a cliff hanger, it just stopped in the middle of the tale. I had a hard time trying to decide if it should be an OK book or a good book, but for me it fell closer to OK than it did to good. The book was too long and did not have a proper ending.

To Purchase: “An Echo in the Bone” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 12 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Ghost Story: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book thirteenth of The Dresden Files
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 17 hours and 56 minutes (624 pages,) ASIN: B005EJFVAQ

Harry has a new case, one where he needs to find his own murderer. The only problem is, he is in ghost form and unable to access solid matter. In Changes, Harry was able to save his little girl and in the process he wiped out the entire race of the Red Court Vampires which also ended the war, but caused someone to want him dead. What he didn’t anticipate is the havoc  in the supernatural world that would be created by the absence of the Red Court Vampires.

Ghost Story is the thirteenth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has written 14 books in this series, and he is currently working on book 15. He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to high fantasy than The Dresden Files. See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/ The Dresden Files are considered contemporary fantasy and are sometimes referred to as urban fantasy. They also fall into the detective genre since Harry is a detective, who is also a wizard, and in each book he solves a case involving the supernatural. These stories are told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point of view.

Ghost Story took an interesting twist in the Dresden Files universe which included new layers in the story’s supernatural world. We learn more about Harry’s past through a well told flashback, and even as a ghost, Harry was still the same smart mouthed goof ball. His friends couldn’t see him, but they knew it was him based on some of the comments that came out of his mouth. Several of the characters, including Harry, showed growth and development in their characters; perhaps death has helped Harry to mature.

Harry gets to take a ride within Bob’s skull, which it turns out is a really awesome place. Evil Bob makes an appearance, and at first I was confused about why Evil Bob and Good Bob both appeared simultaneously in the book. However, it was later explained that Evil Bob was accidently created in Dead Beat when Bob eradicated all his Kemmler knowledge. Molly’s new title is the Ragged Lady, and her powers have grown exponentially. She has replaced Harry as the protector of Chicago, while hiding from the White Council. Mortimer Lindquist plays a big role in this book, which is not really surprising because he is an ectomancer, a person who can see and communicate with ghosts, and Harry is now a ghost. The story included lots of action and several surprise turns, including an awesome ending.

I recommend Ghost Story as a very good read. I found the book hard to put down and it included a satisfying resolution to the cliff hanger at the end of Changes. I recommend all the books in this series, which are well written with great characters. I am anxious to see what is going to happen next, so I am planning on reading the next book in the series, Cold Days.

To Purchase: “Ghost Story” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Changes by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Changes: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book twelve of The Dresden Files
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 15 hours and 28 minutes (560 pages,) ASIN: B003FOOGG2

Harry will do almost anything to save a helpless female, but when that girl is his 8 year old daughter, he becomes unstoppable. He goes up against all the odds and will do whatever it takes to save this innocent little soul.

Changes is the twelfth book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has written 14 books in this series, and he is currently working on book 15. He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to high fantasy than The Dresden Files. See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/ The Dresden Files are considered contemporary fantasy and are sometimes referred to as urban fantasy. They also fall into the detective genre since Harry is a detective, who is also a wizard, and in each book he solves a case involving the supernatural. These stories are told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point of view.

This book was heart wrenching, endearing, extremely sad, and jam packed full of action. There was a lot of tension throughout which kept building and building up to a shocking conclusion, as well as revealing some surprising facts about Harry’s family. While reading Changes, I gasped when Harry was faced with a devastating choice between the lesser of evils, and as the story unfolded I could see how well the title fit. There were several disastrous events that occur throughout this book, including a jaw dropping cliff-hanger at the end.

I recommend Changes as a very good read, plus I found it hard to put down and I also highly recommend all the books in this series, which are all very well written. The characters are all well developed and the story line is great. Although, with the ending as it was, I did not feel this book fell into the standalone category that the other books occupied. I am very anxious to see what is going to happen next, so I have started the next book in the series, Ghost Story.
To Purchase: “Changes” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 10 of 13 in the series The Dresden Files
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Turn Coat: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book Eleven in The Dresden Files
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 14 hours and 40 minutes (464 pages,) ASIN: B0026HQAMC

Morgan, a fellow warder, appears at Harry’s door looking for help, but this is the last person Harry would expect because Morgan despises him. He has stalked and tried to kill Harry many times, but is now looking for help. For all intents and purposes, Morgan appears to have turned traitor against the White Court.

Turn Coat is the eleventh book in The Dresden Files. Jim Butcher has currently written 14 books in this series. He has also written 6 books in the Codex Alera Series, which is closer to high fantasy than the Dresden Files. See my review of these books at http://books-treasureortrash.com/series/codex-alera-series/ The Dresden Files are considered contemporary fantasy and are sometimes referred to as urban fantasy. They can also fall into the detective genre since Harry is a detective, who is also a wizard, and in each book he solves a case involving the supernatural. These stories are told in the first person narrative from Harry Dresden’s point of view.

Turn Coat was full of action, including lots of excitement with many surprising turns. There were several duels against an incredibly strong skin-changer, resulting in some sad repercussions. There was a mystery to solve surrounding Morgan and the death of a leading member of the White Council. Throw into the mix Molly’s misguided decisions, add in a bad situation for Thomas and you have a great story.

I liked the writing; Harry Dresden is a wise cracking guy and his witty comments are always fun to read. I recommend Turn Coat as a very good read. This book follows the usual Harry Dresden style, and you just got to love that guy. The story is stand alone, yet it is also clearly part of a bigger picture. I recommend you read all the books in order to get the most enjoyment out of the series. I have already started reading the next book, Changes, and it grabbed my interest from the first page.

To Purchase: “Turn Coat” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box

Book Review

Book Review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: 1 Treasure Box
Publisher: Random House Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 13 hours and 6 minutes (336 pages), ASIN: B007MIWUG0

After Cheryl lost her mother in a viscous fight against cancer, she started spiraling out of control and as she began to hit bottom, she realized it was time to take her life back. She did this by hiking alone 1,100 miles up the Pacific Crest trail. This book is the story or her journey, both on the trail and through the mire her life had become.

Cheryl Strayed, whose birth name was Spangler is an American author, and she has written a couple of books, all in the memoir genre as well as several essays, and she writes an advice column: Dear Sugar for The Rumpus. “Wild” was recommended by Oprah, which helped to push it to number one for nonfiction on the New York Times Best Seller list for seven consecutive weeks.

It is great that Cheryl realized her life was out of control and she made a decision to make a change. But she jumped into this journey, like she did most things in life, without really preparing or knowing what to expect. The journey was difficult and she had plenty of challenges, but for maybe the first time in her life, she did not quit. My favorite character was Cheryl’s mother, because she seemed liked a real nice, down to earth type of person who always tried to do her best despite the circumstances. 

I did not really care for either the style or the pacing of the writing in this book. I felt that Ms. Strayed told us what was happening, but she did not really draw the reader in, she did not show us, although there was a lot of potential for this tale to be really truly spell binding. 

I would not recommend this book, and although I thought it was ok, it was not great. Ms. Strayed is not my favorite author and I probably will not read anything else that she writes. Although, I do think that her writing about the Pacific Crest brought more awareness to this wonderful trail.

 

To Purchase: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Innocent in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 26 of 26 in the series In Death Series
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Innocent in Death – 2 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 28
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Audible Audio Edition, Listening Length: 12 hours and 7 minutes (400 pages), ASIN: B0019ZWM2E

A well-liked teacher has been poisoned at a posh elementary school, and before long another teacher is found drowned at the same school. Two young girls find the first body, which starts Eve’s path to the identity of the culprit. Meanwhile, on the home front, an old flame of Roake’s has reappeared and she is interested in putting her hooks back into the man she allowed to get away.

To date there are 44 books in the In Death series, with one more expected to be released in February of 2013. These books are crime drama, suspense and romance because they focus on the case Eve is currently working on as well as her and Roake’s personal relationship. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2060 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative and they focus primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, but at times the story is also told through some of the other characters including the murderer. They are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

I enjoyed this book, as I did all the previous books in this series. I always know what to expect and Ms. Robb, never fails to deliver. The story is well told, and although there is little action in this book, the story was still interesting. I had no idea who the murderer was until it was revealed, and I was shocked at the direction the investigation lead. I found the side story about Eve and Roake’s relationship to be a great addition.

I recommend Innocent in Death as a good book and even if you haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, you will enjoy this one since the book stands on its own. However, if you enjoy reading futuristic crime drama romance, with a strong female character, then you should read all the books in this series.

To purchase: “Innocent In Death” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series MaddAddam Trilogy
3 Treasure Boxes - Very Good Book

3 Treasure Boxes – Very Good Book

Book Review of Oryx and Crake: 3 Treasure Boxes
First Book in the MaddAddam Trilogy
Publisher: Random House Audio, Listening Length: 10 hours and 29 minutes (464 pages), ASIN: B00009OYYN


The world as we know it has been deliberately destroyed by an epidemic, and genetically modified “superior” humanoids have been invented. These new people call themselves “Crakers,” and only one other person seems to remain, Jimmy. Now he is known as Snowman, and he is crazy. He has also become a God figure for the new human race.

Margaret Atwood is a famous Canadian writer born in 1937, and she has written numerous books, short stories, books of poetry and essays. She has won more than 55 awards, both Canadian as well as international. Oryx and Crake is speculative fiction and the story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, Snowman. He is also known as Jimmy. The story starts in a post-apocalyptic world with Snowman living alone and yet somehow connected to a group of human-like creatures. As Snowman stumbles through his life, the events that lead up the ruination of the world are slowly revealed through flashbacks.

This was an interesting look at what potentially could happen if and when humans start to modify human, animal and plant genetics without any code of ethics. It shows what could happen if people and corporations believed they had the power to act as God.  This is a rather dismal view of humanity and the misuse of power, but the characters are really well drawn and fascinating.

I recommend this book as a very good read. This is a standalone story with a satisfying if somewhat open ended and yet unique ending that leaves the reader thinking. It allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.  The ending leads nicely into the next book in the series, The Year of the Flood which was written after Oryx and Crake but with events that occur simultaneously.

Questions to ponder:

    • What did you think of the ending, and what do you think is the next step for mankind in this story?
    • Do you feel that our current human genetic research is good or bad?
    • How far should human genetic research and manipulation go?

To Purchase: “Oryx and Crake” from Amazon, click here or on picture above


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