Tag Archives: August 2013

ONCE – Once I read a heart-wrenchingly innocent Holocaust narrative

Once (Once, #1)Once by Morris Gleitzman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The audiobook of Once is enchantingly narrated by the author, Morris Gleitzman. He brings to life the naivety of the unreliable narrator, Felix, as he searches for his parents in Nazi occupied Poland.

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Must listen/read: The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)

Who are your favourite narrators?

Which books have you stayed up all night to finish?

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this audiobook. It was worth it! The False Prince was a surprisingly good tale. I had downloaded the audiobook a while ago and I reluctantly put it on one night for lack of anything else to listen to. I will admit that it took me a few chapters to get involved in the story.

The False Prince has the right mix – just enough intrigue, twists, predictability, surprise revelations and cunning plans to keep you engaged and eager to discover what happens next.

Charlie McWade is a brilliant narrator. His interpretation of the characters is brought to life by his dramatisation through the dialogue. He gives each character a voice that represents their personalities and role in the narrative. Often I would forget that I was listening to a narrator and not a cast representation. I also really appreciate it when narrators make you forget that you are listening to someone imitate the opposite sex – Charlie McWade achieved this. My only disappointment is that, according the Goodreads, he has only narrated a few books but I will be putting all of them on my To Listen list.

After my sleepless night, I also pleasantly surprised to discover an additional scene like a secret track on an album. What a fantastic idea! Usually when I finish a book I’m bitterly disappointed either because it is finished and I wanted more or because I had just wasted so many hours of my life. This additional scene was the perfect remedy. The additional scene that was a bit of an origin story was like an after dinner mint with my coffee – I don’t really need it but it makes the end of a meal just a little bit sweeter.

My greatest fear with The False Prince is that I cannot see how the rest of the trilogy could possibly live up to the first installment. Where does Jennifer A. Nielsen have to go with this story?

The False Prince is the thrilling first audiobook in a brand-new trilogy with danger, deceit, and hidden identities that will keep listeners hanging on to the edge of their seats.

From <http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12862980-the-false-prince>
Happy reading 🙂 

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These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These Broken Stars, co-written by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a perfect bridge into science fiction for lovers of paranormal romance and fantasy, like me It is one of those stories where you sit down and think ‘I’ll just finish this chapter’. The next thing you know, three hours and ten chapters have just disappeared. This is just what I needed to read this week – a book I could lose myself in.

Set in a futuristic universe, where cross-dimensional travel is the norm, Lilac, only daughter of the richest man, and Tarver, a decorated soldier, find themselves crashed on a planet. Together they must survive long enough to be rescued.

Kaufman and Spooner affectively use foreshadowing at the beginning of each chapter by flashing forward to Tarver’s interview after the rescue. Surprisingly, this adds to the reader’s desire to keep reading rather than acting as a ‘spoiler’.

There Broken Stars examines, without conclusions, what it means to be you. I wasn’t expecting this existential discussion on ‘who am I?’ while reading the novel. Am I my memories? Am I my body? Am I the combination of both? An interesting twist.

A story of love, class distinction, survival and identity that is well worth a read. Check out the first installment in the Starbound trilogy, These Broken Stars.

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The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

The BookstoreThe Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When I saw that the title was The Bookstore I expected that the bookstore involved in the story would either be this living, personification of a store that acts as a character to bring an epiphany for the protagonist; or that the bookstore would be fundamental to story in some quirky or elegant way that enchants the reader. I was sadly mistaken.

When I read the blurb for this book and looked at the well-designed cover, I expected an uplifting and interesting read about a young woman overcoming adversity in New York City. I was sadly mistaken.

Instead, I found that The Bookstore was about a self-absorbed young woman who seemed to be preoccupied with valuing her intellectualism and rejecting wealth and status.

“Customers come in all the time. It’s a good sign, I think, for the intellectual health of the city, at least from this small sampling.”

This book was painful to read. It reminded me of listening to friends and relatives complaining about their lives for a couple of hundred pages. The characters were shallow and underdeveloped. Mitchell was a ridiculous representation of the author’s abhorrence of New York’s upper class elitism.

This book seemed to be all about egotism. I found this quotation to be pretentious as I was reading The Bookstore on my Kindle app:  “But in a bookshop you find things you didn’t know about”, I reply. “It’s much more exciting than Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this book also bought this one.'” Unless Meyler was purposely alienating her audience.

I hope that Meyler truly believed it when she wrote “People write for ego gratification, not money.” because I recommend that you save your money and that you don’t read The Bookstore.

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For The Birds (A Tall Pines Mystery) by Aaron Paul Lazar

For the BirdsFor the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For The Birds makes a great holiday or travelling listening. While the plot has a few twists and turns, it is easy enough to follow while driving or relaxing on a trip. There isn’t an overwhelming number of characters to confuse you if you’re multitasking while listening. Instead you will be utterly enchanted by Ruby, a sassy, talking parakeet, who is brought to life by Hannah Seusy, the narrator.

Marcella was a character that I found myself empathising with her in one passage then being frustrated with her in the next when she acts as an impetuous child. I actually liked this and I wonder if Lazar has done this purposefully. Characters need to be flawed to make the reader relate to them and for plots to progress. Marcella’s selfish and irresponsible decisions reengaged me with the story as I almost yelled at her not to go alone or to call for help. It has been a while since I have been invested enough in a story to want to give the characters advice.

For The Birds makes a great holiday read because no matter what hiccups and delays you encounter on your trip, they will be nothing compared to what Marcella, Quinn and Thelma have to endure on their weekend escape to the bird show.

This is a mystery with a sense of humour that keeps the story enjoyable and balances well with the drama and light violence. This humour is evident in character names, the lavish bird motel, some of the plot twists and the dialogue of Thelma and Ruby.

I highly recommend that you give it a listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Aaron Paul Lazar – “You da man!”

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Synopsis

When her audacious mother, Thelma, is kidnapped, it is up to Marcella – with the help of her husband, Quinn, and parakeet, Ruby – to find her and unravel a fifty year-old mystery.

Have you read anything by Aaron Paul Lazar?

What is your favourite mystery series?

Happy reading 🙂

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