Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jan 19, 2018 in 2018, Audio, Book Review, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds narrated by Jason ReynoldsLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds narrated by Jason Reynolds

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Source: Library

The Book:
From the cover flap:

Sixty seconds.
Seven floors.
Three rules.
One gun.

Will’s older brother, Shawn has been shot. Dead.
Will feels a sadness so great, he can’t explain it. But in his neighborhood there are THE RULES”
No. 1: Crying
No matter what.

No. 2: Snitching
No matter what.

No. 3: Revenge
No matter what.

But bullets miss. You can get the wrong guy. And there’s always someone else who knows to follow the rules.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this one from when Beth Fish Reads mentioned it on twitter. My libreary had the audio cd edition available so I requested it right away. I knew it was a novel in verse and I prefer to hear verse rather than read it.

It’s a short book (1 hour and 43 minutes) so it won’t take you long to either read or listen to it. This book was so good and powerful that I requested the print edition from the library so that I could read it again in that format.

Most of the story takes place in a one minute elevator ride. Fifteen year old will sets out to get revenge for his older brother’s shooting death. He has Shawn’s gun and he is planning to kill the person he’s sure killed Shawn.

That elevator ride becomes a powerful experience for both Will and readers.

This book is phenomenal. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished listening to it. I’m glad I read both the print and audio editions but I highly recommend that you listen to this one. The audio edition includes an interview with the author in which he talks about what inspired him to write this and his reasons for narrating the audiobook himself.

Don’t miss this one.
5 stars 5/5 for the book

5 stars 5/5 for the narration

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in 2018, 3.5 stars, Agatha Christie, Book Review | 1 comment

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Series: #1 in the Hercule Poirot series
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Publication Date: 1920 Originally, 2006 This Edition
Pages: 224
Source: Library

The Book:
From the Google Books:

When an aging heiress is found fatally poisoned, the amazing Hercule Poirot, brilliant Belgian criminal investigator, is brought out of retirement to solve the case. In this classic tale of murder, jealousy and greed, Agatha Christie introduced the famed sleuth, who is immediately confronted by mysteries within a mystery – a door bolted from the inside of the victim’s room; the disappearance of a coffee cup believed to have held the poison, the charred remains of a will, a strange fragment of fabric and a curious rug stain found near the body. All are puzzling pieces of evidence in a crime for which there is no shortage of suspects, not the least of which are the victim’s philandering husband, an assortment of unhappy relatives and an extremely outspoken hired companion!

My Thoughts:
I’ve read several of Christie’s Miss Marple books and enjoyed them. I decided I wanted to start her Hercule Poirot series. I hadn’t realized that this was her first published novel

The story was enjoyable. There was plenty of humor and entangled romane along with the mystery. As often happens in Christie’s mysteries there are plenty of suspects. At certian points it appears that nearly all of them could be the killer.

Poirot is a friend of the narrator of the story and just happens to be visiting the little town at the time of the murder. This is my first introduction to Poirot. I haven’t even watched any of the movies that feature him. Even so based on some of the actors who have portrayed Hercule Poirot I was surprised at the first description of him.

Poirot was an extraordinary looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet, four inches but he carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military.

That certainly doesn’t sound like some of the actors I know have played Poirot such as Peter Ustinov or Alfred Molina.

Anyway, after I adjusted my mental image of Poirot I went on to thoroughly enjoy the story.

If you haven’t read it I recommend you give it a try. Considering it’s nearly 100 years old it’s held up as an entertaining and interesting mystery story.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Bout of Books 21 Wrap-Up

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Blogging/Reading, Bout of Books, Fun | 1 comment

Bout of Books 21 Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 21 ended last night. It was my fourteenth Bout of Books and I’ve got the next one marked on my calendar the week of May 14th-20th.

Once again I had a great time having a reason to say ‘nope, it’s Bout of Books and I’m going to read instead”.

I had a great reading week. The main reason I like Bout of Books is that it’s a low-pressure readathon. I never feel like I need to stop doing everything else to just read but I am encouraged to maximize and make more time for reading than I normally do. Obviously I worked full time all week so that limited my reading time but I managed to get a lot of reading hours in.

I managed to make some changes to my daily routine that I’d like to make regular habits. I traded my bus/train ride twitter and phone game time for reading. I also made sure to stay away from the phone apps and read on my lunch break.

I don’t track pages read but I do track time spent reading and listening to audiobooks. Last Bout of Books I read for 22 hours and 20 minutes. I always go into Bout of Books thinking that if I could read for more than 20 hours during the week I’d call it a success. .

For this Bout of Books I ended up with 22 hours and 35 minutes of reading so Yay Me! I was within a couple of minutes of having the same amount of both listening and reading.

Bout of Books 21

Click for larger image

This is what I read this week.
On Audio:
I finished listening to The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert Glenister.

I listened to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds narrated by the author.

I listened to almost 6 hours of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.

In print

I finished reading Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard.

I read all of:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie.
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
Fables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham

I also started a reread of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m reading the gorgeous illustrated edition with art by Jim Kay.

All in all a great week of reading. Now I have a pile of reviews to write!

If you participated in this week’s Bout of Books I hope you had a great week of reading. If you didn’t participate you should consider joining me and all the other participants in May.

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Robert Galbraith | 2 comments

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert GlenisterThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith narrated by Robert Glenister

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #1 in the Cormoran Strike series
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2013
Length: 15 hours, 54 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

My Thoughts:
I pretty much avoided this one when it was first released. There was all kinds of publicity around the fact that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling and everyone I know seemed to be reading it. Then there were sequels so it couldn’t be bad. Then I read something about Tom Burke being cast as Cormoran Strike in a television adaptation. At the time we were winding up a binge watch of The Musketeers in which Burke plays Athos.

So I knew I would be watching the show (Strike in the UK and C.B Strike when it hits Cinemax in June) so I might as well read the book, right. BethFishReads mentioned that the audio edition was good and I had an audible credit sitting there waiting to be used so the inevitable happened.

This was wonderful. Robert Glenister does a fabulous job on the narration. His gruff Cormoran Strike and soft efficient Robin are excellent characterizations. He has quickly earned a spot on my list of favorite narrators. His performance of the story made it much better than I could have if I’d read the print edition.

Strike is a mess but he’s also an excellent detective. Robin starts out as a temporary secretary but is soon a capable part of the investigation even though she knows the job is temporary and she has to look for another. The story moves along rather slowly at first then continues to increase the pace as the investigation continues. By the end I was taking the long way home so I could listen to as much as I could before arriving home.

The story was wonderful. The characters were likeable (or detestable as needed) The case was interesting. I cannot wait to listen to the rest of the series.

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in 2018, 4.5 stars, Book Review | 2 comments

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice MillardDestiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 376

The Book:
From the publisher:

James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.

But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.

My Thoughts:
I had seen so many good reviews of this book I was expecting it to be good and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It’s the story of President Garfield, his assassin, madicine in late 19th century and of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of an early metal detector to attempt to find the bullet inside Garfield’s body.

Garfield was shot on July 2nd but didn’t die until September 19th. AT that time there were not secret service or bodyguards for the President.The story of the ‘medical’ care he received during that time is horrifying compared to modern knowledge. It was completely normal for doctors to stick unsterilized fingers into the Presiden’ts wound in attempts to locate the bullet.

Science would soon exceed even Bell’s expectations. Had Garfield been shot just fifteen years later, the bullet in his back would have been quickly found by X-ray images, and the wound treated with antiseptic surgery. He might have been back on his feet within weeks. Had he been able to receive modern medical care, he likely would have spent no more than a few nights in the hospital.
Even had Garfield simply been left alone, he almost certainly would have survived. Lodged as it was in the fatty tissue below and behind his pancreas, the bullet itself was no continuing danger to the president. “Nature did all she could to restore him to health,” a surgeon would write just a few years later. “She caused a capsule of thick, strong, fibrous tissue to be formed around the bullet, completely walling it off from the rest of the body, and rendering it entirely harmless.”

The story of assassin Charles Guiteau is of a mentally unstable man. He didn’t consider what he was planning to be murder. In his mind God wanted him to “remove the President’ so that the other faction of the Republican party would be in control of the Government. In actuality he wasn’t the primary cause of Garfield’s death. That distinction goes to the primary doctor.

Bell’s story is sad because he wasn’t able to perfect his Induction Balance in time to save the President.

This is up there with some of the best nonfiction I have read. I will definitely be adding Candice Millard’s other books to my TBR list.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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