As You Wish by Cary Elwes – Audio Edition

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden narrated by Cary Elwes and others

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 7 hours, 1 minutes
Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Wallace Shawn , Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, and Danny Burnstein
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

My Thoughts:
This one is partially Trish’s fault. She was talking on twitter about how much she was enjoying this audiobook. As a huge fan of the movie The Princess Bride that was just the minor little nudge I needed to purchase this,

I have lost count of how many times I have seen the movie and quotes from it are a routine part of our conversation. Hearing Cary Elwes talk about his experiences during the making of the movie is an absolute delight.

He narrates most of it but there are bits and pieces here and there where his co-stars, Rob Reiner, Bill Goldman and others involved in the movie added their comments to his book. Many of these people narrate their own comments. Danny Burnstein narrates for others.

I was only a few chapters into the book when I insisted that The Hubster listen to this foo. I downloaded it to his phone and he has been enjoying it just as much as I did. I cannot wait for him to finish the book so that we can watch the movie again.

There are lots of wonderful stories about the making of the movie and Elwes tells these stories wonderfully. I’m not going to spill a lot of what he shares but I will say that Andre the Giant was clearly loved by all the cast. Billy Crystal is a nightmare when you must keep from laughing. Robin Wright’s first day on the film involved her dress catching on fire. Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all the sword fighting themselves and spent months practicing and learning from experts.

If you are a fan of the movie, then you will enjoy this book and I highly recommend the audio edition.
Check out this video on the Simon & Schuster website.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 18, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette Lecat
The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith, Narrated by LIsette Lecat

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Series: #16 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 20 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling series, Mma Ramotswe must contend with her greatest challenge yet – a vacation!
Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The promise of a week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets a young boy named Samuel, a troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Once she learns more about Samuel’s sad story, Mma Ramotswe feels compelled to step in and help him find his way out of a bad situation. Despite this unexpected diversion, Mma Ramotswe still finds herself concerned about how the agency is faring in her absence. Her worries grow when she hears that Mma Makutsi is handling a new and rather complicated case.
A well-respected Botswanan politician is up for a major public honor, and his reputation is now being called into question by his rivals. The man’s daughter has contacted the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to investigate these troubling claims, but, as in so many cases, all is not as it seems. In the end, the investigation will affect everyone at the agency and will also serve as a reminder that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.

My Thoughts:
Clearly since I just listened to the sixteenth book in this series it’s obvious I enjoy it. These characters have become old friends.

While they are sometimes classified as mysteries this series is much more light general fiction than mystery. Yes, they’re detectives but that’s only a small part of these books.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around Precious is talked into taking a vacation. As vacations go, it’s pretty darn busy. She rescues a mistreated street urchin, she worries about how her business is going without her, she gets pulled back into work when the temporary help at the agency comes to her with concerns about a new case.

As usual, the sources of any conflict between the recurring characters is based on misunderstandings and concern over each other’s’ feelings.

Along the way there are the usual aphorisms and praise for the beauty and character of Botswana. In between there is plenty of humor too.

This continues to be a light and enjoyable series that is perfect for my driving around and commute time listening. Lisette Lecat does a wonderful job with the characters and saves me the trouble of trying to figure out pronunciation of unfamiliar words

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman – Audio Edition

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman narrated by Cassandra Campbell
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: 2012
Length: 11 hours, 14 nminutes
Read by: Cassandra Campbell
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 – one of the millions of women who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules, where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Orange is the New Black offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison, why it is we lock so many away, and what happens to them when they’re there.

My Thoughts:
I have had this boo in my ebook files since shortly after it was published but for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I happened to see something about the audio edition being good and I had an audible credit that needed to be used so onto the iPod it went.

I don’t have any issues with the differences between the book and the TV show because A: I haven’t watched the show yet and B: Duh!

I thought the story was entertaining. Kerman clearly makes her point that maybe prison isn’t the best punishment for non-violent drug offenses but the meat of the story is the people and the things it took to get her through her sentence.

The cast of characters she created based on real people is varied and both heartbreaking and funny. I’m glad I finally got around to this book and now I can watch the show.

This was my first time listening to Cassandra Campbell narrate a book. I was unsure at first and was worried that her slow pace was going to keep me from listening to the book. After a few chapters, however she totally won me over. Her skill and voicing a wide variety of people of varying ages and accents was impressive. I will definitely be looking for other books she has narrated.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4.5 for the narration

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An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 0 comments

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson - Audio Edition
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #12 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In the 12th novel in the New York Times best-selling Longmire series, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident near Devils Tower involving a young motorcyclist.

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming – the nearest town to America’s first national monument, Devils Tower – to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt’s granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won’t stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”.

My Thoughts:
Clearly I love this series since I’m still eagerly anticipating the next book after reading the twelfth. I absolutely prefer the audio editions too. I’ve read some of the short stories in print but George Guidall’s narration is so excellent that print is always my second choice.

I had preordered this and when I finished my previous audiobook a couple of days before the release date I didn’t start another one. I wanted to be able to start this the day it was available.

Once again the action takes place away from Walt’s home town but with Henry, Dog, and later Vic on the scene there’s enough of the usual cast to make it enjoyable.

I loved that we finally got to meet the Lola who was the inspiration for the name of Henry’s car. It was also nice to get a bit more of Henry’s history.

While the mystery gets a little complicated there is plenty of humor along the way.

When I saw Craig Johnson at Powell’s he mentioned that the car chase in this one was the first he’d ever written.

As always with this series I highly recommend it and if audiobooks are your thing you should definitely try that route.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Kerry Greenwood | 2 comments

The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood narrated by Stephanie Daniel
The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood, Narrated by Stephanie Daniel

Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #5 in the Phryne Fisher series
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Publication Date: 1993 for the book, 2010 for this audio edition
Length: 6 hours, 19 minutes
Read by: Stephanie Daniel
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Phryne Fisher is doing one of her favorite things -dancing at the Green Mill (Melbourne’s premier dance hall) to the music of Tintagel Stone’s Jazzmakers, the band who taught St Vitus how to dance. And she’s wearing a sparkling lobelia-coloured georgette dress. Nothing can flap the unflappable Phryne – especially on a dance floor with so many delectable partners. Nothing except death, that is. The dance competition is trailing into its last hours when suddenly, in the middle of “Bye Bye Blackbird” a figure slumps to the ground. No shot was heard. Phryne, conscious of how narrowly the missile missed her own bare shoulder, back, and dress, investigates. This leads her into the dark smoky jazz clubs of Fitzroy, into the arms of eloquent strangers, and finally into the sky, as she follows a complicated family tragedy of the great War and the damaged men who came back from ANZAC cove. Phryne flies her Gypsy Moth Rigel into the Australian Alps, where she meets a hermit with a dog called Lucky and a wombat living under his bunk….and risks her life on the love between brothers.

My Thoughts:
Phryne Fisher is quite unconventional for a private investigator in 1920’s Australia and she’s just a whole lot of fun. She’s wealthy enough to not care what people think of her and to be particular about the cases she takes.

This one was fun. It begins with a dance marathon that ends in a murder. Phryne is soon on a double missing persons case. One of the men was her partner at the dance club and the other is his long missing brother.

I was glad to have Phryne need to do some flying again. Her solo flight to the Australian Alps was a great part of the book. The murder mystery is more of a side story because the majority of the book involves her search for a shell shocked former soldier who does not want to be found.

The books are fairly short and they are fun break between longer or heavier books. Australia in the 1920’s is an interesting time and place.

I really enjoy Stephanie Daniel’s narration. She’s easy to listen to and her voice characterizations are distinct and consistent. She’s even called upon to do some singing in this book.

One of these days I’m going to watch the television series.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the narration

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Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in 2 stars, 2016, Audio, Rhys Bowen | 2 comments

Masked Ball at Broxley Manor
Masked Ball at Broxley Manor: A Royas Spyness Novella by Rhys Bowen narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Audio
Series: A novella prequel to the Royal Spyness series
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

A delectable prequel to the national best-selling Royal Spyness mysteries featuring Lady Georgiana Rannoch – 34th in line to the throne, and England’s poorest heiress. At the end of her first unsuccessful season out in society, Lady Georgiana has all but given up on attracting a suitable man – until she receives an invitation to a masked Halloween ball at Broxley Manor. Georgie is uncertain why she was invited, until she learns that the royal family intends to marry her off to a foreign prince, one reputed to be mad. When the prince, dressed as the devil, rescues her from an embarrassing situation at the ball, Georgie is surprised to find her unwanted suitor to be a dashing, charming man – especially when he pulls her aside and gives her the kiss of a lifetime. But as the time comes for the unmasking, Georgie’s rescuer vanishes and the party is thrown into chaos, making it clear that everything at Broxley Manor is not as it appears…

My Thoughts:
I have read the first book in the Royal Spyness series and listened to the second on audio. They’re fun light mysteries set in 1930’s London. This prequel was offered at one point for free through Audible so I downloaded it. I decided to give it a listen before I go on with the series.

It’s a prequel set several years before the first book and a short novella. It’s really not much more than an introduction to the main characters in the series. It doesn’t really add anything to the story for those who have read part of the series but the story itself is pleasant enough. It’s not really a mystery and it doesn’t really have the same feel as the full books in the series.

I was not a fan of the narration of this audio edition. I listened to Katherine Kellgren narrate the second book in this series and enjoyed the way she performed. In this novella however, I felt like she was yelling at me way too often. I don’t remember that from A Royal Pain so I’m not sure what was up. I fear I’ll be hypercritical of the narration in the next book in the series if I listen to it.

This novella is really not representative of either the series or the narrator so I’m glad I didn’t pay for it or spend a little more than an hour with it.

Rating
2 stars 2/5 for the book

2 stars 2/5 for the narration

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