Mudbound by Hillary Jordan – Audio Edition

Posted by on Dec 8, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 1 comment

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan narrated by multiple artistsMudbound by Hillary Jordan narrated by Ezra Knight, Kate Forbes, Joseph Collins, Tom Stechschulte, Peter Jay Fernandez, and Brenda Pressley

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2008
Length: 9 hours, 16 nminutes
Read by: Ezra Knight, Kate Forbes, Joseph Collins, Tom Stechschulte, Peter Jay Fernandez, and Brenda PressleySource: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.

My Thoughts:
I read the print edition of this when it was new in 2008. I loved it. When I saw the trailer for the Netflix film version I decided I wanted to reread the book before watching it. I chose to reread by listening to the audio version. I think I loved it even more the second time around.

The book is formatted with alternating chapters told by six of the characters. Sometimes their chapters overlap. The six narrators representing those six characters do a marvelous job. I think the story was more impactful in the audio format than the print. The writing was beautiful to begin with but the narrators made it even better.

If you haven’t read this book or even if you have the audio edition is excellent.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

Rating
5 stars 5/5 for the book

4 stars 4.5 for the narration

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The Fade Out Act Three by Ed Brubaker

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Ed Brubaker | 0 comments

The Fade Out, Act Three by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips
The Fade Out, Act Three by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: The Fade Out #3
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 126
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 9-12 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Hollywood – 1948. A noir film stuck in endless reshoots. A writer plagued by nightmares from the war. An up-and-coming startlet’s suspicious death. And a mogul and his security chief who will do anything to keep the cameras rolling before the studio system comes crashing down.

My Thoughts:
I love old detective and mystery movies and this trilogy is like reading a noir book about the making of a noir movie so it’s right up my alley. It’s set in 1948 Hollywood with WWII in recent memories, McCarthy Communist hunting in full force and the Hollywood studio system in flux after Paramount lost an antitrust suit.

As this is the final volume in a three book series I can’t really say much about the plot without giving away things that happened in the first two volumes. I will say that questions are answered and a lot of background information is filled in. I will recommend that you get your hands on all three volumes and read them back to back. It’s what I intend to do now that I’ve finished.

The setting in old Hollywood and the artwork combine for a very atmospheric look and feel. Occasional real people are inserted into the story and it doesn’t feel too contrived at all.

The art throughout the series is wonderful. Sean Phillips has created an environment that looks just like the old movies and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is fabulous.

If you want an excellent story without getting involved in an extended series I highly recommend this trilogy.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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The Fade Out Act Two by Ed Brubaker

Posted by on Nov 10, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Ed Brubaker | 0 comments

The Fade Out, Act Two by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips
The Fade Out, Act Two by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: The Fade Out #2
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 120
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 5-8 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Hollywood – 1948. A noir film stuck in endless reshoots. A writer plagued by nightmares from the war. An up-and-coming startlet’s suspicious death. And a mogul and his security chief who will do anything to keep the cameras rolling before the studio system comes crashing down.

My Thoughts:
I love old detective and mystery movies and this trilogy is like reading a noir book about the making of a noir movie so it’s right up my alley. It’s set in 1948 Hollywood with WWII in recent memories, McCarthy Communist hunting in full force and the Hollywood studio system in flux after Paramount lost an antitrust suit.

The first volume set the stage and you don’t want to pick up this second one until you’ve read the first. As in a typical act two the focus is more on character development than advancing the solution of the murder. Occasional real people are inserted into the story and it doesn’t feel too contrived at all.

The setting in old Hollywood and the artwork combine for a very atmospheric look and feel. The art is wonderful. Sean Phillips has created an environment that looks just like the old movies and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s color work is fabulous.

I already got the third book out from the library because this one left me with way more questions than answers and I want to find out how it ends.

If you want an excellent story without getting involved in an extended series I highly recommend this trilogy.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated by the authorAstrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated by the author

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 3 hours, 41 minutes
Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day. While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while waiting for the bus, the train, or the plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the big bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.

My Thoughts:
This was exactly what I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was expecting an introductory level of information not a super in-depth study. This is a collection of a series of essays by Tyson that were originally published in Natural History magazine.

The audiobook is 3 hours and 41 minutes long but with all the rewinding to listen again I did it probably to me more like five and a half hours to finish. Listening to this book reminded me of sitting in a favorite professor’s class in college. The subject matter was interesting and presented in a conversational manner with plenty of wit and humor along the way.

I can’t imagine anyone other than Neil deGrasse Tyson narrating this.

I learned a lot and definitely recommend this one. Now that I’ve listened to it I would like to get the print edition. This is a book that lends itself to reading or listening to one chapter and then putting it aside for a while before reading or listening to the next. I enjoyed listening to it straight through but for a reread I might take it in smaller chunks.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Divided in Death by J.D. Robb – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, JD Robb | 2 comments

Divided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan EricksenDivided in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #18 in the In Death series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2004
Length: 12 hours, 10 minutes
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Reva Ewing was a former member of the Secret Service, and then a security specialist for Roarke Enterprises—until she was found standing over the dead bodies of her husband, renowned artist Blair Bissel, and her best friend. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas believes there was more to the killing than jealous rage—all of Bissel’s computer files were deliberately corrupted.

To Roarke, it’s the computer attack that poses the real threat. He and Reva have been under a code-red government contract to develop a program that would shield against techno-terrorists. But this deadly new breed of hackers isn’t afraid to kill to protect their secret—and it’s up to Lieutenant Eve Dallas to shut them down before the nightmare can spread to the whole country.

My Thoughts:
This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. The mix of police procedural, romance and just slightly in the future science fiction elements is a lot of fun. Now that I’m listening to the audio editions instead of reading the print editions I’m enjoying it even more.

Susan Ericksen does a fabulous job of narrating this series. She creates recognizable character voices with a variety of accents. Even though she is female her voice for Roarke is yummy.

In this volume Eve and Roarke are at odds with each other for most of the book so it’s a little lighter on the romance than other books in the series. The identity of the perpetrator is known about halfway through the books so it changes from a ‘whodunnit’ to a ‘How with they catch ’em’ with a side of ‘Will Eve and Roarke be OK?’.

Peabody continues to be my favorite supporting character. She and her boyfriend/fellow cop are so delightfully earnest and funny. I love them.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Jodi Taylor | 0 comments

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook, Trade Paperback
Series: The Chronicles of St Mary’s #3
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Publication Date: 2013
Pages. 317
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.

In A Second Chance, it seems nothing can go right for Max and her fellow historians. The team confronts a mirror-stealing Isaac Newton and later witnesses how the ancient and bizarre cheese-rolling ceremony in Gloucester can result in CBC: Concussion By Cheese.

Finally, Max makes her long-awaited jump to Bronze Age Troy, only for it to end in personal catastrophe. And just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, it’s back to the Cretaceous Period to confront an old enemy who has nothing to lose.

My Thoughts:
I don’t get too worried about the ‘correct science’ of time travel stories and I was pleased to read this comment from the author at the beginning of the first book in this series:

I made all this up. Historians and physicists – please do not spit on me in the street.

After reading the second book in the series back in April I decided not to let too much time pass before continuing with the series. I think this one is my favorite in the series so far. I have a feeling that this is a series that I’ll go back and reread in the audio format. The author has written many short stories related to the series and I have the audio editions of those

The important thing to know is that even though the story jumps around in time (including to future and past St. Mary’s) it’s imortant to read the serie in order and start with the first (Just One Damned Thing After Another).

The story is told by Madeline (Max) Maxwell with a good bit of sarcasm and humor in between the brushes with death.

The major mission in this one is to observe Troy before the war started and then go back 10 years later to find out what really happend when Troy fell. For these missions the team spent months in the past. There’s some pretty brutal violence in this part. You can’t really tell the story of the fall of Troy without it. Other missions include the battle of Agincourt and a couple of other short missions.

It’s not great literature but it’s good light escapist fun.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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