Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir

Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir by H. Jon Benjamin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

While I admire this guy's ability to read his own work for his audio, I was at a complete loss when I started. I had no idea who this guy was and had downloaded the audio online so I had no filler papers to read about. It wasn't until the end of the book that he mentions Archer and Bob's Burgers, so clueless readers like me are very clueless. Throughout.

I rarely laughed, and I'm all about shit jokes. But I just didn't find it funny. I also don't want to be his friend and feel sorry for those who are, because he doesn't seem very loving or caring. He's a selfish asshole. I honestly wondered why he had even been asked to write a book--are voiceover artists really that successful in this day and age? People are buying this stuff and finding it funny? Huh. Guess I'm old. The chapter about the president pets stuff was horrible and the fillers where he sarcastically tried to interview academics just felt sad. I didn't understand the purpose of the book. To entertain? To tell his life story? Neither felt successful.

As for the audio production, he obviously does accents okay, and there were a few occasional odd spaces between words, but I imagine he was trying to be funny. I didn't hear any skips or anything, but his voice was so droll and I was so bored that I just wanted it to be over already.

I'm not usually this grumpy about memoirs, but I was mad that I had to listen to this on my drive.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: Dancing On The Grave

Dancing On The Grave Dancing On The Grave by Zoƫ Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Give this a go if you like Happy Valley/Last Tango in Halifax/Harlen Coben/Lee Child/murder mysteries.

I'll read anything by Zoe Sharp--her mysteries/procedurals usually have strong kickass female main characters, and I love that in a field that's swamped with the other gender. This is a standalone though, and I wasn't sure if I would love it since it didn't have my fav character Charlie Fox. Instead I got Grace, who is a quieter woman, but strong and determined to be an excellent forensic investigator in the Lake District of England. She's got a bit of a past (ex-husband, job switch, difficult coworkers) and is forced to work with DC Nick Weston on a baffling case. A dog ends up shot, and then the people connected to the dog start dropping like flies. Really, they do, since a sniper is responsible. Turns out that there is a military connection (yes--I love military conspiracy stuff), and Grace and Nick must figure it all out.

I even loved the fleshed out secondary characters of Edith, a troubled teenager, and Patrick, the troubled sniper. Both had some serious stuff going on in their heads, yet I felt like I connected with them. I wouldn't mind seeing either Nick or Grace in another title--I like them and their friendship/understanding of each other.

Thank you to the author for providing an eARC of this title!

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Review: The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives by Viet Thanh Nguyen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dang. This quick little book of 17 essays will punch you in the gut. Some, of course, are better than others, but, overall, this will give you the feels. I admit that I didn't really understand the complexities of asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees. Living in small town central Illinois, I don't see many of any of those, or at least it doesn't seem like I do. But after reading this book, I feel like I know a bit more. I loved how the Pulitzer Prize winning editor included essays from writers all over the world who became refugees--Ukraine, Bosnia, China, Vietnam, and, yes, Mexico. Their tales are all different, but all are heartbreaking. This book would serve as a great book club read and an easy lead-in to local people telling their refugee stories at libraries.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: Noir

Noir Noir by Christopher Moore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rough conversation of what I remember from listening to this book:

Girl: How do you like your drink?
Guy: I like my drinks like I like my women.
Girl: Drunk and naked?

I snorted. This book is full of one-liners and quips, like most noir. I couldn't help but picture guys in suits and fedoras and girls in sexy dresses. But it's just not my thing. The best part of the audiobook was the afterword where I got to hear why Moore put certain historical things into the book that takes place after WW2 in San Francisco.

Throughout the entire book, I heard tons of mouth sounds like clicking. The accents were great, but I heard the clicking while listening in my car and in my earphones. So annoying. At 017, 15:30 the narrator sounds like he's talking through a tunnel. This was an audiobook with amazing narration, but the production could have been better. Getting rid of those clicks would have made this perfect. Need an example? Go to 005 around 5-6 minutes and listen carefully.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: What Should Be Wild

What Should Be Wild What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love fantasy and love magical realism, but the combo didn't click for me in this audiobook. Maisie is from a long line of mysterious women in the woods, but she feels like she is cursed. Anything she touches dies or comes back to life, so she has to be extremely careful about everything, especially the people she loves. Her story was almost enjoyable, but the chapters were interspersed with older tales of women who disappeared--gratefully or not--into the woods and how the magic grew darker over time. I could have done without the love triangle though--it didn't fit.

Audio notes:
008. 2:04. "tears of her skirt" pronounced as crying instead of rips
019 Chapter 9. 10:00. "curs" crossing has a metallic sound
I feel like I've heard this narrator a multitude of times--she's very competent. But it was hard to make this book engaging because it dragged in places.

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Review: Rick Steves London 2018

Rick Steves London 2018 Rick Steves London 2018 by Rick Steves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, Rick Steves, for always telling me where the clean public toilets are!

I also appreciate how his writers tell readers little things to look for, like particular narrow streets or cool churches to pop into. I don't tend to take the advice about restaurants or hotels, but I always read the sections about touristy places to see how I can make them easier to visit. I star the places on a Google Map I've created for the trip, add the hours open and little notes in the notes section, and I'm good to go. I always add a lot of markers to the map, since I never know where I'll be in the mood to wander off to. Fun stuff!

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