Audiobook reviews, Fiction, Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Audiobook Review of BellWether by Connie Willis

BellwetherRating: 4 of 5 Stars
Pages: 247
Published: 1997

Connie Willis somehow connects RomComs and Sci-Fi, and I love it. She takes the most random topics, like in Bellwether where we have fads, flock mentality, sheep, and scientists.

The Summary, taken from Goodreads:

Pop culture, chaos theory and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula winning author of Doomsday Book.

Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennet O’Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions.

Connie Willis is one of my favorite SciFi writers. Her protagonists are generally female, and authentic which is so rare in science fiction. I whole heartily recommend Bellwether to those you are not sure they like SciFi or just like light SciFi.

Buy from Amazon($7.99), here.

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Audiobook reviews, Fiction, Fiction Reviews, Non-Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Upcoming Reviews

I have a couple of upcoming reviews for audio books and print books.

BellwetherBellwether by Connie Willis

Genre: SciFi

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Powerful of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Genre: Non-Fiction

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

A Madness So Discreet

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Audiobook reviews, Non-Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Audio Book)

Why Not Me?

4 Stars of Five

Mindy Kaling is a delightful storyteller, and a hilarious wit. This is her second book, the first being Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? It is an further telling of her life before, during and after The Office and her show The Mindy Project.

The Goodread’s summary is,

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions”, Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate-this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady”, she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes”, Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Kaling. Her intriguing stories of time at the White House and body issues, and relationship fails is heartening.

Audiobook reviews, Favorites List, Non-Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Review: Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson (AudioBook)

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain4 Stars of 5

I have started listening to audio books again, and began with a follow up to one of my favorite tomes. The Road to Little Dribbling is a revisit to Notes from a Small Island, written over 20 years ago. In Notes, Bill Bryson traversed across his adopted nation in search of what it meant to be British. Twenty years on in Road, Bryson revisits his adopted country from the view point of a fellow British Citizen.

Goodreads summarizes The Road to Little Dribbling as,

In 1995 Bill Bryson got into his car and took a weeks-long farewell motoring trip about England before moving his family back to the United States. The book about that trip, Notes from a Small Island, is uproarious and endlessly endearing, one of the most acute and affectionate portrayals of England in all its glorious eccentricity ever written. Two decades later, he set out again to rediscover that country, and the result is The Road to Little Dribbling. Nothing is funnier than Bill Bryson on the road—prepare for the total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.

I’ve read a lot of Bill Bryson’s work and this is the first of his work of which I have listened, mainly because it is narrated by someone other than the author himself. Bryson doesn’t generally have a reader friendly voice. His voice is nothing like what you would expect for a man of Bryson’s demeanor-but enough on that.

This books is typical of Bryson’s work, if not a little more academic than usual. It was an interesting and entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys British life, Expat stories (although Bryson hates that word), and hilarious takes on what it is like to travel by oneself across a country, from bottom to top.

Other similar books

Notes from a Small Island In Search Of EnglandThe English: A Portrait of a People

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Audiobook reviews, Fiction, Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Review: “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

Y’all know I like to read WWII fiction. Hell, half the books on my shelves are WWII fiction, and so many of them are considered favorites. The thing is, the majority of these books are about the Blitz, about London falling in flames while the citizens rose up in valor, and I love that, but there’s only so much one can read about the Blitz.

I do have the occasional non-England WWII book, like the Book Thief, but these books are a minority. This is a strange fact because I love stories about the French Resistance, The Eastern Front, Germans living under the Nazi regime, and the war in the Pacific, but I haven’t read many of these stories. It is because I haven’t discovered these titles or is it because these stories haven’t been written? I don’t know.

I do know that All the Light We Cannot See is a different WWII story, not set in London during the Blitz, but set in Europe. It’s sad as all get out, and there’s a cursed gem, but the main thing is the radio, or radios and radio waves. It was a Goodreads Choice Award winner for 2014. Here’s the summary (via Goodreads):

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

I listened to this one on audio, and I regret that. This story loops and shifts in time, which makes it a little hard to connect one chapter to the next when listened to over a long period of time. I will more than likely pick up a physical copy and re-read it just to get some of the minor details I missed. I really enjoyed the symbol of the radio in the story, though, and am looking forward to re-reading to pick up more details about its importance. The radio was such a large proponent of WWII, and it became a large part of this story. Before the war, it was a minor part in the story, and then its significance grew as it connected Werner and Marie-Laure stories together. Of course, this connection is sad. This whole story is sad. Don’t even get me started on the character named Fredrick. If you like to remind yourself that the Third Reich was largely made of children towards the end of WWII, that WWII was horrific, that radios were new technology for this war, then this is the book for you. I’d recommend.

Audiobook reviews, Fiction, Fiction Reviews, Netgalley/ARCs, Reviews, Series Reviews, Updates, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Update: What I read in February…

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Y’all. I actually read the books I said I was going to read for February! I did it! Yay! *Pats self on the back*

Here’s to hoping March will be just as productive!

Audiobook reviews, Fiction, Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Review: “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

2.5 stars of 5★★★☆☆

Audio Book read by: Tom Parker (he reads really fast. Like panic attack inducing fast)

It’s a classic, therefore it must be good(so said in a nasally voice oozing with pretentiousness). Nope. Not the case. I didn’t like this one, and I’ll tell you why.

I won’t pretend that I don’t understand why this is considered a classic. It’s a modern classic because, just like the Angry Young Men literature that arose in the UK during this time, it depicts the listlessness and inertia felt by the young men that returned from WWII and those that just missed what to them was a great adventure and chance to fight pure evil. This generation considered themselves those who were beaten down by the events of first half of the 20th century. On the Road is a cornerstone work of the Beat Generation. The characters are all based on real people. All the events more or less happened. The pastoral landscapes described in the novel are real. But It still annoys me.

The protagonists in these works are annoying. Why you ask? Because they are the literal definition of whiny, self-aggrandizing, selfish, appropriating assholes. The main characters can easily drop whatever they are doing and travel across country for months on end and then within a matter of seconds have a job and a place to live. They borrow staggering amounts of money from friends and family and only sometimes pay them back. They do whatever the hell they feel like doing, whether it endangers their lives or others. They sometimes do hard, physical work and live in abject poverty(I’m thinking about the cotton picking section now) and think to compare it to a sense of fulfillment. They have no respect for other people’s property, feelings, or lives. It’s all about them and what kicks they can get.

If I knew Dean Moriarty in real life, I would get him mental health treatment. There’s a disconnect somewhere in his brain, and the hero-worship with only a little annoyance Sal has for him is gross. He marries/divorces/marries the same women continuously while searching out new ones to string along. He hits one of his wives. He has children he doesn’t even think about. He has no steady form of employment to support said children. He is wreck-less and tries to kill himself in every car he gets in, but freeeeeee(whatever. He’s a man child. That’s what he is.). Sal is so caught up with himself that he can’t even get his sh*t together to permanently move out of his aunt’s house until he is well pass his young adult years. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the brothel scene in Mexico with the sixteen year old girls. If I had not been driving a car, I would have puked. It was oddly satisfying that Sal and Dean parted ways, maybe Sal finally grew the f*ck up.

The some of the ideas in this book disgust me. Don’t tell me those ideals were just part of the times or any of that ish, because it wasn’t. Yes, it would be nice to be able to drop everything and go traveling around the US, but at the end of that, you have to return to your responsibilities. That’s not the man putting you down (wasn’t that Beat slang?) it just being a responsible human. The only thing I agreed with/liked was a rant by Dean (surprisingly) about how clothing, food, cars, tire, etc. are made to break so that you can buy more. That was true enough. Everything else was just whiny metaphysical bull.

Audiobook reviews, Non-Fiction Reviews, Reviews

Audio Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Everyone loves Amy Poehler, right? She’s one of the founders of the popular Smart Girls at the Party web series and web site along with one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade. She and Tina Fey are like a packaged set. She was on SNL for years. She’s funny. In short(hehe Amy’s only 5’2), she great. Her book is too. Don’t believe me? Here’s the summary:

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by.

I listened to the audio-book version and I think it has to be even better than the book version. I mentioned in a previous post various narrators that make an appearance, but Amy Poehler is a performer. Listening to her perform in your car is just cool.

She imparts great wisdom, too. There are gems like, “I think we should stop asking people in their twenties what they “want to do” and start asking them what they don’t want to do” and “You can only move if you are actually in the moment. You have to be where you are to get where you need to go.”

There were so many good points in this book. It’s similar in style to Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? in that it’s funny and wise.

I recommend it. I especially recommend the audio-book.