Thursday, October 20, 2016

Audiobook Review: The Silkworm

The Silkworm By Robert Galbraith
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Release Date: Format: Audiobook narrated by Robert Glenister
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestsellerThe Cuckoo's Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...
A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.
I don't think I'm ever going to be able to read these books, because Robert Glenister narration is so good that he IS Cormoran Strike to me.  I think he is one of the best narrators I have listened to. These books are a bit lengthy but I find that he makes it worth while. I also love that he can do some great regional accents, and I don't find his impression of women to be so over the top like over male narrators sometimes do.

I actually think this second novel is better than the first, but I think that is because mostly it kept me guessing. In the first Cormoroan Strike novel I figured out who did it pretty early on, but with this novel I had NO idea. Mostly because the victim in this novel was so unlikeable that it could have been so many different people. I never figured it out before it was revealed, and I have to say that it really surprised me. There were certain things that I just never picked up on. Which is probably why I would never make a good detective.

I really like where the development of Robin's character is going. I know we are supposed to dislike her fiance and want her to be with Strike instead, but I feel like she is still a mystery to the reader. There are a lot of things we still don't know about her, and I like that Galbraith hands us a little piece in each book. I am really interested in why she has been with Mathew for so long if he doesn't support her career, and why she dropped out of University. I really want to know more about her, and I really like that Strike is finally taking her under his wing to train her in detective work.

What I am liking in this series so far is that Galbraith shows us a different work/life culture in each novel. I thought it was really interesting that the author chose to showcase the cutthroat book publishing world. It was definitely an interesting topic to write about, and I think it explains why I have a problem with a lot of adult novels. For me some of these authors are a bit too pretentious like Quine.

If you are looking for a good detective novel series to start, I highly recommend starting the Cormoroan Strike novels. If you read the first novel and haven't picked up the second one yet, you need to get on that. These books are great!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Audiobook Review: NOS4A2

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
Format: Audiobook narrated by Kate Mulgrew
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Don't slow down

Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie's twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.

And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble...and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie's unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.

But Charlie Manx hasn't stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won't slow down until he's taken his revenge. He's after something very special—something Vic can never replace.

As a life-and-death battle of wills builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all...or die trying...
I have been talking about this book with friends from work and all I can say is, "IT'S SO CREEPY!!" If you didn't know that Joe Hill was Stephen King's kid, read this book and you can really tell. I will admit I think there are some shameless King references in this novel, but unlike other readers I actually enjoyed them.

So this book takes Christmas, a wonderful holiday of joy, and makes it scary with a creepy villain in Charlie Manx. I find Manx to be an interesting villain, because he truly believes that he is helping the children that he takes to Christmasland. He finds kids that he believes are living terrible lives with bad parents and whisks them away to this magical land. When you put it this way it makes it seem like Charlie is the hero in this story. To himself he might be, but to the reader whom sees what happens to these children after they get to Christmasland can see that he is not.

Our protagonist Vic McQueen is the only kid to ever escape Charlie, and I really enjoyed Vic's narrative but I also found her life to be quite sad. She had some trauma in her life and it really effected her way into adulthood. There was a while in the book that I started to not like her anymore. She was making bad decisions, and I just felt disappointed in where she had ended up. At the same time Vic was a very damaged character who was being tortured by the phone calls from Christmasland, so I could understand why she had become so damaged. I don't completed love how her story ends, but at least she was able to redeem herself.

I'm not sure how it is addressed in the book, but in the audiobook the book ends with the narrator starting what seems to be the credits and notes, but then there is a little something else about this story there. So definitely pay attention to that.

The narrator of the audiobook was Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway to Star Trek fans, Red for Orange is the New Black fans) and I was really surprised at how good of a narrator she was! She did an amazing job at doing the creepy voice for Charlie Manx, and she really made this book interesting to listen to. I'd like to credit her narration for this book being extra creepy to listen to.

If you are looking for a weird book for Halloween that is super creepy I highly recommend this one!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Deanna Listens: Puck Soup

Deanna Listens
 is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month (sometimes) I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. This month I am talking about Puck Soup.

Puck Soup is a podcast on the Nerdist network that is all about hockey. It might come as a surprise for anyone that stumbles onto this blog, but I really like hockey. Before I was a book blogger, I actually spent a lot of time blogging about the sport. I even worked part-time for on the sport desk before I found a full time position at my current job. So this was definitely a podcast I needed in my life, especially since I haven't been able to watch much hockey since I moved in with my boyfriend and we don't have cable.

This podcast is put together by Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog and Dave Lozo of Vice Sports. I really like their chemistry together and that they just riff on each other all the time. What I also like about the podcast is that it's not just about hockey, it's a lot about hockey but also about pop culture. 

The structure of the podcast is a little different than what I am used to. For the most part when they have guests on they will play the recording of when they had the guest on, and then they will come back and shoot the breeze until the end of podcast. I didn't like it at first, but I've grown to enjoy it. It's a different way to enjoy media, and I'm trying to get used to different ways to enjoy content.

 Here are a few of my favorites:
-Keith Olberman (Okay, I loved this one for mostly for the Eric Lindros stories!)
-Tom Cavanaugh (I didn't know Tom liked hockey!)
-Sydney Esiason 

I haven't listened to that many episodes yet, but I like what I have been hearing. I feel like I'm not as caught up as I like to be, but I definitely want to continue listen to this one. 

Got a great podcast you love? Give me a recommendation in the comments. No serious, please help, I'm running out of podcasts to listen to!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Review: A Fine Imitation

Fine Imitation By Amber Brock
Publisher: Crown* 
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Format: Hardback, 304 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Set in the glamorous 1920s, A Fine Imitation is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite’s restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin.
Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus—the most coveted address on Park Avenue. But behind the sparkling social whirl, Vera is living a life of quiet desperation. Her days are an unbroken loop of empty, champagne-soaked socializing, while her nights are silent and cold, spent waiting alone in her cavernous apartment for a husband who seldom comes home.
Then Emil Hallan arrives at The Angelus to paint a mural above its glittering subterranean pool. The handsome French artist moves into the building, shrouds his work in secrecy, and piques Vera’s curiosity, especially when the painter keeps dodging questions about his past. Is he the man he claims to be? Even as she finds herself increasingly drawn to Hallan’s warmth and passion, Vera can’t supress her suspicions. After all, she has plenty of secrets, too—and some of them involve art forgers like her bold, artistically talented former friend, Bea, who years ago, at Vassar, brought Vera to the brink of catastrophe and social exile.
When the dangerous mysteries of Emil’s past are revealed, Vera faces an impossible choice—whether to cling to her familiar world of privilege and propriety or to risk her future with the enigmatic man who has taken her heart. A Fine Imitation explores what happens when we realize that the life we’ve always led is not the life we want to have. 
I think we need to just file this book under "Books that aren't Deanna's cup of tea." I chose to read this book because it was outside of my comfort zone and I wanted to read something different. However, I think it's pretty clear that I'm not really a fan of period novels, especially if they are about whiny rich girls and their problems. 

One of the other reasons I chose to read this was because I thought since this was in prohibition time it would be more historically significant. Other than one scene where Emil takes Vera to a speakeasy, there isn't much in the setting that tells us this book takes place during prohibition time. Mostly because the rich people still have access to alcohol, so I kept forgetting when this was supposed to take place.

I will say that I did like the back and forth narrative so we could figure out why Vera and Bea weren't friends anymore. I was interested in why, but when I found out it just made me dislike Vera even more than I already did. Vera didn't have a any backbone and she just did what she was always told to do. I will admit that I felt sorry for her, because her unhappy marriage was really depressing. So I got why she ends up getting involved with Emil, but I just didn't buy the romance at all. She spends half of the book berating the guy about how inappropriate he is and then all of sudden they are in bed with each other. It didn't feel like a slow burn romance to me, it just happened all of a sudden and I just couldn't buy into it.

I'm on a fence about the ending. I was glad that Vera found a way out of her unhappy marriage, but to me it just felt really forced. I never bought the romance between Vera and Emil. I found it really hard to relate or even like Vera so by the end of the novel I just didn't care.

This book was definitely not for me, and I think I've learned my lesson to stay away from period pieces. If you like classic 1920s novels, I would suggest giving it a try. Definitely recommend for anyone that likes books such as The Great Gatsby, just not for me. 

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!