The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina – Book Review

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, an imprint of Hachette

She’s a young woman who misses her mother, a girl who just had to suffer through her mother’s protracted illness, attempting to pay for her care. She isn’t expecting the boys. The boys who come in, shouting about the children they are sure she has, the children she doesn’t have. The boys who are oddly unafraid and – terrifyingly – don’t seem to care whether or not she knows who they are, whether or not she can identify them.

The End of the Wasp Season presents a difficult case for Detective Alex Morrow. The facts of the case are hard enough on their own, with the brutal murder of the young woman, and the situation is complicated by her pregnancy with twins – a pregnancy that makes her particularly nervous after she lost her young son – and the tenuous situation in the office ever since Bannerman was promoted. It is all a bit of a shocking transition from Still Midnight, actually. Alex is in a very different place in this book than she is in the last, which is actually sort of disconcerting, because the reader doesn’t really see her journey, it all happens off screen.

For me, this case had less immediacy than the one in Still Midnight. The victim in Still Midnight had been kidnapped and the case was time sensitive but in The End of the Wasp Season the victim is dead and it doesn’t seem that anyone else is in danger. Still, I liked to see Alex’s growth, as I became attached to her

If you’ve read The End of the Wasp Season, you can join us here tomorrow to discuss it.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – Audiobook Review

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite
Published in audio by Hachette Audio, published in print by Little, Brown and Company

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Thoughts on the story:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is charmingly told, the story of a young girl and her missing mother. There is a series of improbable events that seem like they should be ridiculous, but which instead become a lovely story that will captivate readers. 

Thoughts on the audio production:

I may be the only one who feels this way, but I don’t totally love Kathleen Wilhoite as a narrator. She is talented and does pull off the voice of a young girl well, but – in a totally nitpicky way – I find her voice almost TOO little girl-like here, and it sorts of grates on my nerves. This is a totally subjective thing, objectively she’s good, but there’s just some quality in her voice that doesn’t thrill me.

Overall:

A good production and a wonderful book, but I didn’t love the audio as much as some others do.

For more information on this book, check out the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

 

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets

This plugin requires intervention by this site’s administrator.

To display the widget for this post, please click here.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

Still Midnight by Denise Mina – Book Review

Still Midnight by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, an imprint of Hachette

It is an unprofessional kidnapping. A teenage girl gets her hand blown off, an old man – the wrong man – is taken. Do the kidnappers even have the right house in the quiet Glasgow suburb? At first it seems quite possible to Detective Inspector Alex Morrow that this whole thing is a mistake, although that doesn’t exactly help get the elderly hostage back. This is a case that gets to Morrow, this family disrupted in the area where she grew up. In order to solve it, Morrow has to revisit some of the people from her past and, in doing so, perhaps put her entire job at risk.

Still Midnight has one of those openings that leaves you going, “huh, what now?” The first 30 pages or so are a bit slow for exactly that reason, as the reader tries to figure out exactly what is going on. Once everything becomes clear, though, Still Midnight becomes an exceptionally engaging book. First, there is the mystery; clearly there is something happening that is not quite what it seems. In addition, Morrow herself is a fascinating character. She is sick with loss and a need to prove herself while also hiding her past.

I ended up really loving Still Midnight, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, The Wasp Season. If you’ve read Still Midnight, we are discussing it on June 11th, 2013 on Nicole’s blog.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson – Audiobook Review

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson, narrated by Fenella Woolgar
Published in audio by Hachette Audio, published in print by Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Hachette

I have previously reviewed Life after Life in print, but in case you need a refresher, here’s the synopsis I wrote:

It is 1910 and one of the snowiest nights in memory in England when Ursula Todd is born. Unfortunately, little Ursula is not long for this world, dying almost before her mother even realizes she has been born. Luckily for Ursula, she is born again, the same day to the same family, and this time with another result. So Ursula is born time and time again, as she succumbs to the perils of early 20th-cenutry life but is repeatedly granted another chance, as if her life is building towards some grand purpose.

When I first finished Life after Life I had pretty daydreams about how much I had loved it and hoped against hope that my editor at Audiofile Magazine would assign me the audio to review (SPOILER ALERT: she did). As the weeks passed after reading it, though, I began to grow worried about the audiobook. Life after Life is huge, and has the tendency to loop back in on itself. Turns out I shouldn’t have worried. I don’t know if it was Fenella Woolgar’s narration, the production as a whole, or the source material, but Life after Life actually translated to audio quite well. Of course, I did have the benefit of already having read it once, but that was at least two months before I listened to the audio, so while I’m sure it smoothed the way, I did not necessarily remember all the intricacies of the plot.

I do think a listener who had no idea what the book was about might still be hugely confused the first time Ursula dies and the whole thing starts again, but as long as you have the basic premise you’d might as well spend 15 hours listening to Fenella Woolgar’s lovely narration – particularly her smashingly good American, French, and German accents.

For more, please see my review for Audiofile Magazine

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

Source: Audiofile Magazine.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

 

 

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets

This plugin requires intervention by this site’s administrator.

To display the widget for this post, please click here.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman – Book Review

The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman
Published by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette

It has been a year since Yehoshuah, the man who would later be known throughout the world as Jesus, was crucified by the Romans. His death has changed many of those who came in contact with him during his relatively short life, but perhaps not exactly in the way that one might think.

The Liars’ Gospel is not a religious book. In fact, it really isn’t even about Jesus, either the historical figure or the religious one. The real heart of the novel is the political situation of  Roman-occupied Judea. Yehoshuah’s mother, who effectively not seen her son since he began his ministry, finds herself harboring a fugitive whose town attempted to make a stand against the Romans. Ichuda finds himself lost in more ways than one – not only has he lost what faith he once had, but he has left Judea and is assumed by all there to be dead. The High Priest of the Temple, Caiaphas, admits that he is essentially a collaborator, but justifies his actions by telling himself that he simply wishes to keep peace. Finally is Bar-Avo, the man who was in mail at the same time as Yehoshuah and escaped only by manipulating Pilate and sealing Yehoshuah’s fate.

Told in four chapters, from the four points of view, The Liars’ Gospel is almost more a series of linked novellas than a proper novel, but it does not suffer from this format. By seeing 1st century AD life from the point of view of a mother, a former believer, a priest, and a freedom fighter, the reader begins to see just how oppressive the Roman rule of Judea may have been. This was a troubled period, and The Liars’ Gospel is full of the massacres of an occupying army attempting to subjugate a devoted people.

The Liars’ Gospel is crafted beautifully, a completely engrossing read that I found myself unable to put down. Very highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, for BOOK CLUB.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013