The Humans by Matt Haig – Audiobook Review

thehumans zpsfd882b24 pictureThe Humans by Matt Haig, narrated by Mark Meadows
Published in audio by Simon & Schuster Audio, published in print by Simon & Schuster

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

When an extraterrestrial visitor arrives on Earth, his first impressions of the human species are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin, a leading mathematician at Cambridge University, the visitor wants to complete his task and go back home, to the planet he comes from, and a utopian society of immortality and infinite knowledge.

He is disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, the wars they witness on the news, and totally baffled by such concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to realize there may be more to this weird species than he has been led to believe. He drinks wine, reads Emily Dickinson, listens to Talking Heads, and begins to bond with the family he lives with, in disguise. In picking up the pieces of the professor’s shattered personal life, the narrator sees hope and redemption in the humans’ imperfections and begins to question the very mission that brought him there. A mission that involves not only thwarting human progress…but murder.

Thoughts on the story:

The Humans is a thoughtful and humorous look at life on Earth (at least in the West), as well as what it means to be human.

soundbytes pictureThoughts on the audio production:

Mark Meadows does a great job narrating The Humans. He plays it straight, which makes it all the much funnier, as well as more moving. He captures the tone of the book perfectly.

Overall:

A wonderfully done novel, made even better by the top-notch narration.

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.

 

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The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon – Book Review

thefairestofthemall zps3540b3e1 pictureThe Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon
Published by Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Rapunzel is happy living with her adopted mother in the forest. They help the women of the kingdom who are wronged by the men in their lives. Still, at times Rapunzel wishes to see the world beyond her home. One day as a group of men travels through the forest, Rapunzel sings out to one of them, calling him to her and causing him to fall in love with her. The man, it turns out, is the prince – and he is engaged, a fact Rapunzel only finds out after the two share a night of passion. Before long, the prince and his new wife have a daughter they have named Snow White. The prince’s marriage is not the end of the road for him and Rapunzel but it is Rapunzel and Snow White who truly have a dramatic future ahead of them.

So, this is a minor spoiler I suppose, but you can’t really discuss The Fairest of Them All without knowing this, so… Rapunzel eventually ends up at Snow’s stepmother. You know, the evil stepmother? Yeah, that’s RAPUNZEL and Turgeon’s main character. And you know what? It is a brilliant twist. Rapunzel is a hugely sympathetic main character and although her behavior towards Snow becomes traditionally malicious, Turgeon writes her fully enough that the reader can understand how Rapunzel got to that point.

An inventive and wonderful twist on a classic tale.

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

 

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Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory – Audiobook Review

orderofdarkness zps4dbd70ea pictureStormbringers: Order of Darkness by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Nicola Barber
Published in audio by Simon & Schuster Audio, published in print by Simon Pulse, both imprints of Simon & Schuster

I previously reviewed the first book in the Order of Darkness trilogy, Changeling.

Synopsis:

Luca and Isolde have a growing relationship and are happy that they will be able to continue traveling together for the foreseeable future. Their plans are halted, however, when a young man named Johann arrives in town leading a veritable army of children who claim to be on a crusade, sent by God. Johann has been prophesying, but when one of his prophecies comes true in an unexpected manner, Luca, Isolde, and the rest of their party find themselves in mortal danger.

Thoughts on the story:

In Stormbringers, Gregory does a great job telling a new complete story as well as forwarding the stories of Luca and Isolde, their relationship, and the lives as a whole. I am most intrigued to continue learning about this order Luca finds himself working for; I am fairly certain that I know where Gregory is going with this, and I think it has wonderful potential. If anything, I find myself looking forward to the third book in the trilogy even more than I looked forward to this one.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Initially I was disappointed that Charlie Cox was not selected to narrate Stormbringers after narrating the first book in the series, Changeling. I had fond memories of his narration and the switch from a male to a female narrator is kind of a big difference. However, with a third person point of view and a cast very nearly equally split between male and female characters, the gender of the narrator does not really matter here, and once I got used to Nicola Barber being the voice of Stormbringers I actually found her quite good. One thing Barber really excels at is bringing out the humor in the secondary characters, two of whom can be really quite funny. She is good overall, though, and by the end I was pleased by Cox’s replacement, even if I’m not sure why he was replaced.

soundbytes pictureOverall:

I am really loving this series, particularly in audio. I can’t wait until the next one comes out! Highly recommended.

For more, please see 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.

 

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The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz – Book Review

theedgeoftheearth zps527024b7 pictureThe Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz
Published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

In the last years of the 19th century, Trudy leaves her comfortable, upper-middle class life in Wisconsin and the man everyone always knew she would marry to strike out for California, newly married to her intended’s cousin Oskar. Together, Trudy and Oskar find themselves working at a light house in Point Lucia, far away from everything they have ever known.

Christina Schwarz’s The Edge of the Earth reminded me strongly of Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures. Part of the comparison is the focus on women of science. Chevalier’s main characters were dinosaur hunters and Trudy finds herself drawn to studying the creatures in the pools at the edge of the sea. The rest of the comparison has to do with the beautifully atmospheric nature of both works.

The Edge of the Earth is historical fiction at its finest. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* 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.

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The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review

858492 10200107295297421 1622061198 o zps7452b903 pictureThe Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen
Published by Washington Square Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

**In the interest of full disclosure, I was a one-time beta reader for the first 75 or so pages of this book. I don’t believe that in any way changes my opinion of the finished product, as is evidenced by comparing my review of The Best of Us to my reviews of Pekkanen’s previous books.**

One advantage of making friends with that brilliant yet painfully awkward guy in college is that someday when he’s filthy rich, he might just invite for on an all-expenses paid trip to a private villa in Jamaica for his 35th birthday. Tina, Allie, and Savannah have been friends since college when they – particularly Allie – befriended Dwight. Now they are in their mid-30s and haven’t always kept up with one another as well as they would have liked. They all have their own problems these days, though.

Tina and Allie are both mothers, although Allie seems to have an easier time with her two older children than Tina does with her herd of young ones. At Tina’s house, chaos reigns and she feels as if she hasn’t had a good shower or a decent night’s sleep in years. Allie may appear to have a perfect house, family, and marriage, but she has recently discovered that her birth father and his father both died of Lou Gehrig’s disease and doesn’t know how to tell her husband about her fears. Savannah is happy without children, but she is also going through a painful divorce after her husband cheated on her. Pekkanen focuses on the women in her stories, so we don’t as much insight as to where Dwight is emotionally, but we do get to know his wife, Pauline, and she is stressed out about her inability to have a child.

One of the things I love most about Pekkanen is the way she writes about women in different stages of life, with the different relationships that make their lives what they are. In The Opposite of Me it is a young woman connecting with her family, particularly her sister; in These Girls it is the power of female friendship, and in Skipping a Beat it is the dissolution of a marriage. In The Best of Us, Pekkanen manages to cover family, marriage, friendship, and life with children, and do nearly all of it with her characters on a couples’ vacation in Jamaica. The dreams, goals, and fears of each of women on the trip bring them into occasional conflict with one another, enough conflict to keep The Best of Us interesting, but not so much as to become melodramatic.

Dealing with children, marriage, health, and friendship, The Best of Us is another winner from Sarah Pekkanen. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, via Edelweiss.
* 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.

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