The Last Camel Died at Noon: The Amelia Peabody Series Book 6 by Elizabeth Peters – #Audiobook Review – #throwbackthursday

The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters

“…Emerson would have been the first to proclaim that we were a partnership, in archaeology as in marriage.”

Book Blurb:

The last camel is dead, and Egyptologist Amelia Peabody, her dashing husband, Emerson, and precocious son, Ramses, are in dire straits on the sun-scorched desert sands. Months before, back in cool, green England, Viscount Blacktower had approached them to find his son and his son’s new bride, who have been missing in war-torn Sudan for over a decade. An enigmatic message scrawled on papyrus and a cryptic map had been delivered to Blacktower, awakening his hope that the couple was still alive.

Neither Amelia nor Emerson believes the message is authentic, but the treasure map proves an irresistible temptation. Now, deep in Nubia’s vast wasteland, they discover too late how much treachery is afoot (and on camelback)…and survival depends on Amelia’s solving a mystery as old as ancient Egypt and as timeless as greed and revenge.

My Review:

Well, mercy! Wasn’t this an exercise in going back—way back?! We’re talking the 19th Century with brilliantly minded Amelia Peabody who possesses a superior knowledge of Egyptology and archeology. As if that weren’t enough, she managed to discover Professor Radcliffe Emerson, a prominent Egyptologist in his own right and they married. Together, they managed to produce a son, Ramses, also another Mensa candidate, too smart for school and sometimes his own parents.

Apparently, twenty episodes in this series, I managed to come in on Book 6, main characters well established (although this could be read as a standalone), and superior child about ten(?). Written in very stilted English, appropriate for the period in style and moral practices (clean read), these two are a hoot.

Well, most of the time.

The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth PetersI must say I did tire of the disdain often laid on those whose IQ didn’t conform, but I did enjoy the intelligent and often educational descriptions of Egypt’s history. Such a vast knowledge deserved to be shared and was usually in an engaging and entertaining fashion—not as dry textbook info dump.

It’s written in a journalist style as if she were speaking to her readers. Indeed, she often stops to speak directly to her readers.

In this entry to the series, they cruise the Nile to Nubia to find an old acquaintance long since lost at the behest of the father. They’ll combine the expedition with the opportunity to explore or excavate new sites.

Along the way, however, they are tricked and abandoned after discovering the last camel was poisoned. They are quietly rescued to a lost city. Oh, the deliciousness! The atmospherics, discovering an ancient people, their way of life, and of course that two half-brothers are vying for the exulted high position. (Oops!) Obviously, there is a keen wit involved in the prose—just reread the name of the title—and the banter between husband and wife is priceless. Otherwise, it’s a long one and there are a few slow passages pocked here and there in an otherwise well-plotted and paced narrative.

I must mention a shout-out, however, for the narrator, Susan O’Malley, who neither stumbled nor slowed over 22 syllable words and pronunciations. Excellent job, and saddened to see both narrator and author now deceased.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mysteries, Historical Mystery
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ASIN: B0001O34AI
Listening Length:
Narrator: Susan O’Malley
Publication Date: February 26, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Last Camel Died at Noon [Amazon]

 

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four stars

 

Elizabeth Peters - authorThe Author: ELIZABETH PETERS, whose New York Times best-selling novels are often set against historical backdrops, earned a Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Chicago. She also writes best-selling books under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.

[Goodreads]Elizabeth Peters is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote as Barbara Michaels as well as her own name. Born and brought up in Illinois, she earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lived in a historic farmhouse in Frederick, western Maryland until her death (August 2013).

Susan O'Malley - narrator - artistThe Narrator: [Goodreads] Susan O’Malley (1976–2015) was an internationally exhibited artist and curator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. As curator and print center director at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, she worked with hundreds of artists and organized more than fifty exhibitions and public programs. As an artist, she made work that brings a sense of interconnectedness into our lives, from conversations with strangers to installations in public places. The impact of her work has traveled far and wide. O’Malley’s artwork has been exhibited in public projects across the United States—San Francisco, New York, Nashville—and around the globe in the United Kingdom, Poland, and Denmark. She exhibited at alternative spaces and cultural institutions including, in California, the Montalvo Art Center, Kala Art Institute, and Palo Alto Art Center, as well as the Contemporary Art Museum (Houston, TX), and the Parthenon Museum (Nashville, TN). Her participatory installation Finding Your Center, a collaboration with Leah Rosenberg, was recently featured in Bay Area Now 7 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and her project A Healing Walk is permanently installed at Villa Montalvo. The powerful optimism of her work lives on.

©2023 V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis – #Audiobook Review – #ThrowbackThursday

#1 Best Seller in Self Esteem

Book Blurb:

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • A HARPERS BAZAAR BEST BOOK OF 2022 • A PARADE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK • A MARIE CLAIRE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK

In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.

This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.

As I wrote Finding Me, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world. So I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be . . . you.

Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.

My Review:

I suppose unlike so many others who read and/or listened to this biography by Viola Davis that she was discovered through her signature role of Annalise Keeting. I must confess that we have never really gotten into that series.

No, I’d noticed Viola Davis long before that. Whether it was a bit part or otherwise, I’ve always noticed Ms. Davis. There was always something about her—that strong, confident presence. She commands her parts—delivers. So there was always respect, an interest in the person behind the parts. I always liked her.

Finding Me by Viola DavisHer narrative reminds me that no matter how difficult you thought your own childhood, there is always someone else who had it much worse. That was Viola. While I experienced many of those childhood traumas including poverty, the demon of an under-achieving father (until he split for good), or major hunger, I didn’t often know the massive trauma of extreme living conditions with cold and rats or bed-wetting (thank heaven). Nor did I know the pain of rejection because I was dark-skinned or could walk in those shoes.

Ms. Davis lays it all out. She writes a no-holds-barred account of her childhood, the ugly struggle of young adulthood after she discovered her avenue to independence and then doggedly worked to achieve what might have appeared to anyone else as unachievable.

This is an absolutely riveting account of the fight to claw her way into a profession that no one but a tremendously talented person could conquer. Given she was allowed little sense of self from which to draw, who could have bet on her success, and who else could narrate this memoir with the dark intensely bestowed to those cruel stories. She remembers the scars received along the way, those people who saw the spark, that light in her, and knew she was exceptional.

Did Viola pay some dues? Oh yes, in spades. It wasn’t always pretty—but she is beautiful.

“In the course of playing Annalise, I understood that I was no longer and never was that ugly Black nigga. The role liberated me. I said to myself: All I’ve got is me. And that is enough.”

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Self-Esteem, Biographies of Women, Women’s Biographies
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B09F56PHTF
Listening Length: 9 hrs 15 mins
Narrator: Viola Davis
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Finding Me [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars  4 1/2 stars

#throwbackthursday

The Huntress by Kate Quinn – #Audiobook Review – #ThrowbackThursday

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Goodreads Choice Award Nominee

Rosepoint Publishing:   Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today best-selling novel The Alice Network comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted….

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.

Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Growing up in post-war Boston, 17-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes home with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past – only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family…secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.

In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth. 

This audiobook includes an episode of the Book Club Girl Podcast, featuring an interview with Kate Quinn about The Huntress. 

My Review:

I was diverted to this novel by a blog buddy who wrote a glowing review of another work by this author. That one not being available at my library (unusual, I know!), I chose this one instead and from the moment I had my earbuds comfortably embedded could find it almost impossible to turn it off for anything. Finally, I didn’t bother, and just sat and listened to it.

This turned out to be one very mind-blowing audiobook, I’m sure in no small part owing to the amazing narrator who slid Russian names off her tongue as easily as German or English.

The Night WitchesThis masterful work carries a sinister, skin-crawling aura of suspense from the first chapter to the triumphal conclusion. This is a profoundly compulsive read that begins with the story of Nina Markova that gradually evolves into an extremely powerful protagonist—formidable in her staunch unwavering focus, passionate in her role as one of the first Soviet women pilots of WWII known as The Night Witches and extremely profane in expression. Oh, God, she is amazing and I loved every chapter that was hers!

The Huntress by Kate QuinnNina, however, is but one of three main POVs that take turns in chapters devoted to each character and the timeline that evolves over years from the war to 1950s Boston that sees seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride—equally passionate in her exploration of photography goals at a time most young girls were thinking marriage and babies. It is her widowed father who marries a German widow, Annaliese, who brings along a four-year-old daughter, Ruth. Jordan captures a photo of Annaliese that sets her hackles up and fires potent suspicions.

Following the end of the war, Nazi war criminal hunter and British war correspondent Ian Graham is joined by his buddy and Nina in the hunt for die Jagerin, The Huntress—a deliciously disturbing woman who escaped her palatial lakeside estate, site of decadent Nazi retreats.

The pace is frenetic. Each chapter reveals more about the protagonists and the dark Annaliese. Jordan, who knows she captured the real woman behind the façade, Nina with as much incentive to find her as Ian, gradually reveals more about her own harrowing war efforts piloting a plane made of wood and canvas.

This could be a suspense thriller that takes place seventy years ago as much as a historical thriller. It is an incredible narrative that hooks, revs, and speeds to a satisfying conclusion, producing a hugely character-driven story that will reverberate long after you’ve finished the book. Will easily be a memorable favorite that straddles years.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts. Whether or not you like historical fiction, this is intense reading and is heartily recommended.

Book Details:

Genre: World War II Historical Fiction, War & Military Fiction, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher:  HarperAudio
ASIN: B07GXZNPSB
Listening Length: 19 hrs 4 mins
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Huntress [Amazon]
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Kobo

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Kate Quinn - authorThe Author: Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network”, “The Huntress,” “The Rose Code,” and “The Diamond Eye.” All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

Saskia Maarleveld - narratorThe Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld is an experienced audiobook narrator and voice-over actress based in New York City. Raised in New Zealand and France, she is highly skilled with accents and dialects, and many of her books have been narrated entirely in accents other than her own. In addition to audiobooks, Saskia’s voice can be heard in animation, video games, and commercials. She attributes her love and understanding of reading books aloud to coming from a large family where audiobooks were the only way to get though car rides without fighting! Visit saskiamaarleveld.com to learn more.

©2023 V Williams

Book hangover

Night Witches attribute: History.com

The Song of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline Miller – #Audiobook Review – Literary Fiction

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

My Review:

Granted it’s been so long ago that I read Homer’s Illiad that all I remember is the opportunity for naps. But here we are with the classic being brought into the modern world told romantically through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles long term companion. The POV as told by Patroclus weaves the intimate story between Homer’s “gentle” character, who is banished by his father to Peleus, father of Achilles, following the unfortunate death of another child purely by accident at his hands. In this retelling, Patroclus and Achilles gradually bond leading to a life-long intimate and devoted relationship.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerWhile the Illiad concentrates on the Troy war with which Greece becomes engaged following the kidnap of Helen of Sparta, Miller’s novel chooses to tell the story of the two young men; one, the most storied and gifted warrior of ancient Greece, the son of Thetis, a goddess.

Thetis never accepts Patroclus and often tries unsuccessfully to separate them.  Achilles develops a devoted intellectual relationship with a slave girl that leads to Achilles’ refusal to fight for the Greeks when Agamemnon steals her away. What Patroclus lacks as a warrior, however, he provides as a healer when the Greeks converge on Troy to rescue Helen. Many years into the fight, he will eventually take up a sword to protect Achilles who is still refusing to fight. Patroclus vows to save Achilles’ reputation.

He’ll die at the hands of Hector of Troy who spurs an enraged Achilles to engage and kill Hector in return only to be killed himself by the legendary arrow from Paris to his unprotected heel. While there is certainly sufficient material regarding the war with Troy, you aren’t buried in battles (though there are some protracted descriptions of combat) and the real story behind the conflict remains the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.

This is only a part of the Trojan War fable that fired the imagination made stronger by the mythological Trojan horse.  There is still debate that it actually happened against evidence of a possible site. Fascinating tale from the 12th or 13th century BCE made famous by Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey. And who’s to say this version might not have been any more or less true than the other?

It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. The narrator does a good job with ancient names and pronunciations as well as provides depth and emotion to the atmosphere.

Do these classics hold an attraction for you as well? Gods and Goddesses, powerful warriors, and perceived disrespect starting wars? Oh, wait—guess that’s still happening.

Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B007HI3IQ6
Listening Length: 11 hrs 15 mins
Narrator: Frazer Douglas
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Song of Achilles [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Madeline Miller - authorThe Author: Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel. Find Ms Miller at http://www.madelinemiller.com/.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

The Bone Bed: Scarpetta Book 20 and Chaos: Scarpetta Book 24 by Patricia Cornwell – #Audiobooks–How long can a good series stay good?

Audiobooks by Patricia Cornwell

Can an author really only have a few fresh stories to tell in the same series or is one more one too many?

Patricia Cornwell is coming out with Autopsy, Scarpetta Book 25 late November. I got audiobooks for series Book 20 and 24. Was Book 24 one too many for me?

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb-The Bone Bed

A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over 2,000 miles away, in Boston. She has no idea why. But as events unfold with alarming speed, Scarpetta begins to suspect that the paleontologist’s disappearance is connected to a series of crimes – much closer to home: a gruesome murder, inexplicable tortures, and trace evidence from the last living creatures of the dinosaur age.

When she turns to those around her, Scarpetta finds that the danger and suspicion have penetrated even her closest circles. Her niece Lucy speaks in riddles. Her lead investigator, Pete Marino, and FBI forensic psychologist and husband, Benton Wesley, have secrets of their own. Feeling alone and betrayed, Scarpetta is tempted by someone from her past as she tracks a killer both cunning and cruel.

This is Kay Scarpetta as you have never seen her before. The Bone Bed is a must-listen for any fan of this series, or an ideal starting point for new readers.

My Review-The Bone Bed

I’m always gratified to see that my reaction to an audiobook generally meets consensus. And this one left me scratching my head. My first novel by Patricia Cornwell, not that I didn’t recognize the name, just that I hadn’t stumbled across one of her (library) audiobooks before.

The Bone Bed by Patricia CornwellThis narrative begins with an interesting premise: a body is found attached to an endangered leather-back turtle. The body was sent to the bottom using an intricate system of ropes that would essentially dismember the body if retrieval was not precisionally crafted. The leather-back, poor thing, was not in good shape, near drowning.

Then a man is on trial for killing his wife—without the substantiation of a body, and an archeologist is missing. Do all these things really share a common thread? I enjoyed the courtroom scenes and some portions of the technicalities of forensics, but then there is all this other…”stuff” just thrown in. Could we please just stick to the main plot points?

It’s amazing just how long it took to sort all this out, but really, so much is tied up with Kay’s personal life. Does she or doesn’t she have a good marriage? Thank heaven they can agree on the most appropriate red or white wine, otherwise, they’d have nothing in common. Tons of minutia—and what’s up with Marino? ARGH! So much suspicion, possible betrayals. And Kay getting way too big for her medical britches. She drips cynical thoughts about everyone.

This one jerked me around a bit—interest to boredom—chemical names bandied around until the mind is whirling with eighteen syllable words. I liked the storyline. I didn’t particularly like the way it was delivered and got very tired of Kay and her superior, confrontational attitude pretty quickly. 3 stars

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Book Details: The Bone Bed

Genre: Medical & Forensic Thrillers, Medical Fiction, Medical Thrillers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B009RFGJX6
Listening Length: 12 hrs 54 mins
Narrator: Kate Reading
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Berkley
Print Length: 513 pages
ASIN: ‎ B0083P1QUM
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Bone Bed [Amazon]

Book Blurb-Chaos

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, 26-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning – except the weather is perfectly clear, with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly 24 hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner, Pete Marino, and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion”. 

My Review-Chaos

Oh good grief. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse. This one takes forever to get into the whole reason for the plot—a body found on a bike trail. She has 30+ years of experience and by God, she’ll take her dear, sweet time because this is a lady she’d met earlier. She thinks. No, she’s pretty certain. But must not jump to conclusions. Wait, is that a familiar bike helmet? Groan.

Chaos by Patricia CornwellScarpetta is so full of angst it’s annoying. Good grief, how do these people keep a job? Her personal life is crap. Marino is irritating. But this narrative doesn’t worry about adding minutia, there is already pages upon pages of poor Kay’s childhood (it’s a wonder she isn’t a serial killer), her sister and mother. (Husband) Benton is gorgeous, rich, and every woman’s dream which is enough to make any woman nervous. Lucy is pushing anxiety.

I do enjoy the info about the ME’s office and the study of forensics, but no, don’t want to be hit over the head with it anymore than be inundated with chemicals. (And please, don’t keep telling people they can get the formulas for this stuff off the internet.) The interview with the (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?) twins who discovered the body was touching.

Everyone is anxious, confrontational, hyper. Or is that just the narrator? If I had a problem with the narrator in The Bone Bed, I really disliked this one. The tone, delivery seldom waivers below exaggerated confrontational attitude, whether from Scarpetta, Marino, (UGH! Hated the affected inflection on that character) or one of the other characters thrown in to maintain a heightened level of tension.

In the end, I couldn’t. Just couldn’t. Life’s too short. I turned off my machine. There are other audiobooks. Lots of them. 1.5 stars

Autopsy, slated to release November 30, 2021, is already flagged as a #1 New Release in Medical Thrillers. Will it sign off the series or is the author finished with Scarpetta yet? Even more important—will Scarpetta mellow just a bit? And would I try just one more? I might. But not as an audiobook with the same narrator, unless she also mellows.) 

Book Details: Chaos

Genre: Medical & Forensic Thrillers, Medical Fiction, Medical Thrillers
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B01JGOYA60
Listening Length: 3 hrs 2 mins
Narrator: Susan Ericksen
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Print Length: 483 pages
ASIN: ‎ B01BKD6YY
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Chaos [Amazon]

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Patricia Cornwell - authorThe Author: In 1990, Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. An auspicious debut, it went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity Awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure prize—the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year. Growing into an international phenomenon, the Scarpetta series won Cornwell the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author, the Gold Dagger Award, the RBA Thriller Award, and the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her contributions to literary and artistic development.

Today, Cornwell’s novels and iconic characters are known around the world. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Cornwell has written the definitive nonfiction account of Jack the Ripper’s identity, cookbooks, a children’s book, a biography of Ruth Graham, and two other fictional series based on the characters Win Garano and Andy Brazil. While writing Quantum, Cornwell spent two years researching space, technology, and robotics at Captain Calli Chase’s home base, NASA’s Langley Research Center, and studied cutting-edge law enforcement and security techniques with the Secret Service, the US Air Force, NASA Protective Services, Scotland Yard, and Interpol.

Cornwell was born in Miami. She grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston and Los Angeles.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Happy Thursday!

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney – #Audiobook Review – #literaryfiction – #readingirelandmonth21

Normal People by Sally Rooney

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship, and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t. 

My Review:

OMG, I HOPE that Marianne and Connell are NOT “normal” people.

The storyline begins while they are still in school in a small town in West Ireland. And then for the next four years, the plot revolves around each with their own POV, going to college in Dublin, meeting other people, discovering new talents or the lack thereof, and maturing, except in their relationship.

Normal People by Sally RooneyBoth knew they had a strong connection early on. But Connell hails from the other side of the tracks. He strongly feels his inferior place in her life—she is a daughter from a wealthy, entitled family. While he is the product of a poor mother who loves and supports him, her family is detached, dysfunctional. They each carry their upbringing on their shoulders. It weighs on them. But each time their lives cross, that mutual powerful attraction between them begins where it left off.

Then they go their separate ways again, each to new lovers or experiences, unsatisfying, incomplete, and, what do you know? Their lives cross again—and again—and still they deny the full disclosure of their feelings toward each other.

The plot explores the sharp divide between classes, bullying, dysfunctional families, self-esteem, and the baggage of childhood—left open ended.

Obvious from the beginning they love each other.

So GET OVER IT!

As the reader progresses through each meet up and hopes they’ll finally have that last, final, heart-to-heart going between them, the time wasted comes ever more sharply into focus.

Two intelligent adults. And the clock is ticking. Each get-together lacking that all too important communication. Tomorrow is not promised.

It’s downright depressing.

I didn’t realize I was in the conclusion until the whole story ended. There was no plot really, not necessary to tie anything up, it just ended. No change, no closure—there never was going to be one. What was the point? It’s one of those books that just left me—meh.

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B07PC2K62C
Listening Length: 7 hrs 34 mins
Narrator: Aoife McMahon
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Normal People [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three Stars three stars

Sally Rooney - authorThe Author: SALLY ROONEY was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she is the author of Conversations with Friends and the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.

Aoife McMahan - narratorThe Narrator: Aoife McMahon was born in 1973 in Clare, Ireland. She is known for her work on Random Passage (2002), Broken (2017) and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013).

©2021 V Williams

Long Range (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 20) by C J Box – An #Audiobook Review – #crimefiction

Editors' pickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Long Range by CJ Box

Book Blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder – a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance – in the riveting new novel from number one New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers – and the shooter.

The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski – just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child – falls under suspicion for the crime. It’s a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate’s name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe. 

My Review:

The twentieth episode in the Joe Pickett (game warden) series, Long Range hooks immediately with the setting of the technical, sophisticated, and very expensive gear that successfully picks off a target a military sniper would be proud of. The shot pulls Picket from his participation in the search for the survivor of a grizzly attack in his district.

Long Range by CJ BoxMy second Joe Pickett (I also listened to The Wolf Pack). I was drawn to vivid descriptions of the people and the area of Wyoming along with the main characters. This installment understandably adds more characters, while subtly reminding us of the well developed protagonist and support characters from previous installments and will work fine as a standalone.

The long range shot hits the wife of the person who was considered the target, a judge. The search is on for the shooter and gets too close when Joe’s best friend, Nate, falls under scrutiny by the local sheriff. Nate is a well-known falconer and just recently became a new daddy. He is a strongly independent and uniquely forceful character. Descriptions of the training and abilities of his birds build a pulse-pounding visual.

The plot inserts layers of well-paced, complex hypotheses, builds tension, and twists. Many of the support characters are well developed sufficient either to engage and empathize or decry. You can’t stay neutral and uninterested. The narrative absorbs the reader’s attention, entertains, and posits thoughtful consideration.

The conclusion was a bit hurried, explanations, and resolution, but not wholly. There were a couple quibbles—the grizzly thread, was that actually answered? (Perhaps legally, but I never got a satisfactory reason for the bears’ action.) And the Nate thing, hmmm…just too pat. While I enjoyed the novel (the storyline never dragged), it seemed to fall back on an overused trope and I’ve tired of that one. Also, a little disappointed in the narrator’s delivery this time. I don’t remember that the previous one sounded quite that monotone. 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B07ZJTW2XX
Listening Length: 10 hrs 35 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Long Range [Amazon]

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C J Box - authorThe Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-two novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award (twice), the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western. The novels have been translated into 27 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven, Nowhere To Run, and The Highway have been optioned for film and television. Millions of copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and is currently serving on the Wyoming Tourism Board. He lives in Wyoming

The Narrator: David Chandler was born on February 3, 1950 in Danbury, Connecticut, USA as David Suehsdorf. He is an actor and writer, known for Hide and Seek (2005), Law & Order (1990) and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987). He is married to Janet Elizabeth Muir. They have two children.

©2021 V Williams

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