I love Phyrne. I love her precisely because she is not the most realistic character in the world. She knows who she is and makes no apologies. She str...moreI love Phyrne. I love her precisely because she is not the most realistic character in the world. She knows who she is and makes no apologies. She strong-willed, sensual, and intelligent yet also very compassionate. She always sets everything right in the end and this is why I chose this as an audiobooks to listen to while knitting and waiting for my son to have his tonsils out. It was wonderful to be able to cheer on Phyrne while worrying about my little Rabbit. (less)
This was a surprise. I bought it on a whim when it was a $0.99 kindle deal. Probably my idea was to pre-read it and see if it was something my son F w...moreThis was a surprise. I bought it on a whim when it was a $0.99 kindle deal. Probably my idea was to pre-read it and see if it was something my son F would be interested in hearing. He loves things that are a bit spooky. But, despite the word “seance” it is pretty clear from the book summary that this is not a spooky story, maybe it was the word melodrama that made me think it had potential.
Hubby and I take turns reading to F, age 7, before he goes to sleep. We each read an entire book to F before switching and last time my turn caught me by surprise. I went to Amazon and download a “sample” of a different book to try thinking that would give me something to read that night and buy me another day to find something if we didn’t like it. When I sat down to read, I offered to read him the sample or read him a bit of this with the option to change books the next night either way. F chose this book.
The Drown Maiden’s Hair tells the story of a turn early 20th century orphan girl who is adopted by a trio of spinster spiritulatists. There are many descriptions of the places she stays, where she goes, and what she wears. The main story is about her relationships with the people around her and her sorting out the what it means to be loved. Some of the vocabulary used was incredible, and the story is was told in such a way that many realities of the time are implied rather than spelled out.
I do not subscribe to the idea that boys will only read books with a male lead character. However, had I read this first, I would never have suggested this to F. I wouldn’t have pictured him sitting through Maud’s dreams of lace dresses and long curly hair. I wouldn’t have pictured him understanding some of the less overt actions---seven year old boys are not masters of anything subtle. I would have chosen a book with much more direct action. There are pretty much no male characters in the book at all. He loved this. (I’m sure he will never admit that in public and certainly not to any of his male buddies.) He seemed to understand Maud and was particularly taken with her interactions with Muffet/Anna who is a deaf servant. He was also fascinated by the time and place--that only some houses had indoor plumbing and that there were carousels but not cars. He seemed to have no problem following the story at all though there were words that I actually wasn’t familiar with. I did find that it was better to stop occasionally and ask him why he thought someone was acting as they did or what he thought might happen next, and we had some really good conversations. He might have got a bit misty-eyed at the end, but I will never tell....(less)
I chose this audiobook largely based on the narrator Alan Cumming. I was really taken with the idea of hearing a Scot read a version of Macbeth. I onl...moreI chose this audiobook largely based on the narrator Alan Cumming. I was really taken with the idea of hearing a Scot read a version of Macbeth. I only realized later that this apparently exists exclusively as an audible audiobook. I while I’m familiar with Shakespeare's version and even picked up a couple of direct quotes in the book, I have not read the play. According to the authors’ forward and afterward, this expands into details left to interpretation in the play especially MacBeth and Lady MacBeth motivations and I believe it also expands the timeline. It was entertaining, and I’m curious to go back and read the play at some point. Its quite a bit bloodier than I normally like especially in audio format, but I was expecting that given the inspiration for the story. The narration was also great as I hoped. (less)
I’ve read some of the original Sherlock Holmes stories in the past, but I’ve been interested in revisiting them. I seem to keep running across referen...moreI’ve read some of the original Sherlock Holmes stories in the past, but I’ve been interested in revisiting them. I seem to keep running across references, remakes and adaptations of him. I wanted to read/listen to some of the originals.
I listened to this as an audible book that Tantor audio was offering for free a couple months ago. Its narrated by Simon Pebbles and he did a good job with it. He not only seems to have a very Victorian gentleman’s voice to my American ear, but he managed to create several distinguishable English gentlemen’s voices. Let’s face it, these are tales of gentlemen talking to and about other gentlemen with the occasional woman or servant briefly appearing. I had no trouble knowing when it was meant to be Watson’s voice and when it was Holmes or someone else speaking which I think shows some talent.
The language itself is dated, naturally. Its odd to hear the work “singular” used over and over, and the verb "ejaculate" used to describe someone speaking (yes, I always smirked like a teenager). I notice these things more in audiobooks since I’m really hearing each word rather than skimming over it. Also, whenever someone got brain fever, I would hear Kevin Kline’s voice echoing “Brain Fever!” because I’ve seen the movie Soap Dish too many times. And then, I would wonder what brain fever really was and how so many people could be incapacitated by it for weeks at the most convenient times.
I’m a fan of mysteries--books, tvs, movies though I find myself less and less interested the modern ones--tv shows especially. Often there seems to be not much mystery and quite a lot of gore. Meh. I don’t mind some blood, but I want some plot a la Agatha Christie. And, since I’ve been a mystery fan since I watched Columbo on my mother’s knee, I expected this collection of tales to be familiar or even somewhat predictable having been mined for material. I was surprised how much of it was unexpected (fresh seems like the wrong word to use for a work this old).
I can also see why these works are such a favorite jumping off place for others imaginations. It is very clearly stated that the stories are from Watson’s imperfect view of Holmes and that Holmes has activities of which Watson has no part. This leaves a lot of room for new and different interpretations. (less)
I picked up the second book in the series A Monstrous Regiment of Women and read it last year. Normally I hate to read books out of order, but in this...moreI picked up the second book in the series A Monstrous Regiment of Women and read it last year. Normally I hate to read books out of order, but in this case I’d convinced myself that I should just try it and not be so ocd. I liked it well enough to put this book, the first in the series, in my GoodReads “To Read” list. But, I have to admit that it wasn’t something that I was really anxious to get to. It just slowly floated to the top-ish end of the queue and was there when I went looking through for a mystery.
I enjoyed this much more than the second book--especially the beginning parts in which the relationship between Mary Russell and Mr. Holmes is formed. While I’m not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, I am familiar enough with the character that I had a hard time buying into the established Russell/Holmes partnership in the second book. That said, I'm not so much a Holmes fan that I notice liberties taken with his characterization. I may re-read the second book before carrying on with the series, and I do plan on carrying on to third. (less)
I can see why this gets such mixed reviews. I’m giving 3 stars if for no other reason than I listened to the entire thing (~24 hours of audio) and can...moreI can see why this gets such mixed reviews. I’m giving 3 stars if for no other reason than I listened to the entire thing (~24 hours of audio) and can’t justify scoring it lower. I also can’t quite justify scoring it higher. Here’s the rundown....
If you are a sci-fi fan reading that this is about time travel in Scotland and thinking “AWESOME!”. This is not your book. One person travels to one time, once. This is more authentically classified as Historical Fiction/Romance than Sci Fi or Fantasy. That was o.k. with me. I like both genres, but I can see a sci-fi fan being deeply disappointed. This book needed more severe editing. Several friends did not like this because of the degree of sex and violence, calling it a bodice ripper. I spent roughly the first half of the book wondering why they thought that---and remember its a long book. Then the middle section hit and I wondered if it was just going to be porn for the rest of the book. It wasn’t for the whole thing, but it sure went on for a good long time. I got it. They like each other. Again, for me it wasn’t the level of steam (and it can be pretty graphic), it was that it was 5 or 6 of these with little action in between. Combine that with its being proceeded by a lengthy chaste section and followed by a lengthy sexually restrained section, it was just weird. There is graphic violence and the Great WTF. The violence is pretty graphic, especially towards the end. I think I would have been better off skim reading this than listening to it. As far as the Great WTF, without getting to spoiler-y, lets just say there’s an event in there that almost made me walk away entirely. I haven’t quite been able to let it go, and it may be the reason I don’t read anymore of the series.
So, why did I keep reading it? Well, parts of it were also really good. It had some sweet romantic bits, great descriptions of historical Scotland, high adventure and even funny in parts. I am actually starting to think about this as an American-format tv show. Follow me, there are ~25 episodes in a season, right? I never love all the episodes of even my most favorite show. There are always episodes that are just bad. The writers called it in or just ran out of ideas or they invited someone in who didn’t properly understand the show. Also, by the season finale, the characters have just been forced to go through a lot more than is reasonable since the story has to run out to fill the time requirement and also needs to be broken into 25 complete sub-stories. As a viewer, I shrug this off, take the good with the bad (and have many conversations with my husband revolving around my belief that short/irregular seasons are the reason that most British shows seem to have better quality). Outlander was like this--uneven, occasionally contrary, and long without being “epic”.
What, I can’t figure out is why this happened in a book? Again, why wasn’t some of this edited, or even the whole broken up into smaller chunks? Parts of it seemed to have nothing to do with anything. But, they were also some of the most enjoyable bits and may have something to do with later events as this is the first in a series of long books. But why not a series of medium length books? This one could probably have been neatly cut in half at the porn section and edited for clarity create two 400 pagers. Take the great WTF out, and I would have been in love, seriously, with both halves. I probably would have taken a couple month break between them and not felt like the whole thing was just a little exhausting. (less)
I’m giving this four stars with a bit a reservation.
I purchased this as an audiobook sometime ago. I’m quite sure the I purchased for ME to listen to...moreI’m giving this four stars with a bit a reservation.
I purchased this as an audiobook sometime ago. I’m quite sure the I purchased for ME to listen to with the impression that it was a YA novel. I’ve found that I prefer my listening material to have much less explicit sex and violence than what I might be fine with in a text format. I expected this story to be about a teenager and written for teenagers. However, I feel that this novel is more suitable for children probably in the late elementary age if they were reading it themselves. In fact, part of the reason I am giving it four stars is that there is a strong possibility I will listen to it again--with my six year old.
With that in mind, I will note that Hanyou’s father does die at the beginning of the novel. However, while it was a somewhat bizarre death, I did not find it anymore gruesome than the parental deaths found at the beginning of many Disney movies. In fact, the set-up had a very Disney-like aspect to it, with the father’s death providing the introductions of the Evil Stepfather type figure(s) and the motivation to Hanyou to start his adventure. While there is some violent action, I never felt that it was overly graphic. He is beaten and put in danger--but not in graphic detail. And again, this is really nothing worse or more disturbing than anything done to Cinderella or Harry Potter. There is really no sexual content at all except some barest hints that an adult would read between the lines.
In a tale full of man-carrying kites, Monguls, mediums and secret princes, the hardest thing I had believing was Hanyou’s age. I strongly recommend that anyone planning to listen or read it just ignore it when it is mentioned (briefly). You will know his age by how he acts and how he is treated--my guess is somewhere between 7 and 10. And, even for that, he is a bit dense. He is treated as a child through out, and I believe remains a child at the end though I can see that he has become more mature and worldly. The audiobook version that I listened to was multi-cast production and reinforced this further by using a child’s voice for him.
I did think that the book had some interesting things to say about tolerance and blind obedience. Though blind obedience is not something that applies to anyone in my household, including the dog, I would be curious to know what my son would think especially in the the context of this story. I would also like to hear what his thinks of Hanyou flying even though he is very frightened and made sick and see whether my son has anymore insight into the other characters actions than Hanyou does. (I hope so.)
And it was a good adventure tale set in a strange land. I think the Falcon would find it interesting and exciting. So, don’t be surprised to see this return to the “currently reading list” maybe while on a summer road trip. (less)