I can't really recommend this, which makes me sad. I really enjoyed the TV show and thought reading the book would be a nice way to learn more about tI can't really recommend this, which makes me sad. I really enjoyed the TV show and thought reading the book would be a nice way to learn more about those characters. If I had read this first, though, I don't think I would have been much interested in watching the TV show. The characters and the stories are there, but the way they are portrayed is just a bit too much. I didn't completely dislike most of it, but I felt time and again that I didn't need to be told all the details in such graphic detail. I especially didn't want to learn about all the nitty gritty details of the prositution trade in London in that time period! Yuck and yuck! The book would be MUCH better without those chapters, and they really don't fit in with the rest of the content. There are some amazing stories here, but in the end I can't say that this was worth my time. I won't be reading or listening to any others in the series. ...more
I enjoyed this, but felt like it was slow to pull me in. I did find myself caring more and more about the characters as the story continued. By the enI enjoyed this, but felt like it was slow to pull me in. I did find myself caring more and more about the characters as the story continued. By the end I liked it a lot. I also really liked the use of the Phoenix analogy. 3.5 stars....more
As always, Maurice Sendak's illustrations are PERFECT! Their whimsical nature pairs perfectly with the text in this book. The subtitle for this is "AAs always, Maurice Sendak's illustrations are PERFECT! Their whimsical nature pairs perfectly with the text in this book. The subtitle for this is "A book of manners for all occasions." Once you've read it, you know that Sesyle Joslin really meant ALL occasions - even very unlikely occasions! For example: "You are at the Princess' ball, and she is telling you a secret, but her orchestra of bears is making such a fearful lot of noise you cannot hear what she is saying. What do you say, dear?" And of course, the answer is: "I beg your pardon." :) Such a fun way to learn proper manners for ALL occasions. Every child should read this book at least once!
Note: At my public library, this book is part of a kit which comes with an audio cassette of the story. The were two narrators, a man and a woman, who each did a fantastic job with their parts. I particularly liked the cowboy's accent....more
I really wanted to like this! In the beginning, I thought it would be a 5-star book for me. I thought it might turn out to be my top favorite Jane AusI really wanted to like this! In the beginning, I thought it would be a 5-star book for me. I thought it might turn out to be my top favorite Jane Austen. But somehow it just didn't turn into the book I thought it was going to be.
Things I liked: * I enjoyed all the talk of novels and reading - and would have liked even more of that. * The conversations between Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland were my favorite parts of the book. I might go back and reread just those parts sometime.
Things I didn't like: * Why is so much of the book spent in Bath? I thought I was reading Northanger Abbey, not Bath! We don't get to Northanger Abbey until well over half-way through the story. * I really didn't like Isabella and her brother. (view spoiler)[I kept trying to warn Catherine about them, but she wouldn't listen. (hide spoiler)] * The narrator kept jumping in and talking to me, even though I just wanted to get on with the story.
So in the end this turned out to be a solid 3-star book for me. Really great in some parts but a disappointment in others. Definitely worth reading, but not something I plan to revisit again and again.
Note: I listened to the Librivox recording of this by Elizabeth Klett. She does a wonderful job.
Second note: Immediately after finishing this, I watched the Masterpiece Classic version of Northanger Abbey. I think they did a great job with it, even though there were a couple of parts I was sad they glossed over. I think their pacing and emphasis on certain parts of the plot actually worked out better than the book. Well worth watching. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This audio version of Beverly Cleary's first book, Henry Huggins, is fantastic! Neil Patrick Harris does a great job as the narrator. He really broughThis audio version of Beverly Cleary's first book, Henry Huggins, is fantastic! Neil Patrick Harris does a great job as the narrator. He really brought the book to life, and made me laugh out loud several times with his expressive voices for some of the minor characters. It's been so many years since I first read Henry Huggins that I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it in audio. I also loved the introduction by Beverly Cleary and the interview with her at the end. My one complaint would be that the book is just too short! Now I need to revisit all of the other Henry Huggins books....more
I have no good excuse for why I never read Anne of the Island until now. I'm just glad that I did finally get to it! If you have read the first two AnI have no good excuse for why I never read Anne of the Island until now. I'm just glad that I did finally get to it! If you have read the first two Anne books, but not this one, you really should read this. (Or am I the only one in the world, until now, who hadn't read this yet?)
(view spoiler)[I knew how this HAD to end. There couldn't be any other way! Yet L.M. Montgomery had me worried there for a bit. I just wanted to shake Anne and tell her to open her eyes!! (hide spoiler)]
I listened to the Librivox recording of this by Karen Savage. She does a nice job and I would certainly be willing to listen to something else by her sometime. I just wish the next Anne book, Anne of Windy Poplars, was in the public domain! So far I can find no audiobook available for it - not even a commercial version.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Wow! What a story. I'm almost glad that I never read this when I was younger. I don't think I would have appreciated the magnitude of what they had toWow! What a story. I'm almost glad that I never read this when I was younger. I don't think I would have appreciated the magnitude of what they had to live through. And it meant so much more knowing that the experiences described here were based on actual events. This definitely deserves its Newbery honor, and I'm VERY glad that I finally got around to reading it! I never thought any of the other books in the series would come close to eclipsing my love for Little House in the Big Woods which I read over and over as a child, but I think this one might have done it. It's a story that makes you cold, but also very grateful for the blessings you take for granted that surround you every day. It also makes me think wistfully of living a simpler life. And now I look forward to reading the next in the series where I know Almanzo again plays an important part in the story!
A favorite quote: "If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light," Ma considered. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."
"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves--they're good things to have, but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em."
Note: I'm shelving this series as both historical fiction and autobiography since it really is a bit of both. ...more
This is such a great series to revisit in audio. There are so many details I had forgotten! I love the idea of an enchanter with nine lives. Poor ChriThis is such a great series to revisit in audio. There are so many details I had forgotten! I love the idea of an enchanter with nine lives. Poor Christopher! Too many of the adults in his life only thought of themselves and how he could be of use to them. It's no wonder he was a bit self-centered as well. I loved the ending.
I thought I had read all of the Chrestomanci books, but I sure didn't remember any of the details from this one. Luckily they are available in downloaI thought I had read all of the Chrestomanci books, but I sure didn't remember any of the details from this one. Luckily they are available in downloadable audio format from my library and I decided to make my way through the series again. Whether this was a first read or a reread, I quite enjoyed listening to it.
I really like the magical world Diana Wynne Jones has set up here, even if the magic does seem to be a bit too easy. But there are more limitations on it than in some other magical series, so that's a positive.
I wanted to wring Gwendolyn's neck quite a few times through this! I also wanted to give Cat a brisk shake a couple of times to try to wake him up to the realities that he seemed to be completely unaware of. But all of that just meant that I was engaged in the story and that the characters felt real to me. This is a great series to read if you haven't yet - or if you have but it was so long ago that you don't remember any of the details like me!...more
I must have read the earlier books in this series at least ten times or more while I was growing up. I loved them! I guess I was so busy rereading myI must have read the earlier books in this series at least ten times or more while I was growing up. I loved them! I guess I was so busy rereading my favorites that I never worried about reading the entire series. This year I plan to remedy the situation and fill in the gaps in my Laura Ingalls Wilder reading!
If you've read the others in the series, this is more of the same. If you liked the earlier books, you'll enjoy this one as well. The family is again moving west, this time to South Dakota. They spend a winter there with almost no other people around, then are flooded with settlers in the spring. My favorite part was when Laura and her sister go sliding on the ice at night and see a wolf.
I listened to the audio version of this narrated by Cherry Jones. She is a wonderful narrator for these stories, and in this one even sings several songs....more
I loved this! There are striking similarities to Anne of Green Gables, although this was published 5 years earlier; and to Pollyanna, which was publisI loved this! There are striking similarities to Anne of Green Gables, although this was published 5 years earlier; and to Pollyanna, which was published 10 years after this. So although Rebecca isn't quite as well known, she came before Anne or Pollyanna! I recommend this to fans of either of those books or to anyone who wants to read a classic, wholesome story about an intelligent, imaginative young girl who makes the best of what life hands her.
I was a bit disappointed with the ending. Do we never get to know what ultimately happens to Rebecca? I see that there are a couple of sequels, but the reviews here on Goodreads make me think they probably aren't worth my time. Sad.
Another of Kate Douglas Wiggin's books, The Birds' Christmas Carol, was one of my childhood favorites. I believe I had an abridged copy of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm while growing up, but I don't think I ever read it because I didn't remember any of the details while reading this.
A favorite quote from the story, speaking of Rebecca's Aunt Miranda: "The soul grows into lovely habits as easily as into ugly ones, and the moment a life begins to blossom into beautiful words and deeds, that moment a new standard of conduct is established, and your eager neighbors look to you for a continuous manifestation of the good cheer, the sympathy, the ready wit, the comradeship, or the inspiration, you once showed yourself capable of. Bear figs for a season or two, and the world outside the orchard is very unwilling you should bear thistles."
This would have been a full 5 stars except for the ending. I'm giving it 4.5 stars.
Note: I listened to the audio version available at Librivox, which unfortunately had a mixture of readers. The quality was hit-or-miss depending on the reader. Some were quite good while others sent me to my Kindle to read so I wouldn't have to listen to them....more
This reminded me a bit of Moby-Dick, which I normally wouldn't count as a good thing in a book. But Margi Preus didn't make me suffer through pages anThis reminded me a bit of Moby-Dick, which I normally wouldn't count as a good thing in a book. But Margi Preus didn't make me suffer through pages and pages of boring nonfiction information about whales, so I'll forgive her.
This also reminded me quite a lot of Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, which is the Newbery award-winning story of the life of Nathaniel Bowditch who also loved to sail and loved to learn. So I thought it was very fun when he was mentioned in this book in a roundabout way when Manjiro read and loved the book he wrote, The New American Practical Navigator.
I started listening to the audio version of this, but I had to stop for a bit to listen to something else because of a deadline. But I couldn't stop thinking about this story and luckily I also had a hard copy of the book. I'm glad I picked up the actual book because I didn't realize I was missing drawings by the real Manjiro! Even though this is considered a fictionalized biography, I loved learning about Manjiro's story. He's been called "the boy who discovered America" because he was most likely the first Japanese person to set foot on American soil. And he had amazing adventures even before that happened!
I liked this, but I didn't love it. I'm not sure why. I think one reason is that the plot could have been a little tighter, more focused. Maybe that'sI liked this, but I didn't love it. I'm not sure why. I think one reason is that the plot could have been a little tighter, more focused. Maybe that's what Holm was going for - simply the summer Turtle spent living with her cousins in Florida - but I would have enjoyed it more if there had been more of a purpose. She did bring things together nicely (although a bit abruptly) at the end, but it just wasn't quite enough for me. Also, the setting felt quite modern even though it is set towards the end of the Depression. There were multiple mentions of Little Orphan Annie, Shirley Temple, the Shadow, the funny pages, etc. Even Ernest Hemingway made a couple of cameo appearances! But still that somehow didn't anchor it in the time period for me. Turtle is the narrator and her voice felt very modern. Although the Key West part of the setting came through and felt very authentic.
I thought the characters were GREAT - very fun, quirky, and believable - especially Turtle. And Holms has wonderfully descriptive writing: "...the ocean spreads out like a glassy blue road. The men maneuver smoothly around the boat ... they're like the sailing version of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing a dance number."
So while I enjoyed listening to this, for some reason it just didn't all pull together into something I loved. The author's note at the end helped, and I might have not had so many problems with the setting if I'd listened to that first. 3.5 stars.
Note: I listened to the audio version of this narrated by Becca Battoe. She did a fantastic job and I would love to listen to more books narrated by her in the future....more
Would I have liked this better if I had read the first three in the series first? Not sure, but after reading this, I'm not going to rush out and getWould I have liked this better if I had read the first three in the series first? Not sure, but after reading this, I'm not going to rush out and get them. There were parts that made me laugh, but mostly she just bothered me. I felt sorry for her husband having to put up with her. She never learns. ...more
It's been years since I last read anything by Mary Higgins Clark. I really enjoyed her early books, but at some point she ran out of new ideas. At leaIt's been years since I last read anything by Mary Higgins Clark. I really enjoyed her early books, but at some point she ran out of new ideas. At least that's what it felt like to me. All of her books started to feel the same so I stopped reading them.
This one has been sitting on my iPod for a couple of years. I got a good deal on it from iTunes, but then never listened to it. I wasn't sure how much I would really enjoy it. But I wanted something light and easy after spending WAY too much time on audio with Moby Dick. Also, I thought that I would probably enjoy this more right before Christmas than any other time of the year.
I gave it three stars, but my real rating would be 2.5 stars. It did fit the bill of something light and easy. In fact, very light and quite cheesy and silly in some places. Some of the characters were laughable, and not in a good way - although I do really like Alvirah Meehan. Mary Higgins Clark wrote this with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. It has characters from both of their books: Alvirah and Willy Meehan (from MHC books) and Regan and Jack Reilly along with Regan's mom (from CHC books). It felt like too many cooks in the kitchen - or maybe I should say too many sleuths in the mystery! Apparently there is a series of books they have co-written with all of these characters and all set around Christmastime.
The audio version was read by Carol Higgins Clark. For the first little bit her speech seemed very stilted and forced. I wasn't sure I would be able to listen to the entire book. I continued, though, and after a while I didn't notice it as much. Either I got used to her speech patterns or she relaxed and sounded more natural. She did some nice women's voices, but her men's voices could be better - which is a common complaint I have with many female narrators.
Overall, this was okay to listen to since I was in the mood for something light and easy, although I most likely won't ever want to listen to it again. I also won't buy any others in this series, but might listen to another if I found it at the library and it was around Christmastime....more
Why do I find it so much harder to write a review for a book that I really loved than for a book I really didn't? I also have a harder time writing aWhy do I find it so much harder to write a review for a book that I really loved than for a book I really didn't? I also have a harder time writing a review for a book that is very well known and has had a lot written about it over the years. What could I have to say that would in any way add to what others have said? Especially when I just keep wanting to say things like "I loved this book!" "It's awesome, amazing, mysterious, and frustrating!" "Everybody should read this book!" and "Why didn't someone make me read this book sooner?"
Well, that's how I feel about Rebecca. It's another 5-star, well-written, thank goodness I finally read it, unforgettable book that I have Goodreads to thank for finally putting it on my "read" list. Although there are other opinions out there. A reviewer at Audible.com warns: "...don't buy this book. Don't read it. Don't listen to it. There is still time to turn back untouched.... I think this book was the first time I strayed into condoning or excusing murder. I sided with the killer. Do you hear? I sided with the killer! My moral compass spun free of all restrain. Daphne du Maurier has that effect on the reader. Take care or your compass will spin uncontrollable too. Don't buy this book. Don't listen to it. Stay free!" :) There's more, but I'll let you go find it. (I hope he doesn't mind if I quote him. I couldn't find a way to contact him. I would like to invite him to Goodreads!) So anyhow, despite the warning, I think you should all read Rebecca if you haven't yet! And if you have, post your comments here because I'm dying to discuss that creepy Mrs. Danvers - and the ending! The ending! Now I need to watch the Hitchcock movie....more
I believe I enjoyed this more than I normally would have because I recently spent some time doing jury duty and found the trial parts of this book toI believe I enjoyed this more than I normally would have because I recently spent some time doing jury duty and found the trial parts of this book to be interesting. It has also been a while since I listened to an audio book, so that added to my enjoyment as well.
Overall, though, this felt like a longer version of an Encyclopedia Brown book. It was nice enough to listen to, but I don't feel any need to continue with more books in the series. The characters all felt a bit stereotypical and not completely fleshed out. This definitely isn't up to what I expect from John Grisham. 2.5 stars....more
I feel like now that I've finished this, I should read it again to properly appreciate it. I felt like I was waiting and waiting for something signifiI feel like now that I've finished this, I should read it again to properly appreciate it. I felt like I was waiting and waiting for something significant to happen. But most of the very significant things don't happen until the last two chapters. So I really enjoyed the end of the book (wonderful letter!), but I can't get over the WAITING feeling I had for the bulk of the book. For now I'm giving this three stars (sorry, I know there are a lot who count this as their favorite Austen!), and I'll say that if I ever do reread this again there is a strong possibility I'll bump it up to four stars. I haven't watched any of the movies yet, but plan to, so that may increase my enjoyment of the story as well. But for now, this is a three-star book for me. Feel free to comment below and tell me why I must have completely missed the bulk of the story, the meaning, the great characters, the wonderful Austen writing, etc., and am wrong in my three-star rating!...more