Sunday, October 12, 2014

the good girl

the good girl
mary kubica
harlequin mira
published 2014

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher.  One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend.  But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger.  With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand.  But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

A story told by several different point of views, The Good Girl is an intriguing mystery.  We get bits and pieces of the story told in the Before (the kidnapping) and the After (the kidnapping) from Mia's mother Eve, the investigator Gabe and the kidnapper Colin.  We don't hear anything from Mia's point of view until the end and I have some issues with that.

There are key points in the book that give away too much, which I don't think Kubica was trying to do, or at least I don't.  It felt like the ending was supposed to be a surprise, a twist, but I wasn't surprised.  In fact, I was slightly disappointed although it made for some good discussion fodder if you were to read this book with your book group.

Concerning the twist I have several issues, what doesn't make sense to me.  Looking back on those bits of the story being told there are things that don't make sense now having all the answers.  But it doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the book.  Not that there is a happily ever after ending.  In fact, the ending left me feeling sad and a little lost.

I'd definitely recommend this to someone.  So that I can discuss it with them afterward!

whiskey beach

whiskey beach
nora roberts
putnam adult
published 2013

For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore - and its secrets.  But to Eli Landon, it's home.  A Boston, lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigations after being accused of - but never arrested for - the murder of his soon-to-be-ex wife.

He finds sanctuary at Bluff House, even though his beloved grandmother is in Boston recuperating from a nasty fall.  Abra Walsh is always there, though.  Whiskey Beach's resident housekeeper, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist, Abra is a woman of many talents - including helping Eli take control of his life and clear his name.  But as they become entangled in each other, they find themselves caught in a net that stretches back for centuries - one that has ensnared a man intent on reaping the rewards of destroying Eli Landon once and for all.

I enjoy Nora Roberts female characters.  They know when to be tough and know when they can't do something on their own.  For Whiskey Beach I liked how this was Eli's story more than Abra's.  He was the main character.

What to say that hasn't been said about Nora Roberts's books?  This had a little less mystery than others, the male was the main character, the setting, while important, wasn't as vast as others.....Usually you get a better sense of the town the story takes place in, but this story mainly takes place inside Bluff House.  I wasn't surprised by the killer and I didn't get too much of a sense of characters other than Abra and Eli.

I was hooked and once I got started a tore through the book, but I wouldn't say this was on par with other Nora Roberts books.

weird audiobook addiction

is everyone hanging out without me (and other concerns)
mindy kaling
read by mindy kaling

tina fey
read by tina fey

official book club selection
kathy griffin
read by kathy griffin

dad is fat
jim gaffigan
read by jim gaffigan

a little bit wicked
kristin chenoweth
read by kristin chenoweth

dirty daddy
bob saget
read by bob saget

bedwetter: stories of courage, redemption and pee
sarah silverman
read by sarah silverman

I have tried audiobooks a few times.  I couldn't get into them very much.  The reading was painfully slow to me.  I kept thinking 'I could read this much faster than this guy'.  I would find myself tuning it out and then realizing I missed an entire chapter.  Not good when reading a book with a plot.  A friend recently mentioned to me that Jim Butcher's series is read by James Marsters and he does a fantastic job.  Since I'm only on the second book in the series I thought I'd try it out and while I do like James Marsters's voice the same complaints I have about audiobooks remained.

But while I was searching the library for the audiobook of Fool Moon I saw Bossypants by Tina Fey and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  Both books, by the way, that I own but have yet to read.  So I checked those out as well and thought I'd try it out.

What I discovered, which should have been obvious is that I can listen to an autobiography much better than a fiction novel.  I say it should come as no surprise because when I was a kid my mom would play Bill Cosby's stand up on tape for us and I took that everywhere with me.  When I had my lasik I stocked up on Dane Cook and other comedians' albums to listen to for the time I had to keep my eyes closed after the surgery.  I've listened to thousands of hours of Kevin Smith and Co. wax poetic about Hitler and gay sex.  So really, an autobiographical audiobook should have been a no brainer.

I started with Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey's books.  Eerily similar, they both discussed how awesome Amy Poehler is, working on SNL, photo shoots and how they make them uncomfortable and awkward dating moments.  Tina Fey goes into being a working mother and if I didn't already like her I would have after her discussion on breastfeeding.  Thank you, Tina Fey.

Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey both read in a chatty, easy way although I found myself more engaged in Fey's storytelling than Kaling's. Tina Fey seemed like she was telling you a story while Mindy Kaling sounded as if she was reading you one.  Either way, they were both good and I did laugh out loud a couple of times.

I dragged through Bob Saget and Sarah Silverman.  I'll admit, I'm not really a fan of either.  I just thought, hey maybe they'll be super funny and I'll become a big fan.  Everyone seems to love Sarah Silverman so maybe after listening to this, I'll love her too.

Not the case.

I just found her story to be kind of boring and pointless.  She seems like kind of a sweet person.  After offending an Asian guy, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears she wrote them emails apologizing.  But really there was nothing interesting in any of her stories.  She portrays herself as this cute chick with big boobs who is just one of the guys but also hopelessly naive that you should think she's even cuter.  Blech.  Mostly, she really wants people to know she likes fart jokes.  And ohmygod her voice.  She has - hands down - the worst audiobook voice on the face of the planet.  And when she imitates her father, get those earbuds out of your ears because you will cry.  It's horrible.

I'd read an article after Bob Saget's book came out mentioning how he dishes on the wildly crazy and inappropriate things he, John Stamos and Dave Coulier did while filming Full House and how incredibly funny the book was.

Also, not the case.

His book was incredibly sad.  Having lost most of his family so early in their lives was so, so sad.  His visiting Larry Fine as a teenager and listening to stories of how terrible everything was for Mr. Fine and his wife's nearly dying while giving birth to their first child.  When he finally got to his Full House days his wild and crazy antics were getting not high on Redi Whip.  He says 'to this day' a lot.  Maybe four or five times a chapter.  And every celebrity he talks about he prefaces their introduction with the title, 'my friend'.  He does joke about that though.  When it came down to it, he never really talks about anything, reveals anything about himself except for his fondness of his balls and poop jokes.  He and Sarah Silverman would make a really good team.

Now Kristin Chenoweth is not a comedian, but being a big fan of hers, Wicked and Pushing Daisies it was a no-brainer that I check this one out.  There was much more religious talk than I am used to, but it wasn't like she was trying to convert you, she just wanted to express how important Christianity is to her.  Listening to her book made me nostalgic for Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip and Pushing Daisies, two brilliant shows that were cancelled well before their time.  Despite what you think, her voice was pleasant to listen to and while it was obvious she was reading it still came across very natural.

I love Kathy Griffin.  And I loved her book.  I laughed at her self-deprecating humor, her honesty and brashness and I cried when she spoke of David Strickland and Phil Hartman (full disclosure, I cry whenever someone talks about Phil Hartman).  She talks about her time with The Groundlings and Suddenly Susan.  Bad comedic choices she made and her successes as well.  Her parents feature largely and she even speaks of her brother that she suspected was a pedophile.  And not in a funny way.  She is both at times brutally honest and serious and then brutally honest and hilarious.  She reads the book as if she's chatting along with you and I have a hard time believing that the book was written before the audiobook.  It felt like they took this recording and transcribed it into a book.

But I laughed the most listening to Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat.  Oh man, did I laugh.  Instead of being an autobiography, Dad Is Fat is simply his observations and experiences being a father of 5 kids under 8.  He is spot on about everything and I swear there were times I had to stop whatever I was doing because I was laughing so hard.  Highly recommend.

All in all I can definitely listen to long as they're funny.

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