I’m taking part in the 2011 Audio Book Challenge. Other than my very first audio book listen, I haven’t bothered to put up my reviews- telling myself I’d save it for this kind of post but honestly I’m just lazy. But now I have a nifty new blog look and rating system so it’s time to try it out!
I Love You, Beth Cooper
by Larry Doyle
Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced: “I love you, Beth Cooper.”
It would have been such a sweet, romantic moment. Except that Beth, the head cheerleader, has only the vaguest idea who Denis is. And Denis, the captain of the debate team, is so far out of her league he is barely even the same species. And then there’s Kevin, Beth’s remarkably large boyfriend, who’s in town on furlough from the United States Army. Complications ensue.
My Thoughts: I really just love this book! It’s funny, it has that 80’s movie feel. Yes, it’s completely unrealistic. Dennis, if any of the things that happened to him had really happened, would still be in a coma today. The movie version of I Love You, Beth Cooper kind of ruined this book for me for a bit, but I was still happy to pick up audio version at discount at Barnes and Noble (also because it counts for my Read Me, Baby, 1 More Time challenge). The actor who plays Dennis in the movie also narrates and he does a reasonable job, but his voice is a bit nasally and doesn’t work so much for every character. Still a great listen if you need a laugh!
by Stephen King
Stephen King was born to write horror. His monumental catalog of novels has already assured his place in history as one of the most popular authors of all time. With the goresplattered literary bludgeon that is Cell, King conjures a startling horror tale of popular technology and the supernatural. On October 1, a single pulse is simultaneously transmitted through every active cell phone on the planet, causing people to transform into mindless killing machines.
My Thoughts: Cell is a great non-zombie zombie story if that makes any sense. Just think how reliant we are on cell phones, or just phones in general. Although this book came out several years ago, it’s even more disturbing in this day and age of iPhones and Androids and other phones that just confuse old people. There is a lot of sadness in this book, people die, but it’s not completely without hope. Campbell Scott reads the book, and I think he did a really good job… however he obviously made a lot of mistakes because they brought in some creepy monotone guy to re-record a lot of the parts. It’s pretty scary if you’re driving down the road at night, caught up in the book and suddenly a strange voice is coming out of your cd player. One that sounds nothing like Campbell Scott, one that’s not even trying to read with emotion. Although it worked in a few of the tense moments, overall it took me out of the moment. So while the book version of Cell probably rates a Midnight with me, the audio version doesn’t quite make it. Next time, schedule some re-records, Campbell Scott! I know your film career isn’t that busy!
by Janet Evanovich
“According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.” “Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground.” “Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree.” “Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.” “Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an uber bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs.” Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, ahair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course … monkeys.
My Thoughts: I’m just not a huge fan of the in-between-the-numbers books for the Plum series. Diesel does not do it for me, and the narrator- while she did a fair job with all the female characters, managed to make all the guys sound creepy. I didn’t think it was possible to make Ranger sound un-sexy, but apparently it is. Of course I’m a Joe girl, but I do get Ranger’s appeal. The story is entertaining, and there’s lots of Lula and monkey Carl. I know a lot of people find the monkey annoying but I’m okay with him. I won’t be listening to any more of the Plum books on audio, because the narrator doesn’t work for me. It’s hard, really hard, to listen to the sexy parts when whoever Stephanie’s chosen partner atm sounds like a dirty prank call phoned in by a boy just hitting puberty. Eventually it got easier to listen to, but I’m not looking to having to go through that again.
by Emma Donoghue
Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way–he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick. For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary. Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue’s Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances. A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time. –Lynette Mong
My Thoughts: I have some mixed feelings about this audio. First off the book is AMAZING. I get the buzz that surrounded this book. Secondly, the audio recording was flawless. But it’s a hard book to listen to. The narrators do an amazing job, especially Michal Friedman as Jack and Ellen Archer as Ma. I did switch over to the book version at times, but listened mostly to the audio. I was amazed by how inventive and patient Ma was with Jack, and how brave Jack was- although not overly so. Jack is still a child, he still throws temper tantrums and does normal kid activities despite living in a glorified shed. Although I liked the story told through Jack’s eyes, there was so much more about Ma that I wanted to know, and I would have loved to get inside her head a bit more. An amazing book, a fantastic audio (although it can take a bit to get over the 5yr old sounding narrator, but heck, that’s how old Jack is)!
by Stephen King
Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty-five year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, bestselling novelist and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey had to learn from him about books and blood and bools. Later, she understood that there was a place Scott went — a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons, Lisey’s turn to go to Boo’ya Moon. What begins as a widow’s effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited. Perhaps King’s most personal and powerful story ever, Lisey’s Story is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love.
My Thoughts: I bought the hard cover version of Lisey’s Story the very first day it came out. But for some reason, despite picking it up several times in the past several years, I never got more than a third of the way through the book. So I though, hey, let me try the audio version! After making peace with the library I was able to check it out. Mare Winningham does a wonderful job as Lisey, which with King’s quirky writing is not always an easy thing. Lisey and her husband Scott had a language to their marriage, one Winningham brings to life. Lisey’s Story might not go on my favorite Stephen King book list, but it’s still an excellent read, and a great audio book. Mare Winningham also read The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King, which I really enjoyed listening to awhile back. I have noticed that it seems a lot of people who don’t normally read King books tend to like this book, and it’s not really a horror story it’s still got elements of horror- crazy illiterate stalker, a dad even crazier than the dad in Frailty, monsters, and above all the horror of how our minds can turn on us and make us prisoners. There is a lot of jumping around in this book- from the past, the way past, the just kind of past and the present. Listening to it on audio, I’ll admit there were times I was a bit lost, but it never took long for me to find my way back.
be Ernessa T. Carter
32 Candles is the slightly twisted, utterly romantic, and deftly wry story of Davie Jones, who, if she doesn’t stand in her own way, just might get the man of her dreams.
Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname “Monkey Night,” and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.
Davie is finally a million miles from where she started—until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davie’s astonishment, James doesn’t recognize her, and she can’t bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as they’re about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie’s dreams—and break her heart again.
With wholly original characters and a cinematic storyline, 32 Candles introduces Ernessa T. Carter, a new voice in fiction with smarts, attitude, and sassiness to spare.
My Thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this audio book. I just picked it up from my library’s pitiful selection of audio books one day because the plot sounded interesting. I had no idea that it would become one of my favorite reads, and audio book, of the year. The narrator does a wonderful job, it never felt like she was reading but as if she was telling a story to a friend. I really want to get this in book form now, because it’s just such a great, funny, heart warming story. Even when Davie is telling of her fairly crappy childhood, Carter writes the story with humor. I seriously laughed like a crazy person while listening to this book in the car. Writing this review now makes me want to listen to the book again. Read, listen, steal this book now! Wait, don’t steal, stealing is wrong. Buy it, because Ernessa T. Carter deserves our money, she deserves to be given all the money she needs and wants so she can do nothing but sit in gilded cage writing books that will make you pee your pants in laughter and make people question your sanity as you’re driving buy listening to her audio books.