Audio Books
Queenie
A Novel
By Candice Carty-Williams
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Dec 10th 2019.
Queenie by Candice Carty-WilliamsQueenie is a remarkable novel in many ways. The narrator, Queenie, is written with such a clear voice and vivid character that she fully engages the reader. Her friends and family are equally sharply drawn. The book is often very funny, making me laugh out loud often while listening to the unabridged audiobook performed with great energy and conviction by Shvorne Marks. But it is also a challenging work because Queenie reaches such a level of self-defeat that reading about how she lets herself down is frustrating. But ultimately this is an uplifting story that is particularly striking in givin
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Watching You
By Lisa Jewell
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Dec 3rd 2019.
I listened to this audiobook over the summer and enjoyed it, but forgot about it. I started listening again recently, and it took me at least half an hour into it before I could tell that I had listened to it previously. Even then, the plot did not come rushing back to memory. Passages sounded familiar but they were also so generic that they might appear in any contemporary British mystery novel. There are many characters and it takes a while to work out what the crime is, let alone who the suspects are. The focus is more on people's stories rather than the mystery. Unfortunately, few of the c
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Watching You by Lisa Jewell

The Rest of the Story
By Sarah Dessen
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Nov 19th 2019.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah DessenIt is 10 years since I last read a Sarah Dessen book, and it is good to find that she is still a powerful story teller. This is her 14th title in the YA market, and it is satisfying. As with any such work, the plot involves personal struggle, growth, romance, and drama. Our heroine is 17 and she has already gone through a lot. She has two first names, Emma Saylor. Her father calls her Emma but her mother would call her Saylor. Her mother was an addict and her parents divorced when Emma was young. After the divorce Emma stayed with her father while her mother's life became a series of stays in
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Too Close
A Novel
By Natalie Daniels
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Nov 12th 2019.
It's rare to find a great novel that has received almost no attention, but Too Close is amazingly good. It is a novel of extremely dark humor, although the publisher has tried to market it as some kind of thriller, which is odd since there is very little mystery. If anything, it is more a contemporary horror story, but it is moving and often very funny. Author Natalie Daniels (a pen name for Clara Salaman) is British, and some of the humor may require some familiarity with contemporary British life. It is being made into a British TV drama for broadcast in 2020. There
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Too Close by Natalie Daniels

The Royal Baths Murder
By J.R. Ellis
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Nov 5th 2019.
The Royal Baths Murder by J.R. EllisRelishing in commentary about murder mysteries, The Royal Baths Murder is set at a book festival devoted to murder mysteries, and one of the featured authors is bumped off. Not only that, but the murder is done in a manner similar to that of a murder in one of the books written by another mystery writer, who is also a suspect. It is an "impossible murder" where the killer leaves the murder scene even though there was no way to leave unobserved. The murdered man is Damian Penrose, who was hated by many other authors as well as his ex-wives, so there are plenty of suspects. The d
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The Dutch House
By Ann Patchet
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Oct 29th 2019.
Tom Hanks performs the unabridged audiobook of The Dutch House, and as with most celebrity performances, it makes it a lot harder to get lost in the story, because one is always noticing "this is Tom Hanks reading." Clearly the fact that this is a "Read with Jenna" choice and the book is a best seller goes hand-in-hand with choosing a celebrity to perform the audiobook. The performance itself is good -- Hanks has proven talent not just at acting but in vocal performances for animated movies. But performing an audiobook is a skill unto itself, and there are many better performers. Listenin
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The Dutch House by Ann Patchet

Country
A Novel
By Michael Hughes
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Oct 22nd 2019.
Country by Michael HughesMichael Hughes's Country is self-consciously literary in modeling itself on Homer's Iliad. But it is also very much rooted in the contemporary culture of Ireland. Or at least, the paramilitary culture of the struggle in the 1990s. Often the dialog is coarse, and the plot focuses on the verbal clash between military men. It is rooted in masculinity and virtue, with each man trying to out-man the others. We know that as with the Iliad, it is a tragedy, and the plot is fueled by anger and desperation. Every page is full of energy. It's an amazing achievement. As with the 
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The Survival List
By Courtney Sheinmel
Review by Christian Perring on Tue, Oct 15th 2019.
This is a novel for young people about a 17 year old girl, Sloane, whose older sister Talley dies by suicide. After the death, Sloane finds a mysterious list that her sister made, and the plot involves her trying to work out what the list means. They live in Minnesota but Sloane eventually takes a trip to the West coast and meets people who had known Talley. She eventually uncovers some family secrets and gets a better understanding of her sister's life. The early chapters of the novel tell of the day before Talley died, introducing us to Sloane and their father, and Sloane's best friend Juno
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The Survival List by Courtney Sheinmel

 
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