The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café

handsomeThe Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café
by Alexander McCall Smith
2014 / 257 pages
read by Lisette Lecat / 9h 55m
rating A++ (for enjoyment) / contemp fiction / Botswana

Aaaaahhhh!   A fix from the war-filled, depressing books I’ve been reading lately –  whew!  I needed this!   (Big old smile on my face.)

This is the 15th book in the Ladies #1 Detective series which Alexander McCall Smith began back in 1998.  I read about it back then in some magazine or review and promptly got the book.  Yup –  I was hooked.  And here I am 16 years later still gobbling them up the day they are released.  I have had paperbacks (at first)  and hardcovers (for a few years  before ebooks) and now (for the last 10 or so years)  I prefer listening because Lissette Lecat is the perfect reader for this series.  >>>>MORE>>>>

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The Bone Clocks

51WkmJVFslL._SL150_The Bone Clocks
by David Mitchell
2014 / 640 pages
read by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow, Anna Bentinck – 24h 30m
rating: 7  / sci-fi- fantasy

Oh what can I say about a genius author whose latest book does not live up to the expectations of  the last?

I loved reading Cloud Atlas – loved it – both times – text and audio versions – the whole thing.  I also loved The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (with a small exception) , but I wasn’t so crazy about Mitchell’s earlier Black Swan Green.

I think  I expected “great things” from The Bone Clocks and,  well,  for the most part it’s very good  – but when the plot devolves into body-snatchers and zombie-like activities including a war between the semi-immortal good guys (the Horologists)  and their equivalent bad guys (The Anchorites) – well … >>> MORE>>>>

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by John Lescroart
1996/ 656 pages
read by David Colacci 18h 10m
rating: A / crime

I think I’m finishing up novels of John Lescroart – the ones which are available in audio format and read by Colacci, anyway.  I’m going slowly – this is comfort reading/listening.   “Guilt” is a stand-alone featuring Abe Glitzky, the Black and Jewish,  very married-with-children San Francisco detective.  This is Dismas Hardy’s old buddy from the days Hardy was on the police force but Hardy isn’t involved in this one.

In “Guilt,”   the smooth, handsome, rich, powerful >>>>MORE>>>>

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A Long Way Gone:

longwayA Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
2007 / 229 pages
read by Ishmael Beah – 7h 48m
rating 7 / memoir

Beah’s book is a memoir,  but it appears that discrepancies have been found and that’s always a problem for some when good sales are involved.

Well … imo…. EXCUSE me???  Consider the source, huh?  This is NOT James Frey for whom I have zero tolerance.   This is the story of what happens when  a 12 to 16-year old boy in a war zone  loses his family to the brutality, then wanders around the countryside with his friends for awhile, snagging food, sleeping as he might.  He finally gets “conscripted” into the government forces to fight the rebels who decimated his village. Then he’s suddenly rescued by UNICEF and guess what …  Beah’s got post-traumatic syndrome to the max,  but he’s rehabilitated and a decade later writes a memoir.  Let’s see … >>>>MORE>>>>

Posted in Liberia, memoir/ bio, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Luminaries

luminariesThe Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton
2013  / 834 pages
read by Mark Meadows 29h 14m
rating – 9 / historical fiction

I read this first right after it won the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and loved it.  (The review is here.)  The history, the Victorian-type language, Dickensian plot, etc.  everything was right.  But it is a plot-driven novel (pretty much) so I really didn’t think it would hold up to a 2nd reading.  But the Booker Prize Group chose it so I thought maybe I’d give it a try.

Posted in 9 + ratings, historical fiction, New Zealand, woman author | Leave a comment

The Map Thief

mapthiefThe Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
by Michael Blanding
2014 – 320 pages
read by Sean Runnette – 8h 35m
rating – 7.5  – history/crime

I’d never heard of Forbes Smiley or the case of the map thief prior to seeing this on Audible so I listened to the sample, found myself intrigued, purchased, downloaded and listened – all in less than 24 hours.

If you’re interested in maps (as I am, having been a map-maker in the distant past), or rare books (and I love those, too)  this is a great book – although I don’t know as I’d call it “gripping.”  >>>>MORE>>>> 

Posted in Audio, true crime, history, self-select, 2013 | Leave a comment

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Narrow RoadThe Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan
2014 /334 pages (Kindle)
rating: 9.5 / historical fiction

I was warned this is a hard book to read due to the violence.  I’m allergic to graphic violence in war – it’s really just highly organized murder and that’s not good for me (or other living things!) –  And violence in film or books,  even supposedly anti-war films or books,  elicits the same response as films and books which glorify it.  – No thanks.

Turns out this is as much a love story as it is a war story – >>>>MORE>>>>

Posted in 2014, 9 + ratings, historical fiction, New Zealand | Leave a comment