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Old 11-21-2013, 09:28 PM   #691
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After a long stretch of so-so audiobooks, I'm about 30% into The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, and delightfully narrated by Jayne Entwistle. Perhaps it is primarily due to the audio performance, but Flavia du Luce is one of the most enjoyable fictional characters I have encountered. She is an 11-year-old girl who is obsessed with chemistry, especially poisons… and she launches her own investigation of a murder after finding a stranger's body in the garden at her home. She speaks like a grown up most of the time but then does some of the most childish things that I can't help but laugh. I am thrilled that there are another four books already written in the series after this one--and a sixth due in 2014. The book is lots of fun and loaded with classic literature and classical music references.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:05 PM   #692
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I love Flavia deLuce!
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:47 PM   #693
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:49 AM   #694
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeSue View Post
After a long stretch of so-so audiobooks, I'm about 30% into The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, and delightfully narrated by Jayne Entwistle. Perhaps it is primarily due to the audio performance, but Flavia du Luce is one of the most enjoyable fictional characters I have encountered. She is an 11-year-old girl who is obsessed with chemistry, especially poisons… and she launches her own investigation of a murder after finding a stranger's body in the garden at her home. She speaks like a grown up most of the time but then does some of the most childish things that I can't help but laugh. I am thrilled that there are another four books already written in the series after this one--and a sixth due in 2014. The book is lots of fun and loaded with classic literature and classical music references.
I might just have to try the Audible version of this book. I tried to like the eBook, but it just didn't quite work for me, though my DW loved it.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:51 AM   #695
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Trade Secret

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Just started listening to Trade Secret, written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller and read by Kevin T. Collins. This is the sequel to Balance of Trade, the third in the "Books of Before" in the Liaden Universe. Balance of Trade makes a good entry point into the Liaden Universe, and Trade Secret is a worthy sequel. My only complaint is that it will be a long time until we hear any more from Jethri Gobelyn, since any further adventures for him will need to wait until the authors complete a current round of 5 books already under contract that are timed later in the Liaden Universe.

Trade Secret tells the ongoing story of Jethri Gobelyn, now adopted of Clan Ixen and associate trader on Ixen's trade ship Elthoria. This is a worthy successor to Balance of Trade, and highly recommended. My only caveat is that I'm finding the reading of Kevin T. Collins less satisfying this time around. The pace feels just a trifle rushed, with the need for a bit more emphasis of the spacing in the story. But still well worth the listen.
Trade Secret is out on Audible, and I enjoyed it a lot.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:45 AM   #696
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:10 PM   #697
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I might just have to try the Audible version of this book. I tried to like the eBook, but it just didn't quite work for me, though my DW loved it.
I read a little of the ebook, but the audio makes it much better. Then again, it might be a female thing and having sisters why it appeals to me so much.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:49 PM   #698
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I'm neither female nor do I have sisters, and I love these books. Jane Entwhistle's narration is wonderful.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:26 PM   #699
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I'm neither female nor do I have sisters, and I love these books. Jane Entwhistle's narration is wonderful.
Glad to hear it! Are the rest in the series as good as the first?
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:14 AM   #700
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The first 3 are terrific. I was slightly disappointed in #4, but only slightly. I may have set my expectations too high. Haven't read #5 yet, but will soon.

You mention Flavia sometimes sounding adult and sometimes sounding childish. I think the books are being told by the adult Flavia looking back and recapturing her childhood memories. I think.
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:26 PM   #701
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Re-listening to "Dark Matter," written by Michelle Paver and read by Jeremy Northam. One of the most important parts of an audiobook is, obviously, the narration. I've found myself unable to listen to books that I know to be good, simply because the narration is sub-par. That being said, I've found Jeremy Northam's narration of "Dark Matter" to be absolutely riveting. I don't feel as if I'm just listening to an excellent narrator read a story to me, but rather that a real person is relating their experiences to me. I know I'm gushing a bit, but I really do think it is that good. That's not even taking into account the story itself, which is also very good.

It is a ghost story that is set in the arctic. It is told through a series of diary entries written by the main character, a young man named Jack Miller - it is set in 1937, and the main character is recruited to go on an expedition to a place called Gruhuken, that turns out to have a very sinister past. The expedition on the island is graced with a series of misfortunes. As far as horror stories go, it is not the most graphic or fast-paced. There are long periods in which nothing very scary happens, but these moments are laced with a suspense that simply builds up the tension - which makes the moment of the reveal that much more shocking. I quite enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone who likes ghost stories.
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:40 PM   #702
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Just finished reading The Tomorrow Log, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, read by Kevin T. Collins.

An excellent book, very much enjoyed, and well read by Mr. Collins. The book is by the authors of Liaden Universe series of novels and stories, though it isn't specifically a Liaden novel. Definitely space opera, and the universe _could_ be the same, but nothing specifically Liaden in it.

Protagonist is Gem ser'Edreth, a thief and electronics wizard who was sold as a child by his ship to a grounder, master thief Edreth. Now his ship has sent Corbyne Faztherot to reclaim him to the ship as the Captain pre-ordained in the Tomorrow Log. But meanwhile he's caught up in the machinations of the local druglord, Sazony Belaconto, and has been "Chosen" by the Trident, a semi-sentient artifact, complete with its very own Witness.

As with any book by Lee & Miller, this is extremely well written and a delight that I couldn't put down after I started. Kevin T. Collins redeems himself with this reading which I found excellent and perfectly paced. (His reading of Trade Secret was less successful and felt rushed, but that's the only off one I've had from him.)

Highly recommended.

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Old 12-12-2013, 04:42 PM   #703
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Speaking from Among the Bones

I just finished Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley, the 5th Flavia deLuce mystery novel. Although in some ways it seemed a bit unfocused and went in many directions, in other ways it's perhaps the best of the series. For those who've never met Flavia, she's an 11-year-old girl in 1950 England with a talent for chemistry and a passion for poisons (which she doesn't use, no matter how tempted). Instead, she uses her intellect to solve murder mysteries. I tend to think of her as Wednesday Addams who sold her soul to the light side of the force.

I suspect that the reason the book seems so unfocused is that it's setting things up for the next book in the series.
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Old 12-12-2013, 08:48 PM   #704
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I had been listening to Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, and enjoying it much more than expected. In many respects it's boilerplate sword-and-sorcery, but Butcher's characters are compelling and many of the specifics of his world do set it apart from Tolkien knock-off fare. There are numerous non-human races, but they aren't dwarves or elves, and the magic, while not perfectly consistent, does feel decently grounded (despite often consisting of flitting about in the air).

I took a break after the second Alera book to listen to Scott Lynch's second Gentlemen Bastards book, Red Seas Under Red Skies, but it's feeling like a bit of a slog. It has its charms, but much of the prose comes off stiff when it's trying to be clever and I'm just not feeling the stakes. I'm tempted to set it aside and go back to the Codex Alera.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:28 PM   #705
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Sheepfarmer's Daughter (The Deed of Paksenarrion) by Elizabeth Moon. Great narration by Jennifer Van Dyck. I will buy the rest of the series after this one.
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