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Die for Me by Amy Plum
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was full of potential but fell short of my high expectations.
The story is about Kate, a 16-year-old whose parents passing has facilitated a move with her sister to live with their grandparents in Paris. An introvert, Kate spends her days in Paris reading classics, perusing art and sipping drinks at a local cafe. She becomes involved with Vincent, a handsome, aloof, nineteen year old with a secret life. Kate soon realizes there’s more to the world around her than she thought and falling for Vincent could mean repeatedly viewing death.
One of the greatest strengths of this book is the setting of Paris. The descriptions of the various cafes, museums and the french language lend a mystique that is sweepingly romantic and beautifully artistic. This is even evident in the beautiful backdrop on the cover of the book.
The author uses zombies as the bone of contention. The plot is well thought out but easy to guess. Don’t expect any big surprises in this one.
The one theme in this book that disappointed me was the love story. There was no pull, no reasoning to why Kate and Vincent should be or would want to be together. The love affair, if it can be classified as that, seems forced, not genuine or natural.
I really wanted this book to be better than good. The romantic Paris locale and the unique zombie premise promised a distinct story uncommon in the vampire and werewolf YA fiction that has become so popular. But, unfortunately, it did not live up to its possibility for greatness. It wasn’t a bad book, just not as good as it could have or should have been.
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I usually have 3-4 books on the go at all times. One or two in print, one e-book and one Audible book. I do have certain criteria I use to determine whether I want to read a paper, e-book or Audible version of a book and I thought I would share those with you. For this post I’m going to focus on Audible versions.
Audible is near and dear to my heart. It allows me to enjoy books I never would have read in print and enjoy them while doing other tasks that are not so enjoyable. I listen while I’m driving, doing dishes, walking the dog and house cleaning. Heck, I’ve even listened in the tub. I’ve been listening to Audible books since 2001 and have listened to over 325 books. I’m telling you, it’s totally addictive.
So, how do I determine what books will be most enjoyable to listen to? Well, here’s my take on the best books for Audible consumption.
1. The book is BIG and could be complicated.
I consider a book over 500 pages to be large. That’s in comparison to the average book I read, which I estimate to be around 320 pages. I normally will not choose a printed copy of a book larger than 500 pages. I need the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a book and large books just take too long. It’s way to tempting to set them aside and promise to come back eventually. Audible is perfect for these larger books. I’m currently listening to 1Q84. With over 900 pages, I never ever would have continued plowing my way through it if I was reading the print version. Game of Thrones is another one that would have overwhelmed me in print.
2. The book’s characters are something other than American/the story mainly takes place outside the US.
Hearing a book read to you in the accent which the character in the book has is one of the great perks of Audible. Sophie Kinsella books are so fun to listen to. You get a better sense of the British characters and the humor really shines in the British voice. Historical novels are very well suited to this media. Ariana Franklin books are some of my favorite. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Please look After Mom were beautifully narrated allowing the books locales to shine through and create a total immersion.
3. The book is read by the Author.
The first Audible book I ever listened to was Shop Girl by Steve Martin. It was narrated by Steve Martin himself. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book nearly as well in print, but I loved listening to him tell the story. Biographies are the best to listen to. I loved Bossy Pants and Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Hearing Tina Fey tell about her childhood and Rob Lowe list off his A-list friends makes you feel like they are telling their stories just to you.
If you’re an Audible fan like me, leave a comment and tell what books you like to listen to. If you haven’t tried it, you should. I guarantee you’ll be addicted if you do!
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Medium: Audible Audiobook
First off, celebrity biographies and memoirs are not a genre I normally read. I probably can count on one hand what I’ve read and those have been mostly comedians. Second, I don’t really have any connection with Rob Lowe as a fan. I was too young to remember any of his early stardom and haven’t seen any of his major roll movies or watched his stint on The West Wing. My memories of Rob Lowe extend only to brief glimpses in Wayne’s World and Austin Powers and of course everybody’s heard of The Brat Pack.
I decided to give this a go because:
1. My Goodreads Group, Bookworm Bitches, choose this as one of the books for the month of April.
2. Rob Lowe himself was the narrator on this audiobook version.
3. He looks so handsome on the cover I felt I wanted to know more than just his pretty face.
This book was so much fun to listen to! It was like watching a movie you haven’t seen for a decade only to realize that there are so many actors in it that are now famous but had not been at the time. He seemed genuine and honest about his childhood and was ok with mentioning all those imperfections that made him who he is.
He did name drop a lot. I have read other reviews that have mentioned this. I did feel at times it was a bit excessive, especially when he talked about the Sheens. Although, I think it was a part of what made the book so interesting. He gave a glimpse at what other actors where like in their youthful beginnings. I especially liked hearing about Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze.
He did seem a little bit bitter about his West Wing days. I didn’t feel like we got the whole story.
I Googled many things from this book, from movies he mentioned to scandals he glanced over. I’m looking forward to watching the Outsiders now!
I gave this book 4 stars. It was fast and a great pace. The stories were light and Rob’s humor showed through. Best of all, I think it’s great when a book is so interesting it makes you look up more details from other sources and encourages you to keep reading.
Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Medium: Audible Audiobook
Violet Ambrose is your typical teenager with one exception: she can sense the dead. She’s in love with her best friend Jay and as their romantic relationship blossoms a killer is on the loose and it’s up to Violet to help find the killer.
The premise for this book really caught my attention. Murder, mystery and teenage angst. The beginning of the book starts off well and drew me in right away by showing just what Violet’s special ability is and what effect it has had on her life thus far. Violet is a nice, typical high school junior. The story doesn’t delve to much into her home life. She has loving parents who give her a good amount of freedom. Her life at school is explored very little. I was able to get a sense of the clicks and a small glimpse of what Violets girl friends are like.
I was a bit disappointed that the main focus of the book was the love story that blossoms between Violet and Jay. However, their relationship is sweet and surprisingly healthy for todays typical YA fiction.
What I thought would be the main focus, a serial killer on the loose in Violet’s hometown, seemed more of a side story. The point of view switches between Violet and the killer. The killer hunts teenage girls and hides their bodies. Violet, due to her special abilities, finds some of the bodies and is able to help locate the killer. This puts her in grave danger and at risk of becoming the killer’s prey.
I rated this 3 stars. It was an easy, interesting read. However, I felt this story held so much potential to be something greater than it was. I was expecting more suspense, the lack of which, made the story somewhat predictable. All in all a good book for this genre.