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Yvette Z Vandermolen

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-23-18

Hope There's a Sequel!

Perfect popcorn suspense novel for summertime! Catherine Steadman's narration is among the best I've heard for author-read books. Also one of the best narrations from a screen actor; voice acting is a special skill within the profession and Steadman has clearly honed it. Performing one's own work can be risky, but she brings her story alive through her familiarity with the material instead of getting in the way.

Reviewers who didn't finish the book and criticize the main character for her bad choices made the wrong choice themselves. This novel is proof that unlikeable lead characters are a feature not a bug. The first-person narration from an unlikeable, unreliable lead reminds me of Caroline Kepnes's YOU, which had a sequel to wrap up loose ends. Something in the Water could use a similar treatment.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-25-18

Model Example of Matching Narrator to Book

Not what I expected, thank the Goddess! People are complex, gender is complex, society at the best of times is a hot mess. This is not a simple feminist critique of men as leaders, or women as leaders, but a complex deep dive into how humans respond to and handle power. And the narrator is fantastic!

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-17

Terrible Narration

I might buy the Kindle or paper version for the recipes, but other than that I can't really recommend this book. With such a title I was expecting something more uplifting, but instead got a continuous rant about how awful this woman thought her family had been to her. It's like going out for a coffee date with a friend who really needs a shoulder to cry on and then not leaving for several days. I like helping my friends, but I really don't appreciate paying for the privilege of helping a stranger, especially when I thought I was getting entertainment. The whole experience is made worse by a strained narration style that sounds like the reader is always out of breath. The whole experience made me tense!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-04-17

Read 14 and its sequel instead

I was hoping this book was more like 14, but it seems more like Clines' fantasy books. The characters are flat and boring - Why is the main character staying in a hometown and in a life he clearly hates? Because "it's home"? No depth to the characters, no clear motivations, just a pointless road trip. A real disappointment. Ray Porter is amazing, as usual, but still I didn't waste time finishing this book. Look forward to Peter Clines' next book with faith this one was just not to my taste.

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8 of 13 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-17

Fun story, but audio may not be the best medium

Went looking for another Cherie Priest book set in the real world and was excited to find this one is set in Seattle, a city I know pretty well. Priest gives us an excellent tour of the city and had me thinking I had actually seen signs of Princess X in my own adventures around town. I wish this book had gotten more notice locally, especially from the local comic con and rather significant comic book scene. It would be fun to do this as a book club selection with Girl Scouts or some similar group. It's a wonderful YA book for mid-adolescent age but also fun to read as an adult.

That said, this book is probably best experienced in visual form, as the story shifts from novel to graphic novel. The narration is fine with the novel characters but the comic book characters are overacted and irritating. The narrator just doesn't have the vocal range for those parts of the book, which are almost painful to listen to. Casting a separate narrator for those voices may have been a better choice.

Even with the sometimes irritating narration, I was sad when the story ended. I really love these characters! I hope Cherie Priest writes more of these sorts of fantasy thrillers set in real places; she's got an amazing sense of place.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-12-16

Weird and Wonderful!

I had no idea where this hike was leading. Is this a fairy tale? Am I leveling up (or not) in a psychotic game? What the hell is happening?! Even when the twisting path leads to a satisfying conclusion, I'm still left with questions. Great read, great peer into the existential void, great philosophical inquiry. And a great narrator to lead listeners down this path to ... what?!

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-24-16

NOT a Joe Hill book!

If you've never read a Joe Hill book, short story, or comic book, STOP NOW and read one of those instead!

Joe Hill has become my favorite writer to emerge in the last decade or so. He plunges readers into intricate worlds full of engaging characters who demand your loyalty and then take you right up to the edge of sanity. His writing is economical even as it builds whole worlds you could crawl right into and live inside, if they weren't so damn terrifying.

Unfortunately, with The Fireman he has chosen to ape the more wandering and flabby style of Stephen King. I fear this over-reliance on his father's style and material will become a habit. I hope this was just a one-off homage to Stephen King classics like The Stand, or even an experiment. I welcome experiments, and in some ways this book was an interesting one. If a shrewd editor had chopped off the first half of the book and encouraged Joe Hill to lean into his own style (as he does in the second half of the story) to flesh out the whole book, it wouldn't have been damaged by the dull rambling that has marred his father's books in the later part of his career. I loved Kate Mulgrew's reading of Hill's NOS4A2 and she certainly kept me going with this book, but it was still a slog, which is a new experience for me with a Joe Hill story.

Even if you like The Fireman, please understand it in no way reflects the experience of a REAL Joe Hill book, one of which should be your very next read/Audible experience.

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2 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-22-16

Excellent match of book and narrator!

Sick and twisted in the best possible way. One of those stories that makes an old married person very, very glad to be off the market. Dating is hell.

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0 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-27-14

I expect better from Gaiman

Gaiman's Anansi Boys is one of my Top 5 favorite audiobooks, and I love Coraline, Neverwhere (TV and radio shows), The Sandman series, and the movies that have come out of his work, such as Mirrormask. Given how inventive he can be, this book really falls flat. It's predictable and not all that exciting. I had just finished listening to Joe Hill's NOS4A2, with all of its twists and turns and deeply realized characters, and Ocean just felt amateurish by comparison. I think it got raves because everyone expects a certain style from Gaiman, so if that style is present, the book is automatically a winner. I think King's writing has suffered from this same slavish behavior from fans. This is not Gaiman's best work. Spend a credit on his older and better stuff, or get Mr. Penumbra’s 24‑Hour Bookstore or Alif the Unseen instead. Those books aren't the English-nanny airy-fairy style of Ocean, but the stories are much more engaging and the fantasy elements not so old fashioned and predictable.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-27-14

Hard to finish, but Nancy is worth getting to know

Haven't been able to finish this one as it seems to repeat itself a great deal. Really enjoyed learning about Nancy Wake and her adventures; will seek out other media about her. If you can find this book for free, in a library or from a friend, then check it out. It may be better in hard copy because you can flip past the repetitive and boring parts. I got about halfway through the audiobook so I suppose it's worth the credit, but I'm hoping there are better books and movies out there about Nancy Wake. Actually, I think she should be the subject of the next big superhero movie!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful