Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
An early effort by Crusie, and it shows. Characters are thin and plot is skimpy, but her usual warmth and commitment to small town, slow-lane living are there. It was a pleasant, skimmable read.
A Lady Cyclists Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Wow. Not sure whether it was the TERRIBLE, ATROCIOUS, WHAT-THE-HELL-WERE-THEY-THINKING reader or the pretty much random plot that got to me worse. . . but listening to this book became an effort of will. I finished it this evening with a sigh of relief, decided to pan it (I had honestly been thinking quite hard about whether it was good and I had just lost patience or was being short-sighted), and then cracked up when reading the review below this one, which clearly agrees with me about the reader. So I'll start there:
Sussssannnnn Duerdannnnnnn. The readah. Has an affffffffffffffffected. Way of speakinggggggggggggggg. She is whispery and pretentious, over enunciating virtually everything--until she reads a man's voice in the modern part of the story and suddenly she is loud and emphatic. WEIRD. She should never be employed as a reader again. EVER. Check out a sample if you don't believe me. Luckily, this was a library download/mp3 book, so I am not stuck having wasted $20 or so.
The story: well, it seems like it was an attempt to ride the tide of "spunky ladies who break stereotypes" stories, blended with a "blending time periods" story. . . but it is odd, unfinished, and confusing. There seems to be a big theme of "hey! homosexuality!" and then a modern theme of unhappy love, unfinished business, bad parents, smoking, and birds. No joke: the heroine inherits an OWL. Does anything happen with it? Nope. It escapes, then returns, eats, hoots, nearly gets released, and then moves to the sea with the heroine. Do we know why it's there? Um. No. Oh, there's also a bad skin motif, and a mucous motif (no joke. Long descrip. of a bad mother coughing mucous onto her hand and not having anything to wipe it off with.).
So. Spare yourself. Don't listen to this.
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I'm going back to a for-sure hit: Ngaio Marsh, Angela Thirkell, or PG Wodehouse.