Groundhog day

The Last Conversation (Forward collection)The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do not read any reviews beforehand. You will get spoiled.

A little creepy and a lot ominous. Psychological horror. Our protagonist wakes up blind, without memories, restrained to one room, with the embodied voice of a doctor telling him what to do. Slowly memories return.

Desperation comes to mind, especially when the story and its secret begin to unravel.

The audiobook narration was ok. So was the story overall.

★★★½☆

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Creepy AI

Summer FrostSummer Frost by Blake Crouch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story was ok. Matrix meets Terminator isn‘t quite right, but went through my thoughts anyway. The exploration of AI has an unusual start, but doesn‘t lead to anything new. What is awareness, what are the dangers and how do we protect ourselves?

Then there is some slight exploration of gender identity, but it‘s so peripheral that Crouch might just not have bothered. Skin colour is thrown in there, but not elaborated at all.

I do not completely believe the developmental process of AI that Crouch depicts here. I know that it‘s done like this on purpose, but I still don‘t buy it.

The twist at the end is well done. The parallels to the beginning of the story are a clever reflection.

The audio narration came across as boring at first. Unemotional and monotonous, as if the narrator had no interest in the story or in narrating it. Even „Gawd, you‘re sexy“ sounded anything but. Halfway into the story it either got better or I simply had gotten used to it.

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Pretty random

RandomizeRandomize by Andy Weir
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story was pretty meh. Very formulaic casino heist story, despite the futuristic computer hardware and software. I kept waiting for something truly interesting to happen, but alas… I had expected something more exciting from Andy Weir.

I did not particularly like the audio narration either. Too breathless and emotionally over the top for my taste. It wasn‘t believable.

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Elementary, my dear Wyndham

The Affair of the Mysterious LetterThe Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book trying very hard to present a magical Holmes & Watson and using all the right cues. An overly amusing and mocking first person narration by Dr. Watson Captain John Wyndham. A Scandal in Bohemia lurks somewhere in the background.

The amusing tone got old pretty fast. About two hours into the audio narration I started to seriously loose interest. The microscopically small plot barely managed to hold the story together. It was a slog. I only continued, because I wanted to find out who was the culprit.

Actually, on second thought, the plot wasn‘t bad. There was just too much fluff in between.

And really annoying? „Oh, she used a bad, bad word, but my publisher told me not to repeat it!“ Funny the first three times. After that, not so much!

Nice resolution at the end and there was something truly well written just before it that caught my interest.

In summation too much amusing vapor, too little actual story. A lot of talk, trying to create a Sherlock-Holmes-apropriate atmosphere. Some great ideas, smothered in the overly quaint narration. Kudos regarding the cameos of various gothic horror novels. Pretty nice Dracula rendition.

Best part of this novel: The excellent audiobook narrator, Nicholas Boulton. His tone of voice reminded me a bit of Stephen Fry.

The author has written some romance novels that look like they could be fun…. Other than that I will definitely not continue with this, if there should be a sequel. I will look up the audiobook narrator though.

The author on Sherlock Holmes: https://crimereads.com/sherlock-holme…

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Yes, exctinction can be boring

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass ExtinctionsThe Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book has enjoyable stretches, but in total was really too boring to keep my interest. Strange, really, considering that I am interested in paleontology, love to watch documentaries about Earth‘s history—volcanos, movement of tectonic plates, various critters, etc.— and frequently read about climate change and sustainability topics.

Not sure if it‘s me or the book. I sometimes disliked the flip tone of the narrator. And the book was a little to centered on the US to really appeal to me. On the other hand I learned something about the geological history of the North American continent.

I think one issue I have is that it‘s not clear to me what the book wants to be. A kind of travelogue with anecdotal stories about geological and paleontological history or rather light pop-science, priming us on the reasons and consequences of climate change. Neither works well enough.

At times informative and lightly entertaining, sometimes humourous, depressing and boring for long stretches. The required doomsday scenario at the end with a pinch of hope.

About the author: http://peterbrannen.com/about

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Messy mess!

Bob Honey Who Just Do StuffBob Honey Who Just Do Stuff by Pappy Pariah
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What the heck did I just listen to? Dear Audible, thanks for this freebie. But OMG! Very, very weird.

Dear Sean Penn, please stick to acting and/or voice-acting, which you did very well here. But please stop writing, this was a complete and utterly undecipherable mess! Political activism, et cetera, I get it. But this was painful.

Frances McDormand, I love you! Please read me your shopping list!

Recommended: to nobody!

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