When Did You See Her Last

When Did You See Her Last? (All The Wrong Questions #2) by Lemony Snicket
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9780316123051
Published: Published October 15th 2013 by Little Brown (first published August 1st 2013)
Rating: DNF

As I said in the first book of this series, I found this book very hard to read (in my case, listen to) and hard to get into. The writing style was frustrating and a little annoying, and I found the characters frustrating. Maybe it’s because the time between reading books 1 and 2 was too long… but I just couldn’t get into this story, and I no longer care for the characters. It’s not that it’s bad… it’s just not for me.

Series review, Part 1: How to Train Your Dragon Series

How To Train Your Dragon Series part 1
100/5 stars!!!!!!

How To Train Your Dragon, How To Be A Pirate, How To Speak Dragonese, How To Break A Dragon’s Curse

This series follows young Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III on his adventures from being an awkward young boy to a heroic Viking. Suffice to say it was quite a journey, because as you will see, Hiccup was definitely not originally cut out to be a Viking, let alone a hero. But with the help of his friend Fishlegs (a young boy with a squint, a lisp, and an allergy to reptiles), and his tiny, ridiculous, toothless dragon so adequately named “Toothless,” Hiccup becomes the most legendary leader of the Harry Hooligan tribe in the history of the Vikings.

My original plan for this series was to read each book and write up a little mini-review for each one and put them all together. Except there was a flaw in my plan. That flaw came out when I didn’t stop between books to write the mini-reviews. I couldn’t stop. I just kept going from one to the next. I read (listened) to one every day. I’m about to finish the fourth one and I don’t know how I’m going to survive waiting for the rest of the series to come in the mail! (I had them shipped to me in two parts).

Suffice to say I didn’t know what I signed up for when I requested these awesome audios for review. Each story is captivating from the very first sentence, and doesn’t let you go for the entirety of the story… even at the end you’re ready for the next ones. There were parts of the stories that made me laugh out loud, and others that made me gasp, and some endings that sent chill bumps down my arms. I’ve decided that I want to be a Viking when I grow up.

They’re expertly read by David Tennant (which may or may not have been the reason I requested them in the first place…) and are expertly “translated” (written) by Credissa Cowell. I’m adding Cowell to my Author Watch List. Also David Tennant does an amazing job with his excellent energy, pronunciation, and character voices (and swoon-worthy Scottish accent).

The point is, I’m a 22-year-old college graduate with an English degree. And I am totally in love with these children’s books. Guys, if you haven’t read them before, now is the time to get down to your nearest book store (preferably a local one) and grab these a.s.a.p..

About the Author

Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. She was convinced that there were dragons living on this island, and has been fascinated by dragons ever since. She has a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin's and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton. Cressida loves illustrating her own work, but also loves writing books for other people to illustrate as the end result can be so unexpected and inspiring. Cressida has written and illustrated eight books in the popular Hiccup series. The unique blend of child centred humour and sublime prose made Hiccup an instant hit. How to Train Your Dragon is now published in over 30 languages. A DreamWorks Animation feature film is out in March 2010. Also the author of picture books, Cressida has won the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 and has been shortlisted for many others. Cressida lives in Hammersmith with her husband and three children.

Review: The Alligator Man

The Alligator Man by James Sheehan
Genre: Crime, Suspense | ISBN: 9781455508648 | Published: October 8th 2013 by Center Street | Amazon | Goodreads

Rating: 5

From Goodreads: Kevin Wylie's crooked boss wants to run him out of town, and Kevin's long-time girlfriend is ready to take a hike. He decides that now is the time to leave Miami, visit his father, who he hasn't seen in 28 years, and get some answers. Heading back to his hometown, he doesn't realize that he and his dad will become embroiled in a murder case.
The victim, one of the richest and most-hated corporate criminals in America has been dubbed The Alligator Man since pieces of his clothing were found in a local swamp. Billy Fuller had every reason in the world to want Johnson dead and all the evidence leads right to his doorstep. But legendary trial lawyer Tom Wylie believes in Billy and he and his son reunite to fight the courtroom battle for Billy's life.
The Alligator Man is a story of greed, anger, love, redemption and two powerful trial attorneys who fight to the end-- and risk everything--for the truth.

I decided I loved James Sheehan’s work after reading last year’s release The Lawyer’s Lawyer. I jumped at the chance to read this new book and was not at all disappointed.

The Alligator Man starts off with a chapter from the perspective of a murder victim. From the very first chapter, I was hooked. There were two parallel stories going on at the same time, and at one point I didn’t know how they related. About halfway through the book the connection became clear and suddenly every character was a thousand times more important, and every word more interesting. At one point the case seemed hopeless, at others it seemed there could be no other alternate ending. But of course there were several wild twists at the end that totally through me. Yeah, several. Not just one surprise. Like, surprise after surprise. And maybe a little bit of crying at the very end.

All in all, I loved The Alligator Man and am, once again, impressed with Sheehan’s ability to make a dry boring courtroom seem exciting, and to weave a powerful story about humans and love and greed and destiny.

The narration was very good, though not as good as The Lawyer’s Lawyer. In the same way that the narrator didn’t add anything to the book, he didn’t take anything away either.

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