Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Humans by Matt Haig

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*No Major Spoilers*

Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man–as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son–who has no idea he’s not the real Andrew–the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.

I discovered this novel on a booklist that I receive in my email every other day. I only read the lists if the theme seems interesting to me, and that’s how I discovered this novel.

When this novel started, the commentary by the alien disguised as Andrew Martin was pointing out how alien humans looked to him. It kind of reminded me of Roger from American Dad. Roger has to dress up in various outfits to try and disguise himself so he can leave the house.

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Roger from American Dad 

I found this novel to be fascinating the way of character development from the alien’s point of view. Even though throughout the novel he remains fascinated with how us humans act, behave and believe, his overall opinion changes by the end of the novel.

Even though this isn’t a fully philosophical story, there is an over-arching plot. However, the challenges the alien faces on top of trying to stay under the radar in order to complete his mission makes for beautiful character development.

My favorite part of the story is when the alien gets sent into the mental hospital at one point, and the observations and people he meets there is fascinating for someone who has been in a mental hospital.

Humans, as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode.

Basically, the key rule is, if you want to appear sane on Earth you have to be in the right place, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and only stepping on the right kind of grass. – The Humans

I’ve got to say I really enjoyed this story on a variety of levels, everything from the character development to the philosophical approach the story had on the narrative. This story held my interest from beginning to end, the first letter to the final punctuation. This story is definitely recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi, aliens, a good overall story along with some thought-provoking undertones.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Sherlock Holmes’ Rediscovered Railway Mysteries: Four Original Short Stories by John Taylor

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*No Spoilers*

In a drawer in his bureau, Dr. Watson keeps a locked cedarwood chest – a ‘box of secrets’. It contains an archive of notes referring to some of Holmes’ cases that, for one reason or another, never saw the light of day. Now, for the first time, Watson has decided to reveal the truth to the world… In these four thrilling stories, Holmes experiments with the science of ballistics; locate some missing gold bullion; investigates the theft of a large amount of money and solves the baffling mystery of the Stovey murder.

Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories, John Taylor has written four more mysteries featuring the world’s greatest detective. Read by acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch, these new adventures share all the suspense of the original tales.

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I originally discovered this audiobook in an Audible Ad. I am a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and his portrayal of the famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. So I was lucky my library had it available and I was able to listen to it for free.

I could tell that the author was a huge fan of Author Conan Doyle’s original works. These felt like they were written with love and care.

My favorite story is the story about the missing gold bullion. I felt this case was the easiest to follow and understand Sherlock’s logic. Sometimes, I felt like I know who the bad guy is and how he pulled this off! However, as always, Sherlock adds a twist and makes the crime even more clever.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s narration was awesome and entertaining to listen to. He gave each suspect their own unique voice so it made it easy to follow along. His narration made me want to go back and rewatch his Sherlock Holmes run on the BBC.

Overall, this audiobook was a nice discovery, and I enjoyed listening to all of the stories. I would highly recommend this for lovers of Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch, and classic mystery novels.