4.25 STARS

  • Author: Christine Mangan
  • Publication date: March 27, 2018


What is it about obsessive friendships between women?  I’m always drawn to books that feature this type of female-frenemy-relationship. I think there is so much more that can be added to the plot than just the usual he/she torrid love/hate affair that dominate this genre’s selections.

Tangerine is truly my idea of a dreamy, escapist novel. It is first and foremost a character analysis of two women that meet at a high-brow East Coast university as roommates. Lucy and Alice each depict two distinctive and contrasting personalities. One is meek, timid, hand-wringing. The other is brazen, steely, opportunistic. Mixed and stirred like an ice cold martini, the result is pure toxic poison with only one dreaded outcome.

Tangerine takes place mostly in Tangier, Morocco, during a political uprising in the 1950’s. One year after university, the women meet in the exotic desert setting of Tangier. The word “atmospheric” is thrown around to describe a lot of fiction these days, but in this case, atmospheric is more than an accurate label.

Christine Mangan is a lovely, old-fashioned writer. She’s a new author and I’m not exaggerating to say that Tangerine will remind you of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Mangan doesn’t linger on descriptions, but the reader is always very aware of the setting and mood and it feels authentic.

The book’s cover is sheer perfection for this novel that reads like film noir. A kind of combo of stories, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Single White Female come to mind, but it still feels fresh and original.

It is light on action and I feel I should warn you, some readers will find this style of storytelling a bit repetitive. However, I adore the slow burn and did find it suspenseful with tension growing throughout. It is a book for fans of Unraveling Oliver.

A quiet, fascinating portrayal of the complicated connection between sociopath and victim.

BONUS ALERT! The audiobook is exceptionally well done. Lucy sounds exactly like Scarlett Johansson (but it’s not her, I did check). However, the real ScarJo is already cast to play Lucy in the upcoming film production. Perfect choice!

Playster vs. Audible

July 13, 2017

I’ve been trying out the new Playster streaming service for a month free and have been cramming in as many audio books as possible, since they offer unlimited books, music, movies and games for the same price ($14.95 USD per month) as Audible (one book per month).

Unlike Audible, Playster does not have a player app for your device that allows you to stop and start your audio book and keep track of your spot in the “book”.  That one little detail is huge!!!  I have had so much trouble with the interface, it doesn’t even compare to Audible in ease. You know how it is….you’re out walking, got the earbuds in, listening to a great mystery. You come home, stop the book, take a shower, go back to listening while you cook dinner. When you go back to Audible, it’s a piece of cake. You click open the app and push play to get right back in exactly where you left off.   NOT WITH PLAYSTER!  Click open the app, you have to sign in every time(annoying) and literally start searching for the book every time.  THEN, after searching and finally finding it, you have to figure out yourself where you left off!!!  Even after selecting chapter 7, for example, sometimes it will start inexplicably at say, chapter 10. NOOOOOOOO!! That’s the very definition of a SPOILER –GEEZ…It’s frikkin’ frustrating as hell!

Multiply this process about a million times and you will be as ready to toss Playster to the curb as I am. If I hadn’t had the actual book, I would never know what chapter the audio version should be on. And usually you don’t have the real book, hence the beauty of audio.  They have a “My Audio Books” section that supposedly you can save your book to, but it must have a bug, because it doesn’t work. An obvious non-reader person designed the Playster audio book portion; that is the only reason I can come up with for such major inadequacies.

To sum it up: on Playster, yes, you do get unlimited books to listen to (they seem to have thousands of titles, I’ve listened to In a Dark, Dark Wood; Americanah; The Woman in Cabin 10) on Playster. Each book was excruciatingly painful to get through because of the unpredictable start and stop points.  In Playster, you do not own the audio books like you do with Audible. They live in the Playster app and you can revisit them as long as you are a monthly Playster member.  All the music is great and easy to use, similar to Spotify in graphics and interface.  I have not checked out the movies or games. But man, they have got to figure out the audiobooks. Hands down, Audible is a thousand times better for audiobooks, even if it costs more.

Have you tried Playster? Let me know your experience with it! Maybe I’m just too untechnified (made-up word) to figure it out.

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